Featured Reviews

Obsidian 2016 ‘Estate’ Syrah, ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay 2017, Viognier 2015, ‘Mayor’ 2016 and ‘Obsidian’ 2014

11 April,2018

Since the Obsidian Wines in Onetangi was established in 1993, the label has offered benchmark Waiheke Island wines at a relatively affordable price. With Alan and Bev Wiltshire, who were shareholders since 2004, taking over ownership in 2015, this philosophy has continued, with Michael Wood, winemaker since 2005, working with viticulturist Tim Adams to produce around 4,000 cases of wine from 9 ha of vines annually. The wines are presented in two tiers, the ‘Estate’ range and the ‘Reserve’ wines which has ‘The Obsidian’ Bordeaux-variety blend as the flagship. Here, I review the 2016 ‘Estate’ Syrah, ‘Reserve’ 2017 Chardonnay and 2015 Viognier, plus 2016 ‘The Mayor’ Cabernet Franc based red and 2014 ‘The Obsidian’ Cabernet Sauvignon based red. www.obsidian.co.nz


Obsidian ‘Estate’ Waiheke Island Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with a suggestion of garnet. The nose is elegantly presented with fragrant aromas of blackberries and dark raspberries, along with white and black pepper notes, and subtle nuances of spice intermixed with violet florals and hints of reductive minerals. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly presented with smooth and luscious flavours of dark raspberries and blackberries, harmoniously melded with white pepper. The palate is silky in flow with soft, supple tannins and the fruit is enlivened by slippery acidity. The wine carries easily to a lingering finish of dark raspberries and pepper. This is an elegant and smooth-flowing, slippery Syrah with dark raspberry, blackberry and white pepper flavours. Match with Middle Eastern fare over the next 3+ years. Hand-picked fruit destemmed and partially crushed, and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 20% new French oak. 17.5-/20 Apr 2018 RRP $35.00

Obsidian ‘Estate’ Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Bright, light straw-yellow colour, pale on the rim. The nose is elegant in proportion, very taut and tightly bound with finely-concentrated aromas of white stonefruits harmoniously integrated with subtle creamy barrel-ferment and nutty lees and oak elements. Medium-bodied, the palate is firmly composed with a tight core of white stonefruits along with subtle creamy barrel-ferment notes, and nutty, flinty lees and oak. The mouthfeel is fresh and lively, possessing a smooth-flowing. energetic line. The wine carries to a lingering, elegant finish of stonefruits and nuts. This is an elegant, fine and firmly concentrated Chardonnay with white stonefruit and nutty flavours. It will grow in richness over the next 3-4 years. Serve with seafood, poultry and pork dishes. Fruit from the ‘Edbrookes’ vineyard, WBP and fully barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 9 months on lees in seasoned French oak with 28% MLF. 17.5-/20 Jan 2018 RRP $31.50

Obsidian ‘Reserve’ Waiheke Island Viognier 2015

Viognier from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose has a deep and well-packed heart of white and yellow stonefruits along with savoury apricot kernel elements, and nutty notes, along with hints of oxidative complexities, unfolding white and yellow florals. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a deep, rounded and solid heart with flavours of savoury yellow stonefruits, apricot kernels and nutty elements with some oxidative suggestions. The palate has a light, phenolic-textured line with balanced acidity, and the flavours flow with drive and energy, and some alcoholic power, leading to a savoury finish. This is a savoury stonefruited Viognier with apricot kernel and nutty flavours with a light-textured palate with some power. Serve with Mediterranean cuisine over the next 3 years. Hand-picked fruit, WBP, 50% fermented in tank and 50% barrel-fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged on lees, half in seasoned French oak for 10 months with batonnage. 16.5+/20 Apr 2018 RRP $48.00

Obsidian ‘Reserve’ ‘The Mayor’ Waiheke Island 2016

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Full, dark, deep black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is well-proportioned and finely presented with deep and softly packed aromas of fragrant blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, along with harmoniously entwined notes of dark herbs, nutty oak and suggestions of iron-earth minerals, tar, smoke and toast. Medium-bodied, the palate has moderately concentrated and deep flavours of blackberries and blackcurrants along with aromatic dark herbs, with nutty and toasty oak. The fruit has sweetness and richness, and is balanced by fresh, lacy acidity, and underlined by fine-grained, flowery tannin structure and grip. The wine has plenty of linearity and drive, and the extraction carries the fruit to a lingering, aromatic finish. This is an elegantly proportioned Cabernet Franc-blend with flavours of blackcurrants, blackberries and fragrant herbs on a fresh, finely extracted palate. Match with roasted lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-7 years. A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 33% Petit Verdot and 17% Malbec, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 33% new French and 17% new American oak barrels, the remainder in seasoned oak. 18.5/20 Apr 2018 RRP $54.00

Obsidian ‘Reserve’ ‘The Obsidian’ Waiheke Island 2014

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Full, deep, near impenetrable black-red colour, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is finely concentrated with deep, intense and powerfully penetrating aromas of ripe blackcurrants and blackberry fruit entwined with cassis liqueur and dark herbs. This has freshness and vitality and unfolds complexing notes of pencil lead, earth and minerals. Medium-full bodied, the palate has richly sweet, vibrant and vigorous fruit flavours of ripe blackcurrants and cassis liqueur, with blackberry fruit interwoven with subtle herb notes, unfolding a core of dark minerals. This has concentration, depth and power, and the wine is underlined by considerable tannin structure and grip, with lively, fresh acidity lending the palate energy and vitality. The structure carries the sweet flavours to a sustained finish. This is a sweetly rich and vibrant Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend with blackcurrant, blackberry and cassis flavours on a well-structured palate with plenty of vitality. Match with slow-cooked game meats and semi-hard cheeses over the next 8-10 years. A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 16% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Franc, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 40% new French oak. 18.5+/20 Apr 2018 RRP $75.00

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