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Featured Reviews

Hunter’s 2016 White and 2014 Pinot Noir Releases

26 April,2017
Established in 1979 by Ernie Hunter, Hunter’s Wines consolidated its presence when Ernie married Jane, a South Australian viticulturist who came to Marlborough to work for Montana. Hunter’s and Marlborough came to the attention of the world by winning the top award for the Sunday Times Wine Festival in London in 1986, then again in 1987 and 1988 (with further wins later). Following Ernie’s untimely passing in 1987, Jane took over the company, building it to what it is today. She has surrounded herself with capable staff, including family members, making Hunter’s a very tight business. Jane’s brother-in-law Peter Macdonald is the general manager, and his son James has taken on the winemaking role following the retirement of the long-serving Gary Duke. James joins Inus van der Westhuizen responsible for the production of the 100,000 case annual output. Hunter’s owns about half of the plantings that supply the fruit, with the remainder coming from contracted vineyards. James and consultant Mark Allen are responsible for the viticulture. 80% of the production is exported, but the Hunter’s brand has a very loyal domestic following. The wines are classical Wairau Valley expressions. Here, I review a selection of new 2016 vintage white wines, and the 2014 Pinot Noir.


Hunter’s Marlborough Riesling 2016

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, very pale edged. The nose is softly concentrated with deep aromas of lime fruit and fragrant white florals entwined with notes of jasmine, talc and sherbet, unveiling subtle mineral elements. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has soft, mouthfilling flavours of lime fruit and exotic florals along with subtle notes of talc, sherbet and minerals. The flavours grow in depth and concentration as it flows smoothly on a very fine-textured line. The acidity is fresh and integrated, and the wine carries to a vibrant, juicy, mouthwatering, sustained finish. This is a softly concentrated dry Riesling with lime and exotic florals on a very fine-featured palate. Serve with Asian fare over the next 4-5+ years. Rapaura fruit cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 12.0% alc. and 6.72 g/L RS, TA 7.6 g/L and pH 2.9. 18.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP $21.99

Hunter’s Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright straw-yellow with pale green-gold hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is fresh with moderately intense aromas of pure white stonefruits and citrus fruit along with mouthwatering lees and mineral nuances. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has bright, lively and juicy flavours of white stonefruits and citrus fruits intermixed with subtle white floral elements and nuances of minerals. The mouthfeel is vibrant with refreshing and crisp acidity, and the wine flows with good energy along a very fine-textured line leading to a focussed finish of stonefruits and minerals. This is a crisp, lively and juicy un-oaked Chardonnay with very goof focus and flow. Match with seafood dishes over the next 3 years. The first vintage of Unoaked Chardonnay since 2013. A single vineyard wine, fermented in stainless-steel with high solids to 13.0% alc. and 0.85 g/L RS, the wine undergoing batonnage, and no MLF. 17.5-/20 Apr 2017 RRP $18.99

Hunter’s Marlborough Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, even, yellow colour with light golden hues, paler edged. The nose is well-concentrated and elegantly proportioned with fine, fragrant aromas of citrus and yellow stonefruits melded harmoniously with creamy barrel-ferment and nutty, toast oak complexities. This has freshness and vitality and mouthwatering, steely and mineral nuances underlining the fruit and oak. Medium-bodied, the palate has a concentrated heart of white and yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit layered with subtle creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak flavours. Some minerally lees add detail and interest. The mouthfeel is fresh and flows along a fine, taut line with lacy acidity enlivening the palate, providing energy and tension. The wine carries to an elegant finish of nuts and toast. This is a crisp, refreshing Chardonnay with stonefruit and citrussy fruit interwoven with nutty and toasty oak. Serve with grilled seafood and poultry over the next 4-5 years. Old vine Mendoza fruit predominantly from Rapaura and Omaka, fully indigenous yeast barrel-fermented with high solids to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels with batonnage and 15-20% MLF. 18.0/20 Apr 2017 RRP $21.99

Hunter’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is full, up-front and accessible with passionfruit and tropical fruit aromas lifted by ethereal fresh and dark herb notes. The aromatics unveil a thirst-quenching, steely and minerally core with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is finely concentrated and tightly bound with flavours of passionfruit and tropical fruits entwined with fresh herbs and steely mineral notes. The mouthfeel has plenty of energy and acid brightness, and the wine flows along a smooth line, leading to a dry, chalky, minerally finish. This is a taut and concentrated, refreshingly steely Sauvignon Blanc with intense passionfruit, tropical fruit, herb and mineral flavours. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2+ years. Fruit from multiple sites in the Wairau Valley, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 1.06 g/L RS, the wine aged 5 months on lees. 18.0+/20 Apr 2017 RRP $21.99

Hunter’s ‘Kaho Roa’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright pale straw colour with slight green hues. The nose is softly concentrated with a tight core of green stonefruit aromas, showing greengages and nectarines along with subtle notes of dark herbs and nuances of smoke. Medium-bodied, the palate features a well-packed heart of green stonefruits along with tropical fruits, fresh and dark herbs, complexed by nutty oak suggestions and a little smoke. The fruit has richness and lusciousness and is balanced by fresh acidity enlivening the mouthfeel. The wine flows smoothly along a fine-textured line that leads to a very long and sustained finish of green stonefruits, herbs and nuts. This is a softly concentrated oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with gently rich green stonefruit and herb flavours with subtle layers of nutty and smoky detail. Serve with herb-marinated white meat dishes over the next 3+ years. The flagship wine for Hunter’s. Fruit from estate Rapaura vineyards, fully indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 2.42 g/L RS, the wine aged in 5% new barrels with batonnage and no MLF. 18.5-/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.99

Hunter’s Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

Moderately deep ruby-red colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is rich and rounded with well-packed aromas of ripe dark-red berry fruits with an amalgam of black plums and dark herbs, forming a firm core that unveils dark-red floral notes. Medium-fill bodied, the palate has lively and rich flavours of dark-red berry fruits and subtle notes of plums and nuances of liquorice and dark herbs. The fruit is supported by supple, fine-grained tannin extraction and enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity. The flavours carry to a restrained finish with soft, dry textures and flavours of red fruits and herbs. This is a lively and mouthfilling, rich dark-red fruited Pinot Noir with supple tannin grip and a fresh mouthfeel. Serve with duck and pork dishes over the next 4-5 years. Clones 777 and 115 fruit from Rapaura and Omaka, vines10-20 y.o., indigenous yeast fermented with 15-20% whole bunches to 13.7% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 20% new French oak. 18.0-/20 Apr 2017 RRP $28.99
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