Featured Reviews

Harakeke Farm, Mon Cheval and Ma Maison from Great Little Vineyards

27 April,2018

Daniel Kemp has over the years assembled an extremely interesting portfolio of high quality artisan wine producers from around the country. Invariably they are small and eclectic, but all have a strong philosophy and approach to making wine. This puts some of them on the edge of conventionality. All are very interesting. Here, I review new releases from three producers. Harakeke Farm is the 3 ha Upper Moutere, Nelson vineyard of Joanne Costar and Andrew Sutherland. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling are planted. Andrew worked at Woollaston and Neudorf previously. www.harakekefarm.co.nz Mon Cheval is the brand name of Pearson Estate, the 2.2 ha Waipara Valley Pinot Noir vineyard of Graham and Deborah Pearson, who have notable blind winemaker CP Lin crafting their wines. www.monchevalwines.co.nz Ma Maison is the Martinborough wine venture of Edward and Majory Leung who have a 3.24 ha close planted Pinot Noir vineyard on Lake Ferry Road. A little Chardonnay is also planted. They have had Wendy Potts making the wine from the 2014 vintage. www.mamaisonwines.nz The wines are available through Daniel Kemp’s ‘Great Little Vineyards’ business. www.greatlittlevineyards.com


Harakeke Farm Nelson Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Nelson


Full, even, light golden colour with some depth. The nose is fresh and firm with a tight core of white stonefruits melded with a layering of fresh herbs and waxy, lanolin-like elements, unfolding some creamy barrel-ferment and nutty, toasty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate is firm and tightly bound with a taut core of white stonefruits entwined with nutty oak, subtle barrel-ferment creaminess and a waxy thread with subtle herbal hints. The fruit has good linearity and the wine flows along a light phenolic-textured line with crisp acidity lending energy and tension, carrying to a tight, lingering waxy-nutty finish. This is a taut and concentrated Chardonnay with white stonefruit and nutty oak flavours and a waxy-lanolin overlay on a fine-textured, crisp palate. Serve with seafood and poultry over the next 4 years. Hand-picked fruit, indigenous yeast fermented in 500 L French oak puncheons to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 20% new oak, undergoing batonnage with 100% MLF. 17.5-/20 Apr 2018 RRP $36.50

Mon Cheval Waipara Valley North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara


Moderately deep garnet-red colour, lighter on the edge with a little bricking. The nose is very fine and harmoniously concentrated with interwoven aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit, along with a subtle layer of dried herbs, undergrowth, exotic spices, and some smoky, cedary oak elements. This is refined and intense, with complexing secondary aromas. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegant in proportion with intense and harmoniously integrated flavours of savoury and spicy red cherry and berry fruit along with subtle notes of dried herbs, undergrowth, earth and cedar. The fruit is rich, sweet and vibrant, and underlined by fine-grained, powdery tannin extraction, with soft, balanced acidity. The flavours carry through to a slender, but sustained finish. This is a harmoniously integrated, complex, secondary flavoured Pinot Noir with savoury and spicy flavours on a refined palate. Serve with coq ua vin and casseroles over the next 4-5 years. Clones 5, 115, 10/5, 777 and 777 fermented wit 10% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 30% new French oak. 18.5-/20 Apr 2018 RRP $59.90

Ma Maison Martinborough Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly ful;l with gently concentrated and harmoniously melded aromas of ripe yellow stonefruits with notes of tropical fruits and citrus fruit, along with an amalgam of creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and sweet flavours of ripe yellow stonefruits and tropical fruit harmoniously entwined with creamy barrel-ferment and subtle nutty oak elements. The palate is rounded and mouthfilling and the wine flows smoothly along a fine-textured line with fresh, lacy acidity in the background. The palate possesses a rich, rounded and well-packed heart and line to carries to a lingering finish. This is a harmoniously rich and rounded Chardonnay with flavours of ripe stonefruits, creamy barrel-ferment and nutty notes. Match with roasted poultry and pork over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit, clones Mendoza, 5 and 15, vines up to 24 y.o., WBP and fully barrel-fermented, approx. 50% by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in seasoned oak with minimal batonnage and 20% MLF. 18.0/20 Apr 2018 RRP $39.90

Ma Maison Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Garnet-red colour with a dark heart, lighter on the rim with a touch of bricking. The nose is soft and plush with open and accessible aromas of red berry and plum fruit entwined an amalgamated layering of herbs and spices. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegant in proportion with a sweet core of dark-red berry fruit along with liquorice and spice nuances, unveiling subtle herbal elements. The fruit is up-front and softly mouthfilling, and is supported by supple tannin extraction and structure. The acidity is fresh and balanced and adds to the energy. The flavours form an elegant core and lead to a long, lingering finish of spices and herbs. This is an up-front, sweet-fruited Pinot Noir with red berry, liquorice, spice and herb flavours on a supple palate. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 4 years. Clones 667, 777, 5, 115, 114, 10/5, Abel and 113, fermented with a small amount of whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 10% new oak. 17.0+/20 Apr 2018 RRP $45.00

Ma Maison ‘Cuvee Jade’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Full dark-red colour with some black hues and depth, a little lighter on the rim with some garnet. The nose is soft and harmoniously integrated with deep aromas of ripe, dark-red berry fruit interwoven with hints of dark herbs and spices, along with some undergrowth and earthy complexing detail. The fruit remains to the fore and is the feature, showing freshness and vitality. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and sweet flavours of dark-red berry fruit with hints of plums. The fruit is fresh and aromatic, lifted by red floral fragrances and herbal elements. The fruit lusciousness grows and enriches the mouthfeel, and the palate possesses fine-grained tannin extraction with soft, integrated acidity. The wine is well-balanced and carries to a soft, harmonious, rich, sustained finish. This is a rich, sweet-fruited Pinot Noir with dark-red berry fruit with floral notes, subtle herb detail on a plush, balanced, fine-grained palate. Match with duck and pork, lamb or beef over the next 6+ years. A barrel selection wine, named after the Leung’s daughter-in-law. A blend of 50% clone 777, and 25% each clone 5 and 10/5, fully destemmed and fermented to 14.0$ alc., the wine aged 9 months in 20% new oak. 861 bottles made. 18.5+/20 Apr 2018 RRP $88.00

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