Sunday, 27 July 2014

Mahurangi River Winery

Mahurangi River Winery Reserve Syrah 2013 Matakana 13%
Very dark ruby appearance with a deep crimson hue and pink rim
Not due for release till early 2015 - this is a sneak preview........the bouquet is bold, dense and rich in varietal character: lots of fresh dark berry smells with a wild raspberry core; white pepper corn, violets & velvet red flowers and some serious oak.
On the palate - dry and youthfully tense with fruit tannins commanding the texture and emphasizing some of the oak spice as well; medium+ acidity and lots of red and black fruit flavors with some obvious oak flavor as well; The finish is lengthy and persistent.
While not yet ready for release this is a wine that reveals its potential extremely well - I am reminded and excited that Matakana should not be forgotten when it comes to Syrah and that well tended vines alongside a smart and dedicated wine maker make all the difference.
Well done to the Mahurangi talent behind this example.
4.5 Stars

I first tasted this example around 2:30 pm and then again at 9:30 pm for this tasting note - my initial excitement (doesn't take much with a quality wine) was further enhanced by reviewing the wine again after being open for several hours.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Te Kairanga

TK Te Kairanga 2013 Chardonnay Martinborough 14%
A very striking and attractive bouquet with fresh and roasted stone fruit aromas cuddled against youthful French oak suggestions; New World fruit core and light mineral suggestions;
On the palate - dry with the flavors of fruit and oak - as described above - fighting for attention on the palate - each doing well; medium+ acidity. A wine that perhaps should have more time in bottle for those who can wait. For those who cannot - be sure to serve in a large Chardonnay glass and enjoy with food (perhaps cheese).
3.5 Stars

TK Te Kairanga John Martin Chardonnay 2013 14%
An elegant bouquet with a creamy alluring subtlty; apples, pears and peaches mark the fruit signature followed by gentle spiced, but bold oak; a wine that already displays complexity and even a little charm.
On the palate - dry, creamy and elegant with baked apple, peach and roasted pear flavors; medium+ oak and acidity; while the wine is showing its youth it is drinking well - it has great potential with a lovely structure and finish. Very well made indeed.
4.5 Stars

Te Mania

Te Mania Nelson Gewurztraminer 2013 13%
A gentle fragrance that begins to unfold and reveal floral aromas and white fleshed fruits suggestions after a few minutes; youthful, fresh and feminine with a light white spice layer.
The palate shows a wine that is deliciously dry and packed with the flavors of tree and stone fruits, spice and rose; a hint of tannin adds texture and finish.
A balanced, youthful well made example.
3.5 Stars

Te Mata Estate

Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2013 14%
85% SB; 9% Sem; 6%SavGris
A striking bouquet that is both generous and demanding: the Semillon stands out on the nose and is enhanced by the barrel-fermentation - a waxy white flower - almost sexy charm; the rest of the bouquet is a little hidden by the oak (that's okay) I notice the light herbaceous undercurrent of Sauvignon Blanc. Overall a very inviting and powerful beginning.
On the palate - youthful, punchy, chewy and packed with white fruits, white flowers and that Semillon/Oak waxy charm. Plenty of, but not too much oak, medium++ acidity and a lengthy finish. 
A great wine to rival some northern hemisphere counterparts.
5 Stars

Te Mata Estate 'Elston' Chardonnay 2013 Hawke's Bay 14%
A classic - yet refined and elegant - Hawke's Bay Chardonnay bouquet - a gentle creaminess on the nose suggests a light creme brulee note. The oak has a keenness but also a note of subtlety - French Vanilla fragrance. Peaches and ripe red apple fruit suggestions. Medium+ complexity.
On the palate - dry, warm, bold and flavorful. There's much to talk about here with some classic New World attributes - peachy fruity core and a juicy fleshy layer; plenty of oak that is enhanced by the generous alcohol. There is a nutty and brulee-like layer too that brings this wine together demonstrating that is might just need some cellar time or the perfect food accompaniment. Creamy textures and medium+ acidity; Well made and very bold.
4 Stars

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Mahurangi River Winery

Mahurangi River Winery Roussanne Viognier 2013 Matakana (Akl) 13%
An elegant and inviting bouquet with fruit suggestions of baked apple, baked pineapple and apricot; there is also a waxy floral note that adds charm and a touch of the feminine. There is no doubting the influence of oak - a driving force yet one that seems well placed.
On the palate - dry with flavors of oak and white fruits; a little spice and vanilla; medium+(ish) acidity, lovely weight and balance with medium+ length.
This is the most promising wine I have encountered from the Mahurangi stable to date - well done to all concerned.
4 Stars

Mud House

Mud House Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013 13.5%
A bouquet packed with bright light red fruit aromas - red and black cherry with freeze-dried raspberry suggestions and lots of red apple skin - youthful and forward.
On the palate - a dry wine that suggests and invites a 'drink now and enjoy' collection of flavors - all reflective of the bouquet; medium+(ish) acidity, medium tannins - quite fine with a youthful 2013 grip; balanced and well made with a medium finish.
3.5 Stars

Neudorf Vineyards

Neudorf Vineyards Moutere Pinot Noir 2012 13.5%
A gentle bouquet at first then its tendrils begin to unfold and reveal a wine of depth and complexity: ripe, fresh, perfumed and charming. It is also a bouquet that shows the youthful side of this example with a nervousness that needs time in glass/decanter but most likely a cellar.
On the palate - dry and flavorful; varietal and poised. This is a wine that has the potential to age gracefully and for a long time - the light red fruits core are contrasted by youthful tannins which have a nervous grip; medium+ acidity and medium+ oak suggestions. 
Cellar (min 3 yrs) or decant several hours before service.
4.5 Stars

Sacred Hill

Sacred Hill 'Halo' Pinot Gris Marlborough 2013 13.5%
A classico Gris with all the hallmarks of its variety and smart wine making: sweet white pepper-laced white fleshed fruits (stone and tree) a light peach layer and red apple suggestions. On the palate - a dry wine - yet gives the impression of a little residual sugar from a rounded texture & ripe generous fruit core (nicely done); medium+ acidity adds a fresh appeal and length. Balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars

Villa Maria

Villa Maria Private Bin Early Release Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 13%
A vibrant and generous bouquet with sweet and fresh herb laced fruits - grapefruit and apple; crisp pear and lemon. On the palate - the wine is very crisp with a jelapeno like pepperyness off-set by ripe fruit flavors and a sweet herbaceous lift. Balanced, tasty and fun!
4 Stars

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Organic Merlot 2013 Hawke's Bay 13.5%
Deep bright ruby appearance with crimson edges.
Ripe and immensely fruity bouquet with suggestions of both black and red fruits - dark cherry and plum with wild blackberry; moderate oak suggestion and a definitive complexity. On the palate - a dry wine that immediately shows off its fruit core; medium dusty and youthful tannins add texture and length. A wine sure to develop more complexity and harmony as it ages through the next 2-4 years. Very well made indeed.
4.5 Stars 

Saint Clair

Saint Clair Family Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 'Bright Light' 2014 9.5%
A distinctly fruity bouquet with pungent aromas of fresh tree fruits especially apple; plenty of tropical fruits and a grassy/herbaceous note. The palate is soft and plush with a fruit salad of flavors driving the palate. Simple, individual and easy with lower alcohol and a lightly creamy texture.

Saint Clair Family Estate Marlborough Riesling 'Bright Light' 2014 9%
Sweet citrus aromas with lemon and mandarin followed by apples and pear suggestions; fragrant and inviting; The palate is fruity and juicy with a lemonade - like reminder; medium crisp acidity and finish; balanced and well made.