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Featured Reviews

Spencer Hill 2017 Rosé and ‘Latitude 41’ 2016 Sauvignon, 2015 Chardonnay and Pinot

09 August,2017
Phil and Sheryl have a global outlook on wine with their Spencer Hill brand based on the fruit from the Upper Moutere, established in 1988, and their Pacifica wines from Colombia Gorge with Washington and Oregon wines established with the Evans vineyard in 2006. The Spencer Hill wines have been innovative and give a good indication of the Jones’ open minds and willingness to embrace practical, new techniques and technology. The Nelson wines come from 30 ha of Upper Moutere vineyards and 5 ha on the Coastal Ridge. The top of the range are the single vineyard ‘Spencer Hill’ wines. The ‘Latitude 41’ tier is made to a style and always offer interest. Matt Rutherford, with the company since 1990 has now become the managing director, and the chief winemaking role is now with Jules Randell who joined the business in 2011. Here, I review the 2017 Spencer Hill Pinot Noir Rosé and Latitude 41 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, and 2015 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The ‘Latitude 41’ wines are sealed by ‘Zork’ closures.


Spencer Hill Estate ‘Spencer Hill’ Nelson Pinot Noir Rosé 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Nelson

Bright, light cerise-pink with some depth and slight purple hues on the rim. The nose is bright and fresh with fragrant aromas showing good intensity of strawberry and cherry fruit, along with lifted red florals and a suggestion of confectionary. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has up-front and well-concentrated flavours and a core of bright, aromatic strawberry and cherry fruit entwined with red florals and nuances of confectionary. The fruit is juicy and balanced by mouthwatering lacy acidity, and the wine flows with good drive and energy along a soft line, leading to a long, lingering aromatic finish with sweet fruit notes. This is n up-front, well-concentrated, lusciously juicy dry rosé with cherry and strawberry flavours, along with floral and confectionary suggestions on a thirst-quenching palate. Match with antipasto and Mediterranean fare over the next 2 years. From 25 y.o. clone 5 Pinot Noir from ‘Block 3’ in the Upper Moutere estate vineyards, given 20 hours skin contact and cool-fermented to 13.5% alc. and 4.0 g/L RS. 18.0-/20 Aug 2017 RRP $20.00

Spencer Hill Estate ‘Latitude 41’ Nelson Sauvignon Blanc Sur Lie 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Nelson

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with suggestions of green hues, very pale on the rim. The nose is light and expressed with delicacy, showing aromas of fresh green stonefruits and herbs with hints of lantana, white florals, growing to form a tight core with an amalgam of nuts and minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a concentrated heart of green stonefruits, with greengages and nectarines, entwined with herbs, florals and nuances of cut grass. The fruit flows along a soft, fine-textured line with subtle acid liveliness providing some energy and tension. The wine carries to a moderately sustained finish of stonefruits and herbs. This is an elegantly concentrated, smaller-scale Sauvignon Blanc with green stonefruit, herb and grassy notes on a finely-textured plate with balanced acid freshness. Serve with herb-marinated seafood and poultry over the next 3+ years Fruit from the Plains and Upper Moutere, cool-fermented in tank with oak contact, equivalence of 10% new to 12.5% alc. and 3.6 g/L RS, the wine aged 6 months on lees. 16.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $18.00

Spencer Hill Estate ‘Latitude 41’ Nelson Moutere Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Nelson

Bright straw-yellow colour with pale golden hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is firm with concentrated and intensely deep aromas of ripe citrus and yellow stonefruits laced with nutty oak and hints of spice and toast. The nose retains freshness, with herbal elements flint and mineral nuances. Medium-bodied, the palate has an elegantly concentrated and firm palate with flavours of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruits melded with nutty, toasty oak. The flavours have depth and intensity and carry along a firm line with fine phenolic textures and lacy acidity, leading to s long, lingering, firm finish. This is a concentrated and firm Chardonnay with citrus and stonefruits flavours melded with nutty, spicy and toasty oak. Serve with roast pork over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from the Upper Moutere, vines 25 y.o., fermented, partially by indigenous yeasts, in 50% French and 50% American oak with solids to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 6 months on lees with 30% new oak equivalence, undergoing MLF. 17.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $21.00

Spencer Hill Estate ‘Latitude 41’ Nelson Small Batch Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Nelson

Light garnet-red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim with a hint of bricking. This has an elegant and slender nose with a softly concentrated heart of savoury and nutty laced dark-red berry fruit laced with notes of dried herbs, earth and some resinous oak elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a soft and well-packed palate of flavours of sweet cherry and berry fruit entwined with dried herbs, red florals and nuances of earth and nutty oak. The fruit has richness and is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity, and is supported by fine, grainy tannin extraction and structure. The wine carries to a softly concentrated finish of red fruits and nutty, toasty oak. Elegant on the nose, the palate of this Pinot Noir is deep and well-packed with cherry and berry flavours along with dried herbs, earth and oak detail on a grainy structure. Match with poultry and pork, game meat and risottos over the next 4 years. Fruit from the Upper Moutere, destemmed and indigenous yeast ferment initiated to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 8-12 months on oak, approx. 10% new. 17.0+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $21.00
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