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