Sunday, 9 June 2013

Fromm Winery

Fromm Winery Tasting at O'Connell Street Bistro (May 2013)

Fromm Clayvin Chardonnay 2010 
Barrel fermented, 100% MLF Mendoza Clone.
Sophisticated, flavours of stonefruit, citrus and gentle oak spices, fine lees; lovely texture, balance and length.
Delicious with a long, fine and textured finish. 5% New French
5 Stars easy

Fromm La Strada Pinot Noir 2010 14%  
15% New French, Quakes Vineyard plus Clayvin fruit
Clean and gentle with a varietal fruit centred lift. Palate reflects the nose with herbal notes  that soon disappear leaving the wine’s fruit, oak, medium+ tannins and core in place. Very nice.
4.5 Stars

Fromm Brancott Valley Pinot Noir 2009 14%
Slightly denser and richer with darker plum and cherry fruits, oak still noticeable but integrating slowly. Palate reflects the nose, taut tannins. 5+ years wine.
4.5 Stars

Fromm Clayvin Pinot Noir 2011
A very clever wine that shows immaculate youth now but is beginning to show its future – give it time. Medium+ concentration with floral and red apple skin, whole berry/juicy carbonic notes.
P: Firm and youthful with medium+ tannins, medium+ length with a Clayvin sophistication. Very good.
4.5 Stars

Fromm Vineyard (wow)
Such a pretty nose, red apple skin and truffles, Chambolle Musigny reminders. Squeeky cherry, youthful, drinkable now, long finish with a short flick of florals and reminder of something special. I really like this wine!
5 Stars (93 points)

Fromm Syrah 2010 13.5% (3% Viognier, 100% old vines 21 years 1 hectare 4 barrels)
A young but fantastic wine. Peppery, meaty, young leather, blackberry and blueberry, dark raspberry. Medium+ length and finish. Very, very good. Buy!
5 Stars

Fromm Malbec 2010 14.5% (21 years unirrigated vines, 100% Malbec)
Varietal and bold with all the wild back and red fruits, sweet aged meats and a cauldron of mystery and depth. Big pepper notes.
P: Juicy, almost sweet, concentrated and wildly bold. Beats many an Argentinean. 4 barrels. 
5 Stars (92 points)

Artisan Wines

Artisan Wines Pinot Gris and Viognier ‘Exceptionnelle’ 2010 (50 gpl RS)
Apricots and peaches, pears and apples – clean. Palate is very pear and apple flavoured with apricot notes. Medium-medium+ acid. Balanced, sweet and juicy. Recommended with moderately spiced Asian cuisine.

Pinot Gris 2012 Marlborough (Biogro) Silver Medal 
Full, luscious and richly fruity Pinot Gris (Marlborough too) – lots of white fleshed fruits, slightly herbal in nature with a residual sugar note. Commercial in style but balanced, lush, and a crowd pleaser.

Artisan Kauri Ridge Chardonnay 2010 13% 
Plenty of Chardonnay character with peaches, vanilla, some texture and MLF – nutty notes from oak, moderate-moderate+ acid. Balanced and well made. Showing some apple notes on the finish – good. 
3.5 Stars

The Matriarch Syrah (and Viognier) 2010 14%  
Floral with a deep(ish) blackberry fruit bouquet, some black and white pepper
 Clay notes.
P reflects the nose with floral notes, a moderate complexity; overall balanced and well made. Medium+ length – not a monster. Could handle more oak. A plum sweet spot – Rhone clone.
3 Stars

Fantail Island 100% Syrah 13%
A more masculine style with Blackberry and Black Doris Plum aromas, then a black and white pepper layer. Moderate complexity.
Dry – I prefer the texture and ‘chew’ factor – feels more like Syrah. Well made with medium+ length. 
3.5 Stars

Dominic CS/Mer/CF/Syr/PV 2010 14.5%
A mixed bag of red and black berry fruits, with complexity , style and presence. The plum and peppery fruits dominate.
P reflects the nose with enough tannins and oak to keep me happy. Medium oak note. No complexity but very satisfying with medium+ length. 
3.5 Stars


Peregrine Pinot Gris 2012 (Dry) Central Otago 14%
N: Spicy and fruity with crisp pear and apple skin suggestions followed by juicy versions of both plus quince and grapey notes.

P: Dry, crisp and vibrant; while the ABV is elevated it adds a warmth and generosity alongside the fruit flavours. Medium+ acid, moderate+ finish and moderate complexity. Balanced and well made.

3 Stars

Tiki Estate

Tiki Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Marlborough 13%
N: Generous, fruit centred, brown spice layers, some red rose and apple skin, even a note of raspberry and English Breakfast Tea.

P: Very youthful – taut and dry – a wine that most certainly requires cellar time to integrate and soften the tannins. The fruits of raspberry and cherry return and are strong, but need time to get to know the tannins. Overall, a sound example with time on its side.

4 Stars.


Maui Chardonnay Waipara 2012 13.5%
N: A lighter and more elegant bouquet with generous, yet not intense, stonefruit aromas of peach; pear follows, then apple. The influence of oak is noticeable yet gentle – lightly spiced with a whisper of vanilla. Overall, very nice.

P: A really good palate feel with just enough spice and texture from the oak followed by flavours of peach, pear, quince and apple. I like the persistency in the finish and length. Medium+ acid, dry and well-made.
A sound choice for a BTG programme, entrees and mains.

3.5 Stars

Tiki Estate

Tiki Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2011 Marlborough 14%
N: Quite a vibrant and up-front expression of Pinot Gris with crisp red apple, crunchy pear and lemon bouquet. A steely note ads a touch of complexity.

P: A very giving wine on the palate – creamy and luscious fruit textures, rich in tree fruit flavours, honeysuckle, and a few floral suggestions. Medium+ acid adds freshness and crispness. The Residual Sugar is enough to tame the alcohol and give a nice overall balance. Medium+ in both finish and length. Moderate+ complexity

4 Stars

Tiki Estate

Tiki Estate Pinot Gris 2011 Waipara 13%
N: A lush yet elegant bouquet with soft pear and apple fruit then a warm, lemon flesh suggestion. A very light oil terpene note adds a little curiosity.

P: Just dry with medium+ acidity – a hint of Residual Sugar keeps the palate’s attention; the flavours of tree fruits and citrus return with a light white pepper spice note on the very end of the finish. Balanced, well made, and still drinking nicely.

3.5 Stars

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Balancing Act

Balancing Act (R.E.W.) Pinot Noir Central Otago 2011 13.5%
N: Varietal, with a mix of fresh and older cherry and light red fruit aromas: the wine smells older than it looks (looks young – ruby rich and pink); the oak signature is quite gentle with some spice influence, a touch of youthful woodiness and vanilla.

P: A fruity, dry and pleasant tasting red wine; the flavours of light red fruits along with the oak and tannins make for a pleasant drink. What I don’t note in this wine is the Central Otago signature of wild thyme, undergrowth and rich dark cherry fruit suggestions. This is not a requirement, but makes me wonder about the effects of the Res V on the natural and pure side of Pinot Noir.

Balancing Act

Balancing Act (R. E. W.) Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand 2012 12.5%
N: Vibrant and zippy bouquet with an herbaceous and grassy beginning, followed by a mix of tree and tropical fruits: apples and passionfruit, a touch of citrus.

P: The texture of this wine is definitely different – creamier and even oily, then the attributes of Sauvignon Blanc arrive and reflect the nose – herbaceous and fruity, medium+ acidity, light+ body. The wine’s texture is atypical. The acid on the finish is a little distracting. I expect a typical Sauvignon Blanc drinker would notice the differences.


SOHO Valentina 2011 Syrah Waiheke Island 12.4%
N: Varietal with a peppery, spicy and raspberry, dark berry bouquet. Forward, fruity and youthful.

P: A wine ready for the dining table – the blend of dark fruits, spices, oak flavours and textures are ripe for the taking – now. That said, this wine should age and integrate for another 2 years

4 Stars


SOHO McQueen 2011 Pinot Noir Central Otago 14.5%
Winemaker: Grant Taylor
N: Varietal, with both floral and pretty Pinot Noir aromas and raspberry, dark cherry fruit centred attributes – a milk chocolate note and moderate oak influence equal a vibrant and youthful opening chapter.

P: Plenty of red fruit flavours begin the palate story with raspberry and darker cherry flavours. The tannins kick in pretty quickly suggesting a wine not yet ready – tannins are vibrant, ripe and very demanding – they draw attention away from the pinosity. This is actually good news – the wine will integrate and age well over the next 3-5 years. A very New World expression that is well made and will impress those who enjoy these attributes in Pinot Noir.

4.5 Stars.  


SOHO ‘Stella’ Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Marlborough 13.3%
Winemaker: David Clouston
N: The bouquet of this example is varietal and quite intense – leaning towards a vegetal and herbal expression with basil, thyme and angelica, red and green bell peppers, then fruit – a mix of peach, apple, some citrus and finally pineapple – no shortage of aroma and bouquet.

P: A balanced collection of fruit, herbal and vegetal attributes that keep the palate busy and reflect what the nose suggests. The finish has some zesty appeal. Medium++ acid – crisp and dry with some saliva-inducing layers as well. Moderate length and finish. Well made.

4 Stars.  


Airfield 2011 (Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Merlot) 13%
N; Wild, sweet flowers, bright berries and new chocolate, with dark berries following. Oak is obvious but in balance with the structure and forward boldness.
P: The key to this wine is its structure with medium+ tannins providing both fine and youthful aggressive attributes. The fruits reflect the darker berries first with the oak signature following. Medium+ complexity and length.
4.5 Stars

Luna Negra 2010 Hillside Malbec 13%
A: Super dark ruby, opaque, with a fuchsia rim.
N: Very ripe and vibrant to the level of jammy, with a sweet, smokey and toasty oak core. Big, bold and rich (zero green).
P: Dry, then immediately dark blackberry, plum and jammy currant – almost prune-like. Tannins to match; long and fruit-full finish.
5 Stars

Pilgrim 2010 Syrah, Mouvedre, Grenache, Cinsault, Viognier 13.5%
N: Whilst the wine has a youthful bouquet of red and black fruits, and a new and older oak signature, it also shows a level of integration from a smidgen of bottle development – all good.
P: A mix of Gigondas and Crozes Hermitage thoughts with a gravelly, earthy layer then plum and black fruits – all piled on top of some well chosen oak. Medium+ tannins – more fine than not. Wine remains youthful and vibrant – excellent
4.5 Stars

Pilgrim Syrah, Mouvedre, Grenache 2011 13%
N: A distinctly different wine with a bigger concentration of black and dark red fruits, sweet newer oak elements, then hints of white pepper and spice. Medium+ complexity – a little hidden in the youth so far.
P = N:  Medium+ tannins – a better meld with the oak. A much bolder wine – masculine overall. Medium++ length. Very good.
4.5 Stars

Stonyridge Larose 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc 13% (24 hours open)
N: Youthful, complex and distinctive with an intricate array of black fruits, leather, brown spices, chocolate, and a large helping of oak. Medium++ complexity. A classic.
P: Reflects the nose - bigger and better texture with considerable length. Much more on the palate than the nose suggests. A classically complex wine with significant length and finish.
5 Stars (90 Points)

Burn Cottage

BurnCottage Pinot Noir 2011 Central Otago 13.8%
N:  Deceiving complexity in what seems at first like a youthful and simple bouquet  – it is not! As swirling allows the wine to take on more oxygen and open, the complexity becomes evident.

P: Equally complex with layers of flavours and tannins that change as the wine opens up. The heart of the wine is not the fruit – it appears to be the synergies from the influences of soil, site, vintage and winemaking. Quite a long finish, balanced and well made.

5 Stars (91 points)


Valli Pinot Noir Gibbston Valley 2011 Central Otago 13.5%
N: A generous, fruit-centred bouquet with raspberry cordial, strawberry and cherry fruit suggestions: deceptively simple with a heart of pinosity beating close by.

P: One out of the bag here: a wine with a lovely concentration of fruit flavours, yet depth and complexity from smart use of oak and tannins. Dry, with medium+ length and medium+ complexity. There is a fine sweet spot to this wine that many could miss. Medium+ length and a finish that ends the wine as it begins – generous, fruit centred. Lovely.

5 Stars.


Valli Pinot Noir Bendigo Vineyard 2011 Central Otago 14%
N: Warmer, richer and more luscious cherry-like fruit flavours with raspberry and red apple skin suggestion. Then a big helping of oak. Separately and together they suggest a wine that is not yet ready to savour. Wild thyme, a core of ripe fruits and toasty oak suggestion with brown spice edges.

P: A delicious wine – very generous with its fruit and oak flavours; the tannins pull my attention back to the fact that this is a young wine with 3+ years required to integrate and bring a different balance. The flavours last and last – a very fine Pinot Noir

5 Stars (92 Points)


Valli Pinot Noir Bannockburn Vineyard 2011 Central Otago 14%
N: A Central Otago stamp with a violet, dark cherry and wild thyme beginning. Raspberry and cherry become the fruit focus with moderate oak influences.

P: Dry, generous, obvious – tasty, young, lively. A Pinot Noir with both a ‘drink now’ and cellar option. Flavours of cherry and raspberry fruits, medium+ fine fruit and oak tannins. Medium+ length and finish. Another memorable Central Otago and Valli example.

5 Stars


Valli Pinot Noir Waitaki Valley North Otago 2011 13.5%
N: The bright ruby appearance seems a very fitting attribute as the bouquet is also very bright with focused cherry, plum and spice. Has a finesse that seems connected to its mineral-like earthy qualities, hints of limestone and schist come to mind.

P: The youth of this wine is obvious with a firmness from the tannins and acidity – yet everything about it is great – with a pinosity that reflects its origin and New World signature. The oak is not overbearing, but rather adds to the vibrant set of flavours and freshness. M+ acid, moderate weight, well made.

5 Stars

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Misha's Vineyard

Misha’sVineyard Verismo 2010 Central Otago 14%
Can regionality show in Central Otago Wines - Yes
N: Dark cherry fruit with violets, plum and red apple skin bouquet. A Central Otago suggestion of schist, undergrowth and power. 

P: Reflects the power and intensity the nose suggests with youthful vivacious red fruits, firm and dry with moderate+ tannins - this adds tension and even a little poise; the texture shows some chalky and powder attributes from the tannins. Plenty of fruit concentration and flavor with medium+ length. Don't misinterpret this as a description of a block buster wine - there is charm and calmness here too - a quiet achiever.

4.5 Stars

Misha's Vineyard

Misha’s Vineyard Impromptu Pinot Noir 2011 Central Otago 14%
N: The first pure expression of fruit promotes some elegant and subtle savoury edges to show (enticing). Liquorice and wild thyme drifts through the bouquet along side a familiar and generous mix of dark cherry fruits and light red berries; this is followed by a brown spices layer from time in oak. Having been to this vineyard three times I am aware of a sense of place in the overall bouquet of this wine (lucky me).

P: The youthful taut, tense structure allows the cranberry/cherry ripeness to show; the cherry and spice flavors re-emerge as does the oak (moderate in intensity); a balanced, dry wine with moderate length. The 'terroir' signal continues on the palate. 2+ years development time yet, but clearly a wine that is drinkable now as well.

4 Stars

Misha's Vineyard

Misha’s Vineyard Limelight Riesling 2012 Central Otago 11.5%
There are many attributes to fine Riesling, but the ones I take notice of most are the way in which the wine captures my attention with its bouquet, and the way in which it follows through on the palate:

N: Mandarin and lime-flower (this will grab you too), then apple and chilled peach tea. Packed with green apple and lemon, even some zest.
P:Generous yet reserved; elegant yet juicy. Residual sugar (28gpl) combines seamlessly with the pristine acidity (high & around 2.88 pH) and a lime-flower finish. This is a fantastic wine.

5 Stars (92 Points)

Misha's Vineyard

Misha’s Vineyard Dress Circle Pinot Gris 2012 Central Otago 14%
N: A pure fruit expression white fleshed fruits with hints of citrus and honeysuckle; spice edges to the apple and pear fruits add a delightful complexity.

P: Follows through on the palate with a medium+ intensity, medium+ acid – balanced, gentle and well made. One thing I especially like about this wine is texture. Ollie (Winemaker) has this really cool ability to visualise how a wine is going to behave on the palate after a given period of time. For this Pinot Gris - the pure fruit expression, medium+ acidity and gentle nudge of residual sugar are in balance and harmony.

4 Stars