(2022) From Hawke's Bay, not most people's first thought when it comes to Pinot Noir, and indeed Te Mata thought long and hard about releasing this wine, even though the vineyard was planted over 20 years ago. It was a good decision as this wine, and a previous vintage tasted on a visit in 2020, proves. It was de-stemmed and aged in a mix of new and seasoned French oak barriques for 11 months. Bright and deep crimson in colour, there's a really pretty floral and fragrant red fruit character aromatically, with a chestnutty background that's lightly earthy and woody. The palate is deliciously plush and velvetty, with plenty of fruit, but there is a liquorice and, again, chestnut edge of very juicy acidity and firm, fine tannins to extend the finish. Really quite lovely. Stockist is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2022) Stonecroft boasts the oldest Syrah vines in New Zealand, planted by Dr. Alan Limmer in 1984. This flagship wine contains fruit from these vines and is a selection of the best French oak barriques, in which the wine matured for 20 months (40% new). Only 110 cases were produced. This shows little sign of the five years it has under its belt, the colour bold and deep, and the aromas surging from the glass, of thick, blue-black fruit, cedary spices, tobacco and leather. Amongst all of that there is a higher, kirsch-like bright note too. In the mouth there's plenty of toasty, chocolate-deep oak wrapped around the black fruit, but there is an elegance too, a fresh and tart plum skin bittersweetness, fine acid balance and a long, harmonious finish that's all about the intensity of the fruit. Very impressive, though no UK retail listing at time of review.
A single vineyard wine, planted in 1999 on gravels, with a mix of Chardonnay clones. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak barriques (40% new), 60% went through malolactic and the wine stayed in barrel for 11 months.Most attractive, with the oak on the mint and butterscotch, rather than toasty, spectrum. Buttery with succulent stone fruits. On the palate equally posied and sophisticated, such lovely clarity here, thanks to the knife-edge acid line, but also a crystalline sense of purity to the fruit, the oak again just adding a cashew and almond finesse rather than anything too aggressive.
(2022) From the highly experienced Tony Bish, this is fermented in three-year-old French oak barriques, around 30% new, and did go through full malolactic. A delightfully creamy, buttery Brazil nut nose of mellow oak, nutty tones to the fruit beneath too. On the palate there's an intensity that's immediate, but a certain savoury reserve too. Fruit is juicy, ripe apricot and peach, but the citrus core of acidity and nuances of flint and saline create an unwavering core through to the finish. Very nicely balanced.
(2022) A single vineyard, barrel-aged Chardonnay from alluvial soils, it spent one years in new and second fill French oak. A nice butterscotch and glacé oranges and lemons character here, rounded and sophisticated, the oak tempered and the picture pure and clear. In the mouth the story continues. There is a touch of coffee and toast, but intense and concentrated citrus and peach, slippery texture and buttery undertones all add up to a sleek and sophisticated wine of great style, finishing with a touch of salty minerality. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2022) Fruit here is all from the famous Gimblett Gravels, a mix of Chardonnay clones fermented in new 500-litre French oak puncheons. The wine completed malolactic and spent one year in barrel on lees. There's a lot of toasted grain notes on the nose here, but not aggressively so, a buttery underpinning and ripe fruit also in the mix. In the mouth the sweetness and intensity of the fruit is striking, but it is shot through with a limey core of acid giving real verve. There are some reductive flinty notes adding another honing edge, the oak is there but relatively subtle, and the finish is long and harmonious. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2022) A new name to me, and a very small production with no UK retail listing at time of review. Grown on gravel soils, vines have an average age of 25 years and the wine was fermented with indigenous yeast in mostly older French oak barrels, where is spent 10 months and went through malolactic. It's also one of few wines under natural cork, sealed with wax. Pale in colour and subtle in aroma, much less oak dominance here than many, a citrus and salts, arguably slightly neutral character, but very harmonious. In the mouth it's a lovely wine: the oak remains cool and subtle, the fresh but ripe apple and pear showing a little flint and salt, traces of a more luscious stone fruit, but a cool, intense and sophisticated finish.
(2022) Elephant Hill is in coastal Te Awanga, but that fruit is blended with a portion from the gravelly, warmer inland soils of the Bridge Pa Triangle, the wine spending one year in French oak, around one-third new. Softly and sweetly oaked on the nose, crushed oatmeal and almond over stone fruits. In the mouth the oak is a little more dominant at this stage, spices and toast, a touch of Jack Daniels character, but that should subsidewith a year or two in bottle, allowing the very pure, ripe peach and luscious pear to come through. Clean lemon-fresh acidity and a trace of saline in the finish. Price and stockist at time of review are for the previous vintage.
(2022) A selection of the best fruit from the Middle Road Chardonnay block was barrel fermented, with malolactic fermentation and around 33% of the French oak barrels were new. Aa lot of minty, elegant freshness here - more minty than toasty - with a certain precision to the citrus and pear fruit. In the mouth there's plenty of pithy lemon to give sharpness, in a wine that's much more about steely, flinty precision than opulence, but that's definitely not to say it lacks generosity or flesh.
(2022) Hand-picked, whole bunch pressed, with natural ferment and 100% malo-lactic fermentation, this was aged in barrel for 8 months, all French oak and around one third new. Butterscotch and light toast on the nose over subtle flint and ripe pear and nutty apple. In the mouth this has lovely poise and a real sense of elegance. It has all the concentration and weight of leesy texture of any of the wines here, but retains a limpid sense of precision and creamy finesse as well as copious, juicy fruit ripeness. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.