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Featured Reviews




Babich ‘’Family Estates’ 2016 White and 2015 Pinot Noir Releases

13 April,2017
While the majority of wine consumers know Babich for their very good value and ubiquitous ‘Classics’ range, to the keen wine lover, Babich is best known for their ‘Irongate’ single vineyard Chardonnay and Bordeaux-varietal red, or super-premium ‘The Patriarch’ Red. However the tier of wines that is arguably the most exciting are the Babich ‘Family Estate’ wines. Besides the Auckland winery vineyard in Henderson, Babich own around 80 ha of vineyard in Hawke’s Bay and approx. 340 ha of vines in Marlborough, each region with a number of vineyards. From these vineyards, the Babich team have created the ‘Family Estates’ brand which highlights several of these vineyards and produced interesting, individual and unique wines from them. In many ways, the ‘Family Estates’ range allows a degree of innovation for the viticulturists and winemakers to make wines that point to possible futures for the Babich company, and the New Zealand industry in general. The ‘Family Estates’ wines presently come from the ‘Fernhill’ and ‘Gimblett Gravels’ vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, and from the ‘Headwaters’ (Wairau Valley), ‘Cowslip Valley’ (Waihopai Valley) and Wakefield Downs’ (Awatere Valley) vineyards in Marlborough. The ‘Headwaters’ vineyard is notable for being BioGro certified organic. Here, I review a selection of the latest ‘Family Estates’ releases. www.babichwines.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Babich ‘Family Estates’ ‘Individual Vineyard – Headwaters’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

18/20
Bright straw-yellow colour, paler on the edge. The nose is softly full with aromas of fragrant gooseberries with notes of fresh herbs harmoniously entwined with nettle elements and subtle while floral nuances, Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is fresh and brisk, with tightly bound flavours of gooseberries along with subtle notes of tropical fruits, nettles and herbs. The palate has lively acidity and a fine, grainy-textured phenolic line which carries the wine with vibrancy to a thirst-quenching, dry, herb and minerally finish. This is a fresh and racy Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, tropical fruit, nettle and herb flavours on a grainy-texture palate with a minerally finish. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit stainless-steel fermented with inoculated and indigenous yeasts to 12.5% alc. and 1.6 g/L RS. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.95

Babich ‘Family Estates’ ‘Individual Vineyard – Headwaters’ Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2016

Gruner Veltliner from New Zealand – Marlborough

16.5+/20
Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with green hues, lighter on the rim. This has a fresh, tightly bound nose with a fine core of fresh herbs, white stonefruits and nuances of green stonefruits with white pepper suggestions. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has a firm heart with light flavours of green herbs, white stonefruits and white pepper. The mouthfeel is thirst-quenchingly dry and the wine flows along a fine phenolic line with integrated acidity, leading to a slendr, dry, lingering finish with stonefruit and mineral nuances. This is a taut and light fruited Gruner Veltliner with white stonefruit and herb flavours on a mouthwatering, dry palate. Serve with seafood and herb-marinated white meat dishes over the next 3 years. Fermentation started in tank and finished in seasoned puncheons, to 12.0% alc. and 1.8 g/L RS. Certified BioGro organic. 16.5+/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.95

Babich ‘Family Estates’ ‘Individual Vineyard – Headwaters’ Marlborough Albarino 2016

Other White from New Zealand – Marlborough

18+/20
Brilliant light straw colour with slight green hues, pale edged. The nose is elegantly presented with gently growing volume, unfolding exotic white and yellow florals with white stonefruit and citrus fruit aromas, along with herb interest. The aromatics are attractively detailed. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is vibrant and lively with aromatic fruit flavours of citrus and stonefruits entwined with exotic florals and hints of spice. The fruit shows with richness and succulence, balanced by fine phenolic textures and refreshing, brisk acidity. This has a concentrated core and line that carries to a lingering floral finish. This is a subtly rich-fruited dry Albatino with citrus, stonefruit and floral flavours on a fine-featured, crisp palate. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3-4 years. The second harvest of Albarino. Hand-picked fruit cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 5.2 g/L RS. TA 7.1 g/L and pH 3.2. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0+/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.95

Babich ‘Family Estates’ ‘Individual Vineyard – Headwaters‘ Marlborough Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

18/20
Bright, light straw-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is finely concentrated with deep aromas of citrus and stonefruits melded with mealy and nutty notes, along with a layering of creamy barrel-ferment and lemon-curd MLF elements. Medium-bodied, the palate is fresh and vibrant with bright flavours of citrus fruits entwined with mealy nutty and toasty oak, along with creamy and lemon-curd MLF richness. The flavours are balanced and cut by fresh, lacy acidity, the wine flowing with some underlying alcoholic power, leading to a soft-textured, lingering finish of toast and nuts. This is a fresh, vibrant Chardonnay with rich citrus, mealy and nutty flavours along with toasty oak and integrated lemon-curd MLF notes. Match with seafood, poultry, pork and veal dishes over the next 4 years. Two-thirds fermented in tank and one-third in barrel, 50% by indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 9 months in oak with 60% MLF. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.95

Babich ‘Family Estates’ ‘Individual Vineyard – Headwaters’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5-/20
Moderately deep, light ruby-red colour, pale on the rim. The nose is fresh with soft aromas of red berry and cherry fruit intermixed with complexing dark herb notes at the core, along with nuances of nutty and toasty oak and hints of minerals. Medium-bodied, the palate has fresh and vibrant, elegantly proportioned flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit, melded with dark herbs. The fruit is underlined by fine-grained tannin extraction and structure, with fresh acidity providing good energy and drive. As the wine flows, sour cherry and nutty notes emerge and carry to a slender, lingering finish. This is an elegantly proportioned Pinot Noir with red cherry and berry flavours with subtle herbal and nutty notes on a fine, grainy-textured palate. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 4 years. The fruit given a cold soak and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 7 months in 30% new oak barriques. Certified BioGro organic. 17.5-/20 Apr 2017 RRP $39.95

Babich ‘Family Estates’ ‘Individual Vineyard – Cowslip Valley’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5/20
Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is firmly pack with deep and punchy aromas of ripe gooseberry and passionfruit with green stonefruit notes, a suggestion of snow peas and green beans, and wet-stone minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, this has a rich and well concentrated, deeply packed palate with a strong core of ripe passionfruit and gooseberries, with nuances of tropical fruits, snow peas and green beans. The fruit richness and sweetness is balanced by a fine-grained textural thread and lacy, refreshing acidity which carry the wine to an elegant and sustained finish. This is a rich, deep and densely packed Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit, gooseberry, pen and bean flavours on a fine-textured, refreshing palate. Serve as an aperitif, with salads and vegetables, and Mediterranean fare over the next 2 years. Fruit cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 2.5 g/L RS. 18.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.95

Babich ‘Family Estates’ ‘Individual Vineyard – Cowslip Valley’ Marlborough Riesling 2016

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5/20
Bright straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is soft and voluminous with aromas of lime fruit and exotic yellow florals, long with honied notes, underlined by musk and mineral elements. Off-dry to taste, the palate has a softly rich core of ripe citrus fruits entwined with notes of exotic florals and honey. The mouthfeel has light phenolic textures, and some underlying alcoholic power that drives the palate. The acidity is balanced, providing a subtle, mouthwatering freshness and the wine carries to a light, honied, dryish finish. This is a soft, off-dry Riesling with citrus, floral and honied notes, with botrytis elements on a light, textured palate with good drive. Serve with Middle Eastern fare over the next 3-4 years. Fruit cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 9.4 g/L RS, TA 6.3 g/L and pH 3.12. 17.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.95

Babich ‘Family Estates’ ‘Individual Vineyard – Cowslip Valley’ Marlborough Noble Riesling 2016

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5/20
Full, light golden straw-yellow colour with good depth, a little lighter on the rim. This has a softly full nose with rich aromas of ripe citrus fruit interwoven with layers of honey and nectar, marmalade and musk. Very sweet to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has gently rich and lusciously decadent flavours of ripe citrus and tropical fruits along with marmalade, honey and musk. The flavours are stylishly restrained, but the palate possesses an unctuous mouthfeel and rounded core. The wine carries with good drive and line, and fresh lacy acidity to a long, honied finish. This is a stylishly rich and unctuous Noble Riesling with citrus, tropical fruit, apricot marmalade and honied flavours. Match with fruit desserts, and light, baked desserts over the next 4+ years. A fruit selection at winery, with 70% botrytis infection, fermented in tank and 20% in new oak to 12.0% alc. and 101 g/L RS, TA 6.6 g/L and pH 3.45. (375 ml) 18.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP $TBA

Babich ‘Family Estates’ ‘Individual Vineyard – Wakefield Downs’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

18-/20
Bright pale straw colour with slight lemon hues, very light edged. The nose is very tightly bound and elegantly presented with light white stonefruit and fresh gooseberry fruit notes along with white florals and minerals forming a firm aromatic core. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is taut and fine in concentration showing light flavours of white stonefruits, nettles, fresh herbs, gooseberries and chalky minerals. The wine flows along a fine-textured phenolic threaded line with balanced, lacy acidity carrying the flavours to a dry, mouthwatering, minerally finish. This is a crisp, tightly bound Sauvignon Blanc with white stonefruit,, herb and nettle-like flavours and a dry, minerally finish Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 2+ years. The fruit cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 1.8 g/L RS. 18.0-/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.95
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