(2014) The aromatic thrust of this is herbal and herby, with lots of green bean, lots of gooseberry with a hint of the lychee tropical beneath. The palate has delicious thrust and orange juiciness, with delicious flavours and loads of peach and nectarine skin soft texture and freshness. A very good, dry expression of Marlborough at its best.
(2014) Pinot Grigio has become the by-the-glass wine for so many bars, pubs and restaurants that it can seem like an anonymous, generic white wine. But Pinot Grigio (aka Pinot Gris) can take on a more substantial form, and some producers are making striking examples. We are seeing more and more emanating from New Zealand with more flavour, texture and personality than more anodyne examples. This has a hint of pink to the colour (the skins of the Pinot Grigio grape become quite a deep red as they ripen late into the autumn) and the nose is deliciously inviting: it's like opening a can of tinned pears, with fruit and syrup notes, and a lovely feeling of freshness. In the mouth this is a wine with weight and texture. It is perhaps just off-dry, making it so easy to sip on its own, but also giving it broad food-matching potential.
(2011) 14.0%. A small proportion of this Marlborough wine was fermented with wild yeasts in older oak barrels, which perhaps adds to the nutty, oatmeally notes on the nose, with a candy-apple fruitiness beneath. There's an attractive, delicate floral note too. On the palate this is off-dry, with a big rush of very sweet, very intense pineapple and mango fruit that is vivaciously Marlborough. The pear and apple acidity tempers the finish, playing against the sweetness, though one does feel the power of the alcohol. This would come into its own with the right food: Thai perhaps, or crepes with creamy chicken.
(2011) Awatere. There's a lovely pear fragrance to this: fresh pears, but also a hint of a pear tart, pastry note, with a lift of almost spearminty brightness. The palate is pretty dry and relatively lean compared to a wine like the Saint Clair, with shimmering acidity set against tropical fruit tones of guava and mango - a more obvious nod to Marlborough Sauvignon style, but has lovely weight and definition.
(2011) Southern Valleys. 14%. Vineyard planted after comparing the Waihopai and Kremstal regions according to the back label. Much leaner and more mineral than the Forrest, with lime and a certain peppery, spicy character coming through. The palate has an uncompromising dryness, with great verve and authority, the dry, herby, mineral finish long and savoury. I'd love to see how this develops over a few years.