(2022) A third wine from the Helderberg, mostly from estate fruit with a little contract fruit in the blend, it spent 19 months in French oak barrels (40% new). A lovely little whiff of peppery herbal character here, before copious black fruit that is firm and savoury, touched by olive and polished wood. In the mouth plenty of blackcurrant and spicy Asian dried plum giving more savouriness. A very firm edge to tannins and acidity on this one, just softened by a little mocha character from the barrel, and a long, fruit-dominated finish.
(2021) A small proportion of this is aged in Acacia wood barrels, which perhaps adds to the intense florality of the nose, a really expressive take on Viognier that verges on Gewürztraminer aromatics, and makes sense of the pairing with the Te Whare Ra 'Toru'. In the mouth it is rich in texture and full of luscious fruit, moving into pineapple from apricot. There is acidity here, but I confess the whole thing feels just a little heavy in the mouth.
(2021) From the coastal-influenced and relatively cool Pinot country of the Russian River Valley, this wine was matured in French oak barrels, 35% new. It has a lovely spice and aromat nose, infused with the mocha coffee of the barrels, but delightful fruit too, little earth and truffle aromas adding complexity. The palate has a more raspberry-like, firm juiciness of fruit, but then that density of chocolate weight and creamy tannins, with finely-balanced acidity extends the finish with its fresh edge. Watch the video for food matching suggestions and more information.
(2020) Yalumba was the first producer of Viognier in Australia that really impressed me many years ago with a wine called 'Virgilius'. That wine will now set you back more than £30 per bottle, so I'm delighted to find this excellent example from the same region (The Eden Valley), made by the same winemaker, Louisa Rose, made with some barrel fermentation and wild yeasts, giving a similar character to its big brother. Aromas of lychee and jasmine dominate over peach and apricot, then the palate is powerful and broad, lots of grip and fruit weight and texture, a bite of graperfuit or marmalade orange bittersweet acidity into a long, intense finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) A really nice, cool-character Chardonnay from Colchagua's more coastal vineyards, fermented with wild yeasts and with only a small proportion fermented and aged in French oak. Lime and peach fruit touched by creamy oak lead on to a palate that's citrussy and fresh, with a nice saline lick of salty acidity, and a long finish where the ripe fruit and creamy oak just fattens nicely.
(2016) This is a powerful Wild Sauvignon, with both a beefy 14% alcohol and a thwack of oak that seems to slightly dominate both nose and palate. There is a huge core of herbaceous character, and a mineral intensity, making this a formidable and profound example that has such concentration and such deeply-etched aromas and flavours that it is just a little less approachable as a drink right now than some, but which is hugely impressive. It's a wine that will integrate and improve further.