My notes on Obsidian Waiheke Island new releases…

Obsidian Reserve Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2017 $48 The stylish, chablis-like elegance of this wine makes it a showstopper for me. I love the purity of fruit, intense citrus, and minerality on the mid-palate, peachy backbone and the dusting of subtle nutty notes on the finish. It’s a beautifully balanced example and I’m officially obsessed with […]

Te Hera Reserve Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014 $42 (5 stars)

Prepare for a spice overload in this certified organic example from the lovely John Douglas at Te Hera. I say ‘lovely’ because he is quite possibly the smiliest man in all the Wairarapa. What he’s able to produce from his tiny Te Muna Terraces site is year-after-year is reliably delicious, like he’s some sort of […]

Karikari Estate Northland Chardonnay 2014 $45 (5 stars)

Creamy, creamy and creamy! Prepare for a tidal wave of tropical gloriousness to break and crash across the nose and palate. Sweet fruit concentration, macadamia and cashew complexity to create a butterscotchy bodaciousness that’ll blindside you. Maturing beautifully, fresh and frolicsome, caramelised and concentrated. Absolutely gorgeous. www.karikariestate.co.nz

San Pedro Gato Negro Valle Central Chardonnay 2014 $12.99

This chardonnay is tasting a tad tired and is rather dry and mean-spirited in the glass.  Lacking fruit or charm of any description, it has an odd, butyric acid edge to it (which is a polite way of saying it smells a bit like baby vom).  Avoid. www.glengarrywines.co.nz

Vinetti De Fiorini Chianti Superiore DOCG 2014 $25

Grapes for a Superiore can come from any of the sub-regions within the region of Chianti. Superiore wines must be aged for at least nine months before release and must be approved by the Official DOCG Commission. Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have been crafted into a super-smooth, savoury red, edged with wild […]

Nautilus Clay Hills Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 $69.99 (5 stars)

Nautilus Clay Hills Vineyard is located on the ridge that divides the Brancott and Omaka Valleys and it’s divided into 6 separate blocks with differing aspects, elevation and slopes. Pinot noir grown on clay-based soils seem to possess a unique depth of flavour and I’m a huge fan. Matured for 11 months in 33% new […]

Nautilus Awatere River Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 $62.99 (4.5 stars)

Nautilus’ Awatere River vineyard is a small, terraced site approximately 25 kilometres upstream on the north bank of the Awatere River and Pinot was planted there in 1999. Nineteen years on, those vines are turning out super-concentrated fruit that just dances into the bottle. Silky and seductive, there’s a sniff of toast from 11 months […]

Passage Rock Reserve Waiheke Island Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014 $50

This is Passage Rock’s flagship red. Using only the best looking and best behaved berries, the winemaking team have fashioned a deliciously dense and sultry wine, perfumed with bouquet garni herbs, dark cocoa, espresso and smoke. Ribsticking and robust to drink, it has dusty tannins, fresh fruit saturation and marathon-like length of flavour. Sip with: […]

Giesen Single Vineyard Selection Ridge Block Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 $62 (4.5 stars)

This is a sleeping giant of a wine, newly released and stirring slowly. I love the ruby colour and aromas of blackberry bush, rosehip tea, wild cherry and cocoa. To drink, it’s gently unfurling, revealing forest floor and leafy lushness. Crushed red currants, violets and baking spices on the palate lead to vibrant, agile tannins […]

Linden Estate Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2014 $50.00

In 2010 Trevor Shepherd talked his way into a job at Linden, where for four years he toiled (unpaid mostly) to restore the vines and get the decrepit, but legendary winery back up to scratch. It’s clearly worked. There’s a bold, fleshy plum and cocoa character to this wine, complete with grippy tannins, smoky warmth […]

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