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Featured Reviews




Fromm 2016 ‘La Strada’, ‘Churton’, ‘Quarters’, Clayvin’, ‘Fromm’ and ‘Cuvee H’ Pinot Noirs

29 March,2018

Fromm Winery has long been recognised as one of the best producers of Pinot Noirs in Marlborough and indeed New Zealand. In 2017, Fromm Winery made a very large leap forward by releasing a largely increased range of Pinot Noirs. Added to the more accessible ‘La Strada’ Pinot Noir and single vineyard ‘Clayvin’ and ‘Fromm’ wines, were single vineyard wines from the ‘Churton’ and ‘Quarters’ vineyards. This was supplemented by a new ‘flagship blended’ Pinot Noir the ‘Cuvee H’, a harmonious blended-site wine, named as a tribute to founding winemaker Hatsch Kalberer. These wines came from the excellent 2015 vintage. (Click here to see my reviews of the 2015 single vineyard wines, and here to see my review of the 2015 ‘Cuvee H’.) Also made in 2017 was the ‘Pinot Noir Natural’, a fresh style made with minimal additions, reminiscent of sophisticated Beaujolais (click here to see my review).

In the space of a year, Fromm Winery has progressed from a leading single vineyard proponent of Marlborough Pinot Noir to become what may be the unassailable leader in the region, and one of the few Pinot Noir producers country-wide, such as Escarpment Vineyard, Valli and Gibbston Valley, who specialise in showcasing site and terroir across several bottlings. Here, I review the 2016 vintage Pinot Noirs, the ‘La Strada’, single vineyards ‘Churton’, ‘Quarters;’, ‘Clayvin’ and ‘Fromm’, and the ‘Cuvee H’. Fromm’s sales and marketing manager Adam Balasoglou tells me that 2016 was a good growing season that produced bigger berries and larger bunch weights. The Fromm team did crop-thinning, but essentially 2016 is a vintage with lower skin to juice ratio, resulting in more elegant and accessible wines than the 2015s. What is particularly notable is the vineyard character appears very consistent with the two vintages.  www.frommwinery.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Fromm ‘La Strada’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

18+/20

Moderately deep ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge with slight purple hues. The nose is softly concentrated with gently packed aromas of dark-red berry fruits with nuances of raspberry liqueur entwined with dark herbal nuances, along with dark-red florals. Medium-full bodied, the palate has sweet, juicy and lively fruit flavours of dark-red berry fruits intermingling with fresh and dark herbs, with raspberry liqueur and floral elements adding interest. The fruit sweetness is balanced by light, grainy tannin structure with fine, lacy acidity lending an up-front mouthfeel with good presence and texture. The flavours carry positively to a lingering finish of raspberry liqueur. This is a sweet and juicy-fruited Pinot Noir with lively dark-red berry, herb and raspberry liqueur flavours on a grainy-textured palate. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 5 years. Hand-picked fruit, clones 115, 667, 777, 114, 113, Abel, 5. 6, 13, 10/5 and 2/10, from the ‘Fromm’, ‘Quarters’, ‘Churton’ and ‘Yarrum’ vineyards, these covering the Wairau, Brancott and Waihopi valleys, vines 14-25 y.o., fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented with a high proportion of whole berries to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 14-16 months in <10% new French oak 228 L barrels. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $39.95

Fromm ‘Churton Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

19-/20

Even, light ruby-red colour with a little garnet, paler on the rim. The nose is tightly bound with firm and intense aromas of dark-red berry and black cherry fruit intermixed with dark herbs and some black earth minerality, unfolding violet florals and a little pepper. Medium-bodied, the palate is tight and concentrated with good depth and intensity of dark-red berry and black cherry fruit, along with notes of liquorice and spice, dark herbs and black mineral detail, unfolding violet florals. The fruit forms a fine and firm core with considerable fine-grained, powdery tannin extraction with balanced acidity. The flavours carry with very good linearity to a long and sustained finish of liquorice and spices. This is a finely concentrated and firmly packed Pinot Noir with dark-red and black fruits along with herb, liquorice and mineral notes and excellent linearity. Match with roasted game meats and semi-hard cheeses over the next 6-8 years. Hand-picked fruit, clones 115, 667, Abel and 5, from the ‘Churton’ vineyard, Waihopi Valley, vines 15 y.o., fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented with many whole berries to 13.0% alc., the wine spending approx. 3 weeks on skins and aged 16-18 months in 10% new French oak 228 L barrels. Certified BioGro organic. 870 bottles made. 19.0-/20 Mar 2018 RRP $55.00

Fromm ‘Quarters Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5+/20

Full, even, light ruby-red colour with some depth and light garnet hues on the edge. The nose is softly full and gently voluminous with a rounded core of dark-red berry fruit harmoniously melded with subtle notes of fresh and dark herbs and lifted red florals. The nose is expressed with softness, delicacy and detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate is full and accessible with sweetly rich, mouthfilling flavours of dark-red berry fruit intermixed with fragrant dark herbs and dark-red florals. The fruit is succulent, and balanced by fine, grainy-textured tannin structure that provides plenty of mouthfeel, presence and fine grip. Soft, lacy acidity lends energy and the wine carries to a long, sweet, red-fruited finish. This is a mouthfilling Pinot Noir with succulent red berry fruit and subtle notes of herbs and florals with plenty of texture and presence. Match with wild duck and pork over the next 6+ years. Hand-picked fruit, clones 115, 777, Abel and 5, from the ‘Quarters’ vineyard, Brancott Valley, vines 17-19 y.o., fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented with many whole berries to 13.5% alc., the wine spending approx. 3 weeks on skins and aged 16-18 months in 10% new French oak 228 L barrels. Certified BioGro organic. 870 bottles made. 18.5+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $55.00

Fromm ‘Clayvin Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

19/20

Even ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim and youthful in appearance. The nose is elegantly concentrated with deep and intense aromas of ripe dark-red berry fruit and black cherries, along with aromatic dark-red and violet florals, unfolding a subtle thread of dark herbs. This has beautiful perfumes and fruit vibrancy. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly proportioned with concentrated flavours of ripe dark-red berry fruit, black cherries, with lifted red and violet florals. The fruit is lusciously rich and vibrant, unfolding an array of red fruits and florals, and is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction lending suppleness and accessibility. The extraction provides a refined line that carries the flavours to a long, lingering, nuanced finish. This is a beautifully rich and sweet, vibrant and succulent Pinot Noir with dark-red and black cherry fruit along with a floral array, on a refined palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-8 years. Hand-picked fruit, clones 115, 667, 777 and some 5 and 6, from the ‘Clayvin’ vineyard, Brancott Valley, vines 19 y.o., fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented with many whole berries to 13.0% alc., the wine spending approx. 3 weeks on skins and aged 16-18 months in 10% new French oak 228 L barrels. Certified BioGro organic. 800 bottles made. 19.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $85.00

Fromm ‘Fromm Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5+/20

Light ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues, paler on the rim. The nose is softly packed with deep and dense aromas of red cherry and berry fruit entwined with complex dark and dried herb and earthy detail revealing complexing savoury nutty elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate is firmly concentrated with intense and deep flavours of dark-red berry fruit melded with dark and dried herb notes, earth and a little nuttiness. The palate has an array of savoury layers. The fruit is underlined by plenty of grainy-textured tannins lending considerable structure and grip to the mouthfeel. The acidity is soft and integrated. The wine carries with power and drive, leading to a complex detailed, well-structured finish. This is a complex-flavoured Pinot Noir with an array of savoury fruits, herbs and earth, and considerable structure and grip. Serve with casseroles and slow-cooked game meat dishes over the next 6-9 years. Hand-picked fruit, clones 115, 667 and 777 with small amounts of Abel and 5, from the ‘Fromm’ vineyard, Wairau Valley, vines 19-24 y.o., fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented with many whole berries to 13.0% alc., the wine spending approx. 3 weeks on skins and aged 16-18 months in 10% new French oak 228 L barrels. Certified BioGro organic. 840 bottles made. 18.5+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $85.00

Fromm ‘Cuvee H’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

19-/20

Even ruby-red colour with a hint of garnet, a little lighter edged. The nose is softly full, a little restrained in expression, but unfolding a layered aromatic array showing dark-red berry fruits with hints of liquorice, herbs and spice nuances, and ethereal red florals. This is refined and gentle in expression. Medium-bodied, the palate is rich and sweet with lusciously succulent flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit, melded with notes of liquorice and spices, and some lifted oak. The fruit flavours gently fill the palate and are supported by very fine-grained tannins with balanced acidity. The wine carries with drive and fine textural grip, leading to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a sweetly rich and succulent Pinot Noir with an array of red fruits, and nuances of liquorice and spices along with fragrant florals on a very fine-textured palate. Match with poultry, pork and beef dishes over the next 6+ years. A blend of 5 complete single vineyard wines, these being ‘Clayvin’, ‘Fromm’, ‘Quarters’, ‘Churton’ and ‘Yarrum’, clones 115, 667 and 777, comprising approx. 80% with 5, Abel and 6, fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented with many whole berries to 13.0% alc., the wine spending approx. 3 weeks on skins and aged 14-16 months in 10% new French oak 228 L barrels. Certified BioGro organic. 4,500 bottles made. 19.0-/20 Mar 2018 RRP $65.00

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