Hawkshead 2017 Pinot Gris. 2015 Riesling and Bannockburn Pinot Noir, and 2014 ‘First Vines’ Pinot Noir
Smoking Loon, La Crema, McManis and The Crusher Releases
Two Sisters Central Otago Pinot Gris 2016
Clearview Estate 2016 ‘Old Olive Block’, Enigma’ and ‘The Basket Press’
Ceres 2017 ‘Swansong’ Pinot Gris and 2016 ‘Composition’ Pinot Noir
Vicarage Lane Canterbury Pinot Noir 2016
Paddy Borthwick 2017 Riesling and Chardonnay, and 2016 Left Hand and Right Hand Pinot Noirs
Trinity Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016
Villa Maria ‘Ngakirikiri’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Paxton ‘NOW’ Shiraz 2017 and Hogshead Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Kuru Kuru and Tarras Vineyards Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Red Queen Marlborough Pinot Nor Rosé 2017
Waipara Valley Wines Blanc de Blanc, 2016 Sauvignon, and 2016 Pinot Noir
Elephant Hill 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and Reserve Chardonnay
Aix Rosé, A Torres Selection and Lustau Vermut from EuroVintage
Mills Reef 2017 ‘Reserve’ Pinot Gris and Chardonnay
Nevis Bluff ‘Duke of Cromwell’ Pinot Blanc 2017, and 2017 Rosé, 2014 Pinot Gris and 2013 Pinot Noir
Smith and Sheth ‘CRU’ Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Syrah Releases
Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Gris 2017
Karikari Estates 2014 ‘Calypso’ and 2015 Chardonnays, 2016 Viognier and 2015 Syrah and Pinotage
Auntsfield 2016 ‘Single Vineyard’ Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
The Crossings ‘Wild’ Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Pisa Range Estate‘ Black Poplar’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
Z Wine ‘Rustica’ ‘Reserve’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015
Grava Wines 2016 Martinborough Sauvignon, Rosé, Riesling and Pinot Noir
// View More Featured Reviews

Featured Reviews

Crown Range Cellar ‘Drowsy Fish’, ‘Stolen Heart’ and Pinot Noir Releases

17 July,2017
Crown Range Cellar is the unique and successful super-premium wine negotiant business of young entrepreneur Jing Song, who established her business in 2010 following working with, and discussing ideas with veteran Central Otago winemaker Grant Taylor. The portfolio is idiosyncratic and very interesting, borne from Jing Song’s heart and mind. While there are international wines available through the company, it is the New Zealand wines which are the focus. The ‘Drowsy Fish’ whites are made to accompany seafood and have included Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. ‘The Stolen Heart’ wines are complex reds from the Gimblett Gravels district of Hawke’s Bay. My pick of the wines are the Central Otago Pinot Noirs, the ‘China Girl’ from Bendigo and the ‘Signature Selection – Grant Taylor’ bottling from Gibbston Valley. The identities of the winemakers involved is usually kept confidential, except that of Grant Taylor, who had a significant part in the founding of the business. Here, I review a selection of new releases, from the ‘Drowsy Fish’ and ‘The Stolen Heart’ brands, as well as the two 2016 Central Otago Pinot Noirs. 


Crown Range Cellar ‘Drowsy Fish’ Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Nelson

Bright straw-yellow colour with light green hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is full and soft with gentle and harmoniously presented aromas of fragrant passionfruit and gooseberry notes, along with fresh herbs, nettles and nuances of minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate features a rounded, but concentrated core of passionfruit, tropical fruit and gooseberries, entwined with fresh herbs, nettles and minerals. The mouthfeel is refreshingly crisp with brisk acidity, and the wine flows with good energy along a fine, smooth-textured line, leading to a finely concentrated, elegant finish of passionfruit, gooseberries and herbs. This is a finely concentrated, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit, gooseberry, herb and mineral flavours on a smooth-flowing, zesty palate. Match with seafood and Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from the Moutere Hills, Nelson, fermented to 12.5% alc. and 5.45 g/L RS. 18.0/20 Jul 2017 RRP $24.99

Crown Range Cellar ‘The Stolen Heart’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2014

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Very dark, deep, near impenetrable black-hued purple-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is full and harmoniously concentrated with ripe fruit aromas of blackcurrants, blackberries and black plums, entwined with notes of dark herbs and cassis, and suggestions of iron-earth. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and well-concentrated flavours of ripe and sweetly rich blackcurrants, blackberries and plums, with mineral and iron-earth interest, unfolding liquorice elements. The fruit richness is balanced by fine-grained tannin extraction with integrated acidity that allows the fruit to prevail. The palate structure has drive and carries the wine to a long, lingering finish of blackcurrants, blackberries, plums and liquorice. This is a rich, ripe Cabernet/Merlot blend with blackcurrant, blackberry, plum and liquorice flavours along with mineral and earthy detail, on a fine-grained, well-extracted palate. Match with roasted lamb, beef and venison over the next 7-10 years. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 12.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 25% new French oak. Certified BioGro Organic 18.5/20 Jul 2017 RRP $49.99

Crown Range Cellar ‘The Stolen Heart’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2013

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Full, even, black-red colour with youthful purple hues. The bouquet is firm and tightly-packed with aromas of ripe blackberry fruit along with black pepper and spice elements, unfolding notes of violet and black florals, iron-earth and minerally reduction. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich with ripe and aromatic fruit flavours of blackberries, black pepper and spices, along with minerally reduction and iron-earth elements. The mouthfeel is firm and textured with considerable grainy tannin extraction, with underlying acidity that carries the wine to a strong, long finish of black fruits, spices and earthy, minerally elements. This is a firm, robust and well-structured, grainy-textured Syrah with rich black fruits, spices, florals and some minerally reduction. Serve with slow-cooked game meats and hard cheeses over the next 8-10+ years. MS and Chave clone from the Gimblett Gravels fermented to 12.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 25% new French oak. Certified BioGro Organic 18.0/20 Jul 2017 RRP $49.99

Crown Range Cellar ‘China Girl’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

Very dark, deep, purple-hued black-red colour, a little lighter on the rim, youthful in appearance. The nose is very firm and concentrated with aromas of black cherry and black berried fruits, melded with mineral notes, unfolding dark raspberries, dark herbs, nuances of liquorice and violet floral detail. Medium-full bodied, this has a bright, lively and vibrant core of ripe black cherry and berry fruit, expressed with lovely richness and lusciousness. Flavours of dark herbs and beautiful violet florals unfold from the heart. The fruit and mouthfeel is enhanced by crisp and brisk acidity, and the palate features fine-grained tannin extraction and grip. The fruit core is carried by the structure to a long, firm, fine-textured lingering finish. This is a bright, lively, refreshing black cherry and berry fruited Pinot Noir with rich and luscious fruit along with herb and floral detail on a fine-grained palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 6-8 years. Clones 667, 777, Abel and 115 from ‘Chinaman’s Terrace’, Bendigo, hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 30% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 11.5 month in 35% new oak. 19.0-/20 Jul 2017 RRP $64.99

Crown Range Cellar ‘Signature Selection – Grant Taylor’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

Very dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on the edge. This has an elegantly concentrated nose with a deep heat of ripe black cherry fruit, dark herbs and subtle notes of savoury whole bunch stalk fragrances, unfolding in volume an array of dark-red and violet florals, and subtle, nutty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly presented with refined, but concentrated flavours of dark-red and black cherries, harmoniously melded with dark herb and whole bunch complexities. The palate blossoms beautifully to reveal an array of florals and herbs, and the wine flows along a smooth, velvety line of very fine-grained flowery tannins, leading to an elegant, long and sustained finish. This is a beautifully refined, elegant Pinot Noir with complex flavours of black fruits, herbs and whole bunch notes, lifted by a lovely array of florals on a velvety palate. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 7-9+ years. Clones 5, 6, 115, 113, 114 and 777 from a site in Gibbston Valley, indigenous yeast fermented with 33% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 33% new French oak. 100 dozen made. 19.5-/20 Jul 2017 RRP $150.00
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