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Featured Reviews




Askerne 2017 and 2016 Rose and White Releases, with a 2014 Syrah and 2015 Sweet Red

11 December,2017

John and Kathryn Loughlin established their Askerne Winery in 1993 planting 11 ha of only white varieties so as not to conflict with John’s father’s Waimarama Estate wine venture just down the road on the Te Mata – Mangatertere Road. Eventually they planted 9 ha of red in 2000 for a more balanced complete vineyard, releasing a full and broad range of Hawke’s Bay bottlings. The Loughlins have had Ant Mackenzie as their winemaker since 2013, and he is assisted by Hayden Penny, and they have helped fine-tune the vineyard as well as the winemaking. I believe there has been a step up in the detail and style of the wines with their involvement. Here, I review a selection of new releases, from the 2017 and 2016 vintages, along with a 2014 Syrah and 2015 Dessert Cabernet. www.askerne.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Askerne Hawke’s Bay Rosê 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17+/20

Bright, peach-pink colour with some depth, lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full with good depth of savoury yellow stonefruits along with quince and cranberry notes and red florals, with suggestions of thirst-quenching minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has bright and vibrant flavours of savoury stonefruits and quince, with cranberries and mineral elements. The fruit has sweetness and juiciness, and the palate flows with good acidity and liveliness along a soft line, leading to a dry finish. This is a dry, savoury stonefruit and quince flavoured rosê, with a fresh, mouthwatering palate. Match with canapés and antipasto over the next 2 years. A blend of 47.5% of tank-fermented Syrah and 47.5% Pinot Noir indigenous yeast fermented in seasoned oak, with 5% saigneed Cabernet Franc, at 13.0% alc. and 5 g/L RS. 17.0+/20 Dec 2017 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5-/20

Bright pale straw-yellow colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly concentrated with aromas of white and yellow stonefruits with subtle notes of yellow florals, hints of honeysuckle and mineral notes. Medium-dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has elegantly concentrated flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with white florals and honeysuckle, and subtle mineral elements. The mouthfeel features a soft-textured core, with balanced, integrated acidity that carries the wine to a refreshing, light-nuanced finish. This is an elegant, off-dry Pinot Gris with a soft core of yellow stonefruits, florals and honeysuckle on a well-balanced palate. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 3 years. Pinot Gris from the ‘Askerne’ vineyard hand-picked and fermented to 13.5% alc. and 10 g/L RS. 17.5-/20 Dec 2017 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Semillon 2016

Semillon from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17/20

Bright yellow colour with slight lemon-gold hues, paler edged. The nose is gently up-front with good depth of ripe green stonefruit aromas with herbal notes and nuanced of creamy barrel-ferment elements and spicy, nutty oak adding interest. The aromatics are fresh and build in intensity with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a finely concentrated heart of green stonefruits and fresh herbs, hints of lanolin and creamy barrel-ferment, along with spicy and nutty oak elements. The palate flows along a fine-textured line, leading to a crisp, clean, stonefruit and herb nuanced finish. This is an elegant Semillon with green stonefruit and herb flavours and subtle creamy, nutty oak notes, with lanolin hints on a fresh palate. Serve with herb-marinated white meat dishes over the next 3 years. Clone 14 Semillon fruit from the upper terrace of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, hand-picked and WBP, 55% tank fermented and 45% indigenous yeast fermented in seasoned oak to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees. 17.0/20 Dec 2017 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17/20

Bright, light golden-hued straw-yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is moderately full with good depth of ripe yellow stonefruits along with savoury nutty barrel-ferment and oak notes and mealy lees notes. Medium-full bodied, the palate has moderately rich flavours of savoury yellow stonefruits intermingling with nutty oak and mealy lees elements. The mouthfeel is lively with fresh, lacy acidity and the flavours flow with good energy along a light-textured line, leading to a soft finish of savoury fruits and nutty oak. This is a moderately rich and sweet fruited Chardonnay with savoury stonefruit, nutty oak and mealy notes on a lively palate. Match with poultry and pork, and Mediterranean fare over the next 4 years. Clones Mendoza, 15, 95 and 6 from the lower terrace of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, barrel-fermented partially with indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 25% new French and Hungarian oak with 50% undergoing MLF. 17.0/20 Dec 2017 RRP $22.90

Askerne ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

18.5/20

Brilliant straw-yellow colour with lemon hues and some depth, lighter edged. The nose is rich and ripe with sweet aromas of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit melded with creamy barrel-ferment notes and nutty oak, integrated with lemon-curd and buttery MLF nuances, unfolding oak spice. Medium-full bodied, the palate has piquant flavours of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit, entwined with creamy and nutty oak and buttery MLF complexities. The fruit is rich and enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity lending a bright mouthfeel, and the wine flows along a fine-textured line, leading to a lingering finish of stonefruits and spicy, nutty oak. This is a vibrant and rich stonefruit and citrus fruited Chardonnay with creamy and nutty oak, and MLF complexities on a fresh, fine palate. Match with creamy seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 4+ years. A blend of 43% Mendoza, 43% clone 15 and 14% clone 95 fruit from the ‘Askerne’ lower terrace site, hand-picked, WBP and barrel-fermented partially by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months on lees in 57% new French oak, with 50% undergoing MLF. 18.5/20 Dec 2017 RRP $31.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2014

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16.5+/20

Dark ruby-red colour with some depth, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full with brackish aromas of dark-red berry fruit entwined with fresh and dark herbs, hints of black pepper intermingling with stalk and earthy notes and a little minerally reduction. The aromatics show with depth and grow in intensity in the glass. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated with flavours of dark-red and black berried fruits along with black pepper and an amalgam of herbs asnd earth with minerally reduction notes. The fruit sweetness is enhanced by fresh acidity and underlined by fine-grained tannin extraction and grip. The wine carries with good linearity to a lingering, light finish of spices and minerals. This is an elegant Syrah with moderately rich dark-red and black berried fruit, along with pepper, herb, spice and reductive nuances on a lively, fine-textured palate. Serve with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern lamb dishes over the next 4-5 years. Fruit 50% from the lower terrace of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard and 50% from Bridge Pa, indigenous yeast fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 20 months in 20% new French oak barriques. 16.5+/20 Dec 2017 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Noble Semillon 2016

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5+/20

Light golden-yellow colour with some depth, pale on the rim. The nose is softly full with deeply packed aromas of ripe tropical fruits with notes of apricots, honey and marmalade, with nectar elements, unveiling lifted yellow florals and nuances of savoury, nutty oak. Very sweet to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is soft and rich, quite unctuous in texture with a rounded core of ripe tropical fruits, apricots and subtle layers of marmalade and honey. The flavours are a little restrained in expression. The mouthfeel is opulent and smooth, the richness enhanced by soft, low acidity. The wine flows gently to a soft finish. This is a soft, rich and unctuous Noble Semillon with restrained flavours of tropical fruits, apricots marmalade and honey. Serve with baked desserts, and crème caramel over the next 3-4+ years. A blend of 85% Semillon and 15% Viognier from the ‘Askerne’ upper terrace vineyard, bunches selected for heavy botrytis infection , hand-picked, foot-stomped and fermented to 11.5% alc. and 126 g/L RS, the wine aged 9 months in 20% new French oak. (375 ml) 17.5+/20 Dec 2017 RRP $31.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Dessert Cabernet 2015

Other Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

18/20

Very dark, impenetrable black-red colour with youthful purple hues on the rim. The nose is full, rounded and well-concentrated with deep and dense aromas of ripe blackcurrants and cassis liqueur, dark herbs, and blackberry fruit nuances, harmoniously melded with earthy and black minerals. Sweet to taste and full-bodied, the palate features a deeply concentrated, but rounded heart of ripe blackcurrants, cassis , black plums and blackberries, dark herbs and mineral elements. The mouthfeel is near unctuous, but balanced by clean spirit cut lending power and drive. The tannins are light and finely extracted, and carry the wine to a fine, firm finish of blackcurrants and cassis. Serve with chocolate desserts over the next 4-5 years. Cabernet Sauvignon from the lower terrace of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, hand-picked and fermented until the addition of alcohol spirit to reach 16.5% alc. and 70 g/L RS, the wine aged 24 months in seasoned French oak barriques. (375 ml) 18.0/20 Dec 2017 RRP $22.90

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