Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Jun 28, 2017
Vino Fino

From the Tastings: Spade Oak

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With Steve Voysey
Steve Voysey first started making wine in Marlborough with Montana in 1987 when, as he recalls, they crushed just 87 tons of Sauvignon Blanc. Three years later he was offered the job as Montana’s chief winemaker in Gisborne. Expecting to stay just 3 years, Steve is still there and still making wine at the winery – now operated by Indevin – under contract. He is justly proud of his achievements at Montana, creating wines such as the Montana “O” Chardonnay and “P” Gewurztraminer. Establishing his own vineyard in the early 1990s and supplying the fruit to Montana, Steve started trialling varieties that what he describes as “unlocking the region’s potential, creating wines of quality from a some say brave and eclectic selection of new and classic varieties.” The Voyseys were able to realise this vision with their own label in 2007. Tonight Steve presented wines from across the spectrum making for a varied and very interesting tasting line-up.   


Vino Fino

Spade Oak Le Champ     
Produced for “fun and enjoyment”. Considering Steve’s past involvement with making Lindauer, it is no surprise he produces his own bubbly. Made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Muscat grapes using the Charmat method. This is light, fresh and easy drinking in a “Prosecco” style. Steve has planted Glera grapes and we will see a Prosecco from Voysey at some stage in the future.   
Retail $29.99       Special $24.99
 
Spade Oak Heart of Gold Albarino 2015
This is produced in the Spanish style – crisp, fresh and fruit driven. Hand harvested fruit, whole bunch pressed to give gentle fruit extraction and to preserve the fresh ‘boxwood’, citrus and yellow stone fruit flavours.             
Retail $25.99       Special $20.99
 
Spade Oak Voysey Chardonnay 2014      
Steve produces three Chardonnays and this is the easy drinking style. Again, all hand harvested fruit, wild yeast ferment with partial barrel fermentation. The result is a soft creamy style – plenty of crème caramel, peach/fruit salad flavours.
Retail $22.99       Special $17.99
 
Spade Oak Vigneron Chardonnay 2015
A much richer fuller style of Chardonnay and very reminiscent of the old Montana “O” style. Produced entirely from Mendoza clone fruit, given full malolatic and fermentation and aging for 10 months in 25% new oak. Steve is not a fan of the reductive smokey styles preferring more fruit expression and nutty complexity. This is what I describe as a ‘golden fruit biscuits’ expression – rich and full with ripe peach, buttered corn, sweet pastry flavours with plenty of palate drive.      
Retail $34.99       Special $28.99
 
Spade Oak Vigneron Viognier 2014
Steve makes this just like a Chardonnay. 2014 gave beautifully ripe fruit which was naturally fermented and aged in older French oak. A rich golden colour and wafts of apple crumble, apricot and floral spicy notes. This is an excellent Viognier that is an exemplar for the variety in New Zealand. Voted the wine of the night.               
Retail $34.99       Special $28.99
 
Spade Oak Petit Manseng "Orange" 2015 375ml
An intriguing variety that comes from the Jura region of France. With its naturally high acidity it is often made in a sweeter style, which Steve has done previously. With this 2015 Steve decided to have a play with a natural orange  wine style. Picked very ripe at 30 brix this was fermented on skins for 288 days (Steve was hoping for a year!), and then aged for a further year to reduce the phenolics with 15.5% alc and 2 gms rs.  Tawny colour and on the nose there is quite a lot of nutty/rancio (think dry sherry) characters, but then on the palate the wine reveals orange peel, tea leaf, light caramel, nuts and racy acidity with a pithy texture. Steve says this works really well with Pork belly.      
Retail $34.99       Special $27.99
 
Spade Oak Heart of Gold St Laurent 2013
St Laurent is the main red wine variety in the Czech Republic and also widely planted in Austria and Canada. Its DNA relates it to Pinot Noir and the similarities are quite obvious. Steve got the cuttings from Judge Rock in Central Otago and thought that it may do well in Gisborne as it is a variety that doesn’t seem to over-ripen. Seems he was right in his choice and this works well and the addition of 5% Syrah also works. A dark colour with floral, raspberry fruit flavours and velvety tannins. There is a little ‘tart spiced fruit’ character, and this adds to its appeal.          
Retail $25.99       Special $20.99
 
Spade Oak Heart of Gold Tempranillo 2013
Another of Steve’s ‘projects’. Although early days in NZ a number of producers are playing around with this Spanish variety from Waiheke to Central Otago with good results. Steve’s rendition is probably more “Spanish” than others. A first pick selection is made into Rose whilst the rest is left on the vine to fully ripen.  This, in addition to 15 months in oak gives a deep, earthy, black fruit character to wine. There is a meaty, tobacco character here and a suppleness on the palate.         
Retail $25.99       Special $20.99

Spade Oak Vigneron Syrah 2012

Gisborne’s warm climate allows a long ripening season for the Syrah. It also allows Viognier to ripen fully and Steve in the Northern Rhone style adds up to 10% Viognier to the Syrah. He picks the Viognier really ripe and co-ferments with the Syrah. This is one smooth wine. Being 5 years old has allowed development and integration. Black fruits, violets, spice and light pepperiness. A very close second favourite wine of the night, but the one we sold most of.             
Retail $34.99       Special $28.99

 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Jun 21, 2017
Vino Fino

From the Tastings - Grenache with Martin Cahnbley


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Although it is likely the most widely planted variety in the world, it certainly isn’t on everyone’s lips in New Zealand. Probably because one, very little is produced here and secondly because it is often hidden in blends such as Cotes du Rhone, Rioja, etc. The variety probably originated in Spain around Catalonia where it is known as Garnacha and spread from there through the Aragon kingdom to other Mediterranean areas such as Southern France and Sardinia. It became an early import into Australia where it flourished in the warm climate and was an important component of the fortified wines and they now have some of the oldest vines in the world. It also was a major component in Californian ‘jug wine’ of mid last century. It is a thin skinned, late ripening variety that needs a long, dry ripening season. Along with the Grenache Noir, there is also the white variety, Grenache Blanc.

Wine Importer Martin Cahnbley put together an intriguing lineup of Grenache based wines for this tasting to highlight the versatility and variation of the variety. As an importer Martin hand selects the producers for his portfolio, seeking out the interesting and often unique. Many are small artisanal producers with natural winemaking techniques at the forefront. The tasting started with a South African and a  Spanish white wine with white Grenache in the blend. We then moved to the reds. The first three were lighter, elegant expressions of Grenache, then three wines with Grenache in the blend finishing with two full bodied, single variety Grenache.   


Vino Fino

Wolftrap White 2015 - Swartland South Africa
Viognier 52 %  Chenin Blanc 26 %  Grenache Blanc 22 %
This year Grenache Blanc played a supporting role in this intriguing blend. Grapes are sourced mainly from Malmesbury and Stellenbosch. Components are French oak matured then blended and bottled. Clean and fresh with stonefruits, nectarine/apricots and spice. Medium bodied  with a nice rounded mouthfeel.
Retail $21.99   Special $18.99
 
Costers del Priorat Blanc de Pissarres 2015 - Priorat, Spain
An unusual blend of Garnacha Blanc (60%), Macabeo (30%) and Pedro Ximénez (10%) from the Priorat region SW of Barcelona. The wine spends 3 days of skins before natural yeast fermentation in old French oak resulting in a wine of texture with oxidative, nutty hints. Quite a complex and intriguing with saline, smokey notes, fruit pith and a long finish.
Retail $39.99   Special $34.99
 
A Tribute to Grace Santa Barbara Highlands 2014 - California, USA
Ex-pat Kiwi winemaker, Angela Osborne was inspired to “crafting authentic expressions of Grenache” and the “abundant sunshine and entrepreneurial spirit” led her to California where she sources grapes from various vineyards for her wines. For this wine, the grapes come from her 3 rows of leased vines on the high (1,000m) altitude, desert climate Laetitia Vineyard. The expression is quite amazing and unlike expectations. A minimal intervention wine  - the hand harvested grapes are foot trodden and naturally fermented with 67% whole bunch and then aged for 17 months in French 220L & 500L barrique (17% new). The wine has a pale almost translucent, dull brick red colour with a hint of natural cloudiness. A wine with an ethereal quality with the flavours and textures gently unfolding and revealing. Juicy, spicy, pretty, delicate yet powerful wine. A personal favourite.
Retail $75.99   Special $67.99
 
AA Badenhorst Raaigras Grenache 2015 - Swartland, South Africa
This is from the oldest Grenache vines in South Africa, planted in 1952. Like the Grace Grenache, this is quite light in colour, but more ruby red. The red theme continues with red fruits tending to strawberry. On the palate the wine is very dry and the slatey/granite soils seem to add their bit to the palate with a definite edgy mineral streak running through the palate.  Quite a distinctive version of Grenache that is regarded as one of South Africa’s top reds.
Retail $70.99   Special $63.99
 
Sadie Family Soldaat 2015 - Swartland, South Africa
Eben Sadie is well known for his minimal interventional approach to wine making. This is from old ungrafted, dry-farmed bush vines planted at 708 meters altitude in decomposed granitic soils bottled unfined and unfiltered. Fermented in concrete vats and some amphora. This has lots of ‘minerality’ with a very savoury nose with hints of gamey, medicinal characters. Medium weight  with fresh, crunchy red fruit, rose petal and spice flavours.
Retail $78.99   Special $69.99
 
Viña Tondonia Cubillo 2007 - Rioja, Spain
Vina Tondonia Cubillo is very traditional style Rioja from producer R López de Heredia. This is their ‘young wine’ current release! Tempranillo (65%), Garnacha (25%), Mazuelo and Graciano aged for 3 years in oak before bottling with further aging before release. There is no mistaking the ‘traditional’ approach to the wine; an almost tawny, brick red colour, this has aged, dried prune and balsamic notes with plenty of secondary characters and Rioja’s trademark oakiness.
Retail $42.99   Special $37.99

Costers del Priorat Tinto de Pissarres 2015  - Priorat, Spain
Quite a contrast here with a more classic international approach.  A blend of 40% Samsó (Cinsault) and 60% Garnacha aged in large oak. Dark and plusher than the previous wines but much less complex and dare I say, interesting.
Retail $39.99   Special $34.99

Newton Johnson Full Stop Rock 2015  - Heaven & Earth Valley, South Africa
The Classic Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre blend with the vines grown on granite based soils in the Cape South Coast region. Hand harvested, hand sorted fruit, indigenous yeast fermented with some whole bunches. Aged in French oak barrels and barriques for 12 months. This is a dark, savoury wine with meaty, liquorice, spice, violets flavours and a dense rich palate. There are plenty of gritty tannins (almost sandpaper-like) but these are countered by the rich fruit.  The second favourite wine of the night.
Retail $39.99   Special $34.99

Murray Street Vineyard Black Label Grenache 2012 - Barossa, Australia
From old vines planted in 1948 at Greenock. After all the other Grenaches, this came across as very obviously Australian - sweet liquorice, maraschino cherry, slightly jammy with some aged leathery characters. Smooth almost syrupy style. 
Retail $39.99   Special $34.99

Vivanco Garnacha 2011 - Rioja, Spain
The Colección Garnacha from Dinastia Vivanco in Rioja is a limited production wine, and quite rare being a 100% varietal Garnacha from Rioja. It is fermented in large format oak and aged 18 months in second use French oak barrels. This wine is big, power packed wine with concentrated velvety richness. Favourite wine of the night for the tasters
Retail $90.99   Special $81.99

Vino Fino

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
May 31, 2017
Vino Fino

From the Tastings: Greywacke Seven Wild Years

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This tasting celebrated Greywacke’s seven vintages of their “wild’ Sauvignon Blanc. Established by Kevin and Kimberley Judd in 2009, after Kevin’s 25 vintages as head wine-maker and General Manager at Cloudy Bay. During his time at Cloudy Bay, Kevin not only crafted the world’s most recognizable Sauvignon Blanc (and label), but he continued tweaking and refining the style. After recruiting his mate James Healy to Cloudy Bay, James introduced wild yeast ferments, firstly with Chardonnay then with Kevin developing Cloudy Bay’s alternative style Sauvignon, Te Koko.  When Kevin established his own label, he remained working alongside the old Cloudy Bay team – James Healy and Ivan Sutherland (vineyard owner and viticulturalist) who had themselves established their own label Dog Point. Kevin makes his wines at the Dog Point winery, but his wines are of quite a different style to both Dog Point and Cloudy Bay.

Kevin’s Wild Sauvignon Blanc style is refined and minerally, based on the dry white Bordeaux style for texture and age-ability. This tasting was part of a nation-wide ‘tour’ hosted by Kevin, Kimberley and assistant wine-maker Richard Ellis. It has to be said that I was a little nervous at first holding a tasting based solely around alternate style Sauvignon Blanc but was very pleased to see that yes, there was an interest in not only exploring this style but seeing it develops over a period of time. Interestingly, the Wild Sauvignon Blanc makes up 25% of Greywacke’s Sauvignon Blanc production, highlighting the demand from mainly off-shore. We in New Zealand tend to be quite conservative in our Sauvignon Blanc drinking, treating it as a commodity wine rather than a complex vinous experience. If this tasting is anything to go by,it is time we broadened our tasting horizons and expored these styles of wine more.

We started with the Sauvignon Blanc 2016 before moving on to 2 flights of the aged Wild Sauvignon Blancs; 2009 to 2014 vintages, then the yet-to-be-released 2015, finishing with the current releases of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The verticals of the Wild Sauvignon Blanc were a revelation to most, especially with regard to how well they had aged and drank.  They are about as far away as you can get from the simple, fruity Sauvignons that dominate the shelves. These wines should be far more popular than they are - It may just well be that we don’t know when and how to enjoy this style of wine. These are wines designed to be best with food.  

Kevin’s on-going contribution to the development and understanding of our most important grape variety should not be under estimated. In his quiet, unassuming manner he remains at the forefront of winemaking of this variety and the opportunity to taste these wines from a series of vintages was a pleasure. 



    

 

This tasting celebrated Greywacke’s seven vintages of their “wild’ Sauvignon Blanc. Established by Kevin and Kimberley Judd in 2009, after Kevin’s 25 vintages as head wine-maker and General Manager at Cloudy Bay. During his time at Cloudy Bay, Kevin not only crafted the world’s most recognizable Sauvignon Blanc (and label), but he continued tweaking and refining the style. After recruiting his mate James Healy to Cloudy Bay, James introduced wild yeast ferments, firstly with Chardonnay then with Kevin developing Cloudy Bay’s alternative style Sauvignon, Te Koko.  When Kevin established his own label, he remained working alongside the old Cloudy Bay team – James Healy and Ivan Sutherland (vineyard owner and viticulturalist) who had themselves established their own label Dog Point. Kevin makes his wines at the Dog Point winery, but his wines are of quite a different style to both Dog Point and Cloudy Bay.

Kevin’s Wild Sauvignon Blanc style is refined and minerally, based on the dry white Bordeaux style for texture and age-ability. This tasting was part of a nation-wide ‘tour’ hosted by Kevin, Kimberley and assistant wine-maker Richard Ellis. It has to be said that I was a little nervous at first holding a tasting based solely around alternate style Sauvignon Blanc but was very pleased to see that yes, there was an interest in not only exploring this style but seeing it develops over a period of time. Interestingly, the Wild Sauvignon Blanc makes up 25% of Greywacke’s Sauvignon Blanc production, highlighting the demand from mainly off-shore. We in New Zealand tend to be quite conservative in our Sauvignon Blanc drinking, treating it as a commodity wine rather than a complex vinous experience. If this tasting is anything to go by,it is time we broadened our tasting horizons and expored these styles of wine more.

We started with the Sauvignon Blanc 2016 before moving on to 2 flights of the aged Wild Sauvignon Blancs; 2009 to 2014 vintages, then the yet-to-be-released 2015, finishing with the current releases of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The verticals of the Wild Sauvignon Blanc were a revelation to most, especially with regard to how well they had aged and drank.  They are about as far away as you can get from the simple, fruity Sauvignons that dominate the shelves. These wines should be far more popular than they are - It may just well be that we don’t know when and how to enjoy this style of wine. These are wines designed to be best with food.  

Kevin’s on-going contribution to the development and understanding of our most important grape variety should not be under estimated. In his quiet, unassuming manner he remains at the forefront of winemaking of this variety and the opportunity to taste these wines from a series of vintages was a pleasure. 



    

 

Vino Fino

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2016             
Purity is the first word that comes to mind here. A restrained, mineraly style with passionfruit, leafy herbal flavours. Finessed with a beautiful fine line of acidity that carries the flavors long into the palate.
Retail $28.99       Special $22.99

The Wild Sauvignon Blancs
Kevin’s style of “alternative’ Sauvignon Blanc is to offer integration of winemaking influence and finesse. Quite different to Te Koko’s big creamy malo-lactic influenced style and Dog Point’s more reductive one. Fruit is sourced from their own Greyawacke vineyard and others throughout the Wairau Plains and Southern Valleys. A mix of hand picked and machine harvested fruit is very lightly pressed and wild yeast fermented in mainly older (93%) oak with just 7% in new oak. Fermentation usually takes 11-12 months with around 50-79% malo-lactic then the wine is further aged in stainless steel on full lees for around 6 months. Interestingly the tasters preference was for the older wines and it seems that these wines don’t start showing their best until around 5-6 years after harvest and are likely to age well for up to 15 years. These are all wines with flavour complexity; layers of texture…

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2009
This was the first vintage at Greywacke. Looking remarkably youthful, this has flavours of sweet fruits – almost pineapple, tropical-like with an array of scents from a fresh herb garden. This wine is still as fresh as a daisy with several years of life ahead.

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2010
The subtle smokey character of wild fermentation and lees aging comes through a bit more on this wine. This has dried herb flavours and is a bit drier to taste.

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2011
The most ‘reductive’ of all the wines, with noticeable funky, struck match characters. The palate has power with the zesty herbal notes fully integrated into the long palate.   

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2012
This is more green fruited, the almost green bean flavours reflecting the cooler vintage. Probably the most mature of the wines.

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Here there’s a bit of flintiness with ripe fruit flavours. There is plenty of palate presence with energy and persistence. Very good.

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2014
The current release. This has a balance of richness with the smokey flint character making a presence along with stonefruit flavours.
Retail $36.99       Special $31.99

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2015   
Probably the wine with the most potential. 2015 was a very good vintage and this shows in the ripe fruit characters and opulence on the palate. Still a bit gawky with oak noticeable. About to be released this is a wine to seek out, put in your cellar and watch it evolve.
Retail $36.99       Special $33.99 (due for release)
 
Greywacke Chardonnay 2014     
Whilst Sauvignon Blanc is the cut and trust of Greywacke, let us not forget the other varieties.
The Greywacke style is evident. This is a mix of predominately Mendoza clone fruit with Clone 95. Wild fermented in 20% new oak with 100% malo-lactic. Plenty of citrus fruits along with hints of smoke/flint and fresh fig.
Retail $40.99     Special $37.99
 
Greywacke Pinot Noir 2014         
From the clay based soils of the Coastal Southern Valleys, organically farmed. Aged in 30-40% new French oak. There is a lot of attention to detail when the fruit comes to the winery with intensive hand sorting (the most boring , but essential job at the winery says Richard). Savoury spiced plum, dark and brooding. Although only 20% whole bunch this is still evident of the palate, the charry, smokey oak also evident. Really does need time. The elements are all there.   
Retail $46.99`     Special $39.99 


Wednesday, May 24, 2017
May 24, 2017
Vino Fino

From the tastings: Grant Burge

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With Craig Stansborough



Established by Grant and Helen Burge in 1988, Grant Burge wines have become one of the icon wineries of the Barossa, utilizing the family’s long history of grape growing in the region. Craig Stansborough has been winemaker at Grant Burge for the past 25 years and it was obvious from the tasting that he has a great passion for Grant Burge Wines and the Barossa. Recently ownership of the winery passed to Accolade wines (who also have New Zealand connections with Mud House and Waipara Hills), but Craig explained that from a wine making perspective, nothing has really changed. Craig’s winemaking philosophy is to produce wines with finesse and balance. He is not a fan of the ‘bigger is more’. Across the range the wines display not only great fruit, but layers of finessed wine-making.          

With Craig Stansborough



Established by Grant and Helen Burge in 1988, Grant Burge wines have become one of the icon wineries of the Barossa, utilizing the family’s long history of grape growing in the region. Craig Stansborough has been winemaker at Grant Burge for the past 25 years and it was obvious from the tasting that he has a great passion for Grant Burge Wines and the Barossa. Recently ownership of the winery passed to Accolade wines (who also have New Zealand connections with Mud House and Waipara Hills), but Craig explained that from a wine making perspective, nothing has really changed. Craig’s winemaking philosophy is to produce wines with finesse and balance. He is not a fan of the ‘bigger is more’. Across the range the wines display not only great fruit, but layers of finessed wine-making.          
Vino Fino

Grant Burge Methode Pinot Noir Chardonnay        
The fruit for this comes from cooler vineyards in the Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills. Hand-picked 75% Pinot Noir, the balance Chardonnay. Bottle fermented spending around 3 years on lees.  Quite biscuit/toasty with strawberry, peach flavours. I was actually surprised at how good this tasted. It’s been a few years since I had tried this wine and it has definitely got much better; much more finessed.    
Retail $24.99   Special $19.99
 
Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2013   
We don’t see a lot of South Australian Chardonnay in the NZ market, which is a pity as evidenced by this wine, they can be pretty darn nice. From the cooler regions of Eden Valley, Alpine Valley and the Adelaide Hills. This has ripe grapefruit, savoury, even some funkiness. Richer and fuller on the palate than we see from NZ, but less mineral/citrus drive.
Retail $24.99   Special $19.99
 
Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 2015    
The fruit for this is sourced from a number of vineyards in the southern part of the Valley, including Miamba. Fermented and aged in French oak (35% new). Dark in colour with chocolatey, red berry, vanilla flavours. Medium bodied with fine, lightly spicy tannins on the finish. Very moreish and very drinkable!
Retail $24.99   Special $19.99
 
Grant Burge Daly Rd Shiraz Mourvedre 2014         
A label only produced in years when the Mouvedre ripens fully. Dark, almost inky colour this has a savoury, meaty character on the nose with a core of sweet, almost prune fruit. Aged for 16 months in a combination of French, Hungarian and American oak hogsheds that were predominantly between 3 and 4 years old – this is a bold style, more about the concentrated fruit flavours than oakiness.  
Retail $24.99   Special $19.99
 
Grant Burge Holy Trinity GSM 2013 
Produced from 50 -120 yo old vines, this release is a blend of 57% Grenache, 30% Shiraz and 13% Mourvèdre – a much higher percentage of Grenache than usual. Craig is a great fan of the old style wax lined concrete fermenters he uses for this wine, Leaving the wine on skins for an extended period (almost like making a Pinot Noir). After fermentation, the wine is aged in larger format older French oak puncheons and Foudres. The result is a wine that is silken and fine. Dark plum, subtle spice; even though it has a high portion of Grenache, this does not dominate the palate. It is beautifully integrated   
Retail $37.99   Special $29.99

Grant Burge Balthasar Shiraz 2013 
The Balthasar is from fruit grown in the (relatively) cooler Eden Valley. Inky, almost black in colour. The flavours combine blackberry conserve, liquorice, dark raspberry, dark chocolate with a hint of vanilla and toast. This is quite big and generous on the palate but even with aging in new (51%) and older French oak hogsheads for 22 months maturation, this is soaked into the fruit.
Retail $37.99   Special $29.99
 
Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz 2014 – sorry sold out    
From the first vintage in 1998, this has been a favourite at Vino Fino. Small vintages in 2013, 2014 and 2015 resulted in very small amounts being produced. This 2014 has sold out and the 2015 will be available in a month or so, albeit in limited quantity. Craig says volumes of the 2016 and 2017 will be back to normal levels. Sourced mainly from the 97-year-old Filsell vineyard. Aged in a combination of French and American oak, this is very mush the ‘traditional’ Barossan style. Super smooth and rich; dense yet finishing fine.  
      
Grant Burge Cameron Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2014      
Whilst the Barossa is best known for Shiraz, the Cabernets also command attention. Much riper and denser than the Coonawarra or Margaret River Cabernets. This is from both the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley. Craig likes to ferment a portion of Merlot with the Cabernet (this vintage 8% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot) and aged in French oak for 20 months. Quite a savoury style of Cabernet with dark olive, tobacco leaf, ripe blackcurrant and nicely drying tannins on the finish. 
Retail $24.99   Special $19.99
 
Grant Burge Corryton Park Cabernet 2010
In 1999 Grant purchased the historic Corryton Park site and set about establishing a premium Cabernet vineyard. At seven years this is showing some development colour, but remains fresh on the palate. The site is cooler than the rest of the Barossa and this comes through on the palate with green olive tapenade, cassis characters. Probably fully developed. The 2012 in the current release in NZ         
Retail $37.99   Special $29.99
 
Grant Burge 10 year old Tawny        
The history of wine in the Barossa is really based around the fortified wines and Grant was determined to keep this heritage alive when he established his own label. This is taken from the solera of aging barrels made from the Barossa’s traditional tawny varieties - grenache, mataro (mourvedre) and shiraz - and has been blended to an average age of 10 years. The barrels are topped with younger wine to keep the consistency of age and style. A golden tawny, burnt orange colour this has aromas and flavours of sweet toffee, orange peel, nuts. A perfect way to finish the tasting… pass the blue cheese.
Retail $41.99  Special $37.99

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
May 17, 2017
Vino Fino

From the tastings - Escarpment with Larry McKenna

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Larry McKenna is widely recognised as the winemaker who introduced New Zealand to quality Pinot Noir - he is often referred to as the "God Father"  or "Prince" of Pinot Noir in New Zealand for his history of the variety here. Originally from Australia Larry started in NZ in the early 1980s with John Hancock at Delegats in Auckland. In 1986 he shifted to the new area of Martinborough as the inaugural winemaker for Martinborough Vineyards. In 1998 he established Escarpment. He was inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame in 2014.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Larry has continued refining, developing his style of Martinborough Pinot Noir. Tonight's tasting was showcasing the 2015 vintage Insight wines. The model for the Insight series is Burgundian, with the emphasis on small batch, single site wines. The 2015 wines are all exceptional, with subtle and not so subtle differences between them. Preference will always come down to personal tastes but these are examples of not only Martinborough's or New Zealand's greatest Pinot Noir but world class wines. The wine world in the USA was surprised when the 2013 Kupe Pinot Noir was rated number 7 in the Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines of the year (an outstanding result as the Top 100 is selected from the 1000's of wines tasted during the year from around the world and is the highest ever rated New Zealand wine to make the list.)
    


 

Larry McKenna is widely recognised as the winemaker who introduced New Zealand to quality Pinot Noir - he is often referred to as the "God Father"  or "Prince" of Pinot Noir in New Zealand for his history of the variety here. Originally from Australia Larry started in NZ in the early 1980s with John Hancock at Delegats in Auckland. In 1986 he shifted to the new area of Martinborough as the inaugural winemaker for Martinborough Vineyards. In 1998 he established Escarpment. He was inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame in 2014.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Larry has continued refining, developing his style of Martinborough Pinot Noir. Tonight's tasting was showcasing the 2015 vintage Insight wines. The model for the Insight series is Burgundian, with the emphasis on small batch, single site wines. The 2015 wines are all exceptional, with subtle and not so subtle differences between them. Preference will always come down to personal tastes but these are examples of not only Martinborough's or New Zealand's greatest Pinot Noir but world class wines. The wine world in the USA was surprised when the 2013 Kupe Pinot Noir was rated number 7 in the Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines of the year (an outstanding result as the Top 100 is selected from the 1000's of wines tasted during the year from around the world and is the highest ever rated New Zealand wine to make the list.)
    


 

Vino Fino

Escarpment Riesling 2013
Larry introduced this wine with the usual 'Why don't we drink more Riesling.."  And tasting this, you have to wonder why Riesling seems to be the forgotten variety. No excuses for wondering if it is dry or not - Larry uses the Riesling scale on the back label where it clearly  states this is dry. 2013 was a nice warm vintage and he was able to ferment the wine to virtual dryness (6g/l rs) whilst keeping the alcohol relatively low at 12%. Refreshing classic citrus, lemon fruits with a hint of aged character coming through. This would work well as an aperitif style as well as with food.        
Retail $25.99   Special $18.99
 
Escarpment Pinot Gris 2014 
Larry is certainly not a fan of the 'beverage wine' style of Pinot Gris. For him the wine needs, like Chardonnay, to have some wine-making input to give added textural elements. Aged in old Chardonnay barrels (some over 10 years old) with plenty of lees contact for around 12 months. The result is a wine with spicy, earthy, orange /citrus, bartlett pear flavours. Dry with a slightly oily texture and finishing long. 
Retail $27.99   Special $21.99
 
Escarpment Chardonnay 2014          
Larry has an even longer history with Chardonnay than he does with Pinot noir. From his early days at Delegats in the early 1980's, to Martinborough Vineyards Larry has had a hand in some of New Zealand's most famous Chardonnays. The move to screwcaps has aided the Escarpment style. Larry has never been afraid of a little oxidative character to enhance the palate. This 2014 also has some beautifully managed flinty, gunsmoke flavours. The style is tending to 1er Cru Chablis with some green herb, mineral hints and any overt creaminess pulled back. Best Escarpment Chardonnay for quite some time. 
Retail $33.99   Special $26.99
 
Escarpment Kupe Chardonnay 2015
The Kupe Chardonnay is from the same single old vine block that provides the fruit for the Pahi Pinot Noir. Much denser and ripely fruit than the "Escarpment 2014". Ripe fig, marmalade, smokey and rich. There's a nutty savoury and mineral finish. Superb Chardonnay. 
Retail $53.99   Special $42.99
 
Escarpment Pinot Noir 2014 
The Escarpment is what Larry calls his 'regional' blend. 2014 was a long, warm vintage with the grapes able to be picked in perfect condition. Hand harvested and wild fermented , 50% whole bunch with the wine spending 19 days on skins, and aged 11 months in 30% new French oak barrels. There is a savouriness about this with a mix of red and black fruits and a hint of olive. Mouthfilling with substantial ripe tannins. There is a huge amount of Pinot pleasure to be had from this.
Retail $54.99   Special $39.99
 
Escarpment Pahi Pinot Noir 2015     
From the McCreanor block in Princess St, Martinborough; 28 yo  vines naturally  fermented  with 50% whole bunch, 30% new oak aged for 18 months. Unfortunately due to a vineyard ownership change this may be the last Pahi released. Quite perfumed with dark fresh plum and a hint of red fruits. Quite floral and aromatic. Medium bodied with a coating of lacey acidity around the core of fruit and then the tannins grounding the finish.
Retail $71.99   Special $64.99
 
Escarpment Kiwa Pinot Noir 2015     
 Also 28 year old vines, this from the Cleland vineyard on Cambridge Rd Made similarly to the Pahi, 50% whole bunch, but with a bit more time of skins and a bit more new oak (40%). This shows as being a bit more savoury and earthy then the glazed cherry elements come through on the back palate. Beguiling, intriguing, gorgeous. 
Retail $71.99   Special $64.99
 
Escarpment Te Rehua Pinot Noir 2015        
The vines here are 23 years old, from the Barton Vineyard , Haungarua Rd about 1/2 km out of Martinborough on the alluvial soils. The vineyard is quite sheltered and is the first to ripen.The time on skins is the longest  of the Pinot Noirs at 24 days; has 65% whole bunch, but less new oak (30%). My notes were succinct  - dense, solid, big, rich, ripe. Impressive wine.     
Retail $71.99   Special $64.99
 
Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir 2015    
This is from Escarpment's own vineyard, planted in 1999. Here the vines are much more densely planted than the older vineyards at around 7,000 vines/ha, but the yield from each vine is around 1/2 at 1kg per vine. 50% new oak and 70% whole bunch. This is a stunning wine and probably even better than the 2013 which was awarded the number 7 best wine of the year in the USA Wine Spectator 2015. There is sensual density and weight, yet the palate just floats and again like the Te Rehua a cloud of fine tannin coats the finish. Really quite a monster Pinot Noir that should be cellared for a few years, but like all great wine, beautiful now.
Retail $92.99   Special $82.99

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
May 10, 2017
Vino Fino

From the Tastings: A Tour of Spain

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AJ Thomson has developed a wine importing business over the past few years concentrating on French and Italian wines. Tonight's tasting was to showcase some of his recent additions to his portfolio from across Spain. AJ was supposed to present the tasting, but an unlucky accident on Monday night resulted in him ending up in hospital with a broken neck - sounds horrific and it is, but luckily for AJ no nerve damage and he should make a full recovery after a few months. So whilst missing the personal touch from AJ, but plenty of help from google, we presented the tasting ourselves.  
We tasted wines from 7 different regions of Spain - quite diverse styles and wines.

AJ Thomson has developed a wine importing business over the past few years concentrating on French and Italian wines. Tonight's tasting was to showcase some of his recent additions to his portfolio from across Spain. AJ was supposed to present the tasting, but an unlucky accident on Monday night resulted in him ending up in hospital with a broken neck - sounds horrific and it is, but luckily for AJ no nerve damage and he should make a full recovery after a few months. So whilst missing the personal touch from AJ, but plenty of help from google, we presented the tasting ourselves.  
We tasted wines from 7 different regions of Spain - quite diverse styles and wines.


Vino Fino

Maset MIM Cava Reserve Brut
Based in the Penedes region just south of Barcelona, Maset del Lleo have been making wines and Cava (Spanish methode champenoise) for almost 250 years. In the last 30 years they have been the biggest direct sales to consumer (through telephone sales based business)  wine seller in Spain, and are now expanding into export markets.
A blend of the traditional Spanish varieties of Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada aged for 15 months for secondary bottle fermentation. This has a fine bead with floral,citrus and light toast and a hint of lemon cream on the dry finish. A very pleasant Cava that offers drinkability, flavour and great value.              
Retail $22.99       Special $18.99
 
Valtea
Albariño 2015
The increasingly popular variety Albariño has its home in the region of Rías Baixas located in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain. Here the climate is relatively cool and damp (not unlike parts of NZ).  This wine is produced by the small, family owned vineyard and winery; Valtea, located in a beautiful valley overlooking the Mino River and within a stone’s throw of Portugal. Hand harvested fruit is gentle pressed and fermented cool in stainless steel, preserving the fruit flavours. Dry with floral, melons and spice flavours with a hint of nuttiness on the finish.  
Retail $25.99       Special $21.99
 
Enate 234 Chardonnay 2015
The Somontano wine region in Spain is one of the lesser known wine growing areas in the country. Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees several hours northwest of Barcelona around the historic town of Barbastro, this small area is well known for the quality of its wines which are heavily influenced by its warm days and colder nights. Here the newer vineyards have been planted with more international varieties - Chardonnay, Sauvingon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah as well as the traditional Spanish. This is an un-oaked Chardonnay that has plenty of peach, apricot and even a hint of spicy florals. Quite rich and mouthfilling, this is quite a distinct style that was enjoyed by many of the tasters.               
Retail $25.99       Special $21.99
 
Maset Reserva Tempranillo 2012
100% Tempranillo aged for 12 months in oak and a further 36 months in bottle before release. Plummy, slightly ageing characters with earthy spice flavours. Medium bodied and well integrated.               
Retail $25.99       Special $21.99
 
Chivite Gran Feudo Vinas Viejas 2010
Produced by Bodegas Chivite who are one of Spain’s most recognised names. Based in the region of Navarra just to the east of Rioja. Tempranillo with some Grenache, produced a special selection of 30+ year old vines, aged in French and American oak for 18 months. Moderately dark in colour with black cherry fruits and smokey oak and good drive. Plenty of palate interest. A good wine.
Retail $27.99       Special $23.99
 
Enate Crianza 2012
This is a relatively unusual blend for Spanish wines. Here Enate have used the traditional Tempranillo with Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a combination that works well. Aged in barrel for a period of nine months; the Cabernet Sauvignon in French oak and the Tempranillo in American oak. Quite dark with a bit of bricking of colour. There is a meatiness to this dark fruited, savoury wine with a real presence and good length.                  
Retail $25.99       Special $21.99
 
Pena del Valle Barrica 2014
Bodegas Pena del Valle is a collaboration between two childhood friends; Juan de Valle and Miguel  Garcias de la Pena from Tierra de Barros in the wine producing region of Extramadurra, in Spain’s remote southwest. This is an area that is now being ‘discovered’ by new innovative winemakers. This is a blend of Garnacha (Grenache) and Syrah, aged for 10 months in oak. Almost black in the glass, with the fruit flavours in the same spectrum - black berry fruits, liquorice, spice. This has nicely tuned, fine grain tannins and a bit of toasty oak on the finish. Pretty good!                
Retail $24.99       Special $20.99
 
Bodegas Perica 6 Cepas Tinto   
Based in San Ansensio, in Rioja Alta, this high quality winery has been operating for over 100 years. With 140 acres of its own vineyards spread throughout Rioja Alta, they also source fruit from throughout the Rioja region. This is the wineries’ take on a modern Rioja - aged for 6 months in French oak with a funky screen printed label. Quite fruit forward with some nice dusty tannin in the background.   
Retail $37.99       Special $31.99

Bodegas Ateca ​Atteca Old Vine Garnacha 2014
Bodegas Ateca has its headquarters in the village of Ateca, in the province of Zaragoza, fourteen km away from Calatayud. The gnarly old vines of Garnacha are planted on the hillsides at about 3,000 ft above sea level. This is a big, dark, juicy wine filled with sweet dark cherry, red and black liquorice and hints of orange peel, and a faint herbal note on the nicely dry finish. Quite an impressive wine that was the favourite of the night.               
Retail $32.99       Special $27.99
 
Maset del Lleo 1777 Reserva 2009
The presentation on this, Maset's top wine, is impressive. Each bottle is hand labelled, with the  wine details hand-written and individually numbered. The top is then sealed with wax and wrapped in sacking cloth. 100% Tempranillo aged for a number of years in French oak. The result is an aged wine of finesse. The red fruit flavours are changing into the more mellow, savoury spectrum with nice aged balsamic hints. Again a very good wine.  
Retail $42.99       Special $36.99


Wednesday, May 03, 2017
May 03, 2017
Vino Fino

From the tastings: Steve Bennett MW

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“A Few of My Favourite Things” - Presented at Vino Fino 26 April 2017
A selection of wine-styles from France, Spain, NZ and Australia 
Selected by Steve Bennett MW

Steve Bennett has been importing wines from around the world, and particularly Europe for a number of years. Many of the wines have become established names (think El Burro, Rojo, Arriba..) However, utilising his Master of Wine contacts he continues to add many new, different and exciting wines to his portfolio. Tonight afforded Steve the opportunity to show some of his favourites. An eclectic mix but all very good, presented in Steve's humorous inimitable manner. This was an excellent tasting with all the wines tasting very well. Of note was Steve's own Kairos Sauvignon Blanc 2009 which he served blind. Amazingly fresh but with some aged textural nuances that led most tasters to think it must be European. 

“A Few of My Favourite Things” - Presented at Vino Fino 26 April 2017
A selection of wine-styles from France, Spain, NZ and Australia 
Selected by Steve Bennett MW

Steve Bennett has been importing wines from around the world, and particularly Europe for a number of years. Many of the wines have become established names (think El Burro, Rojo, Arriba..) However, utilising his Master of Wine contacts he continues to add many new, different and exciting wines to his portfolio. Tonight afforded Steve the opportunity to show some of his favourites. An eclectic mix but all very good, presented in Steve's humorous inimitable manner. This was an excellent tasting with all the wines tasting very well. Of note was Steve's own Kairos Sauvignon Blanc 2009 which he served blind. Amazingly fresh but with some aged textural nuances that led most tasters to think it must be European. 


Vino Fino

Champagne Paul Louis Martin ‘Bouzy Grand Cru’ NV -Reims, France
The Paul Louis Martin Champagne House has been family owned and run since 1864. A single vineyard Estate of just 10ha  in the Grand Cru Village of Bouzy, Montagne de Reims, home to great  Pinot Noir. Paul Louis Martin’s daughter Francine Martin-Rapeneau, aided by her son Vincent, as taken over and they remain fervent about the quality of their champagne. The wines from the Montage de Reims have much more weight, and power than those from La Côte des Blancs. While they are still excellent as an aperitif being more rich and robust in style they are able to stand up to a much wider variety of food accompaniments. 60% Pinot Noir – 40% Chardonnay “Bouzy” is one of the top quality villages in Champagne’s Montagne de Reims and is well known for rich, full bodied, intensely toasty wines like this one – a star.” 18.5/20 www.joellethomson.com. 94/100 Dan Murphys
Retail $79.99 Special $67.99

The Cup & Rings Godello  2015 by Norrel Robertson MW -  D.O. Monterrei, Spain 
The Cup and Rings Godello is a joint project between Norrel Robertson MW and Terras do Cigarrón in Monterrei, Galicia, and is named after the prehistoric, carved stone design commonly found in Galicia and in Norrel's original home of Scotland. Hand-harvested from separate pickings of a large, single vineyard called Villar de Vos which has great difference in soil types from laderas de pizarra to soils composed of silt, sand, clay and alluvial wash from the River Támega which runs through the heart of the DO. The climate is a unique mix of continental and Atlantic influences which create the perfect environment for the production of high quality Godello grapes which are pre-chilled to 10ºC then gently crushed using only the lightest free run juice. The juice is then gently settled before fermentation in stainless steel with Burgundian yeast strains which tends to favour lees ageing and mouthfeel. A 20% portion is also fermented in old large French oak barrels at ambient temperatures of 18 to 19ºC. The two portions of wine are then brought together and the wine receives lees stirring for a further 6 months before filtration and bottling. 'Charming, inviting wine." Tom Cannavan wine-pages.com 90/100 Decanter Magazine
Retail $26.99 Special $23.99
 
Kairos Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Served Blind)
Steve's own label. He sourced the fruit from a vineyard on the stoney soils of the Wairau Valley. Naturally fermented in 6-8 yo oak - the ferment took nearly 2 years to complete! This has developed into a really intriguing, interesting wine with wild herb, vanilla custard tones. It is a wine that sits on the palate for you to contemplate its flavours and textures. Steve described it as "NZ Sauvignon Blanc on a 'Survivor show'" - a sinuey, wild and a bit wooly. I loved it and it is a pity we only have about a dozen bottles left. 
Gold Medal & Trophy Winner, 5 Stars Bob Campbell MW
Retail $32.99 Special $23.99
 
Montsable Chardonnay 2015 - Pays d’Oc, France
The wines of Montsablé are inspired by the desire to craft elegant Burgundian varietals in the sunny climate of Languedoc in the south of France. Working with growers in the cooler Puisserguier vineyards of the Saint Chinian area of Languedoc - a landscape of high hills, shallow chalky soils and controlled yields to seek out fruit that delivers pure flavours and great balance. In the winery, the must is lightly clarified before fermentation in order to express the varietal aromas of the Chardonnay and the fruit is handled carefully with maturation on fine lees in stainless steel vats for a part of the cuvee to build texture and mouthfeel. Only 20% of the wine is aged in French oak to add just the most subtle of seasoning. The result is a Chardonnay with great palate weight, bright fruit and texture.
Metro Top 50 Wines of Summer 2016, 4 stars Raymond Chan
Retail $24.99 Special $19.99

The Cup & Rings' Mencia  2014 by Norrel Robertson MW - D.O. Bierzo, Spain
Vineyards are located in the valleys between the villages of Corullon, Villafranca del Bierzo and Cacabelos. Very complex soils ranging from alluvial clays and stones at the valley floor to granite and schist higher up on the slopes. Bush vine Mencia , hand harvested , crushed and destemmed. Temp controlled alcoholic fermentation to 28 degrees celcius for 7 days with plunging and delistage for colour and tannin extraction followed by a short maceration. Pressed off skins using only free run wine followed by full malolactic fermentation. 91/100 Falstaff Magazine. “The Pinot Noir of Spain” - Drinks Business
Retail $26.99 Special $23.99
 
Mont Rocher Carignan ‘Vielles Vignes’ 2014 - Pays d’Herault, France
Carignan was the single most common vine variety planted in France until it was overtaken by Merlot at the end of the 20th century, yet many wine drinkers have never heard of it. Carignan's origins are presumed Spanish and as a late-ripening variety is only suited to warm climates. This wine is a project of 2 UK Masters of Wine, Giles Cooke and Feargal Tynon whose aim is to produce modern drinkable wines from indigenous varieties. Sourced from small parcels of old vines the grapes are destemmed and crushed. The fermentation is carried out at controlled temperature, around 23°C. The ageing is carried out in tanks with a small amount of French oak staves to add more complexity and roundness to the blend with a third of the wine aged in barrels for 3 months to add softness. The resulting wine is extremely tasty, eminently drinkable and extremely affordable. Metro Top 50 Wines of Winter 2017
Retail $18.99 Special $14.99 
 
Gran Familia Rioja Reserva 2011 - D.O.C. Rioja Alta Spain
Gran Familia Rioja Reserva comes from Bodegas Castillo de Fuenmayor, located near Briones at the heart of Rioja Alta. This winery belongs to a family with one of the longest traditions in Rioja winemaking and our winemaker has access to some of the finest wines in Rioja.  The 2008 vintage is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 10% Garnacha and is made from vines with an average age of 25 years which are grown in premium Rioja Alta vineyards with soils composed of clay and limestone. The wine is aged for a total of three years, with at least 12 months in oak barrels. Selection of barrels is of particular importance in Rioja where oak is such a critical element in winemaking. For Gran Familia we chose to put 50% of the wine into American oak barrels and 50% into French oak barrels. This results in the perfect balance of fruit and oak flavours.
Metro Top 50 Wines of Winter 2017, 4 Stars Joelle Thomson, 4 Stars Bob Campbell MW
Retail $24.99 Special $19.99 
 
Thorny Devil Single Vineyard, Old Vine, Dry Grown Grenache 2014 - Barossa, Australia
"Two UK-based Masters of Wine - Giles Cooke and Fergal Tynan have joined forces with winemaker Peter Leske in this international venture based out of the former Nepenthe winery in the Adelaide Hills. Named after aa little lizardy fellow called a Thorny Devil which is found in the vineyard. With Grenache, they were looking to use Pinot Noir winemaking techniques to maximise fruit purity, texture and finesse rather than making just another rich red wine. The fruit was gently crushed to retain as many whole berries as possible before a cold soak prior to fermentation. Fermentation began naturally and hand plunging twice a day was carried out through to dryness. Gently pressed off skins before 10 months lees age in old French oak hogsheads. The resulting wine has the characteristic Barossa punch but there is a beguiling texture and perfume that keeps you interested.
“Really quite perfumed and also very delicate on the palate. This certainly doesn't taste anything like a 15 percenter. Very beautiful texture and freshness. Entertaining fruit and very succulent. No jamminess. Bravo! Really super charming. Maybe Barossa has something to teach Châteauneuf?”
Jancis Robinson MW Favourite New Wave Grenache
92/100 Jamie Goode, 92/100 - The Wine Front, Gary Walsh , 91/100 – James Suckling,
Metro Top 50 Wines for Winter 2017,
Retail $32.99 Special $27.99 

No Stone Unturned ‘Old Vines’ 2012 by Ed Adams Master of Wine - D.O. Terra Alta, Spain 
Garnacha 62% Cariñena 23% Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah 15%. The wine comes from the very best plots of Pepe Fuster’s stone covered 26 hectare vineyard in Terra Alta in Catalonia, north-eastern Spain. The Garnacha vines are nearly 50 years old and this age gives the wine great concentration and complexity of dark, spicy, blackberry fruit which has been seasoned and enhanced by 10 months in the finest new Dargaud & Jaegle oak barrels from France. No Stone Unturned is a big, serious wine which is ripe and juicy enough to be enjoyed now but will also last a good 8-10 years in bottle.
Gold Medal Wine & Spirit Asia Wine Challenge 2014. Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 - Commended
Retail $44.99 Special $28.99 

 

Tuesday, May 02, 2017
May 02, 2017
Vino Fino

Website Issues

Apologies if our website is slow to load. There have been issues with the Adobe server base in Australia over the past 2 days (totally out of our control) Their website assures us that they are working urgently to solve the problem. If you need to contact us please email (wine@vinofino.co.nz) or telephone (03) 3655134 Read More

Apologies if our website is slow to load. There have been issues with the Adobe server base in Australia over the past 2 days (totally out of our control) Their website assures us that they are working urgently to solve the problem. If you need to contact us please email (wine@vinofino.co.nz) or telephone (03) 3655134

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Apr 11, 2017
Vino Fino

From the tastings: Chardonnay

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A gap in our wine-maker hosted tasting gave us a chance to taste some excellent Chardonnays. From around New Zealand - South to North with the inclusion of our top selling Californian, Bogle, and one served blind from the South of Burgundy. Starting with our two top selling $20.00 Chardonnays, the rest of the selection was taken to represent top labels from each region - all have been rated 5 stars by various wine writers and we finished with what can be regarded as one of the best, Sacred Hill Riflemans. The line-up didn't disappoint. We are blessed with a richness of choice with NZ Chardonnay and our top Chardonnays can foot it with the best from around the world. 
  

A gap in our wine-maker hosted tasting gave us a chance to taste some excellent Chardonnays. From around New Zealand - South to North with the inclusion of our top selling Californian, Bogle, and one served blind from the South of Burgundy. Starting with our two top selling $20.00 Chardonnays, the rest of the selection was taken to represent top labels from each region - all have been rated 5 stars by various wine writers and we finished with what can be regarded as one of the best, Sacred Hill Riflemans. The line-up didn't disappoint. We are blessed with a richness of choice with NZ Chardonnay and our top Chardonnays can foot it with the best from around the world. 
  


Vino Fino

Giesen The Brothers Chardonnay 2015   
It’s easy to see why this is consistently one of our top selling Chardonnays.  Sourced from 5 different Marlborough vineyards, wild fermented and aged in a mix of French barriques and German oak fuders. Since its release a couple of months ago, this has opened out dramatically and is showing lemon, flinty, cashew nut flavours. Very approachable and ticks all the ‘Chardonnay’ boxes.   
Retail $26.99       Our price $19.99
 
Bogle Clarksburg Chardonnay 2015
Californian Chardonnay seems to have found a gap in the NZ market place, especially styles such as the Bogle. It is golden, creamy, buttery with the sweet vanillin American oak that rolls around the palate and gentle acidity.  Quite soft and obvious but very drinkable and a crowd pleaser.
Retail $26.99       Our price $19.99
 
Domaine Rewa Chardonnay 2014
Domaine Rewa is a small Central Otago producer located on the slopes of the Pisa range, bio-dynamically farmed. Initially quite shy this opened out in the glass with flinty mineral characters then a savoury mealy note.  
Retail $35.99       Our price $29.99
 
Black Estate Home Vineyard Chardonnay 2016   
From the old vines planted in the Home vineyard in front of the café. Just released, this has lemony citrus flavours and a great textural element with great drive through the palate. It should be noted that Nicholas likes to make his wines as natural as possible - this is unfiltered and shows some cloudiness especially at the bottom of the bottle.
Retail $44.99       Our price $38.99
 
Dog Point Chardonnay 2014
The Dog Point Chardonnay vineyard has old vine, Mendoza and clone 95 Chardonnay grown organically. Since the inception of the Dog Point label, this has been a distinctive wine. As a young wine there is always evident smoky, gunflint, sulphidic aromas that overlay a complex, full-bodied palate. As the wines age this integrates into the wine – and Dog Point Chardonnays age extremely well.  A solid tasting Chardonnay with plenty of citrus fruit, spicy oak and mineral linearity. This was the 2nd favourite Chardonnay as voted by the tasters,
Retail $41.99       Our price $33.99
 
Domaine Christophe Cordier Macon Milly Lamartine Clos du Four 2014
Milly-Lamartine is a small commune in the Mâcon-Villages of Southern Burgundy entitled to put it's name on the label due to a higher quality reputation. This is quite rich is style and served blind, no-one identified it as being from Burgundy. It has freshness and hints of white flowers and pineapple with some ‘Werthers Original’ butterscotch notes. Quite modern in style.
Retail $49.99  Our price $45.99

Martinborough Vineyards Chardonnay 2014
Recent releases of this well-established label have been very good. Quite an elegant expression with plenty left to unfold. Like the label, this screams ‘yellow’ – nectarine, plum, lemon with sizzling grilled nuts. It is yummy stuff. 
Retail $40.99       Our price $36.99
 
Quarter Acre Chardonnay 2016 
Rod McDonald gets the fruit for this wine from the Doc’s Block vineyard along the Haumoana coast of Hawkes Bay (alongside other great Chardonnay vineyards like Clearview and Elephant Hill). Just released and obviously youthful, this is noticeably warmer climate in style with melon and peach flavours. There are lots of subtle elements that make for a tight, powerful Chardonnay. Very, very good.
Retail $35.99       Our price $29.99

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2015
No line up of NZ Chardonnay could exclude one from Kumeu River. Always made in the same style (hand picked-whole bunch pressed- natural ferment in French oak- 100% malolactic). Stonefruits, cream, vanilla, almond. Perfectly poised and balanced. Classic Kumeu River.       
Retail $35.99       Our price $29.99
 
Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay 2015
The high ‘Riflemans’ terrace, overlooking the Tutaekuri river in Hawkes Bay is planted entirely to Mendoza clone Chardonnay. It has proved to be a very special site. Each vine is considered to potentially end up in the Rifleman Chardonnay, however with a rigorous selection process it is only the very best barrels that do so. This is a powerful, concentrated wine that fills the senses. A wonderous Chardonnay that was easily the favourite of the night. A great Chardonnay.     
Retail $79.99       Our price $61.99

Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Apr 05, 2017
Vino Fino

From the tastings: Two Paddocks

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Sam Neill's Two Paddocks is the result of discovering the joys of French Burgundy whilst he was filming in the UK. So, as you do, in 1993 he planted a small vineyard in Gibbston Valley (now known as the First Paddock) alongside his friend and film-maker Roger Donaldson (hence the name Two Paddocks). Whilst Roger's vineyard no longer exists, Sam has extended his vineyards to four: the First Paddock, The Last Chance planted in 1998, the Red Bank (an old Agricultural Reseach farm) in 2000 and most recently the purchase of the existing Desert Heart vineyard in Felton Road, Bannockburn. Production is still very small and Sam's modest aim is to "produce year after year, the world's best pinot noir". This may seem slightly facetious, but the results really speak volumes. Two Paddocks has become Sam's passion and is treated with very serious intent. This is not a Movie Stars 'play-thing', and although I know he has a lot of fun and enjoyment from the project, it is when his wines are recognised as being of outstanding quality on the world stage that gives the most pleasure (along with being able to share a good bottle with his mates). The vineyards are organically and bio-dynamically farmed and are made as naturally as possible to reflect their region and sites.

 
Two Paddocks general manager, Jacqui Murphy hosted tonight's tasting featuring a sneak preview of the 2015 single vineyard wines. For the first time, three 
single vineyard wines have been released and they really are exceptional wines. To me they all have an X-factor - they are very comforting and comfortable to drink. We will be getting a small allocation of these wines which will be released at the beginning of May.    

Vino Fino


Sam Neill's Two Paddocks is the result of discovering the joys of French Burgundy whilst he was filming in the UK. So, as you do, in 1993 he planted a small vineyard in Gibbston Valley (now known as the First Paddock) alongside his friend and film-maker Roger Donaldson (hence the name Two Paddocks). Whilst Roger's vineyard no longer exists, Sam has extended his vineyards to four: the First Paddock, The Last Chance planted in 1998, the Red Bank (an old Agricultural Reseach farm) in 2000 and most recently the purchase of the existing Desert Heart vineyard in Felton Road, Bannockburn. Production is still very small and Sam's modest aim is to "produce year after year, the world's best pinot noir". This may seem slightly facetious, but the results really speak volumes. Two Paddocks has become Sam's passion and is treated with very serious intent. This is not a Movie Stars 'play-thing', and although I know he has a lot of fun and enjoyment from the project, it is when his wines are recognised as being of outstanding quality on the world stage that gives the most pleasure (along with being able to share a good bottle with his mates). The vineyards are organically and bio-dynamically farmed and are made as naturally as possible to reflect their region and sites.

 
Two Paddocks general manager, Jacqui Murphy hosted tonight's tasting featuring a sneak preview of the 2015 single vineyard wines. For the first time, three 
single vineyard wines have been released and they really are exceptional wines. To me they all have an X-factor - they are very comforting and comfortable to drink. We will be getting a small allocation of these wines which will be released at the beginning of May.    

Vino Fino



Two Paddocks Picnic Riesling 2016
Two Paddocks produce two Rieslings and both in tiny amounts (only a 1/2 ha of vines) planted on own roots in 1994. The Picnic label depicts Sam's Grandfather Sydney Neill – Wine Merchant (of Wislon Neill fame), on the label and made in a slightly sweeter style than the Estate label with 12 gms/rs. A juicy, slightly fleshy wine with melon, greenguage fruits.  
Retail $32.99   Special $28.99

Two Paddocks Riesling 2015
This is a much tighter, finer Riesling and drier with around 6ms/rs. Quite floral with the salivating palate like sucking on a lemon infused stone whilst still remaining quite fleshy on the palate.
Retail $35.99   Special $31.99

Two Paddocks Picnic Pinot Noir 2015
Produced as a lighter, classically Central Otago Pinot Noir with the emphasis on red fruit and floral flavours with a hint of spice. Nothing too complicated and a very enjoyable wine.   
Retail $33.99 Special $29.99

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2015
A blend of fruit from all four vineyards, but predominately Bannockburn which makes up 60%. 25% whole bunch fermentation in 25% new French oak. Juicy and ripe tasting with plenty of complexity - black cherry, red currant, thyme and herb even hints of tea leaf. The flavours build on the palate like the classic peacocks tail.   
Retail $56.99  Special $49.99

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2014
This was the first vintage that included fruit from Bannockburn - 50% Bannockburn, 40% Earnsclaugh, 10% Gibbston. More savoury, mineral, meaty. Again a wonderful rendition that builds on the palate  
Retail $56.99  Special $49.99

Two Paddocks First Paddock Pinot Noir 2015
The original vineyard of 2ha planted in the Gibbston Valley in 1993. A further 3ha was added in 2008. Of all the vineyards, this is the one that offers the greatest viticultural challenges. Of the 3 single vineyard wines this has the most whole cluster ferment at 50% adding a fragrant thyme/spice element. A wonderful lifted aroma with a concentrated, fine palate with silky tannins. Gibbston Pinot Noir at its finest.  
Release 1st May
Retail $81.99   Special $72.99

Two Paddocks The Last Chance Pinot Noir 2015
The Last Chance vineyard is a small 3ha block planted in 1998 on the hill overlooking the Earnsclaugh valley and takes its name from the gold mining water course that runs through it. Arguably the world's most southerly vineyard with bony, dry schist soils. Both the Fusilier and Last Chance are naturally fermented in the same manner with 1/3 whole cluster in 4 tonne cuvees and aged for 11 months in 1/3 new French oak. Dense, persistent yet wonderfully balanced. There is a sense of 'poise' about these wines.  
Released 1st May           
Retail. $81.99   Special $72.99

Two Paddocks Fusilier Pinot Noir 2015
The 5.6 ha Fusilier vineyard in Bannockburn was purchased from Desert Heart in 2013. The darker fruit characters of Bannockburn come through here. Brooding with a polished, silky texture.
Released 1st May
Retail $81.99   Special $72.99

Two Paddocks Fusilier Pinot Noir 2014
The 2014 Fusilier is darker and more savoury and no less exceptional. Only a few bottles remain.
Retail $73.99   Special $64.99

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