Featured Reviews

Babich 2016 ‘Classic’ and ‘Black Label’ Releases

12 April,2017
Babich Wines celebrated 100 years of winemaking last year. In the context of New Zealand wine that is an incredible achievement. The Babich family continue to own and conduct the business as their forebears did, appreciating the needs of the market and offering good quality and value. For Babich Wines, the embodiment of the core values can be seen in the ‘Classic’ range of wines. These are clear-cut varietal expressions that also speak of their regionality. The quantity made of these wines is such that they can be easily purchased from the all the popular market channels such as supermarkets and traditional liquor outlets.

The ‘Black Label’ range of wines was developed in 2005 to service the on-premise market. Their exclusivity to restaurants and cafes means that there is no conflict with off-premise retailers which can discount wines giving an unfavourable impression to on-premise operators. The Babich winemakers have sourced different fruit and made the wines with more immediate detail to give a point of difference. Here, I review a selection of new vintage ‘Classic’ and ‘Black Label’ wines from Babich. www.babichwines.co.nz


Babich Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2016

Rose from New Zealand – Marlborough

Pale peach-pink colour with some depth, lighter edged. The nose is soft with gently concentrated aromas of strawberries and cream entwined with lifted red florals and light notes of confectionary and hints of fermentation esters. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has o soft core of aromatic strawberries and cream flavours along with subtle red florals and some confectionary hints. The mouthfeel is dry and mouthwatering with balanced acidity and a light phenolic-textured line guiding the wine to a clean, lightly nuanced finish of red berry fruits and florals. This is a light, aromatic, strawberry and floral fruited dry rosé with a mouthwatering palate. Serve as an aperitif, with antipasto and tapas over the next 2 years. 100% Pinot Noir fruit going straight to press, given up to 2 hours skin contact and cool-fermented in tank to 12.5% alc. and dryness, the wine aged 4 months on lees with batonnage. 16.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP $19.95

Babich Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is soft with delicate aromas of white and yellow stonefruits along with rose-petal and exotic floral elements. Pear and honeysuckle nuances, and suggestions of nuts and minerals emerge, and the nose builds in volume with aeration. Dryish to taste, the palate has soft, gently mouthfilling flavours of white and yellow stonefruit, pears, exotic florals and honeysuckle. The palate has good body and some underlying alcohol drive, the wine flowing smoothly to a long, sustained finish of stonefruits, spice and musk. This is a softly mouthfilling dryish Pinot Gris with gentle flavours of stonefruits, pears and exotic florals on a positively driven, linear palate. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3 years. Marlborough fruit fermented in stainless-steel with approx. 10% in seasoned oak to 14.0% alc. and 1.7 g/L RS. 17.0+/20 Apr 2017 RRP $ 19.95

Babich Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Bright, full, even straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hues, pale edged. The nose is fresh and up-front with uncomplicated aromas of yellow stonefruits and suggestions of nutty lees an mineral elements. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has bright and moderately rich flavours of yellow stonefruits along with subtle nutty and mineral elements. The wine has good body and presence with soft textures and light, refreshing acidity which carry the palate to a light, clean, dry finish. This is a fresh, bright and up-front, uncomplicated, unwooded Chardonnay with flavours of yellow stonefruits and a clean dry finish. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood and poultry dishes over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from the company’s two Hawke’s Bay vineyards, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 2.0 g/L RS, the wine bottled without oak contact. 16.5-/20 Apr 2017 RRP $19.95

Babich Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Dark, deep, purple-hued black-red colour with a lighter rim, very youthful in appearance. The nose is bright and vibrant with well-concentrated primary aromas of blackberries and raspberries entwined with savoury herbs and white pepper, unfolding violet floral perfumes. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated with a core of blackberry and raspberry fruit along with fresh herbs and while pepper. The flavours are up-front and primary in expression, and are supported by fine-grained, but modest tannin extraction and soft, integrated acidity. The flavours recede as the wine leads to a light peppery finish. This is an elegantly concentrated, up-front Syrah with flavours of blackberries, raspberries, white pepper and herbs on a soft-textured palate. Serve with pizza and barbecued fare over the next 3 years. Hawke’s Bay fruit fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 2-3 month in new and seasoned oak. 16.5-/20 Apr 2017 RRP $19.95

Babich ‘Black Label’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

Brilliant light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is elegantly presented with good intensity and penetrating aromas of ripe, fragrant passionfruit melded with fresh herbs, gooseberries and nettles lifted by white florals and minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has finely concentrated flavours of passionfruit, fresh herbs, blackcurrant leaf and nettles, along with minerally notes. The mouthfeel is fresh and taut with very good intensity and depth, the flavours flowing along a fine-textured, slippery line with crisp, zesty acidity driving the wine to a long, lingering finish of passionfruit and herbs. This is a tightly bound, intense and deeply flavoured Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit, herb and minerally notes. Match with seafood and serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Marlborough fruit cool-fermented in stainless-steel, with a small portion in seasoned barriques to 13.0% alc. and 2.9 g/L RS. 18.0-/20 Apr 2017 RRP On-premise only

Babich ‘Black Label’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright pale straw-yellow colour with slight lemon-green hues, lighter edged. This has a fresh and elegantly presented nose with finely concentrated aromas of white stonefruits and pears with nuances of exotic florals, hints of honeysuckle and nutty and minerally nuances. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a tightly bound core of white and yellow stonefruits with hints of exotic florals and honeysuckle. The palate is stylishly restrained in flavour, but shows good weight and body, a positive vinous line with integrated acidity. The wine flows with good energy along a smooth line leading to a moderately long, subtly nuanced finish. This an elegantly concentrated dry Pinot Gris with subtle flavours of stonefruits with floral and honeysuckle notes on a palate with good body and smooth line. Serve with Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine over the next 3 years. Marlborough fruit fermented in stainless-steel, with 20% in seasoned French oak to 13.5% alc. and 1.9 g/L RS. 17.0/20 Apr 2017 RRP On-premise only

Babich ‘Black Label’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

Moderately deep ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose has moderately deep aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit along with notes of dark herbs, a little liquorice and soft oak and reductive nuances. Medium-full bodied has a rich core of dark cherry and raspberry fruit flavours unveiling spice, herb and liquorice elements. Subtle red florals and reductive elements emerge as the wine carries along a lively, energetic, grainy-textured line. The acidity leads the palate to a long juicy finish balanced by the tannin textures. This is a moderately rich Pinot Noir with cherry and raspberry flavours along with herb, liquorice and reductive notes on a grainy-textured palate enlivened by fresh acidity. Serve with poultry and pork over the next 3+ years. Marlborough fruit, 80% from the ‘Cowslip Valley’ vineyard, Waihopi, and 20% from the ‘Headwaters’ vineyard near Renwick, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in oak barriques. 16.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP On-premise only
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