Off the Beaten Track | Tasting Review | May 2019

As our logo states – explore a world of wine. And what a world it is. Wine consumption in New Zealand is dominated by Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Australian Shiraz. But there’s obviously much, much more out there. We are seeing a rise in interest of wines that offer something a bit different and tonight’s tasting was an opportunity to showcase some of those from New Zealand and around the world. Two wines really stood-out for the tasters – The Terra Sancta Italian is such an innovative wine that absolutely delivers on the quality front as well. It is delicious. Kalleseke’s Fordson Zinfandel offers quite a different take on the variety to the Italian Primitivos and Californian Zinfandels being not quite as sweet fruited.

Ragotiere Muscadet Sur Lie Villes Vignes 2017

From French coastal region of Muscadet in the Loire, made with 100% Melon de Bourgogne variety. The region’s wines have undergone somewhat of a quality transformation over the past few years. Dry and although not overtly fruity has a floral mineral saline character with a reasonably fleshy element derived from lees aging. Long considered the perfect match with moules and frites. Think a less fruity and a more mellow Sauvignon Blanc.

Paulettes Watervale Semillon 2017

Based in Episkopion on the Geek island of Santorini, Argyros owns 120ha of vineyards with ungrafted -original rootstock – phylloxera safe plants averaging 70 years old, including some of the oldest vines on the island which are over 200 years old. Here amongst the arid landscape the variety of Assyrtiko has produced wine for 100’s of year. This wine also has a small portion of two other indigenous varieties Aidani and Athiri, to balance the acidity with the fruit. A light lemon colour, with hints of lemon fruits and pith. Again dry and fresh. Just imagine sitting on a deck over-looking the Mediterranean; eating some fresh seafood and drinking a glass of this.

Millton Crazy by Nature Sirius White 2017

James Millton likes to challenge the conventional. This is a delicious yet somewhat enigmatic blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Marsanne. Full of lusciously ripe stonefruit character of the Chardonnay it is lifted by the floral notes of Viognier and driven by the acidity of Marsanne. It all comes together in a texturally pleasing and surprisingly serious wine at a fantastic price.

Mount Edward Chenin Blanc 2018

We are quite excited by the potential of Chenin Blanc in Central Otago albeit from tiny quantities produced so far. This reflects the warmer 2018 vintage with a touch of honey balancing Chenin’s natural freshness.

Terra Sancta The Italian

A unique wine that has really excited us. A blend of  three Northern Italian varietals – Dolcetto, Barbera and Lagrein from 3 vintages – 2016, ‘17 and ‘18  grown on Terra Sancta’s Felton Road estate. As we’ve previously said “This wines speaks of Central Otago but with a distinct Italian accent. Impressive in every way from the beautiful fruit, juicy texture to the bottle it comes in”. It certainly impressed the tasting group.

Brookfields Sundried Malbec 2017 

Peter Robertson has a love for the Italian Amarone style wines and has been producing his own version for over a decade.  Hand harvested Malbec grapes are ‘sun dried’ on racks to enhance the colour, sugars and flavour intensity. The wine is aged in a mix of new and older oak. This is a big, densely coloured wine that has a real generosity on the palate. Dark fruits, chocolate.

Elena Walch Lagrien 2016

From the Alto Adige region of North East Italy where this late ripening variety thrives. An intense dark red colour, the wine is full of red fruits, violets, some spice and on the palate the fruit ripeness is balanced by ‘crunchiness’.

Stagnari Pedregal Tannat 2015

The grape variety Tannat has its origins in the Madiran region of France where it produces a big, tannic full bodied style. In the late 1800s French settlers took the variety to Uruguay where it is now the most widely planted variety. This Uruguayan wine is dark with ripe, pruney fruit flavours. Not overtly tannic with good weight. Different and interesting.

Kalleseke Fordson Zinfandel 2017

Biodynamically grown on Kalleseke’s Barossa vineyard. This is a big rich wine, but not over done, with the alcohol kept in check. Dark raspberry, milk chocolate flavours; a hint of tart acidity to balance the palate and fine plush tannins.