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Featured Reviews

Spencer Hill ‘Latitude 41’ 2017 Sauvignon Sur Lie and ‘Reserve’ Fumé 2015

21 November,2018

Established in 1988 by Phil and Sheryl Jones, Spencer Estate in the Upper Moutere in Nelson has a history of innovation in the use of oak staves and ‘Zork’ closures. Based on the fruit from the company’s estate vineyards, one in the Upper Moutere and the other in the Coastal Ridge area, supplemented by contract fruit, much of the wine production exported to the United States where the Jones come from, and have another winery in the Colombia Gorge spanning Washington and Oregon. The Jones find their wines are ageworthy and a number of releases are made at an older age than their peers. Spencer Hill has Matt Rutherford as general manager, with the company since 1990, and Jules Randell as the head winemaker, joining the company in 2011. Here I review two Sauvignon Blanc-based wines, the 2017 ‘Latitude 41’ Sur Lie, and 2015 ‘Reserve’ Fumé. The latter is particularly complex and akin to Chardonnay!


Spencer Hill ‘Latitude 41’ Nelson Sauvignon Blanc Sur Lie 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Nelson


Bright straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hues, pale on the rim. The nose is fresh with an amalgam of green stonefruits, greengages and gooseberries along with softly expressed herbal notes, and subtle nutty lees and oak elements. This is firmly concentrated and has intensity. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate kas taut and penetrating flavours of green stonefruits and gooseberries with subtle layers of nutty lees and oak along with fresh herbs. The mouthfeel is refreshing and lively with bright acidity, and the wine carries with good linearity to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a taut and penetrating Sauvignon Blanc with stonefruit and gooseberry flavours along with a subtle layering of nutty lees and oak on a refreshing palate. Match with herb-marinated seafood and Mediterranean fare over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from the plains and Upper Moutere, fermented in tank with a small portion in French oak to 12.3% alc. and 3.7 g/L RS, the wine spending 6 months on lees. 18.0/20 Nov 2018 RRP $21.00

Spencer Hill ‘Reserve’ Nelson Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Nelson


Brilliant light yellow colour with pale golden hues and some depth, lighter on the edge. The bouquet is softly full and voluminous with well-concentrated, harmoniously integrated aromas of ripe green stonefruits and tropical fruits along with a layering of creamy barrel-ferment notes with a little buttery MLF, and an overlay of nutty, toasty oak. The fruit still features through the complexing inputs. Dry to taste and full-bodied, the palate has bold and up-front, but well-concentrated, luscious flavours of ripe green stonefruits and tropical fruits, melded with dark herbs, and layers of creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak with toasty elements. Some buttery MLF adds interest. The wine flows smoothly along a rounded, soft-textured palate line with a fine thread of crisp acidity. The wine carries to a very long, sustained finish. This is a rich, bold and sweetly concentrated oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with stonefruit and tropical fruit flavours, and layers of creamy, toasty oak. This is akin to a complex Chardonnay, Match with herb-marinated pork and veal dishes over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from the Upper Moutere, indigenous yeast fermented in tank and oak to 12.8% alc. and 1.8 g/L RS, the wine aged 10 months in 20% new French oak with batonnage and 50% MLF. 18.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $28.00

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