Friday, 27 May 2016

Snow Bird Wines

Snow Bird Pinot Noir 2015 South Island 
Pure, fresh and light red fruit aromas with sweet red cherry, plum and cranberry, a lightness of oak and soft brown spice moments, fragrant and appealing bouquet. On the palate - just dry, loads of light red fruit flavours with a mix of fresh cranberry and cherry with a touch of plum; very light and easy tannins, refreshing acidity and light easy finish. 
88 Points


Ostler Audrey's Pinot Gris 2015 Waitaki Valley North Otago
Enticing bouquet of fresh tree fruit, white spice and cool wet stone minerality; crisp pear and ripe fridge cold red apple then a white flowers moment. On the palate - juicy, lush, fresh and plush with flavours of ripe pear laced with a hint of pepper and snow pea; refreshing acidity, medium weight with a nudge of residual sweetness and lengthy finish - lots to like and very easy to swallow. 
92 Points

Ostler Pinot Gris 2015 Waitaki Valley North Otago
Fresh lively, crisp and very fruit centric with aromas of cold pear, white peach and yellow apple, a hint of spice and cold stone minerality. On the palate - only just dry with a fine balance between the fresh crisp acidity and cooling sweetness of ripe fruit and a little fructose; flavours of white peach and pear with a touch of lemon, juicy lush finish, balanced and well made.
88 Points

Ostler 'Caroline's Pinot Noir 2013 Waitaki Valley North Otago
Complex almost exotic bouquet of Pinot Noir with aromas of red apple skin, sweet red cherry and dried herb, loads of mineral and just enough new oak to add complexity and intrigue. On the palate - complex, fresh, dry, layered and engaging - a wine that requires attention toi its detail in fruit intensity, oak spice and harmony of flavours. It is also still youthful, reflect the region is originates from with layers of mineral; firm to chalky tannins and still plenty of acidity. This is Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir
95 Points

Ostler 'Blue House Vines' Pinot Noir 2015 Waitaki Valley North Otago
Light red fruits bouquet with plum and red cherry, some light fragrant oak and oak spice notes with light brown spices and mild toasty layers; attractive Pinosity. On the palate - dry, varietal and flavourful with cherry and plum flavours, a little cranberry and red apple skin, fine tannins, medium+ acidity and mild mineral layer. A balanced and well made wine with just enough length and complexity to warrant a second glass.
89 Points

Domain Road Vineyard

Domain Road Vineyard The Water Race Dry Riesling 2014 Bannockburn Central Otago
Fresh citrus and tree fruits with a lemon and lime laced bouquet, a squeeze of green apple and white flower notes - peach blossom. On the palate - dry, fresh, flinty and packed with the flavours of sweet meyer lemon, green apple and flinty minerals; light weight with plenty of acidity, honeysuckle and bite. Youthful, balanced and well made. Can't help but imagine this would be great with fresh Bluff Oysters or Snapper Sashimi.
90 Points

Domain Road Vineyard Duffers Creek Riesling 2014 Bannockburn Central Otago
Floral, fresh and quite fruity with aromas of mandarin and a touch of limeflower, a hint of fresh green tea and white peach - overall very cool climate Riesling with floral charm and allure. On the palate - off dry with sweetness immediately contrasted by high acidity. Flavours of apple, mandarin and white peach with lemon emerge with force; great balance, length and engagement. 
93 Points


Neudorf Rosie's Block Chardonnay 2015 Nelson
Youthful and engaging bouquet of ripe white peach, apple and even a little pear; cashew scented oak and just enough oak spice to notice; some floral moments with white flowers imaged; overall youthful with complexity and plenty of charm. On the palate - firm and youthful with a tense citrus and stone fruit engagement followed by oak and acidity then a calming creamy textured period. A delightful example with some sulphide notes and plenty of tension leading to the suggestion that this wine is best cellared for 2-3 years before it reaches its true balance and message. Decant for service - not too cold or cellar till early 2018.
93 Points

Black Estate

Black Estate Home Chardonnay 2015 Waipara
Bold and forward bouquet of cashew, grapefruit, white peach and oak; layers of spice, apple and citrus lead to a fairly complex package of aromas and definitely enticing. On the palate - dry, mild creamy texture with soft oak tannins; white peach and citrus flavours with apple, a mild bite of new oak and medium+ acidity add power and texture; vanilla tones and a fairly lengthy finish. Very pleasant example with attitude and length.
90 Points

Black Estate Netherwood Chardonnay 2015 Waipara
A bouquet filled with the aormas of new oak and ripe stone fruit and citrus; youthful expression with a leesy new oak and spice beginning then white peach and preserved lemon fruit core. On the palate - dry, firm, fresh, loaded with fruit and oak flavours, quite lush and fills the palate with flavour; mild oak tannins and plenty of oak flavour, a layer of mineral begins to emerge adding to and leading into a lengthy finish. Balanced and well made.
93 Points

Pegasus Bay

Pegasus Bay Riesling 2014 Waipara Valley
Intensly floral, fruity, waxy and engaging with aromas of preseved lemon and apple with crushed flowers and beguiling core of intensity and complexity. On the palate - off dry with some residual sweetness easily contrated by the acidity and intense fruit expression; flavours of lemon, grapefruit and apple with a waxy texture, core of fruit and long finish. A delicious example of Riesling that I would drink as a aperitif any day of the week. Perfect for fragrant seafood dishes and paella.
92 Points

Moss Wood

Moss Wood Wilyabrup Pinot Noir 2014 Margaret River
Fragrant, floral, oaky and fruity with a bouquet of soft light red fruits suggesting red cherry and darker red berries; soft brown baking spices from oak a light toasty lees quality. On the palate - dry, light, warm; flavours of cherry, cranberry and red berries with warming alcohol and vanilla oak flavors. Overall quite a decent expression of Pinot Noir with fine tannins and medium acidity, moderate length and finish. Well made.
89 Points


Neudorf 'Tom's Block' Pinot Noir 2014 Nelson
Quite a complex bouquet of red berry fruits laced with a silty mineral almost stony mineral layer; almost sweet new oak layer with a layer of spice and intensity; overall a complete and generous Pinot Noir bouquet. On the palate - crisp, youthful, fruity, firm and dry; flavours of ripe cherry and cranberry with layers of oak spice, medium tannins and plenty of acidity. Still very youthful with enough poise and tension to make me want to try this wine again in a year. Decant for service now or cellar through 2017 then try again.
91 Points

Valli Wine

Valli Pinot Noir 2014 Bannockburn Central Otago
Powerful Pinot Noir bouquet with intense ripe red fruits of black cherry and plum, violet and rose hip moments then focused and intentional layer of oak with spice, toast and lift; complex and alluring overall. On the palate - youthful, tense, firm, dry and 100% Pinot Noir, a warmth and richness with ripe red fruit and mineral oak combinations are revealed; plenty of tannin and acidity add textures and length. Lovely example of warmth and intensity in a very youthful frame. Decant for service or cellar through 2025.
95 Points

Valli Pinot Noir 2014 Gibbston Vineyard Central Otago
Intense bouquet of ripe red fruits laced with sweet floral tones, dried herbs, vanilla spikes with moderate oak tones and light fruity perfumes creating a synergy and complexity. On the palate - lush, fruity, fresh and dry - flavours of plum and cherry fruits with fine tannins and plenty of acidity, as the wine opens-up complexity and charm begins to build leading to a tense firm finish. Decant for service or cellar through 2020.
92 Points

Valli Pinot Noir 2014 Bendigo Vineyard Central Otago
Generous almost lush bouquet of ripe red berry fruits - suggesting blackberry, blackcurrant and black cherry; undergrowth and dried herb moments add complexity as well as allure; a youthful mineral/flint/rock haunt add depth and complexity. On the palate - wow! this is a fine wine indeed with layers of fine tannin and firm acidity backed by ripe light red fruit flavours, poise and tension plus mineral and fine oak moments leading to a lengthy fine finish. A wine to savour and enjoy. Decant for service or cellar through 2028.
96 Points

Valli Pinot Noir 2014 Waitaki Vineyard North Otago
Intense, pure, crisp and specific bouquet of cranberry and red cherry fruit aromas, cool climate purity with new and not so new oak layers; moderately complex. On the palate - youthful, tense, pure and dry; plenty of ripe red berry fruit flavours coat the palate with fine tannins and plenty of acidity; mix of oak flavours and synergy leading to a lengthy finish. Great example from a region with a huge future. Decant for service or cellar through 2020
93 Points

Valli Pinot Noir 2014 Burn Cottage Vineyard Central Otago
Smoky, toasty, organic and new with aromas of ripe dark cherry fruits laced with dried raspberry and plum, dried flowers and dried herb, smoky oak and baking spice layers - quite complex. On the palate - delicious, fresh, oranaic and pure with wild or natural ferment layers, spice, ripe red fruit flavours and a haunting synergy. Firm youthful tannins with a chalky texture, medium+ acidity and lengthy pure finish. Decant for service or cellar through 2020.
94 Points

Friday, 20 May 2016


Matawhero Church House Malbec 2015 Gisborne
Crimson red, bright apprearance; aromas of ripe berry fruits with boysenberry and wild cherry suggestions; plenty of oak showing in the very youthful bouquet. On the palate - dry, fresh, crisp, youthful and quite fruity; flavours of red berries and even a little red beet; lots of acidity and vibrant tannins - a wine that needs a lot more cellar time to fuse the elements together. For moment - showing potential and energy with medium length.
85 Points

Jules Taylor Wines

Jules Taylor Wines Chardonnay 2015 Marlborough
Fruity, creamy and ripe with vanilla laced stone fruits and ripe red apple then toasty oak moments. On the palate - Dry, firm, youthful and fresh with a crisp attack - flavours of peaches, other stone fruit and citrus emerge, light creamy texture and balanced finish. Drink now and through 2018.
87 Points

Mills Reef WInery

Mills Reef Winery Estate Chardonnay 2015 Hawke's Bay
Ripe and fruity bouquet with a mix of peach, nectarine, apple and a touch of citrus, youthful woody oak and vanilla. On the palate - Chardonnay all the way with flavours of peach and vanilla then a light creamy texture and balanced acidity, a touch of citus and light tannins, balanced and well made.
86 Points

Mills Reef Winery Elspeth Chardonnay 2014 Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay
Ripe, rich, intense and packed with ripe, fresh peachy stone fruits and citrus, nectarine and nutty fresh new oak fragrances. On the palate - dry, firm, fresh and powerful with bold ripe flavours of peach and grapefruit, vanilla and cashew nut oak, plenty of spice and youthful woody appeal, long memorable finish. Great balance and length - will continue to imporess through 2025.
94 Points


Mahi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Extremely ripe, fragrant and classic bouquet of both Marlborough SB and Mahi: Ripe gooseberry and citrus, crushed apple and moments of tropical fruit; plenty of stony mineral moments, sweet hay and dried herbs and a core  of steely determination. On the palate - dry, crisp and firm with flavours of wild honey laced white fruits, gooseberry and green plum, plenty of citrus and mineral, ripe acidity and lengthy finish. Complete, balanced and well made.
92 Points

Burn Cottage

Burn Cottage Pinot Noir 2014 Central Otago
Complex, fragrant, alluring and significant bouquet of Pinot Noir: Fragrant and organic layers with ripe red berry fruits, soft brown baking spices and complex layers of earth and dried herbs. On the palate - dry, fine and layered with youthful chalky tannins, plenty of acidity and packed with fine red berry fruit flavours; floral too with soft borrage and violet moments; lengthy finish. A delightful example that will age well into the 2020s.
95 Points

Burn Cottage Gibbston Pinot Noir 2014 Central Otago
Soft bouquet, quite fragrant and ripe with crushed black cherry and dark red apple skin; light brown spices and light toasty oak suggestions. On the palate - plenty of red fruit flavours laced with soft brown spice with a core of mineral and savoury complexities; fine to moderate tannins, medium+ acidity and lengthy finish, a complete wine, great balance and length. Drink now if decanted or cellar till 2020. 
92 Points


Julicher Pinot Noir 2013 Martinborough
Fruity, juicy, plush and ripe red berry fruit aromas with strawberry and sweet plum, a touch of raspberry and red apple skin; light brown spices of oak and a light vanilla tones. On the palate - just dry with plenty of fred fruit intensity, fine tannins and medium+ acidity, fine tannins with a light chalk and fine velvet texture, loads of flavour and leading to a lengthy dry finish.
92 Points

Julicher 99 Rows Pinot Noir 2013 Martinborough
Youthful, ripe and fresh bouquet with fresh red cherry and red apple skin aromas, noticeable oak and light silty soil suggestions, moderate complexity, simple yet enticing. On the palate - fruity, dry, crisp, fresh and flavourful with red cherry and sweet plum, crisp acididty and fine tannins. Balanced and well made for early drinking, but will also cellar well through 2019.
89 Points

Brick Bay

Brick Bay Pinot Gris 2015 Matakana
Fragrant and alluring bouquet of spiced white tree fruit - pears and apples, blossom and green tea with a light minerality. On the palate - just dry with a light rush of sweetness that morphs into a crisp, fruity and lightly dry wine on the finish; flavours of tree fruit and spice return with a lengthy finish, great balance and well made.
92 Points

Brick Bay Martello Rock 2013: Malbec/Cabernet Franc/Merlot Matakana
Loads of ripe red berry fruits with wild cherry and raspberry and boysenberry; violets, clay and oak all seeking attention; very youthful bouquet overall with plenty of energy and power. On the palate - dry, firm, fruity and youthful with plenty of acidity and fine to firm tannins taking charge; flavours of red fruits and violets return - leading to a firm yet fine finish. Decant for service or continue to cellar.
90 Points

Brick Bay Pharos 2013: Petit Verdot/Malbec/Merlot Matakana
Dark, broody, rich and intense bouquet of blackberry and blueberry fruits, toasty oak shot with vanilla and brown spices, quite complex and very youthful. On the palate - equally intense, powerfully fruity and loaded with flavour and texture; firm ripe tannins, medium+ acidity; lots of tension and impact, quite complex with a long finish. Delicious!
95 Points

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Prospect

The Prospect 'Winemaker's Favourite' Chardonnay 2014 Gisborne (Ormond/Patutahi)
Calm, subtle beginning - then white and yellow stone fruit aromas begin to emerge, complexity and depth from sweet vanillin oak, apple and grapefruit follow. On the palate - dry with plenty of flavour from all the elements described above, creamy textures and firm youthful oak bite, medium+ acidity; coming into balance slowly, fairly lengthy finish and fine complexity building. Take another look -  alovely example of Chardonnay and attention to detail.
92 Points


Neudorf .Maggie's Block' Pinot Gris 2015 Nelson
Very generous, plump and fruity bouquet with aromas of fleshy, plush and ripe white fruits - Asian pear, regular pears and yellow apple suggestions; a touch of white pepper and lees add depth. On the palate - dry, juicy, fleshy and flavourful with reminders of the fruits above and leesy, mineral-like flavours, some gentle white pepper spice and honeysuckle; medium acidity, balanced and ready for drinking; very well made with a lengthy finish.
91 Points


Lamont Pinot Gris 2015 Bendigo Central Otago
Quite fragrant with a distinctive spice, floral and mineral surge; contrasted with and by ripe white fleshed fruits particularly pears and apples; quince and a touch of lees adding complexity. On the palate - just dry with a touch of sweetness - adding depth and weight alongside ripe, fleshy fruit flavours; medium+ acidity; the floral, spice and mineral fragrances return as flavour - adding to a lengthy finish. A lovely wine overall.
92 Points

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Sacred Hill

Sacred Hill 'Halo' Pinot Noir 2015 Marlborough
A bouquet loaded with aromas of crisp and crunchy red cherry, red apple skin and wild raspberry; there's plenty of vailla and oak suggestions with a youthful fresh group of Pinot Noir scents. On the palate - dry, crisp, firm, fruity and youthful; red fruit flavours with cranberry and red cherry leading, medium+ acididty and med/med+ tannins - some firm youthful tension. Approachable and food friendly example - drink now if you can decent it otherwise cellar for another 12 months and enjoy from mid 2017.
89 Points


XYZin Old Vine Zinfandel 2013 California
Very plush and fruity with plums and black berry, plenty of cherry and spice. On the palate - fruity with oak flavours and spices; cherries, plums, raisin and vanilla; easy mild tannins and acidity; a very approachable and drink now style -  great accpaniment to food; balanced and well made.
86 Points

Mills Reef Winery

Mills Reef Winery Reserve Merlot Malbec Gimblett Gravels 2014 Hawke's Bay
Fruity bouquet filled with blue fruits - blueberry, mullberry then blackberry and a cherry compote-like suggestion, light oak spices and mild toasty qualities. On the palate - dry and slightly firm with medium+ acidity and youthful tannins; plenty of fruit to comtrast with plums and black cherry then blue fruit flavours; moderate oak, easy finish. A balanced, well made wine with immediate drinkability if decanted or cellar for 2-3 years.
88 Points

Friday, 6 May 2016

Clearview Estate Winery

Clearview Estate Coastal Chardonnay 2015 Hawke's Bay
Smoky, spicy, toasty roasted peach and orchard fruits, nutty, creamy, familiar, inviting. On the palate - very engaging with creamy then firm textures, definitive bite of oak, with spice and light smoky oak qualities, mix of orchard fruits and roasted nut flavours, medium acididty. Definitely a two glass wine. Drink now if decanted and enjoy through 2022.
92 Points

Clearview Estate Three Rows Chardonnay 2015 Hawke's Bay
Distinctive bouquet of peach and vanilla scented oak tones - some cashew and oak spice, youthful overall with a stony mineral layer adding some depth and complexity. On the palate - Soft, generous, creamy and very vanilla peachy with custard & brulee flavour suggestions, moderate yet definitive oak suggestions, medium acididty, lengthy finish; balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2020.
94 Points

Clearview Estate Beachhead Chardonnay 2015 Hawke's Bay
Complex bouquet of stony saline mineral, oak and ripe fruit - grapefruit, peach, nutty and lightly spice oak with some vanilla tones and youthful woody notes, becomes more complex as the wine relaxes in glass. On the palate - dry, citrusy, nutty and spicy with flavours of grapefruit and just ripe peach, some apple then oak, plenty of oak tannins and youthful firm textures, medium+ (ish) acidity; medium+ length and finish. Plenty of cellar time ahead for this wine. Decant for service or cellar till 2018.
91 Points

Clearview Estate Cape Kidnappers Syrah 2015 Hawke's Bay
Powerful, distinctive, youthful and very fruity: Ripe, wild red and black berries, new oak, toast and dark spices; raw yet intriguing boquuet and demanding of your attention. On the palate - dry, fruity, oaky and firm in texture: blueberries, wild plum and blackcurrant; dark spices and loads of oak with toast and vanilla tones; medium+ acididty and abundant tannins; a lovely wine destined to mature slowly. Decant for service or cellar first till 2018.
95 Points

Burn Cottage

Burn Cottage Riesling & Gruner Veltliner 2014 Central Otago
Floral, mineral, fresh, loaded with citrus, crunchy apple, radish and chalky mineral messages. Just off-dry with some residual sweetness messages, lovely soft textures with lively acidity; flavours of white flowers and honey, Asian pears, yellow apples and green gauge plum, very silky texture, mild soft tannins, cammomile. Long gentle finish - a lovely and intriguing wine.
93 Points