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Featured Reviews




River-T Waitaki Valley 2018, 2017 and 2016 Releases

27 November,2018

River-T Estate is the 3 ha vineyard of Murray Turner and his partner Karen Tweed. They planted 11,000 vines over from stonefruit trees on the banks of the Waitaki River, 5 km east from Kurow, North Otago, in 2007 and began supplying contract fruit before establishing their own label. Murray, a fourth generation Waitaki Valley man, is a horticulturist in and is the managing director of Waitaki Irrigation Management, and is thus intimate with winegrowing in the region. Murray and Karen have Grant Taylor and Jen Par make their Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and Antony Worch making the Rosé and Pinot Gris, as the Alexandra Vintners facilities are most conducive for their making. There is a little crossover with each winemaker making some of the other varieties. Murray reports that sales for the wines are very strong, and that they will be opening a cellar door very soon to sell their and other Waitaki Valley wines. Here, I review a selection of new releases from the 2018, 2017 and 2016 vintages. www.rivertestate.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



River-T Estate Waitaki Valley Pinot Rosé 2018

Rose from New Zealand – Otago

17.5-/20

Bright, salmon-pink colour with some depth, lighter on the edge. The nose is tightly bound with a fine and firm core of delicate strawberry and cherry fruit entwined with red florals, suggestions of herbs and thirst-quenching minerals. This is refreshing and has clarity. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has bright and refreshing flavours of strawberries and cherries along with subtly lifted red florals, a little herb nuance and mouthwatering minerals. The fruit forms a tight and firm heart, and the wine carries along a light-textured line with lacy acidity providing energy, enlivening the mouthfeel. The flavours lead to a taut finish of strawberries and florals. This is a tightly bound dry rosé with strawberry and cherry fruit with refreshing mineral notes on a fine-textured line. Serve as an aperitif and with canapés over the next 2 years. Clones 5, 115 and 777 from the ‘River-T’ vineyard, WBP and fermented in tank to 13.4% alc. and 5g/L RS. Winemaker: Antony Worch. 230 cases made. 17.5-/20 Nov 2018 RRP $25.00

River-T Estate Waitaki Valley North Otago Pinot Gris 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago

17.5/20

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, paler edged. The nose is elegant and well bound in presentation with good depth of white stonefruits and white floral notes entwined with saline elements and mouthwatering minerals, unfolding some exotic pear and honeysuckle nuances. Medium-dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has gently rich and rounded flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with lifted florals, hints of pears and thirst-quenching minerals that form a moderately concentrated core. The wine flows along a phenolic-textured line with some grip, and fresh lacy acidity lending crispness and energy. The wine leads to bright and zesty finish. This is a gently rich medium-dryish Pinot Gris with stonefruit flavours, and thirst-quenching minerals on a textured palate with fresh acidity. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 3 years. Barrie and 2/15 clones fruit from the ‘River-T’ vineyard, WBP and fermented in tank to 12.0% alc. and 12 g/L RS. Winemaker: Antony Worch. 450 cases made. 17.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $22.00

River-T Estate ‘Last Pick’ Waitaki Valley Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago

18.5+/20

Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, lighter on the edge. This has a full and rich bouquet with ripe and luscious aromas of yellow stonefruits along with tropical fruit elements, and an amalgam of pear fruit and a layering of nutty oak with complexing mineral detail. Exotic floral elements unfold with aeration. Medium in sweetness and full-bodied, the palate has rich and fulsome flavours of ripe exotic stonefruit and tropical fruit flavours along with lifted florals and pear fruit and a little honeysuckle with subtle nutty oak notes. The mouthfeel is rich and plush with some unctuousness, and the wine flows with some underlying alcoholic power with balanced acidity, leading to a long, rich, honied finish. This is a rich and lush late-picked medium Pinot Gris with ripe stonefruit and tropical fruit flavours along with exotic florals, pears, honey and nutty oak on an unctuous palate. Match with mildly spicy Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 4 years. Barrie and 2-21 clone fruit from the ‘Grants Road’ block (now sold to Grant Taylor), WBP and fermented in barrel and stainless-steel to 14.5% alc. and 13.6 g/L RS, the wine aged 12 months in barrel. Winemakers: Grant Taylor and Jen Parr. 60 cases made. 18.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $30.00

River-T Estate Waitaki Valley North Otago Riesling 2017

Riesling from New Zealand – Otago

17.5+/20

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with some green hues, paler on the edge. The nose is softly packed with well-proportioned aromas of lime fruit with an amalgam of white florals, fresh herbs a little toastiness and honeysuckle, unfolding saline mineral nuances. Medium in sweetness and light-bodied, the palate has a fine-textured, packed core of lime fruit with notes of white florals, a little honeysuckle and nuances of toast and herbs. The fruit flows along a textured line of fruit extract and phenolics, with fresh, lacy acidity providing energy and liveliness to the mouthfeel. The wine flows firmly to a slightly grippy finish with brisk acidity. This is a finely packed medium Riesling with lime and floral flavours along with honey and toast notes on a slightly grippy, textured palate with fresh acidity. Serve with Thai and Chinese fare over the next 4 years. Clone 198-19 fruit from the ‘River-T’ vineyard, fermented in tank to 9.5% alc. and 25 g/L RS, TA 8.14 g/L and pH 2.93. Winemakers: Grant Taylor and Jen Parr. 141 cases made. 17.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $22.00

River-T Estate ‘Two Brothers’ Waitaki Valley Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Otago

18-/20

Bright, light golden yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is elegantly presented with good depth and breadth of fresh and savoury citrus fruit aromas along with a layering of nutty oak and soft barrel-ferment creamy hints, some nuances of flint and toast, and suggestions of lemon-curd MLF. Medium-full bodied, the palate has an amalgam of sweet and savoury citrus fruit entwined with nutty oak and notes of creamy barrel-ferment entwined with lemon-curd MLF, forming a rich core with good depth and presence. The flavours unfold in layers to fill the palate and the wine flows along a fine line with refreshing acidity carrying the wine to a long finish. This Chardonnay has flavours of sweet and savoury citrus fruit along with nutty oak and creamy barrel and MLF notes on a palate with good depth and presence. Match with creamy seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 4 years. Clones 95, 809, 548 and Mendoza from Murray and Geoff Turner’s vineyard, WBP and fully barrel-fermented with full solids to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 13 months in 33% new French oak – Ana selection and 80% MLF. Winemakers: Grant Taylor and Jen Parr. 50 cases made. 18.0-/20 Nov 2018. RRP $49.00

River-T Estate Waitaki Valley North Otago Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

17.5/20

Moderately deep, dark ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge with hints of garnet. The nose is fresh and fragrant with elegantly concentrated and intense aromas of red cherry and berry fruit along with fresh herb notes with some spice, in an amalgam with dark-red florals. The herbal elements grow in intensity with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate is bright and lively with fresh flavours of red cherry and berry fruit interwoven with fresh and dark herbs, along with floral and spice elements. The mouthfeel is vibrant with fresh acidity enlivening the mouthfeel, and the fruit is supported by supple tannin extraction. The palate has good linearity as it flows, revealing a herbal array as it carries to a lingering, crisp finish. This is a refreshing Pinot Noir with cherry, berry and herb flavours with a bright mouthfeel and light, supple tannins. Match with tuna, salmon and herb-marinated poultry dishes over the next 3+ years. Clones 5, 115 and 777 from the ‘River-T’ vineyard, destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 20% new French oak – Ana selection. Winemaker: Antony Worch. 250 cases made. 17.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $30.00

River-T Estate ‘Reserve’ Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

18.5/20

Even, dark ruby-red colour, lighter on the edge. The bouquet is softly full with rich aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit with hints of dark plums, intermingling with dark herbs and soft complexing notes of a layering of spicy nutty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and sweetly vibrant flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit with nuances of plum melded with dark herbs and a little whole bunch stalk perfume. The herbal elements intermingle with nutty oak and the flavours form a moderately concentrated heart with richness and good tannin structure in support. The mouthfeel possesses fine acidity and the wine carries with good energy toan elegant, lingering finish. This is a moderately rich Pinot Noir with red cherry and berry fruit with dark herbs and subtle whole bunch complexities on a palate with good tannin structure and support. Match with herb-marinated poultry and pork dishes over the next 5-6 years. A barrel selection wine. Clones 5 and 115 from the ‘River-T’ vineyard, fermented with 20% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 29% new French Mercurey oak. Winemakers: Grant Taylor and Jen Parr. 60 cases made. 18.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $49.00

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