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