Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Tohu Marlborough Chardonnay 2011 13%
Oak-free example
N: Youthful aromas; citrus and apple with bosc pear and wet stone. Lemon and grapefruit, crisp apple and a touch of white flower and stone fruit.

P: Reflects the nose with citrus flavours dominating especially the grapefruit followed by a crisp apple, Medium+ acidity and wet stone.
There is a moderate length and finish, well balanced and well made.
For me this is an aperitif style, but will also work well with bright, crisp, fresh and crunchy appetizers and starters.
3 Stars

Man O' War

Man O' War 'Tulia' Methode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs 2009
100% Chardonnay, 6 gpl RS, Golden and deepening yellow hues, persistent and fine to moderate bead

N:Generous and welcoming bouquet - a mix of autolysis and orchard fruits - a flourish of harmony, the familiarity of something possibly French and the promise of something different.

P: Absolutely delicious! I mean it - individual and harmonious. Reminds me a little of a generous and plush Cremant d'Alsace, but has additional signature of stone fruits and yeasty development. The flavours remind me of buttered brioche, just from the oven baked bread, sweet citrus and perhaps a hint of mushroom.
The mousse is soft and generous with a gentle unveiling, acidity Medium+ and length the same. The Mendoza clone of Chardonnay makes a statement on the palate (stone fruit) giving the wine its fruity edge.
Balanced and well made, finishing just dry.
4.5 Stars

P.S. I tasted the wine again with dinner and discovered that the wine is much better on its own and if paired with food should be light to moderate in weight and preferably seafood oriented. Avoid pairing with smoked ingredients as this will make the wine take on aged characters that are not actually present.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Tohu Limited Release 'Raiha' Reserve Noble Riesling 2011 11.5%
Nose and Palate: Sweet lemon and lime sherbet and icing sugar in edge.On the palate 7 - 10 in sweetness level, with high acidity bringing balance to the wine, medium+ length, honeyed.
Balanced and delicious!
4 Stars

Monday, 9 January 2012

Matua Valley

Matua Valley Matheson Vineyard Merlot Hawke's Bay 2009 14%
N: Big, bold and spicy with dark Doris and Damson plum, blackberry and a palate load of wood spice and brown baking spice suggestions. A moderate complexity and very youthful bouquet.

P: Dry, yet very fruity and very flavorful, the blend of fruits and mix of wood and fruit tannins and medium+ acidity work well and show harmony that will continue to integrate and improve in the next two years. Moderate complexity with a long – yet dry finish. Very Good!
5 Stars

Spy Valley

Spy Valley Merlot Malbec 2010 Marlborough 14.5%
N: Plummy and wild (Merlot then Malbec) fruity, forward, ripe and richly aromatic; darker berries, freshly tilled soil then a gentle knock on the door with a little oak.

P: Dry and fruity – plum and wild with red berries; with plenty of tannins to chew through along with medium+ acidity as well. while various oak flavour in this expression – the power underpinning the fruit masks the impact of the oak – this is a good thing for such a young wine. A sound choice to accompany a steak (MR) or chicken and vegetable casserole with a mushroom cream sauce.
Overall a balanced and well-made wine, as stated above quite fruity, overall good.
3 Stars

Kidnapper Cliffs

Kidnapper Cliffs "Solan" (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon) 2010 Hawke's Bay 13%
N: Lovely expression of fruit and 'terroir': lemon,  a hint of lime and grapefruit with a warm peach edge, a steely note adds sharpness and clarity to the bouquet and a stony note adds mineral suggestion.

P: Refreshing and tight with a powerful citrus and high acid palate – tempered by the fruit of the Semillon adding a tropical/pineapple/apple edge. Salivating and juicy with a strong soil flavour under current, light on complexity but heavy on flavour, solid impact on the palate, medium+ length.
4 Stars

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Kidnapper Cliffs

Kidnapper Cliffs Pinotage 2010 Hawke's Bay 13.5%
Crimson and ruby purple appearance
N: Bright, fruity, cheerful and again very fruity; thoughts of some Carbonic Maceration come to mind  with a Hubba Bubba bubblegum note – actually quite appealing (and different). Ripe cherry and milk chocolate – stage left.

P: Dry and fruity with the bubblegum and cherry flavours dominating, then some rather large tannins kick in from the oak and fruit; moderate complexity, balanced and actually quite tasty – with a pleasant appeal. An easy to drink style and an alternative to those darker richer Pinots Noir that you may encounter from time to time. This particular example has some extra grunt at its core.
Youthful, quite well-balanced, definitely well made.
4 Stars.

Folding Hill

Folding Hill 'Orchard Block' Pinot Noir 2009 Bendigo Central Otago 14%
N: Lots of dark red berries with Schist and Friable soil aromas, white smoke and youthful oak bouquet. showing a developing complexity, but smells youthful and primary overall.

P: Dark plum and dark cherry; and nudge of chocolate and undergrowth, plenty of wood to bite into and tannins to match. Medium+ acidity, medium+ length, balanced and well made - a well put together wine. Needs a further two years to stitch together the seams – overall a very good example. Stick with food pairing for this wine through 2012.
5 Stars

Folding Hill

Folding Hill Pinot Noir 2009 Bendigo Central Otago 14.5%
N: Ripe, fragrant and bright Central Otago read fruit suggestions – red and black cherry, plum and – a dash of chocolate, whispers of undergrowth and stone. Youthful and primary.

P: Raspberry rich flavours, laced with dark cherry and touch of wood spice, quite tight and primary still, will relax and mature well over the next 2 to 3 years. Medium+ tannins and acidity; a food wine just now, but this will change in the coming 12 months. 
4.5 stars

Spy Valley

Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2010 Marlborough 14%
N: Varietal and quite fruity with a concentrated Strawberry, Raspberry and Cherry flourish followed by noticeable yet appropriate oak aroma, primary – youthful and forward – very 'New World' in fact.

P: A good reflection of what the nose suggests fruits described above showing the same, the acid is medium+, the tannins medium+ and oak just left of center– overall a charming and balanced wine that will please many who tasted. A lovely dry finish.
4 stars

Kidnapper Cliffs

Kidnapper Cliffs Syrah 2010 Hawke's Bay 14%
N: Rich, sophisticated, fruity and with a developing complexity. A bouquet of dark red fruits and raspberry laced with white pepper and wood spices and a little field mushroom.

P: Spicy, fruity, woody and complex – very young– tight yet ripe fruit and wood tannins plus medium++ acid glue the wine together. All it needs now is about five years in a cool cellar.
Balanced and well made with a long, long finish.
94 points


Incognito Hawke's Bay Syrah 2009 14%
N: Fruity and earthy with the Southern Rhône gravel note. Raspberry's and Blackberries and Plums all presents, a fruity front accompanied by a sun-baked gravel suggestion, noticeable oak and medium complexity, youthful.

P: Fruity and dry with a youthful acid bite and needle sharp tannins. Medium+ body and medium+ oak flavours. A wine for food over the next two years (to 2013). Should a company strongly flavoured red meat dishes such as beef bourguignon.  
3.5 stars


Schubert 'Marion's Vineyard' 2009 Pinot Noir Wairarapa
(100% destemmed fruit, stainless steel ferment, three weeks on skins, 18 months French oak – 40% new)
N: Reminds me of a village Burgundy from Cote de Nuit. There is a dry herb, oak and soil bouquet then light red fruits, medium plus complexity that builds – an attention seeking bouquet.

P: The balance is just right - with a great harmony between the oak, soil and fruit components, enhanced by fine and integrating oak tannins. While the wine will continue to age well for another two or more years it is drinking well now. Medium+ complexity, medium acidity, medium+ fine fruit tannins (as well) and a medium++ finish a lovely example with a long fine finish.
92 Points


Schubert 2008 Syrah Wairarapa 14%
(100% destemmed fruit, Stainless steel ferment, 24 months oak aged - 40% new French)
N: Leather, mushroom, black and red fruits and spices bouquet; a gentle yet obvious sweet vanillin oak; moderate complexity.

P: Delivers a lot more than the nose suggests: a balanced and full-bodied package of complex flavors and textures. This is how I like Schubert wines. Tempered high tannins with a chewy edge, medium acidity and leather laden fruit flavors. By the glass with cheese please! A remarkably tasty wine - very well made.
5 Stars.

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Tohu Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Marlborough 13.5%
N: Another classic Tohu expression with strong fresh and vibrant fruit aromatics and soft herbaceous note, bell pepper white pear

P: Reflects the nose with the herbaceous and bell pepper flavours hitting the palate first followed closely with the fruits suggesting gooseberry, pineapple and passion-fruit. High acidity keeps the palate vibrant and fresh and carries the flavours for 30 seconds. Balanced and very well made
4 Stars

Weaver Estate

Weaver Estate Pinot Noir 2010 Central Otago 13%
N: Quite intense with a ripe cherry, schist and mild undergrowth bouquet, laced with new and older oak suggestions with the wood spice, brown spice, raspberry end note.

P: Immediately displays flavours that the nose suggests; dry with a useful bite of acidity and tannins followed by Pinot Noir varietal fruit flavours of cherry and Raspberry, the oak is well-placed for some drinking now (with food) but will continue to benefit from another 12 months and seller.
3.5 stars

Weaver Estate

Weaver Estate Rose Pinot Noir 2011 Central Otago 13%
N: Rose petal pink appearance of onion skin; very fruity with a light red fruits prevailing – Strawberry, Raspberry, Melon and strawberry marshmallow; simple yet expressive.

P: Reflects the nose in every way with crisp summer ready structure – keen acidity and sweet light red fruits, very soft and gentle; low tannin notes; balanced and well made moderate finish.
3.5 stars

Weaver Estate

Weaver Estate Pinot Gris 2011 Central Otago 13%
N: Very youthful and fruity expression with a gentle oak spice over–tone; varietal apple and pear bouquet with sweet edge suggestion.

P: Fruity and spicy with tree fruit and tree fruit skin flavours ( Apple and pear) accentuated a little by the warmth of the alcohol and spice from a touch of barrel influence. In combination the spring flavourful and characterful wine. Median plus acidity with moderately this wine is balanced and well made.
3.5 stars

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Flying Sheep

Flying Sheep Hawke's Bay Sangiovese 2009 14.5%
Produced by Osawa Wines
N: Strawberry, raspberry, cherry and sweet oak spices with a cigar note and seems like carefully selected oak.

P: Fruity, spicy and dry (Pinot Noir elements) with cherry and strawberry notes, mixed with wood-spice laden highlights; medium+ acidity and medium to medium+ youthful yet fine tannins.
A very easy on the palate food friendly wine or quite satisfying on its own; balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars

Woven Stone

Woven Stone Ohau Pinot Gris 2011 13.5%
N: Fruity, fresh and vivid with ripe white fleshed stone fruits - sweet pear and apple; there is complexity too with a spice and gravel suggestion.

P: Off-dry with  residual sugar sweetness balanced by medium+ acidity; minerals and spice plus complexity then a driving ripe fruit core. There is an overall fine balance to this wine with good length and balance. Well made.
4.5 Stars


Incognito Merlot Cabernet Franc Hawke's Bay 2009 14.5%
N: Fruity, varietal and generous with plum, soft blackberry and suggestions of brown spices; moderate complexity - a youthful entree.

P: Fruity and dry with a warm note from the alcohol, medium+ tannins; plum and tart plum with a light blackberry and a chocolate spice note. Balanced overall with a medium+ length and finish.
3 Stars

Sustainable DOTS

Sustainable DOTS Pinot Gris 2010 Hawke's Bay 14.5%
N: Varietal characteristics of green pear, apples and light white-fleshed stone fruits undertones, over tones of spring flowers and a dash of white pepper.

P: Warm and spicy with medium+ acidity and alcohol with pear and pear skin flavors and a splash of white pepper; moderate complexity with a hint of residual sugar on the finish.
2.5 Stars

Sustainable DOTS

Sustainable DOTS Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Hawke's Bay 14%
Produced by Osawa Wines
N: Lots of lush and juicy dark plums, chocolate, black and blue berry fruits; inviting earthy and spiced aromas, mild toasty oak notes.

P: Flavors of plum and blue fruits show first; medium+ tannins - a smooth beginning then more black fruits kick in and plum again; medium+ (just) acidity; dry with a fruit and oak forward style, moderate+ complexity and finish. A wine still in development - hanging onto some youthful components. Balanced and well made. Perhaps a food wine still.
4 Stars

Waipara Hills

Waipara Hills Pinot Gris 2011 14.5%
N: Immediately varietal with a fruity and creamy aroma of Asian pear, apple and pears (tinned), a dash of spice.

P: Warm, lush and fruity with apple, pear and white fleshed nectarine notes; a hint of mushroom too adds a personality. Bright acidity brings balance to the palate with a medium length and finish. Good.
3 Stars

Waipara Hills

Waipara Hills Riesling 2011 13%. (Medium+)
N: Ripe and sweet green apple, sweet citrus and firm green pear bouquet. Light suggestions of white flowers and a hint of minerality.

P: A direct reflection of what the nose suggested - sweet citrus first though then apple and pear flavors with the addition of freshly squeezed lemon and lemonade. Youthful medium+ acidity and hints of minerality add to a pleasant medium finish; balanced and well made.
4 Stars

Corazon Wines

Corazon Single Vineyard Syrah 2007 12.6%
N: Showing development and with this a complexity to take note of; earthy, brambly fruits - blackberry, dry black currants, hints of marmite and toasty oak; medium+ complexity with a suggestion of spiced meat.
P: Immediately reflects what the nose suggested - balanced and in a drink now style; flavors of blackberry, black currant, dusty raspberry; well integrated tannins, mild earth notes and a meaty note adds to the complexity overall. Not a weighty wine overall, but in absolute balance now. Well made and an enjoyable drink with or without food.
89 Points

Cable Bay

Cable Bay Waiheke Island Syrah 14.5%
N: A great bouquet of Syrah with a blend of raspberry and white pepper laced fruits, spicy and toasty wood notes with French oak dominating; medium+ complexity, youthful and enticing.
P: Reflects the nose with a richly flavored attack - the oak does lead with the fruit flavors bursting onto the scene and bringing balance to a youthful expression; full, dry and richly textured. The second taste reveals the fruit again with a touch of field mushroom and black current alongside a raspberry toastiness; medium+ length. Needs another year to find more exacting balance. A lovely wine overall.
90 Points

Richmond Plains

Richmond Plains Nelson Pinot Noir 2010 13.5%
N: Great Pinot Noir aromas of raspberry, strawberry, sweet cranberry and a dash of dried herb with a mild pinch of red apple skin and rose; fruity and forward overall.
P: Reflects the nose with juicy raspberry and strawberry flavors; medium+ tannins - quite fine; medium complexity and length; the finish is quite fruity with a medium+ acid bite.
4 Stars

Matawhero Wines

Matawhero 'Church House' 2011 Gisborne Chardonnay Musque 12.2%
N: Quite a lifted and floral bouquet with reminders of 'classic' Chardonnay reminders of sweet peach and red apple. This expression suggests a delicate edgy note of grape - perhaps related to the Musque side of the clone. A hint of raw sugar and no oak to speak of on the nose.
P: Reflects the nose with the peach, apple and spiced fruit flavors; a medium weighted wine with youthful medium+ acidity keeping the palate crisp and vibrant; just dry with a medium finish; Very food friendly friendly and in a 'drink now' style. Balanced and well made.
3 Stars

Jackson Estate

Jackson Estate 'Shelter Belt' Chardonnay 2010 Marlborough 13.5%
N: Peach and nectarine fruits are introduced first followed by a mild nutty (cashew) and creamy almost buttery suggestion. Youthful yet mild in its attack, mild oak and complexity completes the bouquet.
P: Creamy, dry and medium weighted wine with stone fruits flavors reappearing alongside a bite of oak and acidity. Moderate length and complexity - a very approachable wine two to three years sound drinking ahead. Balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars