Featured Reviews

Cielito 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and 2014 Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

21 February,2018

The Cielito Wine Company is the wine venture of flying winemaker Leonardo Ricardez. Leonardo has worked in agriculture and wine in California, South Korea, Spain, Australia, Mexico, and China (click here to see my review of his Gem Ningxia Cabernet Sauvignon 2015), as well as various positions in New Zealand. He is currently at Indevin in Marlborough. The Cielito wines were first made in a small scale from Marlborough fruit in 2014, and designed to be sold on the Mexican market, but now Leonardo is considering placing them on the New Zealand market. Cielito means ’little heaven’ in Spanish and refers to something dear to one’s heart and life. The label features a balloon is a tribute flying winemakers. Leonardo is considering Cielito to encompass wines that he could make in Baja in Mexico and Priorat in Spain, which like Marlborough, has captured his heart. His aim is to make Sauvignon Blanc highlighting the variety with a little bottle-age, Chardonnay with food versatility, and Pinot Noir with elegance. Here, I review the 2015 and 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, and 2014 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all made from Marlborough fruit. For more about Cielito Wines, go to Facebook: @cielitowine


Cielito Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright straw-yellow colour with slight lemon hues, paler on the rim. The nose is light and restrained with aromas of gooseberries and green stonefruits, fresh herbs and suggestions of lees and nutty wood, unveiling nuances of green beans and chalky minerals. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth and concentration of gooseberry fruit and green stonefruits, along with fragrant fresh herbs. The fruit is lively and bright, and possesses a degree of succulence and lusciousness. Hints of green been add secondary detail. The mouthfeel is refreshing with crisp acidity and the wine flows along a light, textured line. The palate is well-balanced and has a long, lingering finish. A little shy on the nose, this is a bright and lively, vibrantly fruited Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry and stonefruit flavours hints of complexing nutty and bean notes on a thirst-quenching, fine-textured palate. Match with herb-marinated white meat dishes over the next 2 years. MS clone fruit from the Wairau Valley, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months on lees in French acacia wood puncheons. 55 dozen made. 17.5/20 Feb 2018 RRP $23.00 TBC

Cielito Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light straw-yellow colour, a little lighter on the edge. The bouquet is elegant and vibrant with aromas of gooseberries, nettles and green beans, along with subtle mineral nuances. This has clarity and focus, and is tightly bound. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has sweet and juicy, mouthwatering flavours of gooseberries and green beans, and is enlivened by brisk acidity. The fruit is lifted by fresh herb, nettle and floral notes. This is mouthwatering and refreshing, the flavours building to form an elegantly concentrated core. The wine carries along a very fine, dry-textured line, leading to a slender, lingering finish. This is an elegantly concentrated, mouthwatering Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, bean and nettle flavours and a light, dry line. Serve with seafood, salads and vegetables and Pacific Rim fare over the next 18 months to 2 years. MS clone fruit from the Wairau Valley, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 11.5% alc. and 5 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees in tank. 55 dozen made. 16.5+/20 Feb 2018 RRP $21.00 TBC

Cielito Marlborough Chardonnay 2014

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light golden colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is full with deep aromas of citrus fruit and yellow stonefruits entwined with creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes, along with lemon-curd MLF. The aromatics retain freshness unfolding a chalky mineral element. Medium-full bodied, the palate has moderately concentrated, but up-front and broad, mouthfilling flavours of savoury citrus fruit and yellow stonefruits, along with subtle creamy barrel ferment and nutty oak layers. Lemon-curd and butterscotch MLF elements add to the depth. Some complexing oxidative detail adds interest. The fruit is underlined by crisp acidity and the wine is carried along a light phenolic-textured line, leading to a firm, lingering finish. This is an up-front, broad and mouthfilling Chardonnay with savoury citrus and stonefruit flavours, creamy, nutty oak and lemon-curd MLF on a crisp, textured palate. Match with grilled and roasted white meats over the next 3+ years. Mendoza clone fruit from the Wairau Valley, fully barrel-fermented with high solids to 13.2% alc., the wine aged in one-third each Hungarian, American and French oak, all 3 y.o., with batonnage and 100% MLF. 50 dozen made. 17.0+/20 Feb 2018 RRP $29.00 TBC

Cielito Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Moderately deep garnet-hued ruby-red colour, lighter on the rim with a little bricking. The bouquet is soft and gently voluminous with savoury secondary aromas of red berry fruits entwined with dried herbs, some undergrowth and mushroom detail, nuances of nutty oak and a touch of volatile lift. Medium-full bodied, the palate has harmoniously integrated flavours of red berry fruit melded with dried herbs and nutty oak. The fruit possesses richness and sweetness and is underlined by fine-grained flowery tannins lending a firm core and line. The acidity is balanced, and the wine carries to a tight, slightly narrowed, savoury finish showing secondary elements. This is a harmonious Pinot Noir with sweetly rich, savoury red berry fruit and secondary herbal flavours on a fine, firm-structured palate. Match with wild duck and pork, and with coq au vin over the next 4 years. Clones 777 and 5, the fruit from Blind River, Awatere Valley, destemmed and fermented to 13.9% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 3 y.o. French oak. 125 dozen made. 17.0+/20 Feb 2018 RRP $32.50 TBC

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