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Featured Reviews




Taiao Estate Bridge Pa Hawke’s Bay Releases

07 September,2018

Taiao Estate is a Maori family and community winegrowing venture based in Bridge Pa, Hawke’s Bay. This is the first Maori winegrower in Hawke’s Bay and the management is headed by Wi Te Tau Huata. The brand sources its fruit from its own vineyard along with contracted fruit in the Bridge Pa district and the wines are made under contact at a local facility. The first wines made were from the 2014 and 2015 vintages. This year sees the first commercial release of the Taiao Estate range. The company has an export focus with a target of two-thirds to three-quarters of the production to go overseas. The company is growing quickly, maybe more quickly than a new player would wish, with a projected 50,000 cases of wine from the 2019 vintage! Here, I review a selection of the current and newly released wines. www.taiaoestate.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Taiao ‘Estate’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16.5/20

Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, paler on the edge. The nose is soft and gently full with subtly concentrated aromas of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruits, along with hints of nuts and some suggestions of lemon-curd MLF. Medium-bodied, the flavours of white and yellow stonefruits form a tight and slender core. The fruit is underlined by light phenolic textures that lend dryness to the mouthfeel. The acidity is soft and lies in the background, and the flavours carry to a lingering citrussy finish. This is an elegant and slender fruit-focussed Chardonnay with light phenolic textures on a dry palate. Serve with poultry and pork over the next 2-3 years. Clones 15, 5 and Mendoza fruit fermented with oak contact with 20% new equivalence to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 6 months on lees with batonnage, undergoing full MLF. 16.5/20 Sep 2018 RRP $29.95

Taiao ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5+/20

Bright, even, light golden-yellow colour with some depth. The nose is full with moderately ripe, harmoniously melded aromas of yellow stonefruits, citrus fruit and tropical fruit overlaid by by some nutty, spicy oak and some barrel-ferment creaminess. The aromatics are up-front and bold. Medium-bodied, the palate has elegantly sweet and rich flavours of yellow stonefruits, citrus fruit and tropical fruit flavours, along with nutty, toasty oak, forming a finely concentrated, rounded core. The fruit and oak is balanced and come barrel-ferment creaminess adds richness to the textures. This is balanced by fresh acidity and the wine carries to an elegant, lighter finish. This is an elegantly concentrated Chardonnay with tropical and citrus fruit and nutty, toasty oak on a balanced palate. Match with roasted poultry and pork over the next 3-4 years. Hand-picked fruit, fully barrel-fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 10% new high toast French oak with batonnage and full MLF. 17.5+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $34.95

Taiao ‘Estate’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2015

Merlot from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16.5+/20

Dark, deep ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh with firm and deep aromas of blackcurrants and redcurrants, with a suggestion of raspberries along with nuances of dark plums. Fresh and dark herb cool-spectrum elements unfold and add to the depth. Medium-full bodied, the palate has fresh and lively flavours of redcurrants, blackcurrants and herb-infused plums. The flavours are upfront and shoe freshness and liveliness on the front palate. The fruit forms an elegant core with light, supple tannin extraction, and the wine carries to a light, herbal finish, This is an up-front, lively Merlot with coolish currant and herb flavours on a supple palate. Match with Mediterranean fare over the next 3-4 years. Merlot fruit fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged approx. 12 months in predominantly seasoned oak. 16.5+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $29.95

Taiao ‘Estate’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet 2014

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5-/20

Dark ruby-red colour with black hues, lighter on the edge with a little garnet. The nose is softly full with deep and integrated aromas of dark plums along with blackcurrants and redcurrants, revealing dark herbs, mint and a little earthy secondary development. Medium-bodied, the palate has a softly rich and harmonious amalgam with subtle flavours of black and redcurrants, black plums and dark herbs along with mint and cassis elements. The fruit is moderately rich and balanced, and forms a soft-textured core with some depth. The mouthfeel has light, supple tannins in support and light acid freshness adds energy, carrying the wine to a light finish. This is an elegant and harmonious Merlot/Cabernet blend with some integration and soft textures and balance. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 4 years. A blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% each Cabernet Franc and Malbec, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 20% new French oak. 17.5-/20 Sep 2018 RRP $29.95

Taiao ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon//Cabernet Franc/Malbec 2015 «

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5/20

Full, even, dark ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is elegantly concentrated and gently full with soft, but underlying taut aromas of blackcurrant fruit as cassis liqueur, along with redcurrants and dark and fresh herbs. The fruit is complexed by a little nutty and spicy oak. The aromatics are finely presented. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a fresh and bright, lively fruit flavours of blackcurrants and redcurrants, along with cassis and herbs. The fruit is enlivened by fresh acidity, and the mouthfeel has fine-grained tannin extraction which guides the wine along a firm line, unfolding some mint and spicy oak, with earthy detail on the light finish. This is a bright, lively, firm Cabernet blend with lively fruit and firm tannin grip, with some nutty oak. Serve with roasted lamb, beef and venison over the next 5-6 years. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot and 7% Malbec, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 46% new French oak. 17.5/20 Sep 2018 RRP $49.95

Taiao ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Late Harvest Semillon/Viognier 2015

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17+/20

Bright, light orange-gold colour with some depth. The bouquet is softly rich and gently full with decadent aromas of tropical fruit along with citrus fruit, and notes of apricot and orange marmalade from the botrytis, along with honey and caramel notes, revealing some Semillon waxiness. Very sweet to taste, the flavours of ripe tropical fruit, apricot and orange marmalade and honey form a firm heart with depth and some concentration and tautness. The flavours of caramel and toffee unfold with some savoury development, This has richness and opulence, but also a degree of restraint and linearity,the wine flowinf smoothly with soft acidity to an elegant, nuanced finish. This is a rich and decadent Late Harvest botrytis-affected Semillon with tropical fruit, marmalade and toffee notes on a firm palate and soft acidity. Match with baked desserts, flans and tarts, and crème caramel over the next 3 years. Predominantly Semillon with 40-15% botrytis and a small amount of fully noble Viognier fermented to 11.5% alc. and 125 g/L RS. (375 ml) 17.0+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $24.95

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