The wines of New Zealand’s South Island

These tasting notes accompany our four-part in-depth feature on New Zealand. Please see Regional report: A major report from New Zealand.


Regional Tasting

Johanneshof Cellars Gewurztraminer 2005
Nice delicate fruit on the nose, with a gentle floral and spicy character. Some fine, mouthfilling fruit, with lots of fat on the mid palate and plenty of fruit sweetness. There is an unctuousness, but also a fine orangy acidity. Very nice drinking, with a powerful, spicy, perhaps slightly too hot and alcoholic finish.

Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewurztraminer 2005
Less aromatically powerful, with some spices and a soft, gentle lychee and yellow plum flesh fruitiness. A much more constrained, grapefruit and concentrated citrussy character, just little elegant touches of sweetness and a tangerine fruit quality. Nice drinking.

Highfield Riesling 2002
Lovely petrol and gently paraffin and wax components on the nose. Nice minerality. There’s a hint of really piercing, concentrated lime. On the palate quite delicate, with a slightly soapy, note, but very floral and intense. Masses of fine acidity comes through, with a real burst of lemon giving this plenty of length and poise. £11.95

Babich Dry Riesling 2004
Slightly more herbal, but quite muted, herbaceous nose, with quite dull apply fruit. The palate has nicer notes of crisp orchard fruits. A really lightness of touch here, and a savoury, dry citrus character to the mid-palate and acidity that makes it quite moreish and mouth-watering.

Huia Riesling 2004
Very restrained, quite muted nose. Very difficult to pick up much beyond a vague salty minerality. On the palate bone dry, with quite a rich, full mouthfeel, before a huge, searing core of lemon and mineral fruit sweeps through. There’s a touch of sweetness that appears fleetingly in the finish, but the dry, pithy acidity drives this. £8.99 Bibendum

Spy Valley Riesling 2005
Crisp, floral edge fruit. Touches of honey and sweet, almost tropical fruit notes. The palate has a big streak of lime fruit; plenty of waxy, mouthfilling texture and a hint of floral character, but mostly pure lime. There’s a very nice finish here, with a balance of intense fruit and acid. VG.

Isabel Dry Riesling 2005
A subtle nettly quality here to clean, slightly minerally white fruit. On the palate this is dry, with a savoury, pithy, dry citrus acidity. It has plenty of acidity, without perhaps the zing and zest of some others. Berry Bros/ Morris & Verdun

Framingham Classic Riesling 2005
Very fine qualities here, with a delicate balance between a floral, apple blossom character and a fruity personality. There is a fine hint of minerality too. On the palate lots of flavour and vim, with just off dry hints of sweet, tropical edged fruit, but very nicely constrained by tight, lean, citrus and mineral acids. Very good indeed.

Goldwater Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2005
A real blast of green bean and asparagus here, in a distinctly vegetal style. On the palate quite vibrant fruit, but that herbal, green quality persists too. Acidity is quite prominent, and perhaps this lacks a little bit of complexity. Fresh and juicy enough, with a hint of sweetness right on the finish, but not my favourite style.

Southbank Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Adds a touch of candied tropical fruit to bright, herbaceous aromatics. On the palate a lot more punch and zing than the Goldwater, with masses of tropical, ripe fruit and fiery intensity. Acids are good, sweeping through with a cleansing blast of lemon and lime.

Giesen “The Brothers Land” Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Lovely classic Marlborough character of green, grassy herbal notes and intense passionfruit and gently tropical notes. Lovely mouthfilling palate, with a boiled sweet, sour green plum character, and lots of savoury, mouthfilling quality. Excellent value for money here. Enotria, £7.

Nobilo “Regional Collection” Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Quite intensely green and herbal. A real nettle patch character here with some gooseberry and green pepper aromas. On the palate a fairly lean, mineral and linear style, with decent balance, but a slightly underpowered character into the finish.

Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Very attractive, relatively passionfruit and tropical styled wine, with toned down herbaceousness, but plenty of pungent, gooseberry and greengage fruit. The palate has a fine balance between a suggestion of nectarine and waxy, ripe lime and lychee fruit, and a constrained minerality. Very intense. Hedley Wright £9.99

Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Nice delicate, fresh and gentle grassy nose, with quite subdued, but appealing aromatics. The flavours here are interesting: there is a distinctive fruity quality of fresh grapy notes and nectarine, and decent acidity, but perhaps a touch too much RS for me.

Domaine Georges Michel Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Very distinctive in this line up, both with broad-shouldered bottle shape, DIAM cork, and a nose that is nutty and oatmeally, with lemon and only tiny herbal hints. Possible wild yeast ferment? Certainly toned down aromatics. Very linear, mineral, lemon flavoured palate with bone-dry finish. Very nice finish.

Clos Margueritte Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Decisively back on the green and herbal track. Nettly and asparagus aromas dominate. ON the palate quite a dry, savoury style, with apple and melony characters, and a very dry, fine. All hand harvested. All the Awatare Valley fruit, which is usually herbal.

Gunn Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Passionfruit and greengage and gooseberry to the fore here, with a little note of honey. Palate is quite mouthfilling, with a sweet edge to the fruit that does tend to lend a touch of sweet and sour character, as lemony acidity sweeps into the finish. Nice in a commercial style and not unpleasant.

Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Lovely gentle herbal qualities here, with a touch of nettle and gooseberry, and a hint of oatmeal. Very fine grapefruity palate, with a pink grapefruit flavour. Some very old vines and kept on fine lees through to November. Very long and polished. Ellis of Richmond, around £10.50

Mud House White Swan Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Quite a fine, relatively subtle green bean and nettle nose, with a definite suggestion of sweet, ripe melon and tropical fruit. Palate has plenty of verve and juicy fruit quality, with masses of unctuous ripe nectarine and pear coming through. Very good fruit sweetness, and enough lemony acidity to sharpen and balance.

Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc 2005
A very restrained, mineral quality here that is surprising. NO real flamboyance or pungency, but quietly concentrated. On the palate at nice sour grapefruit and lime juice character marries with juicer, more ripe nectarine and peach hints. Good balance and good length here, in a style that grows on you as you drink it.

Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2005
This has a tropical character, with mostly nectarine and ripe fruit aromas. A burst of lime joins in , and just a hint of grassiness. On the palate it is quite grassy and very crisp, with mouth-watering lemon and lime fruit and acidity giving lots of elegance and length. Quite a Loire style this, and very successful. Fiarwood Wines £9 – £10.

The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Again a fairly subdued, almost mineral nose, with some of the Awatare herbal character and plenty of verve. On the palate good fruit, and a nice blast of acidity with plenty of cut and verve to the lime acidity.

CrossroadsDestination Series Sauvignon Blanc 2005
A fine gentle herbaceous wine again, with decent gooseberry fruit and a crisp, slightly zingy with an almost petillant character and very good freshness. Very vibrant and crisp.

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2003
Big spearmint and vanillin influenced nose, with hints of green fig and custard and apples. There’s a definite toffeed quality here, with a rich, rounded weight of oak and buttery richness sitting slightly apart for the very fresh, decisive lemon acidity and punchy fruit. Mint toffee is the lasting impression.

No 1 Wine Estate, Sparkling Cuvée
Chardonnay. Lovely herbal nose, with lots of nettle and touches of earthy freshness. Fine, lively palate, with a big blast of sweet, mouthfilling fruit and fine mousse, and plenty of zest and zing.

Terravin Pinot Noir 2004
Ripe, juicy, mulberry and plum aromas, with an overlay of oak that is vanillin, and not too much softness or Pinot earthiness coming through. Very compact, solid, sweet plum and almost liquoricy palate, perhaps slightly too dense and over extracted for me. Balanced, rich and tannic, but little elegance.

Terravin “Hillside Selection” Pinot Noir 2004
More of the same in many ways, with an even more compact, muscular solidity. Fruit has a slightly rounder appeal, with juicy fruit and sweet, mulberry edges. Rather dense.

Staete Land Pinot Noir 2004
Single vineyard. Fairly muted nose, with touches of plum and damson fruit. Vanilla tone to the oak, but not very open and generous. Big, ripe, sweet fruited palate with lots of richness and weight. Lovely fruit, but again for me too dense and too solid.

The Crossings Pinot Noir 2004
A little more light and subtle in colour. Slightly more open and generous too. On the palate a little more lightness and softer, more strawberry fruit, then a crisp acidity comes through. Quite juicy in style.

Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2004
Massive charry, toasty, nose, with masses of espresso and chocolate and a real sweetness of fruit beneath. Fine elegance on the palate, though the high, almost minty char of the wood still influences this. Very sweet fruit and good quality. Some lightness about it, with cherry and strawberry notes and not just plummy richness. Long, balanced finish.

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Seresin Estate, Sauvignon Blanc Marama 2004
Planted in 1997, Seresin’s Sauvignon is a very individual take on the Marlborough style, with a wild yeast ferment. It has an extremely complex, herbal and vividly waxy nose, with hints of goat’s cheese and plenty of ripe, lemony fruit. On the palate it is very rich, with a full texture, a mid-palate with weighty fruit, and a long, zesty finish.

Seresin Estate, Chardonnay 2004
Lovely rich, figgy, rounded nose with a waxy tamarind and leesy richness. The palate has masses of leesy, rich, apple and more ripe, tropical fruit, with a creamy texture and fresh, lemony finish.

Seresin Estate, Chardonnay Reserve 2004
From two clones of Chardonnay selected for complexity, this spends 15 months in barrel. There’s a lovely green fig character, with almond and plenty of dense, fleshy stone fruit aromas. On the palate there is real succulence, with some thyme and herby nuances, oatmeal, and a rounded, yet crisp citrus finish playing against nutty, creamy oak.

Seresin Estate, Pinot Noir “Leah” 2004
Names after Michael Seresin’s daughter, this has a fabulously smoky nose, with an earthy, tobacco-tinged sweetness of fruit. Vivid black cherry on the palate is quite mouthfilling, with a dry tannin evolving gin the finish, good acidity and pretty good length.

Seresin Estate, Tatou Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004
Very fine coffee-tinged nose of ripe cherry fruit, with a plummy roundness and plenty of earthy, quite mineral qualities. On the palate there’s a liquorice edge to the fruit, with plummy concentration. There is a rounded, full quality here, with very good concentration and a lovely acid structure that keeps it fresh and quite long.

Seresin Estate, Raupo Creek Pinot Noir 2004
Delightful vanillin nose, with spice and a definite opulence: quite creamy, full fruit. Fantastic fruit sweetness in this wine, with plenty of weight and breadth on the palate, and a supportive pillow of oak, braced by quite edgy, roughening tannins and balanced acidity.

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Moa Brewery, Premium Lager
5.5% Fine citrussy nose, with estery, quite herbal aromas. Fine lemony palate and terrific zest. There is a nettly quality, with quite good bitterness and late-hopping with plenty of good hop qualities and lovely long, cool finish. A little bit of sweetness comes through. Champagne method with Champagne yeast for secondary fermentation.

Allan Scott, Methode Traditional Blanc de Blancs
The nose is quite herbal, with fine lemony fruit, with a fine bubbly mousse. Very lemony on the palate, dry with a minimal dosage. Good fruit here and crispness.

Allan Scott, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Quite herbal and a touch dank, with some pungent nettly characteristics. There’s a really punchy vivid lemon fruit here, that is quite zesty and crisp.

Allan Scott, Prestige Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
100% aged in new hogshead’s for 4 months. Subtle oatmeal and rounded, very gently honeyed tones. On the palate a fine, crisp, very composed palate, with not much oak evidence at all, and plenty of bracing, incisive lemon-zest and pithy grapefruit acidity. This has lots of style and length and is very impressive.

Allan Scott, Pinot Gris 2005
24 hours maceration in the press, then into old oak and 65% malo. Some lees stirring. This has a touch of herbs and butter on the nose and a hint of honey. The palate has a dollop of sweetness and more of that pear and preachy fruit. Good balance and style here. And some good acidity.

Allan Scott, Riesling 2005
From an old block of 26-year-old vines. Very nice nose, with a touch of fine, waxy, lemon and a touch of petrolly aromas, but not too much. Good concentration, with very fine lime, with a very clean finish.

Allan Scott, Prestige Riesling 2005 tank sample
What a fine, abundantly fruity nose, with masses of succulent pear and moreish melony aroma. Beautifully silky, quite ft palate with notes of lime and nectarine, all shimmering against fine acidity. Lovely purity and concentration. Lovely weight and style.

Allan Scott, Gewurztraminer 2005
Nice subtle, very fine nose, with touches of lychee and definite, Nivea cream, The palate has lots of richness and texture, but only medium body. Very fine fruit, lots of luscious peach and nectarine and fine grapefruity acidity.

Allan Scott, Unwooded Chardonnay 2005
100% malo, lots of battonage. Fine tropical notes on the nose, with lots of malo creaminess on the nose. Pure, quite elegant fruit very reminiscent of pears and ripe, pure apples. The orange and lemon purity of the acid comes through.

Allan Scott, Chardonnay 2005
Very fine nose, with plenty of creamy, rich, touches of espresso and whisky barrel. Lovely buttery fruit. The palate has a fine supporting toastiness, with a fleshy pear and

Allan Scott, Prestige Chardonnay 2003
18 months in oak, 80% new. All medium toast. Beautifully buttery orange and nutty, hazelnut and marmalade aromas. Fine fruit on the palate, and retains plenty of crisp acid despite 100% malo. Long, very pure, shimmering quality.

Allan Scott, Pinot Noir 2004
Old clones like 10X5, none of the new “rock star” clones. Quite an attractive nose, with a fine cherry and tobacco quality, and the palate comes through with a nice earthy, cedary quality, an a fine grained tannins and good open, generous character.

Allan Scott, Prestige Pinot Noir 2003
Lots more fullness and fine, ripe, cedar-scented Sandalwood and really solid berry fruit. Lovely lightness about the palate, with sweetness of fruit and a generous acidity. There is a lovely quality here and fine fruit and silky, suede-like quality.

Allan Scott, Merlot 2004
A touch of mint-leaf and camphor on the nose, with some really sweet red berry fruit – a nice lightness of cherry and red plum. There is masses of chocolate and rich blackberries. All fine and well-tempered, with good fruit sweetness and fine, silky tannins. Good balance and softness.

Allan Scott, Botrytis Chardonnay 2002
Forgotten block of Chardonnay, dad said leave it on there. Totally desiccated. This has lots of honey and figgy quality, with rounded, very ripe fruit. Lovely silky texture, with a blast of orangy, quite lime marmalade flavour and lots of weight and richness. Fine lime butter quality.

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Oyster Bay, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
A touch of green, herbaceous character, with plenty of verve, and a fine tropical fruit quality coming through. Immediate blast of limey acidity, with plenty of vivid, waxy, tamarillo and waxy skinned fruit. Very vivid, with good fruit concentration. Lots of finesse and well judged herbaceousness.

Oyster Bay, Chardonnay 2005
Nice mealy, orangy richness. There’s a biscuity richness to this with a touch of fat, green fig and crisp appley fruit. Good richness. Plenty of zing and zest, with a rich, flavoursome palate. Lots of crisp, zingy lemon acidity.

Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2005
A touch of meat stock and gravy character on the nose, with a little bit of beetroot and a mild green note. The palate has quite a lean, herbal quality too, with some earthy, schisty quality, and plenty of bite. There is zest and zing, but has a little bit too much alcohol and possibly a little bit too much sugar.

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Montana, Starborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
From the Awatare valley, a nice passionfruit nose, with some greengage and just hints of gooseberry. On the palate reminiscent of Spangles, with crisp pear fruit that is sweet and edgy into tropical, and a citrussy, lemon and grapefruit acidity in the finish. A very drinkable style.

Montana, Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Fine, fresh, quite grapey and succulent nose. Real lemony crispness and freshness on the palate, with a touch of passionfruit ripeness. There’s a certain leesy, waxy quality in the finish.

Montana, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005
All Brancott fruit, this has a fine nettle nose, with lots of dry lemon pith and waxy fruit. There seems to be a fair dollop of RS in this, that leaves it a little sweet and sour.

Montana, Triplebank Riesling 2005
Awatare fruit, this has a fragrant nose with good aromatics, some sherbetty notes and apple and pear fruit with a lemony, vibrant palate.

Montana, Camshorn Pinot Noir 2004
From Waipara, and quite young vines this has quite a silky, plush nose with spicy wood aromas and incense. There’s a strawberry softness to the fruit, but quite a crisp cherry quality on the palate, with a good texture and weight on the mid-palate, and chocolaty notes of richness. Very good.

Montana, Brancott Estate “T” Terraces Vineyard Pinot Noir 2003
Named after the Brancott terraced vineyards from which the fruit comes, ‘T’ is released only inthe best vintages. It spends 12 months in French oak barriques, around 40% of which are new. It has a firm, quite edgy and liquoricy cherry fruit – very firm fruit on the palate too, with touches of fennel and kirsch-like notes, if a little firm and ungiving at present. This is serious stuff that needs time.

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Forrest Estate, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Beautifully clean, rounded, slightly waxy tropical style of fruit, with a nice aromatic herbal qualities and a perfumed, lychee note. Lovely rich, passionfruit and rolling, fleshy nectarine fruit with a lovely long, beautifully poised.

Forrest Estate, Estate Dry Riesling 2005
Fine mineral notes on the nose, with touches of nettle and developing waxy, slightly petrolly notes. The palate comes through with fresh, crisp lemon and lime. Lovely balance and fine, shimmering mineral acidity.

Forrest Estate, Brancott Valley Riesling 2004
Extra richness, with extra aromatics and a rich mouthfilling texture. Sweeter, with 10g sugar, and a slightly more tropical lychee note.

Forrest Estate, Gewürztramier 2004
Nicely expressive nose, with lychee and delicate floral and Nivea cream notes, and passionfruit aromas. Fine mouthfilling textural fruit, with those sweet-fruited palate with lovely lime acidity. Terrific.

Forrest Estate, Chardonnay 2004
50% Malolactic, 50%. Nice gentle toastiness, with some creamy, oatmeal and gently honeyed notes. Very fine palate, with nicely judged oak that gives a toffeed, fudgy note to very fresh, mouthfilling pear and peach fruit. Very good acidity again here.

Forrest Estate, Rosé 2005
Merlot Malbec Pinot Cabernet Syrah. Beautiful rose-hip and red cherry aromas. Fine red liquorice notes and floral touches. Fine mouthfilling fruit, with a good texture and a fine, crisp acidity. Very clean and fresh.

Forrest Estate, Pinot Noir 2004
Very fine cherry aromatics here, with delicious oak with fine oak. With a lovely charm and elegance on the palate, giving fine quality and a good silky mouthfeel. Very good quality.

Forrest Estate, Brancott Valley Pinot Noir 2003
Very fine nose of gentle truffle and earthy aroma. Nice animal qualities. The palate has chocolate and prune components. Chocolaty richness to the tannins and old vines concentration.

Forrest Estate, Waitake Valley (North Otago) Pinot Noir 2004
Very fine vanillin nose. Not quite so open and generous. More plummy and meaty, with dark, pruney fruit character and fine richness coming though.

Forrest Estate, Newton Forrest Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2002
30% French coopered American oak. Big super ripe and oaked minted toffee darkness, with a black plum and quite polished, dark, blueberry fruit. Fine meaty, dark, very savoury with lots of roughening plum skin qualities that are rough and full. Plenty of bittersweet juiciness.

Forrest Estate, Newton Forrest Cornerstone Syrah 2002
Definite pepperiness, with lots of schisty, gravelly quality, moving through fine black fruits. This has great presence on the palate, with really superfine, silky black fruits. This is layered with black chocolate and fine, grippy, quality on the finish.

Forrest Estate, Late Harvest Riesling 2003
In UK. Brancott Valley Riesling. Late-picked, just as berries shrivel. 8% ABV, 100g/l RS. Total Acidity 8.2%. Beautiful barley sugar nose, with fine, buttery, pure lime and lime flower notes, and a fine dried apricot character. Terrific lime-zest . Beautiful Auslese style.

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Wither Hills, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Lovely clean, green, lightly herbaceous gooseberry and passionfruit with just small nettle and leafy notes. Plenty of fruit. Very fine palate – the green apple and crunchy gooseberry edge really pushes through, with fine lemon and lime acidity and lots of ripe, creamy leesy quality. Fine acidic balance, and nice and dry.

Wither Hills, Chardonnay 2004
25% New oak, 30% Malo. 10% Wild ferment. Really creamy, rich green fig with a nice level of sesame seed and nutty complexity. There’s a note of orange, and plenty of spice and buttery richness. Beautiful creamy, with lots of lemon and a waxy, fine spicy notes. The oak comes through, adding lots of toast and spice, but a blast of lemon and lime acidity really shimmers through the core and extends the finish.

Wither Hills, Pinot Noir 2004
There’s a definite note of minerality comes through on this, with plenty of charry, smoky oak, and then a fine cherry fruit. There is cream and a vivid plum pie fruitiness, but it seems quite bright and Pinot-like. On the palate it is quite generous and broad, with a silky texture and a good deal of bite. Good, fresh acidity, with plenty of bite. This has masses of spice and charry espresso in the finish.

Wither Hills, Pinot Noir 2003
The nose here has some coffee and toast aromas, with vanilla. Lots of bright, juicy, fine cherry and raspberry fruit, nice and soft and juicy. Lovely mouthfilling stuff. There is great, generous, very fine dark fruit. There is a fine, rolling acidity and nicely roughening tannic edge, adding a bit of suede like texture and a juicy edge to it. Lovely rounded coffee and cream finish with tobacco and spices.

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Saint Clair, Pinot Gris Reserve Range 2005
Good solid fruit quality, with plenty of punch and herb-tinged, ripe melon fruit. This has plenty of fruit, and a mealy, rich, very skinny character with pear skins and very ripe nectarine juiciness. Lovely orangy acidity and nice dry, zingy palate and finish.

Saint Clair, Vicar’s Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Quite a herbal, grassy profile here, with definite green bean notes. Fine tropical fruit quality, with nice fruit sweetness and a blast of grapefruit and lime acidity and fruit.

Saint Clair, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
This adds a much more tropical note, with the green notes and plenty of grassy acidity. Lots of fruit sweetness, with a blast of sweet, waxy nectarine and then limes, before a big grapefruity finish.

Saint Clair, Pioneer Block One Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Some green and herbal lift, with a load of succulent, juicy, passionfruit and ripe, rich tropical fruit. Masses of lychee and very, very ripe tropical fruit. Lovely lime acidity kicks through, but lovely quality here.

Saint Clair, Pioneer Block Four Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Much more muted aromatically, with some good green aromatics of fig and a grassy quality. Good fruit here in a very passionfruit, quite vivid gooseberry style, with that lovely quality of gooseberry acidity pushing through in a pithy, dry finish.

Saint Clair, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005
The nose here has a real sweaty, passionfruit Marlborough character, with lots of green aromas and some lychee and mango sweetness. On the palate a really juicy, ripe tropical quality. Lovely mouthfeel and texture, with plenty of lemon and lime and grapefruity. An orange zest crispness really lifts this.

Saint Clair, Riesling 2005
Fresh, sherbetty style of Riesling, with very delicate, talcum powder nose. Little touches of lime. Fine flavours, just hinting at juicy peach and nectarine, but stays limey and limpid into the finish.

Saint Clair, Vicar’s Choice Chardonnay 2004
Very subtle creamy nose, with a mealy character and some good dry white fruit character. Very nice sweetness here, with a touch of sweet, tropical fruit reminiscent of pineapple and juicy mango. Grapefruit acidity comes through, but this perhaps needs a little less sugar for me.

Saint Clair, Chardonnay 2004
There’s a pretty fine, Burgundian, vegetal note at first here. The fruit is very sweet, and really pushes through with lovely fruit sweetness and tropicality, before a big, lemony palate powers through.

Saint Clair, Chardonnay 2004
100% oak. Minty and vanillin oaks at first, with very fine fruit. On the palate it is really sweet with ripe, unctuous nectarine fruit. There’s a lovely orangy quality, and The finish really lengthens and shows lovely quality.

Saint Clair, Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2004
60% new oak, all American. Big, toffeed, mint toffee note with a fine pear and sweet pineapple fruit. Custardy and very ripe. The palate has a nice oily texture, with very good acids – lots of lemon, and lots of very, very generous, mouthfilling fruit richness.

Saint Clair, Pinot Noir 2005
Fine black cherry and slightly herb-tinged liquorice nose. Very fine tobacco and gently smoky aromas. Good black cherry and, polished nose. The fruit is quite tight and polished. Earthy and dark, with good concentration.

Saint Clair, Sawcut Reserve Pinot Noir 2004
(Will be Pioneer’s) There’s a ripe, glossy black plum quality here, just a faint touch of brett, but nothing unpleasant. Quite a meaty quality on the palate too. And there’s a touch of cherry and leather into the finish. There’s a little touch of thyme and fragrance.

Saint Clair, Pioneer’s Pinot Noir 2004
100% French oak. This has an openness and smoky generosity here, with some notes of vanilla and a briary quality. On the palate the fruit becomes very savoury and plumskin and cherry grip adds grip and interest into the finish. This has good acidity too.

Saint Clair, Rapaura Reserve Merlot 2004
Very sweet, rolling tobacco and slightly mint-leafy note. It is a touch herbal, with mostly American oak, giving a sweeter vanillin overlay. Cassis fruit is well developed and ripe. On the palate it has a really sweet, ripe red cherry and rich berry fruit, with some liquoricy touches. The oak becomes quite charry and toasty with an espresso note and fine sweetness. Long, and good quality.

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Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Fine, nicely herbal and passionfruit nose. There is a nice greengage and juicy nectarine quality. Good balance. Nice grapefruit and lime acidity. Long finish.

Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc Spitfire Mk II 2005
Very pungent gooseberry and herbal notes, with a lot of bursting grapefruit and gooseberry. On the palate a blast of sweet, tropical fruit with plenty of ripeness and a great core of lemony and pithy acidity.

Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Pia Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Terrific pea-pod and herb-tinged oatmeally and funky character. Fine dusty, hessian aromas. Lovely grapefruity acidity, with masses of crispness and dry acidity.

Kim Crawford, Gisborne Parklands Gewurztraminer 2005
Quite fragrant lychee and tropical mango aromatics. Very good, very fruity, with lots of unctuous mouthfeel and a weighty apricot and nectarine fruit. Good acids.

Kim Crawford, Waipara Riesling 2005
Slightly flat nose, but the palate has a zesty blast of fine lemony pure fruit

Kim Crawford, Marlborough Dry Riesling 2005
Sherbetty and lemon qualities, with nice medium palate and decent citrussy length.

Kim Crawford, “Bone dry” 2005
Fine Clare Valley style, shot through with lemony flavours and nice zesty impact.

Kim Crawford, Hawke’s Bay Viognier 2005
This has a good varietal nose, with lots of really ripe pears, and a touch of toffee-like quality (Unoaked). Very nice mouthfilling fruit, with a touch of RS, but the balance is good.

Kim Crawford, Pinot Noir 2005
Nice toasty nose, with plenty of coffee and toasted oatmeally quality. Fine silky quality and good bangs per buck.

Kim Crawford, Comely Bank Pinot Noir 2005
Has very fine, rounded, sweet Lovely fruit on the palate, and terrific fruit sweetness. This has a nice ripe tannic structure behind it too.

Kim Crawford, Comely Bank Pinot Noir 2004
A little bit spicy and peppery, with a touch of dried herbs and sweet, ripe fruit. Sweet and ripe on the palate with plenty of fruit and goof acidity, before some toasty, espresso oak comes back through,

Kim Crawford, Hawke’s Bay Pinot 2004
Big mint toffee nose, with plenty of new oak showing through. The fruit on the palate is quite rich and ripe, with a nice plummy quality to it. There’s a liquoricy edge, but tangy freshness.

Kim Crawford, Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2004
All into American oak, about 40% new. Little touch green, with some herbal, dried herb nuances, but a meaty, bloody fruit character. Big mouthful of fruit, with quite silky tannic structure and a big core of acidity.

Kim Crawford, Cabernet Franc 2004
Rather green and a touch stalky, with a touch of liniment. Very fine acidic and crisp fruit, but not crazy about it

Kim Crawford, Tane 2002
A touch of rustic charm here, with lots of richness of red fruits and fine black coffee notes, along with a much meatier, earthier presence. A little touch bretty quality to add an edge.

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Central Otago


Nevis Bluff, Pinot Gris 2003
Tank ferment of whole bunches. Lovely over ripe fruit, with plenty of figgy, opulent richness. On the palate a big, full, very sweet fruited palate. Lots of estery, rich, banana. Lovely wine, with terrific, buttery richness, but the peach and nectarine quality.

Nevis Bluff, Pinot Noir 2004
Some Bannockburn fruit, some Cromwell Basin, some Bendigo and plenty of Gibbston. There’s espresso and charry oak, with some lovely ripe plum fruit. There’s a mineral and quite schisty quality here. On the palate lots of grip and black cherry, with touches of damson skin and a roughening quality. Very good length.

Nevis Bluff, Pinot Noir 2003
There’s a touch of minty sweetness to this. A fine chocolate mint quality. A bright, ripe blackcurrant and cassis quality. On the palate a very lip-smacking quality, with a lovely edge to the fruit. Lots of tannins that are fine and ripe, and a chocolaty quality. Very sweet fruit here, and a lovely fruit sweetness.

Nevis Bluff, Pinot Noir 2002
All Gibbston fruit. Definite touch of herbal quality here, with a herby, thyme quality. A touch of smokiness. Fine cherry fruit, with a fine, ripe, very nicely weighted fruit. Lots of glistening black cherry and plenty of ripe, smoky and chocolaty notes. Good acids, and plenty of ripe, chewy texture to the tannins. Very tangy fruit and concentration. Chocolaty and rich.

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Pisa Moorings, Pinot Noir 2004
30% New oak, blend of coopers, but all medium toast. A touch of vegetal, beetrooty flavour, and plenty of black fruit and a fine cedary, gently chocolaty oak coming through. Lovely mouthfeel, with fine, very pert black fruit. Good fruit quality and mouthfeel, with a fine Pinot character, and plenty of cherry and plummy, black flavours. 355. 3.6 PH.

Pisa Moorings, Pinot Noir 2003
20% New oak. Lovely nose here, with a very Pinot nose, lots of smoky, chocolaty toast, and earthy, quite soft red fruits. Fantastic sweet fruit on the palate, masses of juicy, but rich, sweet fruit, and a fine, soft quite fudgy oak quality. Very lovely silky quality. Very good fruit here and long, and full of finesse.

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Carrick, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Made using 20% of old barrel fermentation. The nose has a nice herbal edge, with a touch of passionfruit and nettle. There’s a hint of oatmeal and plenty of vivid fruit. The palate has lovely passionfruit. And hints of lime and lime blossom, with good balance and fine, lengthening acidity.

Carrick, Riesling 2005
Clean lemon and lime nose, with a touch of mineral, slaty perfume. Lovely crisp Riesling, with very fine lemon and lime flavours. Terrific zesty character into the finish, with lots of clean, crisp fruit.

Carrick, Pinot Gris 2005
Clean, bright, style of Pinot Gris, with a very fine pear and ripe apple fruit nose and a fairly dry, flavoursome palate. Steve says it is very difficult to achieve really ripe flavours without extracting too much phenolics and tannins.

Carrick, Chardonnay 2004
15% new oak here, all French and 100% Malolactic. There’s a touch of nutty, oatmeally richness to this, with some subtle toast and a real minerality. On the palate the fruit is sweet and ripe, with hints of tropicality like nectarine and pineapple, and a lovely mineral acidity into the finish.

Carrick, “Unravelled” Pinot Noir 2004
Entry level, with an attractive and juicy nose, with good raspberry fruitiness and a fine, juicy palate with lively fruit and a savoury, balanced tannin and acid balance.

Carrick, Pinot Noir 2002
Lovely ripe, soft, plush strawberry fruit with a berry richness. Very fine and elegant on the palate. Juicy black plum and black cherry, with good definition. There is real finesse here, with supple tannins and a mouthfilling silkiness, yet crisp acids giving a savoury finish.

Carrick, Pinot Noir 2003
A brief tasting of this as time was against me, but really a lovely nose, brimming with vibrant, rip[e black cherries and with a juicy, elegant, mouth-watering style on the palate.

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Prophet’s Rock, Rocky Point Pinot Noir 2003
20% whole bunch. 40% new all French oak. Made with some bought in fruit from Bannockburn, whilst own vineyards came on stream. Beautifully sweet fruit on the nose, with a dominant character of softer strawberry notes and a little red cherry. The palate has a nice freshness and richness of fruit, with quite mouthfilling fruit, an edge of spice, and plenty of juicy acidity.

Prophet’s Rock Rocky Point Pinot Noir 2004
No whole bunches in this vintage, A little bit more peppery, herbal and with a touch of schisty minerality. Rich, concentrated, savoury style. Much more toasty and rich, with a slightly drier palate, slightly less juicy, with a bigger concentration and lovely spicy length and weight, with fairly big tannins and spicy wood.

Prophet’s Rock, Pinot Noir 2005
Barrel sample. Wine will spend 15 months in oak. Extremely dark, crimson-edged colour, but not dense. Nice juicy cherry and rich, red fruits, with a wrapping of toasty oak already sitting nicely beneath the fruit. The palate has a very fine, ripe, but crisply-defined fruit quality, with a real juiciness and pert cherry and kirsch-like fruit. Lovely grainy tannins and clean, bright acidity add up to a very appealing picture and a very promising wine.

Prophet’s Rock, Rocky Point Riesling 2005
Large river deposits of sand and gravel. Very nice, steely lemony character. A fine, sense of limpid lime coming through, and a fine minerality. On the palate pretty good weight and lovely limpidity of lime and lemon fruit. Decent finish too.

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Felton Road, Chardonnay 2001
Fine mineral-infused, gently herbal nose, with a very Burgundian profile of gently vegetal, fine buttery aromatics. Lovely fruit quality, with lots of passionfruit and juicy nectarine aromatics. Very ripe and pineapply, with lots of juiciness before a fine, racy. Crisp lemon acidity pushes through.

Felton Road, Chardonnay 2004
Has a nice minerality, with a fine fruit quality. Very juicy and pure, with touches of spangle and a really juicy, fantastically rich and mouthfilling, vibrant fruit. Terrific quality here.

Felton Road, Pinot Noir 2003
Delightfully round, charming, soft earthy red fruits. Lovely aromatics, with plenty of rich, juicy, fine cherry quality and a great deal of savoury black cherry acidity. Lovely finesse and bittersweet plummy fruit in the finish. Delightful.

Felton Road, Pinot Noir 2002
Much more mineral, schisty, earthy and cherry-skinned quality on the nose. Fine background of cedary oak beginning to show through. Beautiful palate-filling fruit, with terrific cut and verve, and a lovely juicy sour acidity. There is a fine acidity here and plenty of bitter plumskin tannin and acidity, adding just a chocolaty.

Felton Road, Pinot Noir Block 3 2003
A richness, with a depth of chocolaty, deep, bittersweet ripe, intensely sweet fruit. Fantastic mouthfilling opulence of fruit, silky tannins and a dense, chocolaty finish. Terrific.

Felton Road, Pinot Noir Block 3 2002
Huge raspberry and chocolate and coffee and chocolate note, with plenty of richness and a huge, sweet fruited with a fine

Felton Road, Pinot Noir Block 5 2000
Finely Burgundian nose, with some vegetal, undergrowth notes. Plenty of herbal qualities. This has a lovely sense of suppleness and density, with fine, racy tannins and acidity, but that supporting weight of fruit, chocolate and coffee-edged oak, and a plushness. Beautiful quality. Terrific wine.

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Neudorf, Brightwater Riesling 2005
12.5%. Beautifully aromatic fruit, with a very fine floral quality, a touch of dried citrus, Angelica, lovely. On the palate this has a very, very fine, lemony, zest, minerality. Terrific intensity and fantastic concentrated flavours. Very dry, with very, very fine mineral, searing intensity. (Swig)

Neudorf, Brightwater Pinot Gris 2005
This has a very aromatic, vibrant profile, with a touch of vegetal greenness. There’s a touch of green fig and melon. Very fine palate, with a lovely waxy, lime and Ogen melon ripeness and sweetness. A touch too much acid/sugar perhaps?

Neudorf, Moutere Pinot Gris 2005
Quite oatmeally and rich, with a figgy quality and a more succulent. All barrel ferment, adding a touch of green fig succulent. Terrific weight and depth, with very good mouthfeel and for me, still a touch too much sugar.

Neudorf, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Firmly in the passionfruit aromas, with ripe melon and just touches of nettle. Still punchy and vibrant. The palate has a huge blast of ripe, mouthfilling fruit, edging into the tropical, with touches of lychee and pineapple. Palate has fine weight and balance, and a very intense, long, weighty finish.

Neudorf, Nelson Chardonnay 2004
Fabulous toasty, lavish, green fig and toasty aromas. 25% new oak, then a split of 1, 2 and 3. A touch of flinty minerality. There is a touch of flint, and plenty of zesty lemon fruit. Very fresh and crisp. This has lovely verve and zest. Terrific citrus quality.

Neudorf, Moutere Chardonnay 2004
This has a lovely exotic quality to it, adding a touch of honey and toffee, and very lovely nectarine fruit. Fantastic quality, and very lovely acidity, with a fine, fine minerality and fabulously intense and extended finish. Judy says drinks for 15 years.

Neudorf, Moutere Pinot Noir 2004
Vines getting older and clonal selection improving all the time. Absolutely delightful cherry and rich, bright, soft berry fruit on the nose. Very beautiful. Lovely mouthfeel, with a silky texture, lots of Ripe, crisp, cherry acidity. Good balance and light, but silky texture and a suede-like tannin.

Neudorf, Moutere Home Vineyard Pinot Noir 2003
Adds a little touch of extra aromatic fragrance, with touches of violet and rose-hip, but also a great depth of fruit. Very rich and full. Fabulous fruit sweetness. There is a touch of old leathery, tobacco character. Fantastic opulence.

Neudorf, Nelson Pinot Noir 2004
There is a tobacco note, with just a touch of herbal quality, and some peppery qualities. The palate has a meat-stocky, quite rough-edged tannin quality. Terrific soft, smoky fruit. Very fine quality and though majoring on fruit, has earthiness and smoky, tobacco quality.

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Seifried, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Very punchy, nettle and grassy aromas, with a touch of asparagus. Lovely pear and ripe, apple and lime fruit. Lovely balance on the palate, with a good mouthfeel, Very good length and finesse.

Seifried, Pinot Gris 2005
Quite a fresh, crisp nose, lots of green, herbal tinges and plenty, of ripe, melon fruit. There’s fine freshness. ON the palate there is a definite hint of sweetness, with plenty of cut and sweet crispness.

Seifried, Winemaker’s Collection Riesling 2002
Lovely paraffin, kerosene and waxy notes. Masses of floral and lime aromas. Delightful, off-dry, Kabinett style, with

Seifried, Pinot Noir 2004
£9.99 Through Chalie Richard and Cheviot. (Alan Dawson) Very fine nose, with plenty of delightful, cherry and soft tobacco aromas. All hand-picked and sorted, fermented on skins and post-ferment, then 12 months in barrel, all French. Lovely notes of chocolate and some earthy notes. On the palate the oak sits on top of the fruit, and again this has nice mouthfeel. There’s a silkiness, and good tight acid structure. Very fine, smooth, slightly chocolaty tannins.

Seifried, Syrah 2003
13%. Nice peppery quality here on the nose, with a touch of leafiness. All mechanically harvested. A week on skins, hand plunged. 12 – 14 months, 15% new French oak, rest 2 and 3. Quite nice schisty quality. Cracked pepper, plenty of silky, fresh fruit, raspberry and good juicy fruit on the palate. Cherry, Raspberry. Good fruit and length.

Seifried, Sylvia 2003
100% Zweigelt. Mechanically harvested, de-stemmed, not crushed, fermented on skins and 3 or 4 days pre-ferment soak. 10 days, skins for a week post-ferment. Really bright, crisp firm cherry and slightly raisiny. Very good fruit, with loads of red liquorice, red cherry and crisp edged, juicy fruit. Fine balance and length.

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Go to Tasting notes on 180 New Zealand Pinot Noirs

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