Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Tiki Estate

Tiki Estate Pinot Gris 2016 Waipara North Canterbury
Aromas and flavours of sweet ripe pears and peaches, honeysuckle and red apple, some lees and white spices. Creamy, lush, ripe and off-dry with honeysuckle and warming alcohol contrasted by acidity and flavour impact. Great balance and length – a lovely wine. Drink now and through 2020.

89 Points

Black Estate

Black Estate ‘Damsteep’ Riesling 2016 North Canterbury
Very expressive and distinctively individual bouquet with aromas of lees, beer, ginger, baked lime and lemon, pressed flowers and manuka honey. On the palate – dry, ripe and textured with plenty of acidity and lees derived teasers; flavours of sweet lime and lemon, honey and lees. Long finish – a lovely wine. Different yet delightful. Best from now and through 2022.

92 Points

Te Awa

Te Awa Single Estate Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Ripe, bold, oaky, black fruits of sweet Doris plum and blackberry; toasted brown spices, some meaty fleshy dark berry aromas, concentrated and complex as well as youthful. On the palate – dry, youthful, fruity, firm textures and lengthy on the finish. Flavours of dark berries and dark plums, firm tannins and fresh acidity. A great example of Hawkes Bay red wine; needs cellar time for sure. Best from 2020 through 2035.

94 Points

Villa Maria

Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Dark berries, chocolate, sweet tobacco, toasty oak barrel, graphite and dark plum scents lead the bouquet. On the palate – youthful, firm textures, ripe, dry, noticeable tannins and acidity reinforce the need for more cellar time. Flavours of dark berries and plums, toasty wood and dark spices. Mid-palate concentration adds depth and intensity to a boldly structured wine. Long finish. Best from 2020 through 2030+

95 Points

Church Road

Church Road ‘McDonald Series’ Merlot 2014 Hawkes Bay
Fruity, plenty of oak and packed with aromas and flavours of Doris plums, baked plums, black cherry and dark spices of oak with cloves and vanilla. Ripe and tart raspberry moments accentuated by the acidity; fine to moderate tannins accentuated by toasty oak, dry, balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2022.

88 Points

Sacred Hill

Sacred Hill ‘Deer Stalkers’ Syrah 2014 Hawkes Bay
Bold, ripe, very toasty and fruity with aromas of smoked meats, smoked wood and smoked fruits; baked raspberry, black cherry, raw cacao and sweet black pepper. On the palate – dry, fruity, young, bold, plenty of tannins and acidity contrasted by a ripe core of fruit; lengthy finish, very intriguing expression. Drink now and through 2028.

94 Points

Craggy Range

Craggy Range SV Syrah 2014 Hawkes Bay
Opaque appearance, broody – dark and stormy – aromas of baked raspberry, dark plum and blueberry. Additional aromas include sweet meat and spices, baked mushroom then plenty of new toasty wood smells with cloves and vanilla. On the palate – Dry, fruity, spicy, war, Flavours of dark berries and spiced meats, plenty of oak, but not too much. Moderate tannins with a fine youthful texture, medium+ acidity, great balance and length, bold and masculine. Drink now and through 2024.
93 Points

Craggy Range ‘Te Kahu’ SV Merlot/CS/Malbec/CF 2014 Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, Hawkes Bay
Very expressive bouquet of dark red berry fruits laced with sweet toasty oak; plums, black and blue fruits, some violets notes and gentle dried herbs. On the palate – dry, very fruity with dark berries and sweet black cherry, fine tannin structure and balanced acidity, dark spices of oak and toasty wood moments. Overall a very nice wine – balanced and well-made with a decent finish and length. Drink now and through 2026.

91 Points

Measure & Guess

Measure & Guess Pinot Noir 2017 Hawkes Bay
Fruity and ripe bouquet with aromas of plum and raspberry, mild oak and brown spice scents; forward and inviting. On the palate – dry and fruity with plums and red berry fruit, firm texture with acidity and tannins driving the palate. Shortish finish, overall okay. Drink now and through 2018.

84 Points

Peregrine Wines

Peregrine Wines ‘Saddleback’ Pinot Noir 2016 central Otago
Ripe, fruity, minerally and alluring aromas of red berry fruit, almost sweet spiced French Oak, rock mineral and a raspberry, red cherry & red apple. On the palate – dry, medium+ acidity; flavours of red berry fruits, plum and sour raspberry; fine to moderate tannins add texture and weight leading to a moderate lengthy finish. Nicely balanced and youthful still. Best drinking from now and through 2024.

89 Points

Gladstone Vineyard

Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 Wairarapa
Ripe, attractive bouquet with Pinosity and charm; aromas include ripe red cherry and strawberry tones, vanilla and mild toasty oak, a sweet raw sugar note and sweet rose. On the palate – dry, fine tannins and medium acidity; flavours of brown spices surround ripe red fruits of cherry, plum and raspberry. Best from now and through 2026.

91 Points

12,000 Miles

12,000 Miles Pinot Noir 2015 Gladstone, Wairarapa
Fruity, ripe and varietal Pinot Noir bouquet with ripe red cherry and raspberry/strawberry aromas, mild toasty oak layer with some kitchen spices from toasted oak. On the palate – fruity with a cherry, raspberry and date flavour combination; fine tannins and moderate acidity; balanced, well-made and ready. Drink now and through 2022.

88 Points

Archangel

Archangel Pinot Gris 2015 Central Otago
Ripe, fruity and vibrant bouquet with a creamy rounded texture to the aromas; spiced pear and yellow apple, some honeysuckle and lees residue showing a little ginger and beer note (nice). Om\n the palate – just dry with flavours of mixed white fleshed fruits a citrus bite and firm texture. Quite youthful still and developing secondary flavours. Drink now and through 2021.
89 Points

Archangel Chardonnay 2016 Central Otago
Bold and expressive bouquet with a nutty, cream, butterscotch and popcorn beginning; baked apricot, peach and nectarine fruits follow, vanilla and oak wood tones. On the palate – dry, full-bodied, almost creamy texture and plenty of flavour reflect everything the nose suggests. Some fine wood tannins adding in texture, medium acidity and finish. Still quite a youthful example and requires some continued cellar time. Best from late 2018 through 2026.
90 Points

Archangel Pinot Noir 2013 Central Otago
Distinctive and familiar bouquet of Pinot Noir with dark red cherry fruit and wild raspberry aromas; an oak and mineral combination with vanilla and dark spices, toasty French oak and wild thyme. On the palate – firm, youthful, dry reflecting flavours suggested on the nose, abundant tannins with a firm texture adding nervous energy, plenty of acidity and length generated by the package of attributes. Drinking best from late 2018 through 2028.

92 Points

Hunter’s

Hunter’s Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough
Pungent, ripe and distinctively SB with aromas and flavours of tropical fruits then cape gooseberry, grapefruit, golden kiwi and apple; grassy/herbaceous and stony. Just dry on the palate with lush salivating acidity, light+ to medium weight, fresh and crunchy finish carrying all the flavours described above. Drink now and through 2020.
89 Points

Hunter’s Riesling 2017 Marlborough
Floral and fruity with a honeysuckle, white rose and ginger spice layer – then a varietal signature of sweet apple and citrus fruits, a touch of mandarin. On the palate – fleshy, ripe and packed with flavours of citrus and apple, some rose and mineral; just dry with a lick of residual sugar, high acidity, fresh and quite lengthy. Drink now and through 2028.
88 Points

Hunter’s Pinot Gris 2017 Marlborough
Classic bouquet of Gris with fleshy wet pear, White fleshed nectarine and honeysuckle laced red apple; just a whisper of white spice. On the palate – lush, fresh, fruity and off-dry with a little residual sweetness contrasting the warming alcohol; flavours reflect the nose with a plush and silky texture, medium+ acidity and nice flavourful finish. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2020.
88 Points

Hunter’s Gewurztraminer 2017 Marlborough
Bold spicy and fruity attack with aromas and flavours of fresh and poached white fruit – apples, pears, lychee and some citrus peel; rose and spices show off the variety. Off-dry with a little residual sweetness contrasted by spiciness and sweet herbs then some phenolics adding in a texture of youth and firmness. Overall very nice. Drink now and through 2021.
88 Points

Hunter’s ‘Jane Hunter’ Pinot Noir 2015 Marlborough
Fruity varietal bouquet with aromas of sweet red cherry and red apple skin; some cranberry and wild strawberry layered in, fine oak notes and developing complexity. On the palate – dry and also quite fruity with flavours of wild raspberry, red cherry and red apple; a dry stone mineral note, fine tannins and plenty of acidity. Balanced and well-made. Best drinking from now and through 2024.

89 Points

Ruckus Estate

Ruckus Estate SV ‘Mérite’ Merlot 2015 Wrattonbully, South Australia
Densely scented bouquet with aromas of sweet plum and new oak, violet and clove, wild red berries and liquorice root; as the opens up in glass the concentration and complexity builds whilst holding onto its very youthful quiver. On the palate – an obvious yet not overdone ripeness and concentration with flavours that reflect the nose centering on plums, some blue fruits and floral moments. The oak is obvious with its youthful attack, but will integrate over time; medium+ (ish) tannins and acidity, well made and drinking well now. Best from 2019 through 2030+.

94 Points

Brick Bay

Brick Bay Rosé 2017 Matakana, North Auckland
Deep salmon and Auckland rose hues lead to aromas and flavours of quince and strawberry, red apple and bing cherry, a gentle mineral and very light savoury edge adds complexity and depth. On the palate – vibrant, fresh and bursting with flavours that reflect the nose as well as chilled peach and rose tea, very fine tannins and refreshing acidity. A perfect Summer and Autumn wine. Drink now and through 2020.

93 Points

Aravin

Aravin Pinot Gris 2017 Central Otago
A lovely ripe, fresh, youthful and inviting bouquet of fresh bosc pear, red apple and grapefruit peel, a stony mineral and white pepper moment adds some depth and intrigue. On the palate – juicy, fleshy, plush, textured and just dry with a lengthy finish. Balanced and well-made. Lovely food wine or as an aperitif – drink now and though 2020.
91 Points

Aravin Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago
100% PN on the nose with aromas of dried raspberry and black cherry laced with violet and stony soils suggestions, savoury dried herb, mild to moderate wood aromas of dusty clove and vanilla with toasty wood notes, a youthful quiver & with a building complexity as the wine opens up in the glass. On the palate – very youthful with a tense and obvious impact from the tannins and acidity; the flavours described above do emerge with a very youthful attack. Will continue to develop for some time yet. Decant for service. Best from 2019 through 2029.

92 Points

Mangaorapa Estate

Mangaorapa Estate Pinot Noir 2014 Southern Hawkes Bay
A charming yet specific bouquet of Pinot with aromas of cherry and red berries with a crunchy red fruits and mild savoury complexity combination; minerality is obvious with a crumbly dry clay/sand suggestion then moderate oak layer with brown spices. On the palate – a dry wine with cranberry and red cherry flavours laced with soft brown spices. Fine to moderate tannins and plenty of acidity; medium weight and fine overall. Best from now and through 2026.
92 Points

Mangaorapa Estate Pinot Noir 2015 Southern Hawkes Bay
Youthful, vibrant and fruity with plenty of varietal pinosity showing fresh red cherry and raspberry highlights, a sandy/clay-like mineral layer, toasty oak with soft brown spice accents. On the palate – dry with loads of texture, shape and form – youthful tannins with a coarse texture and acidity to match then flavours of red fleshed fruits and some red apple. Overall a wine showing great promise and length. Best from 2019 through 2029.

91 Points

Black Cottage

Black Cottage Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough
Ripe, plush and quite a vibrant bouquet with aromas and flavours of apple, citrus, gentle tropical fruit moments, a touch of spice, sweet flowers and mild lees note. Plush on the palate with fresh and juicy fruit flavours, coarse silk texture a stony/mineral undertones. Balanced, fresh and quite lengthy. Drink now and through 2022.
91 Points

Black Cottage Reserve Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago
A charming bouquet with a floral, fresh fruit and mineral laden beginning, moderate oak suggestions with a fine toasty wood and brown spice layer. On the palate – flavours of raspberry, cherry and red apple; some sweet rose and violet floral moments; abundant fine tannins, medium+ acidity; youthful, fresh and tasty with a fairly lengthy finish. Best drinking from 2019 through 2029.

93 Points

Two Rivers

Two Rivers of Marlborough ‘Convergence’ Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Sophisticated, fruity, varietal and quite pungent with aromas and flavours of sweet red apple, lemon, grapefruit and white fleshed stone fruits; a tropical note of passionfruit follows. Vibrant with mealy/chalky textures accentuated by refreshing acidity; loads of sweet citrus and crunchy bell-pepper, a touch of white spice and lengthy finish. A lovely example. Drink now and through 2021.

91 Points

Jules Taylor Wines

Jules Taylor Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough
Classic Marlborough SB Bouquet with a pungent and powerful package of sweet grass and fresh herbs, grapefruit, cape gooseberry and citrus; the tropical passion fruit and mango suggestions follow. On the palate – equally powerful, intense acidity, fresh and vibrant flavours with a steely texture. Drink now and through 2020.
89 Points

Jules Taylor Wines Pinot Gris 2017 Marlborough
Loads of fresh and vibrant Gris aromas with spicy white pepper pear, apples and honeysuckle. On the palate – tense, youthful, fruity and just dry with some residual sweetness adding weight and texture; silky lengthy finish, always well made. Drink now and through 2020.

89 Points

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Tohu

Tohu ‘Rore Reserve’ Pinot Noir 2015 Marlborough
Fabulous bouquet of Pinot Noir with a complex and layered nose; aromas of savoury dried herb and whole bunch complexity, a concentration of dark red berries – baked raspberry, red currants and black cherry, toasty, nutty baked brazil-nut oak with brown spices and clove/vanilla. On the palate – youthful and complex with a vibrato of texture tannins and acidity; flavours of dark cherry and plum, some spices and core of concentration. Lengthy finish reveals more as the wine opens-up. A wine to cellar or enjoy if decanted. Best from now and through 2028.

94 Points

Bilancia

Bilancia Chardonnay 2014 Hawkes Bay (Leheny Gibson)
Inviting bouquet of complexity, some elegance and intrigue – aromas and flavours of white fleshed fruits, citrus, baking spices and complex sulphides; mild to moderate oak and a nutty cashew layer. The oak is more pronounced on the palate yet contrasts smoothly to the fruit and acid line. Lengthy, youthful, well defined wine with a moreish texture and fine elegant finish. Drink now and through 2024.

93 Points

Squawking Magpie

Squawking Magpie ‘The Gravels’ Chardonnay 2016 Hawkes Bay
Ripe, fruity and woody with a fresh and baked stone fruit bouquet, vanilla and baking spices, plenty of new wood scents and a toasty brazil nut complexity. On the palate – fruity and woody with cashew and brazil nut flavours, sweet yellow peach, red apple and a core of complex concentration; plenty of nervous youthful attributes with fresh acidity and fine wood tannins. Drink now and through 2026.

93 Points

Tiki Estate

Tiki Estate Chardonnay 2016 Waipara North Canterbury
Smoky, toasty, ripe and packed with aromas and flavours of vanilla scented peach, grapefruit and apple. Quite dry and complex with a mineral core, medium+ acidity enhanced with new wood and fine tannins. Quite young and nervous still so best to decant for service. Ideal drinking from late 2018 through 2024.

89 Points

Steve Bird Winery

Steve Bird Winery and Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2014 Hawkes Bay
Ripe scents of blackberry and dark plum engage the senses immediately then sweet toasty wood with spice and vanilla. Almost full-bodied on the palate with a youthful and tense texture. Plenty of tannins and acidity; flavours now include tobacco and hay, some roasted green bell-pepper and dry stony soil. Medium complexity, youthful and still knitting together. Best from 2020 through 2028.
90 Points

Vidal of Hawkes Bay

Vidal of Hawkes Bay ‘Legacy’ Syrah2014 Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay
Dark, broody, smoky, toasty, peppery and fruity with a very youthful masculine charm; aromas and flavours of blue berry and black currant, baked raspberry then fresh black pepper, baked field mushroom and sweet meat. Firm, dry and very youthful on the palate with medium++ acidity, firm and ripe tannins adding grip and chalky texture; plenty of oak flavours and a long finish. A wine that needs decanting or ageing. Best from 2020 through 2030++.

95 Points

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Bush Vine Grenache 2014 McLaren Vale, Australia
Engaging and quite a complex bouquet of Grenache with aromas and flavours of heirloom plum and old flowers, aged wood spices and some clove brown spice combinations. Cherry and red apple, plums and some cranberry moments; Plenty of acidity and fine tannins, warm. Balanced and well made, dry finish. Best drinking from now and through 2026.
90 Points

Chapel Hill Bush Vine Grenache 2016 McLaren Vale, Australia
Youthful, punchy, fruity and very enticing bouquet. Cranberry, plum and red cherry aromas with some blueberry then scents of oak. On the palate – crisp, crunchy, firm and youthful with noticeable acidity, oak and fruit; quite dry. Plenty of tannins to add texture and length – firm in nature. Overall a wine still on its journey to harmony, but with plenty of potential and length. Decant for service. Best from 2020 through 2030+.

92 Points

Thomas Legacy

Thomas Legacy Chardonnay 2014 Waiheke Island, Auckland
Quite a complex bouquet with a purity of fruit, notable use of oak and engaging complexity. Specific flavours and textures of apple, peach, vanilla, stony/clay soil moments and oak. Fine wood tannins and medium+ acidity add texture, shape and form contrasted by the core of fruit. Balanced and well made, Drink now and through 2026.

94 Points

Church Road

Church Road ‘Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2014 Hawkes Bay
Bold, rich and engaging bouquet packed with aromas of baked yellow stone fruits, vanilla and other oak spices, new wood, some banana and other tropical moments, burnt butter and toasted bread. On the palate – full-bodied, richly textured and flavoured with stone fruits and wood; fine wood tannins, medium acidity, vanilla, baking spices, long finish. Drink now and through 2024.

93 Points

Moss Wood

Moss Wood ‘Wilyabrup’ Pinot Noir 2015 Margaret River, Western Australia
Fragrant and evocative bouquet with Pinosity on the nose and an engaging package of fruit, wood spice and complexity. Flavours and textures of minerality, old wood spices, fallen leaves and old rose; red cherry fruits, apple & cherry pie. Moderate tannins and medium+ acidity; Balanced, dry finish and ready. An example of Pinot Noir to engage in and explore. Drink now and through 2025.

93 Points

Amisfield

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago
Toasty, smoky and fruit bouquet with the signature of Pinot Noir – red berries, cranberry, crisp new season cherry then wood spices and oak. On the palate – dry with a decent core of fruit contrasted by some new oak moments, fine tannins, youthful acidity and a synergy of texture adding complexity and length. A great example of Otago Pinot Noir that will please many fans of the style. Best drinking from late 2018 through 2028.

94 Point

Gibbston Valley

Gibbston Valley ‘Glenlee’ Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago
Complex and engaging bouquet with aromas and flavours of fresh raspberry and crunchy red cherry, a touch of fruit spice and packed with fragrances of wood. Baking spices, a whisper of bacon (oak), red apple, a core of fruit then layers of minerality. Fresh, tension giving acidity, fine to moderate tannins the grip of a youthful and poised wine. Lengthy finish. Allow this wine to age please, it will reward.

94 Points

Millton

Millton ‘La Cote’ Pinot Noir 2016 Gisborne
Complex bouquet with layers of red fruits, red apple, silty soil and minerals with a steely and slightly savoury moment; gentle rose floral edge. On the palate – dry, textured, layered, fruity. Flavours reflect the nose with fine chalky tannins and medium+ acidity; moderate weight, great balance, judicious measure of oak, lengthy finish. Drink now and through 2028.
93 Points

Millton Te aria Vineyard Rosé 2017 Gisborne
Strawberries, red cherries and plum fragrances, rose and rose tea aromas. On the palate – crisp, fresh, fruity and lively with a youthful palate tickle, very fine tannin s and crunchy fresh acidity. Moderate length and well made. Drink now and through 2019.

89 Points

Invivo

Invivo ‘Graham Norton’s Own’ Shiraz 2015 South Australia
Dar berries, toasty layer, dark brown spices and brown sugar note; blue berry and plum fragrances with a clove edge. Just dry on the palate with flavours of chocolate, dark berries and brown spice. Mild tannins and medium+ acidity. Balanced and well-made in a drink now style. Best from now and through 2020.

86 Points

Spencer Hill

Spencer Hill ‘Lattitude 41 Small Batch’ Pinot Noir 2015 Nelson
Varietal and fruity with a decent concentration and signature of Pinot Noir showing aromas and flavours of red berries of strawberry and raspberry then some cranberry; no mistaking the signature of oak with a toasty brown spices layer. Fine to moderate tannins with an oak then fruit profile. Medium+ acidity, well-made. Drink now and through 2022.

90 Points

Three Paddles

Three Paddles Pinot Noir 2016 Martinborough
Fruity, fresh, varietal and lively bouquet with a steely and mild savoury attack softened with aromas of fresh berries with raspberry and dark cherry. On the palate – lush, tasty, textured and fresh; flavours of red berries, red apple and a light carbonic bubble-gum note; soft savoury edge, fine easy tannins, youthful balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2022.

90 Points

Bodegas Atalaya

Bodegas Atalaya ‘Laya’ Garnacha Tintorera Monastrell 2016, Almansa, Spain
Youthful bouquet with a strong core of fruit, oak and complexity; aromas and flavours of black currant, black plum, crushed dark berries and bitter chocolate. Plenty of dark spices of toasty oak. On the palate – plush, fresh, juicy and fruit core; dry on the finish with a warm alcohol note – all good. Plenty of youthful grippy tannins and moderate acidity add loads of texture against a backdrop of bark berry fruit flavours; generous chalky texture and length. Decant for service. Best from 2020 through 2030.   

92 Points

Bodegas Ateca

Bodegas Ateca ‘Honoro Vera’ Garnacha 2016 Calatayud, Spain
Complex bouquet with plums, spices, white pepper, toasted black berries and oak. On the palate – dry with plums and dark berry flavours, a firm tannin presence and acidity to match, decent concentration and layers of texture add depth and intrigue, oak remains ever present, decent length on the finish, balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2026.

91 Points

Can Blau Cellars

Can Blau Cellars Carignan, Grenache, Syrah 2015, Montsant, Spain
Dark spices, dark red fruits with black and blue berries, sweet milk chocolate, crushed roses and loads of brown spices with clove and vanilla. On the palate – dry, fruity, textured and fine with plenty of dusty tannins laced with clove and toasty wood flavours, dark berries and sweet chocolate again, medium length and complexity. Well made and engaging style. Drink now and through 2026.

89 Points

Bodegas Juan Gil

Bodegas Juan Gil Moscatel 2016 Jumilla, Spain
Quite fragrant and aromatic with suggestions of musk, apples and pear with a tropical overlay, floral and forward. On the palate – Crisp, fruity, textured, aromatic, hints of spice and fruit flavours that reflect the nose; dry finish. A lovely aperitif style, balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2018.
88 Points

Bodegas Juan Gil ‘Honoro Vera’ Monastrell 2016, Jumilla, Spain
Dark berries, spices, chocolate and oak lead the bouquet, very ripe and engaging overall. On the palate – dark plums and berries heavily laced with oak, medium+ acidity, chocolate, liquorice and dark spices; medium tannins, balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2026.

89 Points

Monday, 20 November 2017

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Bush Vine Grenache 2009 McLaren Vale, South Australia
Attractive and alluring aromas of ripe red fruits – plums and blue fruits, a clear core of concentration then toasty oak with dark kitchen spice suggestions, complex. On the palate – smooth, creamy texture then firm youthful tannins, medium acidity and a concentration of fruits and oak. Distinctive plum and some dried fruits on the finish. Drinking young still, balanced and lengthy. Best from today and through 2026+.

92 Points

BH Wines

BH Wines ‘The Better Half’ Pinot Noir2016 Marlborough
Plush, fruity and lively red fruits bouquet with sweet crushed red cherry and cranberry, some raspberry and loads of red apple aromas. On the palate – juicy, fleshy, fruity and finishing dry. Flavours reflect the nose with a light [Hubba-Bubba] bubble-gum note, fine tannins and youthful acidity, very soft and mild oak layer. Drink now and through 2022.

89 Points

Stewart Town

Stewart Town ‘The Bounder’ Pinot Noir 2014 Bannockburn, Central Otago
Distinctively Bannockburn with a dark red and roasted cherry led bouquet, toasty oak layer with clove and dark spice moments, a rose and mineral layer adding complexity and charm. On the palate – youthful, firm, dry and tense with a degree of poise and charm slowly revealing more red berry fruit flavours. Fine yet abundant tannins and acidity to match, lengthy finish. This wine is slowly evolving and integrating – give it time. Best from 2019 through 2029. (Made by Grant Taylor)
95 Points

Stewart Town ‘The Bounder’ Pinot Noir 2015 Bannockburn, Central Otago
Charming, floral, fruity and varietal with aromas of rose, cherry, red apple and mineral followed by a moderate layer of oak, quite complex. On the palate – dry, fine tannins and medium+ acidity; flavours of rose and red apple, some lighter red berry fruits and floral notes. A lovely wine with Pinosity in its heart; a lighter weight style – for Bannockburn – yet charming and 100% Pinot Noir. Drink from late 2018 through 2027. (Made by Grant Taylor)
94 Points

Stewart Town ‘The Bounder’ Pinot Noir 2016 Bannockburn, Central Otago
Not yet released – this wine show a youthful mid to dark ruby appearance with a youthful translucent pink rim. Aromas and flavours of ripe and vibrant dark red berry fruits led by dried raspberry and red cherry, noticeably floral with a rose scented tea-like note, red apple, and toasty oak layer with a mild vanilla and clove note. Very firm and tense with ripe chalky tannins, equal measure of acidity and oak. The core of fruit adds to a lengthy finish. Best from 2020 through 2030+. Buy and cellar upon release. (Made by Grant Taylor)

95 Points

Vidal of Hawkes Bay

Vidal of Hawkes Bay ‘Legacy’ Chardonnay 2014
Powerful, distinctive and individual bouquet showing off aromas of ripe citrus and stone fruits, cashew nut oak with a power all of its own; flinty, mineral and youthfully complex. On the palate – fantastic! Packed with as much texture as flavour; grapefruit, lemon, cashew, white peach, flavours of oak and lengthy finish. Complex and age worthy – one of the few wines in NZ that stands up to its Old-World counterparts and sets a very high standard locally.

97 Points

Cloudy Bay

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough
Pungent, powerful and distinctive bouquet of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with aromas and flavours of passion fruit and lemon, white peach and fresh basil. Great palate presence with a core of fruit, high acidity and silky textures. Lengthy finish, classic Cloudy bay with a lengthy steely finish. Drink now and through 2022.

92 Points

Tupari

Tupari Riesling 2016 Awatere Valley, Marlborough
Plush, fragrant and varietal with mandarin, lime flower and apple aromas, a light white spice moment adds intrigue and complexity. On the palate – off dry with some residual sweetness, but immediately and contrasting high acidity finishes the wine dry; flavours of apple and citrus lead with a youthful coarse silk texture and lengthy finish. Drink now and through 2035.
94 Points

Tupari Pinot Gris 2015 Awatere Valley, Marlborough
Savoury, fruity and developing bouquet with aromas and flavours of baked white fleshed fruits, some citrus and rocky mineral-like suggestions. Just off-dry and warm with some elevated alcohol, pear, citrus, a layer of spice and firm texture. Drink now and through 2020.

85 Points

Sileni Estates

Sileni Estates Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough
Pungent, tropical, ripe stone and tree fruit aromas, fresh herb and grass layer. On the palate – fleshy, fruity, crisp and just dry on the finish. A balanced and well-made wine that delivers flavour, intensity and reliability. Drink now and through 2020.
89 Points

Sileni Estates Pinot Noir 2016 Hawkes Bay
Fresh, fruity, bright and varietal with a light ruby red appearance. Aromas and flavours of red apple, sweet red cherry, some strawberry and brown sugar - oak. Just dry with a spice and vanilla moment, very mild oak and fine easy tannins; moderate+ acidity and finishing dry. Balanced and presented in a drink now style. Best from today and through 2020.

88 Points

Amisfield

Amisfield Dry Riesling 2016 Central Otago
Mandarin, apple and apricot blossom, pear and green apple aromas, fresh, youthful and with a layer of saline minerality – complex builds. On the palate – dry, silky texture, high acidity, ripe and loaded with white fleshed fruits and citrus flavours; lengthy finish and great balance as well as potential for ageing. Drink now and through 2030.

93 Points

Amisfield

Amisfield Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Central Otago
Pungent, herbaceous, varietal and powerful bouquet of Sauvignon Blanc. Specific aromas and flavours of fresh, sweet grass, gooseberry and apple, a strong layer of lemon adds intensity to the high acidity and texture. Crisp, fresh, commanding palate presence, lengthy finish. Drink now and through 2025.

92 Points

Sunday, 19 November 2017

By. Ott

By Ott Rosé 2016 Cotes de Provence
Onion skin and pale salmon colour. Aromas and flavours of red apple skin, apple flesh, subtle peach and light red fruit suggestions. Crisp and just dry with plenty of acidity and a whisper of tannin. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2019/2020.

89 Points

Serafino

Serafino Shiraz 2015 McLaren Vale Australia
Toasty, broody, oaky and very fruity bouquet; engaging and alluring aromas of dark berry fruits – fresh and cooked, a jammy note and packed with liquorice, vanilla and pepper spices. On the palate – intense, fruity, spicy and dry; decent level of concentration mid-palate with ripe berry fruit and oak flavours; fine tannins and medium acidity; fleshy, plump and toasty; dark spices, chocolate and pepper. Lengthy finish, balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2026.

91 Points

Wirra Wirra

Wirra Wirra ‘Church Block’ Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot 2015 McLaren Vale Australia
Ripe, fruity, fleshy and varietal with aromas of blackberry, plum, raspberry and black currant; a light violet floral layer adds complexity and charm; moderate+ oak layer with brown spices and toasty-ness; medium+ intensity overall. On the palate – youthful, firm, fruity and dry. Medium+ tannins showing a chalky texture; no mistaking the oak, but not overdone either, a light char-note then moderate toasty effect; flavours of fruits reflect the nose; youthful still with plenty of acidity and vibrancy, balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2025.

90 Points

M. Chapoutier

M. Chapoutier ‘La Bernardine’ Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2014 Rhone, France
Complex and developing bouquet yet also youthful with aromas of plums, spice, leather and red berries. On the palate the wine speaks loud – mushroom, berries, pepper, meat, a hint of truffle and earthy stony layers; dry with plenty of alcohol; fine yet abundant tannins, balanced and lengthy; complex. Medium+(ish) acidity, an old rose moment, lengthy finish. Totally enjoyable wine. Drink now and through 2026+.
93 Points

M. Chapoutier ‘Les Meysonniers’ Crozes-Hermitage 2015 Rhone, France
Very youthful dark purple appearance with a youthful pink rim, loads of coloured tears. The nose and palate show off ripe dark berries and plenty of new oak, granitic soil and a mixed bag of country-side scents from wild meats to dark roses. Firm, youthful, ripe tannins coming from oak and fruit, plenty of acidity with a big and bold structure overall. Concentrated, plush and long finish. Drink now if decanted. Best from now and through 2030.
96 Points

M. Chapoutier Rosé Pays d’ Oc, 2016 France
Gentle salmon rose colours. Aromas and flavours of light red fruits, a whisper of rose and quiet mineral tones. The mineral layer speaks louder on the palate; crisp and refreshing acidity, cranberry and strawberry red fruit flavours are quiet though obvious; crisp dry finish. Great choice with a range of crunchy and flavourful appetizer. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2018\19.

88 Points

Vidal of Hawkes Bay

Vidal of Hawkes Bay ‘Legacy’ Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013 Gimblett Gravels
Complex, youthful, varietal and masculine with distinctive aromas and flavours of blackberry and plum then black currant, English tea, stony soil/granite and plenty of oak. The acidity is bold and youthful, tannins ripe and grippy with a finish reminiscent of iron, graphite and tobacco. A wine still developing. Great textures and lengthy finish. Drink now if decanted. Best from 2019 through 2029.

95 Points

Murdoch James

Murdoch James SV Cabernet Franc 2012 Martinborough
Developed wine and ready to drink – aromas and flavours of red plum and old rose, a little residual sweetness and medium acidity holding all the elements in place. Very fine integrated tannins. Balanced and ready. Drink now and through 2018.

82 Points

Kidnapper Cliffs

Kidnapper cliffs Syrah 2013 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Produced and bottled by Te Awa Winery
Ripe, fruity, dense, rich, polished and enticing bouquet of Syrah. Aromas and flavours of sweet black currant, crushed raspberry, blue berry and dark red cherry; complex. No mistaking the oak – bold, intense and packed with vanilla and clove, toasty with a mild smokiness. On the palate – dry, plush, fruity and fresh; very youthful still, fine tannins, a back bone of acidity, plenty of energy and youthful charm. Drink now and through 2030.

95 Points

Thomas Legacy

Thomas Legacy Merlot 2013 Waiheke Island
Produced and bottled by Batch Winery
Dark and broody red and black fruits with plum and dark cherry, a whisper of bottle age showing with a heady lift. Plenty of toasty oak and full-bodied richness. On the palate – firm, very dry, still loaded with fruit and oak and tannins to match, medium+ acidity and warming alcohol. Decant for service and serve alongside food (Wild Boar or rare Eye fillet). Drink now and through 2026.
89 Points

Thomas Legacy Syrah 2013 Waiheke Island
Produced and bottled by Batch Winery
Varietal, bold, forward and attention seeking bouquet. Aromas include black currant, dark berries and pepper, aged meat and toasty oak, boot polish, smoke, roasted field mushroom and dry earth. On the palate – dry, dark berry fruits and black currant, big tannins and sweet oak with clove and baking spice, pepper again. Plenty of youthful acidity still, lengthy muscly finish. Drink now and through 2028.

93 Points

Palliser Estate

Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2015 Martinborough
Fresh and fruity bouquet with a Pinot Noir stamp of red and darker cherry fruits, some red apple and mild oak intervention, mild complexity, youthful. On the palate – fresh, crunchy red cherry flavours with a hint of strawberry; fine tannins, medium+ acidity; lively, youthful and dry. Drink now – decanting recommended – through to 2024.
87 Points

Palliser Estate Pinot Noir 2015 Martinborough
Complex and developing bouquet of Pinot with aromas and flavours of sweet red cherry and strawberry, some oak spices next with a mix of baking then bacon. Firm and youthful still with tense tannins and plenty of acidity. A quiet and lengthy finish – dry and warm. Still developing – best from 2018 through 2028.

93 Points

Gibbston Valley Wines

Gold River Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago
From the Gibbston Valley stables – Very fruity and varietal bouquet with aromas and flavours of raspberry and red cherry, soft brown spices from mild oak influences and light savoury complexity. Youthful structure with medium+ acidity and fresh vibrant tannins; light to moderate weight, dry finish. Plenty of pepp in this example; can be drunk now though best decanted or cellared. Ideal drinking from 2019 through 2026.
91 Points

Gibbston Valley ‘China Terrace’ Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago
Immediately intriguing bouquet with a complex message of mineral, ripe cherry and raspberry led fruit, some red apple and dark rose moments; noticeable mix of new and older barrel use. On the palate – dry, ripe plump red berry fruit flavours plus cherry and some plum, a little pepper spice then oak spice and flavour; youthful tannin bite and acidity to match, a wine in development with some integration needed over the next few years. Decant for service or best from 2019 through 2027.
94 Points

Gibbston Valley ‘Le Maitre’ Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago
No mistaking the style of Pinot here – toasty and warm with dark spices and plum, ripe dark cherry and spiced plum aromas; the clove and cinnamon edges of the oak and masculine earthy undertones are very inviting and showing the wines complexity. On the palate – ripe, fruity, plump. Oaky, dry finish and very engaging. Fine to moderate tannins with a dusty chalky texture; an equal level of acidity – off-set by the fruit and oak concentration. Baa\lanced, drinkable today; best from late 2018 through 2026.

94 Points

Te Awa

Te Awa Single Estate Chardonnay 2014 Hawkes Bay
Distinctive, oaky, fruity and powerful bouquet with aromas and flavours of vanilla and nutty-oak, roasted yellow stone fruits and a hint of butterscotch. The nutty-sweet-vanilla-oak leads on the palate with peach and other stone fruits flavours to follow, some citrus grapefruit-like flavours as well. Decent acidity and length; still harmonising, but with great potential. Best from  now and through 2024.

92 Points

Akarua

Akarua Pinot Gris 2016 Central Otago
Quite floral then fruity with white spice poached pears and apple, some Asian pear and white peach as well; an intriguing complexity and charm. On the palate – quite vibrant and fresh with spicy white fleshed fruit flavours, some leesy ginger and stony minerality; plenty of acidity, medium weighted, just dry on the finish with a hint of sweetness and just warming alcohol. Drink now and though 2022.

90 Points

Kaimira Estate

Kaimira Estate Brightwater Pinot Blanc 2016 Nelson
Pinot Gris-like aromas with pear and apple, but Pinot Blanc it is with a soft and silky textured bouquet showing off some soft spice and silty mineral undertones. On the palate – light creamy texture, spice then white fleshed fruit flavours – pears and apples, quince and white pepper. Just dry on the finish with decent length. Balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2021.
88 Points

Kaimira Estate Brightwater Hui Katoa 2015 Nelson
A blended wine from 4 varieties – not listed. Aromas and flavours of citrus, spice, stone and tropical fruits. Apricots, apples, white peaches and some lemon suggestions, a hint of bacon barrel) and wood spice. A slightly creamy texture with moderate acidity makes for a very easy drinking wine, medium acidity and harmonious finish. Drink now and through 2020.
89 Points

Kaimira Estate Brightwater Chardonnay 2016 Nelson
Aromas and flavours of peaches, apples and barrel ferment toastiness, familiar and inviting. On the palate – dry with more of the barrel flavours emerging first – toast and brown spices then citrus and tree fruits and finally some stone fruit suggestions. Firm texture and medium acidity capture the essence of Chardonnay well. Drink now and through 2024.
90 Points

Kaimira Estate Brightwater Viognier 2014 Nelson
Distinctive and varietal with apricots and peaches leading the fruit profile followed with a spice of stone fruit skin and yellow flowers. On the palate – juicy, fleshy, fruity and dry. Some light oak spice and lite peppery alcohol add depth and complexity. Decent finish and length. Drink now and through 2020.

88 Points

Auntsfield

Auntsfield ‘South oaks’ Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Southern Valleys Marlborough
Complex bouquet with a varietal signature of citrus and herbs then a tropical fruit layer then barrel ferment aromas of toasted honey and some spicy cashew, a creamy-like lactic note emerges as well. On the palate – a lot of texture, vibrancy and flavour with citrus peel, spice, cashew, apple and stony minerality. Long finish, dry, the core of fruit and intensity lingers. Great balance and length. Drink now and though 2025.

95 Points

Nautilus Estate

Nautilus Estate ‘The Paper Nautilus’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough
Pure, fresh, vibrant and varietal with aromas of citrus, apple, pear and white pineapple; a softer fresh herb and leesy spice note adding depth and complexity. On the palate – delicious with time in bottle bringing together texture, flavour and synchronicity. Lemon zest, grapefruit, apple and fresh herb return, a light spice note also make a play. Lengthy and detailed finish. Very well-made. Drink now and through 2026.

94 Points

BH Wines

BH Wines ‘The Better Half’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough
Distinctive, fruity, vibrant and varietal bouquet with aromas and flavours of fresh apple, grapefruit and a light tropical fruit note; sweet herb and sweet hay; a lees note adds texture and a ginger impression. Just dry on the finish with a lingering aftertaste of fruit, herb and spice. Drink now and through 2020.

89 Points

Invivo Wines

Invivo Wines – ‘Graham Norton’s Own’ Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough
Pungent, fruity, tropical and packed with aromas and flavours of passionfruit, sweet lemon, red apple and fresh herbs. Refreshing and crisp acidity off-sets a nudge of residual sweetness and emphasises the fresh herb steely mouth-feel. Drink now and through 2020.

88 Points

Pegasus Bay

Pegasus Bay ‘Bel Canto’ Dry Riesling 2015 Waipara Valley, North Canterbury
Intense and precise aromas of Riesling with an apricot, honeysuckle and citrus bouquet. The under currant of minerality is obvious with stone/silt/wet chalk-like combination. On the palate – off-dry with an immediate sweetness which disappears quickly as the wine becomes dry; plenty of texture and palate engagement with high acidity, some phenolic action throughout the palate and flavours of lemon zest, apple and spicy honeysuckle. Fabulous balance and length. Enjoy now and through 2030+.

96 Points

Ellero

Ellero ‘Pisa Terrace’ Riesling 2015 Central Otago
Attractive, floral and enticing scents of sweet lime flower and mandarin peel, apple and white apricot follow along with a rocky stony mineral layer. On the palate – tense, crisp, youthful and dry; flavours reflect the nose with emphasis on lime flower and apple, a hint of pineapple and white apricot; high acidity and long finish. A very expressive wine both in texture and flavour. Drink now or continue to cellar till 2030.

96 Points

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Gibbston Valley

Gibbston Valley 'School house' Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago
Quite a complex bouquet with a mix of dark red cherry, red apple skin and spiced plum alongside a savoury, dried herb and mushroom quality; moderate oak influences with a mix of darker brown spices and fresh wood. On the palate - youthful, savoury and firm then flavours of dark cherry and berries return; youthful firm tannins and plenty of crisp acidity. Fairly lengthy finish; well made in a drink now or cellar style style. Best from late 2018 through 2026.
93 Points

Friday, 17 November 2017

Millton

Millton 'Opou Vineyard' Chardonnay 2016 Gisborne
Textured bouquet with a creamy, organic and raw energy. Aromas include peaches and cream, vanilla and honeysuckle, cashew and yoghurt, spices from wood. On the palate - fresh, vibrant and fruity with flavours that reflect the nose; fresh and ripe acidity, a light creamy texture and harmonious finish with moderate and developing complexity. drink now and through 2024.
92 Points

Friday, 3 November 2017

Mas Theo

Mas Theo Cuvee TO 2014, Rhone, France
Light red fruits bouquet with a mix of plum and cherry, some minerality with a granite or dry stone suggestions. Very light on the oak and easy to accept aromas. On the palate - light, fresh, fruity and dry; flavours reflect the nose, soft tannins, very low oak, balanced and immediately drinkable. Enjoy between 2017 and 2020.
86 Points

Mas Theo 'Ferme Theolas' 2016, Rhone, France
Light red fruits bouquet with aromas reminiscent of Pinot Noir with a light red cherry and raspberry fruits, very mild oak and gently floral. On the palate - dry with a mix of ripe and sour fruits, medium+ acidity and very fine tannins, little to no oak flavours. Balanced. Food suggested  to enjoy this wine. Drink now and through 2022.
85 Points

Church Road

Church Road 'Grand Reserve' Syrah 2014, Hawkes Bay
Dense and rich bouquet packed with aromas and flavours of dark berries and smoky toasty oak; no mistaking the olive black cherry, clove, vanilla, a touch of boot polish and black velvet. Dry, firm textures with plenty of wood tannins and acidity to match. Youthful, vibrant, loads of texture and length. A lovely example. Drink from late 2018 through 2026.
95 Points

Mills Reef Winery

Mills Reef Winery Reserve Merlot 2016, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
G\fresh, plush, quite fruity and forward with aromas and flavours of dark cherry, plums and wild red berry fruits; a steely youthful layer adds complexity; a light floral note adding charm. Just dry with a silky smooth texture; mild to moderate tannins and acidity to match. Quite a lengthy finish, soft and easy to swallow. Drink now and through 2024.
92 Points

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Gibbston Valley

Gibbston Valley 'GV Collection' Pinot Noir 2016, central Otago
Youthful, steely, plum, cherry, red apple skin, soft dried herb layer, moderate oak, complexity builds as the wine opens up in glass. On the palate - dry, firm and youthful with plenty of acidity and crunchy red fruit flavours supported with a judicious measure of oak. Balanced and well made, but not yet ready to drink. Best from 2019 through 2026.
91 Points

Auntsfield

Auntsfield 'Cob Cottage' Chardonnay 2014, Marlborough
Lots of ripe and pure fruit aromas with sweet lemon then peach and apple, noticeable oak with a vanilla and new wood layer, quite complex. On the palate- soft and creamy texture with high impact flavours of citrus, stone fruit, tree fruit and oak - with vanilla and a soft dusting of wood tannins. Drinking well now though youthful still. Best from 2019 through 2026.
93 Points

Auntsfield SV Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough
Great bouquet of PN with a distinctive mix of red fruits and oak scents - dark cherry and plum, raspberry and crushed rose; plenty of new oak toasted wood with a vanilla, clove and hint of chocolate. On the palate - dry, youthful with abundant tannins and acidity to match; complex and layered with plenty of fruit at the core, lengthy and complex-building finish. Drink now and through 2025.
94 Points

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Clearview Estate Winery

Clearview Estate Winery ‘White Caps’ Chardonnay 2017 Hawkes Bay
Youthful bouquet with a raw fruit and oak centric attack; wood smoke, hot pineapple, peach and crushed vanilla; some ‘in your face’ moments, but equally enticing. On the palate – dry, fresh, youthful, loads of butter-popcorn swimming in vanilla, peaches and smoky wood; actually, quite calm and smooth in texture with a lengthy very pleasant finish. Drink now and through 2022.

90 Points