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Featured Reviews

Maison Noire Hawke’s Bay 2017 Rosé, and 2016 Cabernet Merlot and Syrah

22 February,2018

Guillaume and Esther Thomas operate ‘Maison Noire’ a small Hawke’s Bay wine venture with 0.8 ha of Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc vines on Waimarama Road. The wines were planted over 2014 and 2015, but Guillaume and Esther have sourced fruit from contract growers to make wine while they waited for their own vines bore fruit. They aim to limit the production to 150 cases. Guillaune and Esther live on the property in a black house after which their label is named after. Trained in Bordeaux, Guillaume has had winemaking experience overseas, but has worked in various wineries in Hawke’s Bay since 2008. He is a winemaker at the Hawke’s Bay Wine Company. Their first release of wines was in 2015. Here, I review the new 2017 Rosé, and 2016 Cabernet/Merlot and Syrah.


Maison Noire Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, pale pink colour with suggestions of purple hues at the heart, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly fresh with light aromas of strawberries and cream, along with an amalgam of savoury herbs and nutty elements, unfolding subtle oxidative nuances and some confectionary. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate is crisp and refreshing with brisk, slippery acidity underlining savoury strawberry fruit flavours that are entwined with nutty and herbal nuances. Red florals and confectionary hints emerge as the wine carries along a thirst-quenching dry line. The palate leads to a light, dry finish. This is a crisp and refreshing, mouthwatering dry rosé with savoury strawberry, herb and nutty flavours and a textural mouthfeel. Serve with antipasto and tapas over the next 18 months to 2 years. Cabernet Franc fruit from Maraekakaho destemmed and given 12 hours skin contact, and fermented in stainless-steel to 10.8% alc. and dryness. 16.5/20 Feb 2018 RRP $21.00

Maison Noire Hawke’s Bay Cabernet/Merlot 2016

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Dark red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is elegant and fresh-fruited with fragrant aromas of redcurrants along with lifted notes of red florals, unfolding subtle blackcurrant elements and fresh herbs. The aromatics form a slender, but finely concentrated core. Medium-bodied, the palate has bright and lively, fragrant fruit flavours of redcurrants, red florals and fresh herbs. The mouthfeel is refreshing with crisp acidity, and the wine flows along a light, grainy-textured line. This has an elegant structure and carries with very good energy to a lingering aromatic finish. This is a bright and aromatic Cabernet/Merlot blend with pretty redcurrant fruit and lifted florals, along with cool herb notes on a zesty, grainy palate. Serve with tapas and Mediterranean fare over the next 3+ years. A blend of 48% Cabernet Franc from Maraekakaho, 45% Merlot from the hills overlooking Gimblett Gravels and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 12.8% alc., the wine aged in French oak barrels with 25% new equivalence. 17.5-/20 Feb 2018 RRP $25.00

Maison Noire Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Dark ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is fragrant and slender in proportion with bright and lifted fruit aromas of raspberries entwined with red and violet florals and subtle notes of pepper and fresh herbs. Spice elements emerge in the glass and the aromatics build in depth with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate possesses fruit flavours of dark raspberries along with savoury black pepper, unfolding herb and floral detail, and suggestions of game. The palate is sweet-fruited and enlivened by fresh acidity, and the fruit is underlined by fine, grainy tannin extraction. This has a good core with a textured mouthfeel lending presence, and the wine carries to a fulsome finish. This is a moderately concentrated Syrah with savoury raspberry pepper and herb flavours, along with floral and game detail on a lively, grainy palate. Match with wild duck and pork and game meat dishes over the next 4+ years. Syrah fruit from Te Awanga and the hills overlooking the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 12.4% alc., the wine aged in French oak barrels with 25% new equivalence. 17.0+/20 Feb 2018 RRP $25.00

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