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Tasting Reviews

Coopers Creek – A Hawke’s Bay Selection

Coopers Creek was founded in 1980 by Andrew and Cynthia Hendry with winemaker Randy Weaver, who established a vineyard and winery in Huapai, in north-west Auckland. The range of wines quickly expanded to incorporate fruit from a purchased vineyard in Hawke’s Bay, and eventually from all of the major wine growing regions. The Coopers Creek portfolio is mind-boggling with many wines under the ‘Classic’ and ‘Select Vineyards’ ranges, with the ‘Reserve’ wines as flagships. Coopers Creek is well-known for trialling new varieties and innovative styles, and the quality is extremely high, the wines regularly winning top awards in wine judging competitions.

Simon Nunns is Coopers Creek’s third winemaker, taking over from Kim Crawford in 1998, and is a major factor in the company’s success. Simon is a highly respected wine judge, and his experience no doubt gives him the insights and perspectives to develop the wines styles. At the recent Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration, Simon asked me to review the 8 wines he was offering to taste to attendees. All of them are Hawke’s Bay wines, and make up only a portion of the total Coopers Creek range. Here are my reviews.
Coopers Creek Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2016
Light ruby-red colour with a little depth, paler on the edge with light purple tints. This has a soft, light nose with aromas of fresh dark cherries and raspberries along with red florals, building in depth with aeration. Medium bodied, the palate has light, accessible flavours of strawberries, cherries and raspberries along with subtle notes of herbs and red floral notes. The fruit has balanced sweetness and richness forming a softly concentrated core, underlined by light tannin textures. The acidity is softly integrated and the flavours carry to a light, easy finish. This is a soft and light-fruited Pinot Noir with strawberry, cherry and raspberry fruit, and light, supple tannins. Serve with salmon and tuna, risotto and antipasto over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from a single block in Mangatahi, fully destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine given oak contact. 16.0/20 Oct 2017 RRP $18.00

Coopers Creek Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2013 
Dark ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim with purple hues, youthful in appearance. The bouquet is elegant in proportion with good intensity of ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit along with notes of white and black pepper, spices and some savoury, earthy, secondary development. Medium-bodied, the palate has finely concentrated flavours of blackberries and raspberries entwined with an amalgam of savoury secondary herb and earth layer, with white and black pepper, and spice elements. The mouthfeel is fresh and lively with a line of acidity, and the palate is guided by light tannin extraction and grip. The tannins and acidity carry the wine to a lingering, savoury-fruited finish. This is a finely concentrated and lively Syrah showing good tannin and grip with savoury secondary development on the blackberry and raspberry fruit. Match with casseroles and game meat over the next 3-4 years. 85% Bridge Pa and 15% Gimblett Gravels fruit fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 13 months in oak. 17.5+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $20.00

Coopers Creek ‘Select Vineyards – Plainsman’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015 
Bright, light straw-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is soft with a concentrated core of savoury citrus fruit harmoniously melded with nutty and creamy barrel-ferment notes with sweet American oak vanilla elements entwined with lemon-curd MLF. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a well-packed and concentrated, but rounded core of savoury citrus fruit and creamy barrel-ferment and nutty elements, showing American oak vanillins and lemon-curd MLF. The flavours are mouthfilling with good depth and richness, and the wine flows with positive energy along a soft-textured line with lacy, refreshing acidity. The wine carries to a long, lingering finish with toasty oak nuances. This is a rich, concentrated, rounded Chardonnay with citrus fruit, sweet nutty American oak and lemon-curd MLF flavours on a soft-textured, but fresh palate. Serve with poultry and pork dishes over the next 4 years. Fruit from 3 sites, 2 from Bay View and one from Koropiko, fully barrel-fermented in seasoned American and French oak to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 6 months in barrel, undergoing some batonnage and 85% MLF. 18.0/20 Oct 2017 RRP $22.00

Coopers Creek ‘Select Vineyards – Chalk Ridge’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015 
Very dark, deep, purple hued ruby-red, a little lighter on the rim, youthful in appearance. The nose is taut and tightly bound with intense aromas of ripe blackberries and dark raspberries, along with plums and violet florals, and nuances of spice, hints of jam, and savoury, nutty oak. Medium-bodied, the palate has rich and sweet, vibrant and bright flavours of dark raspberries with blackberry notes, entwined with violet florals, black pepper and spices, unfolding succulent jam nuances and nutty oak. The fruit sweetness is the feature, and is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and fine underlying acidity. The palate has grip and a long, lingering finish. This is a well-balanced Syrah with sweet and juicy blackberry and raspberry fruit, with pepper, spice, florals and jam notes on a fine-grained, textural palate. Serve with lamb, beef and venison over the next 5-6 years. Syrah fruit from the ‘Chalk Ridge’ block, south of Havelock, and a small amount of Gimblett Gravels fruit, co-fermented with 1.53% Viognier to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 50% new French oak. 18.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $28.00

Coopers Creek ‘Select Vineyards – Gimblett Gravels’ Hawke’s Bay Cabernet/Merlot 2015
Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with black-purple hues, a little lighter on the rim and youthful in appearance. The nose is full and gently voluminous with oft aromas of ripe blackcurrants and cassis melded harmoniously with dark-red plum notes, unfolding dark herb detail and some iron-earth nuances. Medium-full bodied, the palate has sweet and rich fruit flavours of blackcurrants and cassis, intermixed with dark plums forming a rounded heart, unveiling nuances of dark herbs andiron-earth adding complexity. The fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and the mouthfeel has a smooth-flowing, textured line leading to a soft, lingering finish of black fruits and herbs. This is a sweet, rich-fruited Cabernet/Merlot blend with blackcurrant, plum and cassis flavours with herb and earth interest on a finely extracted palate. Match with roast lamb or beef over the next 5-7 years. A blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 47% Merlot from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.5% alc. the Cabernet aged 15 months and the Merlot aged 14 months in barrel, with 3% new oak. 18.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $28.00

Coopers Creek ‘Select Vineyards – Metals and Gravels’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Malbec 2013 
Full, even, dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues on the rim. The nose is softly concentrated with a firm core of savoury dark-red berry fruits and plums, intermingling with tobacco and dried herbs, and subtle earthy notes. This is showing some secondary development. Medium-full bodied, the palate has vibrant and lively fruit flavours of dark-red berry fruit and plums forming a concentrated heart. The fruit has subtle layers of earth, and is enlivened by fine, fresh, lacy acidity. Fine-grained tannins support the fruit as the wine grows in intensity and grip, revealing savoury secondary notes. The wine carries to a full-fruited and textured finish. This is a firmly concentrated Merlot/Malbec blend with complex savoury secondary flavours of tobacco and herbs and a firm, deep palate. Match with slow-cooked game meat or with semi-hard cheeses over the next 6+ years. A blend of 78% Merlot from the Gimblett Gravels and 22% Malbec from the Red Metals, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 10% new oak. 18.0/20 Oct 2017 RRP $25.00

Coopers Creek ‘Select Vineyards – Saint John’ Hawke’s Bay Malbec 2013 
Even, dark ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues. The nose is full with good volume and presence, the fruit aromatics a little restrained, showing ripe blackberries and plums with fragrant red florals entwined with dark herb, spice and earthy elements. The aromatics open up with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich, lush, plush and succulent flavours of dark-red berryfruit and plums, along with subtle notes of spice and suggestions of herbs and earth. The fruit is up-front and mouthfilling and is balanced by fine, grainy tannin structure with integrated acidity. The wine carries positively to a full, sweet-fruited and textured finish. This is a fulsome, sweet-fruited Malbec with succulent dark berry and plum flavours and plenty of structure. Match with roasted game meat dishes over the next 6-8+ years. Fruit from the ‘Red Metals’ vineyard, previously owned by Mr St John York’, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in seasoned oak. 18.5+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $28.00

Coopers Creek ‘Swamp Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2014
Bright, light golden-yellow with lemon hues, a little paler on the edge. The nose is full and deeply concentrated with well-packed aromas of savoury citrus fruit and yellow stonefruits harmoniously entwined with complex creamy and nutty barrel-ferment notes, subtle buttery MLF, and toasty oak unfolding smoke and a hint of minerals. Medium-full bodied, the palate has deeply concentrated and densely packed, rich flavours of savoury citrus fruit, yellow stonefruits, mealy elements and complexing layers of creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak. Some buttery MLF and toasty oak adds interest. The flavours are mouthfilling witth underlying drive, and the wine flows along a finely textured line with fresh, lacy acidity, leading to a very long and sustained finish of citrus fruit and toast. This is a rich, fulsome and complex layered Chardonnay with savoury citrus fruit, creamy and nutty oak, and with toast and smoke. Match with grilled and roasted poultry, pork and veal dishes over the next 5-6 years. Hand-picked fruit from a single vineyard in the Havelock North hills, WBP and barrel-fermented with 40% by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months on lees in 40% new oak with some batonnage and 100% MLF. 19.0-/20 Oct 2017 RRP $40.00


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