Planting the first vines in 1979 Hunter’s were one of the pioneers of Marlborough wine. They helped establish Sauvignon Blanc in the UK market, changing the face of the New Zealand wine industry forever. Today they are still a family business and whilst the export focus is definitely based around Sauvignon Blanc, other varieties and styles also make their mark.

Tonight we started with the two excellent Miru Miru bubbles before moving through the other wines. Hunters had also included from their cellars two 2008 vintage wines for comparison. It was great to see the passion and enthusiasm of the ‘next generation’ with wine-maker James MacDonald describing the innovation and development occurring at Hunters. These are not run-of-the-mill commercial bulk wines, but all are crafted with attention to detail. The main comment from tasters was how much these wines punch above their modest pricing.

Hunter’s Miru Miru Reserve Brut 2011 $34.99

Under the guidance of Tony Jordan (Australasia’s bubbly ‘guru’) Hunters have been producing Methode sparklings since 1995. The name MiruMiru translates to “bubbles” in Maori. Such is the demand that it always exceeds supply and Hunters have had to hold back the release of the Non vintage Miru Miru while they build up enough reserve stock. This is the vintage reserve and it isn’t a bad drop to enjoy while you wait! A blend of 65% Pinot Noir and the balance Chardonnay and a ‘splash’ of Pinot Menieur, aged on lees for 4 years. A very sophisticated sparkling with yeasty, lemon slightly nutty flavours. Fine and pure with excellent bubble persistance
Gold medal at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships July 2016: Gold NZIWS September 2016: No 1 and 5 Stars WineNZ tasting.

Hunter’s Miru Miru Rosé NV $36.99

Blended from Pinot Noir 55%, Chardonnay 42%, and Pinot Meunier 3%, this traditionally bottle fermented wine is stored on lees for 36 months. A perfect Salmon blush colour this has a real flavour burst – classic strawberries and brioche with freshness and depth. Gold medal NZIWS and 5 Stars Bob Campbell

Hunter’s Sauvignon Blanc 2015 $13.99

The wine that started it all for Hunters internationally. 1982 was the first vintage of Sauvignon Blanc for Hunters and in 1986 they turned heads in the UK with the 1985 vintage and 30 years on is still winning fans both here and internationally. This is made for the international market with texture over powerful aromatics. It is bone dry, sourced from several plains vineyards for a flavour mix and complexity and made to age well (5 years+). Quite a fine style that starts off gentle and then expands through the palate.

Hunter’s Riesling 2016 $13.99

Like the Sauvignon Blanc this is also produced as a dry style. Flavours of grapefruit and mandarin pith then a hint of firm but ripe apricot.

Hunter’s Riesling 2008 (Cellar Stock) 

At 8 years old this is remarkably fresh. A lemon, pale gold colour with no hint of aged turpentine. Someone described the flavour as being like “quench’ cordial.

Hunter’s Pinot Gris 2016 $13.99

James aptly describes Pinot Gris as being an introverted variety and so much has to considered from a wine making perspective to build flavour and texture. To give freshness there is an early pick then later picked fruit adds richness. Using only free run juice to avoid any bitter phenolic and fermented to dryness of 3.3 gms rs with quite a portion wild yeast fermented in older oak. Although quite youthful this already shows an extra depth to others. Flavours of tropical fruits and red apples and a juicy texture.

Hunter’s Chardonnay 2015 $14.99

From low cropping Mendoza clone vines off Jane’s own vineyard. This is given the winemaking treatment you expect from premium labels – 100% barrel fermentation, some wild yeast fermented; Aged in 15% new; 85% 2-4 year old French oak barrels; 15% malolactic fermentation for 10 months. The ripe citrus flavours are complemented with subtle nutty, spiced flavours. Not too in your face, this is a very drinkable enjoyable and importantly very affordable Chardonnay that is perfect for those “I feel like a Chardonnay” moments.

Hunter’s Pinot Noir 2013 $24.99

Whilst it has to be said that most people wouldn’t have high expectations of a Hunters Pinot Noir, the two Pinot Noirs pleasantly surprised! A good medium Burgundy colour, with plum, tea leaf, spice flavours on a medium bodied palate.

Hunter’s Pinot Noir 2008 (Cellar Stock)

Now this really suprised us all on how well it has aged. Nicely developed with mellow secondary flavours, yet still quite fresh. Medium bodied this was quite delicious. Not overly complex but quite complete.

Hunter’s Hukapapa Dessert Riesling 2014 375ml $20.99

Hukapapa is Maori for ice/frost. This wine is made from freeze concentrated late harvest fruit with only a small portion botrytis affected. The result is a wine with concentrated flavours, sweetness (around 100gms) but freshness.