Featured Reviews

Smoking Loon, La Crema, McManis and The Crusher Releases

19 March,2018

Californian wines have been growing in the marketplace in New Zealand of late. The wines are welcome additions as they represent a part of the world which is established as well as being innovative, and thus, stylistically significant. While many of the most famous wines are very expensive, and arguably deservedly so, California can offer remarkable value. Many of these wines are finding their way here, via imaginative distributors, such as Procure Liquor. Here I review new vintage arrivals of Californian wines imported by Procure Liquor. They are from ‘Smoking Loon’, ‘La Crema’, McManis’ and ‘The Crusher’. www.procureliquor.co.nzhttp://www.procureliquor.co.nz


Smoking Loon California Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from USA


Full, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, paler on the rim. The nose is soft and gently full with aromas of ripe citrus and tropical fruit, along with an overlay of butterscotch MLF. Medium-full bodied, the palate has moderately rich flavours of tropical fruit entwined with lemon-curd and butterscotch MLF flavours. The mouthfeel possesses a good, accessible heart, and the flavours are gently mouthfilling. The wine has some noticeable alcoholic drive which carries the line positively to a lingering butterscotch nuanced finish. This is an up-front, gently mouthfilling Chardonnay with tropical fruit and butterscotch MLF flavours along with some alcoholic power. Match with poultry, pork and veal dishes over the next 2-3 years. California Chardonnay fruit fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine given oak contact. 16.5+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $25.00

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from USA


Ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues and some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is fragrant with lifted aromas of raspberry fruit intermixed with dark-red florals and subtle nuances of dark herbs, unfolding raspberry liqueur elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a rounded and deep heart of sweetly ripe dark raspberry and black cherry fruit, along with subtle notes of dark herbs and nuances of nutty oak with raspberry liqueur elements. The fruit sweetness is balanced by fine, supple, light tannin extraction, with soft, integrated acidity. The wine flows smoothly along a velvety line leading to a lingering finish revealing some bitter cherry notes. This is a rounded, gently sweet, ripe Pinot Noir with dark raspberry, cherry, herb and liqueur flavours on a smooth palate. Match with duck and pork, and with Mediterranean fare over the next 4+ years. Monterey fruit fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 23% new French oak. 18.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $45.00

McManis Lodi California Zinfandel 2016

Zinfandel from USA


Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, a little lighter edged, youthful in appearance. The nose is finely concentrated and firm showing primary fruit aromas of ripe blueberries and dark raspberry fruit, along with dark plums, and nuances of blackberry and boysenberry confectionary, unfolding nutty and spicy oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and intense, penetrating flavours of ripe blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, along with subtle jam and confectionary notes, entwined with an overlay of spicy, nutty oak. The fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin structure, and enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity. The wine carries to a sustained finish of spicy oak. This is a rich and intense Zinfandel with ripe blueberry, raspberry and blackberry fruit with an overlay of spicy oak, on a fine-textured, youthful palate. Match with grilled and roasted game meat dishes over the next 4-5+ years. A blend of 80% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah and 9% Tannat from Lodi, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 4-6 months in new and seasoned French and American oak. 17.5+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $25.00

The Crusher California Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Cabernet Sauvignon from USA


Full, dark, deep black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is a little restrained, with a slender, gently packed core of ripe blackberry fruit, along with notes of boysenberries and plums, unfolding currants and cassis liqueur, with herb elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth and intensity of bright, lively blackcurrant fruit flavours, intermixed with blackberries and cassis, and mint herb detail. The fruit is juicy, sweet and up-front in expression, filling the palate. The mouthfeel features light grainy tannin and structure with balanced acidity that carries the wine to an elegant, moderately long finish. Though a little shy on the nose, this Cabernet Sauvignon has juicy, sweet and deep flavours of blackcurrants, blackberries, cassis and herbs on a light, grainy structured palate. Match with roasted lamb and beef dishes over the next 4-5 years. California fruit, a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Sirah, 4% Merlot and 1% Tempranillo, fermented to13.5% alc., the wine aged 14 months 50% each French and American oak, of which 70% was new. 17.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $27.00

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