Friday, 31 July 2015

Jim Barry

Jim Barry Clare Valley 'The Veto' Shiraz 2013
Opaque dark purple appearance, very bright with a pink rim
Classic bold and richly ripe bouquet with fresh and baked blueberry, blackcurrant and mulberry fruits, new leather and spice, brown sugar and lots of toasty wood suggestions. On the palate - dry, ripe, fruity, spicy and bold - a dry wine with plenty of ripe and sweet red and black fruit flavors, some licorice and chocolate, mild pepper notes and moderate+ use of oak; Medium tannins and medium+ acidity. Overall a classic example, well made and pushing lots of Shiraz buttons.
87 Points

Jim Barry Coonawarra 'The Veto' Cabernet 2013
Almost Opaque with dark red and purple appearance, very bright with a purple rim
Dark berry fruit aromas with blackberry and baked plum suggestions up front, dried herb and hay like Cabernet aroma followed by oak with a medium toast impact; overall masculine and statesman like without being overbearing. On the palate - dry, firm tannins, medium+ acidity and youthful with plenty of bite from the oak; blackberry fruit flavors return with baked plum and dark spices and even a little tobacco. Medium+ length - a well made wine with 2+ years integration time ahead and 5+ years cellar potential.
86 Points

Kalex Wines

Kalex Wines Central Otago 'Alex Kaufman' Pinot Noir 2013
Rich and ripe red fruits bouquet with fresh and baked dark cherry and plum suggestions; a sprinkle of brown spice with some fresh new oak as well; light mineral layer, a floral layer adds further complexity and depth. On the palate - dry, firm, youthful and bold - this is a Pinot with lots of Noir - darker berry fruit flavors with dark cherry leading, baked red fruits and very ripe cranberry; medium+ acidity and tannins which have a mix of fine and firmer textures; medium+ length and noteworthy masculine finish. Time is all this wine needs now - to integrate and harmonise the many attributes.
88 Points

Black Estate

Black Estate Waipara Valley 'Home' Pinot Noir 2013  
A bouquet driven by a limestone and clay mineral aroma offset by ripe light red fruit suggestions - raspberry and red cherry, a little plum and brown spices from French oak use. On the palate - all Pinot Noir with a mix of red fruit flavors and a light savory layer, brown spices and mineral; medium+ acidity and fine grained tannins. Overall a damn fine example with medium+ finish. Youthful and cellar worthy.
90 Points

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Kalex Wines

Kalex Wines 'Alex Kaufman' Waipara Valley Chardonnay 2013
Distinctive bouquet of limestone and mineral, peach, toasted honey and oak spice; a hint of butterscotch and yellow floral. On the palate - generous and lightly creamy with warm fresh and baked stone fruits flavors, apple and toasty oak spice. Dry wine with medium+ toastyness from the oak which needs another 12-18 months integration time; fairly lengthy finish and lots of new world Chardonnay appeal.
91 Points

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Sacred Hill

Sacred Hill 'Riflemans' Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2014
White peach, apple, honey and gentle oak spices lead the bouquet - a distinctive youthful edgyness and clay-like mineral combine to add complexity to an already interesting package of aromas. On the palate - crisp, dry, medium+ acidity and plenty of power from the oak and core of fruit - showing white peach, apple and citrus - especially grapefruit; the oak has a medium+ (ish) impact. Overall a lovely wine with plenty of integration time ahead and with smart cellaring should reward for no less than 5-8 years.
90 Points

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Pask Winery

Pask Winery Hawke's Bay Merlot 2010
A bouquet showing bottle development and integration with aromas of stewed and dried plum, a touch of compote and leather, old roses and brown spices. On the palate - dry, leathery, spicy, plummy and woody with flavors of plum and old fashioned plum jam, leather and gentle integrated wood spices; medium tannins well integrated and medium acidity. Balanced, ready to enjoy now and through 2016.
87 Points

Pask Winery Hawke's Bay Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec 2013
Blackberry, dark baking spices, plum and dark cherry aromas, violet notes with fresh leather and toasty oak suggestions. On the palate - dry, fruity, fresh and lively with medium tannins and medium+ acidity; dried herbs and bell-pepper flavors with a touch of tobacco; plenty of oak too with suggestions of fresh and new as well as older used. Overall a balanced and well made wine - ready to enjoy now and through 2017.
90 Points

Main Divide

Main Divide Waipara Valley Gewurztraminer 2013
Rich bouquet, exotic bouquet, fruity bouquet - apple and spice, white fleshed stone fruit, honey and brown sugar. On the palate - dry, creamy, phenolic, spicy and fruity; an orange peel and bitter note adds length and personality - reminds me of classic Alsace examples. Plenty of length and finish - an lovely wine.
88 Points


Greywacke Marlborough Riesling 2013
Wild honey, lime and lemon, white peach and pear - a bouquet that unfurls and reveals layers as the wine warms in the glass; a wild white flower note adds complexity and charm. On the palate - just off-dry with some residual sugar sweetness contrasting crisp, fresh acidity. Flavors of apple and mandarin blossom, honeysuckle and gentle spice. A delicious wine with generosity and finish.
90 Points


HaHa Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Lots of classic aromas and Marlborough cool climate aromas with mango, lemon, apple and even a touch of lime; a hint of passion fruit and peach; grassy herbaceous notes add lift and power. On the palate - crisp, fruity, juicy, fresh, lush and packed with ripe citrus and tree fruit flavors; some tropical fruit moments; plenty of acidity and finish. A balanced and well made wine.
89 Points

Friday, 24 July 2015


Vinoptima Reserve 'Ormond' Gisborne Gewurztraminer 2010
Exotic, spicy, rich, fruity and bold. Fruit aromas include almost anything I can name from sweet and baked apple to sweet pear and white peach. On the palate - off-dry, creamy, fruity and exotic - flavors range from all of the above to lychee and tropical with roses and orange peel - this is a delicious and tasty wine with medium+  acidity and a long finish in a weighty almost oily textured style. Capital D - licous!
92 Points

Spade Oak

Spade Oak Vineyard 'Vigneron' Gisborne Syrah 2013
Dark red and ruby hues with a pink rim.
Ripe blackcurrant and plum aromas with a distinctive peppery note; smokey oak adds complexity and allure, a light sweet note of violet and chocolate and a very mild earthy layer. On the palate - fruity, peppery, lush and quite juicy; dry too with medium tannins and medium+ acidity; a wine still coming together, but with charm and potential. Medium oak and tannins which show a dusty side as well as firmer more youthful side. Medium finish with sweet plum and tart plum finish, balanced and well made.
89 Points

Pask Winery

Pask Winery 'Declaration' Hawke's Bay Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec 2010
Very dark red with a garnet hues
There's no mistaking the cabernet with baked bell-pepper, dried herbs and bitter chocolate aromas; a bottle-aged character of dried plum and dried flowers adds depth and complexity; there's old leather and a sense of completeness about the bouquet. On the palate - dry, leathery and fruity with some fresh and mostly dried berry fruit flavors - blackberry and plum, dried flowers and earthy dry stone suggestions. Medium+ tannins, medium acidity, medium+ body and a medium+ finish. Overall a lovely wine well suited to meat lead dishes or cheese.
89 Points

Pask Winery 'Gimblett Road' Hawke's Bay Syrah 2013
Red, dark red and almost opaque appearance with a pink rim.
Ripe, sweet red and black fruit aromas with black berry, blue berry and currants, a mild peppery note and sweet meats with field mushroom and toasty oak, a touch of truffle comes and goes. On the palate - juicy, fruity and ripe with lots of red and black fruit flavors, medium+ acidity and medium tannins, firm and dry texture with flavors reminiscent of the nose. Blanced though youthful still, long finish and well made.
90 Points

Sacred Hill

Sacred Hill 'Helmsman' Hawke's Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2013
Opaque appearance with a black cherry and dark plum hues
Ripe black and red fruit aromas with blackberry and doris plum, suggestions of fresh and cooked dark berries; fresh new oak aromas add a boldness and richness to the bouquet with smoky and toasty components. On the palate - ripe, firm, youthful and powerful with blackberry and plum fruit flavors, lots of fine to medium tannins from the oak and fruit; a significant toasty oak note pushing the chocolate and nutty suggestions adding complexity and personality. The Cabernet does add a touch of herbaceous and tobacco notes. Overall a lovely dry wine that is more than drinkable today and will cellar well for 3-8 years.
90 Points 

Sacred Hill 'Wine Thief' Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2014
Toasty, burnt butter, nutty and fruity with roasted and fresh stone fruit, baked pears and apple, a lanolin and wool note add complexity and charm. On the palate - fruity, dry, packed with texture and layers of flavors from fuzzy peach to crisp red apple, a nutty oak layer and mild tannin add depth and length. A very exciting wine that should be on every decent wine list and cellar in New Zealand. Frankly -  reminds me of Grand Cru Chablis - love it.
94 Points

Church Road

Church Road 'McDonald Series' Hawke's Bay Tempranillo 2013
Just opaque with deep purple and dark ruby hues.
Big bouquet of dark berry fruits, leather and toasty oak; black cherry and black berry with plum and cooked red fruits. On the palate - dry with dusty tannins and medium+ acidity; medium+ body and toasty almost smoky charred oak; the darker berry fruits flavors re-emerge with fresh and cooked flavors; quite a lot of dark baking spice and baked field mushroom flavors as well. The package overall is very good, but tasters have to like oak and earthy flavors as well as red fruits.
Food oriented example while still so young.
88 Points

Mills Reef

Mills Reef 'Elspeth' Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Syrah 2013
Almost opaque with very dark ruby and purple hues.
Very fresh, fruity and forward bouquet with sweet, ripe black red berry fruit aromas - blackcurrant, raspberry and mulberry suggestions, lots of sweet vanilla scented oak with a medium+ toasty layer, red rose and mild white pepper. On the palate - dry, juicy, fruity and lush; plenty of fresh raspy berry fruit flavors, medium+ tannins with fine to fury textures, medium oak levels and medium toasty flavors.The pepper idea is quite mild but still present; very drinkable example with a strong finish, balanced and well made.
90 Points


Stonecroft Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 'Serine' Syrah 2013
Opaque with dark ruby and purple hues.
Bold bouquet of black berry fruits - blackcurrant blackberry and blueberry; smoky woody tones add breadth with mild black pepper and light compote notes adding further complexity. On the palate - very dry with lots of tannin action and medium+ acidity pushing the texture message; plenty of fruit concentration to contrast these attributes with the oak and toasty notes adding richness and muscle.
Not for the faint of heart this is a big wine with time on its side.
Enjoy with food, decant for at least an hour before service or cellar for 2 more years.
89 Points

Richmond Plains

Richmond Plains Nelson Pinot Noir 2013
Quite a light raspberry and cherry hued appearance - very bright.
Fragrant, almost ethereal bouquet of red flowers and light red fruits - crushed rose petal and stony soils, soft red cherry and strawberry suggestions. Overall very fragrant and alluring - That's what Pinot Noir is all about.
On the palate - dry, light, floral and fruity. The mix of light red fruits and floral moments mentioned above return on the palate, a light stony and crushed rock mineral layer adds complexity and depth. Light on tannin, light on weight, light on oak -  a softly softly approach - though the more you taste it the more, I am sure, you will like it. Lovely medium+ finish.
89 Points

Villa Maria

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Pungent, powerful, fruity and forward bouquet of everything that Marlborough SB is famous for: waves of tropical fruit, fresh cut herbs and lemon, green apple, white flowers and wet stones. On the palate - just dry with a nudge of sweetness followed by crisp fresh and very fruity flavors of tree and tropical fruit laced with citrus. Not a complex wine, but classic, punchy and packed with flavor.
89 Points


Aurum Rose Vintage 2011 Methode Traditionelle Central Otago
Fragrant, floral and attractive bouquet of light red fruits and florals - red apple, strawberry and cherry come to mind, a noticeable autolysis adds depth and a little complexity. On the palate - dry, crisp and quite flavorful with the mix of red fruits and apple/pear notes alongside the yeasty complexity there's a serious side to this wine. There's also a portion of Pinot Gris in the blend and this adds a little more juicy texture. Quite a long finish with a crisp bite. Well made and totally drinkable through 2018.
89 Points 

Allan Scott

Allan Scott Cecilia Brut NV Methode Traditionnelle
Mixed bouquet of ripe peachy fruits and yeast autolysis with a light honey and floral layer - overal moderately complex. On the palate - dry, crisp, fruity with a mix of grapefruit and honey, a soft yeasty complexity and light peach flavor. Drinking well right now and should be an easy choice for aperitif before food. Balanced and well made with a moderate finish.
84 Points 
(Good - a solid well made wine)