Saturday, 16 March 2013


Forrest 'The Doctor's Riesling' 2012 Marlborough 8.5%
31.6g/l residual sugar
N: A very fleshy and juicy bouquet with pear, citrus, green and red apple and a wet river stone suggestion; varietal and enticing.

P: Off-dry with flavors of lime and lemon, mandarin and hot lemon juice, high acidity is contrasted by the very noticible sweet layer; balanced with medium+ length. Well made and delicious!
4 Stars

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Elspeth 'Trust Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 2010 14%
N: Powerful, rich and masculine with an oak and resoundingly strong fruit core - ripe and intense with black and blue berry, mull berry, dark plum; medium+ complexity - very young, but also very sophisticated.

P: Concentrated with high tannins which are both ripe and sweet, the fruit flavors are also concentrated and sweet adding both structure and balance; high acidity and tannins add a tight and youthful palate feel, but allow the concentration and intensity of the fruit to speak aloud as well. A long and balanced finish. An excellent example.
5 Stars (93 Points)

Sacred Hill

2010 Hawke's Bay Helmsman by Sacred Hill 14%
Cabernet Sauvignon , Merlot and Cabernet Franc
N: Fragrant and intense - black fruits of ripe blackberry, blueberry, dark plum, chocolate, oak spice and gravelly sand soil suggestions. Medium+ complexity, but also quite young overall.

P: A big and powerful wine with concentrated black fruit flavors along side high tannins and acidity; chocolate and brown spices, gravels and a lot of texture. Tight, youthful, powerful and commanding. Decant for service or cellar for another 5-8 years. A fine wine.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Sacred Hill

2010 Hawke's Bay Brokenstone by Sacred Hill 14%
A Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc blend
N: A Bordeaux - like bouquet but with a peppery edge from the Syrah: Violets, bell pepper, chocolate, plum and Blackberry fruits - a strong core of fruits with plenty of oak in support.

P: Every bit a reflection of what the nose suggests with high acid and tannins, some youthful grippiness, taut, complex and concentrated. A wine that requires decanting or cellaring before it can be enjoyed at its best (8 to 10 years).
5 Stars (89 Points)

Sacred Hill

2010 Hawke's Bay 'Deerstalkers' Syrah by Sacred Hill 14%
Very dark ruby red core and rim with a pinkish youth hue
N: Dark red, broody and peppery with an intense fruit core. Every bit a Syrah with a gravelly oaky and punchy youthfulness, medium+ complexity.

P: The fruit core is more powerful than first expected with flavors suggested on the nose confirmed. Lots of blackberry fruits, burnt raspberry and new leather, a touch of field mushroom and pepper spices. Tannins are high - focused, textured and significant; medium+ acidity and a long finish. A ten year wine - at least.
5 Stars (91 Points)

The Hay Paddock

The Hay Paddock Syrah 2008 Waiheke Island 13.9%
Blood red core with a garnet infused rim
N: An integrated bouquet with leather, a woody appeal then marmite and peppery suggestions. Medium complexity.

P: The palate delivers more than expected with some lovely textured layers and complexity reminding me of similar Rhone styled wines - however it's all about the fruit for this example, the oak and soil add complexity and synergy. A balanced and well made wine with medium+ tannins and acidity and medium+ length. Best enjoyed now and through 2013.

Mahurangi River Winery

Mahurangi River Winery Syrah 2010 14.5%
N: Raspberry and toasty bouquet with pepper notes all associated with Syrah; ripe blackberry and blackberry pie pastry suggestions - all good in my book.

P: Dry, warm, peppery and youthful with some grippy tannins that need more bottle time to integrate and soften. Plenty of fruit concentration to allow this to happen although I noticed quite a lot of sediment and tartrates in this example. Overall a blanaced wine with medium+ oak, length and palate appeal.
3 Stars


Ransom Carmenere 2009 13% Matakana 
N: The bouquet suggests a wine that is still integrating but showing some lovely bottle development characters in addition to black fruits, leather, a little chocolate and barrel spices; moderate complexity.

P: Flavors on the palate reinforce what the nose suggests with some bright and still youthful flavors including black and red fruits, plenty of barrel spices, medium+ tannins and moderate to moderate+ acidity. Medium+ length overall. 
4 Stars
For me this is a wine best suited to food to show off its special attributes

Friday, 15 March 2013


Ransom 'Dark Summit' 2009 12.5% Matakana
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec and Cabernet Franc
N: Integrated with a ready to enjoy bouquet earthy dark dark red fruits, an herbal quality and toasty brown spices and oak.

P: A mix of black and red fruit flavors, savory with brown spices, medium+ tannins have softened and in balance with the medium acidity. The moderate alcohol is a big plus for this wine and one of the reason why this wine is easy on the palate, food friendly and of four star quality.
4 Stars

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Taste of Wine: Acid Sweetness and Tannin by Jamie Goode

The Taste of Wine: Acid Sweetness and Tannin by Jamie Goode - article written for the Guild of Sommeliers

Please note I am sharing this for the benefit of my local Sommelier community. Will remove in 2 weeks (March 28th 2013). Sommeliers are highly recommended to join the Guild at - it is the pre-eminent organisation for the Profession, and the best study and information resource I have ever encountered.

"Continuing on from my last article for the Guild, which looked at the visual appearance of wine, this time I’m going to focus on aspects of taste.

Here the term taste is used to refer to the experience of wine in the mouth, but we can’t discount the sense of smell here, because it is pretty much impossible to taste a wine without smelling it at the same time. This is because of retronasal olfaction: volatile molecules get into the smell receptors in the nose through the back of the mouth. And we also need to include the sense of touch here, because as we’ll see later, that’s largely how we sense tannins in the mouth.
Now taste is complicated. The actual sensory experience gained from our taste buds and touch receptors in the mouth is processed sub-consciously by the brain before we are aware of it. So what we smell may alter how we taste. Even factors such as the colour of wine, or our knowledge about it (including factors such as price) can affect our perceptual experience of taste and smell, because of all the processing of this information that goes on in the brain before we are aware of it. 
But let’s try to simplify it a bit, and focus on what happens when wine is in our mouths. On our tongues there exist a number of taste buds, each containing a variety of taste receptors. These detect five different modalities, although there is some discussion about whether there might be more. They are sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (the savouriness of amino acids). As well as these, there are receptors for heat and touch. So let’s consider the different elements of wine and how they are detected in the mouth.
First of all, acidity, which is sensed as sourness. Acid is a vital component of wine, helping to make it taste fresh, but also helping to preserve it. White wines with higher acidity usually age better than those with low. Red wines can get by with a little less acidity because they contain phenolic compounds that help preserve them.

The main organic acids found in grapes are tartaric, malic and citric. Tartaric acid is the key grape acid, and can reach levels of 15 grams a litre in unripe grapes. It’s quite a strong acid and is specific to grapes. In musts it is found in the range of roughly 3–6 grams per litre. Malic acid is abundant in green apples and, unlike tartaric acid, is widely found in nature. Before veraison it can hit levels of 20 grams a litre in grapes. In warm climates, it is found in musts in the range of 1–2 grams per litre, and in cooler climates it occurs at 2–6 grams per litre. Citric acid is also widespread in nature, and is found in grapes at 0.5–1 gram per litre. Other organic acids present in grapes include D-gluconic acid, mucic acid, coumaric acid and coumaryl tartaric acid. Further acids are produced during fermentation, such as succinic, lactic and acetic acids. In addition, ascorbic acid may be added during winemaking as an antioxidant. 

This is the bit where it gets quite confusing. There’s no single measurement for acidity in wine. There are two measures, both labeled "TA", but which are different. And there’s pH. And also volatile acidity (VA, largely acetic acid), but we are not going to consider this here, because it is smelt rather than tasted.

Let’s begin with pH. It refers to the concentration of hydrogen ions (known as protons) in a solution. It’s expressed as a negative logarithmic value, which means the lower the number the higher the acidity. And it also means that a solution at pH 3 has 10 times more acidity (defined as protons) than one at pH 4 (corresponding to roughly the range of pH values found in wine, although it can sometimes drop a bit lower than 3). This is where we need to get a bit technical. The ‘acidity’ of an acid depends on something known as its dissociation constant, or pKa. The lower the pKa, the more dissociated the acid is, which means it releases more protons into solution. Sulfuric acid has a pKa of around 1, so it is almost completely dissociated, making it a very strong acid (in terms of protons in solution). Of the organic acids, tartaric has a pKa of 3.01, which means it is pretty strong. Malic is 3.46, lactic is 3.81 and carbonic acid is 6.52 (which means it has very little dissociation, and is thus a weak acid).   

If malolactic fermentation takes place, then the malic acid will be largely converted to lactic acid by the action of lactic acid bacteria. Lactic acid tastes less acid than malic acid, contributing just one proton per molecule whereas malic contributes two. As a result, the pH of the wine shifts upwards through malolactic fermentation by 0.1–0.3 units.
Musts and wines are known as acidobasic buffer solutions. This means you have to work quite hard to change their pH levels. If you add acid to water, you can shift its pH quite quickly, because there is none of this buffering effect. But the presence of other compounds in musts and wines makes it less easy to shift the pH, and it’s a bit easier to shift pH in wine than must. It’s actually tricky to predict the pH of the final wine by looking at the pH of the must, because several things occur during the winemaking process that can change pH. Where acidification is needed, it is usually done with tartaric acid, and as a rule of thumb, 0.5–1 g per litre of tartaric acid is needed to shift pH by 0.1 units. Legally, you could change pH with malic or citric acid, but because these are weaker acids, it would require quite a bit more. And adding citric acid isn’t a great idea where malolactic fermentation is going to take place, because the bacteria turn citric acid into diacetyl, which has a buttery taste and can be quite off-putting. However, I know of some winemakers who use malic acid to make small changes in pH because it doesn’t fall out of solution in the same way that tartaric acid tends to, especially when there is potassium in the must or wine. Some winemakers in warmer climates have illegally used sulfuric acid to change pH, because it is very effective at doing this.
Typical pH levels for a white wine would be 3—3.3, while for reds they would be 3.3–3.6. However, I recently had a New Zealand Riesling with a pH of 2.65, and a while back a South African red that was delicious (and had aged well) despite a pH of 4.0. High pH isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it can confer on a wine a deliciously smooth mouthfeel (think of some Provencale rosés or northern Rhône whites, for example). Generally, though, winemaking at lower pH levels is safer because of the reduced risk of oxidation and microbial spoilage. pH affects the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) that is present in the active molecular form. At pH 3.0, 6% of SO2 is in the molecular form, whereas at pH 3.5 only 2% is. If the wine gets up to pH 4, then 0.6% of SO2 is in the molecular form, and so lots would have to be added for it to have any significant effect in protecting the wine. One famous New Zealand boutique winery is known for its rather interventionist red winemaking, acidifying to low pH and then before bottling deacidifying to get the desired pH. This reducesBrettanomyces risk considerably, and helps in other ways, such as fixing colour.    

So what about TA? This stands for both total and titratable acidity. Total acidity is the total amount of organic acids in the wine. Titratable acidity looks at the ability of the acid in the wine to neutralize a base (an alkaline substance), which is usually sodium hydroxide. The endpoint is typically pH 8.2, and is indicated by the change of colour of a reagent such as bromophenol blue or phenolphtalein. Total acidity is the best measure to use, but it is hard to measure in practice, so titratable acidity is used as an approximation of this, but it is by definition always going to be a lower figure than the total acidity. So when you see the ‘TA’ of a wine given, you can assume it is the titratable acidity. The units it is expressed in is grams per litre, but here’s another potential source of confusion. Most countries use ‘tartaric acid equivalent’, but in some European countries it is given in ‘sulfuric acid equivalent’, which will be 2/3 of the value of tartaric acid equivalent. 

When it comes to the taste of acidity, what is more important, pH or TA? Most of the literature on this suggests that it is the TA that gives the taste of acidity, and so the figure that’s important to look out for is not pH but TA. The confounding factor here is that pH and TA are usually correlated so they are hard to separate, in that low pH wines usually have high TA. But you can get higher pH wines with high TA, and here the acid would taste quite sour. The different organic acids do seem to have different flavours: tartaric is hard, malic is green, and lactic is softer with some sourness. I find that often where warm climate wines have their pH adjusted by tartaric acid, the levels of tartaric acid needed can mean that the acid sticks out as very hard and angular, even where the pH isn’t especially low. Another issue is that added tartaric acid reduces potassium concentrations in the wine (they bind to form potassium bitartarate), and potassium is thought to play an important part in contributing to the weight or body of the wine. 

Sweetness in wine is a combination of three factors. First of all, there is sugar itself. This is sensed by sweet taste receptors on the tongue. Second, there is a sweetness that comes from fruitiness. While ‘sweet’ is tasted, some wines can also smell sweet, even though sweetness is a taste modality. Most commercial red wines are dry, in terms of sugar content, but many have sweet aromas from their fruitiness. Very ripe fruity flavours taste and smell sweet even in the absence of sugar. The third source of sweetness is alcohol itself, which tastes sweet. It’s really instructive to try the same red wine at different alcohol levels, where the alcohol has been removed by reverse osmosis or the spinning cone. As the alcohol level drops, with all other components remaining the same, the wine tastes drier and less rounded and full. Where alcohol has been reduced substantially, such as in the new breed of 5.5% alcohol lighter wines, it’s necessary to add back some sweetness, usually in the form of residual sugar. It helps if the starting was had a very sweet fruit profile to begin with, too. For lower alcohol whites, blending in some Muscat or Gewürztraminer, which have sweet aromas, helps quite a bit.  

There are a number of ways of making a wine with some residual sugar levels. For some white wines, fermentation stops naturally, or slows to a point where it is very easily stopped by simply chilling and/or adding a little sulfur dioxide. It can of course be deliberately stopped in this way at any stage, but if fermentation is still ticking along nicely then more of both (chilling and sulfur dioxide addition) will be needed. A sweet wine can also be made by blending in must or grape juice concentrate to a dry wine. For commercial wine styles where just a few grams per litre are needed to round the wine off, this is most easily done on the blending bench than by attempting to stop the fermentation at an exact point. 

In sweeter white wines and also Champagnes, sugar and acid balance are vital. The two play against each other. Sweetness is countered by acidity, such that a sweet wine with low acid seems much sweeter (and often flabbier) than the same wine with high acidity. In Champagne, a typical dosage for a Brut (dry) Champagne is 8–10 grams per litre, which helps offset the acidity but doesn’t make the Champagne taste sweet. Botrytised sweet wines are prized because as well as concentrating sweetness and flavour, the shrivelling process of noble rot concentrates the acid levels, and the great sweet wines of the world have very high sugar levels as well as high acidity.

Bitterness and astringency
Tannins are interesting, because they are primarily ‘tasted’ not by the sense of taste, but by touch. But like so many aspects of wine, this is not a simple story. Some tannins are also sensed as ‘bitter’ by bitter receptors in the tongue. Nonetheless, the primary sense of tannins is by touch receptors. Tannins exhibit a mouth-drying, puckering sensation that is an important part of the mouthfeel of red wines, and which can be quite unpleasant in an overly tannic, young wine. 

Tannins are very sticky molecules and are particularly good at binding to, and precipitating (removing from solution) proteins. Look at a spittoon next time you have been tasting and spitting red wine. You’ll see unsightly, slimy coloured trails of tannin-protein complexes. Those proteins have been removed from your mouth, and specifically your saliva. Among the salivary proteins that tannins bind are mucins, which act as lubricants in the mouth. They’re really important for keeping the mouth and tongue nice and slippery, and once they are removed, the inside of the mouth feels dry and abraded. It is the tannin-protein complexes, and the loss of this lubrication, that contributes the drying, puckering, astringent sensation of tannins, sensed by touch rather than taste.

It is thought that the larger tannin chains are sensed more as astringent, and the shorter tannin chains are sensed more as bitter. But no one has really done a definitive study on tannin structure and mouthfeel/taste. Tannins form complexes with other components of wine, such as polysaccharides and anthocyanins, which can alter their mouthfeel. It’s not exactly clear how, but it is thought that they become less astringent when this happens.  

Both tannins and acids are able to counter the taste of sweetness, providing balance to a wine. Sweetness masks tannins, which is one reason why it has become increasingly common for inexpensive reds to be blended with small quantities to grape juice concentrate. Many commercial reds, especially from California and Australia, have 5-10 g/litre of residual sugar. In a cheap red this can substantially soften the mouthfeel, as well as enhance the fruity sensation of the wine. 

Saliva therefore plays an important part in wine tasting. We produce about a litre and a half of it a day, and it’s a complex mixture of proteins, carbohydrates and other molecules. If we taste a lot of red wines in succession, we are likely to be removing the lubricating layer of mucins from the surface of our mouths, making it difficult to assess the mouthfeel of wines accurately. This needs to be borne in mind in the wine trade, where frequently tasters are exposed to 100 or more samples in a day. There is a carry-over effect of astringency, with the gradual lowering of soluble salivary proteins on the repeated ingestion of astringent food, eventually resulting in the rupture of the lubricating film in the mouth and the involvement of deeper layer proteins in the mouth.

The temperature of a wine is important, because it influences the perceptions of astringency, bitterness and sourness, but not sweetness. For example, warm acid is more sour than cold acid, and caffeine is more bitter when it is warm. The perceived astringency of cranberry juice decreases with decreasing temperature, which is surprising. It is likely that serving temperature alters different elements of wine in different ways, making this a complex effect.

In healthy subjects there are large variations in salivary flow rates: high, medium and low responding groups. This could be important in terms of sensitivity to tannins. People with high and medium flow rates perceive astringency sooner. But some studies have found that people with higher flow rates experience more intense astringency. Those with high flow rates are thought to release massive amounts of saliva, and it takes a while to recharge these reserves. This could mean that the sense of astringency is for them a prolonged one. For those with low and medium flow rates, their more rapid mouth re-lubrication makes the duration of astringency shorter, reducing its intensity. 

So, here we have sweetness, acidity and tannins all interacting in contributing to the taste of wine in complex ways. Facing up to this complexity can seem a little daunting, but unless we recognize it, then our understanding of the taste of wine can seem a little simplistic and misleading."

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Nautilus Estate

Nautilus Estate Four Barriques Pinot Noir 2009  14%
N: Sophisticated and a little elegant with a core of fruit and a noticeable 'sweet spot' to the bouquet. Plenty of light red fruits are bound by layers of oak - a synergy of the two emerges into a medium+ complexity.

P: The flavours on the palate immediately reflect the nose suggested, a lot of youthful elements still coming together with medium+ tannins carrying spice, flavour and yet to be resolved elements by way of bottle age. A long finish with noticeable complexity overall.
5 Stars (91 points)

Gravel Ridge by Murdoch James

Gravel Ridge by Murdoch James Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011 14%
N: Fragrant and fruit forward with lightly spiced strawberry, cranberry and cherry fruit suggestions; medium+ oak with a new and old mix, moderate complexity and inviting.

P: Fruit flavours immediately reflect the nose with moderate oak layers and lightly toasted brownish spices. Medium+ tannins are accentuated by the alcohol (14%) and medium+ acidity. Moderate and finish. Overall a nice wine, perhaps best suited to food at present – enjoy through 2013.
3.5 Stars

Charcoal Gully

Charcoal Gully Central Otago 'Sally's Pinch' Pinot Noir 2011 14%
N: Very youthful on the nose with cranberry and cherry notes, medium to medium+ oak suggestions, some brown spices, with an earth/mineral quality and overall moderate complexity.

P: Dry and slightly warm, dried herb quality and then cranberry, cherry flavours with medium+ tannins and acidity. A youthful wine on the palate as the tannins are showing a course unresolved edge, but I am confident that this wine will integrate showing great promise by the end of 2013. Some Pinot Noir just need time. 
4 Stars


Julicher Pinot Noir 2010 Martinborough 13.5%
N: Medium+ intensity with a bouquet of strawberry, cranberry and raspberry– Martinborough fruits, spicy and enticing oak layer with a medium+ complexity.

P: Palate texture is a key feature of this wine – medium+ acidity, medium+ tannins – moderate chalky textures. Fruit flavours reflect the nose for the moderate+ intensity alcohol and length. Overall a balanced and well made example, I've encouraged drinking now and through the rest of 2013 but also a wine that will age well through 2014 if cellared correctly.
4 Stars


Ellero 2009 Pinot Noir Pisa Terrace Central Otago 13.9%
N: Soft and gentle, complex and layered, isn't this what all the Pinot Noir should aspire to be? Light red fruits and soft dried herb suggestions bound together in judiciously selected oak.

P: The palate reflects the nose in every way with a sensual, generous and even lush light red fruits flavours, lovely savoury oak complexity, soft and long finish (just delicious!). Medium very fine tannins, medium+ acidity, balanced with enormous potential. Enjoy now and through 2014.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Clos Marguerite

Clos Marguerite Pinot Noir 2009 13%
N: Integrated, savoury and layered bouquet, every to Pinot Noir on the nose with acomplexity that draws attention and curiosity. Spicy oak notes with a light red fruits aroma.

P: Generous on the palate with plenty of fruit intensity mixed with a savoury and lightly toasted oak appeal. A drysafe wine with flavours that reflect the nose with a savoury complexity, medium+ acidity and tannins, balanced and well made
4.5 Stars

Osawa Wines

Flying Sheep Hawke's Bay Single Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 13%
N: Savory with a dried leaf complexity followed by red and yellow cherry fruits, a little plum and cranberry. Moderate oak and complexity overall, varietal with distinctive pinosity.

P: The flavours on the palate reflect the cherry and plum fruits described above with a dry savoury feel, moderate tannins with a fine texture. Medium to medium+ acidity and balanced with a medium+ finish. A very nice everyday drinking Pinot Noir balanced and well made.
4 Stars


Incognito Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011 14%
N: Ripe, fruity, plenty of Central Otago cherry and black cherry suggestions, lightly toasted oak layer and moderate complexity. Gentle brown spices and suggestions of undergrowth.

P: Dry, youthful, warm, balanced, fruity and pleasant with median+ tannins and acidity; light brown spices, moderate oak flavours and medium length. Overall sound and well made example.
4.5 Stars

Richmond Plains

Richmond Plains Nelson Pinot Noir 2011 13.5%
N: Attractive Pinot Noir nose with fragrant feminine touched cherry, raspberry and cranberry fruit suggestions; some silty soil notes and moderate oak impact.

P: A dry wine with flavors of cherry and berry fruits that reflect the nose well; medium+ fine tannins add a chalky texture, medium acidity and oak and length - a balanced and well made example. Quite light in body.
4 Stars
A good by the glass example and option for cafes and restaurants.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Te Mania

Te Mania Reserve Nelson Pinot Noir 2011
N: Lots of cherry and red apple the rose petal aromas, cranberry emerges as well. Youthful, fruity and vibrant in its bouquet.

P: Light bodied, but plenty of Pinot Noir flavors: cranberry and cherry, medium+ acidity, medium tannins with fine textures, a touch of vanillin oak, a dry moderate finish, balanced and well made.
4 Stars

Te Mania

Te Mania Nelson Pinot Noir 2010 14%
N: Youthful, fruity and aromatic with Pinot Noir aromas, but also still integrating. Strawberry and light cherry fruit aromas, lighter slightly sweet oak aromas, overall sound with moderate complexity.

P: Strawberry and cherry flavors with the cherry layer showing a tart side, dry with medium+ acid and tannins, moderate oak and showing some complexity. This wine does need some more integration time reaching its plateau in around 2 years - 2015. In the meantime a food oriented example where vibrant and fresh flavored cuisine will work best (beef carpaccio with caper berries and extra virgin olive oil).
3 Stars

Ceres Wines

Ceres Wines Pinot Noir - a vertical tasting ('05, '06, '07, '08, '09 & '10)

Ceres is a collaboration between the Dicey families involved in the wine industry in Central Otago. Between us we have a combined total of 35 years experience in growing grapes and making wine. We have a passion for focussed hand crafted wines that reflect the environment they are grown in. We want our wines to best express the vintage and vineyards they were created in.
The wine is named after the Roman goddess of agriculture - Ceres - using sustainable practices we reflect our respect for the land.  We believe that focussed viticulture and a minimalist wine making approach allows for the full expression of Pinot Noir grown in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago.

2005 'Composition' 14%abv
A maturing wine appearance, but essentially a true Burgundy hue of ruby red.
N: Integrated - dried autumn leaves, a range of cherry aromas from light to moderate and a developing savory core.

P:  Reflects the nose with a seamless gentle, feminine, mature lovely feel; fine integrated tannins. Drink now and through 2013 and into 2014.
4.5 Stars

2006 'Composition' 14.5%abv
N: Integrated, displays aromas of savory red cherry fruits, light brown spices and carefully selected oak.

P: Medium+ complexity and stil quite youthful overall; the fruit flavors of cherry, a little strawberry and raspberry return enhanced with medium acid; tannins are also moderate in their presence with a fine dusty feel; drinking well now and through 2014.
4.5 Stars

2007 'Composition' 14%abv
N: The 2007 vintage and its fine examples of Pinot Noir definitely include this expression....keen and youthful with light, medium to dark cherry fruits, a savory spice-laced dried herb quality and soil notes 

P: Fruit and savory flavors show immediately with a vibrant and youthful feel, medium+ acidity gives the wine a brightness on the palate, fine medium tannins with a dusty quality; balanced with a long finish.
5 Stars (90 points)

2008 Composition 14%
N: Delicate and feminine and displays a pinosity that becomes more sophisticated as the wine 'opens up'. Some key varietal attributes include strawberry and raspberry fruits then some cherry and a light savory note - overall a medium complexity.

P: Fine tannins, a slightly drier wine than expected yet balanced overall; flavors of light red fruits return with a medium acidity, length and complexity. A lovely drinking wine through the rest of 2013.
4 Stars

2009 Composition 13.8%
N: A cherry enriched fruity bouquet with a red apple skin layer, moderate to moderate+ oak and medium+ complexity.

P: Firm, crisp and dry with plenty of pinosity and Pinot Noir fruit flavors, youthful tannins and medium+ acidity, a wine to savor now (big glass, perhaps a simple black trumpet and feta ravioli with white truffle oil) or cellar for up to 5 years more (2017). Medium++ length with the textures from the acid and oak giving a satisfying finish.
5 stars (90 Points)

2010 Composition  14%
N: Youth and packed with fruit and oak aromas; darker cherry fruits, some Central Otago under growth and earthy qualities.

P: Plenty of light red fruit flavors blend well with medium+ acidity and newish oak. The stamp of Central Otago lingers with the ripe light red fruits, schist notes and undergrowth. Lots of texture and palate appeal - a lovely example and perhaps ready for drinking in 2014.
5 Stars (91 Points)


Rippon Emma's Block Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2010 14%
N: A light feminine edge precedes a vibrant package of youthful Pinot Noir fruits - a mix of light red fruits and plum; a layer soil minerals add complexity. Moderate+ judicious oak.

P: A delicious wine. Like other Rippon Pinots Noir it can be enjoyed now, but will also cellar particularly well for another 5 years. Fruit flavors reflect the nose with a medium+ acid and tannin structure; some raunchy oak flavors just add more texture and complexity. A long finish with fine tannins stretching the flavors into a minute or more. Balanced and well made.
5 Stars (90 points)


Rippon 'Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2010 14%
Crimson and ruby with pink hued rim
N: Brown spices and raspberry, dark cherry fruits, a touch of cola and savory complexity.

P: Lovely!! Drink now and over the 2013/2014 or cellar till 2017 with confidence. A complex wine with a seamless transition between fruits, savory and oak complexities. Dry with medium+ length, medium+ acid. Plenty of fine tannins add texture with the sweet side of the fruit adding balance and complexity, a dry herb savory note on the finish. Just delicious!
5 Stars (91 Points)


Rippon 'Tinker's Field' Mature vine Pinot Noir 2010 14%
Vibrant crimson and ruby appearance, youthful pink rim
N: Definitely has an older vine fruit complexity with dense, richer slightly broodier fruits: Raspberry and plum, cherry and brown spices. Plenty of oak - but definitely not centre stage; medium+ complexity.

P: Dry, youthful, complexities building and with 100% pinosity; medium+ fine tannins (fruit + then oak); medium+ acidity with a medium+ finish. A keeper for a decade. Sure you can drink it now and it will reward accordingly - decant first though and be sure to share with good friends. Overall a fantastic wine with great presence and harmony.
5 Stars (90 Points)


Rippon 'Jeunesse' Young Vine Pinot Noir 2010 13.3%

Very jeunesse in appearance - ruby throughout with a light pink hued rim
N: Vibrant and very crisp; a youthful bouquet of raspberry and cherry fruits then a layer of oak, some new. I expect this will have more to say on the palate.....

P: Yes - young, juicy, fruity and vibrant; medium+ acidity, fine to medium tannins, a light compote note (nice), medium+ length and moderate complexity. A keep in the cellar example till at least the end of 2014 before you try again.
4 Stars

Osawa Wines

Osawa Wines Prestige Collection Hawke's Bay Pinot Noir 2011 14%
A light Burgundy red appearance
N: Lots of cherry and raspberry fruits, red apple skin and light rose bouquet. Medium+ oak influences. Overall a youthful bouquet with medium complexity. 

P: Dry with savory as well as fruity attributes and oak spices. Moderate to fine tannins, balanced with medium+ length. Overall a well made example.
3.5 Stars

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Te Mania

Te Mania 'Koha' Ice Riesling Nelson 2012 12%
N: Quite aromatic with a lifted honey and sweet lime, apple pie and apricot bouquet.

P: Definite one for the sweet wine fans (7.5 out of 10) with flavors that reflect the nose - apple, honey and lime; a light kerosine note adds a layer of complexity; medium++ acidity gives the required balance; overall medium+ length and finish.
3.5 Stars
A well made charming wine that is well suited to dessert courses of equal sweetness.

Brick Bay

Brick Bay Matakana Pinot Gris 2012 11.5%
N: This is a wine that requires a little more attention when trying for the first time – it’s delicate yet fragrant with layers of white fleshed tree fruits; a little lemon and a steely mineral edge that adds a nervous tension to the bouquet.

P: A mix of off-dry and medium+ acidity with a little lees action allows this wine to dance on the palate; the fruit flavours suggested above return with apple and pear skin, lemon and white fleshed fruits; medium body and balanced with a dry finish. A lovely wine deserved of your time.
4.5 Stars