Thursday, 26 September 2013

Brick Bay

Brick Bay Matakana Rosé 2013 13%
Made with Cabernet Sauvignon. A blushing candy floss pink in appearance with a soft purple hue at the rim
Nose: Blackberry bush, gardens and fresh Northland air come to mind first; strawberry syrup, candy floss and sweet red roses bouquet - seductive, perfumed and enticing.

Palate: Only just dry with a palate alive with the flavors of light red fruits, sweet red cherry, cranberry and red apple skin; a hint of pink candy floss; A silky and seamless texture with sweet red fruit highlights; medium+ acidity, gentle creamy texture and a dry finish - lovely!
5 Stars
Easily New Zealand's best Rosé

Brick Bay

Brick Bay Matakana Pinot Gris 2013 13%
Nose: Fresh, lively, fruity and packed with aromas of pear, white fleshed nectarine & peach and even Asian fruits; gentle spices, florals and sweet air*. 

Palate: A silky texture carries the flavors of white fleshed tree fruits, white spices and flowers, a light chalky texture adds complexity and finish; crisp youthful acidity, a finely crafted example, balanced with a longish finish which is ultimately dry.
A lovely example!
5 Stars
*For me - 'sweet air' is a reminder of Summer afternoons swinging in the hammock and breathing in sun ripened air - sending me off to sleep.

Monday, 23 September 2013


Lamont Wines 
Central Otago 

Riesling 2011 12.5%
Nose and Palate: Very crisp - green apple, gentle white florals, firm white flesh tree fruits. On the palate a dry wine; medium++ acidity, lovely varietal character with crisp lime, apple and grape fruit finish - which is quite long and delicate.
4.5 Stars

Pinot Gris 2012 14%
Nose and Palate: Quite a voluptuous and rich bouquet with gentle spices, lots of fleshy white fruits especially apple then a citrus peel suggestion. On the palate - a lovely weight plus medium+ acidity and length, this is a classy Gris.
4.9 Stars

Pinot Noir 2011 (Bendigo fruit) 14%
Nose and Palate:  Tense, vibrant fruits with a youthful darker cherry, raspberry and red apple skin suggestion; A LOT of schistous like soil attributes and gentle thyme (or similar) layer - focused, tense, youthful. On the palate - exactly as the nose suggests, but with really fine tannins from the oak and moderate fruit tannins - in combination very nice!; Rose and wild berry fruit suggestions; Dry, balanced and very drinkable now, but will clearly grow and change for the next 2-3 years.
5 Stars


Schubert 2010 Syrah Wairarapa 14%
Nose: A distinctive bouquet - a mix of new oak, red and black fruits, red peppercorn, bacon, brown spices and botannicals (time to swirl the glass another 20x) - there is quite a bit of complexity in this wine; it has a distinctive youthfulness about it as well.

Palate: Dry and as youthful and the bouquet suggests; this is a very specific wine that requires more than just a passing consideration; medium+ acidity and tannins (bold and youthful), with the oak speaking loudly and commanding palate attention; All the elements for a fine wine are here - great fruit presence, commanding structural foundation and a long finish. All it needs now is time to get used to being in bottle a little longer (2 - 3 years).
4.5 Stars

Richmond Plains

Richmond Plains Nelson Pinot Gris 13.5%
Nose: Floral at first with a 'Spring Air' bouquet then warm apple and tree fruit aromas, a little wild ferment note and grapefruit suggestion.

Palate: Just dry - with medium+ acidity and generous fruit flavors. A touch of complexity from the wild ferment and leesy notes andd a layer of flavor; medium length with a touch of residual sugar; Overall a balanced and well made wine.
3 Stars

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Champagne G.H. MUMM

Champagne G.H. MUMM Brut Rose NV
The tasting note that comes with this wine (from Champagne G.H. MUMM) suggests pink grape fruit, strawberry, cherry and red currant in the bouquet - absolutely true, but I also taste sweet grapefruit, sun warmed strawberries and crushed cherry - perception is a wonderful thing!
The palate delivers all that the bouquet suggests with a crisp acidity, mild to medium autolysis and a long balanced finish.
The key to this wine that sets it apart from other Rose Champagnes is balance - there is such a delightful poised elegance about this wine. It reminds me of late summer afternoons and listening to soft mood music and slow dancing.
5 Stars

Champagne G.H. MUMM

Champagne G.H. MUMM Cuvee R. Lalou 1999
This is a stunning wine - from the bouquet to the palate I am enticed into its charms and elegance; Lots of tree fruit suggestions - apple and pear (mature and fresh, cooked and juiced), a delicious and very obvious autolysis adding depth and complexity.
As the wine begins to lose a little bubble (talking too much while tasting) I noticed the Chardonnay standing out more with a Chablis-esque like flavor and texture.
I decided to change glasses away from a flute and into a Riedel white wine taster (larger bowl and wider aperture) - the wine is delivered a lot more elegantly with the fruits speaking a little louder and the autolysis a little quiter - the finish is extensive and poised for elegance.
Again this is a stunning wine and worthy of any wine list
5 Stars (95 pts)

Champagne G.H. MUMM

Champagne G.H. MUMM Brut Millesime 2004
There is a distinctive maturity to the bouquet of this wine - it displays a nuttiness highlighted with baked stone fruit suggestions. The palate tells a different story - it is powerful and rich with texture an important appeal - the mousse is fine and then gets even finer as the wine warms in the glass. There are plenty of fruit characters reminiscent of lemon peel and baked apple.
This particular wine begins to lose bubble just a little sooner than I would have liked, yet from a somewhat difficult vintage this wine is quite charming and elegant. The other attribute I notice as this wine warms a little is the finish gets longer.
Overall a delicious wine
4 Stars

Champagne G.H. MUMM

Champagne G.H. MUMM Cordon Rouge NV
This is the flagship style for the house of G.H. MUMM - the wine is fuller and richer in its bouquet and on the palate; The nose of this wine seems enriched with the fruit suggestions of peach and other stone fruits; the mousse on the palate is both powerful and and crisp with a rounded more creamy elegance; as the wine warms up in the glass -soil notes of chalk and even limestone like characters begin to emerge.
4.5 Stars

Champagne G.H. MUMM

Champagne G.H. MUMM Blanc de Blancs MUMM De Cramant
Elegant crisp, fresh and delicately fruity in its bouquet; hints of floral and lemon fresh fruits
The palate is equally charming with crisp lemon and apple fruit flavors, an explosive mousse with a piquant highlight, generous in length and finish.
A delightful aperitif style
5 Stars 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Richmond Plains

Richmond Plains 'Blue Moon' 2012 Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 13% alc
Nose: An enticing fragrance that has depth and charm, but also a sense of place woven amongst the soft lemon scented fruits; barrel ferment and lees ideas, hints of hay and soft herb notes all say Sauvignon Blanc; medium+ complexity.

Palate: I really like the completeness of this wine on the palate - a wonderful seamless harmony between the fruits, acid and gentle oak flavors; medium+ length with a line of minerality.
5 Stars (90 pts)
A wine to consider slowly and let the textures fill the palate as much as the flavors - a very nice barrel fermented style!


Opawa 2013 Marlborough Pinot Gris 12.5%
Nose: A fruity bouquet with fresh and baked apple aromas, pear and a little citrus, overall ripe, fresh and lively with varietal character.

Palate: Reflects the nose with lots of youthful acidity making the wine seem dry; the fruit flavors do follow through tempering the youthful bite; The moderate alcohol (12.5%) is a big plus for this wine; there's lots of application too as it will please many who try and an easy match with food.
3.5 Stars


Opawa 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 13% alc
Nose: A vibrant and punchy fruit laden bouquet - peach, citrus and apple all hold hands high shouting 'pick me'; there is also a softer floral note here which adds a wild ferment - like complexity (perhaps lees derived as well).

Palate: Crisp for sure - high acidity, but well balanced by vibrant citrus, sweet herbs and just picked pineapple flavors; a tiny hint of wood spice adds further interest and complexity; nice texture and a dry finish.
4.5 Stars
Note to Opawa's Winemaker - don't stop making this style please - the subtlety is delightful!
Buy today, drink today or cellar for 2 years.

Twin Islands

Twin Islands Marlborough 2013 Sauvignon Blanc 13%alc
Nose: Fresh and vibrant bouquet with plenty of grassy herbaceous lift alongside classic gooseberry, citrus and tropical fruits suggestions.

Palate: The palate reflects the nose with fresh, crisp and lively citrus, apple and grassy/hay flavors; dry finish, balanced and well made.
4 Stars

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Wines 2012 Reserve Merlot Malbec Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 12.5%alc
Nose: Lots of wild flowers and vibrant red fruit aromas (Malbec) underpin the plummyness of Merlot. 

Palate: Cranberry, raspberry, plum and wild flower flavors with medium+ acidity, moderate oak spices and moderate to light tannins. Overall a medium finish.
3.5 Stars
A very cosmopolitan wine

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Wines Reserve Chardonnay 2012 Hawke's Bay 13.5%
Nose: The smokey tones of oak remind me a little of Scotch (single malt of course) is such a youthful wine; fresh and cooked stone fruits of peach and yellow nectarine then suggestions of butterscotch and raw brown sugar. 

Palate: Chardonnay fans will be pleased with this; a little creaminess in the texture, but plenty of fruit and vanilla laced oak, medium+(ish) acidity, oak spice notes and medium complexity and finish.
4 Stars
Nice! A lovely wine to drink on its own or with food.

Kalex Wines

Kalex Wines Central Otago 2012 Noble Riesling 10%
Nose: Yum! Lemon and apple pudding (or pie - both are good) with a butter, lemon spread and brulee edge; lime suggestions and lots of honeysuckle.

Palate: Fabulous acidity to temper the rush of sugar; lush fruit flavors, hints of spice and buckets of honeysuckle; long finish.
5 Stars (90 Points)
A top New Zealand and New World example

Kalex Wines

Kalex Wines Central Otago 2012 Pinot Noir 
Nose: So much of what Central Otago is shows in the bouquet of this wine: vibrant almost quivering raspberry and cherry fruits, wild thyme like dried herbs, a schist like soil undergrowth suggestion and plenty of, but not too much, oak.

Palate: Spicy, warm, vibrant, fresh and fruity; red apple skin, cherry and sweet berry flavors; Medium+ acidity and tannins are a formidable match to the fruit core; Dry with a medium+ finish.
5 Stars
You can read by my dialogue above that I like this wine - there's a lot to talk about, But it is a wine that clearly needs cellar time to mature a little in bottle (2-3 yrs) and will age well for 10 yrs - no problem.

Kalex Wines

Kalex Wines 2011 Pinot Gris Central Otago 13.8%
Nose: Fragrant, gentle+ spices, plenty of tree fruits aromas and a ripe floral notes mashed between some sulphide/lees action, medium+ complexity.

Palate: A dry, warm and spicy wine with a nudge of residual sugar, plenty of acidity dances on the palate emphasising the spice notes; medium+ length with a lemon and under ripe apple lick on the finish.
4.8 Stars
Overall a thoroughly interesting and tasty wine

Kalex Wines

Kalex Wines 2012 Riesling  Central Otago 10% alc
Nose: Very fragrant with sweet citrus, grated red and green apple; pears and white florals, a mineral line reminiscent of schist and a wild ferment like [sulphide] attribute captures my attention.

Palate: Off dry and in a Medium style - so a noticeable sweetness yet balanced pristine high acidity; The citrus flavors appear before any tree fruits suggestions; balanced phenolics and medium+ length.
4.8 Stars
A lovely example!

SOHO Wines

SOHO 'Jagger' Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013 13.5%
Nose: Lots and lots of white spice laden tree fruits in the bouquet: poached pear, baked apple and white fleshed stone fruits; a touch of white florals.

Palate: Just dry (a whisper of residual sugar) with crisp acidity tempered by ripe fruit flavors of sweet pear, apple and a little lemon skin; gentle white spices and floral attributes. Dry finish with moderate complexity, balanced and well made.
4 Stars
Overall I really like this wine - it will appeal to Pinot Gris fans looking to step up in quality yet stay with a variety and style they like to drink.
Pinot Gris is relatively easy to grow in New Zealand and it crops rather well too. The trick for wine makers is to identify and harvest the best fruit that in turn can offer a more sophisticated and complex wine without having to interfere in the natural processes of fermentation and maturation before bottling. The SOHO Jagger achieves this with ease.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Clarendon Hills

Clarendon Hills 2010 Vintage Tasting
September 10th 2013 - all wine were opened several hours before an early evening tasting

Grenache Clarendon 2010
100% Grenache, 18 mths maturation in 1-5 tight grained French Oak, 14.5% abv
Nose: The published tasting notes suggest spiced red fruit notes on the palate, but I get these on the nose immediately; plenty of fresh and stewed plum suggestions; this wine is not short on intensity; as it begins to open up a raspberry rich with wild red fruit suggestions emerge.
Palate: Reflects the nose with distinctive plum, cherry and raspberry flavors; intense and rich tannins and acidity (especially) races across the palate; a taut and youthful wine with a medium+ finish.
I do note a hit of alcohol on the nose and first few sips, but this seems to abate in favor of the fruit led flavors, acidity and long finish as the wine absorbs more O2 with a few more minutes in glass.
Actually quite delicious and rather highly recommended. A 15 year wine if cellared carefully.
Decant for service well ahead of any guest arrival.

Domaine Clarendon Syrah 2010
100% Syrah, dry grown, hand picked, whole berry, wild yeast ferment, 18 mths in 50% new French Oak, 14% alc.
Nose: Big black-red fruits with brown sugar and leather, tar, some sweet tobacco notes; full and rich bouquet - with no holds barred youthful oak layers.
Palate: Reflects what the nose suggests - I really like the intensity and richness this wine has to offer; medium+ (ish) tannins, balanced drinking now with a pretty lengthy finish, warm with a black chocolate cigar tobacco, tar and black fruits finish - long!
I find this wine to be quite masculine despite what the poetry of the official tasting note suggests.
Also as the wine begins to change in glass through this tasting it starts to take on more black pepper attributes and lots of dark cherry and earthy attributes - very nice!
Easily a 15 year wine if cellared carefully.

Clarendon Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Brookman Vineyard
100% Cabernet Sauvignon - 1945 planted vines, dry grown, hand picked, whole berry, wild yeast ferment,18 mths in 85% new French Oak
Nose: Definitive Cabernet bouquet with green bell pepper, black fruits and significant intensity - quite powerful but not over the top; an intriguing dusty earthy note adds a little mystery.
Palate: Delivers way more than the nose suggest - warm and generous, masculine, plenty of acidity and medium+ tannins - big tense and youthful; Warm blackberry fruit flavors begin to shift into black cherry over the next few minutes adding a sweet lift to the mid palate. A long and generous finish.
Overall this is a lovely wine and a twenty year investment for those prepared to wait - or with youth on their side - if not have ample grandchildren to inherit this fine wine.

Clarendon Hills 'Australis' 2010
100% Syrah, pre-phylloxera vines (1920), partial whole berry, whole bunch and wild fermentation, 18mths in 100% new French Oak
Nose: An inky purple appearance; new leather, super ripe and concentrated black currant fruits, a sweet herbal lift; sweet freshly ground black pepper; spices; a truck load of oak is easily delt-to by the intensity of the fruit; a very youthful bouquet overall.
Palate: Taut, tense and youthful; a lot of tannins from the fruit and the oak; this is not a monster wine, but it does have a huge heart; sweet meats; high-ish acidity and a long wandering finish.
There's no doubt this wine is going to outlive many on the pension already - there is just so much to embrace - its weight, intensity and richness alone requires a large piece of rare seared tuna dipped in soy and bathed in wasabi - just to tame the tannins alone. Forget red meats for this wine - its not a competition.
Easily a 20 year wine if cellared carefully

Clarendon Hills 'Australis' 2001 - was also tasted - for those who may have a bottle tucked away somewhere - leave it there it's doing fine.
Nose and Palate: A developed bouquet of old roses, old leather, stewed plum and brandied black fruits; rose hip and a gentle herb note; On the palate the alcohol is obvious, but seems to be less important as I taste and swallow this little gem; there is barnyard and fermented fruit flavors to consider in the context of this wine's age and provenance.
There is also an old world wine feel about the finish - long and enigmatic

John Forrest Collection

John Forrest Collection 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Nose: Pungent and distinctive with a fully-laden bouquet of lemon and peach fruits, a tropical note and softly sweet herbaceous overtones; a little lees-like complexity adds another layer.

Palate: Dry, lush, vibrant and packed with lemon and tart mandarin flavors; a layer of peach; almost quivering acidity delivers a vibrant freshness to the palate with a lemon and stony mineral highlight; youthful and distinctive with a long and persistent finish.
4.8 Stars

Hans Herzog Wines

From the vineyard to the winery; from the cellars to the Dining Rooms - Herzog should be on your 'Must Visit' list.

Therese and Hans are wonderful gracious hosts with a fine collection of hand crafted, estate bottled wines and with a stunning food menu in their dining room to complement each.

After delightful lunchtime dining on Sunday September 8th I tasted through ten wines.

Hans Herzog Sauvignon Blanc 'Sur lie' 2010
Nose: A softly spoken wine with a floral layer and citrus core.
Palate: Crisp, floral and textured with the lees ageing adding complexity as well; medium+ acidity, crisp with razor sharp acidity and a lengthy finish. Overall a gentle wine despite my commentary.
4 Stars

Hans Herzog Sauvignon Blanc 'Grande Duchesse' 2011 (100% New Fr Oak - 500 litre Puncheons)
Nose: It's a bold move to have a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in 100 New French Oak, buts this works! A floral bouquet with a citrus undertone and naturally plenty of oak - but not invasive.
Palate: The power of citrus fruits punch through the oak flavors like a hot knife through butter; medium+ acidity and length make for a thoroughly interesting Sauvignon experience. I would suggest this more as a food oriented wine although I am sure it will pair well with appetisers and some vege-oriented soups.
3.5 Stars
This is a limited release wine and available through the cellar door (mostly)

Hans Herzog Viognier 2011 (Link is to the 2010 as the vintage rolled to the 2011 at cellar door this weekend - 2011 wine is made in much the same way as the 2010)
Nose: Very floral and very citrousy at its core; mandarin peel and tangerine aromas then a softly unfurling apricot and stone fruit layer.
Palate: Very much a reflection of what the nose suggests with a little more emphasis on the stone fruit (apricot) messages, but still with a lot of citrus as well; moderate acidity and a layer of spices from the oak (100% New French Puncheons); finish in this example is oak driven.
4.1 StarsHans Herzog 'Mistral' Viognier Roussanne Marsanne 2011 (100% New French Puncheons)
Nose: Quite floral overall, this example - with the R&M components also displays a light saline suggestions (typical for in this kind of blend); the oak is dominant in this example and I feel that the wine requires further cellar time to allow a calming of its forwardness to also allow the fruits and subtlty that is somewhat hidden right now, to develop.
Palate: A reflection of what the nose suggests; a little more acidity (M+) supports the potential for this wine to age for a further 2 years before it can be enjoyed; the finish is floral with medium length and mild fruit characters.
3.7 StarsHans Herzog Riesling 2010 14.5% (50% New Oak in 500 liter Punchens, 50 % Stainless steel, Wild Fermentation)
Nose: I really like the nose of this example - lime and lemon, green apple and a gentle apricot stone note; there is also a soil character - stony dry soils undertones.
Palate: A reflection of what the nose suggests with all the fruits of the tree and citrus described above; a spice note mainly from the oak adds both complexity and individuality; sound medium++ acidity and medium length. A wine to cellar till 2015 or enjoy now with food.
4.1 Stars

Hans Herzog St Laurent 2011 (50% whole berry in the fermentation)
Nose: The use of whole berries in this wine's ferment shows with the high toned wild red fruits bouquet; as with many St Laurent wines there is a Pinot Noir light red berry selection suggestion as well (dark cherry); overall fruity and individual.
Palate: This is a dry wine, but the burst of red fruit flavours soon pull the tasters attention to the core of this wine - red fruits; there is a little Malbec-like suggestion with a peppery kick; medium+ acidity, tannins and finish. A very youthful wine that will reward more if cellared till sometime in late 2015 or a great companion to rare game meats in the meantime.
4.0 StarsHans Herzog Pinot Noir 2009 14%
Nose: A specific Pinot Noir with a Hans Herzog signature of wine making style - lovely ripe fruits of cherry, raspberry and strawberry followed by savory and oak spiced laden undertone, medium+ complexity.
Palate:  A wine just beginning to come into balance - it is still very tanse and youthful - medium+ acidity, tense tannins and masculine in nature.
A quick change to a Burgundy balloon changes this wine's bouquet and taste to a softer rounder and more floral expression.
4.3 Stars

Hans Herzog 'Spirit' 2004 (Merlot Cabernet Franc) (link for this wine is to the 2003 'Spirit' - the 2004 notes have not yet been posted to the HH site)
Nose: A youthful appearance and bouquet to match; warm dark red fruits with layers of brown spices and an inviting violet lift to the bouquet; complexity builds in the wine as I swirl the glass over and over - nice!
Palate: Immediate harmony on the palate with soft rounded red fruit flavors, a hint of bitter chocolate from the CF and a collection of brown spices, moderate+ weight and intensity. Overall a very generous wine with a mix of fine tannins from both oak and fruit with a longish finish.
4.6 Stars

Hans Herzog Montepulciano 2009 (24 months ageing in partly new French Oak)
Nose: A ripe and slightly rustic bouquet with aromas of dark berries, aged strawberry and hints of meat-e-ness with floral overtones - an interesting and captivating beginning.
Palate: Dry and focussed with flavors reminiscent of the nose; medium+ acidity keeps this wine youthful on the palate and the blend of fruit flavors alongside some rich and attention seeking tannins shows a wine of great promise for the future (5+ yrs cellar time).
3.7 Stars
Decant for service before 2015

Hans Herzog Zweigelt 2011 (Zweigelt is a cross of St Laurent and Blauerfrankish created by Dr. Zweigelt 
Nose: A little smokey and youthfully fruity with a mix of dark berries and juicy light red fruits; warm and velvety in nature.
Palate: Dry with medium+ fine tannins and acidity; a wine that is generous and fruity in a very Hans Herzog style - plenty of character and complexity with a large dollop of oak; balanced and well made.
5 Stars
A flagship wine from the HH stables

By the way - my wife and I enjoyed the Gruner Veltliner and Viognier with our lunch - we especially enjoyed the Gruner - dry, crisp, varietal and balanced. The Viognier was particular with a fragrance of mandarin and tangerine peel, floral highlights and oak nuances. Both highly recommended.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Mahi Wine

A visit to Mahi Wine and Winemaker Brian Bicknell - Sunday September 8th 2013. 

Brian very kindly opened a few of his whites and a red wine which we then tasted and discussed.
Thank you Brian

What follows are my impressions about the wines tasted - I hope I do them justice!

Before you read them though - I have to say - that the overwhelming theme that I came away with about the Mahi style is that of texture, balance and a sense of harmony in each and every wine tasted.

Mahi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012  (100% free-run juice; 10% of the juice underwent a 'Wild Ferment; 12% of the juice was Barrel Fermented; wine rested on lees for 6 months)
Nose: Plump, generous and very giving of its bouquet - peach and sweet lemon, a quiet gentle spice.
Palate: A reflection of what the nose suggests with a generous and giving voice - the texture is fine alongside  a pristine acidity, a gentle spice is evident and a hint of manuka honey (wild ferment note - for me) on the finish which is dry yet aflush with fruit.
A lovely wine - balanced, well made and quite long on the finish
4.6 Stars

Mahi 'Boundary Farm' Sauvignon Blanc 2011 14%abv (North facing slope; 100% Hand picked fruit pressed into oak 14% New French; 100% Wild Fermentation; No additions)
Nose: Still powerfully youthful with a strong citrus fruits message followed by some stone fruit suggestion; the wild fermentation signature is evident adding a noteworthy degree of complexity.
Palate: Plenty of acidity (M++), youthful with lemon peel and other citrus fruit suggestions alongside pale stone fruit aromas; A mild herbaceous layer; There is a spike of honeysuckle and even a little Manuka honey (not botrytis) which reinates on the finish - which I attribute to the wild fermentation. A dry wine with a long and memorable finish.
4.9 Stars

Mahi 'Ballot Block' Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (hand picked and whole cluster pressed fruit; Wild Fermentation in French Barriques for 10 months)
Nose: Who said New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can't age? Think again - this is a wine displaying a distinctly youthful and even tropical fruits bouquet. No hint of canned peas or asparagus here! A sweet herbal note leads to a bouquet of depth and complexity.

Palate: What can I say  - a stunning wine that reflects both the depth and complexity that the nose suggests, a youthful fruit light is balanced by bottle maturity that is showing no sign of abating just yet. Balanced with medium+ acidity and length.
5 Stars

It is interesting (to me) that so many 2008 wines (across many varieties and styles) were under performers in the first 18 months upon release. What has transpired though are wines that were simply slower to develop, in many cases, and are just now beginning to show their true self (or is that selves?)

Mahi Marlborough Chardonnay 2012 (from 3 vineyards, whole cluster pressing directly to French barrel; wild fermentation with high solids; 11 months on lees; 3.1 gpl RS)
Nose: A hint of the wild ferment, barrel work, varietal peach-e-ness and creaminess; moderate complexity and youthful in its bouquet.
Palate: Dry and with a highly textured beginning; youthful poised acidity; a lime like citrus quality followed by lemon and apple fruit suggestions; not an oak centred wine (although this is easily spotted) but a wine complemented by the use of oak giving it depth and complexity.
4.7 Stars
2012 was a smaller, cooler and more challenging vintage for many on Marlborough yet this wine clearly demonstrates that the judicious selection of fruit along with less reliance on aok can deliver a wine with balance and harmony on the palate.

Mahi 'Alchemy' Chardonnay 2012 (link to the 2009 notes - 2012 not yet available from the Mahi team)
Nose: Warmth and richness are immediate on the nose; there is more ripe stone fruit suggestions with sweet citrus and again a wild fermentation signature; the complexity that I at first thought was not quite there began to unfold as the wine absorbed more O2 with each swirl of the glass. An intriguing bouquet overall.
Palate: Only just dry with a the luscious side of the fruits holding hands high; pristine acid lines show well with the oak not baring down on the complexity of this example; Grapefruit then peach flavors, perhaps a little more oak spice (but not toastiness); quite a long and distinctive finish.
An easy 5 Stars

A wine for a restaurant list I think!

Mahi Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (Piegage 3x a day; then 11 months in Fench oak; 0.28 gpl RS)
Nose: Pristine and clearly defined fruit profile of light red fruits - cool climate cranberry then a mix of raspberry and cherry suggestions; hints of the savory suggest a little whole bunch; generous and inviting with plenty of personality and moderate complexity.
Palate: Pristine and precise fruit flavors; medium+ acidity and medium++ tannins. Tannins are actually quite fine, but have a youthfull tension about them that requires cellar time to ease them into more harmony with the rest of the elements in the this example; they also add texture and length which is part of Brian's intention for his wines - not all wines are mean to be drunk upon release and this is one such example. Give it time please.
4.5 Stars

Brian decanted the Pinot Noir and let it sit for around 20 minutes before we tasted - great idea!
I think there is much to be gained from decanting both red and white wine closed under screw top. For me it helps to relax the wine before drinking and assists in removing any residue So2 from bottling and for some wines any reduced/reductive properties.

Brian and I went on to taste a few wines from barrel. From the few that I he thieved wine from I can see, smell and taste why there is much promise from the 2013 vintage.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Alexandra Basin New Release Event

Few places in the world are more exciting and breathtakingly beautiful than our own Central Otago Wine region.

If you're headed that way this Labour Weekend, check out the Fifth Alexandra Basin New Release Afternoon on Sunday 27th of October - you'll have the rare treat of finding all the producers from Alex Basin represented there, offering their latest vintages.

The event is being held in the beautiful gardens at Oliver’s in Clyde. The event runs from 1 till 4pm, and will feature all the new releases of wine. There will be a wide range of styles and different types of wine including (of course) Central Otago Pinot Noir - and also showing off Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Rose’. 

I have had the pleasure of being part of two of these events previously. The guest speaker this year is the affable John Hawkesby - that well known broadcaster, wine writer & raconteur.  It is a ticketed event - your $25 includes a glass and entry to taste some or all of the wines on show.
Tickets are available by contacting John & Suzanne Grant, 034487782 or

Church Road

Church Road Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2012 13%
N: No mistaking this bouquet as anything other than that of a 'New World' Chardonnay; Precise in its messages of oak (vanilla, brown spices and raw brown sugar), stone fruits (sweet peach), tree and citrus fruits (apple and lemon) all wrapped up in a balloon of creaminess.
P: The palate reflects the nose with the oak spices and peachy fruits in the engine room, warmish (13%) but definitely in keeping with the Church Road style; Dry, medium+ in body and length with the oak again pushing the flavors of Chardonnay. Nice!
3.5 Stars

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Church Road

Church Road Grand Reserve Syrah 2011 12.5%
N: Rich, smokey, oaky and packed with dense raspberry and black fruit aromas; some toasty jammy notes and a mix of black and white pepper; suggestions of vanilla and toast and even a little brown sugar.

P: All the flavors of raspberry and black fruits are strong on the palate - quite rich and distinctive; Medium+ tannins show their youthful side; medium+(ish) body and length - this is a very tasty example with a long memorable finish. Well made and highly recommended.
Must like oak!
5 Stars

Kalex Wines

Kalex Wines Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011 13.8%
N: Lush and juicy fleshy red fruit bouquet driven by black and red cherry, schisty soil suggestions, undergrowth and a regional identity that is 'Central Otago'.

P: Dry and very youthful with medium+ texture giving tannins and acidity - both showing ahead of the red fruit flavors described above; An herbal quality drives the youthful side of this wine again suggesting a wine that requires more shelf time - 18 months should do it (a quality and an attribute) to then reveal its personality.
5 Stars

Kalex Wines

Kalex Wines Pinot Gris Single Vineyard Waipara 2012 13.8%
N: A very fruity expression with juicy white fleshed tree fruits, an icing sugar note and sweet while spice; Hints of silty soils underneath (no pun intended)

P: Off-dry and creamy in texture with spice laden white fruits, quite Old World - like in its oily richness; the residual sugar and alcohol with medium to medium+ acid work very well together; balanced with medium+ length.
A lovely example!
4.5 Stars

Yealands Estate

Yealands Estate Single Block M2 Sauvignon Blanc 2012 13%
N: Vibrant, lush and packed with tropical fruits, peach and sweet apple aromas; All wrapped in a blanket of sweet herbaceousness.

P: The herbs grassy hay flavors hit the palate sensors first then a citrus flavour emerges followed by peach and tropical fruits; High acidity keeps the flavours fresh and vibrant; Moderate complexity and length; Balanced and well made - very nice!
4.5 Stars