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

From the tastings: Chardonnay

 Read More

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

 Read More

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

 ​
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Mar 29, 2017
Vino Fino

From the tastings - USA

 Read More

From the tastings:

USA

The wine business in the USA is huge and with total annual consumption of around 3,500,000 litres per year it is the world's largest market and the 4th largest producer (behind France, Italy and Spain). 90% of wine produced in the USA comes from California. 30% of wine consumed is imported and it is New Zealand's single biggest wine export market taking around 21% of our annual production of 300 million litres. New Zealand is now number 3 by value (9.4% share) of all wine imported into USA - Italy 33.5%, France 23% with Australia slipping to number 4 at 8.8%. In 2010 New Zealand wasn't even in the top 6.
Alongside this growth in exports to the USA we have seen more USA labels appearing on our shelves here. These wines are from the more 'commercial' end of the market - New Zealanders may baulk at some of the prices being asked of the top end labels! However, what we do see here are able to compete and contrast with wines such as reds from Australia and locally produced Chardonnays. The oft requested big, golden, buttery $20.00 Chardonnay seems to be more likely to come from California than NZ these days. Tonight we took the chance to have a look at some of these North American wines available on our shelves. 

From the tastings:

USA

The wine business in the USA is huge and with total annual consumption of around 3,500,000 litres per year it is the world's largest market and the 4th largest producer (behind France, Italy and Spain). 90% of wine produced in the USA comes from California. 30% of wine consumed is imported and it is New Zealand's single biggest wine export market taking around 21% of our annual production of 300 million litres. New Zealand is now number 3 by value (9.4% share) of all wine imported into USA - Italy 33.5%, France 23% with Australia slipping to number 4 at 8.8%. In 2010 New Zealand wasn't even in the top 6.
Alongside this growth in exports to the USA we have seen more USA labels appearing on our shelves here. These wines are from the more 'commercial' end of the market - New Zealanders may baulk at some of the prices being asked of the top end labels! However, what we do see here are able to compete and contrast with wines such as reds from Australia and locally produced Chardonnays. The oft requested big, golden, buttery $20.00 Chardonnay seems to be more likely to come from California than NZ these days. Tonight we took the chance to have a look at some of these North American wines available on our shelves. 


Vino Fino

Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut
Owned and operated by the famous Champagne House, the Californian Roederer Estate is located in the Anderson Valley 125 miles north of San Francisco near the Mendocino Coast. A blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir this is a yeasty, big, rich style with lemony citrus flavours backed by the nutty, spiciness from 2 years aging on lees as well as the addition of reserve barrel aged wines into the blend.                
rrp $46.99   Our price $40.99
 
McManis Family Vineyards Chardonnay 2015
A 5th generation family owned winery located in the River Junction AVA of the Central Valley of Northern California. A real glassful of tropical and citrus fruits – pineapple and melon with some creaminess from 2/3’s malo-lactic with subtle oakiness from aging in older French and American oak. A soft and approachable style.       
rrp $21.99   Our price $18.99
 
Columbia Crest H3 Chardonnay 2013      
From the Horse Heaven Hills region of Columbia Valley in Southern Washington State. About 3 hours inland from Portland, here the area is sheltered by the Cascade Mountain range from the rains off the Pacific. Around 70% of the wine was fermented in new & older French and American oak with the balance in stainless. The result is a wine with noticeable coconut aroma and a smoky, lifted characters. The palate shows more citrus and apple and white fruit flavours with a cooler climate ‘freshness’ feel  to the palate. 
rrp $30.99   Our price $26.99
 
Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2015
From the makers of USA’s top selling Chardonnay, the Vintners Reserve, this is selected from the top 5% of the Chardonnay blocks in Monterey and Santa Barbara. Fully barrel fermented in around 30% new French oak with the balance older oak (20% American), with 100% malo. A big, powerful, golden, soft, rich, buttery Chardonnay that carries its 14.5% alc. very well. Californian sunshine in a glass.     
$38.99  Our price $31.99
 
La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2012
Established in 1979, this is also owned by the Kendall Jackson family. The wine maker is NZer and Lincoln University trained, Craig McAllister. The coastal valley of Monterey is California’s coolest growing region with cool sea breezes and fog moderating the temperatures making it ideal for Pinot Noir. At 4+ years this has some developing characters turning the sweet fruits into more savoury. Juicy with fine tannins, this proved to be a very pleasant surprise on California Pinot Noir. Very enjoyable.     
rrp $45.99   Our price $35.99
 
McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah 2015
Located in the Lodi Valley inland from San Fransico, this is a family owned winery established in 1990 and producing their own label since 1997. Petit Sirah (known as Durif in Australia) is well suited to warmer regions and produces big, inky dark wines. This is no exception with big black, concentrated sweetly ripe fruit flavours surrounded by spicy vanillin oak. A ‘fun’ sort of wine, with jubey, pastille, liquorice flavours, soft acidity and an easiness on the palate. "A mouthful of pleasure", someone said.      
rrp $24.99   Our price $19.99
 
Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Cab Sauvignon 2012
California has made Cabernet Sauvignon ‘their’ red wine variety and especially in recent years with the reduced interest in the Merlot variety there. This is classic Californian in taste and style. From the Sonoma Valley, 92% Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance other Bordeaux varieties, aged in a mix of French and American oak. Blackcurrant, dried herbs, olive and mocha. Medium weight with fine dusty tannins.  
rrp $45.99   Our price $35.99
 
Artezin Mendocino Zinfandel 2013
This label is based on the fruit source of old vine Zinfandel and other ‘fringe’ varieties grown by individual family growers throughout the Mendocino County. Long considered a ‘workhorse’ variety, Californian Zinfandel is emerging with a new face – less alcohol and more finesse. This is 85% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah and 5 % Carignan. Dark cherry/raspberry chocolate flavours with a hint of the tartness of pomegranate or cranberry on really juicy palate. Much richer and deeper than previous vintages of this label.
rrp $31.99   Our price $25.99
 
Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot No. 64
This is ‘old school’ Californian. A blend of predominately Zinfandel with Petit Sirah, Syrah and a splash of “black Italian varieties” mixed over 4 different vintages  – the Zinfandel is always the youngest with the ‘heavtier’ Petit Sirah and Syrah aged in oak for a longer period - and selected from over 40 different individual wines. This Lot # 64 was released Spring 2016 (each release is uniquely numbered).  This tastes of red fruits, mushrooms, spices that is more than reminiscent of a Chauteauneuf du Papes. A wine to bring out when you just feel like a good glass of red, but not too sure what. This will fit the bill.    
rrp $36.99   Our price $31.99

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Mar 22, 2017
Vino Fino

From the Tastings - Value

 Read More
The term "value' has all sorts of connotations, especially when it comes to wine. Why does the cost vary so much? Is a $50.00 wine worth twice as much as a $25.00 bottle? Is price the only factor?
 
This tasting could never answer these questions but did give us a chance to serve wines of similarity of region and variety in pairs - one approximately twice the price of the other. They were served blind in no particular order and the question was asked - which do you prefer. I also asked which was the most expensive. Obviously the wine ranked as most preferred was thought to be the most expensive. For the first four pairings this was the case. The only exception was the last pairing of the Elephant Hill Le Phant Red and the Ata Rangi Celebre where the Elephant Hill was the preferred wine and also the least expensive. I'd add a caveat that the Ata Rangi is very youthful tasting (see the notes below). This is the effect that occurs in wine shows where often the less expensive wine will win the Gold medal over its higher priced stablemate. For the rest of the pairings the difference was quiet marked and there was no trouble in identifying the more expensive and preferred wine. The two wines of the night were the Pegasus Bay Chardonnay and the Muga Reserva Rioja.  
The term "value' has all sorts of connotations, especially when it comes to wine. Why does the cost vary so much? Is a $50.00 wine worth twice as much as a $25.00 bottle? Is price the only factor?
 
This tasting could never answer these questions but did give us a chance to serve wines of similarity of region and variety in pairs - one approximately twice the price of the other. They were served blind in no particular order and the question was asked - which do you prefer. I also asked which was the most expensive. Obviously the wine ranked as most preferred was thought to be the most expensive. For the first four pairings this was the case. The only exception was the last pairing of the Elephant Hill Le Phant Red and the Ata Rangi Celebre where the Elephant Hill was the preferred wine and also the least expensive. I'd add a caveat that the Ata Rangi is very youthful tasting (see the notes below). This is the effect that occurs in wine shows where often the less expensive wine will win the Gold medal over its higher priced stablemate. For the rest of the pairings the difference was quiet marked and there was no trouble in identifying the more expensive and preferred wine. The two wines of the night were the Pegasus Bay Chardonnay and the Muga Reserva Rioja.  

Vino Fino

Hunters Pinot Gris 2016
Made in a dry style with a portion fermented in older oak. Quite fleshy with pear, spice flavours and a bit of grip on the palate. Very good value.
Retail $17.99       Our price $13.99

Villa Maria Seddon Pinot Gris 2016           
A much more refined example with a quite a fine, pure palate. The wine sees no oak or extended lees time – this is about purity of fruit. An off-dry style with flavours more in the green fruit spectrum. Like ‘essence’ of Pinot Gris. Very good wine seen as the more expensive and the preferred wine.
Retail $32.99       Our price $24.99

Main Divide Chardonnay 2015   
2015 was quite a small vintage in North Canterbury leading to concentrated fruit flavours in the wines. A golden yellow in the glass, this has quite a pronounced reductive ‘funky’ aroma from the natural ferment and extended lees time in barrel. Good weight and richness. If you’re not a fan of the ‘funk’ just give this a bit of time in the bottle and enjoy in a year or so. You will be rewarded.
Retail $22.99       Our price $17.99

Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2015   
From Pegasus Bay’s own old Mendoza vines, this is about as good as their Chardonnay gets – and there have been some beauties over the years. Great intensity alongside palate richness. Golden, rounded, with some savoury nuttiness and minerality. Almost 100% preferred.
Retail $45.99       Our price $37.99

The Crater Rim Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir 2015 
A mid- ruby red colour that is almost opaque. Crushed cranberry, redcurrant – cherry/berry with some nice spiciness and moderate tannins. Not very complex. Some votes for the preferred wine.
Retail $26.99       Our price $19.99

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2014          
Darkly coloured with black sweet spiced plum flavours. This has excellent presence on the palate with a svelte, silken seductiveness. This is the kind of wine that makes Central Otago Pinots so popular. Much preferred.
Retail $46.99       Our price $35.99

Palacio de Oriente Tempranillo Rioja 2014            
Grapes sourced from Rioja and produced by the large Navarro Lopez winery. A very commercial style of Rioja that is quite sweet fruited – ripe and juicy with a good hit of savouriness. Mouthfilling and very good for the money
Retail $20.99       Our price $15.99

Muga Reserva Rioja 2012             
70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano. It is easy to see why this is such a popular wine.  Perfumed with nuances of sweet American oak. Smokey, black fruits, spice. A modern, approachable style.  Very good and appreciated by the tasters.
Retail $41.99       Our price $35.99

Elephant Hill Le Phant Rouge 2014           
61% Merlot, 26% Syrah & 13% Cabernet Sauvignon​. Quite concentrated – in colour and taste. This is quite a package of wine. An unusual blend that really works. Meaty, spicy, leathery, dark fruits. Moderately weighty and very good value. The preferred wine of the two.
Retail $28.99       Our price $21.99

Ata Rangi Celebré 2014 
55% Merlot, 35% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon & 5% Cabernet Franc. A similar blend to the Elephant Hill but much more structured and showed as being quite closed. I took the glassful left in our tasting  bottle home and had it the following evening. It was magnificent. I had forgotten how good this wine can be from a good vintage. A unique style that works very, very well.
Retail $43.99       Our price $38.99

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Mar 15, 2017
Vino Fino

From the Tastings - Greystone

 Read More

The Thomas family purchased the Omihi hillside site in 2000 and set about establishing and planting the various small blocks on these slopes in 2004. The combination of viticulturalist Nick Gill and wine-maker Dom Maxwell has been a fortuitous and happy one, with Greystone being recognised as one of the new stars on the NZ wine scene. The Decanter Trophy for the 2013 Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir really put them on the world stage.
​Tonight Dom showcased current release wines alongside the yet to be released Syrah and two Reserve wines - Erin's Chardonnay and Thomas Reserve Pinot Noir as well as allowing us to taste the unique vineyard fermented Pinot Noir.
At the recent PinotnoirNZ event in Wellington the question was asked 'where is the exciting future of New Zealand Pinot Noir' likely to be and the resounding answer was "North Canterbury". And especially on the limestone based hillside slopes. Already we are seeing some excellent wines from the Eastern slopes from the likes of Mountford, Black Estate and of course Greystone. What is also exciting is the emphasis on sustainable, organic practises and some very innovative winemaking. Dom is the first in the world to carry out full vineyard fermentation, following on from the now oft used vineyard started ferments (using vineyard yeasts to start a ferment in a small container in the vineyard, and then  using this to start the fermentation in the winery.) As the taste notes below indicate, this does seem to bring some different flavours and textures to the wine. 

It is not only Pinot Noir that is exciting at Greystone. There is quality across the range. The new Erin's Reserve Chardonnay is one of the best I've tasted in quite a while. The word formidable was noted.
 
Greystone is a local winery we can all be justly proud to have at our doorstep.

 

The Thomas family purchased the Omihi hillside site in 2000 and set about establishing and planting the various small blocks on these slopes in 2004. The combination of viticulturalist Nick Gill and wine-maker Dom Maxwell has been a fortuitous and happy one, with Greystone being recognised as one of the new stars on the NZ wine scene. The Decanter Trophy for the 2013 Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir really put them on the world stage.
​Tonight Dom showcased current release wines alongside the yet to be released Syrah and two Reserve wines - Erin's Chardonnay and Thomas Reserve Pinot Noir as well as allowing us to taste the unique vineyard fermented Pinot Noir.
At the recent PinotnoirNZ event in Wellington the question was asked 'where is the exciting future of New Zealand Pinot Noir' likely to be and the resounding answer was "North Canterbury". And especially on the limestone based hillside slopes. Already we are seeing some excellent wines from the Eastern slopes from the likes of Mountford, Black Estate and of course Greystone. What is also exciting is the emphasis on sustainable, organic practises and some very innovative winemaking. Dom is the first in the world to carry out full vineyard fermentation, following on from the now oft used vineyard started ferments (using vineyard yeasts to start a ferment in a small container in the vineyard, and then  using this to start the fermentation in the winery.) As the taste notes below indicate, this does seem to bring some different flavours and textures to the wine. 

It is not only Pinot Noir that is exciting at Greystone. There is quality across the range. The new Erin's Reserve Chardonnay is one of the best I've tasted in quite a while. The word formidable was noted.
 
Greystone is a local winery we can all be justly proud to have at our doorstep.

 


Vino Fino

Greystone Sauvignon Blanc 2015              
Wild yeast fermented in older oak with some malo-lactic and time on lees makes this more an 'alternative' style of Sauvignon Blanc. There is a whiff of smokiness with tropical fruits - pineapple, golden kiwifruit. There is also plenty of mouthfeel/texture and a firm streak of acidity. A very good Sauvignon Blanc, that would match many different foods.
Retail $24.99   Our Price $19.99

Greystone Sea Star Riesling 2016              
The drier of the two styles of Riesling Greystone produce (3 gms rs).The clay based soils give weight and texture and this is quite a fleshy style. Flavours are in the citrus/lime and apple zone.  

Retail $26.99   Our Price $19.99

Greystone Pinot Gris 2015   
Michael Cooper describes this as, "one of the finest Pinot Gris in the country." Around half the wine is fermented in older oak with plenty of lees stirring. Dom wants to get plenty of texture in the wine. This is rounded, slightly oily, lanolin-like with just a hint of sweetness (10gms rs) with Autumnal fruits - peach/pear flavours.

Retail  $26.99   Our Price $19.99

Greystone Chardonnay 2015
We were so excited by this wine on its release late last year that we awarded this our "Chardonnay of the Year". Hand-picked whole bunch-pressed w
ith 5% foot-crushed; wild yeast ferment, followed by 100% malo-lactic and aged 11 months in 27% new small barriques. Gorgeous aromas of nuts, fig, citrus, subtle 5 spice. Any smokiness is well integrated. The palate is generous, luscious even, with savoury notes emerging. There is great length on this that really lingers. Still love it!          
Retail  $38.99  Our Price $32.99

Greystone Erin’s Reserve Chardonnay 2015
The third vintage release for this label. This comes from the Mendoza clone Chardonnay vines planted on the limestone soils of the "Brothers Block' on the higher part of the hillside. This is a very impressive wine that just fills the palate and the flavour lingers long. You can taste the limestone chalkiness, along with sizzled corn, savoury notes, white peach.. the list goes on; and then there is the weight, intensity, solidity and power on the palate.The wine builds on the palate then just lasts and lasts. A very limited production of just 3 barrels (44 cases) means this formidable wine will be very sought after.
This is due for release early April. We are taking pre-release orders.        

Retail $103.00   Our Price $93.00

Greystone Syrah 2015
Waipara is at the edges of where Syrah can grow. This is from a small north facing block on limestone and harvested in late May. Quite dark and savoury, earthy rich, with blackcurrant, violets, fennel, smooth tannins. - Release 1st April          
Retail $45.99  
Our Price $39.99

Greystone Pinot Noir 2015
Pinot Noir is the most planted variety at Greystone (45% of the total plantings) and where they obviously "hang their hat".  The vineyards for this are mainly from the clay soils of the lower slopes giving the wines texture and weight with some portions of limestone laced soils adding precision and minerality. A darkly coloured wine with aromas of cherry, plum, truffle and earth. There is a great balance between the palate suppleness of sweet plummy fruits and the tension of minerality and fine tannins.  

Retail $42.99   Our Price $34.99

Greystone Vineyard Fermented Pinot Noir 2015
For the first time, Greystone have made a special single bottling of the vineyard fermented Pinot Noir. A technique developed by Greystone where the wine is fermented in vats in the vineyard. The source and type of ambient (wild) fermenting yeasts is the subject of much conjecture and now research. It seems that vineyards may have their own unique yeasts. In an effort to be as true to the vineyard site as possible in a world first, Dom has been experimenting with not just starting a ferment in the vineyard, but actually doing the whole ferment in a vat, in the vineyard; exposed to the natural elements and variable temperatures. Previous vintages have all been blended into the Estate Pinot Noir. This is the first time that Greystone have made a separate bottling, albeit on a very small scale .. only 36 bottles, so this was a rare and special treat to taste this wine. Although this is about having just the natural vineyard yeasts perform the fermentation, there is much more to it. The fermentation also reflects what is actually happening in the vineyard during that time especially with temperature fluctuations as well as being fermented fully on skins. The wine tastes quite different to the Estate bottling and the Brothers Reserve. There is  a real earthiness, chewy but fine tannins and plenty of complexity. The term 'grounded' easily came to mind. Sorry none available for sale.

Greystone Thomas Reserve Pinot Noir 2015
Like the Reserve Chardonnay, this is also from the highest block high on the vineyard where the grapes were hand selected on the vine and at the winery fully de-stemmed. 25% of the wine was fermented in the vineyard. The wine was aged in 70% new French oak for 15 months before being  bottled naturally with no fining, filtration or stabilisation. This is a big mouthful of 'everything' - a wonderful expression of Pinot Noir with finesse, power, layers of complexity. More lifted and less earthy than the vineyard ferment only wine, but still more savoury than fruity. Although weighty and structured, there is a smooth flow through the palate. A very special wine with a very small amount produced. 

Retail $103.00    Our Price $93.00 - Release 1st April, pre-orders taken

Wednesday, March 08, 2017
Mar 08, 2017
Vino Fino

From the tastings:- Te Mata Showcase 2017

 Read More

Again a packed house attended the annual Te Mata Showcase tasting at the George Hotel. It was great to have the 'retired' John Buck return to present the wines, accompanied by his teenaged Grand-daughter Zara - preparing the next generation? The format was slightly different this time around, featuring the estate reds as part of the formal tasting. Of course the anticipated highlight is always the Coleraine and this year is the 35th vintage release, so to celebrate this was served at the end along with a special "Coleraine" chocolate mud cake.

The focus was on the 2015 reds - "the fabulous 15's". It was a smaller crop vintage with volumes down on 2013 and 2014 (our Coleraine allocation is down around 20%). The upside of the smaller vintage is the concentration of flavour and this combined with warm weather over the ripening period has given fleshy, accessible but potentially very long lived wines. Even the Estate reds offer a level of concentration not usually seen at this level. But don't forget the whites - the Elston 2015 is superb as is the Cape Crest.

Te Mata are a winery very much on top of their game with a range of wines that can be called 'classic'. No vintage comparisons in the tasting this year. These wines stood on their own.  

 


Again a packed house attended the annual Te Mata Showcase tasting at the George Hotel. It was great to have the 'retired' John Buck return to present the wines, accompanied by his teenaged Grand-daughter Zara - preparing the next generation? The format was slightly different this time around, featuring the estate reds as part of the formal tasting. Of course the anticipated highlight is always the Coleraine and this year is the 35th vintage release, so to celebrate this was served at the end along with a special "Coleraine" chocolate mud cake.

The focus was on the 2015 reds - "the fabulous 15's". It was a smaller crop vintage with volumes down on 2013 and 2014 (our Coleraine allocation is down around 20%). The upside of the smaller vintage is the concentration of flavour and this combined with warm weather over the ripening period has given fleshy, accessible but potentially very long lived wines. Even the Estate reds offer a level of concentration not usually seen at this level. But don't forget the whites - the Elston 2015 is superb as is the Cape Crest.

Te Mata are a winery very much on top of their game with a range of wines that can be called 'classic'. No vintage comparisons in the tasting this year. These wines stood on their own.  

 


Vino Fino

Te Mata Estate Chardonnay 2016
A very good vintage in Hawkes Bay equals high quality fruit. Align this with knowledgable winemaking - nothing too clever, letting the fruit shine through with subtle touches of Barrel ferment and Malolactic- and the result is this fresh, fleshly Chardonnay full of Hawkes Bay summer fruit flavours with a hint of lemon curd. 

Retail $22.99       Our Price $18.99

Te Mata Zara Viognier 2016 
        
John Buck was accompanied this year by his grand-daughter Zara.. yes the wine was named for her. Te Mata have over 20 years experience with this variety and almost 'own' the category here in New Zealand. Dry, savoury, just some apricot, but more citrus and hints of spring flowers and a creaminess from 100% malo-lactic and savouriness from 100% barrel ferment.   

Retail $32.99       Our Price $25.99

Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc (85%) with a touch of Sauvignon Gris (11%) and Semillon (4%). This is a NZ benchmark for the Bordeaux white style of barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc. The 2015 is right on song - fleshy, ripe, juicy.. think nectarines with hints of spice, tropical fruits. A stunning rendition. Age worthy - 10+ years cellaring is possible but reaching its best at around 5+ years. 
Retail $32.99       Our Price $25.99

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2015          
Classic is how I'd best describe this wine. No smoky, funky notes here. Golden fruits, lemon, creme brulee; bold in style, yet restrained by fine acidity. The 2014 was very good; this is even better. Elston Chardonnay holds firm in its place as a top example of Hakes Bay Chardonnay 

Retail $38.99       Our Price $33.99

Te Mata Estate Merlot Cabernets 2015        
     

52% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. This tastes ripe and flavoursome, with black and red fruits, hints of chocolate, some nice tannins and enough acidity to balance. More density than usual, this is excellent value.

Retail $22.99       Our Price $18.99

Te Mata Estate Syrah 2015

Co-fermented 98% Syrah and 2% Viognier, with the fruit from the ‘Woodthorpe Terraces’ vineyard and Bridge Pa Triangle. Like the Estate Merlot Cabernets, this is a very good vintage release. Reasonably dense, with black fruits, baking spices and a soft rounded mouthfeel. 

Retail $22.99       Our Price $18.99

Te Mata Bullnose Syrah 2015

This 2015 is quite broodish yet sumptuous. I have tried this on several occasions now, for some reason at this tasting it seemed comparatively 'closed'. It happens. 100% Syrah. Dense, ripe, with a malange of flavours from gamey to sweet. Give this  a year or so before enjoying over the next 6+. 
 
Retail $52.99       Our Price $44.99

Te Mata Awatea 2015   
      
46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc, aged 16 months in 30% new French oak.2015 was a smaller vintage, with the fruit concentration very evident here. 
 I love Toby Buck's tasting note - ".. a black tuxedo of wine. Exquisitely tailored, with never a stitch out of place". There is a lot of fine detail in the wine; a little of this and a little of that, adding up to plenty. This is a very, very good Awatea that will bring pleasure over many years. 
Retail $38.99       Our Price $33.99

Te Mata Coleraine 2015 
     
The third great Coleraine in the years. We have been spoilt. This vintage a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Of course everyone asks which is best.. 2013, 2014 or this 2015? I seriously couldn't answer that. Maybe in the next 10-20 years one may emerge as being longer living, but in the meantime I'd refer to Gary Walsh in the winefront.com.au "
Coleraine (2015) is a beautiful wine, and I’d venture that it’s New Zealand’s Grange equivalent, only it comes from one place, is much cheaper, and to my tastes, is significantly better and more interesting... How wonderful and good is this wine? In short, very. 96+/100"
Retail $136.99       Our Price $115.00

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Feb 22, 2017
Vino Fino

From the tastings: Pinot Noir Road Trip

 Read More

This tasting was based around my experiences at Pinot 2017, a three-day event which was held in Wellington a couple of weeks ago. First held in 2001, this 4-yearly event aims to showcase New Zealand Pinot Noir to the world. Described as “the best Pinot Noir event on the planet”, it brings together media, trade and wine lovers from all over the world. This year the event was themed around Turangawaewae’, or ‘a sense of place’ which can be related to the commonly used term of ‘terroir’. New Zealand Pinot Noir is now making its own mark on the world as a distinct style that can only come from New Zealand, much in the same way as Sauvignon Blanc has already done. Notions that NZ Pinot Noir should reference Burgundy are being left behind.


Following informative, entertaining and at times emotional presentations from keynote speakers each morning, the afternoon session featured ‘road trip’ tastings around the various regions. With something like 360 wines available to taste over the three afternoons, this was more an ‘over-view’ of what each region and vintage offered. Generally speaking the standard was uniformly very good with a number of highlights. The many yet to be released 2015 wines on show will bring a lot of pleasure to consumers – a small vintage quantity wise resulting in quite rich, full bodied styles.  

The Pinot Noir grape seems to bring with it much cerebral associations and the thinking behind to growing and making of the wines is at the forefront of the future direction of our whole wine industry and ultimately, agriculture. There is a growing emphasis on a holistic approach to the continued care of the land, people, sustainability, organics. No longer is this just a philosophic approach, but there is much associated research happening that is reinforcing this and helping understand why and how Pinot Noir (and other wines) can reflect that sense of place.
Rex   

The wines were chosen for this tasting to show style and regional characters.

We wish to thank PinotNZ 2017 for allowing access to a series of ‘road-trip’ videos made especially for Pinot 17. These are now also available to view on-line via https://vimeo.com/pinotnoirnz                       


This tasting was based around my experiences at Pinot 2017, a three-day event which was held in Wellington a couple of weeks ago. First held in 2001, this 4-yearly event aims to showcase New Zealand Pinot Noir to the world. Described as “the best Pinot Noir event on the planet”, it brings together media, trade and wine lovers from all over the world. This year the event was themed around Turangawaewae’, or ‘a sense of place’ which can be related to the commonly used term of ‘terroir’. New Zealand Pinot Noir is now making its own mark on the world as a distinct style that can only come from New Zealand, much in the same way as Sauvignon Blanc has already done. Notions that NZ Pinot Noir should reference Burgundy are being left behind.


Following informative, entertaining and at times emotional presentations from keynote speakers each morning, the afternoon session featured ‘road trip’ tastings around the various regions. With something like 360 wines available to taste over the three afternoons, this was more an ‘over-view’ of what each region and vintage offered. Generally speaking the standard was uniformly very good with a number of highlights. The many yet to be released 2015 wines on show will bring a lot of pleasure to consumers – a small vintage quantity wise resulting in quite rich, full bodied styles.  

The Pinot Noir grape seems to bring with it much cerebral associations and the thinking behind to growing and making of the wines is at the forefront of the future direction of our whole wine industry and ultimately, agriculture. There is a growing emphasis on a holistic approach to the continued care of the land, people, sustainability, organics. No longer is this just a philosophic approach, but there is much associated research happening that is reinforcing this and helping understand why and how Pinot Noir (and other wines) can reflect that sense of place.
Rex   

The wines were chosen for this tasting to show style and regional characters.

We wish to thank PinotNZ 2017 for allowing access to a series of ‘road-trip’ videos made especially for Pinot 17. These are now also available to view on-line via https://vimeo.com/pinotnoirnz                       


Junction Possession Pinot Noir 2014        
Jo and John Ashworth established their vineyard on the Takapau plains in Central Hawkes Bay after John discovered the delights of Pinot Noir whilst touring with the All Blacks in France (many will also remember John as front row forward for Canterbury in the 1980s) Still very much a small family operation with son Leith making the wines. This 2014 is quite a light colour, but has real palate presence soaking in the 40% new oak yet still quite ‘pretty’. This wine won Gold ANZWA 2015
Retail $34.99       Our Price $29.99

Julicher 99 Rows Pinot Noir 2013      
        
A long-time favourite at Vino Fino, this is from Te Muna Road in Martinborough. At Pinot '17, Wim Julicher had the 2008 vintage of this on show as well and it was tasting amazingly well, confirming my belief that this is quite a serious wine. Typical meaty, savoury Martinborough flavours along with black fruits.
Retail $29.99       Our Price $23.99 (currently out of stock - more arriving early March - orders taken)

Abel Pinot Noir 2015      
Named after the Abel (also known as the gumboot or Ata Rangi) clone. Grown on the clay soils of Moutere in Nelson. Usually blended into other wines, this vintage the grower thought this deserved a special bottling and was therefore vinified and bottled separately. Darkly coloured, dark spiced plum, even a hint of liquorice with a silky, supple palate.  
Retail $33.99       Our Price $24.99

Lawsons Dry Hills Reserve Pinot Noir 2014  
          
Whilst there are a few ‘iconic’ Pinot Noir producers in Marlborough, one of the marketing realities for Marlborough Pinot Noir producers is that they sit in the shadow of Central Otago. Because of this, they have to work harder on delivering quality and produce wine at a lower price point for it to sell, especially in the local market. This is a prime example. From two vineyards in the sought after clay soils of the Waihopai valley. Delicious cherry berry flavours on a spicy, supple palate. Seriously over-delivers on the value/quality front
Retail $32.99       Our Price $23.99

Fromm Cuvée H Pinot Noir 2015 
              
A brand new release and label for Fromm, named after winemaker of 25 years, Hätsch Kalberer. This is a special selection of all their single vineyard wines – Clayvin, Fromm, Quarters, Churton and Yarrum from the 2015 vintage and is “the best pinot we can make and represents everything we love in fine Pinot Noir.. a complete and refined Pinot”. Dark and deep and whilst there is fruit sweetness, there is also a nice layer of earthiness and grippy fine tannins. And yes the price is correct - whilst being a 'flagship' Pinot for Fromm have priced it lower than the single site Clayvin and Fromm's. 
Retail $66.99       Our Price $59.99

The Bone Line Waimanu Pinot Noir 2014      
         
The Bone Line vineyard on the western side of the Waipara Valley was previously known as Waipara West. Even in Christchurch, the wines have flown under the radar a bit, but the recent vintages have taken the wines to a new level. Made under the guidance of winemakers Jeff Sinnott and Paul Goodege, this has bright, ripe fruits and some sense of minerality that must come from the minerally rich soils and fresh acidity. There is good drive through the palate finishing nicely rounded.  
Retail $40.99       Our Price $36.99

Ostler Carolines Pinot Noir 2013

Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir is always distinctive. Jim Jerram’s limestone laden Ostler vineyard (also made by Jeff Sinnott) has amazing aromatic purity that leaps out of the glass. 2013 was a nice warm year in the Valley and the taste of sweet ripe fruits comes through as well. Still quite youthful, this will slowly evolve. A special wine.
Retail $55.99       Our Price $48.99

Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir 2014     
      
From a single vineyard at Earnscleugh, near Alexandra. This is so typically Central Otago – you can taste the thyme and cherries! Plenty of weight and pleasantry on the palate. A crowd pleaser.
Retail $36.99       Our Price $30.99

Akarua Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015 
     
One of the most awarded labels from Central Otago, this is from several vineyard blocks along the Bannockburn rise, with a mix of clones. This highlights the power and strength of the 2015 vintage wines. This has power and impact. With a wine like this, although very enjoyable now, it has so much potential to develop in the bottle over the next 3-5 years.
Retail $43.99       Our Price $34.99

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Feb 15, 2017
Vino Fino

From the tastings:- Villa Maria

 Read More

Villa Maria Wines with Helen Morrison

Villa Maria is New Zealand’s largest family owned winery and the continued commitment to producing not only great value wines, but also exceptional, ground breaking wines has to be admired. As part of the move to sustainability they have made a commitment to being fully organic by 2020.


Helen Morrison is Villa Maria’s Senior winemaker at the Marlborough winery. It was nice to have Helen here as she has fond memories of attending our tastings when she was studying at Lincoln. Tonight the tasting mainly focused on the Cellar Selection range compared to Reserve and Single site wines from Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. Although a familiar label to many, the Cellar Selection range also includes several wines only seen in Fine Wine Independent stores – Hawkes Bay Chardonnay, Organic Merlot, Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir.  These wines offer excellent buying. The Reserve wines step it up to another level and as we’ve said before, are some of New Zealand’s top wines – the Keltern Chardonnay and the Braided Gravels Merlot are exceptional wines.
 

        

Vino Fino

Villa Maria Wines with Helen Morrison

Villa Maria is New Zealand’s largest family owned winery and the continued commitment to producing not only great value wines, but also exceptional, ground breaking wines has to be admired. As part of the move to sustainability they have made a commitment to being fully organic by 2020.


Helen Morrison is Villa Maria’s Senior winemaker at the Marlborough winery. It was nice to have Helen here as she has fond memories of attending our tastings when she was studying at Lincoln. Tonight the tasting mainly focused on the Cellar Selection range compared to Reserve and Single site wines from Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. Although a familiar label to many, the Cellar Selection range also includes several wines only seen in Fine Wine Independent stores – Hawkes Bay Chardonnay, Organic Merlot, Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir.  These wines offer excellent buying. The Reserve wines step it up to another level and as we’ve said before, are some of New Zealand’s top wines – the Keltern Chardonnay and the Braided Gravels Merlot are exceptional wines.
 

        

Vino Fino

Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2016    
A blend of Wairau Valley and Awatere Valley fruit. Soft balance of the ripe herbal, jalepeno flavours from the Awatere, with passionfruit, tropical fruits of the Wairau. There is a good core of flavour, with easy drinkability. This is Michael Coopers “Best White Wine Buy 2017”
Retail $19.99       Our Price $14.99

Reserve Wairau Sauvignon Blanc 2016    
From 3 sites in the Wairau – Southern Valleys, Northbank and Waihopai. This is obviously a much more serious style being completely dry with more crunchy texture and acidity. This almost demands food. An excellent Sauvignon Blanc that deserved its number one ranked Sauvignon Blanc Cuisine January 2017
Retail $26.99       Our Price $22.99

Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015    
One of our biggest selling Chardonnays. You can see the relationship to the following Keltern Chardonnay (most of the fruit comes from the Keltern vineyard). Initial impressions are of a well rounded, easy style of Chardonnay with classic Hawkes Bay summer fruits – white peach, nectarine, then the subtle complexities make themselves known – hints of smokey, gunflint, grapefruit. This is quite a serious style considering its modest price with hand picked fruit, some wild ferment in new oak, and plenty of lees contact. 
Retail $19.99       Our Price $14.99

Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2015             
Located on the red-metal soils east of the Maraekakaho region in Hawkes Bay, the Keltern vineyard is recognized as one of New Zealand’s great Chardonnay sites (alongside the likes of Kumeu Mates, Sacred Hill Rifleman’s, Neudorf Moutere etc.) The portion of vineyard that is designated for the Keltern Chardonnay is carefully managed to reduce yields (1 bunch per shoot for example), fruit is hand picked, whole bunch pressed, wild fermented in 35% new oak and aged on less for 10months. This is a full-on Chardonnay with the fruit weight to carry the wine-making input. Smokey sulphides drop away in the glass to reveal a beautifully portioned wine of class. Outstanding wine that will develop nicely over the next few years and drink for 10+ years .  
Retail $39.99       Our Price $33.99

Reserve Pinot Noir 2014               
From Marlborough’s Southern Valleys clay soils and the loam of the Awatere. Seductive is the first word that comes to mind. Think sweetly ripe dark blue fruits that are held in check by silky fine tannins. Quite silky on the palate with just enough ‘grit’ to make it seem real.
Retail $50.99       Our Price $45.99

Cellar Selection Grenache 2014 
New Zealand’s only Grenache comes from a small 1 ha block in the Ngakirikiri Vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels regions. A warm climate variety, it is the last red to ripen in the Hawkes Bay and with its thin skins needs to be handled gently in the winery, in much the same way as Pinot Noir. One innovation used is the large rotating cuve barrel used to avoid hand plunging of the fruit during fermentation where it stayed on skins for 10 months. A dark colour in the glass, there is no mistaking Grenache’s sweet, cherry spice fruit wafting out of the glass. The palate weight is similar to Hawkes Bay Syrah with quite a sweet/sour note (in a good way!) A good wine that is interesting and different.
Retail $27.99       Our Price $20.99

 
Cellar Selection Syrah 2014          
In last year’s Cuisine Syrah tasting this was the number 2 wine … number 1 was its big brother the Reserve (tasted next) to go along with 2 gold medals and a 94/100 by Bob Campbell. From the Twyford and Omahu vineyards, in the heart of the Gimblett Gravels. Quite mellow with hints of black pepper and ripe black fruits. Sold out with the 2015 now in stock.
Retail $27.99       Our Price $20.99

Reserve Syrah 2014        
In addition to being Cuisine’s Top Syrah 2016, this wine also was the Trophy winner at the NZIWS in 2016. All from the Gimblett Gravels. A dark, inky colour. Big, sumptuous, velvety, strong – gorgeous (my notes get less verbose as the tastings progress!)  Very good.
Retail $59.99       Our Price $53.99

Cellar Selection Organic Merlot 2014       
The fruit for this is from the famed Soler vineyard which has been organically farmed since 2001. The fruit is gently handled during fermentation in open top fermenters. Only a small portion is aged in new oak, preserving the fruit and freshness. This is a juicy dark fruited wine with hints of olive, fruitcake, charcuterie and a feather of dust. Merlot may not be number one in the fashion stakes (c.f. Pinot Noir), but you get plenty of value from this and is deservedly very popular.
Retail $19.99       Our Price $14.99

Single Vineyard Braided Gravels Organic Merlot 2013
One of New Zealand’s greatest Merlot wines… no small claim, but this is one impressive wine! From an excellent vintage this is from selected parcels within the Soler vineyard. Inky dark colour, the taste lives up to this. Very, very rich; plush feathery tannins and very weighty with loads of extract on the palate. If this were from Pomerol (Bordeaux), you be paying many hundreds of dollars. Exemplary. A great way to finish the tasting!            
Retail $54.99       Our Price $49.99

Thursday, February 09, 2017
Feb 09, 2017
Vino Fino

Te Mata Showcase Tasting 2017

Thursday March 2nd Read More
Thursday March 2nd

The George, 50 Park Terrace

Tickets $40.00 available in store at Vino Fino or phone 3655134 or email wine@vinofino.co.nz

Join us and Te Mata Estate to celebrate the release of Coleraine 2015, the 35th Vintage of Coleraine at The George. The evening will begin with a look at the 2016 Estate whites and Zara Viognier followed by a formal seated tasting of the "Fabulous Fifteens" including of course, Coleraine.
This year John Buck has come out of 'retirement' to present the wines in Christchurch with special guest, his granddaughter, Zara Buck.


order tickets here

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Nov 23, 2016
Vino Fino

From the Tastings.. Jules Taylor

The Earthquakes put paid to Jules Taylor making it down here personally for the tasting, but assisted by some of Jules’ video clips and local rep Don McLorinan adding his knowledge, we still did justice to showing off Jules’ very good wines, albeit without the flair and panache that we know Jules would have brought.    Read More
The Earthquakes put paid to Jules Taylor making it down here personally for the tasting, but assisted by some of Jules’ video clips and local rep Don McLorinan adding his knowledge, we still did justice to showing off Jules’ very good wines, albeit without the flair and panache that we know Jules would have brought.   
After graduating as a Zoologist and “knowing full well it was never going to get me a job”, Jules did a post-graduate degree in winemaking at Lincoln. After spending a few years making wines both in Marlborough and around the world, her move to her own label came in 2000 whilst working for Marlborough Valley Cellars. Making wines for the likes of Kim Crawford and Saint Clair she was asked if she would like to set up her own label. In 2006 she went out on her own, working full-time on her own account from 2008. Much to her eternal surprise, from those ‘humble’ beginnings Jules and husband George Elworthy have turned the brand into an international label and one that is especially much loved throughout New Zealand. Tonight we had an opportunity to taste through the range produced including the new OTQ (On The Quiet) wines - the specially etched bottles are beautiful. We've already made the pledge to get Jules back here in person
Vino Fino
Jules Taylor Rosé 2016   
Made from Merlot, grown in Gisborne with a touch of Pinot Noir. A candy-floss pink colour with quite distinct strawberry, summer fruits on the nose. The palate has a sense of lushness and palate presence. Almost dry with the acidity nicely hidden this is will be enjoyed by many on a warm summers day.
Retail $24.99       Our price $19.99
 
Jules Taylor Pinot Gris 2016
Quite a serious, textural, dry style of Pinot Gris. A portion is wild yeast fermented in older barrels with full malo-lactic whilst the balance is cool fermented in stainless steel to give fresh fruitiness. It results in a Pinot Gris with great flavour and balance. There's plenty to enjoy here, even amongst the Pinot Gris critics.               
Retail $24.99       Our price $19.99
 
Jules Taylor Grüner Veltliner 2015
Jules has been playing around with this Austrian variety for a while and if this is anything to by, she's got a real handle on it. This is delicious. Tropical and stonefruits with a hint of Gruner's pepperiness; dry and with a gorgeous texture.                 
Retail $24.99       Our price $19.99
 
Jules Taylor Chardonnay 2015
Jules doesn't want her Chardonnay to be in the 'big and heavy' category, rather having a more delicate touch with winemaking. Although wild yeast fermented in barrel, this is as Jules describes " A wine that is fresh and has great fruit flavours that expresses the vineyard without the winemaker’s boots stamping all over it." It works - chill a bottle and enjoy for those '5 o'clock' drinks    
Retail $24.99       Our price $19.99
 
Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Jules made her name with Sauvignon Blanc and she is, by her own admission, a lover of the variety. And we love her Sauvignon Blanc. Consistently hers is one of the best and certainly one of our best sellers. This 2016 is one of the better ones around with plenty of flavour - although almost bone dry, this has plenty juiciness with ripe citrus, tropical fruits and herb- jalopeno pepper and finishing with a crisp line of minerality.             
Retail $24.99       Our price $19.99
 
Jules Taylor OTQ Sauvignon Blanc 2015
"Sometimes you get very special grapes which make very special wines. And sometimes, just sometimes, you don’t tell anybody that you’ve got these special grapes and that you’re going to make a very special wine. This was one of those sometimes.
This wine was made on the quiet by Jules, hence the name. She had spotted pockets of fruit in certain vineyards that showed great promise. Combining this with her desire to try something a little different, to challenge the conventional winemaking interpretations of Marlborough’s signature varieties, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir she hid her project in the back of the barrel hall. After quiet months maturing in French oak barrels a very special wine has emerged, as did, after a certain amount of wrestling to the ground, Jules' secret." Hand-picked fruit from the Plunkett vineyard and fermented with wild yeasts in old French oak barrels, matured on its lees in barrel for nearly 12 months. Rich and golden this is a gorgeous expression of Sauvignon Blanc    
Retail $37.99       Our price $29.99
 
Jules Taylor Pinot Noir 2015
 This almost leaps out of the glass with its aroma - dark cherry spice, berry - Wine Spectator describes it as "Fragrant and ebullient", which is quite apt. The palate is a combination of a really ripe juicy black plum with liquid chocolate. Fruit-filled yet with enough spiced notes and structure to satisfy.              
Retail $35.99       Our price $29.99
 
Jules Taylor OTQ Pinot Noir 2015
From a single vineyard - Ballochdale Esate high up in the Awatere Valley. A more 'serious' expression with dark savoury notes that rumble around the palate. This is a wine that will evolve much more slowly than the Estate Pinot.              
Retail $50.99       Our price $39.99
 
Jules Taylor Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2014 375ml
And a decadent way to finish the tasting. A small portion of a vineayrd was set aside for the development of botrytis and in late April Jules was rewarded with a block of sweet raisined grapes. At 222gms/ rs this is very sweet, but the acidity balances that. Nectar indeed.                 
Retail $30.99       Our price $26.99