Featured Reviews

Decibel 2018 Viognier, 2017 Malbec and 2018 Giunta Malbec Nouveau

17 October,2018

Daniel Brennan came from the United States to Hawke’s Bay to make wine, with the influences of his family involvement in wine, music and his experience of New Zealand wines, those from Martinborough particularly prominent. Settling in Bridge Pa, Daniel has made strong connections with many winemaker friends and he launched his ‘Decibel’ Hawke’s Bay wines in 2009 and his Martinborough bottlings in 2010. The wines are eclectic, especially in presentation, and this has enhanced a following for his releases. Here, I review the Decibel 2018 Viognier from Bridge Pa and 2017 Malbec from the Gimblett Gravels, plus a 2018 Malbec Nouveau under the name of ‘Giunta’ which is the family name of Daniel’s Sicilian grandparents. www.decibelwines.com


Decibel ‘Bridge Pa Vineyard’ Hawke’s Bay Viognier 2018

Viognier from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, light straw-yellow colour, paler on the rim. The nose is fresh and firm with elegant intensity of exotic white florals along with subtle notes of stonefruits and fresh herbs, with mineral elements, unfolding blossom and zest suggestions. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a rounded and slippery core with a degree of unctuousness, showing exotic white florals and stonefruits with fragrant blossom, zest and herb notes. The fruit is underlined by some alcoholic power and the wine flows along a light-textured phenolic line with enlivening acidity, leading to a lingering finish of florals. This is a fresh Viognier with a rounded, deep core of exotic floral and stonefruit flavours, lifted aromatics and some alcoholic power and phenolics. Serve with Middle Eastern fare over the next 3+ years. Fruit from a vineyard off Maraekakaho Road, Bridge Pa, given one hour’s skin contact and fermented in tank to 14.0% alc. and dryness. 17.5-/20 Oct 2018 RRP $26.00

Decibel Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Malbec 2017

Malbec from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim, youthful in appearance. The nose is softly full with good depth and well-packed aromas of ripe, spicy blackberries, dark-red and black plums, along with fragrant violet and dark-red floral perfumes, with soft notes of minerals. Medium-bodied, the palate has soft flavours of ripe, dark-red plum and boysenberry flavours with blackberries, herbs and aromatic florals unveiling nuances of iron-earth. The palate has good weight and presence, with grainy tannin structure lending plenty of mouthfeel and grip. The acidity is balanced, and the wine carries with good line and energy to an elegant, aromatic finish. This is a softly ripe, sweet-fruited Malbec with dark plum and boysenberry fruit with blackberry, floral and mineral notes, on a grainy-textured palate. Match with grilled and roasted lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 5-6 years. Hand-picked fruit from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine spending 14 days on skins post ferment and aged 12 months in 50% 1, 2 and 3 y.o. oak and 50% neutral oak. 18.0-/20 Oct 2018 RRP $28.00

Giunta Hawke’s Bay Malbec Nouveau 2018

Malbec from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Very dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim, very youthful in appearance. The nose is softly full with up-front aromas of dark-red and blackberry fruit entwined with lifted spice and floral notes, along with fresh and dark herbs, forming a tight core. Fresh herb elements unfold with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate is fresh and vibrant with intense flavours of sweet dark plums and blackberry fruit with notes of boysenberries and florals, with dark herb elements. The fruit forms a finely concentrated heart with fine-grained tannin extraction and structure providing linearity. The acidity is softly integrated and the wine carries to a light, fragrant and ethereal finish. This is an up-front, aromatically fragrant Malbec with dark plum, boysenberry, herb and floral notes with a fine tannin core and ethereal finish. Match with pizza, pasta and barbecued fare over the next 3+ years. Clones ‘Dr Rod’ and ‘595’ Malbec from a single vineyard in the Bridge Pa district, the fruit picked early, destemmed and lightly crushed, and indigenous yeast fermented without true carbonic maceration, to 13.0% alc., the wine spending 13 days on skins post ferment. Released as a ‘nouveau’ wine in the spring. 17.0+/20 Oct 2018 RRP $19.00

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