(2019) Much fuller and more ripe than the Restless River Cab Sauvignon (tasted alongside and which is a bit of a Cab Franc lookalike), 20% whole clusters were used and the wine aged only in larger oak. Creamy and ripe fruit, a certain density to the aroma, lots of spices and elegant tobacco, touched by Cab Franc leafiness. The palate has such juiciness married to dryness, really dry, but not at all over-extracted, with great, tangy fruit-skin bite and energy.
(2015) 40 year old vineyards grown on shale soils, aged in old French oak barrels. Delightful deep colour but light in texture and extract. A plum and liquorice edge of brightness to this, deliciously plummy and high in acid with fantastic energy. Great depth of flavour.
(2013) 52% Semillon fermented in 500-litre casks, Romanian and French. The Sauvignon Blanc is unwooded. There's a creamy, gently almondy and toasty note here of barrel ferment, with the buttery and lemony aromas to the fore, much more white Bordeaux than Loire or NZ. The palate is very fresh, very vibrant, the lemony freshness coming through powerfully and the white fruit and mineral acidity. Does it have a slight hole in the middle/disjointedness? Very impressive, but perhaps that transition from creamy to crisp needs to be smoothed a little.
(2013) A big wine at 15.1% abv, this is 28% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot. Big, coffee dominated nose, the Cab Franc, just about showing through with a freshening touch, plenty of spice and cedar is quite classic, certainly power here, but also a sense of clarity. On the palate it has a lot of dry extract, a lot of alcohol too, just giving a little heat, but again the quality of fruit, wood and the ripe but grippy tannins and acidity all nicely balanced. If this could have been a degree lower in alcohol with somehow the same phenolic ripeness, it would have been even better.
(2013) Fresh, a touch of lemon and leafiness, though not hugely distinctive. The palate has fine juicy freshness though the ripe sweetness of the fruit is what makes this gently tropical and easy to drink. Dry in the finish, not complex but balanced.
(2013) Creamy and gently earthy red and black berry fruits, this is direct and ripely juicy. The palate has a lean streak of firm, quite tight plum and black, tart fruit skins. There is a little coffee and earth in the finish, a roughening rustic tannin grip and enough fresh acidity.
(2013) Made from Chenin Blanc. Fresh and appetising nose, with a touch of lime and lemon, but mostly a ripe apple fruitiness. A rolling, rich mousse, with a lovely sour apple and sour lemon fruit and acidity, with plenty of flavour and a nice element of toast to marry with the lovely apple acids.
(2013) This is made with 8.6g/l of residual sugar, so is just off dry. Much deeper, more yellow colour. Nutty, touches of nectarine or pineapple, a touch of syrup or honey on the nose too, some vanilla again. On the palate this is a big wine, the RS apparent, and against the structure and power of the wine it feels a little hot in the finish, perhaps a little disjointed.
(2013) 14.5% abv. Subtly rich, deep and creamy, the oak giving a deep sheen and gentle mintiness, even violet, just a touch of chocolate but nothing too showy in terms of the wood. The black fruit is rich and ripe, fleshy on the plate, showing a lovely weight and texture, plenty of sweetness, but a cut and freshness too. The juicy finish is beautifully judged, the oak again tight grained and fresh, though it does have spice and chocolate.
(2013) Nicely earthy, a touch of game and animal quality here, the solid cassis and black fruit with cedary and incense finesse, but mostly about the black fruit. The firmness is there on the palate too, juicy, a big squirt of tart black cherry and blackcurrant, seems to have plenty of acidity and a freshness about the finish despite an impression of fruit sweetness.