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Featured Reviews

Askerne 2016 Viognier and 2015 Reserve Merlot Cabernet Franc Malbec

07 July,2017
Following in his father’s footsteps in establishing Waimarara Estate, John Loughlin and his wife Kathryn set up Askerne Winery on the Te Mata Mangateretere Road in 1993, planting only whites so as not to compete with his father. When Loughlin Senior sold Waimarama Estate, John and Kathryn added 9 ha of reds to their 11 ha of whites in 2000. Askerne has seen several winemakers make the wine very successfully, but with Ant Mackenzie coming on board in 2013, along with Hayden Penny, I have seen a step up in the style of the wines. The viticulture and winemaking has been fine-tuned, resulting in wines with increased detail and complexity allied to greater elegance. Here I review the 2016 Viognier and 2015 ‘Reserve’ Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Franc/Malbec.


Askerne Hawke’s Bay Viognier 2016

Viognier from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Bright, light golden-hued yellow colour, a little lighter on the edge. This has a gently rich and full nose of ripe apricot fruit along with subtle exotic yellow stonefruit notes, entwined with savoury creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is up-front with sweetly ripe apricot and savoury yellow stonefruit flavours, along with creamy barrel-ferment richness and nutty oak elements. The fruit flavours form a rounded, but concentrated core, underlined by some alcoholic power. The acidity is integrated and the wine carries with freshness and linearity to a long, rich, luscious apricotty and nutty finish. This is an up-front, dryish Viognier with ripe and savoury apricot, stonefruit and creamy, nutty flavours on a rounded core with some alcoholic drive. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3+ years. Fruit from the lower terraces of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, hand-picked, WBP and fully barrel-fermented, partially by indigenous yeasts to 14.0% alc. and 5 g/L RS, the wine aged 10 months in 20% new French oak, the majority going through MLF. 17.5+/20 Jul 2017 RRP $22.00

Askerne ‘Reserve’ Hawkes’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Malbec 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim, youthful in appearance. The nose is softly full and voluminous with well-packed, fragrant aromas of ripe dark-red and black plum fruit, entwined with a harmonious amalgam of blackberries, cassis and spices, unveiling a suggestion of funky game nuances adding to the interest. Medium-full bodied, the palate has sweetly rich and ripe flavours of black plums, blackberries and spices, with liquorice elements. The flavours ae mouthfilling and form a concentrated heart with fine-grained tannin structure. The wine has good energy and linearity, with balanced acidity. The wine carries to a long, fine-textured finish with sweet and spicy black fruit. This is a sweetly rich and ripe Merlot/Cabernet-based blend with flavours of black plums, blackberries, liquorice and spices on a mouthfilling, fine-structured palate. Match with roasted and grilled game meat dishes over the next 7-10 years. A blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12.5% each of Cabernet Franc and Malbec from the lower terrace of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 14 months in 50% new French oak barriques. 18.5/20 Jul 2017 RRP $30.00
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