Friday, 27 March 2015


Neudorf Moutere Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2014 14% Nelson
Quite a dense and richly textured bouquet with aromas of quince and honeysuckle, gentle wood spice suggestions and a mix of white pear, lemon and apple. On the palate - just dry with a citrus peel, quince and honey beginning; medium+ acidity, soft nutty spice and a juicy core. Overall a very thoughtful example with serious drinkers in mind. Well made and worthy of your attention.
4 Stars

Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2013 14% Nelson
A strong Pinot Noir bouquet with dark red berry fruits laced with new oak wood spice, a savory whole bunch suggestion adds depth and texture to the aromas; a generous and forward bouquet overall with medium+ complexity and village burgundy feel. On the palate - dry, savory and lush with flavors of light red fruits laced with wood spice; medium tannins and medium+ acidity demonstrate this wine's potential for ageing as well as its drinkability now. Well made, coming into balance and highly recommended.
4.5 stars

Neudorf 'Tom's Block' Pinot Noir 2013 13.5% Nelson
A striking bouquet with much of what I like about Pinot Noir on display - complex with layers of light red fruit which are both just ripe to ripe, a savory mineral layer that teases the nose; light old rose moments and a measured use of new and not so new - oak. On the palate - dry, complex, young, savory; light red fruits, fine medium tannins, moderate (+) oak. Another fine example of Nelson Pinot Noir.
5 Stars

Sacred Hill

Sacred Hill Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2014 13.5%
Spice, butterscotch, honey and peach; a mix of gentle, but obvious wood spice and caramelised sugar notes; honeysuckle and ripe stone fruits add depth and complexity; overall an expressive and familiar bouquet. On the palate - dry, moderately rich in flavour and texture; a gentle creamy texture is overpowered by the vibrant and tense youth of this example; light oak signature and medium+ length.
As usual a very well made and thoughtful wine from the Sacred Hill team.
4 Stars

Sacred Hill Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 13.5%
Toasty, brown spice, warm light red fruits - fresh and baked; varietal, forward; Pinot Noir bouquet. On the palate - dry, youthful, tense, vibrant tannin and acid centered texture; cherry and plum with other light red fruit suggestions. Overall a very nice wine that needs decanting or a large glass or 12 months in cellar.
3.5 Stars


Matawhero 'Church House' Chenin Blanc 2013 Gisborne 13.2%
A lovely bouquet with floral, baked apple and honeysuckle aromas, a light mineral note adds a little complexity. On the palate - dry, warm and fruity with flavors that reflect the nose; plenty of crunch from the acidity and a simple complexity overall; Moderate finish.
3 Stars

Domain Road

Domain Road Central Otago Bannockburn Sauvignon Blanc 2013 13.5%
Plenty of power and punch in the  bouquet with grass and fresh laced peach and sweet citrus aromas. On the palate - a very vibrant and powerful expression with lots of acidity and energy equalled only by the force of fruit flavors that reflect the nose, dry wine with plenty of texture and grip, a mineral flavor emerges on the finish. Very nice wine with a long finish.
4 Stars

Domain Road Central Otago Bannockburn 'The Water Race' Dry Riesling 2013 13%
Citrus, chalk, mineral, apricot and apple suggestions on the initial bouquet; jasmine and green tea on the second sniff; medium+ complexity. On the palate - vibrant and quite complex with a quiet unveiling of flavors; the high toned acidity commends the palate on the first couple of sips then lemon, apple, grape fruit and mineral flavors kick in; Medium length, well made and lovely aperitif style.
4.5 Stars

Domain Road Central Otago Pinot Gris 2013 14%
White spice, white fleshed tree fruits and white peach on the nose; very fruity bouquet overall. On the palate - warm, spicy and fruity with a mineral layer adding a touch of complexity. Off-dry with a little residual sugar, but a wine that ultimately finishes dry; flavors of apple, white peach and Asian pear dominate the fruit expression with the sugar adding a light flourish and the white pepper having the last say on the palate. Overall a well made wine that will surely please Pinot Gris fans.
4 Stars

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Gimblett Gravels or Gimblett Road Review of Twelve 2012 Syrah or Cabernet or Merlot Blends

A collection of 12 wines selected by Master of Wine Andrew Caillard.

This is the fifth such release, following the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages.

Trinity Hill by John Hancock 2012 Syrah Gimblett Gravels (Screw Top Closed)
Powerful, intense and richly scented; dark berries laced with spice, hints of licorice and a toasty oak drive. Medium+ weight with a firm structure built around the balance between the generosity of fruit, healthy measure of oak and blend of tannins. As the wine opens up the complexity builds as does the strength of the acidity and youthful tension. A long finish that is generous and lush yet shows a wine with great potential for ageing.
5 Stars (91 Points)

Mission Estate Winery 2012 Gimblett Gravels Reserve Syrah (Diam Cork Closed)
A very striking bouquet with a sweet almost floral scented beginning followed by a black cherry, blue berry and raspberry fruit core; medium+ toasty oak and spice layer with an overall concentrated medium+ complexity. On the palate a juicy wine with emphasis on the core of fruit then dusty medium+ tannins and acidity which has a light tartness to it adding tension and reminding me of its youthful energy. Quite a long finish with a cool climate Syrah signature. 
5 Stars

Sacred Hill 'Deerstalkers' Syrah 2012 Gimblett Gravels (Cork Closed)
Fantastic bouquet, quite complete with a warmth and energy centering a rich and ripe collection of dark berries laced with a little pepper; significant oak that seems well placed with a lightly sweet edge yet full of power and presence; the palate reflects the nose with a juicy and generous beginning almost sweet, but not quite, then a collection of oak, tannin and acid features all looking for attention. In other words a wine very much in early bottle development with a long and winding finish.
5 Stars (91 Points)

Villa Maria Reserve Syrah Gimblett Gravels 2012 (Screw Top Closed)
Ripe rich toasty and spicy, lots of concentration driven by a powerful core of fruit and specific oak; As the wine begins to open up the layers of potential begin to show with field mushroom, violet and velvet rose and a definitive gravelly soil layer. A big wine on the palate with forceful oak equaled by a rich fruit core and noteworthy acidity; high tannins and very firm structure point to a wine at the beginning of its bottle development still and requires at least a few years to climb to its plateau. Dry, long and delicious.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Unison Gimblett Gravels Syrah Hawke's Bay 2012 (Agglomerate Cork Closed)
Seductive bouquet with immediate complexity from highly scented red florals, raspberry and black cherry lead fruit suggestions and lots of sweet oak with mild to medium toast attributes. The palate reflects the bouquet with sweet fruit, sweet oak and lots of youthful grip from the acidity; the tannins take a back seat at first allowing some of the peppery, roasted fruit and gravelly soil suggestions to lead the way. When the tannins do kick into second gear they take a front seat with dusty fine textures plus a concentration that reminds this wine is also going to take a while to find its sweet spot of complete harmony. So give this one the time required of a few years to really show its true potential; Very nice indeed.
5 Stars (91 Points)

Squawking Magpie Gimblett gravels 2012 'Stoned Crow' Syrah (Screw Top Closed)
Smokey, toasty, leathery, rich and concentrated - a significant bouquet that reveals a wee bit more with each swirl of the glass. Roasted red and black fruits; lots of pepper and brown spice accentuated by bold oak scents; stony mineral qualities and an overall powerful beginning.
The palate structure is excellent with a sweetness and harmony from the fruit and oak held in place by medium+ acidity and plentiful tannins. The tannins show both a fine dusty layer and firm chunkier layer. A long finish that is as bold as when the wine is first tasted.
5 Stars

Craggy Range Single Vineyard Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2012 (Screw Top Closed)
Quite a calm bouquet for a Craggy Syrah with gentle aromas lead by a collection of medium to darker red fruits, some floral moments and a mix of soil and oak both in balance with the power of the fruit - very clever! These attributes follow through on the palate with a milder more European Rhone feel. That said the wine has a great line of acidity, medium+ tannins  - some firm, some dusty, some chalky, and very judicious use of oak. Medium+ to long, but not strong finish with a mild gravels and pepper kick. 
5 Stars

Alluviale Gimblett Road Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Screw Top Closed)
Quite a complete bouquet with the scents of dark plum Merlot, dark berried Cabernet and spicy toasty oak all noticeably separate, but also talking to each other and showing lots of energy and vibrancy. Some violet, gravel and graphite suggestions add complexity and masculine moments. The palate reflects the bouquet with plenty of fruit, but a firm youthful grip as well from high(ish) chalky dusty tannins and higher acidity - this is a wine built for the long haul. Dry, long finish, very well made.
5 Stars (90 points)

Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Gimblett Gravels 2012 (Screw Top Closed)
There's no mistaking the drive and signature of Cabernet Sauvignon in this bouquet with a roasted bell pepper, cigar box and black fruits shout; lots of dark plum and new leather with a gravel soils suggestion and plenty of youthful oak. The palate reveals a very classic tasting wine with lots of concentration energy and power; there's a delicious sweet spot that shows immediately - mostly from the oak, but also from a synergy between the fruit and oak.
This wine delivers way more on the palate than the nose suggests - it is masculine, flavourful, layered, complex and delicious! A long and persistent finish demonstrates also this wine's potential to age.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Babich Irongagte Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot Franc 2012 (Diam Cork Closed)
An immediately complex bouquet with layers of fruit and oak unfolding in quick succession  - black fruit, oak, spice, plum and bitter chocolate. It is traditional too in its Bordeaux styled attack. I notice a kelp/seashore/iron/chlorophyll like suggestion adding a little mystery and charm. Overall a very pleasing and inviting bouquet. On the palate - dry, complex and compelling - this is a wine that makes you want to savor every layer and contemplate each for a while - this is rare and very enjoyable. Flavors of red and black fruits return, plenty of acidity and tannins to keep the tension and poise on the palate in tact. A long finish. Overall a compelling and complex wine.
5 Stars (92 Points)

Unison Gimblett Gravels Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012 (Agglomerate Cork Closed)
A bouquet lead by equal measures of fruit, soil and oak suggestions: riper Cabernet black fruits then plum notes followed by wet stone and gravel soil suggestions and finally a sweet and dry spice layer of oak with a medium toastiness. On the palate - dry, spicy, complex and layered. The flavors on the palate draw lots of attention and make me think harder about what they remind me of - there's a mix of dried herb and leather; black and red fruits with a violet note and lots of fine tannins with medium+ acidity holding all these elements in place. A thoroughly interesting wine with complexity, texture and finish.
5 Stars

Babich 'The Patriarch' 2012 Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon Gimblett Road (Diam Cork Closed) 
(I also noticed quite a lot of tartrates clinging to the cork and sitting in the bottom of the glass)
Wild red and black fruits lead the bouquet with cherry, blue berry and black berry stepping up; lots of sweet oak and mild+ toasty features, vanilla and sweet meat suggestions; overall quite masculine. On the palate - dry yet very fruity with lots of red and black fruit reminders; medium+ tannins and oak with vanilla and brown oak spice suggestions. I could happily drink this wine today and while the tannins and acidity suggest the wine can age as well it would not be for more than a couple of years. Balanced and well made this is a wine to please a broad range of red wine palates.
5 Stars

Villa Maria

Villa Maria R & D 'No 0995' 2010 Pinot Gris Gewurztraminer Viognier 13.5%
Each sniff of this wine reveals the next variety listed on the label - starts with the white fleshed signature of Gris, then the spicy rose scents of Gewurz and finishes with the apricot and peach voice of Viognier - so fruity and lush bouquet. On the palate - very fruity at first then a generous warmth envelops the palate with the viognier speaking up  first - juicy sweet apricots and spice; some tropical lychee and spice of Gewurz and juicy sweet moments from the Gris. A lovely playful wine where the blend works and balance is perfect. Medium+ acidity, lots of charm and personality.
4.5 Stars