Thursday, 18 August 2011

La Collina

La Collina Syrah 2008 14.5% Hawke's Bay
Nose and Palate: Tar, spice and raspberry licorice, no holds barred red fruits, generous but not over the top oak, dry, full and rich palate with full throttle tannins that are just beginning to ease into a rhythm and journey of refinement. A great alternative to a Victoria Shiraz on a wine list. 
4 Stars.


Bilancia Syrah Viognier 2008 13% Hawke's Bay
N: Freeze-dried raspberry wrapped in white and dark chocolate; a very inviting - pour a glass and savor me - wine; hints of white pepper and balanced oak approach.

P: Dry, juicy and flavorful with white pepper spice grabbing my attention first then blackberry fruits, a raspberry fruit core; medium+ length and finish. A great by the glass wine. 4 Stars.

La Collina

2008 La Collina White (Viognier Dominant) Hawke's Bay
N: A generous bouquet of soft apricot and stone fruit suggestions, moderate complexity; interesting and stylish.

P: Warm, spicy, generous and flavorful. A wine that perhaps requires more attention that I had initially given. There is some charm and weight with a moderate, mild stone-fruit finish. Balanced and well made.


Bilancia 2008 Reserve Pinot Gris Hawke's Bay  14.5% (7 gpl RS)
N: Very juicy fruit aromas with a solid core of fruit and pear skin notes.

P: Off-dry and fruity with a great core of pure fruit; a pear skin spice then apple flavors; warm and generous, but not hot; a white pepper note adds complexity and charm; a lovely generous finish. Drink soon. 4.5 Stars.

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Elspeth Syrah Gimblett Gravels 2009 14%
N: A salad of just picked black and blue berries, wild raspberries with a powerful and youthful presence; chili-chocolate note. The oak bouquet is spicy and obvious, but not as powerful as the fruit presence.

P: Gravelly and textured, boldly fruity, wild and very youthful; full-bodied and concentrated with flavors that reflect the nose; a wine for cellaring over 8-10 years. Otherwise decant for service.
5 Stars.

St Clair Wines

St Clair Marlborough Merlot 2010 14%
N:  Very fruity and aromatic with sweet plum and blackberry then a violet lift, soft spices and delicate oak.

P: Fruity, dry and plummy; a Merlot with flavors that reflect the sweet plum and dark berry generosity - a feature that so many St Clair wines have; sweet violet and dark fruit jubes; easy tannins and oak; moderate length. 3.5 Stars.

St Clair Wines

St Clair Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Pinot Gris 2010 13.5%
N: Juicy and fleshy with spiced pear skin, tinned pears and soft yellow apple, Asian pear/Nashi and mild toasty yeast undertones.

P: Off-dry, medium body, fleshy and fruity; flavors of juiced pear and sweet apple combine with a spike of acidity that brings balance and refreshes the palate. 3.5 Stars.

The 3rd Man

The 3rd Man Sauvignon Semillon Darnley Corner 2010 Waipara 13.5%
N: A lovely blend of waxy citrus and gooseberry then soft apple and sweet grapefruits. Soft wood spice suggestions and moderate complexity are appealing attributes.

P: Dry and fruity with the citrus and pith suggestions of the semillon providing the initial flavors and texture; the Sauvignon Blanc adds additional complexity along with the mild oak; Balanced, dry finish and medium body. A lovely wine that will complement many entree menu items and wine lists. 3 Stars.

The 3rd Man

The 3rd Man Riesling Lough Vineyard 2010 Waipara 9.5%
N: Sweet apple, sweet lemon skin, mandarin and mineral sherbet with a touch of icing sugar. This is a particularly youthful example and I suggest several swirls of the glass to 'awaken' the wine.

P:Off-dry with sweet lemon, flat lemonade and juicy green apple flavours, a light mineral note and racy acidity. Overall a nice wine and an example that would appeal to wide range of palates. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Himmelsfeld Vineyard

Himmelsfeld Vineyard Moutere Chardonnay 2007 14.5%
As with the 2005 and 2006 - the appearance of this wine is youthful with green and pale-straw highlights.
N: Creamy vanilla, spicey oak and peachy stone fruit; hints of butter-scotch and raw brown sugar. Overall fresh, clean and youthful with the citrus elements driving the bouquet.

P: Dry - yet spritely on the palate and fruity as well; new oak and new oaik spices add texture and complexity; further creamy and buttery texture smooth of the edges from the acidity and oak bite. Moderate+ length, balanced and well made. 3.5 Stars (am expecting this to go up upon the next tasting)

I think that the Himmelsfeld Chardonnays are wines to be aged before a true appreciation of the style can be recorded - so if you do invest in a case then I would advise tasting only 1 bottle from the case over a 4 to 5 hour period to demonstrate the potential and longevity of the wine. This 2007 example will age (if stored well) for at least another 4 to 5 years if not longer.

Himmelsfeld Vineyard

Himmelsfeld Vineyard Moutere Chardonnay 2006 14.5%
Very bright appearance with noticable and youthful green and pale straw hues.
N:Youthful; apple, peach and grapefruit citrus bouquet; a deepseated toasty note adds complexity.

P: Dry with youthful citrus and tree fruits; spicy oak and mild creamy texture; The oak spice adds further complexity and length. A tasty and long lasting persistent finish. 4.5 Stars.

Great on its own or with mild smokey, toasty foods or even a fat juicy slice of pork belly with crispy skin.

I chose to share the remainder of this sample bottle with my wife at a local restaurant - Adriatico (Henderson - AKL). The wine work really well with the seafood chowder starter and equally well with the next dish which was scallops and prawns tossed through aborio with mushrooms and a marsala cream sauce. My wife also enjoyed the wine with her Calamari ala griglia and then her fettuccini al-mare.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Himmelsfeld Vineyard

Himmelsfeld Vineyard Moutere Chardonnay 2005 14.5%
Very bright with a very youthful straw/green with flashes of gold.
N: Peaches, golden and red apple, creamy vanillin, smokey edges, spice and sour cream notes.

P: Dry, warm, medium+ to full-bodied, a youthful bite from both the acidity and oak, fruits are reflective of the nose: peach, apple and now pear with sweet French vanilla ice-cream flavors and spice. Citrus flavors emerge after several minutes in glass and lengthen the finish as well as adding to the style. After another several minutes suggestions of brown sugar and caramel emerge.
Overall a youthful wine for its age in appearance, bouquet and flavor.
A touch warm. 4 Stars.

Chateau Pichon Longueville '05

Chateau Pichon Longueville '05 Pauillac
N: Barnyard, brett, graphite, gravel, violets, brown soil, leather - yes this wine is complex and gets better with each swirl and return to bouquet.

P: The youth of this wine shows with a slight disjointed-ness; the violets, earthy  edges and current complexity are really just an indication of great things to come. This is a young wine and requires a further 10 years to unfurl its splendor. Currently 4 Stars.

Craggy Range

Craggy Range Le Sol Gimblett Gravels '09 (Syrah)
Quite a pretty appearance - vibrant and vivid
N: Classic with a very Hawke's Bay bouquet - New Worldly yet with an uncanny Northern Rhone feel/suggestion - a gravel core wrapped in black fruit. Overall though this wine is too youthful to fully evaluate - takes quite a few swirls of the glass to nudge the wine into opening up a little.

P: Dry, big, powerful and very very young - 2 more years in cellar and should begin to reveal more personality. That said a wonderful core of fruit and gracious personality; wild fruit edges, berry compote; powerful, ripe and rich tannins (fruit then oak); a long yet closed finish - not flourish - yet! 5 Stars.

Craggy Range

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels SV Syrah '09
N: So very youthful - full of raspberry and sweet red meats, white smoke edges: Generous and rich with an under carriage of gravel soils messages.

P: Dry, fruity and tasty with slightly restrained oak. A lean note is soon forgotten in favor of moderate+  mineral flavors. Youthful ripe fruit tannins and lighter oak tannins bring complexity and balance; fruity and well made 4 Stars.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Craggy Range

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Sophia '09 (Merlot Cabernet Franc)
N: Big and beautiful, sweet intense of oak, complex with layers of fruit and terroir suggestions; soft edges, youthful.

P: WOW! - and -  "Yum! Baked plum pudding flavors, organic berry compote, toasty oak and vanillin flavours, rich and complex palate. Great intensity, length and finish. A must have wine.       95 Points.

Craggy Range

Craggy Range SV Merlot 2009
N: Damson and Doris plums - concentrated with lush darker fruits edges. Obvious oak influence adds to a Moderate+ complexity and inviting bouquet.

P: Big and dry with ripe Damson flavors, sweet edged, wild Keri Berry flavors emerge. If you like big tannins from oak and fruit then this is a wine that you'll love........there is plenty of drink now appeal, but is a wine that will age too for a least the next 4 years - 4 Stars.

Chateau de Sours

Chateau de Sours '09 (Red Bordeaux Blend - Entre du Mers) 13.5% 
N: Graphite, gravel, clay, plums, earthy and blackberries.A New World wine making aromatic of a core of fruit suggest a wine that can appeal to many and also pair with food successfully.

P: Layers of blackberry fruits and earthy attributes, dry and with a medium length. A lovely entry level Bordeaux.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie

Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie 2007
N: Rich dark berry fruit expression - with blackberry, raspberry then mushroom and pepper casserole with spiced barbecued meats.

P: Very dry with the fruits punching through and reflective of what the nose suggest - blackberry, raspberry then mushroom and surprisingly (or not) some new world wine making suggestions ( fruit-driven on the palate at 4 years in bottle - cool) a core of fruit that then prefaces the huge tannins - granitic and dusty earth-like texture. A long and quite peppery finish with black fruits again punching through. 4.5 Stars. Very Very Good.


Delta 'Hatter's Hill Pinot Noir '07 13.5% abv
N: Another great example from both the 2007 vintage, Pinot Noir and Delta wines. Not over the top fruity - which is great - allowing for the complexity from oak and stony soil notes to show before the craisin and dark cherry suggestions take over in this still youthful example.

P: Dry and medium bodied - the medium complexity is further built upon with wood spice and cedar notes then red berry fruits follow. Good length - medium+ - balanced  - a well crafted example. 4 Stars.

Telmo Rodriguez

Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil (Mencia) 2009
N: Wild currants and wild berries - primary, fruity and enticing.

P: Medium body with firm tannins, youthful, fruity and vibrant with medium+ acidity. The core of fruit is a key attribute for this wine and will appeal to many cafe and restaurant diners with its food friendly attributes and by the glass appeal. 3.5 Stars.

Telmo Rodriguez

Telmo Rodriguez A1 Mouvedre 2008 14%
N: Plum fruits and dark berry fruit combinations, wild berries and chocolate notes.

P: Very fruity with a simple complexity, balanced and well made. 2.5 Stars.