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Featured Reviews




Alana Estate Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Releases

21 March,2018

Alana Estate is the Martinborough wine brand owned by Mike Cornish of Wairarapa Vintners who was one of the owners of the original Alana Estate before it was purchased by Murdoch James. Operating under the new company since 2014, Alana Estate has a winery and cellar door on Kitchener Street. Fruit is drawn from several vineyards in the district, and the wines continued to be made by Alex Craighead, noted for his minimal intervention approach, use of wild yeasts and low sulphur in making the wines. He has been assisted by Alistair Gardner who has his own Grava wine label, these wines also sold at the Alana Estate cellar door. Alistair has taken over from Alex for the 2018 vintage. He has a proven track record in winemaking, so should continue the work of Alex. Unusually, the Alana Estate wines are sold direct to the public, rather than through the services of a distributor in New Zealand, and the full-page newspaper advertisements are eye-catching, and no doubt draw in clientele. Here, I review Alana Estate’s new releases, a 2017 Pinot Gris, Riesling from 2017 – 2015, Chardonnay from 2016 and 2015, a 2014 Blended White, as well as two 2017 Pinot Noirs and the 2016 ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir. www.alana.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Alana Estate Martinborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

16.5-/20

Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth and a hint of blush, lighter edged. The nose is fresh with gently voluminous aromas of fragrant white and yellow stonefruits along with notes of honey, hints of exotic florals and nuances of musk. This has a refreshing steeliness, and unveils some lifted fermentation esters. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is somewhat slender with tautness, showing soft and light flavours of stonefruits and florals with hints of honey. The mouthfeel is brisk and zesty with racy acidity, and the wine possesses a light, textural line. The flavours recede as the wine carries to the finish. This is a taut, up-front dry Pinot Gris with light aromatic stonefruit, floral and honied flavours on a racy palate with light phenolic grip. Serve as an aperitif and with antipasto over the next 2 years. Fruit from the Crosby and ‘Moy Hall’ vineyards, fermented in tank with approx. 18% in barrel to 12.7% alc. and approx. 5 g/L RS, the wine aged 10 months on lees with a little batonnage. 16.5-/20 Mar 2018 RRP $24.00

Alana Estate Martinborough Riesling 2017

Riesling from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

16.5/20

Bright straw-yellow colour with a little depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is very elegant with fresh, light aromas of lime fruit interwoven with subtle notes of honeysuckle and a little muskiness, unfolding chalky mineral elements. Off-dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has light fruit flavours of limes entwined with soft floral and herb nuances, along with a little honeysuckle and musk. The palate is slender in expression with moderate depth, and is enlivened by brisk acidity. The wine flows along a light, phenolic-textured line with some drying grip to balance the fruit sweetness. The flavours recede as the wine carries to the finish. This is a slender off-dry Riesling with light lime, floral, herb and musk flavours on a crisp, dry-textured palate. Serve as an aperitif over the next 2+ years. Fruit from the ‘Jackson’ block with approx. 10% botrytis, cool-fermented in tank to 11.9% alc. and 6.5 g/L RS. 16.5/20 Mar 2018 RRP $32.00

Alana Estate Martinborough Riesling 2016

Riesling from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

18+/20

Bright, even straw-yellow colour with hints of light gold. The nose is firm and intense with well-packed aromas of lime and lemonade fruit, white and yellow florals, complexed by a thread of toasty secondary development. This has depth and finesse. Off-dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has good depth and intensity of ripe lime and lemonade fruit flavours, along with floral and toasty detail. The fruit forms a well-concentrated heart and shows good presence, and is balanced by fresh, lacy acidity. The wine is guided by a very fine line, with good energy, leading to a long, lingering finish. This is a well-concentrated off-dry Riesling with intense flavours of lime, florals and toast, balanced acidity and a fine flow. Serve as an aperitif and with Mediterranean fare over the next 4-5 years. Fruit from the ‘Jackson’ block with no botrytis, cool-fermented to 10.1% alc. and 8.2 g/L RS. 18.0+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $32.00

Alana Estate Martinborough Riesling 2015

Riesling from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

17.5/20

Full, even straw-yellow colour with lemon-gold hues, pale edged. The bouquet is softly full with a moderately concentrated heart of lime fruit melded with secondary toast, honey and mineral notes. This has a gentle presence. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is soft and gently mouthfilling with delicate flavours of lime fruit harmoniously intermixed with honied and secondary toasty development notes. The mouthfeel is bright and vibrant with fresh acidity, and the wine carries along a light-textured line leading to a lingering finish. This is a gently mouthfilling medium-dry Riesling with harmonious lime, toast, honied and mineral flavours on a vibrant palate. Match with Asian cuisine over the next 4 years. Fruit from the ‘Jackson’ block with a small amount of botrytis, fermented in tank and a very small portion on skins in puncheon to 12.4% alc. and 11 g/L RS. 17.5/20 Mar 2018 RRP $32.00

Alana Estate Martinborough Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

16.5+/20

Brilliant light golden-yellow colour with some depth, light on the rim. The nose is softly concentrated with up-front aromas of white and yellow stonefruits, along with an amalgam of nutty oak and flinty lees, unveiling some smokiness and chalky mineral elements. The aromatics build to form a solid core. Medium-full bodied, the palate has up-front and fulsome flavours of yellow stonefruits with complexing notes of creamy barrel-ferment, nutty oak and subtle oxidative elements, unfolding a layering of lemon-curd MLF. The mouthfeel is robust and vigorous and the flavours flow with some drive along a lightly-textured palate line, leading to a nutty finish. This is an up-front, flavoursome Chardonnay with stonefruit, nutty oak and lemon-curd MLF flavours on a robust. Slightly grippy palate. Match with poultry and pork over the next 4 years. Fruit from the ‘Arapai’ vineyard, WBP and fully barrel-fermented to 12.9% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in 12% new oak, undergoing 100% MLF. 16.5+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $33.00

Alana Estate Martinborough Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

17.5/20

Bright, light golden-yellow colour, paler on the edge. This has an elegantly proportioned nose with bright and aromatic white and yellow stonefruits with finely integrated notes of nutty oak and creamy barrel-ferment, and nuances of flinty lees. The aromatics are fresh and lively. Medium-bodied, the palate has gently sweet and succulent flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, some tropical fruit elements, harmoniously entwined with subtle creamy barrel-ferment textures and soft, nutty oak. The palate has good balance with a soft, smooth, textural flow and fine, lacy acidity. A little flintiness unfolds and the wine carries to an elegant finish. This is an elegantly proportioned, sweet-fruited Chardonnay with stonefruit and tropical fruit flavours, balanced by creamy and nutty oak on a smooth palate. Serve with poultry and pork dishes over the next 4+ years. Clone 95 fruit from Pirinoa, fully barrel-fermented to 12.7% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in approx. 20% new oak, undergoing 100% MLF. 17.5/20 Mar 2018 RRP $33.00

Alana Estate ‘Rapture’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

16/20

Moderately dark ruby-red colour, lighter on the edge with a hint of purple, The nose is light in presentation with fresh, cooler-spectrum fruit aromas of red cherries entwined with fragrant red florals and some herbal notes. This is pretty, perfumed, primary and uncomplicated in expression. Medium-bodied, the palate has piquant flavours of red cherries intermingling with fresh herbs and light, red floral elements. The fruit is bright and quite simple, and the mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh acidity. The tannins are modest and provide some background structure, the acidity carrying the wine to a slender, lingering finish. This is a bright and pretty, piquant, cooler-spectrum fruited Pinot Noir with red cherry, herb and floral flavours on a brisk palate. Serve with antipasto and tapas over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from the ‘Vynfields’ and ‘Porters’ sites, fully destemmed and fermented to 12.6% alc., the wine aged 10 months in seasoned oak. 16.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $24.00

Alana Estate ‘Lumiere’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

16.5-/20

Even, light red colour with some purple hues, pale on the rim. The nose is soft and gently full with light aromas of savoury red berry fruit melded with an amalgam of herbs and nutty oak, unfolding red floral elements. This is broad with presence and possesses some complexing interest. Medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth and weight, showing savoury red berry fruit with notes of herbs and resinous, nutty oak, and red floral nuances. The mouthfeel has breadth and presence, with soft acidity lending roundness. Light tannin extraction provides a background framework that carries the wine to a moderately vigorous, lingering, savoury finish. This is a broad and mouthfilling Pinot Noir with savoury red fruits, subtle herb and nutty oak notes on a rounded, but structured palate. Match with wild duck and pork, and mushroom dishes over the next 3 years. Fruit from the ‘Vynfields’ and ‘Porters’ sites, fully destemmed and fermented to 12.9% alc., the wine aged 10 months in seasoned oak. 16.5-/20 Mar 2018 RRP $28.00

Alana Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

17.5-/20

Even ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, a little lighter on the edge, youthful in appearance. The nose is moderately concentrated and packed with aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit subtly melded with a thread of dark herbs and suggestions of whole bunch stalk-like elements, unfolding a little raspberry liqueur and earth. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and sweet fruit flavours of dark-red cherry and raspberry fruit along with subtle herbal nuances. The fruit has lusciousness, and forms a lively and vibrant heart, enlivened by fresh acidity. Light, balanced tannin extraction supports the fruit and the wine leads to a light- fruit-sweet finish. This is a moderately sweet and rich cherry and raspberry fruited Pinot Noir on a fresh palate with balanced structure. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 4-5 years. Fruit from several sites in Martinborough, primarily Abel clone, fermented with approx. 30% whole bunches to 13.2% alc., the winr aged 10 months in approx. 20% new oak. 17.5-/20 Mar 2018 RRP $32.00

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