Featured Reviews

Babich ‘Winemakers’ Reserve’ 2016 Sauvignon, 2015 Pinot Noir and Syrah, and 2014 Merlot

18 April,2017
Many serious wine producers have a winemaker’s ‘play label’ where they allow their production team a degree of free rein to explore innovative viticulture, winemaking technique and wine style. In many cases, the lessons learnt make their way into the making of the mainstream wines, lifting their interest, sophistication and quality. For the consumer, tiers such as Babich Wines’ ‘Winemakers’ Reserve’ offer a difference in style that can be appreciated and enjoyed. In some ways, the Babich ‘Family Estate’ wines offer this (click here to see my reviews of some of the latest 2016 and 2015 Marlborough releases of these), but the ‘Winemakers’ Reserve’ wines for Babich have been more focussed in their fruit sources and the winemaking treatment. In the Babich style of drinkability, they are never pushed too far, but they do offer significant shifts from the regular releases. Here, I review the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Pinot Noir, these two from Marlborough fruit, and the 2015 Syrah and 2014 Merlot, these latter two from Hawke’s Bay. www.babichwines.co.nz


Babich ‘Winemakers’ Reserve’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour with slight pale-gold hues. The nose is fresh and very tightly bound with intensely penetrating aromas of green stonefruitsm greengages and gooseberries interwoven with a subtle layer of nuts, fresh herbs and chalky minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated with a firm, intense core of green stonefruits and gooseberries, entwined with notes of fresh herbs and chalky minerals. The fruit is vibrant and enlivened by lacy acidity, and the wine flows along a refined, taut line with fine textures, leading to a long, lingering finish of green stonefruits and spicy blackcurrant leaf. This is a taut and intensely concentrated oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with green stonefruit flavours along with herb and minerally nuances. Match with herb-marinated seafood and poultry dishes over the next 3 years. Fruit from the ‘Cowslip Valley’ vineyard, Waihopi, fully barrel-fermented in predominantly seasoned oak to 13.0% alc. and 1.6 g/L RS, the wine aged 6 months on lees. 18.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP $34.95

Babich ‘Winemakers’ Reserve’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

Dark-hearted red with a lighter edge and slight purple hues. The nose I full and well-packed with deep aromas of ripe, dark-red berry and black cherry fruit, harmoniously entwined with a subtle layering of dark herbs and dark-red florals. Medium-full bodied, the palate has gently sweet and luscious flavours of dark red berry fruit entwined with an amalgam of dark herbs and red florals. The palate features a smooth core with fine-grained tannin structure in support, with refresh, poised acidity providing energy and tension. The wine carries to a light, nuanced finish of red fruits and herbs. This is a gently rich and fresh Pinot Noir with dark-red berry fruits entwined with dark herbs and red florals on a fine-structured palate. Serve with poultry and pork over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Cowslip Valley’ vineyard, Waihopi, fermented with a portion of whole uncrushed bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 35% new oak. 17.5+/20 Apr 2017 RRP $44.95

Babich ‘Winemakers’ Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Full, deep, near impenetrable black-red colour with youthful purple hues on the rim. This has an elegantly concentrated nose with aromas of ripe blackberry fruit along with aromatic violet and black floral perfumes and suggestions of lavender, unfolding liquorice, spices, game, earth and notes of white pepper. Medium-bodied, the palate is soft and smooth with a finely concentrated core of blackberry fruit along with an amalgam of white pepper, violet florals and spices with hints of liquorice and game. The mouthfeel is smooth with fine-grained tannin extraction and integrated acidity, and the wine carries to a long finish of blackberries, pepper and florals. This is a finely concentrate, smooth-flowing aromatic Syrah with blackberry fruit lifted by white pepper and floral notes. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 5-7 years. Fruit from the ‘St John’ vineyard, Bridge Pa, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 25% new French oak. 18.0/20 Apr 2017 RRP $34.95

Babich ‘Winemakers’ Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2014

Merlot from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Full, very dark, deep black-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose has a deep, well-concentrated, rounded core of ripe black plums and black berried fruits along with fragrant herb notes and iron-earth elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich and softly plush with ripe fruit flavours of black plums and dark-red berry fruit entwined with subtle notes of dark herbs and iron-earth. The fruit is supports by fine-grained, supple tannin extraction and integrated acidity. The wine flows along a smooth and refined line leading to a lingering, nuanced finish. This is a plush, sweet-fruited Merlot with ripe black plum and berry flavours on a refined, supple palate. Match with pasta, lamb and beef over the next 6-8 years. Fruit from the ‘Irongate’ vineyard, Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine spending a month on skins and aged 9 months in 20% new French oak. 18.5-/20 Apr 2017 RRP $34.95
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