Featured Reviews




Obsidian ‘Estate’ Reds, ‘Reserve’ White and ‘Reserve’ Reds – New and Current

30 June,2017
There has been a seamless change at Obsidian on Waiheke Island, with Alan and Bev Wiltshire, shareholders since 2004 taking on full ownership. Some consolidation in labelling and branding has helped with the marketing of the wines, and 1.5 ha of new Chardonnay vines have replaced an old Cabernet Sauvignon block. The total vineyard plantings remain at 9 ha, yielding an average of 45-55 tonnes to make 3,500 to 4,000 cases annually. The very experienced and ever-thoughtful Mike Wood with the company since 2005 makes the wines and oversees the viticulture. He has Tim Adams as his vineyard manager, and Tom Morton as his sales and marketing manager. This Onetangi hillside producer continues to impress with its wines, and this is also a reflection, not only of the human factors, but of the excellent site. Here, I review a selection of new and current ‘Estate’ and ‘Reserve wines. They show a very pleasing consistency of quality that delivers at each level of aspiration. www.obsidian.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Obsidian ‘Estate’ Waiheke Island Montepulciano 2016

Montepulciano from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

17+/20
Even, dark ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. This has a full, oft and harmonious nose of moderately deep, dark-red berry fruit melded with a subtle layer of earth and minerals, and nuances of dark herbs. Medium-full bodied, the palate is sweetly rich and juicy with elegant but deep flavours of dark-red berry fruits along with dark herb nuances, and earth and minerals. The fruit richness is well-supported by light, grainy tannin extraction lending a supple, approachable mouthfeel. The acidity is balanced and provides good freshness and energy, and the wine carries to a moderately sustained, gently flavoured finish. This is an elegant, sweet-fruited Montepulciano with subtle dark herb, earth and mineral notes on a palate with balanced structure and freshness. Match with pork, veal and roasted red meats over the next 4 years. Estate Montepulciano fruit fermented to 13.7% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 20% new French oak. 300 cases made. 17.0+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $39.50

Obsidian ‘Estate’ Waiheke Island Tempranillo 2015

Tempranillo from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

17.5+/20
Full, very dark and deep ruby-red colour with black hues, a little lighter on the rim. This has afresh, vibrant, aromatic nose with spicy and savoury dark-red berry fruits, dark raspberries, and cedary oak notes. This has good depth and unveils some minerally elements. Medium-bodied, the palate is fresh and lively with attractively rich and luscious, sweet and spicy red berry and raspberry fruit entwined with a layering of cedary oak. The mouthfeel is enlivened by lacy acidity and the fruit follows an elegantly concentrated, fine-structured line. The textures carry the wine to a lingering, spicy, cedary finish. This is a vibrant and lively. Varietally expressive Tempranillo with fine structure and cedary oak, reminiscent of Rioja, Match with beef and lamb, and Mediterranean fare over the next 4-5 years. Estate Tempranillo fruit fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 25% new American oak, the remainder seasoned French oak. 17.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $38.50

Obsidian ‘Estate’ Waiheke Island Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

17.5/20
Full, dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is very fresh and finely proportioned with intense aromas of blackberry and dark raspberry fruit, along with hints of black pepper, dark-red florals and a little minerally reductive suggestions. Medium-full bodied, the palate is tightly bound with fine and firm flavours of blackberries with some dark raspberries, black pepper and spice, lifted by violet florals. The fruit is complexed by an earthy and minerally amalgam and a little reduction. The mouthfeel features a fine, grainy-textured structure with integrated acidity, and the wine carries with good drive to a moderately sustained finish of black fruits, pepper and minerals. This is a firmly bound Syrah with black fruits, some black pepper, florals and minerally reductive notes on a fine, but firm palate. Match with barbecued and grilled red meat dishes, and semi-hard cheeses over the next 4-5 years. Hand-picked estate fruit destemmed and partially crushed, and fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 20% new French oak. 17.5/20 Jun 2017 RRP $35.00

Obsidian ‘Estate’ ‘Vitreous’ Waiheke Island 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18-/20
Even, dark ruby-red colour with black hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is full, soft and harmoniously presented with moderately deep aromas of ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruit along with subtle notes of dark herbs and a gentle layering of iron-earth minerals. The aromatics are balanced with integrated componentry, unfolding a little spice with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has sweetly rich and ripe fruit flavours of blackberries and black plums, along with black and red currants, harmoniously interwoven with a little spice, forming a fine core. The fruit is balanced by ripe, fine-grained tannins which allow the fruit to feature. The mouthfeel is fresh and vibrant, and lively, carrying with soft drive to a lingering finish of ripe blackberries and plums. This is a harmoniously integrated red blend with sweetly ripe black berried and plummy fruit, with a fine cored palate. Match with roasted lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-7+ years. ‘Vitreous’ is the new name for the ‘Estate’ blended red which was previously varietally named. This is a blend of 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 19% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec, fermented to 13.75% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 20$ new French oak. 970 cases made. 18.0-/20 Jun 2017RRP $31.50

Obsidian ‘Estate’ Waiheke Island Merlot/Cabernets/Petit Verdot 2014

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

17.5/20
Full, very dark, deep ruby-red colour with purple hues, a little lighter on the edge. This has a vey firm and intense nose with deeply concentrated aromas of blackcurrants and black plums, entwined with cassis liqueur, dark herbs and a hint of leafiness. Medium-full bodied, the palate possesses good depth and intensity of blackcurrant fruit with notes of plums and cassis, dark herbs and blackcurrant leaves. The mouthfeel is fresh and crisp with lively acidity, and the wine flows along a firm, fine-grained tannin line with energy and tension. The flavours are bright, lively and up-front, and carry to a slender, but concentrated finish of blackcurrants and herbs. This is a bright, lively and intensely flavoured blended red with blackcurrant, plum and cassis flavours intermingling with herbs and leaf on a fine, firm line. Serve with herb-marinated red meat dishes over the next 5-6+ years. A blend of estate fruit, hand-picked, 31.63% Merlot, 24.93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24.93% Cabernet Franc, 12.47% Petit Verdot and 6.04% Malbec, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 20% new French oak. 17.5/20 Jun 2017 RRP $29.50

Obsidian ‘Reserve’ Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18-/20
Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, very light on the rim. This has a very elegant and refined nose with tightly bound and finely concentrated aromas of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruits, unfolding some creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes, and piquant lees detail. The aromatics grow in intensity with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has an elegantly concentrated core with rich flavours of citrus and stonefruits, with subtle creamy and nutty oak, balanced by crisp, fresh, lacy acidity. The wine flows with good energy and vitality, and carries with concentration and depth to a lingering finish. This is an elegant, but concentrated and rich Chardonnay with citrus and stonefruit flavours and complexing oak detail on a refreshing, youthfully brisk palate. Serve with seafood, poultry and pork. It will grow in richness over the next 4-5 years. Estate fruit, WBP and fully indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 40% new French oak, with no MLF. 18.0-/20 Jun 2017 RRP $35.00

Obsidian ‘Reserve’ Waiheke Island Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

19-/20
Dark, deep, black-hued purple-red colour, a little lighter edged. The nose is softly full building in solidness with densely packed aromas of ripe blackberry fruit entwined with dark raspberries and plums, along with iron-earth elements. With aeration, a little black pepper, spices and violet florals emerge. Medium-full bodied, the palate possesses sweetly rich and vibrant fruit flavours of ripe blackberries, dark raspberries, plums and black pepper, unveiling dark-red and violet florals. The flavours form a good, concentrated, seamless heart. The fruit richness is balanced and supported by fine-grained, ripe, flowery tannins which enable accessibility. The acidity is refreshing and integrated. The wine flows with good energy to a long, elegant, sweet-fruited finish. This is a rich, vibrant, seamlessly concentrated Syrah with ripe black fruits, floral notes and a fine-textured palate. Match with venison and game meat dishes over the next 8-9+ years. 100% estate Syrah fruit, predominantly destemmed and fermented with approx. 10% whole clusters to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 40% new French oak. 133 cases made. 19.0-/20 Jun 2017 RRP $75.00

Obsidian ‘Reserve’ Waiheke Island Syrah 2014

Syrah from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18.5/20
Full, near impenetrable black-hued ruby-red colour with youthful purple tints. The bouquet is very fresh and intensely concentrated with penetrating aromas of blackberries and black pepper entwined with dark herb notes and dark-red floral perfumes. Full-bodied, the palate is powerful and intense with well-concentrated flavours of blackberries and black pepper with dark herbs and subtle stalky whole bunch perfumes. The fruit is sweet and vibrant, and the mouthfeel has liveliness and vitality. The fruit is underlined by considerable tannin extraction, providing grip, body and presence. The wine carries with good acid freshness to a long, lingering finish of black fruits, black pepper and fresh herbs. This is a powerfully concentrated and intense Syrah with blackberry and black pepper flavours along with herb and stalk notes on a fulsome, well-structured, lively palate. Match with herb-marinated lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 7-8+ years. 100% estate Syrah fruit predominantly destemmed and fermented with approx. 10% whole bunches to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 14 months in 40% new French oak. 125 dozen made. 18.5/20 Jun 2017 RRP $68.00

Obsidian ‘Reserve’ ‘The Mayor’ Waiheke Island 2013

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18.5/20
Dark, deep ruby-red colour with a little purple, lighter on the rim The nose is softly full with aromas of ripe, dark redcurrant fruit along with lifted dark-red florals, subtle notes of cassis, dark herbs and some iron-earth element, unfolding some savoury dried herbs and secondary development nuances. Medium-full bodied, the palate is sweet and juicy with rich, ripe redcurrant, plum and cassis flavours, along with dark and dried herbs, and iron-earth mineral notes, forming a well-packed and concentrated, but rounded core. The mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh, balanced acidity, and the wine flows along a finely extracted tannin line with near powdery texture and grip. The wine carries to a rich, lingering finish of redcurrants, plums, herbs and iron-earth elements. This is a well-concentrated Cabernet Franc-based blend with rich fruit, fine-grained tannins and a softly fresh palate. Match with casseroles and slow-cooked game meat dishes over the next 7-9+ years. A blend of 44.5% Cabernet Franc, 33.5% Petit Verdot and 22% Malbec, fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 30% new French oak. 206 dozen made. 18.5/20 Jun 2017 RRP $49.50

Obsidian ‘Reserve’ ‘The Obsidian’ Waiheke Island 2013

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

19/20
Full, dark, deep ruby-red colour with some black hues, lighter edged. The nose is beautifully aromatic with ripe and vibrant blackberry and blackcurrant fruit entwined with cassis liqueur, fresh dark herbs and spicy, cedary oak. Dried herb elements, minerals and a little oak toastiness emerge with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate is sweetly rich and lush with flavours of blackberries and blackcurrants intermingling with savoury dark herbs, minerals and spicy oak. The fruit is succulent and vibrant, with a concentrated heart, and supported by fine-grained tannin structure, and enlivened by fresh acidity. The flavours are mouthfilling and carry to a long, sustained finish unfolding a little savoury secondary development complexity. This is a sweetly rich and succulent Bordeaux varietal blend with ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruit along with savoury herb and secondary nuance, and spicy, cedary oak, on a vibrant, fresh palate. A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26.67% Merlot, 13.34% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot each, and 6.65% Malbec, fermented to 14.3% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 33% new French oak. 179 cases made. 19.0/20 Jun 2017 RRP $75.00
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