Tasting Reviews

Grove Mill with Greg Lane

Greg Lane was appointed the winemaker at Foley Family’s Grove Mill Marlborough winery in October 2017. As part of the Foley Family organisation, he works with Stu Marfell of Vavasour who looked after the Grove Mill production until Greg’s arrival. Greg’s previous role was at the renowned Shaw and Smith winery in the Adelaide Hills, a notable cool-climate region of Australia, where he spent 4 years. During that time, Greg was also involved in the development of the Tolpuddle Vineyard in Tasmania.

Greg, originally from Adelaide, has moved to Marlborough with his wife Sarah, also a winemaker (and a Kiwi), to bring what he has learned in Australia, and apply it to the unique Marlborough fruit. Already he has struck success, winning the 2018 New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year, and several of his Grove Mill wines being awarded highly at wine shows.

Greg Lane - Grove Mill Winemaker

A Visit by Greg Lane and Stu Marfell
Greg Lane and Stu Marfell paid me a visit in Wellington to show a selection of the latest Grove Mill wines that Greg had been responsible for. On previous visits by Stu Marfell, I had tasted several Grove Mill wines and found the bar was being raised by Stu and his Foley Family team. With Greg Lane focussed on the Grove Mill brand, I think we can see a further jump up in quality.

The Grove Mill brand is being revitalised to show its own distinct identity, that of expressing the Wairau Valley, as say different to the Vavasour wines which represent the Awatere Valley. Here are my reviews of the wines tasted. www.grovemill.co.nz

Grove Mill Wairau Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Bright, very pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and voluminous with well-packed layers of pungent passionfruit and tropical fruit with notes of fresh herbs, snow peas and capsicums. This has plenty of aromatic presence and weight. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has sweetly rich, pungent flavours of passionfruit and tropical fruit along with fresh herbs and snow peas forming a rich, concentrated and rounded heart. The fruit sweetness is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity, and the wine flows along a very fine-textured line leading to a long and sustained finish of passionfruit and tropical fruit. This is a sweetly rich-fruited Sauvignon Blanc with pungent passionfruit, tropical fruit and herb flavours with enlivening acidity and a fine line. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from the lower Wairau including the ’17 Valley’ vineyard, vines on average 18 y.o., cool-fermented with inoculated and indigenous yeasts in stainless-steel with 5% in French oak with solids to 13.0% alc. and 3.4 g/L RS, the wine aged 3 months on lees. 18.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $20.00

Grove Mill Wairau Valley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018
Brilliant straw-yellow colour with light green-gold hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is very fresh and taut with elegantly concentrated aromas of white and yellow stonefruits entwined with subtle notes of exotic florals, pears and honeysuckle, along with minerally suggestions. This is pure and possesses clarity. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has an elegantly concentrated and tightly bound core of white and yellow stonefruits, entwined with exotic florals, with pear and honeysuckle nuances, unveiling refreshing mineral elements. The palate has a fine-textured line guiding the wine as it flows with balanced acidity, leading to a taut, lingering finish. This is a taut, medium-dry Pinot Gris with elegant flavours of stonefruits and exotic florals with a fresh mouthfeel and a fine-textured line. Serve with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 3 years. 100% Pinot Gris fruit from the ’17 Valley’ vineyard and a site in the Omaka Valley, Wairau Valley, cool-fermented in stainless-steel with 5% in French oak to 13.0% alc. and 7.22 g/L RS, the wine aged 3 months on lees. 18.0-/20 Nov 2018 RRP $20.00

Grove Mill Wairau Valley Marlborough Rosé 2018
Bright salmon-pink colour with some depth, lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is softly fresh with aromas of strawberries interwoven with lifted red florals and some fresh herb nuances, and delicate mouthwatering minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a gently concentrated heart of strawberries and cream along with soft red florals melded with nuances of fresh herbs, a little confectionary and thirst-quenching mineral nuances. The mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity and the wine flows smoothly along a fine line, leading to a fragrant fruited finish. This is a softly concentrated dry rosé with flavours of strawberries, florals and confectionary elements on a fresh, smooth-flowing palate. Serve with dim sum and Asian cuisine over the next 2 years. 100% Pinot Noir from a single block close to the winery, Wairau Valley, picked cool and cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 3.52 g/L RS. 17.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $20.00

Grove Mill Wairau Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2017
Bright, even, light yellow colour with green-gold hues, a little paler on the rim. The nose is finely concentrated with firm and layered aromas of white and yellow stonefruits entwined with gunflint mineral reduction complexities along with nutty oak and lees elements, and a creamy barrel-ferment and MLF amalgam, unfolding a little toastiness. The fruit richness grows with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate has a finely concentrated, soft and integrated heart with sweetly rich flavours of white and yellow stonefruits and a little citrus fruit, harmoniously melded with a gentle layer of gunflint complexity along with nutty oak and creamy barrel-work and MLF. The flavours carry along a smooth-textured line with balanced, fresh acidity and the wine leads to a sustained finish. This is a finely concentrated smooth-flowing Chardonnay with sweet stonefruit and nutty oak flavours with complexing gunflint elements and nutty, creamy elements. Match with roasted seafood, poultry and pork over the next 3-4 years. Clones 548, 95 and 15 fruit from mature vines from the ‘Bedford Road’ vineyard, in the Wairau Valley, part WBP and part crushed and destemmed, fully barrel-fermented by inoculated and indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in 15% new French oak with batonnage and 70% MLF. 18.5-/20 Nov 2018 RRP $20.00

Grove Mill Wairau Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017
Even ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is elegant in expression with soft aromas of red cherry and berry fruit lifted by subtle notes of fresh herbs and delicate dark-red floral elements with some nutty oak. A little spiciness unfolds in the glass. Medium-bodied, the palate has an finely proportioned presentation with moderately concentrated flavours of red cherry and berry fruit intermixed with nuances of fresh herbs and nutty oak. Red floral notes provide lift and aromatic fragrance, and spice hints add interest. The fruit sweetness is balanced by soft, supple tannin extraction and acidity that lends gentle palate freshness. The wine carries to a taut, nutty finish. This is an elegant Pinot Noir with moderately rich cherry and berry fruit with floral, nutty oak and spice detail on a supple palate. Serve with poultry and pork, and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 3+ years. Clone 5, 6, 115, 777 and 667 fruit from the close-planted vines in the ’17 Valley’ vineyard, Wairau, fully destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 18% new French oak. 17.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $25.00
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