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

From the Tastings - Value

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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



Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Nov 16, 2016
Vino Fino

From the Tastings: Taittinger

Taittinger Champagne Read More
Taittinger Champagne

Champagne Taittinger are one of the few Grande Marque Houses that are still family owned and run.  Presiding over this fabulous estate is Pierre-Emanuel Taittinger who is assisted by his children Clovis and Vitalie.  With over 650 hectares of their own vineyards, Taittinger control much of their own production, with much of the vineyard being of Grand Cru classification.

Tonight we tasted through the range of Taittinger Champagnes accompanied by excellent food from Lizzie's Cuisine Catering. Bliss....  

Taittinger Brut Reserve NV 
 As with any special occasion, a glass of one of the best Grande Marque Champagnes, Taittinger Brut Réserve, was the perfect way to start this tasting. A blend of Chardonnay (40%) and the balance, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grown on over 35 different vineyards. The current release is mainly from the 2008 vintage (70%)  and aged for around 4 years before disgorging. 
​Our Festive Price  $67.99

Taittinger Rose Brut NV
 A quantity of still red wine (15%) produced from the best Pinot Noirs from Montagne de Reims and Les Riceys is in fact added to the final blend, to give this cuvée its unmistakable colour and vibrant intensity on the palate. The high proportion of Chardonnay (30%) that completes the blend brings the elegance and delicacy that underpin Taittinger’s signature style.
Our Festive Price​  $86.99

Taittinger Prelude Grand Crus   
This is an outstanding Champagne. The Prélude Grands Crus Cuvée is composed of Chardonnay (50%) and Pinot Noir (50%) that is exclusively from the top Grands Crus vineyards classified as “100%” or "the best" in the Champagne system. Aged for more than five years in the cellar, this is quite a rich style with white flowers, stonefruit and brioche notes   
Our Festive Price​ $79.99

Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie
A highlight of the tasting. The House’s very first “Champagne de Domaine”, Les Folies de la Marquetterie is a blend of Chardonnays (45%) and Pinot Noirs (55%), made exclusively from grapes grown at the Folies vineyard that overlooks Château de la Marquetterie, the birthplace of the Taittinger family champagne. Cuisine describes the wine ...“This single-vineyard wine from Taittinger is a superb example of the type, expressing the magic of Champagne with great eloquence. Vanilla cream, baguette, nectarine and citrus aromas of lovely finesse flow through a wine of smooth honeyed flavour, intriguing complexity and haunting, fragrant aftertaste.” A special Champagne
Our Festive Price $89.99

Taittinger Vintage Brut 2008
2008 was a very good vintage for Champagne. This is quite finessed even with 6 years bottle age on lees. Classy      
Our Fesitve Price $94.99

Taittinger Comtes Blanc de Blancs Brut 2006 
 A great way to finish. "Since its first vintage in 1952, its story has been one of perfectionism, from the selection of the best chardonnay grapes from the best Grand Cru vineyards and meticulous winemaking standards, to eight to 10 years’ ageing in Taittinger’s spectacular underground chalk caves".  More stock due soon.
Our Festive Price $275.00



Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Nov 09, 2016
Vino Fino

From the tastings: Lawsons

Lawson's Dry Hills with Marcus Wright Read More
Lawson's Dry Hills with Marcus Wright

Lawson's Dry Hills was established in 1992 by Ross and Barbara Lawson after being growers since 1981. Their first wine was Gewurztraminer produced from their Alabama Road property after being told that the winery they usually supplied no longer wanted Gewurztraminer. Since then Lawsons has developed into one of Marlborough's best. In 2001 Lawsons took the lead in the screwcap initiative and in 2002 they were the first in New Zealand to completely change to screw caps. They are a member of the the "Family of Twelve' wineries that includes the likes of Kumeu River, NeudorfAta RangiFelton Road, Villa Maria, Pegasus Bay. Tonight winemaker Marcus Wright showed us through the range looking at the wines in pairs of mainly Reserve and Pioneer Wines, showing and contrasting these. 

Vino Fino

Lawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Like most Marlborough wineries, it is the Sauvignon Blanc that forms the basis of the business and Marcus is justly proud of theirs. There is plenty of flavour concentration – a core of passionfruit pulp, green melon, pithy citrus fills the palate. A winner of several Gold medals, this is an excellent Sauvignon Blanc        
Elsewhere $20.99       Our Price $15.99
 
Lawson’s Dry Hills Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2015
A bit bigger, richer with the 15% Barrel Ferment adding complexity and a hint of smokiness. Green fruits, sage, and flowering broom. Gold medal winner Decanter World Wine Awards. A serious style – one of the best Sauvignons in the shop at present.       
Elsewhere $25.99       Our Price $19.99
 
Lawson’s Dry Hills Pinot Gris 2015
Lawsons Pinot Gris is always rated as one of Marlborough’s best. As Marcus explained, they take no shortcuts, treating the vines just as they do Gris cousin, Pinot Noir. Bunch thinning, green crop thin resulting in a low crop level to get the fruit concentration they require. The result is plenty of fruit flavour that is not normally found in Pinot Gris. The wine making adds barrel fermentation in older oak with extended lees aging. Spicy baked pears just about sums up the taste note with a smidgeon of sweetness (8gms) and good acidity to balance.      
Elsewhere $22.99       Our Price $18.99
 
Lawson’s Dry Hills Pioneer Pinot Gris 2015
The Pioneer range of wines are small (tiny) batches of individual parcels made to reflect unique sites and only produced in the best vintages. From the Barnsley vineyard, the vines are meticulously tended. The grapes were picked around two weeks after the Estate Pinot Gris then fully barrel fermented. The very ripe, shrivelled (some with botrytis) grapes give a wine that has more sweetness (14.5 gms/rs and alcohol 14.5%) A full-on, luscious, Alsatian style.
Elsewhere $32.99       Our Price $25.99
 
Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewürztraminer 2015
Gewürztraminer was the initial reason for the existence of Lawson’s Dry Hills. Ross and Barbara planted Gewürztraminer vines around their home in 1982 when they were growing contract fruit. When they were told in 1992 that their Gewürztraminer fruit was no longer required, they set up their own winery and the rest, as they say, is history. The fruit for this comes from both the old home vineyard 30+ year old vines and from the 14 year old vines of the Woodward vineyard.   Rose petal, musk, Turkish delight, spice. Yes.      
Elsewhere $26.99       Our Price $19.99
 
Lawson’s Dry Hills Pioneer Gewurztraminer 2014
From just 6 rows off the home vineyard – a very specialized, small production wine. Golden colour indicates the richness of the style. Shrivelled botrytis fruit gives a sweeter wine, with lower acidity, and oily texture that coats the mouth.  
Elsewhere $32.99       Our Price $25.99
 
Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2014         
Barbara Lawson loves Chardonnay and it is from that Lawsons’ have merged as very serious producers. This is no shrinking violet. Crème caramel, sizzled butter, spice, citrus, meal, toast…
Elsewhere $28.99       Our Price $22.99
 
Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2015 – pre release
Marcus brought down the as yet to be released 2015 Reserve. As a comparison, this is a bit richer and more forward than the 2014 with an upfront appeal and  a texture that seems to ‘hang in the mid palate’. We look forward to its release in a couple of months.
                   
Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Pinot Noir 2014
It seems that when you are the underdog, as is the case with Marlborough Pinot Noir, you just try a bit harder. Lawsons may be best known for their aromatic wines, but their Pinot Noirs are very, very good and the Reserve is one of the best values around. From two vineyards in the Waihopai Valley. The floral notes on the nose give way to dark red fruits and a sauve, plush texture.     
Elsewhere $30.99       Our Price $23.99
 
Lawson’s Dry Hills Pioneer Pinot Noir 2013
Lawson’s ferment their Pinot Noir wine separately by block and clone. This is a barrel selection of those given extra time in oak        
Elsewhere $39.99       Our Price $32.99



Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Oct 19, 2016
Vino Fino

From the Tastings: Huia

with Claire Allan

Huia was established in 1996 by Mike and Claire Allan on their Rapaura Road vineyard in Marlborough. After working at various Marlborough wineries - Claire at Corbans, Lawson's Dry Hills and Taittinger and Mike at Cloudy Bay and Veuve Clicquot Mike and Claire set about clearing and planting what is now the home vineyard. Three vineyards now provide the fruit for the Estate wines  - The Shipley block in Rapuara road; the Winsome block East of Blenheim in the Southern Valleys as well as the Home Block. All are organically and bio-dynamically farmed. Huia is very much family owned with the emphasis on wine quality and sustainability. Most of the wine (around 90%) is exported, hence Huia wines are relatively unknown here in New Zealand. They don't enter wine shows here and their profile is relatively quiet. They are quite the "Hidden Gem" of Marlborough. All the wines have a very 'grown-up' textural element and the word 'harmonious' easily comes to mind. They are quite the "Hidden Gem" of Marlborough. Read More

with Claire Allan

Huia was established in 1996 by Mike and Claire Allan on their Rapaura Road vineyard in Marlborough. After working at various Marlborough wineries - Claire at Corbans, Lawson's Dry Hills and Taittinger and Mike at Cloudy Bay and Veuve Clicquot Mike and Claire set about clearing and planting what is now the home vineyard. Three vineyards now provide the fruit for the Estate wines  - The Shipley block in Rapuara road; the Winsome block East of Blenheim in the Southern Valleys as well as the Home Block. All are organically and bio-dynamically farmed. Huia is very much family owned with the emphasis on wine quality and sustainability. Most of the wine (around 90%) is exported, hence Huia wines are relatively unknown here in New Zealand. They don't enter wine shows here and their profile is relatively quiet. They are quite the "Hidden Gem" of Marlborough. All the wines have a very 'grown-up' textural element and the word 'harmonious' easily comes to mind. They are quite the "Hidden Gem" of Marlborough.

Vino Fino
Huia Blanc de Blanc 2010             
A brand new release from 100% Chardonnay aged in older oak for 12 months before bottling for the secondary fermentation. This was traditionally hand-riddled then disgorged mid-August 2016 after 65 months on lees. This has a fine, elegant mouth feel with brioche, mineral lime pith flavours. There is a fine drive through the palate. On the drier end of the scale at around 6gms. This is an absolutely gorgeous bubbly that would rival top vintage Champagne.
Retail $39.99       Special $32.99
 
Huia Brut 2009  
The 2009 is 58% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir, disgorged about 18 months ago. This time has given it more toasted brioche, slightly nutty characters. Quite rich and broad.
Retail $37.99       Special $29.99
 
Huia Sauvignon Blanc 2016          
This is a very sophisticated Sauvignon Blanc. From two vineyards – one on the clay soils of the southern side of the valley and the other, the stony home vineyard.  30% of the wine is wild fermented in neutral oak and left on lees for 5-6 months. There is a combination  of elderflower, blackcurrant leaf, greengauge, citrus fruit flavours. Claire describes this wine as being “unplugged” – artisanal and natural as possible. This is quite a gentle wine, with very ripe acidity that makes it salivating.
Retail $26.99       Special $21.99
 
Huia Pinot Gris 2016       
A dry style, naturally fermented this shows floral characters, peach, a gorgeous texture with a hint of white pepper. 
Retail $31.99       Special $25.99
 
Huia Gewurztraminer 2015         
This is not an ‘in-yer-face’ kind of Gewurztraminer. Made in a dry style (only 2gms rs) this has freshness yet a full rich palate. Flavours of dried tropical fruits, there is no mistaking the variety, but it doesn't overpower the palate. An excellent Gewurztaminer. 
Retail $28.99       Special $25.99
 
Huia Gewurztraminer 2008 
At 6 years old this is still quite fresh tasting. A bit more oily in texture and not as complex as the 2015, but still very good.    
  
                     
Huia Chardonnay 2014  
This is from the home block vines planted in 1995. These old vines produce what Claire called "Sunshine Chardonnay grapes". A long slow, wild yeast ferment in French oak followed by malo-lactic in most barrels. The flavours are of buttered popcorn, peach and mineral, citrus and a lightly leesy/mealy character. Although quite youthful, this is developing some creamy/buttery flavours and texture.   
Retail $39.99       Special $32.99
 
Huia Pinot Noir 2011- not available
As befitting the year, this is quite light in colour with a slight tawny hue, but the wine still packs quite a flavour punch in the savoury, sweet spice spectrum. The palate is of moderate intensity with fine tannins to finish. Loads of Pinot Noir character. 
                          
Huia Pinot Noir 2013      
This is quite a different style to the 2011; darker, richer and quite brawny with plum and dark fruit flavours on a supple silky palate. A real crowd pleasing style. Gold New York Wine Show 2016.   
Retail $40.99       Special $33.99
 
Huia Botrytis Riesling 2011 375ml             
From a selected parcel of dry-botrytised fruit off the Winsome vineyard. Not overtly sweet for this style of wine at 103 gms rs, this has a lovely balance of mandarin, caramel, dried apricot flavours.  
Retail $29.99       Special $24.99