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


Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Oct 12, 2016
Vino Fino

From The Tastings: Pegasus Bay

 Read More

 with Mat Donaldson

Pegasus Bay doesn't need any introduction, its place as Canterbury's leading winery is well established. A lot of the success of the Waipara region can be attributed to the pioneering success of Pegasus Bay. After 25+ years the Donaldson family's Pegasus Bay wines are still recognised as leaders in their styles. The theme of the tasting could have well been, as Mat's T shirt described, "Well Hung", referencing how Pegasus Bay like to have their fruit well ripened picking late in the season. This is a style Mat enjoys with not only the sweeter wines but also the drier wines such as the Bel Canto Riesling and Sauvignon Semillon and the grapes are always amongst the very last to be harvest in the Waipara Valley. With a number of wines that we tasted from the 2014 vintage where there was rain late in the ripening season. The faith that Mat and the team had that things would 'come right' and they would be rewarded with lovely botrytis fruit paid off. The 2014 wines - Rieslings, and even the dry Sauvignon Semillon are very good indeed. 

Tonight Mat showed us a mix of current, and future releases including the special aged cellar release 2006 Riesling. As always with Pegasus Bay expectations of high quality wines was met. 

 with Mat Donaldson

Pegasus Bay doesn't need any introduction, its place as Canterbury's leading winery is well established. A lot of the success of the Waipara region can be attributed to the pioneering success of Pegasus Bay. After 25+ years the Donaldson family's Pegasus Bay wines are still recognised as leaders in their styles. The theme of the tasting could have well been, as Mat's T shirt described, "Well Hung", referencing how Pegasus Bay like to have their fruit well ripened picking late in the season. This is a style Mat enjoys with not only the sweeter wines but also the drier wines such as the Bel Canto Riesling and Sauvignon Semillon and the grapes are always amongst the very last to be harvest in the Waipara Valley. With a number of wines that we tasted from the 2014 vintage where there was rain late in the ripening season. The faith that Mat and the team had that things would 'come right' and they would be rewarded with lovely botrytis fruit paid off. The 2014 wines - Rieslings, and even the dry Sauvignon Semillon are very good indeed. 

Tonight Mat showed us a mix of current, and future releases including the special aged cellar release 2006 Riesling. As always with Pegasus Bay expectations of high quality wines was met. 

Vino Fino
Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2014         
This is always a distinctive wine, partially barrel fermented and aged and made to emulate the Bordeaux dry white style. This 2014 is much richer than previous vintages due to the addition of some botrytis affected Semillon that has been fermented to dryness. In the glass it has a yellowish colour, with tropical fruits and meadow hay flavours. Quite rich, mouthfilling and concentrated and finishing with a nice zesty herbal finish. Just released (stock due Friday 14th) 
Retail $32.99  Special $28.99

Pegasus Bay Riesling 2014            
The Riesling grape is the Pegasus Bay speciality. This 2014 shows strong marmalade, spicy orange zest, mandarin, runny honey flavours. There is noticeable sweetness with the botrytis character coming through. Very moorish and yum. 
Retail $31.99   Special $27.99

Pegasus Bay Riesling 2006 Limited  Cellar Release          
Starting with this Riesling, Pegasus Bay have decided to hold back a small quantity of wine for an aged release 10 years on. This 10 year old Riesling is developing nicely. The sweetness has dried out a little and the flavours are becoming like toast and marmalade.
Retail  $44.99   Special $39.99 - limited availability

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling 2014                
This is basically the dry version of the sweet Aria Riesling. The grapes for both are picked at the same time, very late into the season. With the Bel Canto the juice is fermented to as dry as possible on solids to add some funk, texture and weight. There is richness again and the botrytis character comes through.  
Retail $35.99  Special $29.99


Main Divide TeHau Pinot Noir 2014          
The Main Divide label is usually designated for fruit not grown on the estate, however the 2014 could be called the second label of Pegasus Bay as this is basically a barrel selection of home vineyard wine originally destined for the Pegasus Bay 2014. So neither a Main Divide nor Pegasus Bay, but a 'special edition' that sits nicely between the two. Earthy dark fruits with a rounded mouthfeel. Quite approachable, but also has a 'brooding' feel. Excellent value buying. 
Retail $32.99   Special $28.99


Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2013       
Another new release, this 2013 Pinot Noir is a 'real Star'. Softer and more floral than recent vintages. There is a flavour burst of sensual dark fruits, violet/floral and truffle notes on a palate that  could be described as 'silky and sauve.' This wine was rated as "outstanding 95/100' by UK's Decanter in a tasting of 172 NZ Pinot Noirs (September 2016) 
Retail $52.99   Special $44.99


Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir 2012  
2012 was a very cool vintage and the grapes were harvested later than any previous vintage at Pegasus Bay. This cool but fine, extended ripening period has given a wine of elegance, and brooding finesse. Not a high impact wine, this rather sneaks up and sooths the senses. Seamless and fine. This wine too attracted the attention of the Decanter wine panel when it was rated as "outstanding" in a lineup of Pinot Noirs chosen to represent the best from each Pinot Noir producing region outside Burgundy (April 2016).  
Retail $93.99   Special $84.99

Pegasus Bay Merlot Cabernet 2013          
Pegasus Bay remain one of only a handful of producers in the South Island who produce a Bordeaux variety red. The old 30 year+ Merlot and Cabernet vines have settled into their place and this is a wine to pleasantly surprise those who do not believe Canterbury can produce a decent Bordeaux style 'Claret'. Cassis and ripe blackcurrant flavours are underpinned by vanilla, some toasty oak, chocolate and spice. This is a very good vintage release. 
Retail $32.99  Special $28.99

Pegasus Bay Aria Late Harvest Riesling 2014         
The amount of botrytis in 2014 really suited a wine style such as this. Picked at a ripe 28 brix with 50% botrytised fruit. Simply put, this is golden and delicious. There is a nice line of acidity with a salivating, salty mineral finish. Chill and enjoy with or without food.  
Retail $40.99  Special $35.99

Pegasus Bay Finale Noble Sauvignon Semillon 2014 375 ml

And the last wine was fittingly the Finale Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. Likely100% Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc fruit this vintage. Slowly wild fermented in old oak and aged in barrel for around two years. Unctuous, lemon marmalade syrup with plenty of acidity to keep it in line. To be released in a few months.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
Oct 05, 2016
Vino Fino

From the Tastings: Mt Difficulty

"Single Vineyard Pinot Noir Workshop" with Matt Dicey

Mt Difficulty emerged from the partnership of five Bannockburn  vineyards planted in the early 1990's. Today it is now operated as a company with six vineyards totaling around 40 hectares on the slopes of Bannockburn. Those original vineyards are now some of the oldest in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago with its unique micro-climate and soils. The single vineyard wines are only produced in the best vintages and the best sites. Tonight winemaker Matt Dicey took us through a comparative tasting of three 2009 and three 2013 vintages - Long Gully, Target Gully and Pipeclay Terrace. Interesting to taste and compare how the wines are aging and the similarities and differences between the sites. We also tasted the relatively rare Inspiration Olympic Assemblage Pinot Noir.  The single vineyard wines are benchmark wines for Central Otago and obviously very cellar worthy.  Read More

"Single Vineyard Pinot Noir Workshop" with Matt Dicey

Mt Difficulty emerged from the partnership of five Bannockburn  vineyards planted in the early 1990's. Today it is now operated as a company with six vineyards totaling around 40 hectares on the slopes of Bannockburn. Those original vineyards are now some of the oldest in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago with its unique micro-climate and soils. The single vineyard wines are only produced in the best vintages and the best sites. Tonight winemaker Matt Dicey took us through a comparative tasting of three 2009 and three 2013 vintages - Long Gully, Target Gully and Pipeclay Terrace. Interesting to taste and compare how the wines are aging and the similarities and differences between the sites. We also tasted the relatively rare Inspiration Olympic Assemblage Pinot Noir.  The single vineyard wines are benchmark wines for Central Otago and obviously very cellar worthy. 

Vino Fino

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Gris 2013       
Pure and clean with sweetness up-front. Flavours of ripe pear, spice and some white peach. Nice 'slippery' texture that flows through the palate.  
rrp $28.99   Our Price $22.99

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2014
A blend of the six Mt Difficulty vineyard sites through the Bannockburn, this is a reflection on the terroir of Bannockburn. Classic style that the region is so renown - bright cherry plum fruits with some savoury brown spice notes and good tannins. 2014 was a good warm vintage with nicely ripe fruit. 
rrp $49.99   Our Price $39.99

Mt Difficulty Long Gully Pinot Noir 2013
The first of the Single Vineyard series wines of the tasting. Long Gully is an organically farmed vineyard with 18-21 year old vines at around 220m. A big dense, concentrated 'plush' wine that Matt aptly described as having "baronial spice notes".    
rrp $117.00        Our Price $105.00

Mt Difficulty Long Gully Pinot Noir 2009 
2009 was a warm, dry vintage and in this wine gave quite big structure. This shows the development of forest floor eathiness, savoury note and a drying finish. Matt felt the wine needed fining before bottling and it was something he no longer does. He is obviously aware of the effect it had on the wine as he pointed out that the wine has shaved an edge off the palate of the wine. Something that is only noticeable when it is pointed out. The wine has depth, character.        


Mt Difficulty Target Gully Pinot Noir 2013 

The Target Gully vineyard is a bit higher and more gentle slope than the Long Gully vineyard on similiar soils with 17-18 year old vines. The vineyard is just across the fence from Felton Road. There is quite a floral aspect to the wine with an aniseed spice thing going on. Savoury with finer tannins and quite a plump texture .     
rrp $117.00  Our Price $105.009

Mt Difficulty Target Gully  Pinot Noir 2009 

Here the colour shows some development - hints of mahogany. The baking spice characters come through again on this. The palate is very finessed, fine elegant - 'pretty' 

Mt Difficulty Pipe Clay Terrace Pinot Noir 2013 

The Pipe Clay Terrace vineyard is quite steep at an elevation of 250 -280 metres. This has more black fruits with quite a perfumed, floral violet lift with less spice than the other two SV wines.  
rrp $117.00
    Our Price $105.00

Mt Difficulty Pipe Clay Terrace Pinot Noir 2009 

Darker than the other 2009s and still quite youthful and developing nicely. Very low yielding in 2009 and the fruit intensity shows. 

Mt Difficulty Inspiration Cuvee Olympic Pinot Noir 2013
Mt Difficulty were sponsors of the NZ Olympic team and each of the Gold medal winners were presented a six pack of this wine. This is a very special edition blend of the Single Vineyard wines. It is a case where the sum is more than equal to the parts. Unique, special wine. 
     
Please enquire for availablity

Special Offer - All purchases of any of these Mt Difficulty Pinot Noirs before 20th October go into the draw for a Magnum of Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2014

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Sep 28, 2016
Vino Fino

From the Tastings: Church Road

Church Road with Chris Scott

First established in 1897 Church Road is one of New Zealand's oldest wineries. The original owner returned to Luxembourg in 1920, leaving the winery in the hands of a 19 year old Tom MacDonald, who later purchased the winery and famously produced the country's first commercial Cabernet Sauvignon in 1949. Through the 1960s and early seventies these wines became bench marks. The 1980s saw the winery shut down, but Montana re-established the winery and 1993 saw the first release of Church Road label wines. Now owned by Pernod Ricard, Church Road is an entirely stand alone operation that is left to focus on producing quality Hawkes Bay wine. With the emergence of the McDonald, Grand Reserve and TOM labels the winery has achieved much notable success.
 
Tonight, wine maker Chris Scott presented us with what can only be described as a very impressive set of wines. Throughout the three ranges and styles there was a common thread of plush full textural wines built to last. Chris is a very thoughtful wine-maker, who has been able to craft what can be considered some of New Zealand's best. Any thoughts of Church Road just being part of a multi-national corporate beast not being able to craft distinctive, exceptional quality wines was very quickly dispelled. As Chris says .. "they are always trying to lift the bar.."
 Read More

Church Road with Chris Scott

First established in 1897 Church Road is one of New Zealand's oldest wineries. The original owner returned to Luxembourg in 1920, leaving the winery in the hands of a 19 year old Tom MacDonald, who later purchased the winery and famously produced the country's first commercial Cabernet Sauvignon in 1949. Through the 1960s and early seventies these wines became bench marks. The 1980s saw the winery shut down, but Montana re-established the winery and 1993 saw the first release of Church Road label wines. Now owned by Pernod Ricard, Church Road is an entirely stand alone operation that is left to focus on producing quality Hawkes Bay wine. With the emergence of the McDonald, Grand Reserve and TOM labels the winery has achieved much notable success.
 
Tonight, wine maker Chris Scott presented us with what can only be described as a very impressive set of wines. Throughout the three ranges and styles there was a common thread of plush full textural wines built to last. Chris is a very thoughtful wine-maker, who has been able to craft what can be considered some of New Zealand's best. Any thoughts of Church Road just being part of a multi-national corporate beast not being able to craft distinctive, exceptional quality wines was very quickly dispelled. As Chris says .. "they are always trying to lift the bar.."

Vino Fino

The wines...

Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2013       
The Grand Reserve Range wines are only produced in the very best vintages. This Sauvignon Blanc is inspired by Bordeaux rather than Marlborough. It is made from hand-picked, whole bunch pressed fruit, wild fermented French oak - 22% new and the balance 4 years old. Although quite rich and full this doesn’t try to emulate the smoky ripe tropical fruit styles such as Te Koko, but rather more fine line with a citrus, mineral edge to it.
rrp $39.99   Our Price $31.99

Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2014
Fruit sourced off two vineyards in the Tuki Tuki Valley. One near the coast by the river mouth and the other further up by Te Mata peak. The cool sea breeze moderates the temperatures here. The main vineyard is on dense clay with a hard clay-pan that the roots cannot penetrate and this devigourates the vines. This starts off all funky and smoky then in the glass the fruit emerges - ripe grapefruit, spicy oak, savoury nuttiness with a good acid drive. A big, mouthfilling wine.          
rrp $39.99   Our Price $31.99

TOM Chardonnay 2013
Also from the Tuki Tuki off a parcel of intensively managed very low yielding vines. This is just the 4th release of the TOM Chardonnay. The concentration and density of the wine is impressive. Preserved lemon, a hint of marmalade and toast flavours, but it is the intensity and power of the palate that sets this apart. Only a few bottles still available.
rrp $172.99        Our Price $149.99

McDonald Pinot Gris 2015
Alsace is the model here. A sweeter style (35gms), this is an essence of spiced pear, fruit salad with palate richness and oiliness but enough fine acidity to take it through the palate. This proved to be very popular with the tasters.          
$27.99   $22.99

McDonald Tempranillo 2013
This is the first release of Tempranillo. The fruit is grown in the Redstone Bridge Pa Triangle’ red soils. Tempranillo needs a warm summer which 2013 provided in abundance. This is inky dark in colour and intensity giving an indication of the mouth filling quality and generosity of the wine. Yet without heaviness. It could tend to being slightly syrupy but this is reigned in by nice fine grainy tannins. It tastes and feels like molten black forest chocolate. This is another NZ Tempranillo to benchmark from.        
rrp $34.99  Our Price $26.99

Grand Reserve Syrah 2014  
Just released this 2014 is another example of how good 2014 was for Syrah in the Hawkes Bay.  A very dark colour. The aromas leap out of the glass on this one  along with the plummy fruits there are floral, sweet spice notes. On the palate there is again weight and density with the sweet fruit flavours coming through along with vanilla, then a meaty, savouriness. Very approachable now but I’m sure it will cellar very well.     rrp $48.99   Our Price $36.99

McDonald Merlot 2013
This is everything you expect a Merlot to be, but seldom get. This is a dense solid wine with a beautiful, ‘fluffy’ texture. Dark fruits, plush, savoury, plummy, featherbed tannins. Brilliant.. Says it all..
rrp $34
.99    Our Price $26.99

Grand Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2013  
And so the super yummy reds kept coming. This is a ripe Hawkes Bay style - not even a hint of herbaceous blackcurrant leaf! Chris’ wife aptly describes the aromas and flavours as “Hippy-shock” - sandalwood, cedar, incense, spice, lavender. This is presented on a silky, satiny palate that is then filled by big chalky, grippy tannins. I had the pleasure of enjoying this wine with a beautiful (and expensive) steak at the new Bessies Steak restaurant in St Asaph St - a perfect match.    
rrp $48.99  Our Price $36.99

TOM Cabernet Merlot 2013  
Most of us would have been happy to finish the tasting on the high note of the previous wine, but we were then taken to another level with this TOM. OK, so this is not cheap. There is no doubt that this is a collectors wine, but it is an aspirational wine that firmly places itself amongst the great wines of the world. It is reassuring though that the wine is very,very good and for those lucky enough to be able to put this away, this will be something very special to bring out in years to come. Put it on your Christmas list now .. it comes in a beautiful gift box! Tastes?.. Big, dark, gritty, chewy… this baby needs time. Leave it for 5 years and drink over the next 10+         
rrp $228.99   Our Price $199.99