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Featured Reviews

Black Stilt Waitaki Valley 2016 Pinot Gris and Riesling, and 2014 Pinot Noir

20 September,2017
The Black Stilt vineyard is the Waitaki Valley wine venture of Aucklanders John and Nola Harvey, who over 2004 and 2005 planted 3 ha of Pinot Gris and 1 ha of Pinot Noir on one of the higher locations in the district. The vineyard is named after one of the world's rarest wading birds, which finds its home in the upper reaches of the Waitaki River valley. The original wines were made by Dan and Sarah-Kate Dineen at Maude, but now the Harveys have Dean Shaw making the Pinot Gris and Grant Taylor making the Riesling and Pinot Noir. John Harvey reports from 2013 to 2016 they had experienced bad seasons with frost damage and poor heat accumulation, which meant there was no harvest from their vineyard for the 2013 to 2015 vintages, so they purchased fruit from neighbouring vineyards to keep the label going.  In 2016 they managed to obtain fruit from their site again. Here, I review the 2016 Pinot Gris and Riesling, and 2014 Pinot Noir, all showing good character and winemaking.


Black Stilt Waitaki Valley North Otago Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago

Bright straw-yellow colour with a suggestion of blush, lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh with good depth and concentration of white and yellow stonefruit aromas along with savoury, nutty lees and mineral elements. The nose is taut and has a firmness to the core. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has a finely concentrated core of savoury white stonefruits entwined with nutty lees and mineral nuances. The mouthfeel is tight with fresh, brisk acidity, and the wine flow along a fine-textured line, leading to a dry, crisp finish of stonefruits and minerals. This is a firm and concentrated dry Pinot Gris with white stonefruit and savoury nutty and mineral notes on a fresh, crisp palate. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 3 years. Fruit from the 'Black Stilt' vineyard fermented to 13.0% alc. and dryness, the wine aged 9 months on lees. Winemaker: Dean Shaw. 17.0+/20 Sep 2017 RRP $22.00

Black Stilt Waitaki Valley North Otago Riesling 2016

Riesling from New Zealand – Otago

Brilliant, pale straw colour with slight green hue, lighter edged. The nose is fine in concentration with good intensity of pure lime fruit, unfolding white florals, suggestions of toast and thirst-quenching mineral notes. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate ha tightly bound and intense flavours of limes, with white florals, suggestions of honey and toast, along with mouthwatering minerals. The flavours show with clarity and purity. The wine has a refreshing mouthfeel, with crisp acidity and the flavours flow along a fine-textured phenolic line, leading to a light finish of limes and florals. This is a medium-dry Riesling with a crisp mouthfeel and pure flavours of limes, florals and minerals. Serve as an aperitif, and with Asian cuisine over the next 4+ years. Contracted Waitaki Valley fruit cool-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 15 g/L RS, TA 7.39 g/L. Winemaker: Grant Taylor. 17.5+/20 Sep 2017 RRP $22.00

Black Stilt Waitaki Valley North Otago Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

Pale garnet-red with some depth, lighter on the rim. This has a voluminous bouquet with good depth and softly concentrated aroma of red cherry and strawberry fruit entwined with layers of dark and dried herbs, complexing whole bunch stalk-like notes, unfolding a little smoke. Medium-bodied, the palate has broad and mouthfilling flavours of savoury red cherries and strawberries melded with a layering of dried herbs and subtle stalk notes, unfolding ethereal red florals. There are secondary development nuances emerging. The fruit is supported by light, underlying tannin extraction with fine grip and textures, and fresh, lacy acidity lending good cut and energy. The wine flows to a light, savoury-fruited finish. This is an up-front medium-bodied Pinot Noir with complex savoury red fruit, herb and stalk flavours on a fine-structured palate. Match with wild duck or pork, and with mushroom dishes over the next 4-5 years. Waitaki Valley fruit fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged in one-third new oak. Winemaker: Grant Taylor. 17.5/20 Sep 2017 RRP $39.00
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