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Featured Reviews




Hunter’s 2017 Whites and Rosé, and 2015 Pinot Noir Releases

04 October,2017
Hunter’s is one of the best-known brands of Marlborough, being established by Ernie Hunter in 1979. Following Ernie’s untimely passing n 1987, his wife Jane took over the business and continued growing it to what it is today. Hunter’s is very much a family business, with Jane’s brother-in-law Peter Macdonald, married to Jane’s sister Libby, as the general manager. Peter’s son James is in the winemaker’s role with Inus van der Westhuizen and they are 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. Peter’s other son Edward works in administration. 80% of the production is exported, but the Hunter’s brand has a very loyal domestic following. The wines are classical Wairau Valley expressions, and are popular as such. Here, I review the new 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir Rosé which sport modernised labels, and the 2015 Pinot Noir. 2017 marks the 35th vintage for Hunter’s. For a challenging growing season, the wines are very creditable bottlings. www.hunters.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Hunter’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

18/20
Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is soft and gently voluminous with moderate depth of pungent passionfruit and subtle gooseberry fruit aromas, unfolding fragrant white florals and fresh herb notes. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has bright and lively, thirst-quenching flavours of pungent passionfruit and gooseberries with notes of fresh herbs and florals. The mouthfeel is zesty with brisk acidity, and the palate has soft phenolic textures that carry the fruit flavours to a lingering, soft finish. This is a gently voluminous Sauvignon Blanc with pungent passionfruit and fragrant gooseberry flavours, lifted by floral and herb notes on a brisk palate with soft textures. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from the Wairau Valley, the juice cloudy with solids fermented partially with indigenous yeasts in stainless-steel and 5% in French oak puncheons to 12.0% alc. and 0.86 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 18.0/20 Oct 2017 RRP $21.99

Hunter’s Marlborough Riesling 2017

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5/20
Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hue, lighter edged. The nose is very elegant with initially delicate and subtle aromas of lime fruit with floral and thirst-quenching mineral nuances. This is refined in expression, and gently blossoms with aeration. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has a well-proportioned, concentrated core of lime and lemon fruit with white florals, hints of honeysuckle and mouthwatering mineral nuances. The mouthfeel is lively and refreshing with crisp acidity, and the wine flows along a very fine-textured line of fruit extract and subtle phenolics. The wine carries to a long and sustained finish of citrus fruits and florals. This is an elegant and refined dry Riesling with concentrated lime and lemon flavours and mouthwatering mineral notes. Serve as an aperitif, and with Thai, Vietnamese or Japanese cuisine over the next 5-6 years. Fruit from Rapaura and Brancott, cool-fermented to 12.0% alc. and 7.3 g/L RS, TA 9.3 g/L and pH 2.88. 18.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $21.99

Hunter’s Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5+/20
Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour, with hints of green hues. The nose is soft with fresh aromas of white and yellow stonefruits, unfolding exotic floral notes, with honeysuckle and nutty elements. This has good vinous presence. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has restrained flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with soft floral notes, honeysuckle and nuts. The palate has good presence and vinosity, with a rounded core and integrated acidity. The wine flows smoothly to a moderately long finish. This is a dry Pinot Gris with restrained stonefruit , floral and honeysuckle flavours but good body and presence. Serve with most white meat dishes over the next 3+ years. Fruit from Rapaura and Omaka, cloudy juice fermented in stainless-steel with 30% in seasoned French oak to 13.5% alc. and 2.9 g/L RS. 17.5+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $21.99

Hunter’s Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2017

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5+/20
Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale on the rim. This has a very fine, elegantly concentrated and intense nose with aromas of rose-petals and exotic florals, Turkish Delight and notes of lychees. The aromatics show a degree of opulence, and are classical and beautifully refined in expression. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a rich and deep, densely packed, rounded heart with a soft unctuousness. The flavours of rose-petals, florals and Turkish Delight are entwined with nuances of spice and lychees. The mouthfeel has underlying power, with soft acidity, and the wine carries seamlessly to a long, deep, lingering finish. This is a rich, unctuous, deep-fruited dry Gewurztraminer with rose-petal, Turkish Delight and spice flavours. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from the company’s Rapaura Road vineyard, cloudy juice fermented in stainless-steel with 15% in seasoned French oak to 13.5% alc. and 1.7 g/L RS. 18.5+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $24.99

Hunter’s Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Marlborough

18-/20
Bright, very pale salmon-pink colour, lighter on the rim with purple tints. The nose is fresh with fragrant aromas of strawberries and cream melded with lifted red florals and some confectionary element. There is good depth to the aromatics. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has delicate flavours of strawberries and cream with soft red floral notes and confectionary nuances. The fruit forms a gently concentrated core and line, with building fruit intensity. The wine flows smoothly with positive drive, carrying to a lingering, fragrant finish of florals and confectionary. This is a delicately flavoured dry rosé with strawberries and cream notes entwined with floral and confectionary elements on a gently concentrated, smooth palate. Serve as an aperitif and with canapes and antipasto over the next 2 years. Pinot Noir fruit from two sites in Rapaura, pressed without skin contact and cool-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 0.3 g/L RS. 18.0-/20 Oct 2017 RRP $21.99

Hunter’s Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5+/20
Light ruby-red colour with some depth and light purple hues. The nose is finely concentrated with aromas of dark cherry and raspberry fruit along with subtle notes of dark herbs, spices and nutty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate is moderately concentrated with sweet flavours of dark cherry and raspberry fruit, unfolding spice elements and nutty oak. The flavours grow in richness to add breadth to the mouthfeel, and the fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and structure. The wine carries to an elegantly concentrated, lingering finish. This is a moderately concentrated, fine-grained Pinot Noir with dark cherry and raspberry fruit and spicy and nutty oak detail. Match with poultry and pork over the next 5 years. Fruit from the Omaka and Waihopi Valleys, fermented with 15% whole bunches, to 13.5% alc., the wine spending up to 25 days on skins and aged 10 months in 20% new French oak. 17.5+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $28.99
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