Monday, 25 February 2013


Greywacke Late Harvest Riesling 2011 12%
N: Lemon peel, grape fruit flesh, honeyed apple and a suggestion of sherbet.

P: Rounded and flush with spicy citrus and apple fruit flavors. A 6.5/10 on the sweetness scale, high acid to match and give a youthful crispness. This is a Riesling for spicy starters and perhaps deserts too - if you must.
4.5 Stars


Rippon Gewurztraminer 2011 Lake Wanaka Central Otago 13.5%
N: Very pretty and very floral, classic and packed with spice and fruit; apple strudle, peach and soft citrus; violet and a hint of lavender; a hint of nougat and floral nectar.

P: All of the flavors seamlessly translate to the palate with medium/medium+ acidity, spice that builds, a floral and fruit core, balanced, well made and sophisticated. Overall a fine wine with a dried citrus peel finish.
4.5 Stars

Osawa Wines

Osawa Prestige Collection Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2011 14%
N: Quite a sophisticated bouquet filled with a smokey beginning then fresh fruits of white peach, lemon, crisp red apple then cashew; a light lees complexity.

P: A clever and well made wine with medium+ complexity and a lot of texture add length and palate appeal; medium+ acid, youthful and sophisticated; flavors of stone fruit and citrus add a final layer and juicy finish - delish!
5 Stars

Mahurangi River Winery

Mahurangi Rivery Winery 'Field of grace' Chardonnay 2010 14.5%
N: Nutty, oaky, creamy and loads of stone fruit and toasty aromas; a classic forward New Zealand expression.

P: Tastes as the nose suggest with plenty of nutty sweet oak flavors that coat the palate; peach and apple fruits follow; a popcorn and butterscotch layer add familiar flavors. Dry balanced and well made.
4 Stars

Osawa Wines

Flying Sheep Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2011 Single Estate Vineyard 14.5%
N: Quite closed for around 2 minutes then aromas of roasted stone fruits, cashew and a light leesy complexity emerge. Moderate to moderate+ oak spices and vanillin.

P: Reflects the nose with a dry and warm texture; medium+ acid, some oak tannins adds texture and bite. Moderate length and complexity. Overall a balanced and well made wine with a slightly warm finish.
3.5 Stars


Ceres ‘Full Circle Vineyard’ Pinot Gris 2011 14.5%
N: Very attractive bouquet with a complex rich collection of white spice, white fleshed stone fruits, Asian pear and apple; a schist and quartz – like layers adds to an already inviting bouquet.

P: The fleshy white fruits are reflected on the palate with a hint of residual sugar and warm 14.5% alcohol is balanced overall. This is a tasty wine and a great choice for a ‘by the glass’ programme, medium+ acidity, medium/medium+ weight, moderate complexity and length, ultimately dry on the finish.
4 Stars

Osawa Wines

N: Aromatic, varietal, familiar: sweet pear skin, pear flesh, yellow apple and honey notes, a gentle floral note and light complexity.

P: Off-dry to dry with a lush juicy fruit and fleshy palate appeal; apples and pears with alight creamy texture, medium+ acid and just a little phenolic action adding a layer of texture. Medium+ acidity, balanced with medium length and finish. Well made.
3.5 stars


Churton Viognier 2011 Marlborough 14.5%
N: A young vines and youthful bouquet with light apricot, apple and some citrus aromas; it takes several minutes and lots of swirling (the glass) to get this wine to open up – a lovely trait for a SB that demonstrates its’ potential. Some lees suggestions, white and yellow florals’ add an ‘Old World’ edginess – nice!

P: Warm, dry, youthful and specific – a wine to be tamed with food while still very youthful. The flavours of citrus and apple dominate the palate, the phenolics are also a specific part of the texture. A varietal signature of apricot and stone fruits do emerge after a while so give this wine some time please – it will reward your patience; Medium length.
4 stars

Osawa Wines

N: Complexity and varietal characters mix together with a seamless precision. Aromas of ripe citrus and apple, some grapefruit and tropical fruit suggestions – roasted pineapple then peach. A layer of oak spice and lees add complexity.

P: A creamy, toasty and spicy Sauvignon Blanc with flavours of peach, apple and citrus, medium+ complexity – this is quite a specific expression; medium+ acidity, a touch of oak tannin, medium+ length. Balanced.
3.5 Stars
A 'must like oaked Sauvignon Blanc' wine.


Rippon ‘Jeunesse’ Young Vines Riesling 2011 Lake Wanaka Central Otago 12.3%
N: A pristine, crisp bouquet filled with honey suckle-laden lemon and apple, green mandarin and white flowers, a quartz-like mineral note adds a gentle layer of complexity.

P: Reflects the nose with the honey-suckle leading the flavours of apples (red and yellow) and sweet lemon; a nudge of residual sugar is balanced by the medium+ to high acidity, mineral and floral flavours follow. A lovely, balanced wine with a long flowing finish.
4.5 stars

Osawa Wines

N: Lots of plums, lots of blackberries, lots of chocolate – dry, bitter and rich, violets and oak; Plenty to keep my nose busy, but not so much from complexity (yet).

P: Flavors of plums and darker berry fruits; dry with medium+ tannins (and alcohol); The tannins are a mix of finer and not so fine; toasty oak and vanillin notes, medium+ acid (just); balanced, dry and well made with medium+ length.
4 Stars

2° Two Degrees

2° 2010 Pinot Noir Central Otago 14%
N: Warm and generous with brown spice-laced dark cherry fruits, suggestions of raspberry, French Oak spices and a schistous undergrowth and even a hint of rosemary stalk.

P: A mix of herbal and undergrowth savoury characters laced with red fruit flavours, moderate+ oak influences with brown spice; medium+ alcohol and length; medium+ tannins are overall quite fine in nature; dry.
Overall a wine with plenty of youthful attributes that suggest a little more time in bottle is required – 18mths to 2 yrs.
4 Stars

Gabriel Meffe

Gabriel Meffe Terres de Galets 2011 Cotes Du Rhone (GSM and Cinsault)
N: Smells like a Cotes Du Rhone J with plum and then a little pepper and chocolate; some red apple skin and stony undercurrent; a noticeable lack of new wood completes the bouquet; the mineral/earthy quality is a requirement for CDR and thankfully this wine has some.

P: Quite a light-bodied example but the flavours do reflect the nose with the plum, pepper and chocolate notes, a layer of darker berry fruits begins to show. Medium tannins and medium+ acidity, mild oak and a hint of mushroom. Overall medium complexity, balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Mahurangi River

Mahurangi River Winery 'Mainly Malbec' 2010 Matakana (Auckland) 14.2%
With Merlot 
N: Plum, red cherry, wild berries and toasty oak spice - beginning to integrate and showing some synergy and a touch of complexity. The vanillin and fresh oak still need integration time. Overall smells a bit chunky.

P: Very dry with some pretty obvious fruit as well; plenty of berry flavors, plum and dark cherry. Medium+ tannins have a youthful bite along with medium+ acidity. Plenty of oak adds to the youthfulness of this example. Decant for service and preferrably enjoy with food of equal power. Will cellar for 1-2 more years.
3 Stars

Osawa Wines

Flying Sheep Single Estate Vineyard Gewurztraminer Hawke's Bay 2011 14.5%
N: Distinctive, fragrant, floral and pretty: A bouquet that reminds me of apple strudel, nougat, peach, pungent rose and spice. All the hallmarks of Gewurz' and sound wine making. 

P: Dry, warm, spicy and varietal. The medium+ acidity tempers the fruit package of citrus, apple, peach and then nougat. Generous in flavor and length and displays some complexity. A little warm (14.5%) for some - so perhaps some creative food and wine pairing is suggested. Medium+ acid, length and finish - overall pretty good!
3.5 Stars

Osawa Wines

Flying Sheep Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Hawke's Bay 13.5%
N: Fragrant; showing specific wine making, showing complexity - perhaps some natural and traditional ferments blended, a lighter older oak touch, floral and fruity, reserved in nature.

P: Drinking as young as it smells and displays the complexity suggested in the nose: sweet citrus with lemon, crisp apple and light tropical fruits. Medium+ to high acidity with medium complexity. A little sophistication and a touch of elegance (Yes - for a Sauvignon Blanc) yet remains true to style and climbs of Hawke's Bay. Balanced and dry with medium length - well made.
4 Stars

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Ransom Syrah 2010 Matakana 14%
N: Lots of youthful wild red fruits of Syrah with raspberry and  fresh blackcurrants then then a toasted barrel layer cut with white pepper and brown spices. Youthful still and promising.

P: A taut palate with a lot of bottle development time ahead. Moderate+ in body with medium+ acidity and tannins. Integrating and maturity required over the next 3-5 years. Quite dry on the finish, but again needs time. Overall good stuff!
4 Stars

St Clair

St Clair Family Estates Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Marlborough
N: Grassy, herbaceous, pungent, fruity and 'classic'. Peach, citrus and tropical fruits are sandwiched between layers of fresh, sweet herbs and bell pepper suggestions.

P: A lovely and classically aggressive wine where high acid is tempered by lush, vibrant and fresh fruits. A balanced, dry finish with perhaps a little RS teaser. Well made. Drink through 2013.
4 Stars


Ransom 'Mahurangi' 2009 (Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Malbec)
N: An integrating wine with a blackberry fruits driven bouquet. Cabernet aromas of of old plum, faded black fruits and slightly wild nettle notes (Malbec) a little chocolate and earthy qualities with toasty notable oak all add up to moderate complexity.

P: Flavors reflect the nose with plum and black fruit flavors, dry to dry+ with medium+ tannins - finer dusty layers, still plenty of fruit to balance the acidity - medium; moderate+ length and overall has some complexity. Quite a dry finish pushing this wine into a 'probably best served with food' genre. Enjoy through 2013.
3.5 Stars

Mills Reef

Mills Reef 'Elspeth' Merlot Gimblet Gravels Hawke's Bay 2010 14%
N: Another classic Hawke's Bay Gimblett Gravels expression and another familiar Mills Reef wine. Lifted and forward dark red fruits centred around plums and wild black fruit notes. Plenty of oak, vanillin centred, toasty and quite expressive.

P: Dry with flavors that suggest plums and black fruits -  lots of varietal expression, some lush notes, lots of berries, judicious use of oak showing some distinct and elegant notes. Medium+ complexity. I really like this wine - balanced, long and memorable.
5 Stars

Monday, 4 February 2013

Mahurangi River

Mahurangi 'Mostly Merlot' with Cabernet blend 2010 14.5%
N: Lots of plum and sweet red fruits followed by some Cabernet suggestions (bell pepper and Blackberry), moderate oak, generous and inviting.

P: Dry, youthful, warm and flavorful. plenty of fruit flavor to off-set the tannins (Med+); medium+ acidity and moderate oak. Overall some moderate complexity completes the palate - a  balanced wine in a drink now style - with food. May also cellar through 2013 and drink by end of 2014.
3.5 Stars

Te Mania

Te Mania Nelson Pinot Noir Rose 2012 13%
N: A classic example of Nelson Rose with a light not too pushy light red fruit bouquet - strawberry and strawberry jam, roses and a gentle silty earthy quality.

P: Fruity with a dry finish. The palate flavors equal those suggested with strawberry and rose highlights. Medium+ acidity, a touch of fruit tannin and light lees notes make for an easy drinking food oriented wine. Balanced and well made.
3 Stars


Mahurangi River Winery 'Pretty in Pink' Merlot Rose 2012 12%
N: Fragrant, fruity and bright with aromas of strawberry, apple, yellow plum and apple skin. The 2 months on lees has added a layer of complexity and interest.

P: Off-dry, fruity and juicy. The RS is a feature which lasts on the palate. Quite a creamy texture with flavors of sweet plum and juicy sweet apple; A touch of candy. Medium+ acidity, balanced with a medium-sweet finish. Simple complexity overall.

Charcoal Gully

Charcoal Gully Central Otago Rose 2012 14%
N: All the lifted and sweet fruit aromas one should expect from a rose tinted wine: Red apple skin, red melon, raspberry, strawberry and sweet bing cherry.

P: A drier style (yay!) with a zingy raspberry driven palate; medium+ acidity, fragrant, light and very easy to drink; I like the dry finish and mouth watering appeal.
3.5 Stars 

Sunday, 3 February 2013


Astrolabe Valleys 'Kekerengu Coast' Pinot Gris 2012 13.%
N: Sweet white flowers, a touch of white pepper and lush, juicy pear and apple aromas, other white fleshed fruits add a layer to a vibrant and fruity bouquet.

P: Tastes of everything the nose suggest with a luscious palate, medium++ acidity, a little Residual Sugar - yet finishes essentially dry and fruity. Balanced and well made; medium+ length.
4.5 Stars

CJ Pask

CJ Pask 2009 Hawke's Bay Gimblett Road Chardonnay 13%
N: A complex mix of integration and youthful fruit aromas; layers of oak complexity are intertwined with fresh and roasted stone fruit especially peach; vanillin and hazelnut like suggestions.

P: Full-bodied, dry and quite rich in flavor. The flavors reflect the roasted fruits and oka nuances suggested above. A balanced wine with a drink now medium+ to long finish. Plenty of complexity to keep the palate enticed through 2013.
4 Stars


Julicher Chardonnay 2011 Martinborough 13.5%
Barrel ferment, lees contact 15% New French oak
N: Every ounce a Chardonnay with warm, ripe stone fruit and citrus bouquet, spiced oak layer with wood and vanillin notes; moderate complexity, youthful.

P: Reflects what the nose suggests with a noticeable citrus fruit flavor: Grape fruit peel and flesh then stone fruits, oak and complexity. Medium+ acidity promotes freshness on the palate; medium+ length. A more elegant expression with a light silty soil suggestion; balanced and well made.
4.5 Stars

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Elspeth Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2010 13.5%
N: A toasty, full and rich 'classic' New Zealand Hawke's Bay expression: nutty, burnt butter aromas are mixed with roasted stone fruits and a little vanillin honey; medium+ complexity.

P: Reflects the nose; A dry full-bodied wine that delivers on flavor and intensity. Medium+(ish) acid contrasts a medium+ creamy and nutty palate. Plenty of rosted stone fruit flavors + and oak spice. Overall medium+ complexity, medium+ length, balanced and well made.
4 Stars