Featured Reviews

Starborough 2017 Sauvignon and Pinot Gris, and 2016 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

12 October,2017
The ‘Starborough’ Marlborough wine brand is a success story of how to make the transition from crop and stock farming to winegrowing. The Jones family own the 255 ha Starborough Station near Seddon and planted vines on the terraces overlooking the Awatere River to become contract grape growers. Since establishing their own label, they now own three vineyards, these being the ‘O’Dwyers Farm’ site in Rapaura, the ‘Starborough Terrace’ vines on the station in the Awatere Valley and the latest acquisition, the ‘Long Lane’ vineyard on Redwood Pass Road in the Dashwood sub-region of the Awatere. The growth of the wine business has meant the James Jones, who oversees the wine side of the business, and in particular, the viticulture, has taken on Kerry Hammond, formerly of Mount Riley, as Awatere Vineyard Manager. The wines are made by the talented Dave Clouston, who has made increasingly high quality bottlings, especially as he has become more intimate with the vines and the fruit they yield. Here, I review the new release 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, and 2016 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. www.starborough.co.nz


Starborough ‘Family Estate’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the edge. The nose is very fresh and elegantly presented with pungent passionfruit aromas melded with fresh herbs, some cut grass and nettle notes, and chalky mineral elements. The aromatics build in intensity and penetration with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has bright, lively flavours of fresh passionfruit and gooseberries along with fresh herbs and nuances of cut grass and nettles. The fruit has good intensity. The palate has fine, dry phenolic texture along with crisp, refreshing, mouthwatering acidity. The wine flows positively to an elegant, lingering finish of gooseberries and herbs. This is a refreshing, lively and bright passionfruity and gooseberry flavoured Sauvignon Blanc with herb and cut grass notes on a fine-textured palate. Serve with seafood and Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from 50% ‘O’Dwyers Farm’, 30% ‘Long Lane Vineyard’ and 20% ‘Starborough Terrace’, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. 17.5+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $19.95

Starborough ‘Family Estate’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, pale straw-yellow colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh and full with good volume of aromatic white and yellow stonefruits, with pears and exotic floral notes, and honeysuckle, unfolding a layer of nutty lees and subtle oak elements. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has well packed, rich flavours of stonefruits and pears, with nuances of exotic florals and honeysuckle, unfolding nutty lees notes. The mouthfeel possesses positive phenolic textures providing good presence, and crisp acidity lending freshness and energy. The fruit flavours carry with good linearity and some underlying power to a long and sustained, elegant finish of stonefruit and exotic florals. This is a well concentrated and structured dry Pinot Gris with good depth of stonefruit and pear flavours with florals and a complex layering of nutty notes. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3-4 years. Hand-picked fruit, 40% ‘O’Dwyers’ Farm, 45% ‘Long Lane Vineyard’ and 15% ‘Starborough Terrace’, fermented in stainless-steel with 10% in seasoned French oak barrels to 13.5% alc. and 6 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 18.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $19.95

Starborough ‘Single Vineyard’ Awatere Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hue and some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is full and softly concentrated with packed aromas of ripe citrus and yellow stonefruits, harmoniously melded with mealy and biscuit complexities, with creamy and nutty barrel-ferment and oak notes, and hints of buttery MLF, with some toastiness. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and well-concentrated flavours of ripe citrus fruit and stonefruits, complexed by a layering of mealy elements and creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak, unveiling lemon-curd and buttery MLF and toasty notes. The textures ae fine, and the flavours are mouthfilling with a strong core that caries to a full, citrussy, nutty finish with lemon-curd and toast. This is a full and concentrated Chardonnay with complex flavours of citrus and stonefruits, mealy and nutty elements, with lemon-curd MLF on a strong, driven palate. Serve with grilled and roasted seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4+ years. 100% Mendoza clone fruit from the ‘Long Lane Vineyard’, hand-picked and fully barrel-fermented by indigenous yeasts to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 25% new French oak, undergoing 100% MLF. 18.5+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $27.95

Starborough ‘Family Estate’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

Ruby-red colour with some depth, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full with a well-concentrated core of dark-red berry fruit and raspberry liqueur, entwined with dark herbs, savoury red florals and suggestions of whole bunch stalk-like perfumes. Medium-full bodied, the palate has softly packed flavours of dark-red berry fruits with raspberry notes and dark herbs at the heart. Dark-red florals, savoury stalk perfumes, liquorice and spice notes emerge in the glass. The palate has good depth and the fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction lending texture and structure, with integrated acidity. The wine carries to a soft, lingering finish of dark-red fruits, herbs and a little spice. This is a softly concentrated Pinot Noir with dark-red berry fruit and dark herbs, floral and spice notes on a fine-structured palate. Match with poultry, pork and lamb dishes over the next 5 years. Hand-picked fruit, 50% clones 667 and 777 from ‘O’Dwyers Farm’ and 50% clone 115 from the ‘Long Lane Vineyard’, indigenous yeast fermented with a high proportion of whole berries and 10% whole clusters to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 30% new French oak barrels. 18.0/20 Oct 2016 RRP $27.95
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