Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Alpha Domus

Alpha Domus 'The Barnstormer' Syrah 2016 Hawkes Bay
Very engaging bouquet of Syrah - meaty, spicy, masculine an oaky; fruit aromas of dark berries suggesting dark and ripe black currant, dark plum then clove and toasty oak suggestions, youthful. On the palate - firm, dry, youthful and tense with firm tannins, medium+ acidity and weight, plenty of oak and strong flavours including the darker berry fruits suggested earlier. A youthful example still finding its way to balance, but does have good potential to become a finer wine with time. Decant for service and service with high protein food. Best drinking window from late 2018 through 2024.
89 Points

Alpha Domus 'The Navigator' 2014 Bordeaux Blend
Very engaging bouquet showing ripe dark berry fruits aromas, violet and oak spices; baked vanilla and clove centric oak, tobacco and ceder/cigar box scents, an herbal vegetal/herbaceous layer from the Cabernet(s), dark plum. On the palate - dry, firm, youthful and flavourful; if you like oak, fuller bodied red wine and spicy wood laced dark berry fruit flavours then this wine will tick all these boxes for you. Decant for service with very high protein food or wait and drink from 2020 through 2030.
92 Points

Terra Sancta

Terra Sancta 'Jackson Block' Pinot Noir 2015 Bannockburn Central Otago
Generous and distinctive aromas Pinot Noir with a brown spice and ripe light red fruits bouquet - cinnamon and ceder layered between, dried herb, red cherry, raspberry and red plum, noticeable complexity and quite engaging. On the palate - abundant flavours of cherry and brown spices then other light red berry fruits, a savoury layer, and oak; fine yet abundant tannins with a chalky texture, medium+ acidity and length. Overall a lovely example and true to the TS style. Best drinking from late 2018 through 2024.
92 Points

Charles Smith Wines

Jung Fu Girl  Riesling 2015 Washington State - USA
Pungent aromas of lime and green apple laced with apple blossom and mandarin. On the palate - off dry with just enough residual sugar to tease and balance against a definitive line of acidity; flavours reflect the nose especially the apple and lime with a squeeze of lemon; balanced and well made with a moderate finish. Drink now and through 2022.
89 Points

Eve Chardonnay 2015 Washington State - USA
There's no mistaking the classic combination of fresh and baked stone fruit alongside oak and its spicy vanilla and toast and butter aromas; a creamy almost cheesy layer adds to this Chardonnay bouquet. On the palate - flavours of peaches and some grapefruit with vanilla and oak spice, a toasty layer, medium acidity, medium+ weighted, firmly textured - masculine in style - balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2020.
88 Points

Boom Boom Syrah 2015 Washington State - USA
Attractive, bold and fruity expression of Syrah with aromas of black currant, dark cherry and raspberry - all laced with a peppery spice and toasty wood layer - clove and vanilla with some cedar notes. On the palate - firm at first then fruity and finishing dry; flavours of ripe and sour black currant, dark cherry and plum, medium tannins and medium+ acidity, a toasty wood layer and overall a balanced and very drinkable style. Best enjoyed now and through 2022.
90 Points

Monday, 17 July 2017


Amisfield 'Burn' Pinot Gris 2016 Central Otago (Orange style wine)
A bouquet with a point of difference showing spice and earthiness a savoury showing a little spice and saffron with a mushroom earthy layer, overall quite complex. On the palate - dry with flavours of tangerine and orange peel, saffron and apricot, a savoury spice and earthy tones add layers. If you would like to take a peak at the world of orange wine this is a decent example to show how well done it can be.
89 Points

Rameau d'Or

Rameau d'Or Cotes de Provence Rose 2016 Golden Bough
Attractive fragrances of light red fruits - light red cherry and strawberry with a hint of cranberry; these are repeated on the palate with a crisp and refreshing acidity, very light and fine needle point tannins showing off a chalky mineral-like moment. 
88 Points

Waipara Hills

Waipara Hills 'Soul' Gruner Veltliner 2016 Waipara
Ripe and fragrant bouquet with aromas of citrus, apple and a gentle vegetal quality typical of the variety - a hint of radish and snow pea, a light mineral wet stone layer adds some depth.
On the palate - crisp and dry with a pristine layer of acidity; flavours reflect the nose with apple and citrus, but also a pineapple note - balancing the vegetal attributes. Balanced and well made with a medium finish. Great alternative to both Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. A must try wine.
88 Points


Giesen 'The Brothers' Gewurztraminer 2014 Marlborough
Bold and very fragrant with aromas of spicy white peach and apricot, roses and pot pourri. On the palate - equally powerful and flavourful with flavours that reflect the nose, quite spicy, creamy rounded texture, a gentle phenolic bite adds length and depth, medium acidity, lengthy and lush finish; overall a lovely example.
92 Points

Alan Scott

Alan Scott 'Generations' Gewurztraminer 2016 Marlborough
Very fragrant and quite floral with white rose and orange blossom aromas; fresh red apple, white peach and some hints of lychee. On the palate - soft and creamy texture with flavours that reflect the nose - apple, peach and a nudge of tropical; moderately spicy, well balanced with medium acidity and medium+ alcohol. Calm and quite lengthy finish, well made.
89 Points

Babich Family Estates

Babich Family Estate Individual Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2014 Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay
Soft and gentle fragrances of Gewurztraminer unfurl slowly with aromas of white peach and nectarine, baked apple, gentle rose and soft tropical fruit nuances, white spices and a light stone/earth quality. On the palate - soft at first then the spice level increases dramatically helped along with some warming alcohol; just dry with a whisper of residual sugar; flavours fleshy white stone fruit, some floral and tropical layers, medium acidity,medium weight and lengthy finish. A lovely example of a variety that is well suited to food though equally  at home on its own by the glass.
91 Points

Friday, 14 July 2017


Rippon 'Tinker's Field' Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2014 Lake Wanaka Central Otago
Fantastic bouquet, complex, varietal, richly scented and alluring; dark cherry, plum and dark raspberry; mineral, earthy layer, loads of floral suggestions, oak spices and brown spices. On the palate - fragrant, exuberant, dark berry fruits, fresh crushed black cherry, dry; flavours reflect the nose; plenty of refreshing cool climate acidity, focused fine tannins, plenty of mineral and lengthy finish. A great example of fine wine. Drink from 2020 through 2035.
97 Points

Rippon Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2014 Lake Wanaka Central Otago
Fleshy, juicy, ripe and distinctive, the signature of Pinot Noir is ripe and strong, plum and plum skin, spice, dark cherry, plenty of fresh oak and oak spices, toasty wood tones, youthful and quite complex. On the palate - youthful, tense, warm and generous of fruit - plum and dark berry layers, plenty of acidity and firm youthful tannins with fine chalky texture, plenty of acidity, length and charm. Decant for service, best drinking 2019 through 2030.
94 Points

Rippon 2013 Lake Wanaka Central Otago
Focused, concentrated and distinctive with some power and charm, quite pure with aromas of red florals, dark cherry and wild red berry fruits; brown baking spices, toasty oak and a complexity that builds as the wine relaxes in the glass. On the palate - firm, fruity, youthful, dry and poised. Flavours reflect the bouquet; fine tannins, plenty of acidity, floral, lengthy and complex. Decant for service; best drink  late 2018 through 2030.
93 Points

Clearview Estate Winery

Clearview Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Franc 2015 Hawkes Bay
Great bouquet of violet laced black berry fruits - black berry and black currant, some Doris plum and chocolate, some herbaceous notes, plenty of oak and youthful expressive complex overall. On the palate - rich, broody and packed with flavour, warm, oaky and toasty. Dark berry fruit flavours, plenty of tannins and a herbaceous layer adding complexity and depth. Youthful, expressive and distinctive. Well made. Decant for service. Drink from 2019 through 2030.
94 Points

Vidal of Hawkes Bay

Vidal of Hawkes Bay Reserve Syrah 2015 Gimblett Gravels
Distinctive and engaging bouquet of black and blue fruits with dark plum and blueberry, dark raspberry then spice; chocolate and toasty oak layer, some pepper and clove. On the palate - flavours of dark berries, toasty oak and spices; flavours of dark plum and toasted raspberry, ripe tannins with a dusty chalky texture, plenty of acidity and a lengthy even finish. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2022.
90 Points

Two Paddocks

Two Paddocks 'The Fusilier' Pinot Noir 2015 Bannockburn Central Otago
Very youthful bouquet of light red fruits - suggesting cranberry and red cherry mixed with kitchen spices of cinnamon and vanilla; a light toasty quality and gentle red rose moment. On the palate - tense, youthful, dry with flavours of red berries, cranberry and red cherry, medium+ acidity, fine yet abundant tannins, kitchen spice and oak layers. A lovely example still at the beginning of a lengthy integration time. Drink now if decanted; best drinking late 2018 through 2028.
95 Points

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Two Paddocks

Two Paddocks 'The First Paddock' Gibbston Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015
Proprietor's Reserve
Delicious bouquet and very enticing with aromas of wild strawberry, wild red cherry, baking spices and new oak, a layer of toastiness, mushroom crushed rock soil notes; alluring and quite complex. On the palate - complex, dry, packed with light red fruit flavours centering on wild strawberry and red cherry, the baking spices kick in with suggestions of vanilla and clove, fine to moderate tannins, plenty of acidity and lengthy engaging finish. Great balance and finish. Loads of potential. Drink now and through 2028.
97 Points


Rippon Gamay 2015 Lake Wanaka, Central Otago
Ripe, fresh and abundant bouquet with aromas of wild flowers, wild red berry fruits, a hint of bergamot and dried herb, gentle spice layer and earthy/mineral note. On the palate - plush, ripe, fruity, dry; flavours reflect the nose with some darker berries now present, floral with a violet note, dried herb and soil notes present, fine tannins, plenty of acidity and lengthy finish. Lovely example from the Otago region.
91 Points