Saturday, 6 April 2013

Moss Wood

Moss Wood Margaret River Moss Wood Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon 14%
I am immediately drawn to this wine because it is not (to me at least) a typicaly blowzy style of warmer climate Cabernet.
N:  This wine has a generous varietal bouquet with big black fruit centering on blackberry fruits, then black current and black cherry. The oak adds to the complexity with a generous amount of new oak aromas. The combination of these equals a generous and giving bouquet that is big, fresh, youthful and powerful. The typical herbaceous edge that Cabernet has seems toned down and in favor of very ripe fruit.

P: Dry, full-bodied and generous with black fruits, toasty flavors, herb and leather, clove and brown spices. Medium+ length and finish, a lovely example. Balanced and well made yet youthful.
4.5 Stars

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Forrest The Doctor's Gruner Veltliner 2011 Marlborough 11.5%
N: While there are fruit aromas of dried apple, lemon peel and quince the overwhelming aromas of a savory earthiness  with chalk like suggestions and even white pepper are the feature of this wine's bouquet.

P: Dry with medium+ acidity, flavors of white pepper laced apple (green and yellow) a little pineapple and lemon pith are a feature. the celery and radish flavors associated with an Austrian example are noted, but not strong. Balanced with a dry finish and medium length.
3.5 Stars

St Clair

St Clair Family Estate Pinot Gris 2012 13%
N: Another varietal, balanced and classic bouquet from the St Clair stable: white spice-edged pear (and pear skin), apple (and apple skin) and white peach aromas – simple but obvious and forward.

P: Just enough residual sugar to keep the palate coated in lush and fleshy flavours of peach, pear, apple and light spices. Medium+ acidity, balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars

Spade oak

Spade Oak Vineyard Voysey Gewürztraminer Patutahi 2012 12.5%
N: Floral and fruity as Gewürztraminer should be. Medium spice, nougat and a late harvest suggestion.

P:  Off-dry with flavours that reflect the nose. Quite a creamy texture and again some late harvest notes. A wine for Pork Belly, Duck Confit, and Desserts.
3 Stars

Tasman Bay

Tasman Bay Chardonnay 2010 13%
(Zork closure quite a task to remove)
N: No mistaking the Chardonnay message here – no mistaking the oak either. Stonefruits, apple and vanillin with a popcorn edge.

P: Warm, fruity, dry and oaky. Plenty of stone fruit submerged in oak. Medium acidity and plenty of oak bite. Overall, a balanced wine, but one for lovers of oak first. Moderate complexity.


Urlar Noble Riesling Gladstone 2012 12.5%
N: A rich, honeyed bouquet of fresh and roasted stone fruit – apricot, peach and nectarine; hints of ginger and spice add something different and ‘cool’.

P: Crisp, sweet and urgent with strikingly concentrated flavours alongside a very creamy and velvety texture. Balanced with a long, long finish. Delicious!
5 Stars

Spencer Hill

Spencer Hill Coastal Ridge Chardonnay Nelson 2010 13.5%
N: Creamy, oaky and fruity bouquet with suggestions of peach and grapefruit, oak, oak spice and vanillin, and some bottle development.

P: Lots of palate appeal from the stone fruit and oak flavours enhanced by the still youthful acidity. Balanced with medium+ length. A very drinkable example.
4 Stars


Aronui Chardonnay SV Nelson 2011 14%
N: A familiar, if not old-fashioned bouquet of sweet fruits and creamy vanillin oak suggestion. The ‘peaches and cream’ with hints of butterscotch and raw sugar will appeal to many.

P: Nice. I like the vibrancy of the acid and oak on the palate. It balances the fruit centred idea on the nose enough to let texture play a bigger role and the bite of acidity adds to the overall length and finish. The creamy vanillin and peachy-ness finishes the wine off nicely.
4 Stars


Woollaston Pinot Noir Rosé Nelson 2012 13%
N: A lovely pure expression of light red fruits: strawberry and raspberry then rose and melon, all with a gentle perfume.

P: Off-dry and packed with red fruit flavours of strawberry, cherry and melon. Medium+ acidity gives the wine a drier finish. Enjoy through 2013.
3 Stars

St Clair

St Clair Family Estate Pinot Gris Rosé 2012 Marlborough 13.5%
N: Delicate, light and fragrant with a bouquet oozing white fleshed fruits, apricot and strawberry aromas.

P: Juicy, fruity and even a little spicy with a ginger note. Dry finish, vibrant and easily your 5:00pm late Summer tipple.
3.5 Stars

Mission Estate

Mission Estate Winery 'Huchet' Syrah 2010 Gimblett Gravels 14.5%
N: An intense and complex bouquet of dark red berry fruits, toasty and spicy new and old oak; leather and roasted mushrooms (black trumpet and field). Masculine and rich in character.

P: Equally intense and complex yet very youthful with big ripe tannins – oak and fruit – challenging the black fruits and savoury, earthy attributes for attention. A core of harmony mid palate suggests a long future ahead. A high quality wine I could drink now or cellar. Medium+ to high complexity and a long finish. Very, very good.
5 Stars (92 points)

Spade Oak

Spade Oak Vineyard ‘Heart of Gold’ Syrah Viognier 2011 Gisborne 12.5%
N: I like the slightly broodier edge to the darker berry fruits of blackberry, and the burnt raspberry and oak spices along with a white and black pepper note tick the boxes. The floral edged Viognier brings to this blend is light and traditional layer.

P: Dry with spices and fruits plus oak flavours,  medium+ tannins and acid are a sound combination. Medium+ complexity, length and finish.  A balanced and well made wine.
4.5 Stars

Spade Oak

Spade Oak Vineyard Voysey Syrah 2012 13%
N: A Syrah nose with a floral edged pure fruit bouquet including raspberry and cherry fruits, then white pepper spice. Well placed oak influence. Not so earthy or savoury but there is a white pepper attribute.

P: A lovely wine with a balanced palate of fruit, oak and gentle spice flavours. Medium tannins are very easy on the palate; medium acidity and a plum raspberry note on the finish. Balanced and well-made.
4 Stars

Spade Oak

Spade Oak ‘Heart of Gold’ SV Syrah Tempranillo Gisborne 2009 12.5%
N: Plenty of Syrah aromas here: darker berry fruits laced with pepper, a field mushroom note, raspberry the strawberry, plum, and gentle brown spice tones from the Tempranillo. Enough oak to bind these together and add a layer of complexity.

P: Dry with moderate complexity and flavours that reflect the Syrah mostly with oak contributions next. The Tempranillo rounds off the flavour with a strawberry kick on the finish.  Balanced with moderate tannins and medium acidity. Overall, a sound drinking dry red wine.
3.5 Stars

Spade Oak

Spade Oak Vineyard “Heart of Gold’ St Laurent  2011, Gisborne 13%
N: Pinot-like at first followed -  hints of masculine darker fruits begin to emerge. Plenty of oak to add structural elements to the bouquet. (I noted a slight raisin ferment aroma)

P: Juicy and fruity with flavours of dark cherry, cola, blueberry and oak. Overall, medium/medium+ tannins, medium acid – a balanced, easy drinking dry red wine.
3 Stars

Jules Taylor

Jules Taylor Wines Pinot Noir 2011 Marlborough 14%
N: Very fragrant with a mix of violet, dark rose, light red berry fruits and a distinctive oak signature. The oak stands apart suggesting a wine still young and integrating. Medium+ complexity.

P: Lovely pure fruit flavours centering on dark and lighter cherry notes, some strawberry mixed with vanillin and spicy oak flavours and textures. Medium+ tannins, both fruit and oak, fine and measured. Medium+ acid. A wine that is quite delicious now and one that will continue to improve for 3-5 years.
5 Stars (90 points)


Johanneshof Cellars Mayburn SV Reserve Pinot Noir 2009 Marlborough 13.5%
A: Developing - Burgundy
N: An integrated bouquet reflecting its appearance; nuances of dried cherry, a savoury complexity, oak and barnyard subtleties (much like some Burgundies). Expecting one thing and getting another – this is a surprise  - a nice one. Moderate+ complexity – read on.

P: A Pinot Noir for connoisseurs – there is complexity, subtlety, flavours and textures taking the taster on a journey not so much of discovery but satisfaction. Moderate tannins – fine and almost integrated; a mix of cherry and oak spice flavours. Balanced and drinking well.
Some oxidation noted at the end of the third taste. Very nice wine.
4 Stars


Forrest Pinot Noir 2011 Marlborough 13%
A: A lighter, Burgundy-like appearance.

N: Savoury as well as fruity, with a dried herb, brown spice and oak nuanced bouquet; a mix of light red berry fruit – strawberry – cherry. Medium complexity.

P: Dry and lightish in body, this Pinot Noir has plenty of flavour and texture, reflecting all the elements apparent on the nose.  Medium to fine tannins, medium+ acidity, balanced, and drinking well now.
3.5 Stars


Aronui Pinot Noir SV 2011 Nelson 14.5%
N: A very fruity bouquet with cranberry, light and dark cherry and a little pomegranate/raspberry suggestion; youthful appearance and fruit centred lift. Moderate oak influences emerge after a few minutes.

P: Drinks as the nose suggests with a bright and focused fruit centred flavour profile – light to medium red fruits followed by some sweet oak flavours and warming alcohol. Despite the 14.5% ABV the wine is balanced, though suggests a drink now prescription.
3 Stars 

Mt Difficulty

Mt Difficulty SV Long Gully Bannockburn Chenin Blanc 2012 Central Otago 11.5%
N: Very aromatic (for a Chenin Blanc) with a strong mix of varietal crisp, fresh and balanced apple fruit suggestions, a slightly stony/herbal/schist-like layer with hints of rock and wild thyme and wild bee honey.

P: Off-dry with a generous helping of residual sugar balanced by very high acidity – works for me! All the flavours described above return, without the herbal notes. Balanced, with an off-dry finish that is both crisp and flavourful.
4.5 Stars (89 points)


Woollaston Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Nelson 13.5%
N: Herbaceous with a tomato-leaf edge then apple, citrus and tropical fruit suggestions – a hint of old barrel.

P: Confirms the nose with a little residual sugar note to temper the youthful acidity. Every bit a Sauvignon Blanc with its aggressive, natural character driving the wine’s flavours. Overall, balanced, traditional and dry.
3 Stars


Rockburn “Tigermoth” Riesling 2012 Central Otago 9%     
N: Specific, focused Riesling bouquet of crisp, fine citrus fruits (zesty skin included), sweet green apples and slightly nutty honeysuckle notes.

P: Off-dry crisp, focused acidity gives a great balance to the generous residual sugar and sweeter fruit attributes. Mineral/soil-like flavours emerge, with a hint of steeliness. Balanced, long finish.
My kind of aperitif, well chilled with chilli prawns and hoisin sauce.
5 Stars (89 points)
The alcohol on the label of this wine is not what it actually is. The label indicates an 11% abv where it is in fact only 9%.


Wollaston Riesling 2012 Nelson 9% (medium)
N: Fruity with honey, tree and stone fruit  aromas, a touch of tropical; ripe and generous bouquet overall.

P: A juicy medium-sweet style with plenty of fruit flavours and balancing acidity to match. Sweet apple and lemon with a sweet citrus sorbet finish. Great example to pair alongside Indian and Thai-style dishes with medium to medium-plus spicy notes.
3 Stars

Mt Difficulty

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Dry Riesling 2012 Central Otago 13%
N: Fragrant, with lemon oil, apple, apricot stone and gentle wild thyme notes; a light green tea and mandarin edge adds a delicate complexity.

P: Dry with the flavours of citrus peel and pith, mandarin and lime flower, cold ginger tea and crisp drying acidity.
A lovely dry Riesling best served as an aperitif with gently sweet hors d’oeuvres.
4.5 Stars

Roaring Meg

Roaring Meg Riesling  2012 Central Otago 13% (by Mt Difficulty)
N: Attractive, with honeysuckle laced apricot and tree fruit aromas and a lemon-lime backbone.

P: Delicious, lush, ripe, generous and flavourful. A mealy texture alongside the warm and generous fruit flavours gives this wine much appeal. Stand aside, Pinot Gris – here comes Riesling! A wine to capture and lure in white wine doubters.
5 Stars (89 points)


Valli Old Vine Riesling 2012 Central Otago 12%
N: A delightful bouquet of citrus, light stone fruits, white flowers, rocky/stony soil ideas and a very gentle lavender/thyme lift.

P: Dry, crisp, salivating acidity with flavours centred on citrus fruits and crisp red and green apples. Mid-palate suggests soil influences. A wine for those who like to discover the finer points and nuances of well-made Riesling.
5 Stars (91 points)

Goose Bay

Goose Bay South Island Pinot Grigio (Spencer Hill Wines, Nelson) P & B 13% 
N: Familiar aromas of pear, apple and sweet citrus. Simple, forward and attractive.

P: Ultimately a dry wine, although the initial sensation is that of a wine with some residual sugar to balance the medium+ acid and just-warm alcohol. Overall a generous wine with plenty of palate appeal – a wine showing attributes for the audiences of local restaurants and cafés. An easy by-the-glass choice.
3.5 Stars


Matawhero ‘Church House’ Gruner Veltliner 2012 Gisborne 13%
N: A slightly more tropical, ripe fruit driven bouquet with a peach and mango suggestion followed by citrus and light varietal vegetal notes.

P: While this is a balanced, dry white wine the Gruner Veltliner signature is in competition with some Sauvignon Blanc-like notes. Not a fault – rather a wine that has a special ‘New Zealand-ness’ on top of the Gruner Veltliner distinctiveness. Balanced and dry with citrus and light herbaceous and tropical fruit notes.
3 Stars

Lime Rock

Lime Rock Gruner Veltliner 2011 Hawkes Bay (Central) 13.5%
N: Quite varietal with a signature vegetal green bean, radish and sweet hay suggestion, followed by fruity elements of apple,  pineapple and lemon skin; a rocky soil note and some white florals show as well. An interesting bouquet – outside the square.

P: Immediately dry and lemony with a crisp and vibrant palate texture – almost mealy as the acid races through my saliva. The lemon, pineapple skin and vegetal flavours return with power and push. Dry finish, medium length, balanced.
4 Stars
Packaged in 375 ml only

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Reserve Pinot Gris 2012 Hawkes Bay 12.5%
N: Old World suggestions of an oily spice layer woven between hints of canned Bartlett pear halves (in juice), stewed apple and the influence of gentle older barrique. Moderate complexity and definite appeal.

P: Off-dry at first with the fruit flavours of pear and other white tree fruit showing, followed by the oily spice texture and gentle oak influences. A lovely creamy textured example with both ‘by the glass’ and food pairing potential. Dry finish.
4 Stars


Forrest ‘The Doctors’ Riesling 2011 Marlborough 8.5%
N: Lemon, lime, grapefruit and crisp green apple aromas followed by a hard stone – greywacke soil suggestion; a touch of lemon icing and lemonade ice-block extend an invitation to taste.

P: Off-dry with noticeable residual sugar, immediately balanced by high acidity. The see-saw-ing effects of both highlight the citrus flowers and fresh appeal, and also the stony mineral suggestions.
A delightful wine with an apricot note right at the end. Beautifully balanced.
5 Stars (89 points)


Forrest Pinot Gris 2012 Marlborough 13%
N: No mistaking the varietal push of ripe and sweet pear, apple and nashi. A spice note and stony white flowers add interest.

P: Just dry with enough residual sugar to stretch the palate and emphasise the core of fruit. Balanced by medium+ acidity – also giving a textural layer – nice!
A lovely wine drinking best now and through 2013
4 Stars


Forrest Chenin Blanc 2010 Marlborough 11.5%
N: A specific varietal expression – pure and focused with crisp fresh and baked apple, a moment of pear: ready.

P: Off-dry with balanced medium + acidity; juicy, lush and tasty with plenty of varietal apple flavours, medium+ length, balanced and well made. Medium complexity – a smooth texture.
Whilst this wine is delicious now, it will cellar for a lot longer than might be envisaged – 4 years.
3.5 Stars

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Reserve Merlot Malbec Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 2011 13.5%
N: Plums – dark and darker; some blackberry fruit suggestions, plenty of oak and its associated spices; a touch of stewed plum, red flowers and violets, and cloves add complexity.

P: Dry and firm tannins followed by flavours of plum and blackberry fruits. Oak and toasty oak brown spices add complexity. A very young wine on the palate – will require 2 years + in the cellar or appropriate decanting or food. Moderate finish; well made.


Tiki ‘Koro’ Pinot Noir 2011 Central Otago 14%
N: The core of dark cherry, black plum and brown spice notes gives this wine immediate appeal: a youthful dried herb note adds complexity. Alongside the brown spices is a gentle toasted barrel note adding further complexity and comfort.

P: A dry wine with flavours and textures that reflect the cherry and plum notes as well as the herb and spice attributes. Moderate+ to fine tannins, medium+ (ish) acidity: drinkable now and through 2014. The 14% ABV does add some warmth on the finish, to be tamed with food.
3 Stars


Aronui SV Pinot Gris 2012 Nelson 14%
N: Some familiar Pinot Gris aromas of crisp and crunchy red apple, framed by a steely, stony edge. Some pear suggestions followed, with a hint of white spice.

P: Warm with the alcohol making its presence known first: the blossoms of apple, lemon and some pear follow. Dry finish with Medium+ acid and alcohol again obvious.


Aronui SV Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Nelson 13%
N: A fruit centred beginning followed quite quickly by a vegetal (bell pepper) and herbaceous layer – not too intense; a flinty/stony mineral-like quality follows, with a hint of spice.

P: Plenty of ripe fruit flavours with a mix of tropical and citrus; suggestions of green apple skin.  The herbaceous notes return. Acidity is high and focused, keeping the wine youthful and crisp – balanced by the fruit core. Moderate length an complexity; balanced, youthful still and quite well made with a dry finish.
3.5 Stars