Featured Reviews

Sugar Loaf 2016 Marlborough Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

20 June,2017
The Sugar Loaf brand is that of Kate Acland, one of the new wave of young winemakers making small lots of classical Marlborough wine with her own interpretation. The name ‘Sugar Loaf refers to the islands off her Taranaki home, but nowadays she and her husband reside and run a farm in Mt Somers, Canterbury. Along with raising a young family, she operates the Sugar Loaf winery in the Rapaura district where she makes her own wines, as well as others under contract, and tends her own vineyard. Life is pretty busy for Kate! I’ve reviewed her wines several times over the years, and see that she is incorporating more sophistication into their style. Here, I review the 2016 Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They retain brightness and fresh fruitiness. www.sugarloafwines.co.nz


Sugar Loaf Marlborough Riesling 2016

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues. The nose is elegant and tightly bound with subtle notes of lime fruit along with mouthwatering minerals, and gentle toasty interest and detail. The aromatics are fresh and poised, and possesses cut with intensity. Medium in sweetness and light bodied, the palate has bright and zesty sherbet flavours entwined with lime fruit, florals and a little honeysuckle. The mouthfeel is lively with mouthwatering fresh acidity balancing the fruit and sweetness. This has good drive and line, revealing a little nuance of fennel and toast as it carries along a sustained finish. This is a bright and lively medium Riesling with lime, sherbet, floral and honeysuckle flavours with a mouthwatering palate with notes of herbs and toast complexity. Serve with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese fare over the next 4+ years. Fruit from the ‘Sugar Loaf’ vineyard, Rapaura Road, fermented to 10.5% alc. and 25 g/L RS. 17.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $20.00

Sugar Loaf Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, light straw-yellow colour, a little paler edged. The nose is fresh and bright with fragrant aromatic aromas of white florals, pears, white stonefruits, nuances, honeysuckle and fresh fermentation esters, unfolding suggestions of spice and rose-petals. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is lively and vibrant with aromatic and lifted flavours of yellow stonefruits with exotic florals and hints of spices. The mouthfeel has tension and poise, and follows a fine-textured line with fresh, lacy acidity providing good energy, carrying to a light, nuanced, lingering finish. This is a bright, fresh, aromatic dryish Pinot Gris with stonefruit and floral flavours on a poised and lively palate. Serve with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3+ years. Wairau Valley fruit tank-fermented with 10% in barrel to 13.0% alc. and 5 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 17.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $20.00

Sugar Loaf Marlborough Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, even straw-yellow colour with pale lemon-gold hues, lighter on the rim. This has an elegant nose with finely concentrated aromas of white and yellow stonefruits melded with citrus fruits, intermingling with creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes with balanced lemon-curd and buttery MLF elements. The aromatics are fresh and grow in intensity with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth and richness with concentrated flavours of citrus fruit and yellow stonefruits melded with creamy barrel-ferment, nutty oak and butterscotch MLF flavours. The wine is carried along a fine-textured palate with fresh, underlying acidity, leading to a long, refreshing finish os stonefruits, citrus fruits, nutty and toasty oak with a buttery layer. This is a fresh and bright Chardonnay with concentrated and up-front citrus fruit, creamy and nutty oak and toasty, buttery elements. Match with grilled seafood, poultry and pork over the next 3-4 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Sugar Loaf’ vineyard, Rapaura, WBP and fully barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 25% new oak, undergoing batonnage and 30% MLF. 18.0-/20 Jun 2017 RRP $25.00

Sugar Loaf Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

Light, even red colour, paler on the rim. The nose is very fresh, fragrant and aromatic with pure red cherry and berry fruit, lifted with red florals, unveiling subtle notes of dark herbs and nuances of liquorice. Medium-bodied, the palate has light flavours of red cherries and berry fruit with red florals and a little herbal detail adding interest. The palate is elegant in proportion with good fruit depth, underlined by soft, light tannin extraction. The acidity is fresh and well-balnced, and the palate is fruit-focussed. The palate has good line, and carries to a light, lingering finish of red fruits and dark herbs. This is a light, fresh Pinot Noir with pure and fragrant cherry, berry and floral flavours of a softly structured palate. Serve with tuna and salmon, and with antipasto over the next 3 years. Hand-picked fruit 50% from Rapaura and 50% from Southern Valleys, fermented with 10% whole bunches to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 10% new oak. 16.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $26.00
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