(2017) Seven Springs has come a long way in a short time, including scooping a 'silver' in the Decanter World Wine Awards for this wine. Aged in 300-litre barrels for a year, it has toast and vanilla, but the cool harvest has also created a touch of green - fig and greengage - that gives lovely tension and aromatic complexity, the wild yeast ferment adding a savoury aspect. In the mouth it has bold, fresh acidity to offset the ripe stone fruits, teetering on tropical, but drier and more restrained as it finishes with fine clarity.
(2017) There's a delightful subtlety to the way the oak has been handled here, adding sheen and gentle creaminess to the ripe, supple fruit, a hint of Pinot truffle and briar. In the mouth nicely fresh and agile, a spine of acidity, a touch of oak charriness, and the savoury fruit and spice finishing quite long.
(2017) Always one of my favourites in the Seven Springs range, this powerful 14% Syrah has youthful exuberance to spare, with a bold, ripe black fruit aroma, underpinned by notes of chocolate and tobacco, but there's a hint of violet lift in there too. Smooth and creamy on the palate, the weight of that fleshy berry and plum fruit is there, tight, fine tannins and juicy acids completing a deliciously easy-drinking yet quite structured young wine that will cellar for a few years.
(2017) Not the most expensive wine in the Seven Springs line-up, but you know I really enjoyed this. Only 12.5% alcohol, but crammed with flavour and a lovely creamy texture too, it flirts between nectarine sweet juiciness and the zest of fresh squeezed lemon, and slipped down very easily indeed with chicken in a garlicky, lime and ginger-spiced marinade.
(2017) As always, the Sauvignon Blanc from Seven Springs is about intensity and concentration, about drive and minerality as much as flamboyance. Having said that, there is an edge of cut grass and nettles on the nose, as well as a hint of tropical fruit, along with plenty of citrus and apple skins. On the palate delicious intensity, a streaking mineral and lemon zest freshness, dry, with a shimmering quality of fruit giving shine and brilliance. The best vintage yet for this I think.
(2016) An estate and a wine I've followed since their first vintage in 2010, and this 2013 harvest wine has benefitted from earlier picking which has brought it in with a modest 12.5% alcohol and a zippily fresh and crunchy character. Lots of fresh-sliced apple and lemon on the nose, and a gently creamy quality, then it bursts onto the palate with a really vivacious brightness, apple again and star fruit, the citrus freshness of the finish, but not austere or too dry, giving it sippability and quite broad food-matching appeal.
(2015) Just 12.5% ABV and 100% Chardonnay from old, dry-farmed bush vines. Very lovely crushed oatmeal and gentle earthiness, that dry and mellow concentration again with a blast of cool orange acidity. So juicy and vital, this is a mouth-watering Chardonnay.
(2014) As with their earlier releases, this is a Sauvignon Blanc that nods towards Europe as much as it does towards New Zealand in terms of its pitch and style. The nose is relatively subdued, offering citrus and a creamy suggestion of roundness and concentration. On the palate there is only a trace of elderflower or gooseberry herbaceousness - this Sauvignon seems to be more about texture and cool orchard fruit character, with a lovely freshening thrust of lemon and lime in the finish.
(2014) This wine vied with others in the Seven Springs portfolio as my most enjoyable. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, it is its ripeness and lees contact that gives such a lovely aroma: crushed almond melds with lemon-meringue pie, all sorts of luscious hints, but with a core of steely precision. On the palate it is full-textured and weighty, with fat lemon and lime fruit and fruit-skin tang, lots of those waxy peel notes and lovely length and concentration. Hints of spices and honeyed sweetness play against savoury and decisive, dry acidity in the finish.
(2014) This cuvée was fermented in second- and third-fill, 300-litre barrels, 20% American and 80% French, using a combination of wild and commercial yeasts. It aged a further 11 months on the lees in barrel. There is more overt oak influence than on the 2010, with toast and a whisper of Jack Daniels, all nicely nutty with a rounded lime and apple fruitiness beneath. On the palate it is a big wine with over 14% alcohol, but the acidity tempers that, and there is no sense of tropical über ripeness. There is good fruit sweetness through the mid-palate, and the oak does not dominate the finish, it adds only a gentle spice and buttery toast to the clean, mineral-etched flavours. A very different wine from the unoaked 2012, and delicious.