Saturday, 10 June 2017


Selaks 'The Taste Collection Buttery' Chardonnay 2016 Hawkes Bay
Big, bold and fruity bouquet with fresh and roasted peach then vanilla laced oak and whipped cream aromas, yes and a little buttery as well. On the palate - nutty, toasty, creamy and oaky; flavours reflect the nose with yellow stone fruits and red apple, plenty of vanilla spice and chunky oak, some tobacco and Brazil nut, fine tannins and contrasting acidity, balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2020.
88 Points

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Mills Reef Winery

Mills Reef Winery reserve Chardonnay 2016 Hawkes Bay
A bouquet with shape and form - creamy, lush and rounded then fruity with baked peach and other stone fruits, a hint of raw brown sugar and butterscotch, a whisper of clove and vanilla with a toasty oak edge. On the palate - a core of fruit and oak with concentration as well as spice and oak tones, creamy texture, a citrus edginess and lengthy finish. Balanced, drink now or best from 2018 through 2026.
92 Points

Squawking Magpie

Squawking Magpie 'The Chatterer' Chardonnay 2016 Hawkes Bay
Classic and inviting bouquet of Hawkes Bay Chardonnay with a core ripe peach and red apple, a hint of white floral, some grapefruit and all laced with French oak vanilla spice; a light toasty layer adds complexity. On the palate - fruity, crisp, youthful and dry with flavours that reflect the nose showing off vanilla, spice, peaches and red apples, a light bite of wood tannin then grapefruit adds tension and length. Balanced and well made in a drink now style, but will also reward if cellared. Best drinking 2018 through 2022.
90 Points

Monday, 5 June 2017


Neudorf 'Tom's Block' Pinot Noir 2015 Nelson
Probably the most complex bouquet from a Tom's Block Pinot - aromas of ripe red and dark red berry fruits laced with scents of soil, oak and spices; a dark rose and sweet fruit tea layer, a mid-sniff concentration that suggests a little mystery and charm. On the palate - smooth silky tannins with an edginess that only a natural fermentation can deliver, concentrated and flavourful with messages of dark berries, oak, oak spice and balance, acid level is pretty much spot on, lengthy finish. Drink now and through 2025.
95 Points

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Moss Wood

Moss Wood Wilyabrup Semillon 2016 Margaret River, WA.
Alluring bouquet of citrus, peach and  hay with a dried grass layer, a gentle waxy edge, youthful, fresh and varietal. on the palate - crisp, fresh, varietal, fruity with a distinctive texture and palate appeal; loads of acidity accentuate the varietal signature and adds to the length - which is long and consistent. Great balance - drinking well now and through 2030.94 Points

Moss Wood Wilyabrup Chardonnay  2015 Margaret River, WA.
After a few minutes in glass the bouquet begins to unfurl aromas of fresh and baked yellow stone fruits, gentle yet distinctive oak spices, vanilla, brazil and cashew nut, quite complex overall. On the palate - almost full-bodied, creamy, rich and dry; flavours reflects the bouquet with a stronger citrus layer, the nut layer returns as do the oak spices, a leesy note adds texture and length. Overall a lovely wine, still very youthful and developing. Drink now if decanted and through 2026.93 Points

Moss Wood Wilyabrup Merlot 2014 Margaret River, WA.
Lightly spiced ripe dark plum led bouquet with black cherry and toasty oak, complexity builds as the wine relaxes in the glass. On the palate - firm with youthful textures from tannins and acidity then flavours of red plum and dark cherry return, plenty of oak spices with cloves and vanilla tones, medium+ weight, dry finish. Decant for service through 2018, best drinking 2019 through 2028.90 Points

Moss Wood Wilyabrup Cabernet Sauvignon Ribbon Vale Vineyard 2014 Margaret River, WA.
Attractive and masculine bouquet of ripe Cabernet fruit - blackberry and dark plum aromas; dark kitchen spices and a mix of cigar box and toasty oak. On the palate - full bodied, spicy, woody and fruity; a wine beginning a slow development with power and finesse underlying the core of ripe fruit and dry textures. Decant for service through 2019, best drinking from 2024 through 2035.94 Points

Moss Wood Amy's  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot 2016 Margaret River, WA.
Vibrant, ripe, alluring and enticing bouquet of black berry fruits, dark plum, blue fruits, chocolate and loads of oak; dark clove and vanilla. On the palate - concentrated, fruity, plenty of texture from firm tannins with a course silk texture, plenty of contrasting acidity, great concentration, balance and length.  Overall a fine wine that will shows its best from 2025 through 2040.95 Points

Steve Bird Winery and Vineyards Ltd

Steve Bird Winery 'Big Barrel' Pinot Noir 2015 Marlborough
Vibrant, fresh and fruity bouquet with aromas of raspberry and dark cherry, a juicy and fleshy texture surrounds these ideas, moderate oak impact with vanilla and spice moments. On the palate - also very fruity with flavours that reflect the nose - dark cherry and raspberry tones, medium+ acidity, silky fine tannins, some vanilla oak spice and mild toasty quality, balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2022.90 Points


Mahi 'Twin Valleys Vineyard' Chardonnay 2015 Marlborough
Complex and enticing bouquet with aromas of soil, earth, white fleshed stone fruits, grapefruit and lemon custard/Brulee; plenty of oak with layers of spice and cashew. On the palate -  flavours of apple, citrus some stone fruit and oak, spices and lees inspired complexity, plenty of length in a medium+ weighted expression. A lovely example, drink now and through 2025.
93 Points

Hihi Wines

Hihi Wines 'The Full Monty' Chardonnay 2016 Gisborne
Very fruity expression with aromas and flavours of yellow California peach, red apple and loads of vanilla oak, a creamy texture; toasty edge, a lite nutty layer, almost full-bodied, balanced. Drink now and through 2021.88 Points

Fromm Winery

Fromm 'La Strada' Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough
Vibrant, expressive, fresh herbs and hay tones, a grassy edge precedes aromas of citrus/grapefruit, some tropical tones and apple. On the palate - crisp, dry fruity with citrus, red and green apple, some grapefruit and refreshing acidity. Fairly lengthy finish. Drink now and through 2021.
89 Points

Fromm 'La Strada' Pinot Noir 2015 Marlborough
Very youthful and expressive bouquet with a strong varietal signature of dark red berry fruits - cherry and wild raspberry led, toasty oak spice layer with some clove and vanilla spices, fresh, lively, sound. On the palate - dry, firm, plenty of acidity, flavours of dark red berry fruits and oak spices; a youthful tension and poise too with firm ripe tannins - chalky textures; overall a lovely wine with youth and cellar time ahead. Drink now- if you must, but decant it first - others from late 2018 through 2028.
93 Points

Matawhero Wines Ltd

Matawhero Wines 'Church House' Chenin Blanc 2016 Gisborne
Attractive bouquet with a floral and fruit led package - fresh and baked apple, white flowers and wet clay mineral tones, a light soft spice layers adds complexity and depth. On the palate - fruity, fine balance between minerality, apple and white fleshed fruits with an underlying floral note, a gentle spice or lees led layer adds charm and depth; overall balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2020.89 Points

Murdoch James

Murdoch James Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Martinborough
Fruity, rounded and distinctive bouquet of grass and dried herb, some fresh herb, apple and tropical fruit tones, some mineral suggestion. On the palate - crisp, silky texture, dry finish and flavours of citrus and apple with a little tropical fruit. Overall balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2020. 86 Points

Murdoch James

Murdoch James Estate Pinot Gris 2014 Martinborough
Varietal and quite fruity with scents of fresh and canned pear, apple, a touch of spice and dry stone mineral tones. On the palate - quite fruity also with a mix of red apple, pear and lemon/grapefruit, crisp and refreshing acidity, dry on the finish.87 Points

Burn Cottage

Burn Cottage Riesling, Gruner Veltliner 2015 Central Otago
Gentle fragrances, soft and floral, light dried herb layer, plenty of mineral tones - wet stone and mineral water; lemon and radish, complexity builds as the wine opens up in the glass. On the palate - complex, dry, loaded with mineral and citrus flavours, radish, white flowers, apple and a hint of apricot stone; complex and lengthy. A lovely wine and great varietal combination. Drink now and through 2022.
95 Points

Friday, 2 June 2017

Forrest Wines

The Doctor's Rose 2016 by Forrest Wines Marlborough
Aromas and flavours of fresh ripe just picked strawberries and cherries then suggestions cranberry and a touch of bubble-gum; bright, fresh and enticing. On the palate - just as fruity with flavours that match the nose, crisp and refreshing acidity with lower alcohol; balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2018.
88 Points

A Mano

A.Mano Negroamano 2015 IGT Puglia, Italy
Aromas and flavours of dark red berry fruits, mild spice layers and moderate oak layer; fruity yet dry finish, mild to moderate tannins, warm fruity finish. A balanced wine in a drink now style with flavours to please many at the dinner table. Drink now and through 2020.
86 Points

Fromm Winery

Fromm Winery 'La Strada' Syrah 2014 Marlborough
An alluring floral and core of fruit bouquet with ripe black currant, raspberry and blueberry fruits, no mistaking the toasty spicy oak layer, but not overdone either - aromas of clove and vanilla and hints of bacon. On the palate - very expressive, fruity, dry and spicy with a mix of peppercorn and clove, plenty of tannin action and a back bone of acidity; a youthful wine still on its development journey. Overall youthful and complex with a great core of fruit. Drink now and through 2028.
92 Points

Fromm Winery Riesling Spatlese 2016 Marlborough
Distinctive bouquet of fresh picked citrus fruits and green apple, some reductive signs swirl away to leave a sherbet and wet stone mineral layer adding complexity and charm. On the palate - off dry in a sweeter Spatlese style - castor sugar, sherbet, grated green apple and crisp preserved lemon flavours; high acidity and lengthy finish. A delicious wine destined to age for a long time if you can wait long enough. Drink now and through 2030+.

92 Points

Nanny Goat

Nanny Goat Syrah 2015 Central Otago
Youthful fruity bouquet with aromas of peppery Syrah fruit - black currant and cherry then some spicy oak, a steely note then vanilla and brown spice oak tones. On the palate - spicy, dry, moderate fruit intensity with black currant and cherry tones, the spice kicks in a few times more then some cherry fruit returns. Dry finish, overall balanced. drink now and through 2022.
86 Points

Pegasus Bay

Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2015 Waipara Valley
A powerful bouquet led by aromas of oak with caramel and burnt butter, oak spices of vanilla and clove, a brazil nut toastiness then stone fruits of peach and nectarine, overall quite complex, but also quite loud. On the palate - quite intense, creamy, fruity and nutty, peach and nectarine flavours, loads of spicy butterscotch and raw brown sugar oak, fine oak tannins, medium+ acidity, full-bodied and quite 'full-on'. A powerhouse wine that will feed the enthusiasm of many chardonnay fans. Drink now and through 2025.
92 Points

Alpha Domus

Alpha Domus 'The Wingwalker' Viognier 2014 Hawkes Bay
Varietal bouquet with a lifted aroma package including ripe apricot then peach and nectarine tones, spice, some yellow flower scents, a hint of lees stirring and vanilla oak. On the palate - dry, creamy, fruity with aprioct and peach flavours, a bite of oak, medium+ (ish) acidity and plenty of length. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2022.
88 Points

Poverty Bay Wine Estates Ltd

Poverty Bay Wine Estates Ltd 'Le Pont'  Chardonnay Grand Vin Blanc 2015
Aromas and flavours of toasty brioche like oak, some butterescotch and roasted stone fruit flavours; fine wood tannins, medium+ (ish) acidity, quite a weight wine with a dry finish, overall balanced.
85 Points

Burn Cottage

Burn Cottage 'Moonlight Race' Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago
Fragrant and distinctive bouquet with a mix of floral, earth and fruit messages, noticeable, but not overdone oak, fine toasty layer with some kitchen spice attributes. on the palate - dry, spicy, floral, fruity, mineral, dry, moderate tannins and plenty of acidity, lengthy and individualistic expression and finish. A lovely wine that can be cellared if desired; best drinking 2018 through 2024.
94 Points

Burn Cottage Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago
Steely and haunting bouquet with an enticing allure - aromas of crushed flowers, fine light red fruit layers, noticeable oak, plenty of mineral intoxication, spices and complexity. On the palate - dry, quite complex and enticing with flavours that reflect the nose as well as fine oak and fruit tannins, plenty of acidity, a very fine savoury layer, lengthy and flavourful finish. A fine wine, but also youthful still with a very specific pinosity message. Drink now if decanted otherwise from 2018 through 2028.
96 Points

Fairhall Downs

Fairhall Downs SV Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough
A light and fruity bouquet with aromas of cranberry, cherry and some red apple skin, moderate oak intensity. On the palate - crisp and fresh, quite fruity and just dry; flavours match the bouquet, a simple expression, fine tannins, medium+ acidity.
84 Points

Thursday, 1 June 2017


Mahi Chardonnay 2015 Marlborough
An attractive bouquet showing off a combination of fruit, mineral, judicious use of oak and complexity. On the palate - full bodied mouth feel, plenty of acidity - all contrasted with flavours of stone fruit and apple, pear, oak spice and most importantly - texture. Some mild tannin moments from the oak; lengthy finish. A wine that should be aged for a while longer. Best drinking 2018 through 2025.
92 Points

Mt Rosa

Mt Rosa Pinot Blanc 2016 Central Otago
Very attractive bouquet showing off spiced pear and apple, a hint of quince and white rose, a very light yet noticeable aroma of mineral. On the palate - crisp, fresh and quite fruity - a wine that has some tension too with a phenolic bite adding texture; rose, mineral, spice and light creamy feel. A great food wine for starters and white fish dishes.
89 Points

Main Divide

Main Divide Riesling 2014 Waipara Valley
Attractive bouquet of lemon, apple, grapefruit, spice, ginger and lime flower; honeysuckle and a core of apricot stone. On the palate - zesty, crisp, fruity and spice-laden; just dry with some residual sweetness from the ferment - adds to the creamy, rounded texture; plenty of acidity, great balance and length. Totally enjoyable example.
93 Points

Main Divide Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough
Vibrant, fleshy, fruity and packed with Marlborough messages of passion fruit and grapefruit, crisp apple and quince. On the palate - crisp, dry, fruity with apple and lemon, fresh herb and some grassy moments, loads of acidity and freshness; a classically style wine with decent flavour and length.
88 Points

Main Divide Gewurztraminer 2016 Waipara Valley
Distinctive, fragrant, fruity and packed with aromas of nougat and spice, poached white fruits, roses and perfume. On the palate - fruity, fleshy, spicy, engaging and textured; flavours reflect the nose, a wine with medium+ weight, just enough acidity and lengthy finish. Plenty to like and enjoy with this example. This is a great wine choice for Duck confit and paté
93 Points

Brick Bay

Brick Bay Pinot Gris 2016 Matakana, Auckland
Very fragrant and quite plush with aromas of sweet pear and white peach, a soft lees and whisper of ginger; fleshy, floral and alluring. On the palate - vibrant, youthful and fruity with flavours of pear and apple and a touch of quince; fresh ripe acidity adds texture and bite; a dry finish with decent length and harmony. A delicious wine and lovely example.93 Points

Brick Bay Rose 2016 Matakana, Auckland
Made from the Cabernets Sauvignon & Franc, Merlot and Malbec
Soft, fragrant, sweet scents of rose, young violet and talc; cranberry and bing cherry along with a little red apple skin show off fruit ripeness. On the palate - fresh and fruity with flavours the same as the nose suggests; a light creamy texture contrasted with ripe acidity, very fine tannins and  fruity finish. A lovely example to be enough on its own or with food.93 Points

Brick Bay Chardonnay 2016 Matakana, Auckland
This is the inaugural release of Chardonnay from the team at Brick Bay
Youthful yet layered bouquet with aromas of white and yellow stone fruit, apple and some pear moments; there's no mistaking the influence and scents of oak with soft vanilla and kitchen spices, a light toasty layer and lees influence emerges as the wine opens up in the glass. On the palate - youthful, fresh, weighty and loaded with texture; flavours of apple, pear and white peach, oak spices, lees and moderate oak tannins jostling for position. A wine for the cellar please - 2 to 3 years with an ideal drinking time between late 2018 and 2022. Great potential.92 Points

Brick Bay Martello Rock 2014 Matakana, Auckland
Malbec predominant, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. A dark ruby and purple core with a purple and crimson rim. Aromas of dark berries and plums, old fashioned blackberry pie notes and a hint of dark chocolate; toasty oak spice and a clay earth quality. On the palate - dry, firm, textured, youthful, earthy and dark fruited flavours. The tannins and acidity work to remind that this wine is young and requires decanting for service and food. Plenty of weight, texture and flavour this wine will age well for another 5-8 years if stored properly. Balanced and lengthy.
91 Points