Sunday, 20 January 2013

Folding Hill

Folding Hill Pinot Noir 2010 Bendigo Central Otago 14%
N: Light to moderate toasty bouquet with a smokey, sweet cherry, plum and some dark cherry lift; brown spices and a hint of white pepper and kirsch. Moderate+ complexity, attractive overall. Expectations are high for the palate.

P: Youthful with plenty of bite from the tannins and acidity. A crisp Pinot Noir with a forward mix of oak and light brown spice elements. Very drinkable with a moderate length and finish to match.Don't get me wrong this is a lovely wine, but is tightly wound and needs more time in cellar (or decanting) to bring the various elements together and round -off some of the tannin action. 

Decided to have a glass with dinner tonight. this was a good idea as the food assisted in knitting together the youthful elements especially the oak. So as expected this wine just needs a little more cellar time (or decanting) - my pick is 2 years.
4 Stars 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 12.5%
N: Vibrant, pungent 'traditional' with classic Marlborough citrus, gooseberry and light tropical  fruits aromas, grassy-like herbaceous layer with an over simple complexity.

P: Flavors reflect what the nose suggested with lush and flavorful fruits with hints of the tropical and citrus; high acidity is tempered with a little residual sugar which also adds a touch of weight. The wine finishes dry and is well balanced.
3.5 Stars


Astrolabe 'Awatere Valley' Sauvignon Blanc 2012 13.5%
N: Sweet hay, angelica and fragrant herbs precede the aromas of citrus, baked pineapple, green melon and a light stony mineral earth quality.

P: A hint of residual sugar adds weight to an already lush and tasty palate; medium++ acidity is well in balance with the fruit intensity and flavors described above. Medium weight, medium+ length, balanced.

4.5 Stars

Monday, 14 January 2013

Gimblett Gravels Collection

Crossroads Winemakers Collection Syrah 2010 14%
N: A pretty intense bouquet with black fruits and dark cherry open the first page of this story; white pepper and oak deep in discussion with black licorice and field mushroom suggestions stage left. Medium+ complexity with Northern Rhone-like earthy/gravelly qualities.

P: Rich and powerful with plenty of fruit and oak richness competing for attention. Flavors reflect what the nose suggest with dark berries and licorice notes prevailing; Medium+ to high tannins - ripe and almost sweet, layers of fine to medium textures. Long finish, youthful and clearly still in a developing mode. Balanced and well made.
5 Stars (90 Points)

Mills Reef Elspeth Syrah 2010 Gimblett Gravels 14%
N: Intense and youthful with a broody edge; powerful with the oak and concentrated fruit in a fight for attention; an iron filing, new horse leather and truffle-like firld mushroom lift - adds complexity.

P: Dry, rich, powerful, fruity and not shy of oak; medium+ to high tannins are easily contrasted by a concentrated fruit layer. The long finish  indicates a wine wine at the very beginning of its journey. So very well made and easily rivals many a Rhone counterpart. An excellent example!
5 Stars (94 Points)

Esk Valley Wine Makers Reserve Gimblett Gravels 2010 Merlot Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 14%
N: It is a pity that wines like this (and so many other GG wines) have to be released so early. This wine has a wonderfully rich, complex and multi-layered bouquet with everything from plum to wild berries to blackberry and violets to apple and blackberry pie. Plenty of oak,  tobacco, masculine character, youthful aggression and complexity.

P: Complex and very giving, but also very tight; that said the flavors reflect what the nose first suggested with the plummy and brambly blackberry fruits. High tannins and acidity add to the youthful and forward attributes, but also displays plenty of concentration and potential. The long finish confirms this wine as an investment to those who collect. Start with a 6 pack and don't open the first one till January 2014.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Newton Forrest 'Cornerstone' 2010 Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 14%
N: Concentrated, rich, Ironman power; blackberry and dark cherry fruits, plums and toasty oak intensity. So very young, but works so very well right now - the sign of two things - a wine that can be enjoyed now (probably with a chunk of blackened Wagyu medium rare) and a wine that has enormous cellaring potential.

P: As the wine begins to settle and warm on the palate - it grows and changes constantly - the complexity within is fantastic, BUT, this is still a puppy packed with violets, blueberry and blackberry fruits, mulberry and dark plum, medium+ spiced oak; high tannins - fine and rich. In short a big wine; long finish and actually well balanced now and will mature gracefully for a decade or more.
5 Stars (95 Points)

Craggy Range 'Sophia' Gimblett Gravels 2010 13.5%
This is Craggy's best expression of 'Sophia' to date
N: A pure expression of fruit, a seamless transition between the plum concentrated fruits and well selected oak. The chocolate, blackberry and compote layers add just - layers. Violets and red apple.

P: Reflects the power, intensity, fruit and oak signatures then shows it youth and potential. Plenty of acidity and tannins - both fruit and oak - to settle in, but a long and unwavering finish convinces me more that this is a fine wine. 'Bloody fantastic'
5 Stars (94 Points)

Trinity Hill 'Homage' Syrah 2010 Gimblett Gravels
Intense black ruby and purple core, pink hues at the rim
N: Purple and black fruits, field mushrooms, meaty and peppery with a big - no huge Syrah signature. While there is plenty of oak that could be discussed here - it's not as overt on the 3rd and 4th sniffs which, for me, is a very pleasing aspect to this example. Clearly young and a bit chunky, but like other Homage vintages this softens and evolves into something very special several years down the track.

P: Dry, youthful, intense and varietal; A Rhone like complexity with a stony, gravelly and peppery presence; laced with fresh;y ground black pepper then baked field mushroom. Tannins are ripe, youthfully grippy with a fruit and oak neck and neck for attention. Give this wine 5 years (please) before you consider another look. Long and intense finish.
5 Stars (94 Points)

Babich Irongate Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010 13%
N: Like so many of the 2010 GG wines and Hawke's Bay wines - this example has a youthful yet distinctive message: Blackberry and dark fleshed fruits, chocolate, cacao, bitter chocolate and noticeably toasty oak, medium+ complexity.

P: Reflects the nose with the youthful side of the wine speaking first; dry and compact on the palate with black fruits and chocolate, plum and toasty oak; medium+ body with some sandy gravel textures; medium++ tannins - firm and dry. Overall a lovely wine with balance and intensity; medium+ length.
4.5 Stars (89 Points)

Sacred Hill Helmsman 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc Gimblett Gravels 14% 
N:Black and red fruits with coffee and chocolate laced blackberry, dark plum and black cherry bouquet. Medium+ complexity - rich toasted and intense.

P: Dry and intense, warm and rich with all the flavors suggested on the nose; medium+ acidity with high chewy tannins, lots of flavor and texture. This can be a drink now or cellar worthy wine - you decide.
Great cheese or cigar wine option for the end of a long dinner party.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Babich 'The Patriarch' 2010 Hawke's Bay Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Malbec. 13%
N: Classic Babich wine maker blend with a keen sense of vision into how the Cab Sav, Merlot and Malbec will harmonise in about 5 years from now. Milk chocolate and oak spice laced black fruits, black plum and wild red and black berry fruits. Hints of ground coffee and leather showing.

P: All that the nose suggests with a leathery, toasty edge to the black and wild red fruits, high tannin presence; crisp with medium+ power overall. Dry with a medium+ length and finish.
5 Stars (90 Points)

Mission 'Jewelstone' Merlot Cabernet France 2010 Gimblett Gravels 14.5%
N: Spicy oak, toasty plum and black fruits compote; sweet meat and coffee grounds; medium + complexity overall with the oak commanding the performance on the nose on this occasion.

P: Way better than the nose suggests with a fragrant, soft and generous edge most notably with the fruits; bitter chocolate notes from the Cabernet Franc contrast the fruit sweetness as well as add depth and complexity. Dry, medium++ length, balanced and well made.
5 Stars (90 Points)