(2021) From Waiheke Island, which is a short ferry ride from Auckland, lying off the East coast, and is something of a red wine hotspot. This Syrah is matured in 35% French Oak Puncheons, and 65% older barriques. Two years older than the previous wine and a softer colour, and there's a meatiness here, briarwood, game and a little smokiness, the fruit still in the red spectrum and there's cedar too in a very classic style. In the mouth there's great sweetness and ripeness, a fleshiness to the fruit, plum flesh and a bite of cherry pits and a little stemmy wood note that fits really nicely in the picture. Rhône-ish in style for me and very good.
(2021) Pioneers of the northen Leyda Valley, I visited Viña Leyda many years ago and was hugely impressed by the measures they had gone to to understand their soils and hillsides, mapping them minutely via 500 inspection pits they had dug to totally understand the soil composition, water retention properties, etc. This Pinot is aged for 10 months in new and second fill French oak and has a sweetly attractive nose, dark and lightly spicy, truffly and earthy, the fruit profile is black, but not heavy. In the mouth the surge of super sweet, ripe and luscious fleshy black berries is delicious, the texture quite plush and the sheen of oak adding to that impression. But again, there is no flabbiness or dead weight here: tannins and acids are brisk, and the savoury, sour cherry edge sharpens the finish.
(2021) From a very good vintage, berries are hand-sorted and, after fermentation, racked to French oak barrels (45% new) for 18 months. The nose is gorgeous, hinting at mint but suffused with crushed red and black fruits, and so elegantly touched by graphite and Sandalwood, also touches of kirsch and bright cassis, even moving into Parma violet. The palate is pure silk, glossy and ripe, with concentrated black fruit and again that elegance, not just the cedary touches, but huge juiciness to the acids and a real lick of salty minerality. Long and fabulous wine, delivering loads of bangs per buck. Will cellar for a decade surely.
(2021) The fruit for this wine is sourced from Elgin, the cool region that is arguably the Cape's prime Sauvignon country. It's certainly punchy, passion fruity and tropical on the nose, with an oily suggestion of green bean too. In the mouth a really very quaffable style, the lychee and mango tropicality giving lots of mouth-filling flavour, and the zesty lime of the acidity pushing through in the finish. Good value.
(2020) Grenache and Grenache Blanc are combined here in a wine that has seen partial barrel fermentation, followed by ageing on the lees for five months. It's a wine with a very appealing blend of power and concentration, but good freshness and a vivacious side too. Cool, orchard fruit and citrus aromas have just a little suggestion of maybe marshmallow, or certainly something sweet with a touch of berry fruit. In the mouth it has good texture and weight, very cool and pure fruit, and the acidity drives the wine to the finish.
(2020) A contemporary, pale-hued rosé from Rioja, this is 85% Garnacha (Grenache) with 15% of the white wine grape, Viura. There's a little bit of elderflower and passionfruit, presumably from the Viura which often exhibits those characters, onto the palate which is nicely concentrated with a bit of fruit skin grip and intensity, oranges and more of that passionfruit character, and keen citrus zest acidity, presumably early picking ensuring that raciness, with only 12.5% alcohol.
(2020) One of the more unusual and more interesting pink wines, principally because it is a rare barrel-fermented rosé, the blend composed of 54% Garnacha (Grenache) and 46% Tempranillo, from Chivite's Navarra vineyards in northern Spain. It is pale in colour and pretty on the nose, the aromas immediately betray that barrel influence from the Alliers oak, vanilla, toast and a touch of truffle, but that's amongst the fragrant raspberry and summery, blossom fruits. In the mouth that creaminess and toast from the barrel is evident again, adding lots of intrigue, and melting into the soft pillow of red berries, a good and slightly salty acidity, all completing a fascinating picture.