Featured Reviews

A Laithwaite’s Australian White and Red Selection

11 May,2018

Starting small and personally, Tony Laithwaite established his home delivery wine merchant business in the U.K. in 1969. Nowadays it is one of the world’s most successful, with offices around the world and presences in many, many markets. Laithwaite’s began its offerings to the New Zealand market in 2015. One of the factors that makes them successful are exclusive bottlings and selections made to meet the preferences in each market. Most of the wines for this country have been full, ripe and hearty, something New Zealand doesn’t do as well as warmer-climate countries. This is designed to match the older wine buying demographic, but we should see a trend towards more elegant wines to attract a wider market. Here, I review four Australian wines, two whites and two reds. www.laithwaites.co.nz


Avera ‘Single Vineyard’ Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from Australia – South Australia


Bright, light straw-yellow colour, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is fresh and elegantly packed with good depth and intensity of cool-spectrum fruit aromas of fresh herbs, nettles, cut grass and some underlying passionfruit notes. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a rounded heart showing flavours of nettles, cut grass, green capsicums with herbs and notes of passionfruit. The acidity is restrained, contributing to the rounded, but refreshing mouthfeel. The flavours are up-front and show pungency, and carry to a light finish of green stonefruits and herbs. This is an up-front, cool-spectrum Sauvignon Blanc with nettle, herb, cut grass and passionfruit flavours on a rounded, but fresh palate. Serve with salads and vegetables, and Mediterranean fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from a single site in the Adelaide Hills, fermented in stainless-steel to 11.5% alc. Winemaker: Fuse Wines. 16.5+/20 May 2018 RRP $21.00

RedHeads Studio ‘The Back Shed’ Adelaide Hills Pinot Grs 2017

Pinot Gris from Australia – South Australia


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with some depth and a suggestion of blush, lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh and clean with pure aromas of white stonefruits, some pear fruit and complexing nutty, minerally lees elements. This is finely proportioned with good intensity. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a tightly concentrated core of white stonefruits along with a soft amalgam of white florals, pears and nutty, minerally lees. The mouthfeel possesses a fine, dry-textured phenolic line and the palate has good underlying gentle acid drive, lending linearity. The wine carries to a light, nuanced finish. This is a fresh, crisp and taut dry Pinot Gris with stonefruit, floral and leesy notes on a fine-textured line. Match with seafood and poultry over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from a single vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. Winemaker: Dan Graham. 17.5-/20 May 2018 RRP $20.00

Beneficio ‘Cellar Reserve’ McLaren Vale Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2017

Blended Red from Australia – South Australia


Dark ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with slight garnet hues. The nose is soft and gently voluminous with fragrant aromas of dark raspberry fruit along with red florals, unfolding some blackberry and plum notes and suggestions of liquorice and spice. Medium-full bodied, the palate is accessibly broad with rich, juicy and succulent flavours of dark raspberries, lifted red florals and notes of blackberries interwoven with liquorice, spices and plum jam elements. The fruit sweetness is balanced by fine, grainy tannin extraction and structure, lending good grip and presence, with soft acidity adding to the richness. The flavours carry to a luscious finish. This is a rich, juicy and succulent GSM with sweet flavours of dark raspberries, blackberries, liquorice and spices, along with plum notes on a well-structured palate. Match with barbecued, grilled and roasted red meats over the next 5-6+ years. A blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Shiraz and 10% Mourvedre, fruit from old vines, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 6 months in 2 y.o. and 3 y.o. French oak. Winemaker: Fuse Wines. 18.5/20 May 2018 RRP $20.00

Chapel Hill ‘The Prophet’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016

Syrah from Australia – South Australia


Very dark, deep, near impenetrable black-hued red with purple hues on the rim. The nose is very concentrated and tightly bound with intense and deep aromas of ripe blackberry fruit along with nuances of liquorice and black pepper, Asian spices, black minerals and tar. This is still to unfold to show its potential. Full-bodied, the palate id tightly packed with ripe flavours of black berried fruits intermixed with black minerals, tar, some black pepper and spice notes. The fruit shows great concentration with underlying power and linearity. The fruit extract and tannins form an impressive framework and structure, the tannins very fine-grained and powdery. The acidity is integrated and the fruit sweetness emerges to carry to a long and sustained finish of black fruits and spices. This is a tightly bound, impressively concentrated and powerful black-fruited Shiraz with minerals black pepper and liquorice and considerable fine-grained extraction. Match with slow-cooked game meat and semi-hard cheeses over the next 10-12+ years. Shiraz fruit from the McLaren Vale fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged10 months in 1 y.o. and 2 y.o. oak. Winemaker: Michael Fragos. 19.0-/20 May 2018 RRP $44.00

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