Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Landsdowne Estate

Landsdowne Estate 'Claret' 1903 Wairarapa

A very rare opportunity to experience a slice of New Zealand's wine history captured in a bottle of wine

The fruit for this wine was from a small single vineyard site about a half mile from the Brancepeth (Brans-peth) homestead (see pics below) in a place called Wainuioru (why-knew-e-oar-ew) which is part of the Wairarapa District in the lower North Island of New Zealand

The homestead is called Brancepeth and is named after the original Brancepeth Castle near Durham in England.
It is understood that Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Syrah were all planted as a field blend and this constitutes the wines made at that time including the 1903 tasted on February 10th 2016. Some white wine was made though the varieties are not known though likely Pinot Gris.
When prohibition hit New Zealand the vineyard was disestablished with no cuttings or seeds retained.
All subsequent fruit for the Landsdowne label were sourced from the Mission Estate winery land holdings in Hawke's Bay.

Tasting Note:
Remnants of red colour with hues of mainly orange, apricot and onion skin.

On the nose - old and delicate, but very much alive, a heart beat within. A delicate old girl with echoes of old roses and macerated red fruits (No signs of vinegar or excessive oxidation).The ribbons of flavour are fine and I expect come mostly from the Pinots Noir and Meunier with the acidity that remains from the Syrah.
On the palate - fantastic for a wine that had its 100th birthday 13 years ago - there is acidity still giving a noticeable yet delicate grip and very mild tension; the tannins though fully integrated and in the soul of the wine now have a very fine, dusty and powdery texture. The flavours are echoes of the past and faint - yet tasted of old rose, silty clay, mushroom, old loose leaf tea (like the cup you might have shared with your grand-mother all those years ago) and a whisper of rose-hip. Whatever oak was used at that time has no contribution to make anymore. There was a delicate silken softness to the texture overall.

It is hoped that another opportunity to taste the wine may come along in either 2021 or 2026. The great great grandson of William Beetham is considering when this might be.
Thank you to all those involved and making the event a great success.


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Brancott Estate

Brancott Estate 'Chosen Rows' Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough
Complex and engaging bouquet with lots of Marlborough citrus and stone fruit intensity, natural ferment fragrances of Manuka honey with subtle oak spice moments; the time spent on lees has pushed forward the reductive, flinty and suphide esters adding complexity, energy and depth. On the the palate - dry, spicy, powerful and packed with energy; lots of grapefruit, lemon and white peach flavours; jalapeno, a touch of oak spice and loads of acidity. A wine that maintains its varietal intensity whilst pushing the new world expression of Sauvignon Blanc into new territory. Drinking young in January 2016 I expect this wine will continue to age and mature evenly and hopefully slowly through 2020.
92 Points

Tankersley Estate

Tankersley Estate Pinot Noir 2013 Central Otago
A bouquet of Pinot Noir with fragrances of red flowers, light red fruits, red apple skin and a very mild oak undertone; soft balanced and inviting. On the palate - fruity, dry, fresh and packed with Otago flavours of dark cherry and plum, undergrowth of sage and thyme, some mineral and oak moments; mild soft tannins and plenty of acidity; balanced and well made with immediate drink-ability and cellar worthy attributes through 2019.
88 Points


Neudorf Moutere Pinot Gris 2015 Nelson 
Fragrant, fresh and distinctive bouquet of ripe white fleshed fruits, lush, floral and with a layer of minerality and gentle white spice. On the palate - soft and lightly creamy then when the acidity kicks in the palate embraces and new mix of flavours including sweet citrus, pear and apple fruit, a hint of spice and sweetness; beautifully balanced with a lengthy finish. A lovely example.89 Points

Main Divide

Main Divide Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Waipara Valley
Forward, lush, potent and  varietal SB with a bouquet of fresh sweet herbs, citrus and waves of tropical fruit. On the palate - fresh, vibrant, crisp, warm and fruity with flavours that reflect the nose, a jalapeno-like spice,  lots of acidity and youthful bite; a lick of sweet to balance the warmth and acidity; balanced and well made.
85 Points

Main Divide 'Tehau Reserve' Pinot Noir 2014 Waipara Valley
Juicy, bold and very fruity bouquet with a slightly broody masculine appeal; suggestions of plum and dark berry, oak spices and toasty wood moments. On the palate - equally bold and masculine with flavours of plum and dark berries, toasty wood tones, some spice and vanilla then a dry finish. Solid example.
84 Points

Main Divide Merlot Cabernetc 2014 Waipara Valley
Fruity and familiar bouquet of soft plum and moderate to darker red berry fruits; mild toasty oak and vanilla tones with a mild woodiness. On the palate - classic Merlot Cabernet combination with dark red stone fruit and black berry flavours; moderate weight with tannins to match, youthful medium+ acidity and a dry finish. Well made and totally drinkable now and through 2017.
87 Points

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Torre Do Frade

Torre Do Frade Reserva 2007 Alentejano Portugal
Blend of Trincadeira (33%), Alicante Bouschet (50%) and Aragonez (17%)
Deep ruby core, consistent through the wine fading slightly at the rim
Medium+ intense bouquet of ripe red fleshed fruits with Doris plums, black berries and suggestions of date; soft yet distinctive oak spice, chocolate, mild vanilla and toast - overall attractive and enticing. On the palate - bold, dry, fruity, spicy and youthful. The most distinctive component is the texture with tannins (firm through fine), acidity (medium+) and warmth from the alcohol - showing their measure first; flavors of dark red fruits - some fresh some drying - then suggestions of cacao, earth and fresh coffee bean. A balanced and well made wine with a masculine, youthful side and a richness with concentration leading to a fairly lengthy finish. 
A wine that would find appeal with northern California  red wine fans as well as those looking to venture into Portugese wine.
89 Points

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Mud House

Mud House 'Dambuster' Pinot Noir 2014 Marlborough (Btl. No 2946)
Very expressive bouquet of ripe red cherry and pomegranate, lots of sweet red rose, scents of mild toasty wood and baking spices, lots of fresh youthful energy. On the palate - juicy, fresh, lush and packed with silky tannin texture; flavours of red berries and sweet red plum, mild toasty oak return, very fine tannin, medium+ acidity and a length finish. Still in the throws of youth and will require some time to meld all the elements into one. Drinkable now if decanted through 2017; best window to enjoy 2018 - 2022. 
92 Points