Featured Reviews

Te Whare Ra 2017 Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, ‘Toru’ and Chardonnay, and 2016 Pinot Noir and Syrah

25 July,2018

Anna and Jason Flowerday of Marlborough’s Te Whare Ra have continued their philosophies of making beautifully refined, elegant and precise wines since they were awarded my ‘Winery of the Year’ in 2014. At the time, I described their wines as those of "breath-taking beauty and finesse’, and this has not changed. The Te Whare Ra wines remain among the most wonderful in a style that features detail, subtlety and precision over overt fruitiness, force or excess. The other significant aspect of their winegrowing is their care and respect for the resource of old vines, and the environment in which all their fruit is sourced. Their home block in Renwick which possesses venerable vines planted nearly 40 years ago, is certified BioGro organic, and the wines made solely from here carry the designation ‘SV5182’, the certification number. The Flowerdays practice biodynamic regimes and are members of MANA (Marlborough Natural Winegrowers. They share their philosophies with their contracted growers too. Te Whare Ra and the Flowerdays continue to be models for the modern winegrower in New Zealand. Here, I review a selection of the Te Whare Ra latest releases, the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and 2017 ‘SV 5182’ Pinot Gris, ‘Toru’ and Chardonnay, with the 2016 Pinot Noir and ‘SV5182’ Syrah. As many wine enthusiasts are aware, these two years were not the most favourable, and it took a very fastidious approach to viticulture and winemaking to do well. The Flowerdays have that approach, and hence these wines are successes. www.twrwines.co.nz


Te Whare Ra Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright straw-yellow colour with green-gold tints and some depth, lighter on the rim. This has a rounded and well-concentrated nose with an amalgam of gooseberry fruit and green stonefruits, along with subtle passionfruit notes, unfolding greengages and nectarines. Fresh herbs, nettles, cut-grass and floral elements emerge with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has rich, luscious and juicy, mouthwatering flavours of gooseberries, entwined with green stonefruits, unfolding some passionfruit, fresh herb and nettle notes. The fruit forms a gently concentrated, rounded heart with good presence, along with fresh, lacy, thirst-quenching acidity which enlivens the mouthfeel. The wine carries with energy along a fine line, leading to an elegant finish. This is a rich, luscious, mouthwatering oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc, with gooseberry, stonefruit and herb flavours on a fine, flowing palate. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2+ years. Fruit 73% from the Lissaman’s ‘Trelawne Farm’ vineyard, Awatere, and 27% from the ‘TWR Home Block’, cool-fermented in tank with 12% at warmer temperatures in seasoned French oak demi-muids to 13.0% alc. and 0.8 g/L RS, the wine spending time on fine lees. 1,600 cases made. 18.5-/20 Jul 2018 RRP $26.00

Te Whare Ra ‘Single Vineyard 5182’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough


Full, even, straw-yellow with suggestions of pale gold. The nose is fresh and taut with deep and intense aromas of steely white and yellow stonefruits interwoven with fragrant florals and nuances of fresh herbs, hints of pears and minerals. This has building fruit richness with intensity and penetration. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has bright and lively flavours of white and yellow stonefruits along with pears, fresh herbs and some nutty and mineral notes. The palate unfolds exotic florals and spice notes, building in richness and unctuousness, all balanced by a fine thread of refreshing acidity. The wine carries along a very smooth-textured line leading to a long, lingering finish of pears, florals and honeysuckle. This is a bright and lively dryish Pinot Gris that builds in richness and unctuous textures flowing smoothly to a ling finish. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3+ years. Hand-picked fruit, Berry-Smith clone from the ‘TWR Home Block’, fermented 64% in stainless-steel and 36% seasoned French oak to 13.0% alc. and 4.3 g/L RS, the wine undergoing batonnage. Certified BioGro organic. 692 cases made. 18.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $28.00

Te Whare Ra ‘Single Vineyard 5182’ ‘Toru’ Marlborough 2017

Blended White from New Zealand – Marlborough


Brilliant straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hues, paler on the rim. The nose is taut and slender with finely concentrated aromas of exotic florals harmoniously entwined with subtle citrus and stonefruit elements, along with a suggestion of minerals. This builds in intensity with aeration. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a well-proportioned core with an amalgam of subtle rose-petal and exotic floral flavours integrated with citrus and stonefruit elements. The fruit has richness and flows positively along a fine phenolic line with balanced acidity, leading to a long and sustained finish of florals, honey and spice nuances. This is a well-proportioned and finely concentrated medium-dry aromatic blend with harmony, gentle richness and a fine-textured line. Serve with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 3+ years. First made 12 years ago. Hand-picked fruit, a field blend of 66% Gewurztraminer, 24% Riesling and 10% Pinot Gris from the ‘TWR Home Block’, parcels given skin contact and co-fermented to 13.3% alc. and 8.0 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. Certified BioGro organic. 850 cases made. 18.0+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $28.00

Te Whare Ra ‘Single Vineyard 5182’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Full, light golden-yellow colour with some depth and slight green hues, paler edged. The nose is full with harmoniously layered aromas of yellow stonefruits entwined with subtle creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes, with some complexing oxidative detail. This has freshness, substance and balance. Medium-bodied, the palate has rich and plush, stylishly concentrated flavours of yellow stonefruits along with nutty oak, and oxidative elements. The flavours form a rich core, unfolding mealy, creamy and nutty nuances. The wine flows along a finely-textured phenolic line with subtle grip, and soft acidity provides freshness and energy. The wine carries with some underlying power to a soft, lingering finish. This is a rich and gently plush Chardonnay with stonefruit, nutty and oxidative complexities on a fine-textured palate with style, power and drive. Match with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4 years. Predominantly Mendoza and a small amount of clone 6 fruit, from 28 y,o, vines from the ‘TWR Home Block’, fermented in French oak demi-muids to 12.9% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in 35% new oak, undergoing 100% MLF. Certified BioGro organic. 273 cases made. 18.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $40.00

Te Whare Ra Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Moderately dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues and some depth, lighter edged. The nose is elegant in presentation with fresh, bright and vibrant aromas of dark-red and black cherry fruit with notes of raspberries, unfolding suggestions of black plums, and a complex amalgam of dark herbs, violet florals and nuances of black minerals. Medium-bodied, the palate is initially shy in expression, but reveals a taut and finely concentrated core of sweetly ripe dark-red and black berry fruit. The flavours grow in richness and blossom on the mid-palate to fill the mouth with floral, herb and mineral detail. The fruit is underlined by supple tannin extraction and crisp, lacy acidity in the background lending tension and energy. The wine carries to a tight, lingering finish of sweet red berry fruits. This is a taut and finely restrained Pinot Noir with a concentrated core blossoms on the palate and supported by fine, supple tannins. Match with poultry and pork over the next 5+ years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘TWR Home Block’ and the Eatwell’s ‘Rawiri’ vineyard, Omaka, clones 113, 114, 115, 667, 777, 10/5, Abel and 5, destemmed and fermented with a small portion of whole bunches in some parcels to 13.0% alc., the wine spending 14 days on skins post ferment and aged 11 months in 30% new French oak. 786 cases made. 18.0+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $50.00

Te Whare Ra ‘Single Vineyard 5182’ Marlborough Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Marlborough


Full, very dark, near impenetrable, black-hued purple-red colour, very youthful in appearance. The nose is tightly bound with concentrated and intense aromas of blackberries and notes of dark raspberries, along with black pepper and softly expressed Asian spices. This has excellent concentration, richness and depth. Medium-bodied, the palate has concentrated flavours of ripe blackberry and dark raspberry fruit, entwined with notes of black pepper, unfolding dark herbs melded with Asian spices. The fruit richness is balanced by fine-grained tannin extraction with soft, integrated acidity lending a smooth mouthfeel. The flavours lead to a soft, sustained finish. This is a beautifully rich and finely concentrated Syrah with blackberry, raspberry, pepper and spice flavours on a fine-grained palate. Match with lamb and venison, and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 6+ years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘TWR Home Block’, clones 470, 174, Grippat A and B, destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine on skins 5-7 days post ferment and aged 12 months in 35% new French oak. Certified BioGro organic. 145 cases made. 18.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $50.00

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