Saturday, 30 April 2011

Mills Reef Reserve Viognier 2010 14%abv
N: All the classic varietal markers emerge with several swirls of the glass: apricot juice, Bellini mix, peach and crunchy yellow apple - for this example - plus some greengage plum. There is some spicy sweet oak with hints of butterscotch and popcorn. P: Dry, warm with a rich attack and an oily texture quickly leads to flavours of stone fruits and sweet oak. The full-bodied with a strong presence media plus link and medium complexity – a lovely drinking wine fit for any wine list. 3½ Stars.

Mills Reef Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009 14%abv
N: ripe, rich and powerfully fruity with dark berries dominating then waves of dark chocolate and juicy Doris plum notes. P: Dry, tasty and interesting. Dark red fruits, tasty oak spices and mocha suggestions. Lovely balanced palate with richness and intensity. Medium+ tannins – mild to generous texture, medium+ two long finish with fruit and oak intense in their discussion. Very very good wine – 4½ Stars.

Mills Reef Reserve Syrah 2009 13%abv
N: Varietal – a little mild – yet classical with an old world Crozes Hermitage feel. Peppery, earthy – hard rock, generous oak yet with softer edges and medium+ complexity. P: Dry+ with the youthful mix of the raspberry fruits, spicy yet not overdone oak flavours, a lovely texture with a Crozes Hermitage terroir undertone feel – gravelly; Medium+ length and finish. A lovely wine and an easy - 5 Stars.
Karikari Chardonnay 2009 13.3%abv
N: Definitely an interesting bouquet with citrus fruits emerging first after 5 min and glass. Then leesy, stone fruit and sandy clay mix unfolds. The oak is only just showing on this occasion. Palate: reflects the nose with citrus, stone fruits and leesy complexity; Medium+ weight and intensity, the oak playing a much bigger role with plenty of spicy presence. Medium+ acidity brings the palate to attention with some whiskey barrel suggestions. Overall a great wine with Medium+ length and finish. 4½ stars.

Karikari ‘Hellhole’ 2008 Cannibal Jack 13% abv
N: A bold mix of dark red fruits – all wild – wild blackberry, blueberry, raspberry and plum; sweet oak spice influences. P: Dry, Medium+ body, zingy and zippy on the palate – very fruity with a wild aroma is a little more tamed. The very fruity easy drinking style is balanced and well made; Overall moderate complexity with medium length, and again well-made. At NZ$22 RRP – well priced too. 3 Stars.

Karikari ‘Calypso’ Pinot Gris 2010 14.5% abv
N: Varietal, approachable, new pear and apple cider aromas and hints of citrus. P: Dry to off dry, quite fruity; Some warmth from the alcohol lifts the spice elements; Balanced, with a warm and just off dry finish – overall very good. 3 Stars.

Karikari Pinotage 2006 13.2% abv
N: Attractive fruity aroma with layers of spice and oak, raspberry, mixed berries, vanilla – showing some leathery development. P: Dry, fruity and showing integration, but still on the development journey; vanilla, clove and spices add a ‘just right’ layer of complexity; medium+ weight and length, balanced and well made. 3½ Stars.

Karikari Merlot/Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 13.2% abv
N: Nicely integrated bouquet – showing dark red fruits of BlackBerry and dark plum framed by tobacco and oak spices then bell pepper notes; Medium complexity and very sound for its age. P: Dry, well integrated into his big tenants starting to curb in two-mile notes, Coffee, dark chocolate and Doris plum and BlackBerry. Overall very dry with a slightly lean mid-palate making this a food oriented wine.
3½ Stars.

Karikari ‘Toa’ 2007 13.5% abv
N: Fruity and with mild aromas at first which then evolve into a Pinotage like fruit profile – black cherry, blueberry and followed by chunky oak then layers of spice with tobacco and cedar. P: Dry+ packed with intense oak flavour – mostly new, new oak tannins and spice and dark red fruits and blueberry and a touch of BlackBerry an oaky finish. Great wine for a cheese board or perhaps a fine cigar!  3½ Stars.
Ellero Gewurztraminer 2009 Central 14.1 % alcohol
N: Delicate and fragrant perfume – no mistaking that this Gewurztraminer! White rose, soft white flesh fruits with white nectarine most noticeable, light spice and a hint of Turkish Delight.
P: A dry wine to begin with followed by whispers of varietal intensity. This is perhaps a food wine for the next 2 years - there seems to be some attention seeking textures that need taming with some gamey cuisine.

Ellero Pinot Noir Pisa Terrace 2009 13.9% alcohol
N: Fruity and varietal with red cherry, sweet cranberry, red apple skin and rhubarb suggestions, low oak influence and light wooded spices.
P: Fruity with raspberry sweet Pinot fragrance; red cherry and light red fruit sweetness. Juicy acidity, light oak influence with lighter tannins easing the palate into a gentle experience; moderate length, light body, light on complexity – well balanced. 3 ½ stars.
Brick Bay Martello Rock 2007 12.5%abv
N: Earth, new leather and fruity all rolled in together with a flourish of violets as a high note; hints of tobacco and chocolate then plum and wild berries emerge – a sense of richness to come.
P: Dry and for some very dry, but this is a wine built on a foundation of balance between classic Bordeaux fruit flavours, spicy oak tannins and an undertone of brown soil and clay flavour suggestions. Each component of this wine demands the attention of the other and collectively a lovely package. A complex wine that requires a simple, but equally full-flavoured main course, a cheese board; or if you’re game a great cigar followed by strong black coffee.
Balanced, well made and very giving although the tannins need at least 3 to 5 years to weave and soften throughout the wine  - if well cellared. 4 ½ stars.

Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc 2010 13.5%abv

N: Immediate attention to the fruit aromas of peach, marmalade and gooseberry, citrus too has hints tangelo and meyer lemon; a steely presence and touch of spice.
P: Concentrated, focused and juicy. A wave of citrus zest & pith followed by peach, gooseberry, light fresh herbs and white pepper spice suggesting a hint of oak; Spritely acidity. Overall a fascinating wine; quite a long finish and notable residual palate texture. 5 stars.

Ata Rangi Lismore Pinot Gris 2010 14.5%abv
N: Warm and generous aromas that include: quince and spiced apple followed by fleshy pear and whispers of stone fruits; light lees and suggestions of oak spices all come together for a delicate, fruity and interesting bouquet. A wine with complexity in mind.
P: The off-dry beginning is more than matched with a bite of acidity and the warmth of the alcohol adds to the texture, weight and complexity – this is a very positive aspect of this wine and for a NZ Pinot Gris rarely encountered. Lightly creamy texture, spices and fruity; the complexity gaining force. Overall a very enjoyable example with med+ length . 4 ½ stars.

Ata Rangi Petrie Chardonnay 2009 13.5%abv
N: Lemon butter, macadamia, ripe stone fruits and a hint of quince. The wine opens up beautifully and shouts ‘I am Chardonnay’ very clearly. There is a whiff of wild lavender alongside the clean and pure aromas of carefully selected oak.
P: Sophisticated, powerful and intense with a firm oak presence equally matched with grape fruit, apple and stone fruit flavours; fine silken texture and a long, strong finish. A fabulous wine and a keeper. 5 big stars.

Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 2009 13.5%abv
N: Dense, rich and almost broody in its bouquet. Creamy vanilla-pod laden fruit: apple, nectarine and golden queen peach; youthful, attractive.
P: Creamy with a satin texture and bite from both oak and acidity; Full bodied – an all encompassing wine. Still this is a very young wine with an intense core of fruit that starts mid-palate and then reverberates through-out revealing the full potential of this wine. Just fantastic! 5 stars.

Ata Rangi Summer Rosé 2010 13.5%abv
N: A very large bouquet of roses, perfume and light red fruits smack the nose awake, a hint of herbacousness adds a touch of complexity and interest.
P: Whether chilled or at cellar temperature this is a wine to please all; dry yet enough fruit sweetness to satisfy; bright and cleansing acidity; a little tannin for texture and generosity; lovely balance and well made. With or without food – doesn’t matter. 4 stars.

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2009 14%abv
N: It takes only a short, sharp sniff to know this is a fine wine: while there is plenty oak and oak spice present there is more than enough ripe red fruits to draw attention to the true message in this wine. Craisins and sweet cranberry, dark and red skinned kishmish cherries, red apple skin and hints of plum.
P: Dry with attention seeking acidity, tannins and fruits followed by more relaxed and giving mid-palate of flavours. Overall this wine is very young at heart and requires careful cellaring for a minimum of 3 years to begin to integrate and reveal the more mature adult within. 5 stars.