Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Methode Marlborough

Summerhouse Blanc de blancs 2010 Methode Traditionelle 12.5% Marlborough
(100% Ch)
Very fragrant bouquet with a sweet lemon and white peach fruit set; moderate+ autolysis and harmonious complexity. On the palate - dry, crisp and quite citrusy with lemon and grapefruit flavors showing before the white peach; crisp and refreshing mouse with a punchy  and generous texture capturing the autolysis and acidity driving into a moderate+ finish. Delicious aperitif style.
4 Stars

Hunter's 'Miru Miru' Non Vintage 12.5% (Ch, PN, PM) Marlborough
Full, bold and richer bouquet with aromas of stone fruit, pear, apple and soft autolysis drive; moderate + complexity overall. On the palate - quite explosive with a demanding mousse packed with bubble; dry and crisp too with flavors of apple, pear and white peach; gentle autolysis and a light lemon note on the finish; Medium length and complexity. A longish finish with a mealy texture and appetizing flavor.
4 Stars

Johanneshof Cellars 'Emmi' Methode Tradionnelle Brut 2007 12.5% Marlborough 
Golden hues and very bright appearance with aromas of a wine that has development secondary aromas through time in bottle - a complex and nutty bouquet with dried peach and pear flesh; an integrated autolysis and bready/brioche toastyness. On the palate - dry, full, rich and complex - a fabulous wine where fresh fruit sits alongside drier versions of the same, a toasty brioche and autolysis harmony and a nutty richness that can only come with time in bottle. The mousse has softened yet retains power and subtlety carrying a medium+ acidity and long finish. Delicious example!
5 Stars

Tohu 'Rewa' Methode Tradionnelle Blanc de Blanc  2011 12% Marlborough
Very inviting and traditional bouquet of freshness, developing autolysis, strawberry, peach and lemon peel; moderate and developing complexity. On the palate - the theme continues with a fresh and generous display of strawberry and citrus with peachy highlights; high, crisp and fresh acidity - which is quite silky and leading into a lengthy finish. A wine to invest in and cellar for another 2-3 years and discover its potential.
4.5 Stars

Spy Valley 'Echelon' Methode Tradionelle 2010 Brut 12.5% Marlborough
A bouquet of a wine that has reached a precise level of development and harmony with aromas of fresh and drying tree and stone fruits, a moderate and measured level of toasty bottle development and a gentle nutty-ness that teases the nose, but does not overpower it. On the palate - dry and quite fruity still with lots of peach, apple and citrus flavors; the texture from the mouse is fresh, lively and firm - so plenty of cellar time available. Mild nutty note and moderate+ length. Balanced and well made with a medium+ finish.
4.5 Stars

Daniel Le Brun Methode Traditioneelle Brut NV 12.5% Marlborough
Distinctive bouquet with lots of fruit messages - lemon, lime and green apple; medium+ autolysis suggestions and a moderate+ toasty quality. On the palate - dry to very dry with plenty of crisp acidity helping this attribute along; flavors of peach and apple laced with citrus dominate the palate with a moderate autolysis and biscuity quality; generous and full mousse; great balance and length.
4 Stars

Allan Scott Family Winemakers Blanc de Blancs Brut NV Reserve 12.5% Marlborough 
A bouquet packed with the aromas of Chardonnay with white and yellow peach laced with citrus and apple; fresh youthful autolysis suggestions and an inviting chalky/floral perfume. On the palate - dry, crisp and fruity with flavors that reflect the nose; a light biscuity layer and high acidity push the messages of citrus then peach; light autolysis moments; full rich and explosive mousse; balanced and well made with a moderate finish; delightful aperitif style.
4 Stars

Nautilus Estate Cuvee Marlborough NV Brut Methode Traditionnelle 12%
Distinctive, complex, layered and rich in character: roasted stone fruits, spice and a savory complexity. On the palate - dry, rich, savory and complex - the flavors just keep on coming with a citrus and apple moments then back to stone fruits; developed autolysis and nutty richness add further character; crisp fresh acidity. A long lasting finish makes this a very special wine indeed.
5 Stars+

Monday, 22 December 2014

Murdoch James

Murdoch James Martinborough Estate 2012 Pinot Noir 13%
A wine showing a developing bouquet to match its color (garnet and ruby) with a Burgundian earthy quality, light red fruit aromas of macerated cherry and old strawberry with some red apple skin and brown spice suggestions. On the palate - dry and 'old school' with earthy flavors mixed in with red fruits and gentle floral notes; fine tannins; medium+ acidity, brown spices and a medium+ finish. Nice wine, well suited to food.
4 Stars


Selaks Founders Limited Edition Hawke's Bay 2013 Chardonnay 13%
Spicy peach skin, stone fruit and sweet red apple aromas - laced with the tickle of new and used oak spices - a touch of raw sugar and sawdust - overall quite complex yet familiar. On the palate - dry, gently creamy, full-bodied and rich in flavor; youthful, warm and spicy with oak; roasted stone fruit flavors; medium+ acidity and medium+ finish. One for the cellar (3 yrs) or decant for service.
4.5 Stars

Selaks Founders Limited Edition Hawke's Bay 2013 Pinot Noir 13.5%
Juicy and ripe light red fruit aromas lead by warm red cherry, sweet cranberry and red apple skin and a touch of violet; gentle brown spices from obvious, but not overdone oak - adding complexity and a little charm. On the palate - dry, youthful with medium+ acidity and firm yet fine tannins. This wine seems destined for the cellar till 2015 before trying again and I expect will be longer lived than many of its contemporaries. Flavors of lighht red fruits return; medium (+/-) weight and a longish finish.
4.5 Stars

Saint Clair Family Estate

Saint Clair Family Estate 'Omaka Reserve' 2013 Chardonnay 13.5%
Lots of vanilla, sweet creamy oak, toasted wood notes and sweet peach aromas. On the palate - dry, creamy, lush and full of peach, apple and stone fruit flavors with a hint of citrus; as always a balanced and well made wine from the SC stable - this wine in particular has the concentration of fruit that is more than a match for the barrel flavors; medium+ acidity and medium+ finish.
4 Stars

The 3rd Man

The 3rd Man Riesling 2012 Waipara 9.5%
Sweet red and green apple, lots of yellow skin lemon, kaffir lime leaf and white flowers. On the palate - off dry with some sweetness (med to dry), lots of luscious mouth watering acidity and flavors of sweet citrus - mandarin and kaffir lime with juicy red apple and mineral like complexity. A balanced wine with medium+ finish.
4.5 stars

Mudbrick Vineyard

Mudbrick Vineyard Reserve Viognier 2014 Waiheke Island 14.5%
A bouquet full of oak spice, baked stone fruits and and a sense of place: spice and citrus notes from a moderate French oak, baked, canned and dried apricots, yellow florals and a full rich bouquet overall. On the palate - immediately creamy then spicy then warm then flavors of citrus, stone fruit and oak arrive; medium acidity, medium+ weight; a rounded full style that deserves the right food accompaniment.
4 Stars

Mud House

Mud House Riesling Waipara Valley 2014
The bouquet is lead by aromas of lemon skin, lime peel and red apple with white Rosé and ‘old fashioned’ lemonade suggestions. Medium-dry on the palate with lots of homemade lemonade flavours laced with ginger; fresh red and green apple; high acidity keeps the palate fresh. Overall this is a generous, fleshy and tasty wine that will please many Riesling fans who try it.

4 Stars


Mahana Riesling Nelson 2013 13%
Aromas of red and green apple laced with grapefruit and lemon citrus - all highlighted with a whiff of white rose and silty mineral complexity. On the palate - dry and quite taut with lots of acidity - pinking on the palate - this emphasises the lime and citrus skin flavors as well as the phenolics of a youthful wine; a food wine in a light weight mold and a shortish finish.
Best served as an Aperitif with lemon or citrus juice on top.


Amisfield Dry Riesling 2013 Central Otago 11%
Mandarin and lime flower, soft sweet apple, orange blossom and a touch of sherbet. On the palate - as the label suggest (dry) with a sting in the acidity highlighting the preciseness of citrus flavors and green apple; light bodied, aperitif style, balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars

Amisfield 'Lowburn Terrace' Riesling 2011 Central Otago 8.6%
Crisp, floral and fruity with mineral suggestions - lots of sweet lemon dusted with powdered sugar, green and red apple and a youthful grapefruit scent. On the palate - off dry with lots of sweetness, but nicely contrasted with highish acidity; this emphasises the lemon and apple flavors, lengthens the finish and shows off the mineral notes. Good job!
4.5 Stars

Villa Maria

Villa Maria Arneis East Coast 2013 Private Bin 13%
Fruity, but also quite floral with aromas of white flower then hints of apple, pineapple and citrus flesh. On the palate - a crisp, dry and fruity wine with flavours of citrus and citrus peel, apple and a touch of quince; medium+ acidity and a moderate finish; balanced and well made.
3 Stars

Villa Maria Arneis Hawke's Bay 2013 Cellar Selection 13%
Fruity and quite intense with aromas of sweet lemon, pear and yellow apple; some floral and light spice suggestions. On the palate - dry and quite fruity with a light tropical fruit note, but mostly ripe citrus and tree fruit flavors; medium++ acidity, medium body and a fine crisp 
finish. Clean , fresh, balanced and well made with alight mineral note on the finish.
3.5 Stars

Villa Maria Verdelho Ihumatao Organic Vineyard Auckland 2013 13.5%
Fruity, spicy and very lightly herbaceous: - aromas of green melon and a hint of lychee then ripe citrus and tree fruit. On the palate - dry, spicy and fruity with the flavors suggested above all in play; high crisp and fresh acidity; a very clean lean aperitif style with a moderate finish.
3.5 Stars

Villa Maria Viognier Hawke's Bay 2014 Cellar Selection 14.5%
Fruity and quite rich in character with aromas of stone fruit lead by apricot then peach, red apple and a creamy gentle vanilla spice note. On the palate - dry yet quite rich in flavors with lots of fresh and baked stone fruit flavors, a moderately creamy texture, varietal spiciness medium acidity. A fairly lengthy finish; great balance and very tasty overall.
4 Stars

Villa Maria Lightly Sparkling 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 13%
Fresh, grassy, herbaceous and pungent aromas of SB; grapefruit, apple and lemon fruit suggestions as well. On the palate - as the label suggests a lightly sparkling wine with lots of fresh fruit flavor - lemon and dry lemonade, apple and lightly herbaceous notes; crisp acidity and light weight. Overall a sound, balanced and well made wine.
3 Stars

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Murdoch James

Murdoch James Single Vineyard 'Blue Rock' Syrah 2012 14%
Meaty, savory, white smoke and a mix of berry fruit aromas alongside a mild pepper quality of Syrah. There's a hint of dried herbs and fresh oak as well which add a distinctiveness to the bouquet. On the palate - this is a dry wine with a distinctive savory and meaty flavor led profile; the fruit flavors include dried raspberry and cherry suggestions with a hint of jam; medium+ acidity and tannins with a mild peppery quality. Medium length and finish - this is a food wine only and requires something quite simple such as a semi-hard tasty cheese like aged Gouda. I would suggest also another 2 years in cellar.
3 Stars


Haha Hawke's Bay Merlot 2014 13.5%
Very dark purple hues, opaque in appearance.
Aromas of dark berry and roasted plum with suggestions of fruit cake and spice. There's plenty of toasty barrel aromas too with vanilla and brown spice suggestions. On the palate - a tense and dry wine with lots of youthful textures at play: medium+ acidity and tannins and a core of plum and black berry fruit flavors as well as savory oak spices. Overall a very nice wine that simply requires time in decanter or preferably a cellar for around 18 months.
4 Stars

Saturday, 13 December 2014


Selaks Founders Limited Edition Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris 2014 13.5%
A rich and lush bouquet of ripe white fleshed fruit - nectarine and peach; pear skin and an oily rich suggestion; lightly spiced. On the palate - as the nose suggests - rich and lush with lots of fruits intensity and white spice; medium+ acidity, medium weight; a strong persistent finish; balanced and well made. Enjoy now and through 2015.
4 Stars

Selaks Founders Limited Edition Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 13%
The varietal signature of fresh herbs, tropical fruits and citrus bound together in a vibrant and giving bouquet are all present and accounted for in this example - though softer and mild with an elegant unfurling. On the palate - crisp, quite dry and full of the flavors described above; high youthful acidity is tempered by a touch of sugar, but mostly ripe fruit; balanced, longish finish and memorable flavors.
4.5 Stars

Selaks Founders Limited Edition Hawke's Bay Gimblett Gravels 2013 Merlot 14%
A really calming and pleasant bouquet of soft red berry fruits lead by plums of all colors and styles; softer more elegant use of oak with hints of vanilla and light toast. On the palate - dry with classic flavors of plums and some black fruits; the wood shows more on the palate with toastier impact; tannins are very obvious yet ripe with medium+ intensity - a wine for the cellar or decanting for early service; the finish is ripe and slightly sweet with a vanilla note. Well made and a shining star for the Limited Edition range.
4.5 Stars

Georges Duboef

Georges Duboef Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 12%
The usual punch of fresh and vibrant red fruit aromas including raspberry, red cherry and Summer Berry Pudding suggestions; the typical maceration carbonique aromas of bubble gum and green banana skin are also present. On the palate - crisp, dry fresh and very fruity with all the fruit flavors suggested above; high acid, low tannin, medium finish, medium_ body; classic if not a little lean. Great summer wine. What are you waiting for?
3 Stars

Friday, 12 December 2014

Brown Brothers

Brown Brothers Sparkling Moscato Rosa Milawa 7%
Lots of inviting and fragrant muscat aromas of tropical fruits, lemon/lemonade and flowers; on the palate - crisp, sweet and very fruity; lots of refreshing acidity and flavors that reflect the nose. A charming and tasty wine that is easy to drink and will match many foods with a sweet or spicy edge.
3 Stars

Brown Brothers Prosecco King Valley Milawa 12%
A fresh and fruity bouquet with aromas of apple led light white fleshed fruits; a dusting of sugar. On the palate - crisp and dry with a refreshing burst of fruit and acidity, clean fresh and vibrant finish. An easy drinking style as an aperitif or very effective in sparkling wine cocktails.
3 Stars

Brown Brothers Moscato & Sauvignon Blanc NV Victoria & Tasmania 7.5%
Lively, fresh, very fragrant and floral with aromas of tropical muscat fruits dominating the bouquet. On the palate - off dry with plenty of residual sugar alongside the fruit flavors of sultana, white fleshed fruits and lemonade; the Sauvignon Blanc provides an acid backbone eekwwping the wine fresh and crisp on the finish.

Mahurangi River Winery

Mahurangi River Winery Sparkling Rose 2014 12.5%
A very fruity bouquet with lots and lots of strawberry fruit suggestions, even a red candy floss note; on the palate - crisp and slightly sweet with flavors of red fruits especially strawberry, lots of crisp acidity brings balance to the wine. Cheerful Summer bubbly.

Saint Clair

Saint Clair Family Estate 2013 Pinot Noir 13.5%
Juicy, fruity and lush fruit aromas and flavors; medium body, medium+ acidity and finish. A delightful wine that will please those who like this style of Pinot. Medium length and mild complexity. Could also be chilled a little for Summer drinking.
3 Stars

Mudbrick Vineyard

Mudbrick Vineyard 'Sheperds Point' Syrah Waiheke Island 2013 13.5%
A concentrated, rich and inviting bouquet lead by the vanilla scented oak with its toasty highlights, then a concentration of black and dark fruits - raspberry, black cherry and plum; medium++ complexity. On the palate - dry, concentrated, oaky and sweet in fruit; the balance already displayed makes it totally drinkable now, but will also age well (3-5 yrs); highish tannins are oak lead on the palate, but the fruit tannins will prove to be the longevity in this wine; highish acidity too; Great example of Waiheke Syrah.
5 Stars

Mudbrick Vineyard Reserve Tempranillo Waiheke Island 2014 14.5%
Aromas and flavors of strawberry, brown spiced oak and lightly spiced red meats; On the palate - a very tasty red wine with flavors that reflect the nose - especially with the spicy notes from the oak; medium+ tannins and acidity keep the wine youthful and age worthy; dry with medium length and finish. Well made.
3.5 stars

Sacred Hill

Sacred Hill 'HALO' Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Hawke's Bay 13.5%
Toasty almost charry oak bouquet with a bold expression of fruit centering on black fruits and dark plum with baked bell-pepper, fresh leather, brown spices and gravelly soil suggestions. On the palate - dry, spicy and fruity with black fruit flavors, tobacco and cedar box; medium+ acidity, high tannins and fullish-bodied. All these elements are beginning to link together, however this wine does require some bottle-age (3-5yrs) to really show its potential. For the moment decant for service and serve only excellent food.
5 Stars

Sacred Hill 'HALO' Syrah 2013 Hawke's Bay 12.5%
Fabulous bouquet with creamy sweet red fruit aromas of fresh and baked raspberry, fresh and baked black cherry, spices including some pepper and a decent amount of oak - that seems medium+ toasty. On the palate - dry with youthful tannins and high acidity - that said there is concentration here making the wine drinkable now and with age-worthy attributes. A well made wine with a light floral note.
4.5 Stars

Big Bunch

Big Bunch Chardonnay Hawke's Bay 2013 13.5%
Aromas and flavors of sweet peach and creamy oak, gentle oak spice and light nutty oak nuances; a dry wine with medium weight, medium+ acidity and an equal mix of stone fruit and citrus flavors. A simple,but very drinkable example.
Big Bunch Merlot Hawke's Bay 2013 13.8%
A fruity bouquet with a boot polish note then aromas of plum and light red fruits; on the palate - dry with lots of tense and dusty tannins that need time and/or food to calm the intensity they show; overall a dry red wine style.


Mahi 'Twin Valleys Vineyard' 2012 Chardonnay 14.5%
Bold, rich and complex bouquet with plenty of fruit concentration and oak spices. On the palate - a very sophisticated wine with flavors of flowers, peaches, lemons and citrus; medium+ (ish) oak with layers of spice and toast that create complexity and personality; medium+ acidity and length. (The alcohol might read a little high, but does not unbalance this wine).
4 Stars

Mahi  Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 13.5%
Nutty rich, bold and powerful bouquet with lots of roasted stone fruit aromas and plenty of vanilla and spice scented oak. On the palate - a fuller bodied wine with lots of stone fruit centred flavors, creamy textures and medium+ acidity; it is also gives a slightly oak sweet sensation too adding charm and complexity. Balanced, very drinkable now and with a longer finish can be enjoyed on its own or with food - methinks roasted salmon with a pecan crust.
4.5 Stars

Mahi  Alchemy 2012 Chardonnay Marlborough 14.5%
This has been a favorite expression of Chardonnay from Mahi for some time now - it has quite a complex bouquet of soil, spice, minerals, complex sulphides and vibrant fruit that translate to palate with ease; the medium+ to full-bodied palate shows off the textures from barrel, lees and wine making skill; medium+ acidity, gently creamy texture and long finish makes this wine a real pleasure to taste and evaluate.
5 Stars


Stoneleigh Marlborough 'Nature's Collection' Chardonnay 2014 13.5%
Lots of peachy, creamy and fruity aromas from this bouquet - quite classic and charming at the same time. On the palate - equally fruity with medium++ acidity, not too much oak, medium+ (ish) weight and plenty of fruity flavors that make Chardonnay so famous - peaches, apples and for this wine a lemon twist as well. Balanced and well made in a drink now style.
3.5 Stars

Stoneleigh Marlborough 'Nature's Collection' Pinot Noir 2014 14%
Light red fruits of medium+ intensity, a luscious aromas of strawberry and raspberry fruits; the palate reflects the nose with lots of vibrant acidity and low tannins impact. Please refreshing style.

Spencer Hill

Spencer Hill Blanc de Pinot Noir 2014 13.5%
Aromas and flavors of light to medium red fruits - red cherry, darker strawberry and a very noticeable plum suggestion; a fruity wine on the palate with a just dry finish; flavors of plum are the most dominant, but finishes with a distinctive raspberry note; medium++ acidity, almost medium weight; balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars
Diam Cork Closure

Brick Bay

Brick Bay Matakana Rose 2014 13%
Vibrant lush and fruity bouquet with lots of red flower and red apple skin aromas alongside some sweet red cherry and cranberry suggestions. On the palate - very fruity and fresh luscious textures from a core of fruit, medium+ acidity and a little residual sugar; some extra texture from a hint of skin tannin adds complexity and charm. Balanced, fresh, lively and well made example.
4 Stars

Ara Wines

Ara Single Estate Limited Release Pinot Noir Rose 2014 13%
Bright pink appearance - almost cherry red.
Aromas and flavors of sweet crisp cherry and red melon with high-ish acidity and medium- weight. A crisp, fresh and fruity wine with a dry finish - seems designed for all sorts of food or as an aperitif. Well made 
3 Stars


Bilancia Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris 2013 14%
Quite a distinctive bouquet with a fat, round and even slightly oily note; fresh and baked white fruits of peach and nectarine with pear note and hints of spice. On the palate - dry with medium+ acidity, I like the way the alcohol enhances the character and palate presence, lots of texture, generosity of fruit and weight - still oily. Overall a very tasty wine to be enjoyed on its own or with food.
4 Stars

Lawson's Dry Hills

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 13%
The smell of Summer with warm, fresh and generous fruit aromas of sweet citrus, peach and red apple; herbaceous and floral too with a mineral undertone and a hint of oak spice. On the palate - dry, fruity, floral and with a hint of spice this is a very cool wine that teases the palate with fruit, flavor and generosity; high acidity is easily balanced with medium+ concentration of fruit; balanced and well made.
5 Stars

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Rose 2014 13%
A boldly fruity style with concentrated aromas and flavors of strawberry and raspberry fruits with sweet cranberry notes; medium++ acidity, refreshingly crisp with a medium finish. Balanced and well made. Drink all you can through Summer 2015.
3.5 Stars

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 13.5%
A bouquet of fruit, brioche and sweet scented oak nuances. On the palate - fruity, vibrant, fresh and simple with lots of charm and approach-ability now; plenty of light peach and apple flavors with a dash of oak; medium++ acidity, medium body, balanced and well made.
3 Stars