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

Mount Edward

Ted by Mount Edward Pinot Blanc 2016, Central Otago
Plush, flashy and ripe white fleshed fruit aromas with brown pear, Asian pear, apple and white spice, a zesty slightly heady moment is distinctive. On the palate – equally ripe as fresh as the nose suggests; more emphasis on the variety with hot spice, medium+ acidity then white fleshed fruits. Silky texture, lengthy finish, balanced. Drink now and through 2022.
89 Points

Ted by Mount Edward Pinot Gris 2017, Central Otago
Varietal, plenty of intensity and push with ripe apple and pear fruit aromas; white peach, a floral/honeysuckle layer and whisper of white spice. On the palate – immediately engages the senses with firm youthful texture highlighting the acidity and emphasising a citrus and pear flavour combination; flavours of white peach and spice follow. Lengthy finish, youthful and ready. Drink now and through 2022.
90 Points

Ted by Mount Edward Pinot Noir 2015, Central Otago
Vibrant, fresh, plush and youthful Pinot Noir bouquet – packed with red berry fruit and mineral aromas, some button mushroom and red tea suggestions with just enough oak to make a small statement with soft brown spice layers and a hint of wood smoke. On the palate – dry, youthful and vibrant with flavours of berries and a little oak; fresh acid line and moderate tannin flow across the palate, dry finish, youthful and coming into balance. Drink now and through 2024.

91 Points

Monday, 30 October 2017

Pegasus Bay

Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2014, Waipara Valley
Complex. Mineral laden, dark red berry fruits, brown spices, mushroom, crushed black rose, alluring perfumes and scents. On the palate – complex. Dry, bold  ripe tannins and vibrant acidity; organic, mineral, earthy, floral and fruity. An intriguing wine with plenty of Pinosity and structure. Drink now and through 2028.

94 Points

Brancott Estate

Brancott Estate Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough – Limited Edition Bottle 780
Bold bouquet of ripe dark cherry, raspberry and spicy new oak scents; clove and toasty vanilla, raw brown sugar and a hint of bacon. On the palate – equally ripe, intense and fruity with flavours that reflect the bouquet; crushed raspberry, some red currant and dark cherry; fine to moderate tannins, decent acidity, plush lengthy finish. Balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2026.
91 Points 

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Gris 2016, Marlborough – Limited Edition Bottle 1235
Plenty of classic Marlborough SB markers in the bouquet with ripe citrus and tropical fruit scents, a tropical fruits layer adding depth. The key difference with this wine is the texture in the bouquet with lees inspired moments, natural fruit spice and a softness. On the palate – distinctively spicy, fresh and vibrant attack; grapefruit, red and green apple, pineapple and lees-like ginger note. A layer of fresh herb and sweet hay swings the palate back to its Marlborough origins. Great acidity and length – a lovely example taking this brand to a new and higher level.

93 Points 

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Auntsfield

Auntsfield ‘Heritage’ Pinot Noir 2013 Marlborough
Intense and youthful with a core of ripe red berry fruits, oak spice, dry stone earthy quality and engaging complexity. Aromas of ripe raspberry and red cherry, vanilla and clove dust, rose and sweet English tea. On the palate – velvety textures from fine fruit tannins and oak spices, a core of juicy almost fleshy red berry fruits reflecting the bouquet, great acid line squaring off a sound structure. Long finish, youthful yet drinkable immediately. Decant for service; best from 2020 through 2030+

96 Points

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Clos de Ste Anne

Clos de Ste Anne ‘Les Arbres’ Viognier 2015 Gisborne
By Millton Wines - Takes a while for the bouquet to release… then aromas of flowers, white apricot, apple and wild honey slowly emerge followed by a little spice. On the palate – dry, palate filling flavours reflect the bouquet, spice, bacon, stone fruit and flowers; a definitive wild honey layer; gentle creamy texture and long enticing finish. This wine just gets better and better. Drink now and through 2024/6.
96 Points

Clos de Ste Anne ‘Naboth’s Vineyard’ Chardonnay 2015 Gisborne
By Millton Wines
An invasive and aromatic beginning but for a few moments then a complex and layered bouquet begins to unfold; minerals, wild flowers, yellow stone fruits and ripe red apple; cashew and brazil nut then a gentle oak spice and quiet toasted oak moment. On the palate – silken texture, complex flavour combinations, laden with wild flowers, yellow and white fruits and gentle oak spices. Dry, nearly full-bodied, great acid line, rich in palate feel and charm, a blessing to taste. Fantastic wine. Drink now and through 2028.

97 Points

Dog Point Vineyard

Dog Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough
Very enticing and fragrant bouquet with scents of white rose, white spice and wet pebbles with a flinty/organic layer. Grapefruit, lemon and apple emerge next. On the palate – palate grabbing youth with plenty of acidity and flavour – citrus, flowers, flint and white spice. A great example of SB with a few twists and turns ending in a lengthy finish. Drink now though best from 2018 through 2026.
93 Points

Dog Point Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 Marlborough
Youthful, fragrant, varietal and no mistaking the impact of oak; aromas also of apple, lemon, cashew, wet stone, wood, baking spices and blossoms. On the palate – youthful, packed with flavour and texture; apple, grapefruit, cashew, white fleshed stone fruits, fine oak tannins and medium+ acidity. Great balance and length – a keeper. Drink from 2018/19 through 2028.

94 Points

Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss

Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Rosé ‘Les Grimaudes’ 2016 Vin de France
Salmon oil and apricot hues. Aromas and flavours of old roses, apple and apricot tea, yellow cherry and dry stones. Dry with Old World flavours centering on rose and a little bruised apple, fine tannins and balanced acidity. Drink now and through 2018.

87 Points

Three Miners

Three Miners Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 Earnscleugh, Central Otago
Light pink with an apricot tinge. Aromas and flavours include ripe red cherry, yellow and red plum, roses and a mineral moment. Ripe, juicy, fresh, dry; a wine with some youthful tension, great acidity and length. Drink now and through 2020.

92 Points

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Reserve Rosé 2017 Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay
Light red and pink hues. Aromas and flavours include wild berries and red apple, flowers and dry stone mineral suggestions, an earthy layer adds depth. Dry with just a hint of residual sweetness, a whisper of soft dusty tannins and plenty of youthful acidity, balanced and thought finish. Drink now and through 2020.

90 Points

Hunter’s

Hunter’s ‘Jane Hunter’ Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 Marlborough
Very light rose pink and delicate salmon hue. Aromas and flavours of strawberry and light red plum, some floral moments and hint of Turkish delight. Just dry with a nudge of residual sugar off-set by youthful acidity. Fleshy approachable expression. Well-made as always. Drink now and through 2018.

88 Points

Peregrine

Peregrine Rosé Pinot Noir 2017 Central Otago
Light salmon, apricot and onion skin hues. Aromas and flavours of delicate rose, fruit tea, some light red fruits and rose Turkish delight. Lush & fruity with crisp acidity and very fine tannin line. Juicy salivating finish. A lovely example. Drink now and through 2020.

90 Points

Archangel Wines

Archangel Wines Rosé 2017 Central Otago
Very light pink and cherry red appearance. Aromas and flavours of ripe cherry and plum with a bite of red apple skin; crisp, refreshing acidity leads to a dry finish. Flavourful, balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2019.

89 Points

Measure and Guess

Measure and Guess Rosé 2017 Hawkes Bay
By Sileni Estates -  this rosé is quite pale with a salmon apricot hue. Aromas and flavours include – peach, red apple, some strawberry and red melon, a hint of rose and Turkish delight. Balanced with a youthful kick of acidity and just dry finish. Well made. Drink now and through 2018

88 Points

Clos de Ste Anne

Clos de Ste Anne ‘Naboth’s Vineyard’ Chardonnay 2015 Gisborne
By Millton Wines
Bur for a few moments - an invasive and aromatic beginning then a complex and layered bouquet begins to unfold; minerals, wild flowers, yellow stone fruits and ripe red apple; cashew and brazil nut then a gentle oak spice and quiet toasted oak moment. On the palate – silken texture, complex flavour combinations, laden with wild flowers, yellow and white fruits and gentle oak spices. Dry, nearly full-bodied, great acid line, rich in palate feel and charm, a blessing to taste. Fantastic wine. Drink now and through 2028.

97 Points

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Fifth Bridge

Fifth Bridge Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago
by Ceres Wines Ltd
A fragrant and attractive bouquet capturing Central Otago Pinosity with a mixture of light red fruit aromas and dried herb with wild thyme and undergrowth; a sense of youthful tension and poise with a nervous energy overall. On the palate – dry, flavourful and as the nose suggest with a youthful structure from the acidity and vibrant tannin effect all off-set with ripe red cherry, cranberry and plum flavours – these will soften in a couple of years. Mild oak layer, light weight, crisp and dry; well made. Decant for service, best from late 2018 through 2026.

91 Points

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Anthony Joseph Vidal

Anthony Joseph Vidal ‘Lyons Vineyard’ ‘1888’ Chardonnay 2014
Complex and focused bouquet with aromas of citrus zest, white fleshed stone fruit, flowers, mineral, apple and a youthful cashew nut oak core; a sulphide note adds additional complexity. On the palate – packed with texture, acidity, fruit core and focus. The cashew, wood spice and vanilla oak layers frame the palate carrying the weight of the fruit and flavour well; very lengthy finish, fabulous balance and charm. Drink now and through 2030.

97 Points

Mills Reef Winery

Mills Reef Winery ‘Elspeth’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Ripe, fragrant, alluring and concentrated bouquet with dark red fruits of black berry and plum then violet, marmite and chocolate oak moments; sandy dry stone minerality, complex and intriguing. On the palate – firm, youthful, engaging textures, dry finish and packed with flavour. Dark berries, liquorice, chocolate and toasty oak, firm youthful tannins and acidity to match. Long finish, complexity builds as the wine pens in glass. Decant for early drinking service, best from 2020 through 2030.

95 Points

Mills Reef Winery

Mills Reef Winery Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2016, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Ripe, fruity, generous and plush bouquet with aromas and flavours of black berry and currant, fresh date and doris plums, a sage and dried herb quality adds depth and complexity. Fine to moderate tannins, sweet vanilla oak, medium+ acidity and a nicely concentrated lengthy finish. Great balance overall. Drink now and through 2024.

89 Points

Saint Clair Family Estate

Saint Clair Family Estate ‘Pioneer Block’ Cabernet Merlot 2015, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Rich core of dark red berry fruits with black berry and black currant, doris plum then chocolate and oak spices. On the palate – dry, firm, very fruity, youthful and lush with flavours of dark red fruits, liquorice, toasty wood, clove and chocolate. Fine easy tannins and acidity. Drink now and through 2022.

91 Points

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill ‘Bush Vine’ Grenache 2010, McLaren vale
Ripe red fruited bouquet laced with oak and oak spices, some clay mineral and steely haunt, overall fine and complex. On the palate – ripe, firm, dry, warm and masculine. Flavours of plum and spiced cherry, old rose then clay mineral and oak; firm tannins and medium acidity with a light rush of residual sugar on the finish. A wine built to enjoy with food, balanced and well-made.

89 Points

Zephyr

Zephyr Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough
A bouquet of Pinosity with aromas of rose, plum, red berry fruits and soft oak fragrances; dry stone mineral layer, gentle layer of oak spice and wood. On the palate – lovely core of ripe red berry fruits with cherry and raspberry then red apple and plum; mineral note returns, fine tannins and acidity to match, lengthy, balanced and well-made example. Drink now and through 2025.
92 Points

Amisfield

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2015, Central Otago
Ripe cool climate Otago bouquet of Pinot with ripe red cherry and plum fruits, some dried herb and whispers of wild thyme, wild roses and layers of oak spice and oak wood, emerging complexity as the wine opens in glass. On the palate – fruity, firm, youthful, quite complex and dry. Flavours reflect the nose plus firm needle-point tannins, loads of youthful acidity, great tension and some poise; well made. Drink now though best from 2019 through 2028.

93 Points

Dog Point

Dog Point Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough
Wonderfully intense bouquet with dark cherry and dark raspberry aromas laced with new oak and toasty wood brown spices; a light savoury edge adds depth and complexity. On the palate – concentrated with a core of dark red berry fruits, brown spice, abundant fine tannins and plenty of youthful acidity. Long finish with a developing complexity, a delicious example of Marlborough and New World Pinot Noir.

95 Points

Nautilus

Nautilus ‘Southern Valleys’ Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough
Fragrant, varietal, youthful and enticing bouquet of Pinot with ripe red berry fruit aromas – cherry then red apple skin, raspberry then oak spices of vanilla and clove, a touch of bacon. On the palate – youthful, firm, ripe red fruit flavours and oak, chalky tannins and great core of complexity and intrigue. Best from 2018 through 2028.

94 Points

Auntsfield

Auntsfield New Zealand ‘Hawk Hill’ Pinot Noir 2012, Marlborough
Complex, rich and very attractive bouquet with aromas of spicy toasty oak then dark ripe berry fruits – black cherry then black currant, decent complexity. On the palate – firm, dry, youthful and attention seeking with chalky tannins, medium+ acidity and fruit flavours matching the nose. Overall a complex and enticing example with immediate drinkability and cellaring potential. Best from now and through 2028.

95 Points

Opawa

Opawa Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough
Vibrant and forward bouquet with dried raspberry, plum and red cherry fruit aromas; soft brown spices of oak, a violets and wild red flowers note and inviting Pinosity. On the palate – juicy, fleshy, fruity and equally vibrant, fine tannins and medium+ acidity; a nice harmony and youthfulness combine to show off a classic Marlborough expression. Decent length and finish. Drink now and through 2025.

90 Points

Ellero

Ellero Pinot Noir 2014, Pisa Terrace, Central Otago
Complex and integrating bouquet of light red fruits, mineral and savoury highlight, mushroom, old roses, brown spices and undergrowth. On the palate – tense, youthful, fine light red fruit flavours, cool climate tannins – chalky and savoury; plenty of acidity and lengthy complex finish. This wine will reward with correct cellaring. Drink now and through 2026.

95 Points

Jules Taylor Wines

Jules Taylor Wines Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough
Fleshy, juicy and ripe light red fruits bouquet, varietal and alluring with aromas of raspberry and red cherry, some red apple skin then scents of oak spice with clove and vanilla. On the palate – equally fruity, juicy and packed with flavour – red fruits, wood spices and some floral highlights. Moderate fine tannins and plenty of acidity, balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2024.

91 Points

The Boneline

The Boneline Cabernet Franc 2016, Waipara
Pure Cabernet Franc on the nose with abundant ripe red and dark red berry fruits, violets and dark plums laced with oak spices and youthful energy. On the palate – fleshy, ripe, toasty and chalky with firm tannins and acidity. Fruit flavours are abundant and pushy adding concentration and length. A delicious wine that will mature and develop well over the next few years. Lengthy and delicious finish. Decant for service, best from 2020 through 2030.
95 Points

Craggy Range

Craggy Range ‘Sophia’ 2015, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Rafter from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc – the bouquet is vibrant, rich, intense and focused on the ripe of dark red berry fruits and the oak that brings their aromas together as one. Dark plum, black berry and black currant, violets and dried herb, some tobacco and layers of wood influences from chocolate to bacon to baking spices. On the palate – firm, dry and intense; flavours reflect the bouquet with very firm yet ripe tannins, bold and forward acidity, concentrated and lengthy. A fine wine with a significant life ahead. A must cellar wine. If you must try decant several hours ahead of drinking. Best from 2022 through 2032+

96 Points

Clos de Ste Anne

Clos de Ste Anne ‘The Crucible’ Syrah 2015, Gisborne
Crafted by Millton wines the bouquet is intensely fine and pure with aromas of wild raspberry and dark cherry, layers of violet and wild rose then softly spoken layers of oak with clove and cinnamon, a whisper of vanilla and bacon. On the palate – youthful, firm with a back bone of acidity and tannins – each adding power to the structure and palate feel. Flavours of berry fruits and wild flowers return alongside the measure of oak and peppery spice. A youthful wine in every sense of the word and a wine that will stand the test of ageing if given the opportunity to do so. Best from 2022 through 2032+

97 Points

Brown Brothers

Brown Brothers Single Estate ‘Ten Acres’ Shiraz 2014, Heathcote, Victoria, Australia
Ripe, plush, very fruity with a raspberry and blueberry bouquet, a raspberry jam and black currant note; mild oak with plenty of chocolate and brown spice moments. On the palate – juicy, fruity, fleshy, dry. Mild tannins and balanced acidity with moderate oak showing off some chocolate and toasty layers. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2020.

88 Points

Saint Clair Family Estate

Saint Clair Family Estate Syrah 2016 Gimblett Gravels
Ripe, fruity, varietal and vibrant bouquet of Syrah with aromas of crushed raspberry and black currant, hot stone soil, field mushroom and a sweet meat quality, moderate oak and very appealing. On the palate – juicy, fleshy, vibrant fruit flavours reflecting the nose, a touch of five-spice and red licorice, moderate tannins, loads of acidity, youthful, balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2022.

92 Points

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Laurent Perrier Champagne

Laurent Perrier ‘La Cuvée’ Champagne Brut NV, Tours Sur Marne, France
Elegant, even, nutty, fruity and enticing autolysis bouquet; aromas and flavours of lemon, yellow apple, grapefruit and white peach; abundant autolysis flavours with a soft chalky texture accentuated by bright bold acidity; Firm mousse with a plush bubble carrying plenty of flavour and finish. The finish is dry and lengthy with citrus and tree fruits wrapped in a light brioche blanket are at the core of this wine. Drink anytime. Best from now and through 2027.

94 Points 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Sacred Hill

Sacred Hill ‘Helmsman’ CS/Mer/CF 2015 Hawkes Bay
Smoky, ripe, oaky and dark fruited bouquet. Aromas of blackberry, black currant and Doris plums, fresh, ripe and concentrated; youthful, spicy and new oak scents with clove and vanilla; sweet hay and some fresh cigar tobacco. On the palate – full-bodied, war, rich, fruity, spicy, oaky and dry. Flavours reflect the nose with plenty of wood spices and dark fruit flavours, smoky and toasty, sweet hay, violets and plums flavours; plenty of acidity, medium+ tannins with chalk & mealy textures; long finish and great potential. Drink now if you must and only if decanted, frankly best from 2022 through 2035.

96 Points

The Boneline

The Bone Line ‘Sharkstone’ Chardonnay 2016 Waipara
Spice, baked stone fruits, vanilla, mineral, stone, citrus; a textured bouquet with aromas of fruits and oak with a mineral highlight. On the palate – intense, ambitious, nutty and just lightly creamy in texture; flavours reflect the nose with citrus peel and stone fruit core; balancing acidity, warming alcohol; great length and balance. Drink now and through 2024.

91 Points

Nautilus Estate

Nautilus Estate Pinot Gris 2016 Marlborough
Plump, generous and varietal with aromas of sweet spice coated white fleshed fruits – pear, Asian pear (Nashi), apple, loads of flowers and wet stone. On the palate – juicy, fleshy, ripe white fruit flavours with pear and apple, a hint of tropical fruit; a light les texture and salivating acidity add both texture and length. Fresh, balanced, medium weighted, well made and decent finish. Drink now and through 2021.

90 Points

Zephyr

Zephyr Riesling 2016, Marlborough
Lime, lemon, grapefruit, red apple, green mandarin, white blossom. On the palate – crisp, refreshing acidity, light+ body, oozing flavours of citrus and tree fruits; loads of white blossom; precise lengthy finish. Drink now and through 2028.

93 Points

Kaimira Estate

Kaimira Estate ‘Brightwater’ Riesling 2016, Nelson
Floral, fruity, ripe and zesty fruit aromas. Red and green apple, apricot stone, mandarin and white florals. On the palate – off dry with a fleshy juicy texture, contrasting acidity, soft almost silky mouthfeel, apple, apricot stone and lemon flavours; nice balance and finish. Well made.

89 Points

Jules Taylor

Jules Taylor OTQ SV Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough
Striking colour and aromas of raspberry, black cherry, plum; crushed rose, vanilla led baking spices, fresh new French oak suggestion, vibrant, forward, youthful. On the palate – juicy, fleshy, very fruity with flavours directly reflecting the bouquet; silky textures, abundant fine tannins, medium+ acidity, whole berry ferment notes, lengthy finish. Very youthful yet lush and attention grabbing. Drink from 2019 through 2026.
93 Points


Jules Taylor Gruner Veltliner 2016 Marlborough
Fruity, ripe and quite vibrant varietal with suggestions of white radish and white herb, a pineapple (tin) note and stony mineral layer. On the palate – crisp, fresh, ripe, dry, hints of herb and pineapple, apple, radish, mineral. Plenty of acidity adding crispness and texture; balanced and well made. Youthful and still developing. Drink now and through 2022.
88 Points

Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough
Vibrant and pungent bouquet with very expressive aromas of tropical fruits, sweet herbs, wet stone, white peach and lemon; green apple layer; inviting. On the palate – juicy, fleshy and very flavourful with sweet fresh herbs, some passion and oineapple fruit; plenty of acidity, silken texture and lengthy finish. Classic example of Jules Taylor SB and Marlborough SB. Drink now and through 2022.

90 Points

Mills Reef

Mills Reef Winery Reserve Syrah 2016 Hawkes Bay
Plump, ripe and varietal bouquet of violets, oak, pepper, dark berry fruits, soft brown spice moments and building complexity; youthful. On the palate – dry, fruity, varietal and distinctive with pepper laced dark berry fruits; dark cherry, black currant, some blue fruit notes, floral; medium+ tannins and acidity; balanced, lengthy and well made. Drink now and through 2024.

91 Points

Ostler

Ostler ‘Caroline’s Pinot Noir 2015, Waitaki Valley
Complex, ripe, pure, varietal, mineral, red berry fruits and limestone soil laced core. On the palate – exciting, equally pure, vibrant and textured. Flavours of red berries led by red and darker red cherry fruits, red plum and wild forest berries. Silky tannins, mineral core, medium+ acidity, oozing sex-appeal and allure. Long finish, fine and exciting. A must buy and try wine.

96 Points

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Tupari

Tupari ‘Boulder Rows’ Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Awatere Valley Marlborough
High impact bouquet – herbaceous, savoury and fruity; aromas and flavours of peach, lemon, apple, thyme and dried hay; vibrant textures from acidity and lees work; persistent and lengthy finish with a sweet floral and tropical kick. Drik now and through 2024.

90 Points

Domain Road

Domain Road Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Bannockburn Central Otago
Fragrant, quite elegant with fresh citrus and tree fruit aromas laced with herb and hay aromas, minerality evident as sweet wet stone, a little spice and floral lift. On the palate – crisp and dry with a spice layer, white peach, citrus and tree fruit flavours, a light tropical note with a gooseberry note; salivating and plush acidity, lengthy finish, balanced and well made. Lots to like. Drink now and through 2024.

91 Points

Baby Doll

Baby Doll Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough
Produced and bottled by Yealands estate
Plush, fruity, varietal and forward with aromas and flavours of spicy peach and red apple, mango and passion fruit then citrus, refreshing acidity, light weight and with some gassy sweet herb notes – a very easy wine to enjoy. Drink now and through 2018.

87 Points