Saturday, 3 October 2015

Gimblett Gravels 2013 Annual Vintage Selection

Gimblett Gravels 2013 Annual Vintage Selection

It is both an honor and a pleasure to be invited to review and comment on the wines detailed below.

The following twelve wines were independently selected by Mr. Andrew Caillard  - Master of Wine. They were selected as being representative of the 2013 vintage from Hawke's Bay.

This is the sixth such release following the '08, '09, '10, '11 and '12 vintages.

Te Awa Single Estate 2013 Syrah Gimblett Gravels
Very ripe fruit lead bouquet with dense richly scented black cherry, raspberry and red currant aromas, a layer of violets then sweet meat and spicy oak have an immediate harmony with each other as well as an independent youthful energy. On the palate - Delicious - ripe almost sweet red and black fruit flavours, hints of vanilla, white pepper and toasty oak add both flavour and texture, medium+ acidity, silken tannins and medium+ weight. Great concentration and length  - a fine wine indeed.
95 Points

Esk Valley Winemaker's Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2013
Toasty, dense, richly scented with black and red fruits, meat and garrigue, sweet red florals, fresh milled black pepper and spice, complex forward and youthful. On the palate - concentrated, fruity, rich and juicy; flavours of black raspberry and black cherry with black currant and pepper; a brown sugar notes adds a touch of jam. Medium+ fine tannins, a back bone of acidity and long finish. A wine that is still quite raw and requires an appropriate cellar time (3 - 5 years min). Totally drinkable now as well.
95 Points

Vidal of Hawke's Bay Legacy Syrah 2013 Gimblett Gravels
Dense rich core of red and black fruits, vanilla and gently toasty oak scents; soft white pepper. Violets and black cherry, burnt raspberry and wild red berries, a little mystery making it quite complex overall. On the palate - dry, firm, fruity and poised - the tannins though ripe emerge first driving the youth and tension mid-palate alongside a back bone of acidity; next the fruits show with a mix of red and black, finally a suggestion of black rose and sweet meat. Long finish overall lead by the ripe fresh fruit. A lovely wine that requires further cellar time to fully harmonise, but rather spectacular now.
96 Points

Mission Estate Winery Jewelstone Syrah 2013 Gimblett Gravels
Smoky, toasty, rich, peppery, meaty and oaky aromas with lots of sweet new barrel and its smoky toasty show first then black berry, plum, black currant and cherry follow; an aged meat quality then emerges; there's a dried herb, pepper and stony quality that helps to complete a complex and very youthful bouquet. On the palate - Dry, firm, tense, oaky and packed with red black fruit flavours, tannins and acidity. Most definitively a wine in its youth with many of the components jostling for palate position. Plenty of energy and lengthy finish.
95 Points

Craggy Range Le Sol Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2013
Very inviting bouquet of lush, plush and ripe dark red berried fruits, sweet new oak and layers of red flowers, velvet & sweet meat; hints of clove and brown baking spices and some  very mild peppery tones. Overall quite complex, distinctive and alluring. On the palate - juicy, plush and packed with ripe fruit flavours - black cherry, plum and black currant; vintage leather jacket, fine silken tannins and medium+ acidity. The finish long but very fine as well - a wine that could be enjoyed today and in ten years. 
96 Points

Villa Maria Braided Gravels Single Vineyard Merlot  2013 
Black plum, black cherry, marmite and dark spices of clove and vanilla; toasty and intense with dark rose and violet. On the palate - delicious - lush, fruity, ripe and intense;  huge flavours of black and red plum, smoky toast and jam; medium+ (ish) tannins and acidity; great balance and finish.
94 Points

Beach House Cabernet Franc 2013 Gimblett Gravels
Classic Franc bouquet with fresh herb and bell pepper, dark berries, green olive and bracken; there's an under current of stony mineral and plenty of tempering oak nuances. On the palate - dry, firm, masculine and fruity with medium+ acidity and tannins, firm and tense textures, plenty of fruit and varietal character along with a fairly lengthy finish.
Great to see and taste a Cabernet Franc in this line up.
90 Points

Vidal of Hawke's Bay Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013 Gimblett Gravels
Masculine, youthful and pretty intense bouquet of ripe black and red fruits laced with white smoke, bacon and toasty oak; then red and black fruits, tobacco and pencil. On the palate - dry, firm, masculine and weighty; black and red fruit flavours, plenty of chalky tannins adding texture and tension, medium+ acidity and lengthy finish. Lovely wine still evolving and integrating through the next 2-3 years. Will cellar for the next 8 - 10 years easily.
93 Points

Trinity Hill 2013 The Gimblett Gimblett Gravels
Intense, ripe, fruity, complex and significant; a medley of black and red fruit aromas laced with graphite, clove, violets, vanilla and cedar. Hints of red velvet and chocolate along with an herbaceous and bell-pepper layer add depth and complexity. On the palate - lush, fruity, dry and packed with texture from chalky, volumous fine tannins and medium+ acidity. A core of black and red fruit flavours add richness and intensity. Fabulous structure and balance with a long fine finish.
97 Points

Squawking Magpie SQM 2013 Cabernets Merlot Gimblett Gravels
Rich, very fruity and not shy of fresh new oak, masculine and bold; black currant, black berry and dark plum suggestions with a graphite, lead pencil and violet complexity. On the palate - dry, firm, fresh and fruity with layers of black fruits, firm tannins, medium+ acidity and dark spices. Long finish, balanced and well made.
95 Points

Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon Gimblett Gravels 2013
Ripe, ripe, intense and very floral with black violets and dark red berry fruit aromas - black berry, black cherry and spiced plum suggestions; plenty of toasty oak with clove and bacon moments. On the palate - dense, packed with flavour and texture - lots of chalky and fine powdered tannins, medium+ acidity, dark berry fruit flavours, generous core of fruit, brown spices, cocoa and fine chocolate and long finish. 
97 Points

Newton Forrest Estate Cornerstone Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2013
Classic aromas stemming from a classic blend with dark berry fruits, some fresh, some wild  - leading to a rich and concentrated core; dark spices, clove, cinnamon and cedar, suggestions of graphite and pencil - so not shy of oak, but collectively displaying a synergy and harmony. On the palate - plenty of texture from chalky dusty tannins, a core of red fruits, violets, tobacco and firming acidity. A very harmonious wine with a long finish.  
96 Points

Esk Valley

Esk Valley Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2014
Complex, tense and ripe with distinctive aromas of black cherry, dense and dark plum, black berry ad wild red fruits; a noticeable wild red floral layer and obvious oak show a wine that is both youthful and complex. On the palate - dry, firm, youthful and very fruity. The combination of oak, medium+ to high tannins and medium+ acidity show a wine that needs plenty of integration time. That said there is a core of concentration that makes this wine totally drinkable now too. Well made and with a long tense yet juicy finish.
93 Points

Vidal of Hawke's Bay

Vidal of Hawke's Bay Reserve Syrah 2013
Ripe, distinctive and generous of bouquet with violet laced raspberry and black currant fruits, baking spices and a hint of bacon alongside toasty aromas show off the impact of the oak, quite complex. On the palate - equally ripe, youthfully firm and complex - packed with flavour. Quite tense and youthful with medium+ fine tannins and acidity yet a wine that shows completeness and obvious harmony as well as a future in the cellars of those who know the potential this wine shows.
93 Points


Amisfield Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Central Otago
Fresh, lively and quite fruity with apple, citrus and a light layer of tropical fruit; plenty of fresh water minerals and a hint of lime flower. On the palate - dry, crisp, quite firm and with a mild herbaceous tone. Fruit flavours reflect the nose with an edge of tropical; high acidity, light weight, plenty of mineral under current, balanced and well made.
90 Points

Friday, 2 October 2015


Maude East Block Riesling 2015 Central Otago
Powerful and distinctive bouquet of apple blossom, old fashioned lemonade, green apple and white rose, a light mineral undertone builds as the wine opens-up. On the palate - juicy, lush, plush and packed with flavour. It is also off-dry with a medium level of sweetness - pushing a powdered coated red apple flavour and sweet lemon twist. Long finish, a lovely wine. 
92 Points

Maude Pinot Gris 2015 Central Otago
Full bouquet with an abundance of ripe white fleshed fruits centering on pear and Asian pear, white nectarine and white peach, touch of spice. On the palate - just dry with a nudge of sweetness, medium+ acidity and medium weight. Flavours of tree fruit and lemon twist, hints of apple and a light white spice layer. Some phenolic work had added texture and length making this an example worth exploring and adding to a wine list or cellar.
89 Points


Akarua RUA Pinot Rosé 2015 Central Otago
Fragrant, pretty and fruity with definitive aromas of candied red apple, red cherry, sweet yellow plum, white and red rose. On the palate - crisp, fruity, flavourful and finishes dry. red apple, red cherry and stony mineral undertones. A very light note of tannin; vibrant texture and finish. Well made with a lengthy finish. A wine that should be on every dining room table this Christmas. 
88 Points


Mahi Marlborough Rosé 2015
Bursting with aromas of light red fruits including cherry, raspberry and cranberry with a lick of red apple skin rose petals. On the palate - fresh, fruity, crisp, just dry and oacked with the flavours of light red fruits, a dusting of tannin and ripe fleshy textures. Balanced and well made.
88 Points