Featured Reviews

Hunter’s 2017 ‘Kaho Roa’ and Chardonnay, and 2016 Pinot Noir and Merlot

23 July,2018

There has been some consolidation at Hunter’s in Marlborough bringing it closer to a family-run business in recent times. I was speaking to Jane Hunter who has headed the company for over 30 years, and she told me that she has taken over some of the marketing role, sharing it with nephew Edward, who also is responsible for logistics and other duties. Jane’s other nephew has stepped up into the chief winemaker role since Gary Duke has retired. There is still some consultancy advice that goes on, but James has demonstrated his capabilities. Tony Jordan remains as a consultant, focussed on the sparkling wines. The company has a very comfortable fit and feel, and I’ve noticed the wines winning awards both domestically and internationally with greater regularity. The company owns 50 ha of estate vineyards across the Wairau Valley, which provides around 45% of the needs. Most of the contact fruit has been obtained over the long-term, so there is real stability in the Hunter’s base. Jane also tells me that the winemaking team have been working on a series of innovative small batch wines. It all seems very exciting. Here, I review the new 2017 Chardonnay and ‘Kaho Roa’ barrel-influenced Sauvignon Blanc, and 2016 Pinot Noir and Merlot. www.hunters.co.nz


Hunter’s ‘Kaho Roa’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, even pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is fresh and full with an elegantly concentrated core of vibrant green stonefruits, showing greengages, gooseberries and nectarines with subtle notes of fresh herbs and a little nutty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a rich and well-concentrated heart of green stonefruits, featuring greengages, nectarines and gooseberries, detailed by fresh herbs and a little earth and nuttiness. The fruit is succulent and lively, and the vitality is enhanced by brisk acidity. The palate flows along a fine-textured phenolic line, leading to a long finish of stonefruits and herbs. This is a concentrated oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with green stonefruit and herb flavours on a brisk palate flowing along a fine-textured line. Match with seafood, and herb-marinated poultry and pork dishes over the next 3+ years. Fruit from the company’s Omaka vineyard, indigenous yeast fermented with cloudy juice in seasoned French oak puncheons to 12.1% alc. and 1.8 g/L RS, the wine aged 6 months on lees. 18.0/20 Jul 2018 RRP $23.90

Hunter’s Marlborough Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Brilliant straw-yellow with pale golden tints, lighter on the rim. The nose is firmly concentrated with deep and well-packed aromas of white and yellow stonefruits complexed by an amalgam of nutty oak, mealy elements and hints of flinty, minerally reduction, unfolding nutty lees and oak toast. Medium-bodied, the palate has a rich, but finely concentrated and taut core of white and yellow stonefruits entwined with complexing mealy notes and a harmonious layer of nutty oak with reductive flinty and mineral elements. The fruit has excellent vitality, energy and linearity, and the wine carries along a fine-textured line, leading to a sustained, nuanced, elegant finish. This is a rich and concentrated but taut Chardonnay with stonefruits, nutty oak and reductive flinty and mineral complexities on a linear palate with excellent acid tension. Serve with seafood and poultry dishes over the next 4 years. Predominantly Mendoza clone fruit from Omaka, Renwick and Rapaura, fermented with cloudy juice in French oak puncheons to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in 15% new oak with 20% MLF. 18.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $24.90

Hunter’s Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Pale ruby-red colour, a little garnet on the rim. The nose is full and softly voluminous with aromas of strawberries and raspberries entwined with harmonious layer of savoury dark and dried herbs, unveiling a little nutty oak. This is beginning to develop secondary complexities. Medium-full bodied, the palate is gently mouthfilling with ethereal flavours of savoury strawberries and raspberries, melded with soft notes of dried herbs and earthy complexities. The flavours form an elegant heart. The fruit possesses good sweetness and richness, and is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and fine grip, with balanced and integrated acidity. The wine carries with positive linearity to a long finish that blossoms with fruit and dried herbs. This is a gently mouthfilling Pinot Noir with savoury strawberry, cherry and raspberry fruit with the beginnings of dried herb and earth secondary development, on a fine structured palate. Match with coq au vin and casseroles over the next 4 years. Fruit from the Omaka and Waihopai valleys, hand-picked and fermented with 30% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 14 days on skins and 10 months in 25% new oak. 18.0-/20 Jul 2018 RRP $27.90

Hunter’s Marlborough Merlot 2016

Merlot from New Zealand – Marlborough


Even ruby-red colour, lighter on the rim with purple tints. The nose is elegantly presented with softly packed aromas of red plum fruit along with subtle notes of redcurrants, harmoniously intermixed with delicate dark herb and oak spice elements. Medium-bodied, the palate has a moderately concentrated core with a rounded heart showing soft and gentle flavours of red plum fruit with subtle redcurrant elements, unfolding delicate notes of dark herbs. The fruit vitality is enhanced by some spicy oak with fine-grained tannin extraction in support. Balanced acidity lends drive and energy, and the wine flows to an elegant finish. This is a gently concentrated Merlot with light plum and currant fruit with some herb and spice notes on a finely structured palate. Fruit from the Rapaura Road vineyard, hand-picked and fermented to 12.9% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 50% new oak. 17.5-/20 Jul 2018 RRP $34.90

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