(2022) From the cooler Awatere Valley, this is barrel fermented, around half the barrels wild fermented, and it spends 11 months in barrel on lees. Mint humbug notes, beauitfully ripe fruit, with juiciness and a peachy character, lots of zest too, a racing orange and grapefruit character. Sparky in the finish, a beautifully defined wine where the cooler Awatare conditions helps that fresh and saline finish. pH: 3.2, Acidity 6.7, RS: 0.5g/l.
(2021) Though this estate's exisiting Earth Smoke and Angel Flower Pinots were produced in 2018, this is a new wine introduced by Smith & Sheth. Parcels were fermented in large wooden casks and aged in them too. Red cherry and briar on the nose, a refined floral note too, but more focused on bright fruit and sweet damp earth than the more vegetal (mushroom, truffle) face of Pinot. Quite fresh and elegant on the palate too - a dry pomegranate and cranberry fruitiness, plenty of sour cherry and plum acidity and a grain to the tannins that gives a nice little bite to the profile. Quite long, well-balanced and spicy in the finish too.
(2021) From the Waipara Valley in Canterbury on the South Island, vines are over 30 years old with a large proportion planted on their own roots. It's a Riesling in an off-dry style with 24g/l of residual sugar. The colour is pale green/straw and the nose quite exotic, lychee and tropical fruits, a candied fruit quality. In the mouth delightful bon-bon sweetness, depth of nectarine and mango fruit, and a lovely lime-fresh acidity. A gorgeous drink this, with noteable sweetness.
(2021) The majority of the fruit comes from Estate vineyards, a proportion from growers in ohter sub-regions which Nautilus believes gives them a diversity of flavour profiles. Just 2% was barrel fermented. Fair bit of straw to the colour here, green capsicum, gooseberry and peach on the nose, then a dry palate - the driest tasting of the Sauvignon's so far - lots of sour lemon and grapefruit, that is the driving force though there is rosy apple juciness too. Good length and a grown-up style.
(2021) Approximately 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon, fermented separately, the Semillon in oak puncheons, and both components aged on the yeast lees for 10 months. Light gold in colour, there's a distinct sulphur character here, moving beyhond struck match for me and possibly a bit too much which is hard to see past, even with a minute of swirling in the glass. The palate has plenty of fruit, a full, ripe stone fruit and pear character, then a rush of pithy lemon, lots of vivaciousness, and a reasonably long finish. I'm a bit non-plussed by that sulphurous nose which I think must detract from an otherwise lovely wine for me.
(2021) Indigenous yeast fermentation followed by ageing in French oak barriques for around 10 months. Mid-density crimson in colour, there's lots of vanilla and custardy oak character here, set against deep and ripe berry fruit. A little floral highlight does emerge. In the mouth the barrel does slightly dominate, custardy and creamy, but its a charming enough Pinot, pulpy strawberry fruit adding to the easy-drinking appeal.
(2021) Vibrant, quite deep crimson, there's an earthiness here, hints of briar and beetroot as well as deep cherry and plum fruit, a little lighter, more floral character flitting around the edges. In the mouth it is quite substantial and deep-fruited, but there's a keen edge through tight tannins and a fine minerally acidity, the oak adding spice and a hint of bitter charriness to add complexity to the finish.
(2021) A single vineyard Chardonnay from vineyards on gravel and silty soils in Marlborough, vines were planted in 2000 and the wine is whole-bunch pressed, with half fermented with wild yeasts and half inoculated. It spent 10 months in barriques and larger barrels of French oak, 35% new and around 40% went through malolactic. Pale straw in colour and a lovely creaminess to the aroma, nutty too, with a lightly oxidised almond even a hint of hazelnut, as well as some flint. In the mouth cool lemon meets ripe apple, a leaner style here, but there is mid-palate fruit ripeness without a doubt, and it is really very well done.
(2021) A really attractive Sauvignon this, passion fruit and gooseberry, and a hint of substance with melon skin and lemon rind grip. Grapefruit floods the palate, just hints at a more tropical, ripe smoky guava character, then chalky mineral acidity gives a wonderfully fresh and zingy finish.
(2020) I was lucky enough to visit this new operation just before lockdown, led by the hugely experienced Steve Smith MW, ex-Craggy Range and Villa Maria, along with his US business partner. A very premium Sauvignon Blanc from 25-year-old vines in the Wairau sub-region of Marlborough, it's a wonderfully expressive, aromatic and decidedly opulent take on the NZ Sauvignon formula. The nose is flooded with ripe, juicy peach as well as the distinctive but subtle top notes of grass and elderflower, not too green, but vivacious. On the palate there is lovely texture here, real concentration sometimes missing in lesser examples, and that all-encompassing ripeness of peach, mango and exotic lychee, but all the time balanced by its sheer acidity into a long finish. A terrific Sauvignon Blanc. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.