(2021) Made with a proportion of barrel fermentation, this is an aromatic Albariño which, tasted blind, I might have guessed as Sauvignon Blanc I confess, punchy and vicacious aromas with a touch of elderflower and tropical fruit. On the palate a cool, salty character helps subdue that, but it remains a particularly bright and vivacious take on Albariño with more punch and verve than a typical Galician example, which you will like more or less depending on your taste I guess.
(2021) A Cabernet-dominated blend from the Gimblett Gravels, that always gives my database a challenge to fit in the full label details. If only they'd rename it 'Bordeaux blend'. Vibrant, dark, saturated crimosn, then bright, almost pastille aromas of blackcurrant and violet, there is a nice gravelly touch to the background, along with some polished oak. In the mouth this has a barrow-load of black fruits, a nicely sour orange tang to the acidity that fits in well, and a roughening edge to the tannins that just grips towards the lip-smacking, juicy but tart and mouth-watering finish.
(2021) From the renowned Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay, this is made with 30% whole bunches and a small percentage of Viognier skins, in 5,000-litre foudres. Slightly more closed than when I last tasted this at the winery a year ago, but a bit of air starts to reveal the perfume, red fruits, violet, but maybe a touch of grilled meat in there too. Juicy stuff in the mouth, sour cherry and liquorice, that smoky/meaty element still there, energy and again, juiciness, strong into the finish.
(2021) From the Bridge Pa Triangle, one of the specific terroirs of Hawke's Bay, prized for its deep gravel soils, and the very hot 2018 vintage. It spent five months in oak and has a small percentage of Viognier in the blend. Very attractive floral and cherry lift to the nose here, all bright fruit and freshness, a little green cool streak (12.5% alcohol). On the palate it is relatively lean, firm, tart raspberry and plenty of acditiy keeping it fresh into the finish. £16.99 on a mixed six deal.
(2021) Also from Bridge Pa in Hawke's Bay, made from whole-bunch fermentation of the Chave clone of Syrah, and aged 12 to 14 months in a mix of 225-litre and 500-litre French oak barrels, 50% new. Again, a fine sense of lifted, more delicate fruit character here, but beneath a more solid blackberry weight comes through and just a nice little herbal note of stemminess. In the mouth relatively plush and smooth, a darker fruit quality than the Te Mata, and a liquoricy stripe of tannin and tart, plum-skin acidity gives it some length too. No UK retail listing at time of review.
(2021) From the excellent 2019 vintage, and again from the Gravels, 18% of this was whole-bunch fermented with indigenous yeasts, and it spent 14 months in barriques of French oak, 25% new. Very vibrant in colour, there's a cool, schist and gravel aspect to the nose, over taut red fruit, a sheen of oak. On the palate the wine opens, still with that taut, gravel and graphite cool, but the cherry and red plum fruit is both bright and deep, supported by some understated oak, into a long, poised finish. Impressive young wine. Price and stockist is for the 2018 vintage at time of review.
(2021) Named after legendary winemaker Tom McDonald, this is made only in the best years, this is whole-bunch pressed and aged in French oak, about half of which was new. You have to like an overtly flinty, struck-match character here, with swirling smokiness, toast and intense preserved lemon and wild mint, a little peachier note. The palate has terrific freshness, with an oyster shell salt and mineral character slicing through that zesty lemon but ripe and succulent mid-palate fruit. No UK stockists at time of review.
(2021) A lovely Chardonnay this, if one of the more straightforward in the line-up. Fermented and aged in new and 1- to 2-year-old French oak barrels. centered around citrus and oatmeal on the nose, the palate has sweetly ripe fruit and medium body, a nice juiciness to the finish. Not available in UK retail at time of review.
(2021) This single vineyard Chardonnay comes from the La Collina vineyard, planted in 2001, and it is a taut, mineral-flecked example, for me very nicely pitched as an elegant, intense wine, with just a touch of flintiness on one hand, and just a touch of ripe tropicality on the other, but while showing facets of both, neither dominates as creamy almond and savoury apple and lemon fruit push through a long finish.
(2021) Launched with the 2018 vintage, this is Askerne's top Chardonnay, grown on stoney, sandy soils with yields lowered, whole bunch and barrel-fermented, all French oak and 45 % new, where it aged on the lees for 11 months. What a lovely nose, smoky and nutty, creamy and suffused with ripe stone fruits, and a beautifully judged gunflint aspect that is quite Burgundian. In the mouth I really like the balance, with a great lemony cut of acidity scything through that burgeoning ripe fruit, but the oak and that flinty minerality always squeezing and propelling the wine forward. My first experience with this producer, and a hugely impressive one.