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Featured Reviews




Rock Ferry Methode, 3rd Rock, and Marlborough and Central Otago SV Releases

16 November,2018

The Rock Ferry wines of Tom and Fiona Hutchison have grown considerably in all aspects since their first vintage in 2005. The presentation of the labels which features the Fibonacci sequence of mathematical growth in nature is an indication of the sophistication in the bottles! Rock Ferry has three BioGro certified organic vineyards from which they draw their fruit, the original one being ‘The Corners’ vineyard of 13.5 ha in the Rapaura district of the Wairau Plains. This is also the site of the excellent café and cellar door. The ‘Trig Hill’ vineyard in Bendigo, Central Otago was established in 2003 and covers 19 ha of plantings. And in 2007, Rock Ferry added the 9.5 ha ‘Orchard’ vineyard, also in Rapaura, to its holdings, and this is the site of the winery.

The very experienced Allan McWilliams is the winemaker who puts out a very diverse and high quality range of wines including method traditionnelle, single variety and vineyard bottlings and interesting blends. I see Allan has over the vintages incorporated a more adventurous approach to winemaking, which has led to more interest, detail and complexity. Here, I review a dozen Rock Ferry wines that encompass the range of activity. It would have been easy to separate the wines into smaller parcels to taste and review, but I felt the comparisons across all the wines would be more instructive for me and hopefully for the reader! www.rockferry.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Rock Ferry Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs 2012

Sparkling Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough

19-/20

Bright yellow colour with lemon-gold hues, lighter on the edge, the bubbles are fine and moderately persistent. The nose is softly presented with gently building and deeply packed aromas of white florals and white stonefruits with citrus fruit elements and subtle mineral notes, layered with very refined bready-yeasty autolysis. This is beautifully soft and refined, with purity and clarity. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is tightly bound with a refined and concentrated core of subtle stonefruits, citrus fruit and white florals, harmoniously layered with elegant bready-yeasty autolysis. The wine flows along a very fine-textured line with lacy acidity and effervescent creaminess, and carries to a delicate but positively vinous, sustained finish. This is a classical Blanc de Blancs method with purity and refined white floral and stonefruit flavours along with delicately complexing autolysis. Serve as an aperitif over the next 3+ years. Hand-picked clone 15 Chardonnay from ‘The Corners’ vineyard, WBP and fermented in seasoned oak barrels and stainless-steel barrels undergoing 100% MLF and given 11 months lees aging, then tiraged and aged 4 years on lees in bottle. This is 12.5% alc. with a dosage of 3.5 g/L. Lot L12007. Certified BioGro organic. 19.0-/20 Nov 2018 RRP $45.00

Rock Ferry Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs 2011

Sparkling Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5+/20

Brilliant, even light golden-hued straw-yellow colour, a little lighter on the rim, the bubbles moderately fine, but very persistent. The bouquet is full with excellent breadth and up-front aromas of white and yellow stonefruits, white florals and plenty of bready-yeasty notes and subtle nutty aldehyde complexities. This has a savoury richness from time in bottle. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate shows good breadth of yellow stonefruits, subtle citrus fruits and good depth of bready-yeasty autolysis with delicate, nutty aldehyde complexities from development. The palate has good presence and body, the effervescence light. This has a rounded core with soft acidity, leading to a soft, full finish. This is a flavoursome Blanc de Blancs methode with rich and broad flavours of white and savoury stonefruits and plenty of bready-yeasty autolysis and some nutty complexity. Serve as an aperitif and with poultry or pork over the next 2+ years. Hand-picked clone 15 Chardonnay from ‘The Corners’ vineyard, WBP and fermented in seasoned oak barrels and stainless-steel barrels undergoing 100% MLF and given 11 months lees aging, then tiraged and aged 4 years on lees in bottle. This is 12.5% alc. with a dosage of 4.5 g/L. Lot L11007. Certified BioGro organic. 18.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $45.00

Rock Ferry ‘3rd Rock’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

18-/20

Bright, light golden hued yellow colour with a little depth, paler on the rim. The nose is softly full with gentle depth and concentration of savoury yellow stonefruits melded with citrus fruit and a subtle layer of creamy barrel-ferment with nutty lees and oak notes, unfolding a suggestion of lemon-curd MLF. This is elegant and detailed. Medium-full bodied, the palate has softly packed and concentrated flavours of yellow stonefruits and savoury citrus fruits entwined with a layer of creamy barrel ferment and nutty oak. The flavours unfold in detail as the wine carries along a fine line with fresh, lacy, background acidity, leading to an elegant, sustained finish. This is a well-concentrated, layered and detailed Chardonnay with yellow stonefruits and savoury citrus fruit, along with creamy, nutty oak complexities. Match with roasted poultry and pork over the next 4 years. Hand-picked fruit from ‘The Corners’ vineyard, WBP and indigenous yeast fermented in a French oak cuve to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in 33% new French oak barriques and puncheons with 100% MLF conversion but no batonnage. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0-/20 Nov 2018 RRP $35.00

Rock Ferry ‘3rd Rock’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

17.5+/20

Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with hints of garnet, a little lighter on the edge. This has an elegantly proportioned nose with good intensity of savoury dark-red berry fruit melded with a complex layering of dried and dark herbs, a little earthiness, hints of liquorice and softly lifted red florals. This is harmonious and integrated. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rounded and well-packed with a solid core of harmoniously integrated flavours of savoury dark-red cherry and berry fruit with dried herb notes. Some secondary notes are beginning to appear with nuances of game and mushrooms, but the fruit sweetness carries the wine along a line of fine-grained tannin extraction with soft acidity, leading to a long, savoury finish. This is a savoury Pinot Noir with integrating flavours of cherry and berry fruit with dried herbs and a little earthiness on a supple palate. Match with game meat dishes over the next 4-5 years. Clones Abel, 115, 5 and 667 from the ‘Trig Hill’ vineyard, Bendigo, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 25% new French oak. Certified BioGro organic. 17.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $40.00

Rock Ferry ‘The Corners Vineyard’ Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2016

Gruner Veltliner from New Zealand – Marlborough

16.5+/20

Bright, light golden-hued yellow colour with lemon-green tints, lighter on the edge. The nose is soft and gentle with delicate fruit aromas of white and yellow stonefruits infused with subtle, fresh herb notes. A little nutty and mineral detail emerges with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a light fruited core with flavours of white stonefruits entwined with herbal and nutty notes. This has fruit extract, providing a light phenolic-textured line with light, lacy acidity in the background, lending tension and energy. The wine carries to a dry, light finish with some grip. This is a light-fruited dry Gruner Veltliner with some phenolic grip and texture, and light background acid freshness. Match with pork and veal dishes over the next 3 years. Hand-picked fruit and WBP, the wine indigenous yeast fermented in stainless-steel barrels and seasoned oak to 12.5% alc. and 3.5 g/L RS, the wine aged 8 months on lees. Certified BioGro organic. 16.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $33.00

Rock Ferry ‘The Corners Vineyard’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5/20

Bright straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, paler edged. The nose is elegantly proportioned with fine and firmly concentrated, intense aromas of gooseberries, fresh herbs and green stonefruits and a layering of green beans entwined with subtle nutty nuances. This is showing some secondary development characters. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is bright and lively with lifted and aromatic flavours of gooseberries, green stonefruits, green beans and nutty, smoky oak. The fruit is vibrant and lively, and the wine carries along a fine, smooth-textured line unfolding richness and lusciousness. The mouthfeel is enlivened by crisp acidity, and the wine carries to a dry-textured finish. This is a bright and vibrant, sweetly fruited oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, stonefruit and green bean flavours on a smooth, refreshing palate. Match with herb-marinated white meats over the next 3 years. Fruit from ‘The Corners’ vineyard, fermented in stainless-steel with 15% by indigenous yeasts in seasoned oak to 13.5% alc. and 4.2 g/L RS, the wine aged 4 months on lees. Certified BioGro organic. 17.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $30.00

Rock Ferry ‘Orchard Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc 2016

Blended White from New Zealand – Marlborough

18-/20

Opaque peach colour with light orange-yellow hues and some depth, lighter edged. The nose is ‘textured’ with deep and rounded aromas of yellow stonefruits and subtle notes of red berry fruit and red florals, unfolding pear, honeysuckle and mineral elements. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate features a fine phenolic-textured core with flavours of yellow stonefruits, pears and honey with minerals, unveiling red floral nuances. The fruit is underlined by light, lacy acidity lending freshness and tension. The wine carries along a light, grainy textured line leading to a dry finish. This is a dry Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc blended wine in the ‘orange’ skin-contact style with stonefruit, floral and mineral flavours. Serve with creamy poultry and pork dishes over the next 3 years. A blend of 75% Pinot Gris from the ‘Winery Block’ and 25% Pinot Blanc from the ‘Plum Tree Block’ in the ‘Orchard’ vineyard, hand-picked and indigenous yeast co-fermented in a French oak cuve to 13.5% alc. and 3.3 g/L RS, the wine spending 30 days on skins, and aged 14 months in one seasoned oak barrel, a seasoned puncheon and one stainless-steel barrel. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0-/20 Nov 2018 RRP $39.00


Rock Ferry ‘Orchard Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Blanc 2015

Pinot Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5-/20

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is elegantly proportioned with very good intensity and well-concentrated aromas of piquant yellow stonefruits with a layer of thirst-quenching mineral. The aromatics build with aeration. Dry to taste and full-bodied, the palate has rich and finely penetrating flavours of white stonefruits showing good richness and acid vitality. Honey, pear and floral notes unfold toad interest. Some underlying alcoholic power carries the wine to a strong, long lasting finish. This is a rich, well-driven dry Pinot Blanc with stonefruit, honey and pear flavours with fresh acid vitality. Match with Asian cuisine over the next 3-4 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Orchard’ vineyard, WBP and fermented in stainless-steel with 20% by indigenous yeasts in a seasoned puncheon to 14.5% alc. and 1.3 g/L RS. Certified BioGro organic. 18.5-/20 Nov 2018 RRP $30.00

Rock Ferry ‘Trig Hill Vineyard’ Central Otago Riesling 2014

Riesling from New Zealand – Otago

17+/20

Brilliant straw-yellow colour with pale lemon-green hues, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is elegantly concentrated with firm and deep aromas of lime fruit harmoniously entwined with white florals and an amalgam of honey and toast, unfolding mineral and kero nuances. Theis beginning to show secondary interest and complexities. Sweet to taste and medium-full bodied, the fruit flavours are taut and firmly bound, showing limes and white florals, some honey and a little toastiness. The mouthfeel features a drying phenolic texture which restrains the sweetness, and soft acidity enhances the grip. The wine carries to a light finish with dry grip. This is a sweet Riesling beginning to show secondary honey and toast development on a drying textured palate with soft acidity. Serve with Middle Eastern and Asian fare over the next 3+ years. Fruit from the ‘Trig Hill’ vineyard, Bendigo, hand-picked and WBP, fermented in stainless-steel with 20% by indigenous yeasts in seasoned French oak undergoing MLF, to 14.0% alc. and 63 g/L RS, the wine aged 6 months on light lees. Certified BioGro organic. 17.0+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $33.00

Rock Ferry ‘Trig Hill Vineyard’ Central Otago Tempranillo 2015

Tempranillo from New Zealand – Otago

17.5/20

Dark ruby-red colour with light garnet tints, and good depth, a little paler on the edge. The nose is softly full with a harmonious amalgam of savoury dark-raspberry fruit melded with a layer of earthy notes, dried herbs and nutty elements, and is now beginning to show some secondary development. The aromatics form a deep core with some density. Medium-full bodied, the palate has gently sweet and rich flavours of dark-red berry fruit with subtle notes of savoury raspberries entwined with earthy and dried herb elements, the wine with secondary interest. The fruit is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity and the mouthfeel has good energy. Fine-grained tannin structure underlines the fruit and the wine carries to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a gently rich and elegant Tempranillo with savoury red fruits, herbs and earth showing developing interest on a fine-textured, energetic palate. Match with poultry, pork, lamb and beef over thenext 4-5 years. Fruit from the ‘Trig Hill’ vineyard, Bendigo, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 20 months in 20% new French oak puncheons. Certified BioGro organic. 17.5/20 Nov 2018 RRP $45.00

Rock Ferry ‘Trig Hill Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

18+/20

Dark, deep, black hued garnet-red at the heart, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is elegant in presentation with a concentrated core of ripe, dark-red cherry and berry fruit with suggestions of savoury dark plums along with lifted red floral nuances, fresh and dried herbs, unfolding some liquorice elements. The fruit has vibrancy. Medium-full bodied, the palate has richly sweet flavours of dark-red berry fruit with notes of plums and liquorice, lifted red florals and the beginnings of secondary development. The fruit is fresh and lively, enhanced by fresh, lacy acidity, and supported by fine-grained, balanced extraction and structure. The wine has good tension and carries to a fine-textured finish.. This is a sweet-fruited Pinot Noir with some secondary savouriness emerging, on a vibrant palate with fine structure. Match with coq au vin and casseroles over the next 5+ years. A blend of 70% clone 115, 20% Abel and 10% 777, hand-picked from the upper slopes, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented with 10% whole clusters to 14.0% alc., the wine spending 20 days on skins post ferment and aged 18 months in 30% new French oak barriques and puncheons. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $65.00

Rock Ferry Marlborough Botrytised Riesling 2017

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough

19/20

Golden yellow colour with orange hues and good depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and densely packed with an opulent layer of ripe tropical and citrus fruits along with honey and nectar, orange marmalade and notes of musky botrytis. This exudes decadence. Very sweet to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is rich and opulent with ripe flvours of tropical fruit and citrus fruit melded with honey, apricots and marmalade, along with subtle musky botrytis. The palate is unctuous and plush in texture, with fine, balancing acid cut, and the wine carries toa long and sumptuous sustained finish. The is an opulently rich and decadent botrytised Riesling with tropical and citrus fruits, honey, marmalade and musk on an unctuous palate. Match with fruit and baked desserts, and crème caramel over the next 4 years. Hand-picked botrytised fruit from ‘The Corners’ vineyard indigenous yeast fermented in stainless-steel and oak barrels to 13.0% alc. and 124 g/L RS, TA 6.0 g/L and pH 3.17, the wine aged 6 months on full lees. Certified BioGro organic. (375 ml) 19.0/20 Nov 2018 RRP $30.00

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