Featured Reviews




Sacred Hill 2017 and 2016 ‘Orange Label’ Releases and a 2016 ‘Reserve’ Red

13 September,2017
The Sacred Hill label has been one of the success stories of Hawke’s Bay. The Mason family have grown the business enormously to make a full range of Hawke’s Bay classical varieties, at all the different tiers to meet all aspects of the markets. The company has acquired brands and developed extra vineyards not only in Hawke’s Bay, but also extensively in Marlborough. The flagship ‘Special Selection’ wines are sensational (click here to see my reviews of the ‘Special Selection’ 2016 Chardonnays and 2015 Reds), and can be counted among the best of the country’s wines. However, it is the ubiquitous and very accessible ‘Orange Label’ wines that drive the Sacred Hill brand, and are seen in all the regular channels of distribution. Here, I review a selection of 2017 and 2016 ‘Orange Label’ wines and a 2016 ‘Reserve’ red, from the next tier up. www.sacredhill.com

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16.5/20
Bright, very pale cerise-pink with some purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is soft with light and refreshing aromas of strawberries and cream with notes of watermelon and fresh herbs, fragrant red florals and suggestions of confectionary. The aromatics grow in depth with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has up-front, elegant and softly concentrated flavours of strawberries and watermelon, with some lifted red florals. The fruit brightness is balanced by a light, dry, textured grip and thirst-quenching acidity. The flavours recede as the wine carries to a light, strawberry-nuanced finish. This is an elegant, up-front dry rosé with flavours of strawberries, watermelon and red florals on a thirst-quenching, dry-textured palate. Serve as an aperitif and with canapes over the next 2 years. A blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Malbec, fermented in tank with a small portion in barrel, and the Malbec a saignee portion, to 12.5% alc. and 5 g/L RS. 16.5/20 Sep 2017 RRP $16.99

Sacred Hill Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

17/20
Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless. The nose is fresh and intense with finely concentrated aromas of gooseberries and fresh herbs along with notes of passionfruit and snow peas, and green capsicum nuance. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has penetrating flavours of gooseberries entwined with passionfruit, limes, cut grass and green capsicums. The palate features a concentrated core with some phenolic textures providing grip and linearity. The acidity is crisp and mouthwatering, and carries the wine to a lingering finish of cut-grass, passionfruit and herbs. Serve with seafood, salads and vegetables over the next 2 years. Marlborough fruit cool-fermented to 12.5% alc. and 3.9 g/L RS. 17.0/20 Sep 2017 RRP $16.99

Sacred Hill Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

16+/20
Bright, light straw-yellow colour on the rim. The nose is light with soft aromas of white stonefruits along with hints of exotic florals and honeysuckle, unfolding fresh ferment esters with a suggestion of minerals. Medium-dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has rounded and gentle flavours of aromatic stonefruits with floral notes and some honeysuckle. The palate has soft textures and integrated acidity, with good body and vinosity. The flavours carry to a light, lingering finish. This is a soft, rounded medium-dry Pinot Gris with gentle, aromatic fruit flavours. Match with Asian fare over the next 2+ years. Fruit from the Southern Valleys, cool-fermented to 13.5% alc. and 12.7 g/L RS. 16.0+/20 Sep 2017 RRP $16.99

Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16.5+/20
Bright straw-yellow colour with hints of pale gold, lighter edged. The nose is elegantly concentrated with restrained aromas of white and yellow stonefruits with citrus fruit and savoury, musky, nutty oak. The aromatic unfold in breadth, revealing toasty oak elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate has flavours of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit entwined with savoury, nutty, toasty oak. The mouthfeel is fresh and lively, with bright, lacy acidity, and the wine flows along a fine line, leading to a dry finish with toasty nuances. This is a moderately concentrated Chardonnay with flavours of stonefruit and citrus fruit, and savoury nutty and toasty oak on a fresh palate. Match with grilled and roasted seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 3 years. Hawke’s Bay fruit fermented with French oak to 13.5% alc., the wine undergoing batonnage. 16.5+/20 Sep 2017 RRP $16.99

Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet 2016

Merlot from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16.5+/20
Even dark ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is soft and light with aromas of dark-red plums along with hints of blackcurrant, dark and fresh herbs, unveiling some blackcurrant leaf elements. Medium-bodied, the palate has gently sweet and lush flavours of dark-red plums entwined with dark and fresh herbs, and nuances of earth and curranty fruit. The fruit is enlivened by fresh acidity and the wine is supported by light, supple tannin extraction providing linearity. The wine carries to a long finish of black plums and currants. This is a sweet-fruited Merlot-based blend with flavours of dark plums, herbs and currants, enlivened by fresh acidity and guided by supple tannins. Match with barbecued and roasted red meats over the next 3 years. A blend of 94% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% each Malbec and Cabernet Franc from Hawke’s Bay, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in French oak. 16.5+/20 Sep 2017 RRP $16.99

Sacred Hill ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5/20
Dark ruby-red colour with purple hues and some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is bright and fragrant with fresh, vibrant aromas of blackberries and black plums along with subtle notes of cassis and herbs, melded with nuances of sweet and spicy, toasty oak. The aromatics are harmoniously presented. Medium-full bodied, the palate has elegantly concentrated flavours of ripe black plums along with notes of cassis and herbs, entwined with spicy, toasty oak. The fruit is bright and lively, with fine-textured tannins and balanced, lacy acidity providing good energy and line. The flavours lead to a long, sustained finish of black fruits and spicy oak. This is an elegantly concentrated, Merlot/Cabernet blend of vitality, with black plum and berry fruit, some cassis and spicy, toasty oak on a fine-grained palate A blend of 79% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc from Hawke’s Bay, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged approx. 10 months in 15% new French oak. 17.5/20 Sep 2017 RRP $24.99
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