Sunday, 26 February 2012

Ata Rangi

Ata Rangi 'Celebre' 2009 13.5%
(50% Syrah, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon)
N: Toasty raspberry Syrah notes, plums and blackberry aromas, plenty of oak but in balance, dark velvet and red petals, sweet earth quality.

P: Delicious! With a strong core of fruit in contrast to a fine, medium tannin structure, medium+ acidity, plum, plum jam and blackberry fruits, medium+ length, youthful. Another classic wine that many a wine list will appreciate.
4.5 Stars


Hawkshead 2011 Riesling Central Otago 12.5%
N: Sweet green and red apple, lime and apricot stone, a light mineral water suggestion and a dash of honeysuckle.

P: Off-dry with a moderate residual sugar sweetness, off-set by medium+ acidity. This is a balanced wine with flavours that reflect the nose and a notable mineral under-currant. Slightly drier finish than the palate first suggests. A lovely wine.
5 Stars

Moss Wood

Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Vineyard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2011 13%
N: The blend is both familiar and  - well - relaxing. A soft and rounded sweet hay and gooseberry beginning, white flowers and a  light steely edge. Suggestions of grape fruit and lemon pith complete the bouquet.

P: Dry with medium+ acidity, waxy citrus fruit flavours with lemon, lime and grape fruit tempered with gooseberry and kiwifruit. The palate is generous and almost luscious, balanced with medium+ length. Very good.
4.5 Stars

Moss Wood

Moss Wood Margaret River Moss Wood Vineyard 2011 Semillon 13%
N: Orange and grape fruit peel, citrus pith and hay with a mild grassy note; white floral and dry stone earthy qualities.

P: Dry, varietal, firm flavours of citrus fruits and peel reflect what the nose suggest along with a zesty/hay suggestion. Medium- to medium weight and medium++ acidity. Hints of marmalade, balanced with medium+ length. A keeper.
4 Stars

Jackson Estate

Jackson Estate 'Vintage Widow' 2010 Pinot Noir Marlborough 14%
N: No mistaking this bouquet - a Pinot Noir packed story with dark, red, Morello and ripe cherry fruits, a tart cranberry suggestions, moderate oak and brown spices. Moderate complexity.

P: Dry with juicy fruit appeal: cherry flavours return along with the cranberry note, medium+ acidity, medium to medium+ tannins. A moderately weighted wine, balanced and well made. Great by the glass wine with food.
4 Stars

Mud House

Mud House 2010 Pinot Noir 'Golden Terraces' vineyard Central Otago 13.5%
N: Cherry, red apple skin and rose -florals suggest a slightly more gentle even elegant wine. Moderate + oak influences add complexity and interest.

P: Dry at first, but this is quickly lost in flavour of some mouth-watering red fruit flavours and medium+ acidity, mild fine tannins from the fruit and medium fine tannins from the oak. Medium complexity, youthful, dry and balanced finish; medium to medium+ length.
4.5 Stars


Hawkshead Gibbston Single Estate  Vineyard 'First Vines' 2010 Pinot Noir Central Otago 13%
N: Plenty of fruit and plenty of oak greet the nose. Some recognisable Central Otago aromas of schist and thyme - quite mild; vanillin and very light toastiness from oak. Moderately complexity overall. Just a hint of sour cranberry.

P: Dry+. Quite a soft textured wine at first with gentle light red fruits flavours then the tannins kick in - a mix of oak and fruit. This wine is still quite tight and locked up. Another 6-12 months should reveal more.
3.5 Stars

Surveyor Thomson

Surveyor Thomson Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 Single Vineyard 13.5%
N: As with nearly all Surveyor Thomson wines this example has depth and breadth to the bouquet; Dried herbs and schistous soil suggestions interwoven with varietal cherry, red apple and soft red rose petals. Medium+ complexity.

P: Delicious! Dry and packed with flavours of red fruits, soil and soft dry herbs. Medium++ complexity and finish. Another classic Surveyor Thomson wine.
5 Stars (94 pts) Ý

Saint Clair

Saint Clair Family Estate Pioneer Block Pinot Noir 'Strip Block' 2010 13.5%
N: Classic, inviting, a solid fruit core and mild sweet vanillin; red fruits include red & dark cherry with sweet red apple.

P: Just dry with cranberry and cherry flavours, mild wood spices (brown) and complexity.Saint Clair wines just keep getting better. This is a lovely wine
5 Stars (89 pts)

Ata Rangi

Ata Rangi Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 13.5%
N: Super Vibrant and classic with 'old-fashioned' grassy herbaceous suggestions and packed with gooseberry and peachy notes.

P: Very reflective of what the nose suggests with high and luscious acidity, plenty of citrus flavours now emerge along with gooseberry and grassy sweetish-herb-notes. A very tasty wine with a long and classic finish.
5 Stars

Ata Rangi

Ata Rangi Martinborough 'Lismore' Pinot Gris 2011 13.5%
N: Clean, fresh and pure aromas of yellow apple and sweet pear, a playful/youthfulness leads to a cider note, hints of soft citrus and white spice.

P: Reflects what the nose suggest well with juicy and delicious flavours. Some residual sugar is more than balanced by fresh medium+ acidity. The texture is well matched to the style with just a hint of leesy mealy-ness. Very good.
5 Stars (90 pts)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Ata Rangi

Ata Rangi Wairarapa 'Petrie' Chardonnay 2010 13.5%
N: Absolutely delicious bouquet of peach and sweet apple along with a focused oak signature of mild citrus spices, a hint of vanillin and butterscotch; medium+ complexity.

P: Soft yet youthful creamy texture packed with complexity and flavourful stone fruit and oak characters. A second wave of texture emerges centering on the medium+ acidity and medium Alcohol. An outstanding wine!
5 Stars (95pts)

Ata Rangi

Ata Rangi Martinborough 'Craighall' Chardonnay 2010 13.5%
N: Nutty (cashew) and fresh with stone and tree fruit suggestions; a definitive and youthful note of positive sulphides adding a Burgundian note. Medium+ complexity, but specific and youthful.

P: Reflective of what the nose suggest with medium+ acidity, wild fermentation flavours combine to give a delicious textural wine that maintains its Chardonnay signature as well as an Ata Rangi signature. Long and flavourful finish.
5 Stars (94 pts)


Julicher Rose (Pinot Noir) Martinborough 13%
N: Very fruit centered with a sweet strawberry and sweet cherry suggestions plus a little rose petal and red melon.

P: Flavours reflect the nose with the strawberry standing out the most, medium+ acidity, soft and gentle expression with medium length. Balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars

Ata Rangi

Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010 13.8%
N: Youthful and vibrant with gentle herbs that underpin a power house of precise red fruit bouquet. The oak signature is reflective of the youth - obvious, but in balance.

P: Dry, medium+ intensity with power and impact. "An iron fist in a velvet glove" fits this wine perfectly. Medium+ complexity and acidity with a longish finish. Very well made.
5 Stars (94pts)


Julicher Martinborough '99 Rows' Pinot Noir 2010 14%
N: Lush, fresh, fruity and familiar. Packed with red and black cherry fruits, spiced strawberry and oak signatures.

P: Dry with a medium+ fruit intensity and flavours that reflect what the nose suggests. Medium+ length; medium to medium+ acidity; Balanced and well made.
4 Stars

The Ploughmans Cottage

The Ploughmans Cottage Pinot Gris 2011 12%
Nose and Palate: Juicy and fruity with medium acidity and alcohol. Flavours include fresh pear and apple juice. Medium- in body with medium length of flavour and finish. Balanced and well made.
Overall quite simple yet very drinkable.
3 Stars

Friday, 24 February 2012

Mud House

Mud House 2010 The Woolshead Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 13.5%
N: Focused fruit core of sweet apple, stone fruits and a little citrus, sweet basil, sweet hay and gooseberry. Fresh, uplifting and appealing bouquet.

P: Just off-dry with a mouth-watering acidity, sweet tropical fruit flavors - pineapple and mango then apple and citrus. Medium+ length, balanced and well made.
4.5 Stars

Saint Clair

Saint Clair Pinot Gris 2011 Marlborough Premium 13%
N: Pear, sweet apple and white spice suggestions, a noticeable fruit core drives the bouquet with a touch of floral.

P: Off-dry with  noticeable residual sugar - offset by medium+ acidity; flavors of sweet pear and apple pie; medium+ weight and moderate finish complete this very approachable wine.
3.5 Stars


Hawkshead 2011 Pinot Gris Gibbston Central Otago 14%
N: Ripe citrus and tree fruit aromas with honey suckle and crushed quartz stones with a little white spice. Moderate complexity; inviting.

P: Off-dry with an apple, pear and citrus peel quality; medium acidity offsets the residual sugar well. Quite a luscious palate feel overall with a touch of leesy texture. Balanced with medium length and finish.
3.5 Stars

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Reserve Pinot Gris Hawke's Bay 2011 14%
N: Rich in character and fruit with spiced pear skin, roasted white nectarine, sweetish apple, a touch of white flower and a stony gravelly minerality.

P: Just off-dry with a warm [white] peppery note followed almost immediately with a nectarine, pear skin and baked apple flavors. Medium+ weight, richly flavored with a medium+ length and finish. Well made.
4.5 Stars


Explorer Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 Single Vineyard 13.5%
Cromwell - sub region
N: Quite a concentrated bouquet of cherry fruits, red apple skin and brambly earthy notes; brown spices are present, but not strong.

P: Fruity and dry with tart cranberry and cherry suggestions/flavors; followed with a dry stony note; medium+ oak, medium tannins and medium+ acidity. A moderate finish and overall well made.
3.5 Stars


Hawkshead 2010 Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago 14%
Extremely bright ruby and purple appearance
N: Some classic Central Otago aromas of wild thyme and undergrowth laced with black cherry, a little chocolate and freeze-dried raspberry.

P: Dry with raspberry and cherry laced flavors; medium+ tannins - quite fine  and Medium + acidity - slightly tart (for me just a function of its youthfulness) a wine sure to integrate well over the next two years. Moderate to medium+ oak adds textured tannins more than oak flavor - currently. Overall a well made wine with a strong future.
4.5 Stars

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Reserve Merlot Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 2010 14%
N: Aged plum jam with blackberry and salted chocolate aromas; youthful in both appearance and bouquet; plenty of oak adds complexity and familiarity .

P: Quite delicious with plenty of toasted oak and vanillin laced plum and blackberry flavors; medium+ tannins and medium+ acidity give texture and bite. Overall balanced yet still very youthful, in fact quite charming. Two more years should see this wine reach an integrated/mature level and become that much more finer.
4.5 Stars

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


TerraVin 'Te Ahu' Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 14%
Nose and palate: A complex and interesting bouquet with sweet barrel and fruit combinations that culminate in an inviting and expressive beginning. On the palate - creamy textures with flavors of apple, baked apple and lemon, a waxy sweet note and core of wild yeast adds impact and complexity. A long finish that leaves me curious about what else might emerge when I taste it again.
A wine with presence and style.
5 Stars (90 Points)

Sunday, 12 February 2012


Akarua Central Otago Brut NV (Methode Traditionelle) 13%
Aged on lees 18 months. Blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Nose and Palate: Distinctively fresh and appealing  with its citrus and soft autolysis driven bouquet; a mild complexity adds just the right depth for a drink now or aperitif style. Dry, not too intense with flavors that reflect the nose - softer citrus aspects, for me, add appeal with a fuller notes emerging with the Pinot Noir influence. The mousse is soft and fresh with persistent small bubble action.

I tried  this wine with what turned out to be an Italian, Thai and Indian dinner (don't ask). The key is that the wine stood up to all the flavors and textures as well as offered a persistent and lengthy finish. Balanced and well made.
4.5 Stars


Akarua Central Otago Rosé  Brut NV (Methode Traditionelle) 13%
Aged 18 months on lees. Blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Gentle pink appearance with super fine bead
N: A delightful and gentle floral and red fruits bouquet followed by a developing and building complexity as the wine opens up.

P: Delicate wet strawberry and soft cherry notes; a fine mousse mushrooms slowly on the palate carrying flavor and mild complexity - which again builds to a medium complexity as the wine relaxes in glass; citrus and delicate red fruit flavors lead the wine to its finsh which is long and gentle.
5 Stars
The best New Zealand Rosé Methode - I've had in a long time.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Spy Valley

Spy Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 13.5%
N: Peachy, creamy, nutty and oaky. An obvious, reliable and familiar bouquet of both Chardonnay and Spy Valley wine making. Strong fruit expression with moderate complexity overall.

P: Ripe California peaches and nectarine flavors - a strong core of fruit laced with a vanillin oak signature. The structure is lovely with medium+ acidity and bite from the oak with a youthful edge to the wine overall. Great drinking now and through 2012. Medium+ length - persistent and consistent. 
4 Stars

Clyde Village

Clyde Village Alexandra Pinot Noir 2009 13.5%
N: Varietal - a wine with Pinosity - a bouquet of light red fruits - bing cherry, champagne cherry and raspberry - almost jammy in nature. A little oak spice adds complexity. Overall light yet distinctive.

P: A 'nice' reflection of what the bouquet suggests - red bing cherry, a little champagne cherry and raspberry notes. Dry with youthful yet finer Pinot Noir tannins well placed in this light to medium weighted wine. Moderate length and finish. Right at the end is a strong, gravelly flavor - very nice. The best yet from the Clyde Village team. 
4 Stars


Tohu Limited Release 'Rore' Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 14%
N: There is complexity immediately noticeable on the nose with brown spice laced ripe red fruits; ripe raspberry then cherry and a touch of red plum as well.

P: Immediately reflects what the nose suggested with a great structure capturing my attention - fine and ripe tannins with an expressive texture; contrasted by ripe red cherry and plum fruits with a little dense raspberry for good measure. A long and flavorful finish leaves me hoping to enjoy this wine with dinner tonight. Delicious!
5 Stars 


Tohu Single Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 14%
Awatere Valley
N: Lovely warm and snug red fruits expression with sun warmed new season red cherry and raspberry fruits laced with brown baking spices and oak; very inviting with medium complexity.

P: The palate reflects what the nose suggests with a juicy and lush beginning immediately reflecting the red fruit flavors, the oak comes through with mild force, dry and with ripe fruit tannins that show a fine texture. Medium+ acidity, moderate complexity overall with a medium+ length. Lovely.
4 Stars


Akarua Noir Ice Bannockburn 2011 (100% Pinot Noir)
Nose and Palate: Gentle rose and sweet apple aromas with a very light cherry and strawberry edge.
Sweetness level hits an 8 out of 10 - a dessert in itself - a high acid wine with a stately balance. Overall a delicious wine.
5 Stars

Te Mania

Te Mania Koha Riesling Ice Wine Nelson 2011
Nose and Palate: Lemon curd with sugar frosting and citrus peel and honey - mild overall. Highish acidity with a 6.5 out of 10 for sweetness. Finishes with a lemon and rose scents, moderate complexity. A lovely balance and finish.
4 Stars


Mondillo 'Nina' Late Harvest Riesling 2011
Nose and Palate: The bouquet reminds me of a German Beerenauslese - lemon laced honeycomb and citrus grapefruit peel, wonderful acidity levels and flavors that reflect the nose, a sweet apple tart tartin note. Tasty and delicious! 7.5 out of 10 on the sweetness scale.
4.5 Stars


Tohu Limited Release Raiha Reserve Noble Riesling 2011 11.5%
Nose and Palate: Sweet lemon and lime with a sherbet and icing sugar edge.  About 7 out of 10 in sweetness level, high acid, honeyed  -  balanced and delicious.
4 Stars


Tohu Single Vineyard Gewurztraminer Nelson 2011 14%
N: Roses and Turkish delight with suggestions of nougat and lavender - very gentle; spicy overtones, loads of fruit and varietal character with a hint of sugar.

P: Crisp and dry at first - the acidity is fresh and lively - then warm and ripe fruit flavors kick in with some added residual sugar adding a little weight to the structure. A tannin note from some skin contact adds further structure and texture. Balanced with medium+ length and a finish of rose water and turkish delight.
3.5 Stars