Featured Reviews

Framingham 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Classic Riesling, 2018 Select and Noble Rieslings, and 2017 Pinot Noir

14 December,2018

The Framingham winery in Marlborough is best known for its marvellous range of Riesling wines, that many would say are the finest made in New Zealand. Winemaker Dr Andrew Hedley makes the full gamut from dry bottlings through the equivalent German pradikat designations from Kabinett to Trockenbeerenauselese. Some of these wines are under the limited-release ‘F-Series’ label. However, three of the Rieslings are sold under the ’regular’ Framingham label, where availability is greater, and interestingly, the quality is just as high as the rarer ‘F-Series’ wines, these being the ‘Classic’, akin to a richer Kabinett, the ‘Select’, which is on the richer side of Spatlese’ and the ‘Noble’ which can be classified as a Beerenauslese.

Recently, I have noted a step up in all of the ‘F-Series’ wines, indicating that Andrew and his team are successfully trialling new techniques in the vineyard and winery, to produce more sophisticated wines. As is the case with such wines, there is a ‘trickle-down’ effect into the ‘estate’ wines, and likewise, I can see the benefits from the work that Framingham have carried out, such as indigenous yeast fermentation, skin contact, and the use of various woods, lees aging, as well as incorporating methods that may not be normally deemed appropriate for certain styles and varieties. Andrew is carefully pushing the boundaries in style, and the Framingham label is increasingly showing points of difference from mainstream Marlborough. Here I review the 2018 ‘estate’ Sauvignon Blanc and 2017 Pinot Noir, and 2017 ‘Classic’ Riesling with 2018 ‘Select’ and ‘Noble’ Rieslings. www.framingham.co.nz


Framingham Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is full with good volume and is well-packed with concentrated aromas of pungent passionfruit and tropical fruits, fresh herbs and notes of mouthwatering minerals. The aromatics show good depth and penetration, and are still taut and tightly bound. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has slender and elegant flavours of passionfruit and tropical fruit with herbal notes and soft chalky minerals. The fruit expression is a little restrained, but has freshness and there is good mouthfeel and vinous presence with good acidity. Subtle fruit lusciousness emerges and the richness carries with some underlying phenolics to a moderately lingering finish. This Sauvignon Blanc has a voluminous nose, but is slender and elegant on the palate with restrained passionfruit and tropical fruit flavours with herb and mineral notes. Fruit from 6 sites, from Conders Bend, Lower Wairau, North Bank and Dry Hills, fermented in stainless-steel with 13% in oak and acacia, with approx. 5% fermented on skins to 12.5% alc. and 3.5 g/L RS, a portion aged 6 Months on full ferment lees, the remainder on light lees. 17.5+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $24.99

Framingham Marlborough ‘Classic’ Riesling 2017

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little paler on the edge. Very elegant and fine in presentation with finely packed and moderately intense aromas of lime fruit with an amalgam of white and yellow florals, honeysuckle, hints of ginger and mouthwatering mineral elements. Suggestions of secondary toasty nuances emerge with aeration. Medium in sweetness and medium-bodied, the flavours of lime fruit are entwined with subtle notes of white florals, a little honeysuckle and minerals. The flavours are a little restrained in expression, and the palate shows some fruit extract and phenolic texture, with soft acidity lending a dry mouthfeel. There is presence and linearity with the textures carrying the wine to a lingering, nuanced finish. This is an elegant, taut medium Riesling with lime, floral, honeysuckle and mineral flavours on a dry, textural palate. Serve as an aperitif and with Asian fare over the next 4 years. Fruit from all 3 sites of the company’s estate, vines 36 y.o., hand-picked and WBP, fermented predominantly in stainless-steel with small lots in barrel to 12.5% alc., 17 g/L RS, TA 7.5 g/L and pH 3.0, the wine aged approx. 8 months on full lees. 17.5+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $24.99

Framingham Marlborough ‘Select’ Riesling 2018

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour, very pale on the rim. The nose is fresh with bright and aromatic white florals and lime fruit with lemonade hints, unfolding some honeysuckle entwined with subtle herbs and thirst-quenching chalky minerals. This is elegant and finely concentrated, with freshness, youthfulness and purity of expression. Medium-sweet to taste and light-bodied, the palate is elegant and delicate in expression with refined flavours of lime and lemonade with white florals, hints of honeysuckle and minerals. The fruit has a building richness on the palate, and the wine flows smoothly on a seamless line with gently piquant acidity providing energy. The wine carries to a delicate, nuanced, lingering, refined finish. This is a delicate, but rich and refined, sweet Riesling with bright citrus and floral flavours with honied nuances on a seamless flowing palate. Serve with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 5+ years. ‘Bronzy gold’ bunches from the ‘front’ vines, Conders Bend estate vineyard, vines 37 y.o., selective hand-picked and WBP, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 8.5% alc. and 65 g/L RS, TA 8.7 g/L and pH 2.9. 19.0-/20 Dec 2018 RRP $34.99

Framingham Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Even ruby-red colour, lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is tight and firmly concentrated, quite elegant in proportion, with aromas of dark-red cherry fruit melded with dark and fresh herbs, subtle notes of whole bunch stalk, with spice and nutty oak elements. The aromatics show intensity with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegant in proportion with a concentrated core of dark-red cherry and berry fruit entwined with subtle herb notes and an amalgam of spice, whole bunch stalk notes and some nutty oak. The fruit sweetness is balanced by grainy tannin extraction lending a slightly grippy and textural mouthfeel, the acidity integrated with the textures. The wine is carried by the structure to a moderately long, dry finish. This is a taut and elegant Pinot Noir with dark-red cherry and herb flavours and plenty of grainy tannin extraction, lending a textural mouthfeel. Match with lamb and beef, and semi-chard cheeses over the next 4-5 years. A blend of clones from the ‘Dry Hills’, West View’, ‘Lawrence’ and ‘Eversley’ sites in the Conders Bend, Southern Valley and Waihopai districts, vines up to 20 y.o., hand-picked and fermented with 10% whole bunches on average to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 20 days on skins and aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barriques. 17.5/20 Dec 2018 RRP $32.99

Framingham Marlborough Noble Riesling 2018

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, deep, golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is full and well-packed with softly opulent and decadent aromas of ripe citrus and tropical fruit, along with marmalade and honey, nectar, and a layering of complexing musky botrytis, unfolding hints of minerals. Very sweet to taste and light-bodied, the palate is soft and harmoniously integrated, with a seamlessly concentrated core of ripe tropical and citrus fruit with marmalade honey and nectar, and subtle musky botrytis. The palate is rich and opulent, a little restrained in expression, but has unctuously soft textures and gentle acidity. The wine carries very gently to a soft, lingering finish of honey, musk and citrus fruit. This is a soft and harmoniously decadently opulent botrytised Riesling with tropical and citrus fruit with marmalade and musk. Serve with fruit and baked desserts, and light blue cheeses over the next 5 years. Selected bunches with 100% botrytis infection, in the early stages of dehydration, 55% from the ‘front’ old vines the remainder from the ‘back’, vines 37 y.o., from 8 Auslese picks, and 60% fermented in stainless-steel and 40%in barrel to 9.0% alc. and 220 g/L RS, TA 10.4 g/L and pH 3.3 (375 ml) 19.0/20 Dec 2018 RRP $39.99

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