Greystone Barrel-Fermented Sauvignon Blanc Waipara 2016 – $
13.5% alc. Pale straw colour.
A gorgeous textural wine. Indigenous yeasts and oak handling give this wine complexity and engagement. Perhaps not a classical NZ sav in style, but it still shows tropical fruit notes and open airs of citrus.
Sweet entry on palate, mealy, rich ripe fruit flavours. Golden goodness I say. Unmistakably a savvy, but this is sav+. I think this is fantastic, and a keeper.
A new fav.
Outstanding 95 points.
Millton Crazy By Nature Shotberry Vineyard Chardonnay Gisborne 2016 – $
An organic wine from the Gisborne biodynamic vigneron. Their easy-drinking fun mid-week wine brand.
12.5% alc. Mid-gold in colour.
Soft, sweet and ripe golden stonefruit bouquet, with scents of orange and orange peel, citrus sharpness on the nose, a mineral note, and wild herbs. Distinctive aromas, funky.
Soft mouthfeel, sweet and a little flabby with the malo treatment. Lacks a little focus. Shows the ‘sore-throat’ roughness at the back of the throat that some Chardonnays exhibit. Not sure why that is. A tingly feel in the mouth. Viscous and textural, but also so light. Could have been picked earlier I think.
Recommended 85 points.
From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $$
Golden colour. 14% alc. From the lauded ’13 vintage. I like this dependable value producer’s wines very much, and the Latitiude is a step up in quality of fruit from the standard offering, but not greatly more expensive when on special.
Strongly aromatic – apricot, melon and peach, bags of oak, mealy ‘buzz’. A heavy style of Chardonnay.
Golden fruit entry, with a rich and creamy texture in the mouth. Good acid line. Shows fruit sweetness and ripeness through the mid-palate. Heavy finish. Strong oaking dominates. Overall impression is opulence and density, with a surprisingly striking lean mineral quality on the finish obscured somewhat by the heavy oak styling.
Although bruised by the oak, this wine is still a remarkable value wine from a remarkable vintage.
Highly Recommended 91 points.
From the Cellar: Hans Herzog Mistral Marlborough 2013 – $$$
A classic Rhône blanc blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne from the organic artisanal Marlborough vineyard of Hans Herzog, bought from their cellar door. L and I visited them during a Graperide weekend a while back, and loved so many of their wines.
Green gold colour. 14% alc.
Complex melon and honeysuckle aromas, with honey, toffee, ripe apple and almond nougat. Delish.
Rich and smooth golden fruit to taste, and mouthfilling. There was a mineral backbone also, toffee and almond notes, mandarin orange, acidity through the mid-palate, some apple-pip, and finished sweet and long.
Outstanding 96 points.
Bell Bird Bay Cabernet Merlot Hawkes Bay 2011 – $
Raymond Chan writes in his review of this wine, “70% Merlot, 13% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bridge Pa Triangle district”
Deep ruby colour. 13% alc.
Depp fruit aromas, softness, oak, vanilla, somewhat secondary.
The merlot component imbues softness and luscious dark fruits on palate, with structure from the cabernet components. Slight herbiness. Harmonious.
This wine harbours no faults from age or storage which I have found is rare with aged wines at this price point. A great aged example in this case.
Recommended 86 Points
A bunch of great wines for the Little Sleep:
Kumeu River Village Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $ – drink 2019-2021. A review of NZ Chardonnay in Decanter Feb 2018 gave this wine a score range of 88-92. I reviewed it similarly myself, and enjoyed the acidity and poise of this superb value Chardy.
Wairau River Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $$ – drink 2019-2026. A Decanter review of NZ Sauvignon Blanc by Bob Campbell late last year gave this wine a score of 93. I tracked down a bottle on special, and under the house it goes!
Coal Pit Tiwha Pinot Noir Central Otago 2016 – $$$ – drink 2020-2026. A Decanter Feb 2018 review of New World Wines under GDP30 gave this wine a score of 94. The author wrote, “sexy Pinot – a rare thing”. I first tried this wine at a restaurant in Queenstown and really loved it. Enough said.
Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $
In my opinion, this wine is consistently one of NZs best Chardonnays, vintage on vintage. Must be the site. I have ridden out there a few times. A lovely part of the world.
13% alc. Pale gold colour.
Mealy, golden fruit, aromatic and fine. Notes of oak, vanilla, apricot and mandarin orange and peel.
Fresh and crunchy to taste. Crispness, oak complexity, malo note on the back palate, and meal. Great structure and body. A wine for aging.
Highly Recommended 90 Points
Villa Maria Dry Riesling Marlborough Bay 2016 – $
12% alc. Pale greenish straw colour.
Earlier vintages have been my “WOTY” previously.
This one is not so stellar. Sharp citrus on nose, befitting a drier style of Riesling. Aromas of crisp apple and grapes.
Fresh entry on palate, with soft-ish texture. Quite linear fruit and an acid finish. Moderate intensity. Lacking some focus and intensity. An underwhelming example this time around.
Commended 85 Points
While we were waiting for Wellington Batucada to take the stage on the Saturday night of CubaDupa, Wellington’s best night-time street arts and music festival, L and I popped into the great wine bar Noble Rot. They serve a number of aged fine wines by the glass, protected by the Coravin system.
I enjoyed a glass of superb and savoury Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012, and the ever-wonderful elegant Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015. Delicious!
BTW Wellington Batucada was immense and fantastic, as always!
Bell Bird Bay Reserve Syrah Hawkes Bay 2014 – $
13.5% alc. Deep ruby.
Soft and savoury dark red fruit aromas. Prominent vanilla note to start then this largely blew off. Hint of oxidation. Hint of spice.
Soft and full entry, dry sweetness, sharp and spicy finish. Medium tannins, grippy. Vanilla on the palate with strong oak character. Showing reserve fruit depth and body. Long on the tongue.
I see this wine as quite out of balance re oak/tannin/acid, but it has good bones and delivers a characterful and rewarding drop for the (very little) money. A party wine, this
Recommended 87 Points