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Featured Reviews

Auntsfield 2015 Single Vineyard, 2012 Hawk Hill and 2013 Heritage Pinot Noirs

24 March,2017
The Cowley family continue the heritage and legacy of David Herd who established Marlborough’s first vineyard and winery in 1873. The Cowleys re-established Auntsfield Estate on the original site in the Southern Valleys and now operate 65 ha of vines, approximately half dedicated to Pinot Noir and the remainder to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Southern Valley clay soils have proven to be ideal for modern grapegrowing, especially Pinot Noir. The majority of vines are planted on north-facing hillsides, with some on the flat land at the foot of the hills. The Pinot Noirs are presented in three tiers; the ‘Single Vineyard’ wines a blend of fruit from various blocks; the ‘Single Block’ wines which express the distinctive personalities of special identified blocks, and the flagship ‘Heritage’ wine which includes a homeopathic amount of the David Herd 1905 vintage wine in the blend. Ben Cowley is the viticulturist and general manager, and brother Luc is Auntsfield’s winemaker. Here, I review the new release 2015 ‘Single Vineyard’, 2012 ‘Hawk Hill’ and 2013 ‘Heritage’ Pinot Noirs.


Auntsfield ‘Single Vineyard’ Southern Valleys Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

Dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour, youthful in appearance. The nose is softly packed and well bound with aromas of dark raspberry and black-berried fruits, unfolding notes of black plums, dark herbs and violet perfumes, and a suggestion of whole berry fermentation confectionary lift. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and sweetly luscious, primary fruit flavours of dark raspberries and blackberries. Notes of plums, dark herbs and aromatic florals and whole berry fermentation add layers to the flavour. The fruit sweetness is underlined by moderate extraction with fine-grained tannins lending a supple mouthfeel. The acidity is integrated, providing balance, and the fruit expression prevails. The wine carries to a long, lingering dark-red fruited finish with fine grip. This is a rich and sweet-fruited Pinot Noir with youthfully aromatic dark raspberry and black fruit flavours and floral aromatics on a supple, fine-textured palate. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 5+ years. Clones 60% Abel and 20% each of 667 and 777, mainly from hillside sites and 5% from the flat, hand-picked, almost all destemmed and fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 24% new French oak barriques. 18.5/20 Mar 2017 RRP $38.00

Auntsfield ‘Hawk Hill’ Southern Valleys Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

Dark, deep ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues, a little lighter on the edge. The bouquet is elegantly concentrated with vibrant and penetrating aromas of ripe black cherry and dark raspberry fruit intermingling with savoury black plums, unfolding lifted black floral perfumes and subtle notes of dark herbs and minerals. The aromatics are beginning to develop secondary complexities. Medium-full bodied, the palate possesses a finely concentrated and dense core of harmoniously interwoven flavours of ripe black cherries, raspberries and plums along with savoury secondary notes of dark and dried herbs and minerals. The fruit is supported by fine-grained, flowery tannin extraction providing a firm-textured, but refined core and line. The acidity is bright and the wine carries with vitality and energy to a long, lingering finish of dark-red fruits, dried herbs and minerals. This is an elegantly concentrated, vibrant, dark raspberry fruited Pinot Noir with savoury secondary complexities emerging and a very tine-grained structure. Serve with lamb and beef, and with semi-hard cheeses over the next 6-8 years. Clones 75% Abel and 25% 667 from the 2 ha ‘Hawk Hill’ block, hand-picked, fully destemmed and fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 14 months in 38% new French oak barriques. 18.5+/20 Mar 2017 RRP $58.00

Auntsfield ‘Heritage’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

Dark, deep ruby-red colour with black hues at the heart, lighter on the rim with garnet tints. The nose is softly full with real density and presence, showing layers of ripe blackberry and red plum fruit flavours entwined with black florals, dark herbs and nutty oak. The nose unfolds savoury, complexing nuances of undergrowth and earth. The bouquet has depth and breadth. Medium-full bodied, the palate is harmoniously interwoven with mouthfilling flavours of dark-red berry and plum fruit lifted by subtle black florals and entwined with a complex amalgam of undergrowth and earthy secondary notes. The palate has considerable density with fine-grained tannin extraction and structure. The acidity is balanced and underlines the fruit and tannins, and carries the wine with good drive and power to a solid, long and concentrated finish of savoury dark berry, plum and earthy flavours. This is a solid and densely packed, mouthfilling Pinot Noir with harmonious layers of complex dark red fruit, herb and earthy flavours, on a well-structured palate. Match with casseroles and slow-cooked game meat dishes over the next 7-9+ years. A selection of the best 7 barrels from the vintage. This is 67% Abel, and 16.5% each of 667 and 777, fermented with 4.2% whole clusters to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 28% new French oak. A few drops of David Herd’s 1905 wine are added to the blend. 18.5+/20 Mar 2017 RRP $95.00
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