Featured Reviews

SOHO 2016 ‘Havana’ and McQueen’ Pinot Noirs

16 February,2018

Rachael Carter of SOHO Wines is aware of the strengths of each of this country’s winegrowing regions, and which varieties and styles of wine perform best in each district. Her family vineyard holdings are on Waiheke Island and in Marlborough; the former closest to home, and the latter where production can be greater with a broader range possible. However, Rachael also sources fruit and wines from other areas where she has strong contacts, such as Central Otago. Pinot Noir is a most significant variety for SOHO, and the premium bottlings are the ‘Havana’ from Marlborough, made by up-and coming star Dave Clouston, and the ‘McQueen’ from Central Otago, made by Grant Taylor, arguably the most experienced winemaker there. The two wines are classical expressions of the variety. Here, I review the new 2016 releases. www.sohowineco.com


SOHO ‘Havana’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Moderately dark ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full with fragrant dark-red berry and cherry aromas that form an elegantly concentrated and tight core. The fruit is complexed by a harmonious layering with interwoven notes of fresh and dark herbs, liquorice, subtle spice notes, nutty oak and a hint of minerals. Medium-bodied, the palate has finely concentrated flavours of dark-red berry and cherry fruit with delicate notes of herbs and complexing minerally, reductive suggestions. The fruit is sweetly rich and enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity, and underlined by moderate, fine-grained tannin extraction. The palate is balanced and flows with good vitality and tension, unfolding red florals as it leads to a lingering finish. This is a finely presented Pinot Noir with dark-red cherry and berry fruit with herb and mineral notes on a fresh palate. Match with antipasto, poultry and pork dishes over the next 4 years. Hand-picked fruit from the company’s ‘Yarrum’ vineyard in the Southern Valleys, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 25% new French oak. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0+/20 Feb 2018 RRP $38.00

SOHO ‘McQueen’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Full, dark ruby-red colour, a little paler on the rim. The nose is firmly concentrated with a well-packed heart of ripe, dark-red berry and plum fruit aromas entwined with complexing dark herbal elements, a little earthiness and nutty oak, unfolding dark-red florals. This shows good volume with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and well-concentrated flavours of ripe, dark-red berry and plum fruit flavours melded with dark herbs, hints of spice and liquorice, earthy and nutty nuances adding detail and interest. The fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction providing structure and grip, with balanced acid freshness. The palate has good drive and carries to a long and sustained finish of berryfruit and herbs. This is a rich and finely concentrated Pinot Noir with dark-red berry and plum fruit and herbal detail on a grainy-textured palate with drive and length. Match with lamb, beef and venison dishes, and game meat over the next 6+ years. Fruit from Bendigo, Gibbston and Bannockburn fermented with 25% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 28% new French oak. 18.5/20 Feb 2018 RRP $50.00

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