(2022) An inexpensive Marlborough Chardonnay (93% Wairau, 7% Awatere) aged 11 months in French oak barriques, 15% new. Mealy and almondy, there's a little touch of flintiness to the creamy apple fruit. In the mouth the lightly biscuity oak supports quite clean and lean fruit, certainly more in the apple and citrus spectrum than tropical, with a tight, pithy lemon finish.
(2022) From dozens of Marlborough wines tasted from the 2020 harvest there is no doubt it's a top vintage, rightly being touted as such. This lovely Sauvignon is much more about ripe and juicy peach and nectarine than anything more aggressively herbaceous, with just a background hint of elderflower and gooseberry. In the mouth that ample juiciness of fruit continues, but the thrust of pink grapefruit and Seville orange sharpens the whole picture up into a dry, and long, finish. Mouth-watering and excellent.
(2022) Most of the 70% Sauvignon Blanc component was fermented in steel, with small proportion of the Sauvignon and all of the Semillon fermented and matured in new French oak for eight months. In bottle now for almost eight years, this is cracking stuff, still herbal, grassy, vibrant and vivacious, there's a sense of exotic and opulent passion fruit, but the palate streaks with limey, textured creaminess. Plenty of zesty acidity slices through the finish in a lovely wine, akin to a white Bordeaux, but with the expressive dial turned up to 11 - and no hurry to drink either.
(2022) Always a delightfully well-balanced Chardonnay, this has only 12 5% alcohol. It is fermented in French oak (25% new), spending an additional 12 months in oak with regular lees stirring. Mealy and gently honeyed on the nose, there's a touch of hazelnut and biscuit, and a ripe fruitiness beneath. There's a very nicely judged flinty quality too, that is also evident on the palate, giving extra freshness. Along with lemony acidity that gives decisive bite to the sweet, fleshy peach fruit. What a lovely wine once again.
(2022) John Forrest's Pinot Noir has 9.5% alcohol and an elegant, pale to medium density and colour, with pleasant aromas of cherry and some tobacco-like spices. There's a little floral edge too, so authentically Pinot for sure. In the mouth there's a sour cherry and lemon savouriness to this, perhaps just lacking a little in fruit roundness or ripe generosity. It is certainly dry and gastronomic, though I feel a little more flesh on its bones would be to its benefit.
(2022) Though part of the Doctors' low-alcohol range, this is farmed conventionally - it's the unconverted 30-odd grammes of residual sugar that give the 9% alcohol and lovely balance. A portion comes from clay in Brancott, the rest from Wairau greywacke stones. Lovely floral notes, it's a ringer for Mosel Riesling, with delicious limey fruit, a sherbetty brightness and pure apple acidity. A touch of phenolic grip just adds some structure around the edges.
(2022) Part of the Riverby range, but not carrying the Riverby Estate label because it is not made from estate-grown fruit. Its a tremendously decadent wine, heady with winter jasmine, lychee and Turkish delight aromas, then full, oily and rich on the palate. The flavours have that exotic profile, nectarine, mango, a bittersweet kumquat or blood orange, then a resounding blast of acidity that brings this to a dry, mouth-coating finish.
(2021) Left to hang on the vine late into the autumn when Botytis developed on the bunches, this is a dessert wine in the style of one of Germany's Trockenbeerenausle wines, sold in half bottles and lusciously sweet with around 200g/l of residual sugar. A burnished gold in colour, it opens laden with honey and barley sugar, but beneath there is a zest of Seville orange mamalade, the glycerine and lemon richness surging onto the palate. The unctuous richness of texture and fabulously exotic ripe mango and papaya needs to be balanced, and the wine does it beautifully, crystalline lemon zestiness pushing through. Fabulous. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Aged in French oak barriques for 10 months, 20% new oak, this is made by Matt Thompson of Blank Canvas. Spices and interesting fruit character, some floral exotic notes, and earthy undertow beneath. The palate shows the creaminess a little more, plenty of sweetness to the fruit but depth of nutmeg spice and good acidity that gives this substance and layered interest.
(2021) Quite a full buttercup colour for a Riesling, and plenty of wax and nettle character on the nose, some fat lemony fruit notes beneath. Off-dry on the palate, there's a bit of slippery weight to the texture and plenty of juicy and ripe fruit here, but it is nicely constrained by the acidity. Quite a stony, salty dryness kicks in on the finish.