(2023) Quite quiet and reserved in this vintage but obvious intensity. The fruity aromas are gently ripe and hinting at creaminess of peach and mango, fennel-like, herbal nuances. Lovely palate, the lemon and peach combination gives lusciousness and decisive punch. Good length, very harmonious and promising. Bottled in September 2021 after a year in barrel and five months in bottle. pH 3.16, acidity 6.3 g/l.
(2022) From vineyards planted between 1999 and 2001 on loam over clay, with patches of shale, this was wild fermented in French oak barriques and 500-litre puncheons, one-third new, and aged nine months in a combination of barriques and puncheons. Lees were stirred monthly and the wine went through malolactic. On the much flintier, complex sulphides spectrum here, punchy and vibrant with both lemony and more peachy fruit beneath. oak just adding a Brazil nut undertone. Lots of sweetness to the fruit on the palate, but pin-sharp acidity and plenty of that lemon jelly pleasurability allied to a firm, lightly saline finish with very good length.
(2021) This Pinot comes from the Awatere Valley, furthest south of Marlborough's wine regions, cool and influenced by the ocean more than the vineyards further north. That suits this delicate style of Pinot that for me is more on the rhubarb and beetroot, more vegetal spectrum which is an authentic expression of this variety. Very pale in colour, the fruit is of small red berries - cranberry and reducurrant - with a gentle influence of older oak barrels accentuating some spicy and vanilla components. Gentle tannins and good acidity. It's a wine in the distinctly cool-climate, red-fruited and savoury style. Watch the video
for food-matching ideas and more information.
(2020) Musar famously releases it's wines only when they think they are ready to drink, typically seven years after vintage. So this is the latest release at time of review, a blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon from very old vines grown at over 1,000 metres altitude in the Bekaa Valley. It seems to me to be an outstanding Musar, filled with gently lifted aromatics of kirsch and blackcurrant, all framed by a graphite and cedar notes of serious, savoury and Bordeaux-like character. In the mouth the sweet, ripe fruit is enveloping, but the wine has such fabulous concentration and supple, firm structure at its core, all polished tannins and gastronomic acid-balance, the pure, sweet fruit persisting to the elegant, very long finish. A wonderfully impressive young Musar this, irresistable now, but capable of substantial cellaring too, Musar tending to transition from something like Bordeaux, to something closer to Burgundy, over decades.
(2020) Unusual to find an organic Port, and this has a very pure and fruit-driven nose, a nice lift and higher set of aromas, floral and ashy. Very silky and pure on the palate, a sheen of mellow old oak and shellac over pure and vibrant fruit. Tangy and ripe, lots of lip-smacking tannin and acidity in the long finish. A really terrific ruby.
(2020) A youthful solidity to this, pure, vinous plum and cherry black fruits, gorgeous silkiness and the sheer concentration of the components - fruit, tannin and acid - are going to give this terrific longevity surely. Price quoted is per bottle, but most retailers are offering in-bond, and by the six-bottle case at time of review.
(2020) Nutty and smoky notes over the solid fruits, with great concentration, an earthiness here that seems very terroir-driven, the energy here is excellent again, these Fladgate 2017s showing structure and a certain brilliance. Many merchants are offering this en primeur by the half dozen.
(2016) Kevin Judd rarely puts a foot wrong and so it is with this terrific Pinot which displays fabulous complexity, so much schist and smouldering embers, truffle and complex terroir character. So long, bright, but with unfolding depths. Should cellar for five years and more, but delicious now.
(2016) This is a Sauvignon Blanc that marches to a different beat. It has intriguing nutty and honeyed nuances as well as ripe ogen melon fruit and a little hint of Sauvignon herbaceousness. On the palate it is savoury and layered, complex flavours underpinned by a grapefruit juicy tang and length, in a powerful yet subtle interpretation of the style. Will age for five years easily.