Featured Reviews

Hawkshead 2018 Rosé and Riesling, and 2015 ‘First Vines’ Pinot Noir

29 October,2018

Hawkshead is the Gibbston-based boutique Central Otago Pinot Noir focussed venture of Denis Marshall and Ulrike Kurenbach. They tend their vineyard planted to clones 5, 6, 114, 115, 667 and Abel, established over 2001 and 2002. This was further supplemented with Pinot Gris plantings in 2006. Hawkshead also contracts Riesling fruit and Pinot Noir to make a rosé and table-red Pinot Noir to extend the range. Dean Shaw of the Central Otago Wine Co. is the primary winemaker, and the label has enjoyed critical acclaim over the years. Here, I review the 2018 rosé and Riesling, plus the 2015 ‘First Vines’ Pinot Noir from the estate’s oldest vines. www.hawksheadwine.com


Hawkshead Central Otago Rosé 2018

Rose from New Zealand – Otago


Moderately deep salmon-pink with peach and purple tints, lighter edged. The nose is elegantly concentrated with fresh, clean aromas of red cherry fruit along with cranberries melded with subtle herb and fragrant red floral elements, unfolding some mouthwatering minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a softly concentrated and rounded core of cherries, strawberries and cranberries with aromatic red florals and a hint of confectionary. This has fruit richness and the mouthfeel is balanced by fine, crisp acidity lending freshness and a little cut. The wine flows smoothly with good energy to an elegant finish. This is a softly rich and round hearted dry rosé with cherry, strawberry and herb notes with red florals on a fresh palate. Serve as an aperitif ad with antipasto over the next 2 years. The second release of a Hawkshead Rosé, Pinot Noir fruit from Bannockburn, given 4.5 days skin contact and fermented to 13.0% alc. and 2 g/L RS. 150 cases made. 17.5/20 Oct 2018 RRP $25.95

Hawkshead Central Otago Riesling 2018

Riesling from New Zealand – Otago


Bright, very pale straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hues, youthful in appearance. The nose is softly fresh with gentle aromas of lime fruit and exotic florals and a subtle amalgam of fresh herbs, honeysuckle and a little sherbet. The aromatics show good intensity unfolding some mineral elements. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has bright and fragrant fruit flavours of limes with exotic yellow florals, hints of tropical fruits with a little honeysuckle. The palate is up-front and flows along a light-textured line with soft, background acidity. The exotic florals blossom as the wine carries to a lingering, lush finish. This is a bright, exotic-fruited medium-dry Riesling with a fine-textured line and soft acidity adding lusciousness. Match with mildly spicy Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3-4 years. Lowburn fruit, hand-picked and WBP, cool-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 11 g/L RS, TA 4.0 g/L and pH 3.05. 131 cases made. 17.5+/20 Oct 2018 RRP $29.00

Hawkshead ‘First Vines’ Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Even ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues, a little lighter on the edge. This has an elegantly concentrated nose with tightly bound, penetrating aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit harmoniously layered with dark herbs and complexing stalk and whole bunch perfumes. This has plenty to unfold and detail to show. Medium-full bodied, the palate is well-concentrated with a complex melding of savoury dark-red berry fruits with thyme herbs, and subtle whole bunch stalk elements. The flavours have interest and detail that fill the mouth, and are supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and structure. The acidity lends some underlying energy and the flavours lead to a sustained finish. This is an elegant, complex-layered savoury Pinot Noir with dark-red fruits, herbs and stalk detail on a fine-structured palate. Match with casseroles and slow-cooked game meat over the next 6-7+ years. Predominantly clone 115 with some 5 and 6, from the oldest vines from the ‘Home’ vineyard, indigenous yeast fermented with 14% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 25 days on skins and aged 11.5 months in 33% new French oak. 210 cases made. Winemaker: Grant Taylor. 18.5+/20 Oct 2018 RRP $65.00

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