Fine Wines of New Zealand tasting @ Roberson (Kiwi part 2)

This is the second of a 2-part exploration of the wonderful wines of New Zealand. Click here for the first part – Introduction to New Zealand.

I’ve attended a fair few fine wine tastings recently which have mostly included fancy wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux. It’s nice when you receive news of a high quality New World event and after the success of a recent California tasting at Roberson I was very much looking forward to their Fine Wines of New Zealand evening. In fact I ain’t the only one looking forward as The Fish decided this one took her fancy too!

As I’ve written in the previous New Zealand post I am beginning to appreciate these wines from the bottom of the globe. I’m even getting a taste back for Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs, however it’s the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Rieslings that have really excited me and I was delighted that this tasting focused on a selection of grape varieties and styles.

Marc, who spent a number of years both travelling and working in the New Zealand wine trade, took us through a detailed and entertaining introduction to the wines of New Zealand before leading the tasting of 10 wines (In fact there were 11 wines as we received a glass of Cloudy Bay Pelourus fizz to get things going!)

What impressed me most about the wines were the consistent quality across the board. It has certainly encouraged me to keep exploring these exciting wines from this passionate, wine loving country. We tasted the wines in pairs of the same variety, starting with the wine that kicked New Zealand into the wine limelight:

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Cloudy Bay Pelourus NV, Marlborough (£24.95)
Predominately Chardonnay blend and made using the method traditionale, this fizz is very fragrant with lots of delicate, crisp apple aromas which are backed up by a nutty, yeasty complexity from its time on lees. Lovely creamy texture with lively acidity and a good length finish. 90 points

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Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough (£21.95)
This is actually a very nice wine, just priced about a tenner too high! Bright and fresh aromas of gooseberry and green pepper and a vibrant palate with subtle flavours backing up the smell as well as some delicious passion fruit at the end. Searing acidity and bone dry. Very good indeed. 91 points

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough (£28.95)
I’m a big fan of oaked Chardonnay and I also liked to toasty aromas of the Te Koko… But not the flavour. The oak masks any if the bright Sauvignon flavours and just feels heavy handed with an almost honeyed finish with very little balance. 88 points

Felton Road Chardonnay Block 2010, Central Otago (£49.95)
This was my favourite wine of the tasting. The aromas and flavours of warm oak hits you straight between the eyes at first but then ones the waves of sublime tropical fruit. Pineapple, honeydew melon and peach. It’s soft and warm and has such a wonderful balance of fruit, acid and oak, with impressive weight and texture. Fabulous. 95 points

Pyramid Valley Lions Tooth Chardonnay 2010, Canterbury (£49.95)
Crystal clear fruit of passion fruit and pineapple. The oak is more subtle than that of Felton Road and manifests itself as sweet brioche. Much lighter weight on the palate and mouth watering acidity. A very pure, even glacial wine with a delightful and long finish. 93 points

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Mount Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2011, Central Otago (£50.00)
Red currant and wild strawberry armies and just a hint of slate/minerality. Delightful and elegant red fruit upfront and lively acidity but there’s a hole in the middle and the end is just flat. A real shame as it promised so much. 88 points

Dry River Pinot Noir 2008, Martinborough (£69.95)
This is much more like it! A huge nose of morello cherries, floral/violets and oh so meaty and savoury. Full bodied and huge concentration on the palate, so smooth and silky, such elegant red fruit, a touch of spice. and beautiful balance. A superb modern Pinot Noir. 94 points

Man o’ War Dreadnaught 2009, Waiheke Island (£36.95)
100% Syrah. Smoky cherries, meaty and very savoury nose… Very Northern Rhone! There’s a blast of black fruit, smokiness and just a touch if eucalyptus on the palate. This wine has wonderful roughy edges and is a wine full of personality. Deliciously rustic. 92 points

Craggy Range Le Sol 2010, Hawkes Bay (£63.95)
Another 100% Syrah. Probably my most disappointing wine of the night. There’s smokiness and plenty if dark fruit but its too stewed for my liking, a bit sickly-sweet. There’s dark fruit and spice and a lovely silky texture but its not to my liking. 89 points

Te Mata Coleraine 2009, Hawkes Bay (£49.95)
Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend. Delicious nose of blackcurrant, cassis, minerality and a touch in menthol/eucalyptus. There’s lots of tannin from deliciously expensive oak, blackcurrant and sour cherry fruit and lots of earthy minerality. This is an extremely polished and well made wine that would it comfortably with a top quality wine from St Julien. 94 points

Stonyridge Larose 2009, Waiheke Island (£97.95)
Voted best wine of the night by the majority… But not me! Bordeaux blend of CabernetSauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot. Lots of black then red fruit in the nose with hints if vanilla and coconut from American oak – almost Rioja-like. Plenty if grip on the palate and beautifully smooth. Needs a bit of time I think, with the oak still overwhelming the delicious fruit. 92+ points

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Posted on June 30, 2013, in General, Tasting post. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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