Friday, 4 April 2014

Moss Wood

Moss Wood Margaret River 'Ribbon Vale Vineyard' Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2013     
A generous and forward bouquet of sweet and ripe Sauvignon Blanc then gently waxy Semillon - ripe, fresh and baked peaches, pear and apple aromas, medium complexity and quite inviting. On the palate - dry, crisp and firm with youthful acidity followed with the flavors of sweet apple and peach and a distinctive twist of lemon. Very well made, lovely balance, medium+ length and moderate complexity. Very drinkable now, but will continue to dvelop and gain complexity over the next 2 to 3 years.
4.5 Stars
 Moss Wood Margaret River 'Moss Wood Vineyard' Semillon 2013
Lots of peaches and citrus aromas especially sweet peach and baked lemon with a touch of grapefruit, then a drift of hay and mild grassy notes - so there is a measure of complexity here. On the palate - dry, crisp, lively and punchy - there's plenty of citrus peel and grapefruit flavor alongside a nudge of peach. High acidity and a steely firmness of youth. Balanced yet very youthful, medium- in body and medium to medium+ length. Well made. Smart alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.
4 Stars
 Moss Wood Margaret River 'Moss Wood Vineyard' Chardonnay 2012
Quite a powerful yet familiar bouquet of Chardonnay - attractive, round, rich and complex; with baked stone fruits, raw brown sugar, popcorn and butterscotch suggestions, plenty of oak vanillin  as well. On the palate - dry with lots of nutty, creamyness and flavor - baked stone fruits again, spicy oak and butterscotch, full-bodied. Takes 3 tastes to get all that this wine offers. Lovely balance with medium+ complexity and length. A very tasty wine - think I'll have this with dinner tonight! Yum.
5 Stars (90 Points)

Moss Wood Margaret River 'Ribbon Vale Vineyard' Merlot 2011
A very attractive bouquet of dark red fruits centering on Doris plum then blackberry fruits - all wrapped up in a blanket of toasty oak - but not too much; medium complexity; there's also a dense dark rose layer which adds complexity and a feminine charm; On the palate - dry with a velvet textured mix of dark red plums and black fruits, a touch of licorice and five spice; medium tannins and medium acidity; balanced, medium+ length and complexity. Balanced and well made.
This is a very charming and very approachable wine that lends itself to foods of a similar nature or after dinner post coffee - you'll see what I mean when you do this.
4 Stars

Moss Wood Margaret River 'Moss Wood Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Lots of 'Berry' fruits in the bouquet with blackberry leading the charge flanked by blueberry and blackcurrant, dark cherry makes a show; non-fruit aromas include sweet tobacco, bitter chocolate and a gentle herbaceous quality - it's all Cabernet, but with the added advantage of 3 years in bottle as well showing off the harmony that is in development: on the palate - dry and moderately rich, masculine and full of toasty oak centered black fruits with a touch of Marmite, brown sugar and brown spices.
Overall a satisfying example with both drink now and age-worthy attributes; medium acidity, medium++ body; medium+ tannins, balanced, well made and with a longish finish.
4.5 Stars

Moss Wood Margaret River 'Ribbon Vale Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2011
 Quite the 'classic' bouquet of a Bordeaux blend with its New World twist - generous and masculine bouquet of fresh and poached black and red fruits with a strong reminder of oak - toasted wood, brown spices and baked vanilla; medium+ complexity and quite forward. On the palate - dry and immediate full of texture and flavor - spice laden dark berry fruits, medium+ oak, tobacco, bitter chocolate and savory plum; there is a little earthyness with a sweet brown soil suggestion; medium+ acid, medium++ tannins, balanced, still developing yet quite quite approachable now; medium+ length. Delightful!
5 Stars

Moss Wood Margaret River 'Amy's' Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec & Merlot 2012
Full, rich and complex bouquet - fruit and oak laden with black cherry, blackberry, wild red fruits, milk chocolate and very toasty oak and barrel aromas. The palate reflects the nose exactly with medium+ acidity and medium++ tannins, quite dry, but packed with fruit and bold flavors. Balanced, long finish and medium+ complexity. This is a fabulous wine for food especially Osso buco type dishes or stinky cheese. Well made and a blend that Moss Wood will hopefully keep making.
5 Stars (91 Points)

Folding Hill

Folding Hill Pinot Noir 2011 Bendigo Central Otago 14%
Quite a youthful bouquet with taut aromas of light red fruits - freeze-dried raspberry and sweet black cherry and plum, a hint of peppery fruit spice and soft dried herb  qualities; medium+ influence of oak; On the palate - dry with a youthfully taut palate showing off the vibrant fruit quality and cooler climate of Otago with medium+ acidity; the oak is noticable, but only because the wine is young and requires some integration time, medium fine tannins. Balanced with medium+ length and complexity.
5 Stars

Folding Hill Pinot Noir 2012 Bendigo Central Otago 14%
A very youthful bouquet with fresh, lively and tart smelling fruits - lots of cherry and cranberry notes along with red apple skin; moderate yet noticeable oak and moderate complexity. On the palate - dry with a noticeable core of ripe and sweet fruit - very generous in this regard; moderate bite of oak, medium+ acidity, medium+ fine tannins. Blanced with medium+ complexity and length. Well made and destined to cellar well for 5+ years.
5 Stars

Doctors Flat

Doctors Flat Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012       13.5%
A bouquet with complexity, depth and charm - very floral driven light red fruits with black cherry and baked raspberry; plenty of select brown oak spices and and soft herb attributes. On the palate - dry with medium+ complexity (and building) showing off the harmony between fruit, oak and wine making skill; very gentle soft herb notes alongside a medium terroir layer; medium+ acidity (just), medium+ tannins - quite fine with a mix of fruit and oak; balanced and very well made with a long finish.
5 Stars

Devil's Staircase

Devil's Staircase Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013      13.5%
Light red and wild, slightly broody red fruits bouquet with a very fresh and lively appeal; no oak influences - it's all about the fruit for this wine so will match a lot of late summer fare or wild, earthy and smokey game foods. On the palate - dry with lots of wild berries and cherries; balanced with medium length, medium+ acidity and moderate finish.
3 Stars


SOHO Pinot Noir  Marlborough 13% (Wine Maker Dave Clouston)
A very vibrant and fruity expression with aromas of red cherry fruits, raspberry and strawberries, moderate oak and mild complexity. On the palate - a dry wine with lots of juicy fruit flavors, medium+ acidity and medium tannins, mild oak again means that this wine is very approachable now and through 2015. Balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars


Mahi Marlborough 2012 Pinot Noir 13%
Now we're talking......a striking bouquet of pure light red fruits lead by red cherry - macerated and fresh, oak spices show a youthful integration point as well as touches of brown spice and vanilla; the natural ferment shows as a layer of complexity, quite complex and interesting as the wine warms in the glass; On the palate - dry and complex with flavors of light red fruits, oak spices and plenty of texture (bottled unfiltered), fine tannins a mix of mostly fruit and some oak; well balanced and well made with medium+ acidity, medium+ fine tannins and a longish finish.
Highly recommended.
5 Stars

Mahi Ward Farm 2012 Pinot Noir Marlborough 13.5%
The expression of place is well evidenced in this example with a mushroom edge to the fruits, particular use of oak, macerated and juicy red and dark red cherry fruits, red apple skin and red velvet roses in the bouquet; over quite feminine. On the palate - dry and very youthful with flavors that reflect the nose - cherry fruits with wild raspberry edges, particular and more noticeable oak flavors and spices, fine tannins - mostly fruit with some keen oak tannin influences, medium+ acidity; balanced and well made with a long finish and medium+ (and building) complexity.
A lovely example!
5 Stars (90 Points)

Jacob's Creek

Jacob's Creek Blend 'Your White Blend' Limited Release NV (Australian Wine) 11.2%
Fruity with aromas of pear and citrus; on the palate a simple wine with flavors that reflect the nose, medium+ acidity; balanced with a dry(ish) finish. Well made.

Jacob's Creek Blend 'Your Red Blend' Limited Release NV (Australian Wine) 14.3%
Very fruity with aromas of cherry and plum and a little blackberry; on the palate a dry wine, quite warm too with noticeable heat from the alcohol, flavors of plums and black fruits with a layer of brown spices from oak use. Well made.

Charcoal Gully

Charcoal  Gully Central Otago Gewurztraminer ' Sally's Pinch' 2013      14%
Very floral and quite gentle, but still showing the signature that is Gewurztraminer - lots of fruits - mostly white flesh with a tropical layer and plenty of spice; On the palate - almost dry with some warming alcohol adding weight and intensity; flavors of white fruits  - apple and nectarine alongside some warm spices, medium acidity, a touch of ginger and clove. Balanced if not a little warm, medium length and moderate complexity. Overall very nice.
3 Stars

Mud House

Mud House Pinot Gris Marlborough 2013       13.5%
Juicy fruit aromas of fresh pear and apple slices, poached pear and sweet apple juice; some spicy floral layers add a little complexity to an otherwise simple bouquet; On the palate - just dry with a small measure of residual sugar; flavors of sweet apple and pear return with a floral and white spice note (pepper); balanced and well made with medium+ acidity and moderate finish.
3 Stars

Devil's Staircase

Devil's Staircase Central Otago Pinot Gris 2013       13% (Rockburn Wines CO)
Quite a fruity bouquet with aromas of red apple and crisp pear, quite simple, but inviting; On the palate - off dry with a little sugar to balance the crisp juicy acidity; flavors of apples and pears return with a light peach note; some mineral flavors add a touch of complexity. Overall a fresh, balanced and well made Gris; medium length and moderate complexity. Nice!
3.5 Stars


Greystone Waipara Valley 2012 Pinot Gris 13%
Steely, stony, fruity and individual; aromas of cider apple and pear skin with a wet stone mineral note; On the palate - a dry wine with flavors that reflect the nose; medium+ acidity and moderate length. Overall balanced and very approachable. Enjoy now and through 2014.


Ceres 'Composition' Pinot Gris 2012 Central Otago 14%
A fruity yet mineral laden bouquet with spicy schist-like aromas and a gentle wild thyme quality; On the palate - a very tasty wine with emphasis on the flavors of the fruits and the swing between the acidity and residual sugar, the texture is great with some lees work adding a chewy layer; overall a well made wine with great balance, medium+ length and complexity. 
5 Stars
What is also exciting about this example is that its youthful qualities are in tact well past 12 months in bottle.


HALO by Sacred Hill Wines Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013      12.5%
A generous fruity mix of citrus and stone fruits with a soft yet noticeable grassy note, moderate complexity and very enticing bouquet overall. On the palate - very juicy and fruity with lots of lemon and citrus flavors, a little apple and peach; dry finish with medium++ acidity and refreshing appeal, steely; the grassy herbaceous notes remain noticeable, but not a driving force in this wine; Balanced with medium length and complexity. As usual a very well made wine from the team at Sacred Hill.
4 Stars


Rockburn Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc 2012 13%
It is not often that a Sauvignon Blanc from the soils Central Otago comes to the attention of writers and reviewers such as myself - so when one does - I take a keen interest in what story the wine has to tell. There's no doubt the the aroma and flavor profile of CO SB is different from their neighbor up the hill in Blenheim, but it should still show its varietal roots and key expression:

Soil and climate laden bouquet with schist and cold stone qualities; a light herbal quality precedes the fruit aromas of green melon skin and peach, then spicy pear and a little red apple; the spice aromas also reflect a little natural ferment and oak: On the palate - the use of some oak is evident, but does not interfere with the core fruit signature and soil flavors )(this is not an oaky wine) - if anything the complexity is enhanced by the use of oak; Balanced with medium+ length and complexity, a dry finish and very rewarding SB experience.
5 Stars

Wild South

Wild South Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough 12.5%
'Classic' Marlborough expression with an abundance of red apple and citrus aromas contrasted by grassy herbaceous qualities; On the palate - dry with a medium+ intensity; lush and ripe fruits lead by apple and citrus and a little peach; acidity is high and crisp as well as refreshing; Steely too; Balanced and well made with medium+ length and moderate overall complexity.
4 Stars


Mahana Riesling 2013 Nelson 13%
Lots of crisp and clearly defined aromas of grape fruit, lemon and green apple; there's a light white floral note and a stony mineral layer; On the palate - a dry wine with lots of apple and pear flavors along with grape fruit and that stony mineral layer again; Balanced with moderate complexity and medium plus length. A well made example from organically farmed soils.
3 Stars

Greystone Wines

Greystone Waipara Valley 2011 Riesling 11.5%
Apricots and limes, flowers and apples - there's plenty of aromatic appeal on the nose; On the palate - off dry with a mild sweetness then a power hit of acidity that engulfs the palate and makes this wine very tasty indeed; apricots and apples with a mandarin lift, lots of limestone minerality - which is a key feature; medium++ acidity and length; balanced and well made - a delight to taste.
5 Stars

Rock Ferry Wines

Rock Ferry Marlborough 2012 Riesling 12%
Lemon and lime zest on the nose with white florals especially rose, sweet red and green apple and fresh, crisp lift; on the palate - crisp and dry with lots of zesty lemon and grapefruit flavors, medium+ acidity, the phenolics on the back palate add a touch of bitterness - this both stretches the palate and distracts a little; that said it reflects the wine makers intentions of Riesling as an individual expression; medium length.

Rock Ferry Central OtagoTrig Hill 2012 Riesling 12%
Minerality, mandarin and lime - 3 attributes in Riesling that make me smile (Central Otago has a soil, climate and fruit ripening micro-climates to make many varieties look and taste fantastic); on the palate a youthful expression with plenty of bite and spice from the fruit; red and green apple, mandarin and lime flavors all wrapped up in high acidity with a mineral and steely bite at its core; dry finish making it a versatile food wine, moderate length and complexity. Overall a sound wine that for me - would also make a decent aperitif.
3 Stars

Rock Ferry Marlborough 2012 Pinot Blanc14%
Some Pinot Gris like attributes with spiced pear and apple aromas, there's a little more weight to the bouquet and complexity too with a chalk and white florals layer; on the palate - dry and fruity with lots of apple fruit flavors, even a cider note, white florals and white chalk-like note; a hint of white pepper then pear and apple flavors return; balanced and dry with medium length and complexity. A wine I would recommend to have on any wine list - uber food friendly.
3.5 Stars

Rock Ferry Marlborough 2012 Sauvignon Blanc 13.5%
Very herbal and forward with green and red bell-pepper aromas (capsicum) followed by aromas of peach, lemon and passion fruit; on the palate - dry with flavors that directly reflect the nose; a little residual sugar brings balance and depth to the palate. A very nice wine, but has a particular SB fan base who like that herbaceous, grassy and fruity appeal. Balanced with medium+ length and moderate complexity.
3 Stars

Rock Ferry Central Otago 2012 Pinot Gris14.5%
Lots of varietal attributes with pear, peach and yellow apple aromas, moderate spice notes; on the palate - a delicious wine with warmth and generosity, plenty of fruit flavor and intensity; medium+ acidity, moderate mineral flavors; balanced with medium length and complexity. Highly recommended.
4 Stars

Rock Ferry Marlborough 2010 Chardonnay 14.5%
Lots of creamy French vanilla ice-cream and peaches aromas with a back ground of quality oak and ripe fruit at its core; on the palate - dry with an abundance of fruit and oak flavors - the length on the palate is fantastic with lots of creamy textures and flavors of ripe fruits woven in oak spice, warmth from alcohol and a charming complexity. Balanced and well made with medium+ length and moderate complexity overall.
4 Stars

Rock Ferry Marlborough 2013 Botrytised Riesling12.5%
Lots of honey, caramel, apple treacle and preserved white fruit aromas. On the palate - sweet 8/10 on the sweetness scale - plenty of flavor and texture with a creamy, lushness as well as a light lees driven note. Deliciously sweet and flavorful - dessert in a glass. Medium+ acidity, full-bodied and quite rich. Balanced and well made.
4 Stars


Forrest Riesling 2012 Marlborough 12%
Floral and limey with aromas of jasmine and white rose followed by citrus and apple; on the palate - just dry with medium++ refreshing acidity and medium- weight; the flavors of sweet apple and lemon with peach and pear follow; a fresh and lively wine that will complement many light weighted dishes and gently sweet seafood (scallops).
3.5 Stars

Forrest Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough 12.5%
Striking bouquet of pungent and lively tropical fruits, herbacousness and steely attack - there's no mistaking the Marlborough and signature of Sauvignon Blanc with this example; on the palate - dry with just a nudge of residual sugar then all the flavors describes earlier come crashing onto the palate - peach, pineapple, apple and lemon; high acidity, light-bodied, lush and with medium+ length. A highly recommended example.
4 Stars
Forrest Pinot Gris 2013 Marlborough 12.5%
lots of pear and yellow apple fruit suggestion, a hint of white spice - otherwise a sound and appealing bouquet; on the palate - just dry with lots of pear flesh and apple flavors; this example also has a floral side which can be a rare find in Gris; fruity with a dry(ish) finish, medium+ acidity and medium- weight; balanced and well made with a medium finish.
3 Stars

Forrest Chardonnay 2011 Marlborough 13%
An immediate and gentle complexity on the nose with a mix of lees, soft oak spices, white fruits and a little citrus peel along with some bottle age - makes for an enticingly attractive bouquet; on the palate - dry with a creamy texture packed with flavors of citrus first and peach and vanilla and soft lees complexity; balanced with medium+ length and medium+ subtle complexity; well made and tasty!
4.5 Stars 

Forrest Pinot Noir 2012 Marlborough 13.5%
Fruity with lots of ripe cranberry, cherry and red apple aromas; there's a distinctive herbal quality that adds complexity and even a little masculinity, medium oak influences; on the palate - dry, fruity and very appealing; the tannins in combination with the herbal qualities add complexity and backbone while the fruits are ripe enough to add a little charm and distraction; balanced and well made with medium length and complexity. A wine to recommend with rack of lamb gently seasoned with fresh herbs and a little jus on the side.
4 Stars

Forrest Botrytised Riesling 2012 Marlborough 9.5%
A fantastic bouquet of poached pear, beeswax honey, spices and toffee apple - complex! On the palate - 8/10 on the sweetness scale, but has the acidity to more than balance this attribute; fresh lively and sweet with medium+ weight and complexity and a long exciting finish. You will love this wine - I did!
5 Stars

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Gunn Estate

Gunn Estate 2013 Hawke's Bay Chardonnay Reserve 13.5%
A very generous bouquet centering on bright, ripe stone fruits of sweet peach and a little apricot followed by apples; the familiar nuances of oak with a creamy gentle vanilla note completes the bouquet. On the palate - dry with a spicy hit of oak and acidity then some creamy textures which then reveal peach and fruit flavors; a balanced and very approachable wine, medium length and with mild complexity. Well made and very smart for around $20.00 retail.
3 Stars

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


SOHO Wines 'Carter' 2013 Chardonnay Waiheke Island 14.7%
When this wine is first opened and a sample poured the bouquet offers some deliciously ripe stone fruit aromas followed by a simple yet bold expression of oak - together = Chardonnay. The other nice  aspect about the bouquet is the gentle complexity created in part by a nutty layer (the label suggests hazelnut) that for me is somewhat hazelnut yet more like brazil and cashew (I know - splitting hairs). On the palate warm and rich in character with all the flavors that the nose suggests with a creamy if not a touch youthfully course texture, medium+ acidity and length. The only challenge for some who try this wine (not me) is the noticeable warmth from the alcohol - the fruit, acidity and character of this example are well balanced.
4 Stars
Pretty cool website - check it out: - or click the SOHO link above