Featured Reviews

Haha 2018 Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris and Merlot

22 January,2019

The ‘Haha’ virtual winery brand is one of the relatively rare success stories employing the negociant model. Starting with small lots of 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and 2010 Pinot Noir from Marlborough selected by John Belsham, the Haha range is diverse with its varieties and styles, and the regions from where the fruit is drawn. Several winemakers are now contracted, and the wine has a strong export market as well domestic demand. Here, I review the new release 2018 Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris and Merlot, both made by Emma Lowe. www.hahawine.co.nz


Haha Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, light golden hued yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is rounded but firmly packed with aromas of savoury white stonefruits interwoven with nutty lees and oak detail, along with a subtle amalgam of minerals and herbs. This has good vinous presence. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and concentrated flavours of white stonefruits and nuts and floral elements. The fruit forms a good core with depth and intensity, yet has a rounded accessibility. The mouthfeel has a light phenolic grip and integrated acidity, and the wine carries to a moderately long finish of stonefruits and florals. This is a fulsome dry Pinot Gris with stonefruit, nutty and floral flavours on a palate with good vinous presence. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 3 years. 100% Pinot Gris from sites in the Hawke’s Bay high country, fermented to 1.3.5% alc. and 4.2 g/L RS. 17.5-/20 Jan 2019 RRP $17.99

Haha Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2018

Merlot from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Dark, even, ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues. The nose is fresh and bright with up-front primary aromas of dark-red plums and berry fruit with curranty detail and fresh herb elements. The fruit is uncomplicated and very accessible, and forms a solid heart. Medium-bodied, the palate has fresh, bright, aromatically sweet and juicy flavours of black plums, curranty fruit and fresh herbs that blossom to fill the mouth. The fruit is supported by light, grainy tannin extraction. Dark-red florals emerge to provide aromatic lift. The palate is balanced with light, refreshing acidity, and the wine carries with good energy to a lingering finish of plums, currants and herbs. This is an aromatic, uncomplicated Merlot with primary plum, currant and herbal flavours on a fresh, lightly structured palate. Match with roasted and barbecued red meat dishes and Mediterranean fare over the next years. 100% Merlot from elevated terrace vineyards, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine given oak contact. 17.0/20 Jan 2019 RRP $17.99

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