Friday, 27 February 2015


Haha Marlborough 2014 Chardonnay 13%
A more than generous bouquet of creamy Chardonnay aromas with vanilla scented stone fruits especially peach and nectarine with a touch of tropical. On the palate - just dry with a creamy medium+ weighted texture offering a rounded feel; medium acidity and warmish alcohol; stone fruit flavors return; overall a very drinkable wine well suited to food that has a similar creamy texture.
3 Stars

Friday, 6 February 2015


Six Pack of Albarino  - all 2014 from Gisborne

Hihi Wines 13.6%
Lots of energy and power in the fruit with peach and pear, hints of lime and other citrus with a  gentle spice note. On the palate - dry, fresh, lively, fruity and with a light spice layer; transitions on the palate from ripe stone fruit into a light citrus layer (as Albarino should), medium+ acidity, light+ weight and a medium+ length. Balanced and well made. Decant or aerate well for service.
4 Stars

Spade Oak 'Heart of Gold' 12.5%
Buckets of peaches and apricots with heirloom lemon and white fleshed fruit aromas; a mineral layer adds complexity and depth to the bouquet. On the palate - dry with the citrus leading the fruit flavor march then the mineral and stone fruits kick in. Medium+ (ish) acidity; moderate core of fruit, even and well balanced across the palate with a light chalky texture on the finish.
4.5 Stars

Rod McDonald 'One Off Albarino' 13.5%
Quite a concentrated bouquet with a mix of peach and white florals then lime and other citrus suggestions; a whiff of pineapple and some mineral. On the palate - fresh, crisp, lively, warming and fruity. Plenty of fruit and highish acidity keeps the palate refreshed and open to the flavors of stone and citrus fruits; 2nd taste shows off the varietal signatures of Albarino quite well along with a touch of mineral. Balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars

Matawhero Wines 13.5%
Quite a dense peachy beginning with some clay soil suggestions; a very mild grapefruit and lemon layer emerges on the second sniff; overall varietal, fresh and quite lively. On the palate - dry & crisp - this is when the true signature of the variety appears with a peach to citrus mix, medium+ acidity and moderate mineral set emerges. Well made; youthful and food oriented through 2015. 
4 Stars 

Coopers Creek 'Bell-Ringer' 13.5%
Chalky, peachy, floral and with a mineral lift in the bouquet; moderate+ intensity, varietal and inviting. On the palate - dry, crisp and flavorful, but on the gentle side with palate texture and subtlety part of the picture; higher acidity highlights the wild peach and citrus fruits; the mineral layer holds steadfast. Balanced, fresh, well made and tasty. Drink now and through 2016.
4.5 Stars

Villa Maria 'Cellar Selection' 13.5%
A vibrant and striking bouquet with a lees and slightly funky edge to the fruit suggestions: Peach, apricot, apple and lemon; there's a spice and chalk like layer as well; overall inviting and layered. On the palate - crisp, dry, fresh, lively, fruit centred and tasty. medium++ acidity, medium weight, balanced and well made.
4.5 Stars 

Villa Maria

Villa Maria 'Anniversary Release' Syrah Gimblett Gravels 2011 Hawke's Bay 14%
Powerful, rich and bold bouquet suggesting black fruits, burnt raspberry, smoked meats, wild red violet flowers and a gravelly earthy quality. Overall very complex, youthful and distinctive. On the palate -  dry, warm, richly fruity, expressive and highly textured; fruit & meaty flavors reflect the nose and with plenty of concentration to offset the lightly sweet and toasty oak drive; medium+ acidity; drink now or cellar through 2017.
5 Stars

Yellow Clay Road

Yellow Clay Road Chardonnay 2011 Waiheke Island 13.5%
Lots of sweet ripe yellow fruit aromas of peach and apricot; creamy vanilla note; a bold forward style and easy to recognise Chardonnay character. On the palate - dry, firm and demanding - oak and fruit and still jostling for position, creamy textures with medium acidity and finish. 
2 Stars

Yellow Clay Road Cabernet Merlot 2008 Waiheke Island 13.5%
Developed and integrated bouquet with aromas of (mostly dried) plum, cherry and blackberry fruits; there's a rustic quality that is quite appealing; overall however a wine that smells a little tired and dry. On the palate - dry+ with flavors as described above; some olive and old floral moments add some depth; integrated tannins and moderate acidity. Overall okay - best served with salty red meats like corned silverside.
2 Stars

Richmond Plains

Organic Certified

Richmond Plains Pinot Gris Nelson 2014 14%
Very fruity bouquet with a gentle light spice note; pears and sweet apple, honeysuckle and quiet mineral energy. On the palate - lush, quite spicy and with a vibrant texture; medium acidity, warm and medium+ body. Overall a tasty wine best served cool (ish) with food.
3 Stars

Richmond Plains Blanc de Noir Nelson 2014 13%
A hint of blush/onion skin colour with aromas of peach, pear and apple fruits - quite vibrant and with a mineral edge. On the palate - just dry with a creamy silky texture, medium+ acidity and generous flavors of peach, pear and white fleshed fruits. Balanced and well made.
4 Stars


Locharburn Pinot Rose 2013 Central Otago 14%
An intensely varietal bouquet with lots of light red fruit aromas, macerated stone fruits, red apple skin, mineral and personality. On the palate - just as the nose suggests and then some - plenty of fruit concentration with medium+ acidity and drive, just a smidge of tannin, balanced (even at 14% alcohol) with ripe lush fruit flavors and a lovely long finish. Delicious!
5 Stars

Te Mania

Certified Organic

Te Mania Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2014 13%
A bouquet packed with ripe fresh fruit suggestions with sweet citrus and peach leading the charge; sweet hay, stony soils and mild grassy attributes - all displaying a great energy and flow. On the palate - vibrant and expressive with spice laden fruit, highly energised acidity and a generous flavorful finish. 
4.5 Stars

Te Mania Nelson Pinot Gris 2014 14%
Fresh lively fruit bouquet with sweet pear and apple suggestions, quite floral too with some white flower suggestions and honeysuckle; a gentle white pepper and pear skin note. On the palate - juicy, fresh, lively and tasty - what's not to like about this wine; flavors reflect the nose, high(ish) fresh and expressive acidity dances nicely on the palate; the finish is persistent with medium+ length. Balanced, well made; drink now and through 2015.
4.5 Stars

Te Mania Nelson Gewurztraminer 2014 14%
Quietly spicy, generously fruity and lush; aromas of white fleshed fruits both tree and stone, gentle white spices and delicate florals. On the palate - just dry with an immediate punch of spice, fruit and juiciness. Flavors reflect the nose with a gentle warmth of alcohol pushing these through the palate; medium acidity and full creamy texture. Balanced and well made.
3.5 stars

Te Mania Nelson Pinot Noir Rose 2014 14%
Lots of light red fruit aromas with strawberry first then a mix of melon and other cherry like red fruits; some gentle floral attributes; clean, fresh lively. On the palate - just dry with some very plush and juicy light red fruit flavors; medium+ acidity and very low tannin. Balanced, juicy and well made.
3.5 Stars

Spy Valley

Spy Valley 'Envoy' Dry Riesling 2013 Waihopai Valley Marlborough 14%
Yum! Classic bouquet that reminds of both Marlborough first and then Alsace: stony dry soil, Jasmine and white florals, limely, lemony and apricot; rich in its bouquet and even slightly oily. On the palate - double yum! reflects everything the nose suggests with medium+ to high acid bite contrasted with rich fruit flavors and lots of texture; Green apple flavor kicks in after a while; the oil note is light, but there is a dry stone spice that is very appealing. 
5 Stars

Spy Valley 'Envoy' Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Waihopai Valley Marlborough 13.5%
The aroma and bouquet is distinctive with the creamy rounded and light sweat reminder of barrel engagement; the sweet citrus and gentle stone fruit reminders of both Marlborough and Sauvignon Blanc remain apparent. On the palate - dry with the flavors of both fruit and barrel - this combination works extremely well when measured and the end drinker is considered. Fortunately its works rather well here; crisp acidity, mild earthy/mineral layer; quite a lengthy finish.
5 Stars

Spy Valley 2014 Pinot Gris Marlborough 14.5%
Quite a voluptuous bouquet with aromas of juicy ripe pear and spicy pear skin, sweet apple, some stone fruit and white pepper; a touch of dry stone adds complexity and depth. On the palate - off dry with some residual sweetness - this works really well alongside the crisp acid note and intense fruit flavors; the palate overall is round, rich and flavorful. medium+ (ish) weight, creamy textures and a longish finish. Nice wine!
4.5 Stars

Spy Valley 2013 Pinot Noir Marlborough 13.5%
No mistaking the Pinot Noir fruit drive with red and black cherry, plum and some light toasty oak spice, forward and inviting. On the palate - dry with red fruit flavors centering on red cherry with light brown spice notes, medium+ acidity and mild yet noticeable tannins. A balanced, well made and very drinkable Pinot.

3.5 Stars

Spy Valley 2013 Merlot Malbec Marlborough 13.5%
Aromas of dark red berries with blackberry some black currant and lots of plum; a light red floral adds some depth; quite a simple and forward bouquet, but rich also in its fruity expression. On the palate - dry, crisp and fruity with all the berry fruits described above present. This is also a young wine so the acidity and firmness of tannins do protrude a little, but with the right food or some cellar time this will all even out. Overall a very approachable and easy drinking expression.
3 Stars

Spy Valley Marlborough 'Easy Tiger' Sauvignon Blanc 2014 9.5%
Fresh and lively bouquet with aromas of apple and citrus fruits with a touch of peach then green bell-pepper & and hint of grass. On the palate - off dry with some residual sugar and fruit sweetness; the lower alcohol feature is not so appealing with the fruit flavors leading and the acid falling in behind this. Lighter weight style with a moderate- finish.

Gladstone Vineyard

Gladstone Vineyard Viognier 2014 Wairarapa 13%
A distinctive mix of fruit and floral Viognier attributes make the nose of this wine attractive and inviting: peach and sweet grapefruit, yellow florals and silty soil mineral notes. On the palate - dry, fruity, warm and appealing. Medium+ acidity and moderate weight along with stone fruit, citrus and honey flavors this is a smart choice alternative to Pinot Gris and even Chardonnay. Balanced and well made with a moderate if not a little warm finish.
4 Stars

Gladstone Vineyard Rose 2014 Wairarapa 13.5%
Made with Merlot and Cabernet franc the bouquet suggests old strawberry, red cherry and even some yellow plum; simple, fresh and uncomplicated. On the palate - fresh, crisp, fruity and lively with medium++ acidity, light weight and fun. Moderate finish reflecting the fruit flavors described above.
3 Stars

12000 Miles

12000 Miles 2014 Sauvignon Blanc 12.5%
Quite a fruity bouquet with peach, citrus and a suggestion of cape gooseberry; mild grassy/herbaceous layer and simple minerality; overall quite vibrant and attractive. On the palate - just dry with a gentle almost creamy texture; this is contrasted by a refreshing acid line that highlights the fruit attributes and minerality; medium weight and a medium+ finish. Balanced and well made.
4 Stars

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Trinity Hill

Trinity Hill 2013 Tempranillo Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 14%
Lots of dark red and black fruit aromas oozing from the glass: black cherry, canned Doris plum and dark berry fruits laced with chocolate like toasty oak. Youthful, fruity and distinctive in its presence. On the palate - dry and with a grippy youthful tension on the palate. a mix of dark berry fruits, medium+ fine to not so fine tannins (chalky and dusty) and quite noticeable acidity. This wine needs time in cellar or some careful food selection to bring all the elements together that only time would otherwise do. That all said there is potential here for a wine that will age and show its true self in 2-4 years.
4 Stars

Trinity Hill 2013 Chardonnay Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 13%
A complex, powerful, distinctive and individual bouquet. The relationship between the fruit, oak and wine maker are clear with a strong harmony emerging in what is clearly a very youthful wine. Grapefruit with peach; apple with oak; complexity with minerality. On the palate - delicious! This is an example of a wine that sets the benchmark for Hawke's Bay - it has a purity of fruit that is not swayed by oak yet the oak itself is noticeable but not invasive. The texture of this wine is key being assertive on the palate whilst showing off the minerality and complex sulphides which are mild. A long and memorable finish. 
5 Stars (94 Points)

Trinity Hill 2013 Marsanne Viognier Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 14%
The bouquet offers aromas of spice and oak spice laden white fleshed fruits, stone fruits, florals and a light saline along side some notes of honey and dry stone soil suggestions. On the palate - dry, spicy, pepper, warm, light creamy texture and a range of fruit flavors from stone fruit to baked apple and citrus peel. A balanced and lengthy finish. While this wine is likely to be a hand-sell in restaurants and specialist liquor outlets it is most certainly worth your time to investigate - you won't be sorry.
4 Stars

Trinity Hill 2013 'The Gimblett' Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 13.5%
CS 40%, Mer 30%, CF 29%, PV 1%
The harmony of fruit on the nose is immediately apparent with no one component edging ahead (hard to achieve in such a young wine); black fruits, red fruits and a healthy dose of oak show off the youthful side in the bouquet; the mineral signature is strong with a gravelly dry soil sandy suggestion; overall quite complex. On the palate - dry, but immediate lush and full of violets and dark red fruit flavors; a sweet vanilla layer to the oak adds depth and complexity. Way more appealing on the palate than the nose suggests. A long finish with depth, charm and plenty of tension.
5 Stars

Trinity Hill 2013 Syrah Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 13%
Seductively sweet bouquet led by ripe red & dark red fruits and generous oak - all still jostling for position yet collectively very appealing; black cherry, roasted field mushroom, black currant and toasty oak; a mild pepper quality. On the palate - delicious! with blue and purple fruit flavors, firm yet fine collection of ripe tannins, medium+ acidity and a long finish laced with a little pepper. Fabulous example of 2013 and Hawke's Bay Syrah.
5 Stars (95 Points)

Tatty Bogler

Tatty Bogler 2013 Pinot Noir Otago 13.5%
A fruit centred bouquet with smashed red cherry and crushed dark cranberry; some the Otago wild thyme, undergrowth and rock suggestions and mild toasty oak influences. On the palate - dry, youthful, tart and crisp with lots of fresh fruit flavors bringing balance to some medium+ acidity, medium highly textured tannins and light toasty oak suggestions. Overall a very drinkable wine but requires some food to balance some of the youthfulness still apparent.
3 Stars


Amisfield Pinot Gris 2014 Central Otago 13.5%
White fleshed fruits with a noticeable white pepper spice and quartz-like mineral suggestion; fragrant too with some white floral and cool climate citrus moments. On the palate - dry, fresh, lively and fruity with white flesh fruits re-emerging and that noticeable white pepper layer; lovely phenolic balance adding texture and charm. Balanced and well made - drink now and through 2015.
4 Stars

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago 14%
Lots of fresh and lively primary light red fruit aromas with red and black cherry and some sweet raspberry leading; red florals, red apple skin and moderate schist-like minerality; moderate complexity. On the palate - dry, crisp, tense, fresh and youthful with medium+ acidity and tannins, a touch of dried herb, lots of mineral and terroir suggestions. Well made, but better left in the cellar for another 2 years to knit together more and reward those who can wait.
4.5 Stars


Stoneleigh Marlborough 'Latitude' Sauvignon Blanc 2014 13.5%
Lots of vibrant, fresh and lively aromas of crisp peach, lemon, grapefruit and tropical fruits; vibrant fresh sweet herbs and that very famous grassy note. On the palate - dry with just a nudge of residual then juicy and salivating fresh fruit flavors as described above as well as the fresh herbs and grassy attributes; high acidity, fresh and flavorful example; balanced and well made. Do not cellar, just drink it!
4.5 Stars

Brancott Estate

Brancott Estate 'Terroir Series' Awatere Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 13%
Classically Marlborough and Brancott bouquet with generous and vibrant aromas of fresh citrus and tropical fruits, peach and apple - all laced with, wet stone mineral, fresh herbs and red bell pepper slices. On the palate - just dry with a splash of sugar, plenty of sweet and ripe fruit flavors centering on citrus and peach with some tropical notes; the herbaceous notes are fresh and add depth to the wine overall. A longish finish. Well made, fresh, stylish and crowd pleasing.
4.5 Stars

Brancott Estate 'Terroir Series' Southern Valleys Marlborough Fume Blanc 2014 13.5%
A very fruit led bouquet with lots of citrus fruit, wild stonefruit and hints of tropical fruit then a stony soil and vegetal/herbal layer; a touch of spice completes the bouquet. On the palate - dry with a light white smoke layer then fruits suggested on the nose show strong with citrus and peach leading. Dry wine with plenty of acidity; light+ weight and a medium finish. Balanced and well made.
3.5 Stars

Brancott Estate 'Terroir Series' Awatere Valley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014 13.5%
Lots of varietal signatures with a fruity bouquet led by white fleshed fruits and a gentle cool climate stony soil spice. On the palate - off dry with some residual sweetness adding body and contrast to the acidity; juicy fruit flavors of white flesh origin; very drinkable in a commercial style. Well made and reliable expression.
3 Stars

Brancott Estate 'Terroir Series' Southern Valleys Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 14%
No mistaking the signature of Chardonnay here with the peaches and cream effect of Marlborough fruit and oak influences; a creamy and rounded bouquet - quite voluptuous and dry stone mineral layer. On the palate - really very nice - dry, creamy and crisp with medium+ acidity, moderate oak influences and stone fruit flavors laced with citrus. Balanced and well made with a medium finish. Lots of people are going to be drinking this wine.
3.5 Stars

Brancott Estate 'Terroir Series' Awatere Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 13.5%
A very fruit led bouquet with lots of fresh plum and light red fruit suggestions especially red cherry and ripe cranberry; mild oak spice influences and moderate complexity. On the palate - dry, light bodied and crisp with flavors of light red fruits, mild oak spice and bite, medium+ acidity and length. A balanced and well made example for early drinking and 2-3 years cellaring.
3.5 Stars


Greywacke Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 13%
Distinctive, slightly edgy, familiar, intense and inviting - a bouquet that has varietal intensity and a strong mineral signature as well. A mix of lemon and other citrus alongside a white flesh stone fruit core; suggestions of spice and wild white flowers. On the palate - crisp and dry with salivating acidity and attention seeking flavors; a gentle spice note adds complexity and the mineral note suggested earlier gets stronger. Balanced and expertly crafted wine with focus and length. Very drinkable now, but will also cellar for at least 2 years for those who can wait.
4.5 Stars

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 13.5%
High impact bouquet that is both rich, distinctive and exciting; the complexity is obvious driven by aromas of natural fermentation, old oak spice nuances and a core of fruit at the heart of this wine. On the palate - dry, rich in flavor and complex. A delicious core of fruit and spice balanced by electric acidity and stony mineral qualities. A long and detailed finish with fabulous phenolics - it really is that good!
5 Stars (92 Points)

Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 14%
A fresh, lively and youthful bouquet that shows off the varietal signature of Pinot Noir, but then a complexity kicks in with a floral, feminine and mineral layers accentuated by barrel aromas - fresh and older oak; overall medium+ complexity that builds as the wine opens up in glass. On the palate - dry with youthful fruit flavors, spices and dry stone mineral notes; medium+ fine tannins and acidity that all require further time in bottle to come together. That said the poise and tension on the palate show a wine that will develop further complexity over the coming 5-10 years.
5 Stars (90 Points)

Ohui 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Coromandel Peninsula 12.5% (Organically Grown Grapes)
A distinctively different bouquet of Sauvignon Blanc with a regional signature evident in the bouquet: volcanic silty stony soil notes encased in ripe yellow peach and stone fruit aromas then as the wine begins to open up aromas of ripe pineapple and sweet citrus emerge. On the palate - juicy, ripe and just dry with flavors that reflect the nose - peach, apple and hints of tropical, a gentle herbaceous note and high(ish) acidity tick the boxes of Sauvignon Blanc. A balanced wine with plenty of fruit at its core and a medium finish. 
3.5 Stars