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Sauvignon Blanc 2015


-    Raymond Chan - (reviewed 2017)   4 Stars

Bright, pale straw colour with slight green hues.  The nose is elegantly concentrated with a firm core and rounded aromas of green stonefruits and herbs, showing subtly pungent greengage fruit with nutty lees and oak complexities.  Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the plalate possesses flavours of green stonefruits, greengages and dark herbs, along with subtle nuances of nettles and lift notes.  The palate has a taut and firm core with nutty suggestions, but fresh from lacy acidity.  The palate flows with good tension along a piquant, fine, grainy textured line, leading to a dry finish of green stonefruits and herbs.  This is a firm and taut Sauvignon Blanc with green stonefruit and herb flavours along with subtle less and nutty oak notes, on a refreshing palate.  Serve with salads and vegetables and Mediterranean fare over the next 2+ years.  Fruit from the plains between Havelock North and Napier, by the Tuki Tuki River.  Sauvignon Blanc fermented in stainless-steel with 10% Viognier fermented in seasoned oak to 12.7% alc. and dryness, the wine undergoing batonnage. 17.0/20  


-    Michael Cooper - (reviewed 2017)  3.5 Stars

Drinking well now, the 2015 vintage (3.5*) is a slightly minerally wine, blended with a 'touch of Viognier' and partly barrel-fermented. Medium to full-bodied, it is fresh, crisp, lively and dry, with melon/lime flavours, showing a touch of complexity. Priced right.     


-    Rob MacCulloch - Master of Wine - (reviewed 2016)

Sauvignon Blanc is so popular and so well-known that it's actually very difficult for a winemaker to produce. Do they produce a straightforwardly crowd-pleasing style for a quick sale? Often that's what happens, very understandably so, as Sauvignon Blanc is such a delicious crowd-pleaser. Or do winemakers try to differentiate their wine style a little bit, to add some layers of flavours to what is such a dominant personality of a grape? That's a genuine challenge when making Sauvignon Blanc, as those fresh, green, citrus, gooseberry and passion fruit flavours can really overpower other more delicate flavours. Making really complex-tasting Sauvignon Blanc, therefore, is a little bit like cooking a steak. It's always a treat, however it's done, but maybe by concentrating on the quality of the meat, knowing how to control the heat of the fire and perhaps using a fire made from old vine branch cuttings - like they do in Bordeaux - elevates a simple steak to something really glorious. Here, winemaker Guillaume Thomas has adapted that approach to Sauvignon Blanc, by using a few Viognier grapes to add a floral lift to the aromas, with a little bit of oak maturation and yeast stirring to add more body and weight of flavours. Importantly too, these techniques are well-known to add length of flavour too, not to mention how winemakers bring out the more complex mineral flavours that can really show off and represent the regions where the grapes were grown. Therefore, this is a rare beast of a wine - a genuinely complex-tasting Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, but one that still displays all the immediately ripe flavours of Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in that beautiful country. 


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Chardonnay 2018


-    Michael Cooper - (reviewed 2019)  4 Stars

The flavour-packed 2018 vintage (4*) was fermented in French oak barrels (20 per cent new). Enjoyable young, but also well worth cellaring, it has strong flavours of stonefruit and toasty oak, fresh acidity, and very good vigour, complexity and depth. Best drinking 2021+


-   Yvonne Lorkin (reviewed 2019)  3.5 Stars

With its nectarine and peachy creaminess and with cashew characters abound, this new chardonnay from Guillaume Thomas has got instant crowd-appeal.  Richly structured, but showing fresh, frisky acidity, it’s a juicy, easy drink with solid stonefruit complexity on the mid-palate and finish.


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Chenin Blanc 2018


-    Michael Cooper(reviewed 2019)  4.5 Stars

The distinctive, youthful 2018 vintage (4.5*) is a dry style, fermented in French oak casks (30 per cent new). Bright, light lemon/green, it is fragrant and mouthfilling, with vibrant, citrusy, peachy, slightly biscuity flavours, showing excellent depth, ripeness and complexity, finely balanced acidity and obvious cellaring potential. Best drinking 2021+.

-  Yvonne Lorkin - (reviewed 2019) 4 Stars

Golden, glossy in the glass and heaving with crisp, lipsmacking acidity, toasted coconut and grapefruit characters alongside roasted apples and all manner of mineral-induced magic in the mouth.  Chenin blanc hails from the Loire Valley in France (which is where its winemaker Guillaume Thomas is also from) yet it’s clearly made a happy home in Hawke’s Bay’s Tuki Tuki Valley and we should all make it very welcome.


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Rosé 2017


-  Yvonne Lorkin - (reviewed 2018)  4 Stars

It’s a rare thing in NZ to find rosé made from 100 per cent cabernet franc and this one is a real cracker. It bursts with raspberry marshmallow, watermelon and hints of cherry on the nose. Fresh, succulent, saucy and sublime if served chilled with slivers of cold smoked salmon. Gorgeous. 


-  Raymond Chan - (reviewed 2018)  3 Stars

Bright, pale pink colour with suggestions of purple hues at the heart, lighter on the rim.  The nose is softly fresh with light aromas of strawberries and cream, along with an amalgam of savoury herbs and nutty elements, unfolding subtle oxidative nuances and some confectionary.  Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate is crisp and refreshing with brisk, slippery acidity underlining savoury strawberry fruit flavours that are entwined with nutty and herbal nuances.  Red florals and confectionary hints emerge as the wine carries along a thirst-quenching dry line.  The palate leads to a light, dry finish.  This is a crisp and refreshing, mouthwatering dry rosé with savoury strawberry, herb and nutty flavours and a textural mouthfeel.  Serve with antipasto and tapas over the next 18 months to 2 years.  Cabernet Franc fruit from Maraekakaho destemmed and given 12 hours skin contact, and fermented in stainless-steel to 10.8% alc. and dryness.  16.5/20.


-  Michael Cooper - (reviewed 2018)  3 Stars 

Retasted in early 2018, the pale pink 2017 vintage (3*) is from Cabernet Franc, grown at Maraekakaho. A lively, light-bodied style (10.8 per cent alcohol), it has fresh, gentle watermelon, spice and peach flavours, appetisingly crisp and dry.


Rosé 2018 


- Yvonne Lorkin - (reviewed 2019) 4 Stars

Made by French winemaker Guillaume Thomas, this cabernet franc-based rosé is bursting with redcurrant, cranberry and pomegranate aromas and flavours. It’s pretty and trout-pink in the glass and there’s even a touch of creaming soda and tamarillo in there, too. Fresh, succulent, saucy, and with a hint of herbaceousness – it’s seriously refreshing.


- Michael Cooper - (reviewed 2019) 3.5 Stars

Deep pink, the 2018 vintage (3.5*) is fresh and crisp, in a light to medium-bodied style with strawberryish flavours, hints of spices and apricots, slightly earthy notes adding a touch of complexity, and a dryish finish. Tasted in July 2019, it's ready to roll.


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Cabernet Franc 2015


-    Michael Cooper(reviewed 2019)  3.5 Stars

The 2015 vintage (3.5*) was matured in French oak barrels (25 per cent new). A medium-bodied style with fullish colour, it has moderately concentrated, plummy, spicy, slightly herbal flavours, showing some savoury complexity, fresh acidity and a fairly firm finish.


-    Yvonne Lorkin - (reviewed 2019)

Cabernet Franc is just the sexiest wee red grape, and yet it’s very rarely made into wine on its own. Crafted by Guillaume Thomas from his tiny vineyard on the Waimarama Road, this new 2015 vintage is ultra-floral and rock-solid with spices and racy, raspberry/cranberry characters.  The tannins are lithe and slippery and silk-lined.  Think pomegranate and plum layers on the finish and an easy, plush mouthfeel.  It’s a lighter-styled sip but perfect for gamey dishes like duck casserole or tender, smoky venison backstraps.


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Syrah 2016


-    Michael Cooper - (reviewed 2018)  3.5 Stars

Retasted in early 2018, the youthful 2016 vintage was matured for a year in French oak barrels (25 per cent new). Ruby hued, with a fragrant bouquet, it is a medium-bodied style, with lively plum and spice flavours, a hint of liquorice, fresh acidity, some savoury notes adding complexity, and good length. Best drinking mid-2019+


-    Raymond Chan - (reviewed 2018)  4 Stars

Dark ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on the edge.  The nose is fragrant and slender in proportion with bright and lifted fruit aromas of raspberries entwined with red and violet florals and subtle notes of pepper and fresh herbs.  Spice elements emerge in the glass and the aromatics build in depth with aeration.  Medium-bodied, the palate possesses fruit flavours of dark raspberries along with savoury black pepper, unfolding herb and floral detail, and suggestions of game.  The palate is sweet-fruited and enlivened by fresh acidity, and the fruit is underlined by fine, grainy tannin extraction.  This has a good core with a textured mouthfeel lending presence, and the wine carries to a fulsome finish.  This is a moderately concentrated Syrah with savoury raspberry pepper and herb flavours, along with floral and game detail on a lively, grainy palate.  Match with wild duck and pork and game meat dishes over the next 4+ years.  Syrah fruit from Te Awanga and the hills overlooking the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 12.4% alc., the wine aged in French oak barrels with 25% new equivalence.  17.0+/20  



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Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Sold out - 2018 vintage available soon)


-    Michael Cooper(reviewed 2017)  4.5 Stars 

Already enjoyable, the 2015 vintage (4.5*) was grown on Gimblett Road and matured for 16 months in barrels (35 per cent new). Full-coloured, with a fragrant, spicy bouquet, it is mouthfilling, with generous, ripe plum and spice flavours, finely integrated oak, savoury, earthy notes adding complexity, and gentle tannins. A very harmonious red, highly approachable in its youth, it also shows good potential and should be at its best 2019+. Priced sharply.


-    Raymond Chan - (reviewed 2017) 

Even ruby-red colour with some depth nd light purple hues on the rim.  This has a light, tightly bound nose with aromas of fresh blackcurrants and fresh herbs along with herbaceous leaf and stalky elements.  The fruit is in the cooler spectrum.  Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly proportioned with good intensity of fresh, lively blackcurrant fruit flavours entwined with notes of fresh herbs, and subtle leafy and stalk detail.  The fruit is balanced by modestly extracted, fine-grained tannin structure and light, fresh acidity, lending energy and tension.  The wine leads to a light, brisk finish of blackcurrant leaves.  This is an elegant, cooler spectrum Cabernet Sauvignon with fresh blackcurrant, herb and leafy notes on a light, but firm-structured palate.  Match with herb-marinated lamb and beef dishes over the next 4+ years.  Fruit from  Gimblett Road, fermented to 13.52% alc., the wine spending 30 days on skins post ferment and aged 16 months in 30% new French oak.  16.0+/20 



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Cabernet/Merlot 2016


-  Michael Cooper - (Reviewed 2018) 4 Stars

Retasted in early 2018, the 2016 vintage (4*) is maturing gracefully. A medium-bodied style, it is a blend of Cabernet Franc (48 per cent), Merlot (45 per cent) and Cabernet Sauvignon (7 per cent), matured for a year in French oak barrels (25 per cent new). Youthful and savoury, it has very satisfying depth of ripe, berryish, plummy, slightly spicy flavours, showing good complexity, and a smooth, finely textured finish. Best drinking 2019+.


-  Raymond Chan - (Reviewed 2018) 4 Stars 

Dark red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on the edge.  The nose is elegant and fresh-fruited with fragrant aromas of redcurrants along with lifted notes of red florals, unfolding subtle blackcurrant elements and fresh herbs.  The aromatics form a slender, but finely concentrated core.  Medium-bodied, the palate has bright and lively, fragrant fruit flavours of redcurrants, red florals and fresh herbs.  The mouthfeel is refreshing with crisp acidity, and the wine flows along a light, grainy-textured line.  This has an elegant structure and carries with very good energy to a lingering aromatic finish.  This is a bright and aromatic Cabernet/Merlot blend with pretty redcurrant fruit and lifted florals, along with cool herb notes on a zesty, grainy palate.  Serve with tapas and Mediterranean fare over the next 3+ years.  A blend of 48% Cabernet Franc from Maraekakaho, 45% Merlot from the hills overlooking Gimblett Road and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon from Gimblett Road, fermented to 12.8% alc., the wine aged in French oak barrels with 25% new equivalence.  17.5-/20


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