Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tony Bish

Tony Bish 'Fat n Sassy' Chardonnay Hawke's Bay 2013 13.5%
A gentle Chardonnay bouquet with a soft unfurling of sweet stone fruit; this builds  as the wine begins to open up over a few minutes. The aromas of oak are mixed with roasted and fresh stone fruits especially peach, layers of vanilla and toasty oak add complexity.
On the palate - a lush and full bodied wine with lots of Chardonnay finesse and charm; plump stone fruit flavors with creamy golden delicious apple suggestions; a brioche nutty note adds to the complexity; A lovely example that will capture many on its texture alone; while this wines finishes dry it offers a sweet and lush feel with a longish finish.
4 Stars

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Washington State Wine Tasting

I am in Seattle for the Society of Wine Educators Conference.
This is no Junket!
Attended some great tastings today at conference - then a fabulous dinner at The Glasshouse where a Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition provided a stunning backdrop http://www.chihulygardenandglass.com/

Among the many wines I tasted - before dinner - I wanted to share some highlights of wines to look out for if you get the chance to be in the State or spot them on a wine list:
Brief notes and images below.

Chateau Ste Michelle Eroica Riesling 2007

5 Stars - Wow what a sterling wine - powerful bouquet of sweet citrus laced apple fruits; high acidity and a long floral mineral finish.

Sparkman Cellars Yakima Valley

4 Stars - a Roussane, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc blend - perfectly balanced with medium+ acidity and playful texture - lightly creamy; a lovely aperitif or entree wine.

4.5 Stars - Perhaps the jewel in the crown of this producer - dark, broody, rich and flavorful, youthfully aggressive tannins with a ripe and supple edgyness; medium+ acidity and a longish finish.

Avennia Wines Yakima Valley Syrah 2012

5 Stars - A complete wine with an astounding bouquet of dark red berries, wild violets and complexity. What I like most about this producer is the way in which he captures textures and synergy from the first taste to the last sip - there is great mouth feel with this wine - the hands off but attention to detail in the process style works here completed with a minimum fining and filtration.

Betz Family Winery Columbia Valley 

All the wines in the line up today are worthy of mention - however the one that shows off this producer the most is the Besoleil GSM blend (2nd picture below). 

4 Stars - a charming fragrant and floral bouquet with lush red fruit leading the way; juicy tannins and medium+ (ish) acidity with a lengthy finish. A wine and style this producer should embrace and make lots more of. Looking forward to trying more in the range some time soon.

Gramercy Cellars Syrah 2011 Walla Walla

A flagship style for the state and Syrah - Greg Harrington MS and assistant Winemaker - Brandon Moss clearly demonstrate their understanding of Syrah and its boundaries with this expression - bold, rich, calm fruit and broody tannins - a bit like a Stallion chomping on the bit ready to race. Fabulous structure and balance; medium+ acidity, controlled alcohol, long finish.
5 Stars

Some images from the Chihuly exhibition below:

Friday, 8 August 2014

Te Kairanga

Te Kairanga 'Runholder' Pinot Noir 2013 Martinborough 14%
A vibrant bouquet with lots of red cherry and cranberry fruit suggestions; as the wine opens up it reveals more raspberry fruit suggestions as well as light brown spice notes; the oak shows proud. On the palate - a dry wine, but has plenty of juicy fruit flavors with sweet raspberry and cherry leading; acidity is medium+ and tannins youthfully taut; a wine easily enjoyed with food or just left to mature in a decanter for a few hours. Cellar worthy attributes of 2-4 years; balanced with a youthful vibrancy and medium+ finish.
3.5 Stars

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Peregrine Wines

Peregrine Wines Saddleback Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago 13%
Varietal, fruity, soft and inviting bouquet of raspberry and red cherry fruits, light brown spices from mild yet generous oak. A dry wine flavors that reflect the nose, medium tannins and acidity, some feminine floral notes; balanced, generous and memorable. An easy selection for by the glass and super food friendly.
4 Stars

Peregrine Wines Mohua Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago 13%
Lots of vibrant and forward raspberry centred fruits with plenty of strawberry and cherry suggestions as well; mild oak and an inviting varietal presence. On the palate  - dry and fruity with just enough tannin grip to entice and capture attention; medium+ acidity, balanced and well made. Like the Saddleback an easy by the glass choice and food friendly.
3.5 Stars

Peregrine Wines Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 12.5%
Lots of fresh apple pear fruits with tropical ideas from passion fruit and even a little lychee. On the palate - just dry with plenty of acidity pushing the freshness buttons; all the fruit flavors described above return; medium length - refreshing and balanced. A wine that will please many a SB from Marlborough fan.
3.5 Stars

Villa Maria

Villa Maria Organic Merlot Hawke's Bay 2013 13.5%
Lots and rich and black plum and black cherry fruit aromas, medium+ (ish) oak suggestions; fresh and quite intense; on the palate - fruity and dry with moderate+ intensity and soft layers from gentle fruit handling; medium tannins add a lovely texture and length. Lovely balance and finish.
4 Stars

Villa Maria Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Cellar Selection 12.5%
Lots of bold and expressive red fruits - from dark plums to blackberry then suggestions of milk chocolate and marmite; a toasty note reveals the oak; medium complexity - bold and giving. On the palate - dry, fruity and flavorful with dark cherry, black fruits and little chocolate; lovely balance and finish with moderate oak adding complexity and finish. In the drink now style with or without food. Medium tannins and medium length. Smart buying.
3.5 Stars

Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Gimblett Gravels 2012 13%
Big and bold with black and dark cherry red fruits; the Cabernet makes its mark with its black fruit and vegetal attributes of blackberry and baked bell-pepper; youthful with very fresh fruit suggestions. On the palate - dry, medium+ to full-bodied and flavorful with black cherry pie and blackberry flavors; medium+ oak; medium+ tannins and acidity; a core of fruit; a well made wine with both longevity and food friendly attributes; reliable and bold.
4.5 Stars


Thornbury 2013 Merlot Hawke's Bay 13%
Quite bold and intense with black and red fruits - dark plum and blackberry, some black current suggestions and violet tones. On the palate - dry with with a fresh youthful attack; a wine laced with violets, roses and black cherry flavors; plums and blackberry fruit return, medium+ acidity with medium+ tannins. Well balanced and well made; a very smart wine with a drink now and cellar potential (2-3 years).
4 Stars

Thornbury Chardonnay 2013 Gisborne 13.5%
A gently creamy bouquet with lots fresh peachy fruit suggestions and crisp apple notes; there's also a light nutty oak appeal and light cheesy edge - very nice! On the palate - dry, creamy and packed with character; some charming fruit qualities with peach and light lemon notes, a light nutty appeal and light lees notes adding texture and finish; medium+ complexity; a wine that surprise many with its development over the next 2-4 years.
4.5 Stars

Thornbury Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago
A full-on bouquet with black and red fruits - plums and cherry then a raspberry cola mix; red velvet roses and moderate oak; overall plenty of character, charm and varietal lift.
On the palate - dry, juicy and textured with medium+ red fruit flavors, plenty of vanillin from the use of oak, medium tannins and generous finish. Well made.
4 Stars

Richmond Plains

Richmond Plains 2012 Riesling Nelson 12.5%
A lovely forward bouquet with gently honeyed citrus fruits - plenty of lemon and apple suggestions; mandarin flower and white floral notes.
On the palate - dry, fruity, lemony and crisp. The honeyed edges to the fruit add both depth and a little complexity. A balanced a well made wine.
3.5 stars

Richmond Plains Blanc de Noir 2013 Nelson 12.5%
I like the bouquet of this wine with suggestions of peach and yellow plum, moderate floral notes and even a natural mineral layer, medium complexity and lots of charm. On the palate - dry and very flavorful with peach, light citrus and apple notes; a mineral layer adds complexity. Medium+ acidity, medium+ weight and length. A great expression of fruit with charm and finish.
4 Stars

Richmond Plains Pinot Gris 2013 Nelson 14.5%
A richer bolder bouquet with slightly riper white fruit suggestions - still very fruity though with golden apple and canned pear notes; moderate complexity and medium mineral suggestions.
On the palate - delicious - just dry with a nudge of sweetness; medium fruit intensity with white fruits and a little citrus; just medium+ acidity, balanced and well made with a very likeable finish.
4 Stars