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Featured Reviews




Monowai Crownthorpe 2016 and 2015 Releases

21 September,2017
Monowai is the winegrowing venture of kiwi winemaker Emma Lowe and her partner Marcelo Nunez, a viticulturist who hails from Chile. They established their 22 ha vineyard on the northern banks of the upper reaches of the Ngaruroro River in the cool, elevated terraces of the Crownthorpe district of Hawke’s Bay, and commissioned their winery in 2005. Their aim is to make premium cool-climate styles which reflect the district, and I have seen the wines show great delicacy and subtle detail. As pioneers in Crownthorpe, they have seen considerable investment by other producers who also see the quality and style of the fruit. With the 2015 vintage, Emma and Marcelo have introduced a special tier named ‘Upper Reaches’ from outstanding parcels of wine. Here, I review a selection of 2016 and 2015 new releases, including the ‘Upper Reaches’ Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. www.monowai.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Monowai Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir Rosé 2016

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16.5+/20
Peach-pink colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is soft and light with delicate aromas of strawberries and quince, with mouthwatering stonefruit elements, unfolding red florals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate possesses gently sweet fruit flavours of strawberries and quince, along with stonefruits and red floral elements. The mouthfeel is soft, but fresh with light, lacy acidity providing energy. The wine flows along a light, textural-threaded line, leading to a delicate, thirst-quenching finish. This is a light and gentle, dry rosé with soft strawberry, quince and floral fruit, and a subtle, mouthwatering palate. Serve as an aperitif and with canapes over the next 2 years. 100% Pinot Noir with some saignee, the fruit spending 24-48 hours on skins and tank-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 5 g/L RS, the wine undergoing batonnage. 16.5+/20 Sep 2017 RRP $20.00

Monowai Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

15.5/20
Bright, pale straw-yellow colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is very light and delicate with fresh aromas of white stonefruits and florals along with subtle nuances of fresh herbs unfolding suggestions of gooseberries and minerals. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has a light, taut core with white stonefruits and fresh herbs, and some mineral notes. Flavours of gooseberries unfold, and the palate is enlivened by crisp, dry acidity. The mouthfeel is tight with a light core and some phenolic textures that carry the wine to a light, dry, thirst-quenching finish. This is a delicately flavoured, thirst-quenching Sauvignon Blanc with herb, mineral and gooseberry notes on a textured, refreshing palate. Match with salads and vegetables, and seafood over the next 2 years. Fruit from the ‘Monowai’ vineyard, tank-fermented to 12.0% alc. the wine aged 6 weeks on lees with batonnage. 15.5/20 Sep 2017 RRP $18.00

Monowai Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16/20
Bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hues. The nose is fresh with elegantly proportioned aromas of yellow stonefruits entwined with subtle notes of exotic florals and nuances of honeysuckle and minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has aromatic fruit flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with subtle notes of florals, honey and hints of minerals. The flavours show evenly across the palate with light textures and grip, and integrated acidity. The flavours recede as the wine flows to a light finish. This is a light, tight dry Pinot Gris with restrained stonefruit and floral flavours on a light-textured palate. Serve with antipasto and poultry dishes over the next 2+ years. Pinot Gris fruit fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 6 g/L RS, the wine aged 6 weeks on lees with batonnage. 16.0+/20 Sep 2017 RRP $20.00

Monowai Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16.5-/20
Brilliant straw-yellow colour with pale golden hues and some depth, lighter on the edge. This has a full, broad nose with good intensity of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit, along with an overlay of lemon-curd and butterscotch MLF. The nose retains good freshness. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has mouthfilling flavours of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit entwined with lemon-cud and buttery MLF notes. The flavours are up-front and form a deep heart. The wine flows along a light, phenolic-textured line with fresh acidity providing underlying energy, leading to a lingering finish of stonefruits, MLF and nutty oak. This is a full and up-front Chardonnay with stonefruit and citrus fruit flavours and an overlay of MLF on a light-textured palate. Match with poultry and pork over the next 3+ years. Clone 15 fruit from the ‘Monowai’ vineyard, vines 15 y.o., tank-fermented with 20% in barrel to 14.0% alc., 60% of the wine aged 12 months in 30% new oak, the wine undergoing batonnage and 100% MLF. 16.5-/20 Sep 2017 RRP $20.00

Monowai Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2016

Merlot from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16-/20
Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with black-purple hues, a little lighter edged. The nose is initially light and slender in presentation with subdued aromas of dark-red berry fruit, building in depth, unfolding to show fragrant dark-red florals and subtle notes of dark herbs. The fruit is primary and in the cooler spectrum. Medium-bodied, the palate has an elegant core of herb-nuanced dark-red berry fruit flavours. The fruit is bright and vibrant, showing cooler-spectrum leaf suggestions. The mouthfeel is lively with fresh acidity and the fruit is underlined by light tannin extraction providing moderate body and line, leading to a light herbal finish. This is a bright and lively, slender Merlot with fresh, cooler-spectrum berry and herb flavours. Match with pizza, and barbecued and roasted red meats over the next 3 years. 100% Merlot from the ‘Monowai’ vineyard, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 5% new oak. 16.0-/20 Sep 2017 RRP $20.00

Monowai Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

15.5+/20
Even, moderately dark ruby-red colour with slight purple tints, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is softly full with light, harmoniously interwoven aromas of red cherry and berry fruit melded with dark herbs and savoury dried herbs, nuances of stalk, unfolding fragrant red floral elements. Medium-bodied, the palate has up-front flavours of savoury red berry fruit entwined with fresh and dark herbs, long with subtle floral notes, revealing hints of undergrowth. The flavours are light and evenly expressed and the mouthfeel has light tannin extraction supporting the fruit. Fresh acid energy carries the wine to a light, but lingering finish of berryfruit and herbs. This is a fresh, gently mouthfilling Pinot Noir with red berryfruit and dark and savoury herb flavours on a light palate. Serve with tuna and salmon, and poultry dishes over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from the ‘Monowai’ vineyard, a mix of clones, vines 15 y.o., destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 90% French and 10% American oak, 5% new.. 15.5+/20 Sep 2017 RRP $25.00

Monowai ‘Upper Reaches’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5-/20
Bright, even straw-yellow colour with light golden hues and some depth, paler edged. The nose is firm in concentration with good volume and depth of ripe yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit melded with subtle creamy barrel-ferment and nutty notes, along with rich lemon-curd and butterscotch MLF. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich, full and deep flavours of citrus and stonefruit, intermingling with subtle creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak, and lemon-curd and buttery MLF. The palate has a rounded and deep core, and the flavours flow with good acid energy to a lingering finish of stonefruits, nuts and butterscotch. This is a rich, well-flavoured Chardonnay with citrus and stonefruit flavours, creamy and nutty oak and an up-front MLF layering of butterscotch. Match with roast pork over the next 3-4 years. A barrel selection wine. Clone 15 fruit from the ‘Monowai’ vineyard, vines 15 y.o., fully barrel-fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 60% new oak, undergoing batonnage and 100% MLF. 150 dozen made. 17.5-/20 Sep 2017 RRP $35.00

Monowai ‘Upper Reaches’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17-/20
Even ruby-red colour with purple hues, youthful in appearance. The nose is elegantly concentrated with good depth and concentration of dark-red berry fruit alongside notes of fresh and dark herbs, and a hint of leaf, with suggestions of minerally reduction and nutty oak notes. Medium-bodied, the palate has an elegant and finely concentrated core of sweet, dark-red berry fruit entwined with dak herbs and a complex amalgam of leaf, florals, oak and minerals. The fruit is supported by grainy tannin extraction lending a dry, textured mouthfeel with fresh acidity. The flavours carry to a lingering finish of dark fruits and herbs. This is an elegantly concentrated Pinot Noir with good depth of dark-red berry fruit with herbs and complex detail on a grainy-textured, firm palate. Give the wine another 12-18 months to come together. Serve with lamb and beef over the next 4-5 years. A barrel selection wine. Clone 777 Pinot Noir fruit from the ‘Monowai’ vineyard, vines 15 y.o., destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 30% new oak. 150 dozen made. 17.0-/20 Sep 2017 RRP $35.00
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