Ake Ake Preservative Free Northland Merlot 2016 $30

“We basically just guide the wine from grape to bottle with as little interference as possible” says Ake Ake’s winemaker, John Clarke.  Totally inexperienced when he bought the property in 2004, he went to the library and borrowed some books on how to grow grapes and make wine.  Many medals later, he owns Northland’s only […]

Karikari Estate Pinotage 2013 $42

Winemaker Alan Collinson has unleashed a wine that literally had me leap around yelling at people in my office to taste it.  Perfumed, plush, plump and packed with sexy berries and concentrated cocoa, spices and sarsaparilla characters, it’s my new favourite thing.  Fresh acidity and soft, stretchy tannins and luscious length of flavour.  Gorgeous. Sip […]

Byrne Puketotara Northland Chardonnay 2015 $29 ★★★★

Right about now if you’re a chardonnay fan, you’ll be all about talent-spotting. Who are the ones to watch?  Well, Ben Byrne up in the Bay of Islands is definitely a bit of a wunderkind when it comes to crafting chardonnays brimming with buttered crumpet, spicy roast peach and caramelised oak characters.  He’s captured the […]

Karikari Esate Calypso Northland Merlot 2014 $27 (3.5stars)

If you were looking for New Zealand’s northernmost vineyard then you’ve come to the right place.  The heat bakes those vines and the breezes which gust in from the coast directly below the peninsula keep the bunches dry and clean.  Winemaker Alan Collinson uses wild, natural yeasts to ferment the juice, which adds to the […]

Millars Vineyard Syrah 2014 $25 4.5 stars

Millars Vineyard Syrah 2014 $25 (4.5 stars) Take the little bendy track called Bush Lane above Mangawhai beach, and you’ll find the small but perfectly formed vineyard belonging to Ross Millar. He grows tiny amounts of darn lovely wine and this syrah is no exception. Ultra-pure peppercorn characters on the nose merge with lifted violet, […]

Marsden Estate Bay of Islands Tempranillo 2014

Marsden Estate Bay of Islands Tempranillo 2014 $42 ★★★★ Who would have thought that big, busty, dusty Spanish red grapes like Tempranillo would ever be happy growing in a tiny, 10 acre, sub-tropical pocket of Northland?  Not many, if any. But Rod McIvor of Marsden Estate had full faith and this juicy, plush, spicy red […]

Byrne Vineyard Northland Chardonnay 2014

Byrne Vineyard Northland Chardonnay 2014 $29 ★★★★½ I really like the creamy, honeyed toast aromas in this wine, they merge with the youthful oak, and ripe nectarine and grilled pineapple punch in the mid palate.  This is lovely stuff indeed from winemaker Ben Byrne – a definite Northland star producer.  www.byrnewine.com  

Karikari Estate Calypso Chardonnay 2013

Karikari Estate Calypso Chardonnay 2013 $29 ★★★★ This little cracker from the far north is a new favourite because it hit the right cinnamon, struck match and smoke notes needed to cloak the underlying roast pineapple and peach flavours on the palate.  It’s robust enough to nicely pair with anything resembling a roast chook or […]

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