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Featured Reviews

Gillman Matakana 2012 and 2011

28 August,2017
Following working at Chateau Angelus in the late 1990s, Toby Gillman returned to establish the Gillman Vineyard on family land at Matakana, which featured free-draining, iron-rich, volcanic clay soil, to make red wines with the style and quality of top Right Bank Bordeaux wines. The vineyard is tiny at 0.6 ha, and close-planted at a density of over 6,000 vines per hectare, to 63% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot and 3% Malbec. The wines to date have received critical acclaim from writers, and I have enjoyed them for their distinctive complex, savoury earthy flavours that seem to be a signature of many wines from the ‘Far North’. The size of the operation allows Toby hands-on and detailed attention to the viticulture and the winemaking. Here, I review the 2012 and 2011 releases, from what were fairly challenging years.


Gillman Matakana 2012

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

Full, even, very dark, near impenetrable black-red colour with garnet hues on the rim. The nose is full and concentrated with aromas of savoury of dark-red berry fruit band black fruits at the core, along with dried herbs, unfolding subtle red floral elements entwined with slightly funky earth and game notes. A little smoky oak unfolds in the glass. This has good depth and presence. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a concentrated and deep heart of savoury black and dark-red berry fruits melded with a layer of earth and dried herbs, and suggestions of funky game and secondary development notes. The mouthfeel is robust and fulsome, with fresh, lacy acidity and some alcoholic power providing energy and drive. The palate flows along a moderately extracted core and line, and the structure carries the savoury flavours to a lingering earthy finish. This is a robust and vigorous Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend with black and dark-red fruit along with savoury secondary earth, dried herb and funky game notes. Match with slow-cooked game meat dishes over the next 7-9+ years. A blend of 64% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot and 4% Malbec fermented to 13.6% alc., aged in 50% new French oak for 2 years. Just over 130 dozen made. 18.0+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $70.00

Gillman Matakana 2011

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

Dark, deep, black-hued garnet red, a little lighter on the edge. The bouquet is elegantly proportioned with finely expressed, fragrant aromas of soft red berry fruits with lifted red florals entwined with delicate layers of dried herbs, earth and a suggestion of slightly funky game nuances. Medium-full bodied, the palate is bright and lively with flavours of savoury dark-red berry fruit and the beginnings of secondary complexities and development. Layers of dried herbs, earth and red florals show with game notes. The flavours ae harmoniously integrated, but the palate has presence and weight. The fruit is supported by elegant, fine-grained extraction and grip. The mouthfeel is lively with lacy acidity, and the wine flows with good tension to a moderately sustained finish. This is an elegant, fragrant Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend with harmonious savoury secondary development and complexity with a finely structured, lively palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-7 years. A blend of 74% Cabernet Franc, 23% Merlot and 3% Malbec, fermented to 13.6% alc., the wine aged 2 years in 50% new French oak. Just over 170 dozen made. 18.5/20 Aug 2017 RRP $70.00
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