Featured Reviews

Hawkshead 2017 Pinot Gris. 2015 Riesling and Bannockburn Pinot Noir, and 2014 ‘First Vines’ Pinot Noir

19 March,2018

Denis Marshall and Ulrike Kurenbach operate the ‘Hawkshead Vineyard’, established in the Gibbston Valley by planting 3 ha of 6 different clones of Pinot Noir in 2001 and 2002. They extended their plantings with Pinot Gris planted in 2006. From these vines, they make their wines, supplementing their own fruit with contracted grapes to make a portfolio which has Riesling, Pinot Gris, a rosé and Pinot Noirs from Bannockburn and their oldest Gibbston vines, the wine called ‘First Vines’, this being their flagship. The wines are primarily made by Dean Shaw of the Central Otago Wine Co. Here, I review the new release 2017 Pinot Gris, 2015 Riesling, 2015 Bannockburn Pinot Noir and the 2014 ‘First Vines’ Pinot Noir. www.hawksheadwine.com


Hawkshead Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago


Full, even straw-yellow colour with some depth. The nose is fresh with softly full and gently concentrated aromas of yellow stonefruits and nutty elements along with an amalgam of yellow florals and hints of honeysuckle, spices and mineral detail. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has stylishly restrained flavours of yellow stonefruits along with notes of exotic florals and spices forming a firm core. The flavours intermingle with soft nutty and honeysuckle nuances. The mouthfeel has good presence, and fresh acidity enlivens the palate line. The wine flows with good energy along a delicately textured line leading to a light, nuanced finish. This is a fresh, restrained and firm, dry Pinot Gris with flavours of yellow stonefruits, florals and nuts with moderate weight and a lively flow. Match with Asian fare over the next 3+ years. Hand-picked fruit, 71% from Gibbston and 29% from Lowburn, WBP and fermented in stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 2 g/L RS. 689 cases made. 17.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $29.00

Hawkshead Central Otago Riesling 2015

Riesling from New Zealand – Otago


Bright, light straw-yellow colour, a little paler on the rim. The nose is elegantly packed with good depth and intensity of lime fruit melded with secondary aromas of toast, white florals and mineral elements. This has a firm core. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a smooth core with elegantly concentrated flavours of lime fruit harmoniously entwined with secondary toast notes and minerals. The fruit is subtly rich and is balanced by light fruit-extract phenolics, and the palate has poised, lacy acidity. The flavours carry along a fine line with good drive, leading to a lingering toasty finish. This is a moderately concentrated medium-dry Riesling with lime fruit and notes of toasty development on a fine, fresh line. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit from Lowburn, WBP and cool-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 11 g/L RS, TA 8.3 g/L and pH 2.93. 200 cases made. 17.5-/20 Mar 2018 RRP $29.00

Hawkshead Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Ruby-red colour with some depth and slight garnet hues on the rim. The nose is softly full, up-front and voluminous with aromas of ripe, dark-red berry fruit and plums, and subtle notes of dark herbs and a little whole bunch stalk-like character. The aromatics form a rounded and deep core, unfolding nutty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate is full and openly accessible with gently mouthfilling flavours of ripe, dark-red plum and berry fruit, entwined with nuances of spice and dark herbs. The fruit is rich with fresh underlying acidity lending vitality, and fine, supple tannin structure in support. The flavours carry with good energy, the richness leading to a lingering finish. This is a full and accessible, rich fruited Pinot Noir with dark berry and plum flavours along with herbal detail on a supple palate with good vitality. Fruit from a single Bannockburn site, clones 115, 777, 113, 5, 10/5 and 13, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11.5 months in 30% new French oak. Winemaker: Grant Taylor. 200 cases made. 18.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $65.00

Hawkshead ‘First Vines’ Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Even, dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is elegantly presented with fresh, vibrant, firm and intense aromas of dark red and black cherry fruit interwoven with a fine thread of complexing dark herbs. This is fresh and youthful in expression. Medium-full bodied, the palate has finely concentrated and deep flavours of dark-red and black cherry and berry fruit melded with thyme herb and stalk-like notes. The fruit has vibrancy and vigour, and the palate is enlivened by bright acidity. The fruit is underlined by very fine-grained powdery tannins, and the wine flows to an elegant, sustained finish. This is an elegantly concentrated and intensely flavoured Pinot Noir with dark-red and black cherry and berry fruit melded with herb and stalk interest, on a lively, zesty palate with fine-grained structure. Match with wild duck and pork over the next 6-8+ years. Fruit from the oldest wines in the ‘Hawkshead’ vineyard, predominantly clone 115 with clones 5 and 6, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 30% new French oak barrels. Winemaker: Grant Taylor. 200 cases made. 18.0+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $65.00

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