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Tasting Reviews

Sileni Estates 2017 ‘Ridge’ Pinot Rosé and ‘Cellar Selection’ Pinot Noir and Merlot

Since its inaugural vintage in 1998 Sileni Estates has grown enormously and along the way, and the business plan has evolved. The original philosophy was to concentrate on high-end Hawke’s Bay wines, but market demands, especially for export meant including Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in the portfolio. Nowadays, like most large, internationally-focussed producers, Marlborough wine accounts for the majority, around two-thirds of Sileni’s production, but the hearts and passion for top Hawke’s Bay bottlings is very strong for the staff, especially winemakers Grant Edmonds, Nigel Davies and Cairn Coghill. Here, I review three Hawke’s Bay wines from Sileni, a rosé, a Pinot Noir and a Merlot, all from a rather challenging vintage. I can report the winemaking team did a very creditable job.

Sileni Estates ‘Ridge’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir Rosé 2017
Bright strawberry pink colour with peach hues and some depth, lighter on the rim with purple tints. The nose is fresh with soft aromas of red cherry and strawberry fruit along with soft red floral notes, unfolding hints of confectionary. This has a refreshing mineral edge to the aromatics. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has moderately rich flavours of cherry fruit with notes of strawberries, along with red florals and subtle confectionary notes, unfolding a degree of minerality. The mouthfeel is fresh with slippery acidity and the wine flows along a smooth-textured line, leading to a lingering, delicately-fruit finish. This is a cherry and strawberry-fruited dry rosé with floral and confectionary nuances, on a slippery, smooth palate. Serve as an aperitif and with antipasto over the next 2 years. Pinot Noir fruit from the inland ‘Plateau’ and ‘Springstone’ sites, and coastal ‘Parkhill’ vineyard, made from saigneed juice and cool-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 4.4 g/L RS. 17.5/20 May 2018 RRP $34.99

Sileni Estates ‘Cellar Selection’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2017
Light ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues, paler edged. The nose is elegant with a good core of deep and well-concentrated aromas of dark cherry and raspberry fruit along with dark herbs and subtle hints of stalk and earth, unfolding red floral perfumes. Medium-bodied, the palate has sweetly rich fruit flavours of dark-red cherries, strawberries and raspberries, melded with dark herbs along with hints of stalk and earth. The fruit forms a moderately concentrated core and is supported by light, grainy tannin structure with fresh, balanced acidity. The flavours possess good presence, but recede a little on the finish. This is a gently rich and sweet-fruited Pinot Noir with cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit along with herbs and earth, on a light, grainy structure. Match with pasta, pizza and poultry over the next 3 years. Hawke’s Bay fruit fermented to 12.0% alc., the wine given limited oak contact. 17.0/20 May 2018 RRP $19.99

Sileni Estates ‘Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2017
Moderately dark ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, a little lighter edged. Elegant on the nose, this has a well-packed core of dark-red plum and raspberry fruit along with dark-red berry fruit and subtle notes of dark herbs. Medium-bodied, the palate has an elegantly packed core of dark-red plum and berry fruit entwined with subtle notes of fresh herbs. The fruit is softly rich and is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity, and supported by fine-grained tannin extraction lending a degree of linearity. The wine carries to an elegant, sustained finish of plums and raspberries. This is an elegantly concentrated Merlot with plum and raspberry fruit with subtle notes of herbs on a fine, grainy palate with good freshness. Match with barbecued and roasted red meats over the next 3+ years. Merlot from the Bridge Pa Triangle fermented to 12.5% alc., the given limited oak contact. 17.5-/20 May 2018 RRP $19.99
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