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Featured Reviews

Te Whare Ra 2018 Aromatic Whites, 2014 Pinot Noir and 2017 Noble Riesling

12 December,2018

The Te Whare Ra wines of Anna and Jason Flowerday come from some of the oldest vines in Marlborough, planted in 1979, nearly 40 years ago. It is the most precious resource on their 11 ha Renwick vineyard which they have revitalised and brought into greater balance with the land since they took over the winegrowing operation in 2003. The vineyard gained BioGro organic certification in 2012 and the wines made wholly from the site carry the designation ‘SV5182’, the BioGro certification number. The varieties planted are Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Some of the TWR wines are made with contracted fruit which is grown fastidiously. The Flowerdays are members of MANA (Marlborough Natural Winegrowers) and practice biodynamic regimes in their winegrowing.

For me, the Te Whare Ra wines are among the most beautifully refined, elegant and precise in the country. They have incredible attention to detail, subtle sophistication, textures and develop undeniable complexity. It would be easy to overlook their delicacy for lightness, but in drinking the wines, they grow in concentration and character that shows the low-cropping and balance of componentry that few other producers manage to achieve. I awarded Te Whare Ra my ‘Winery of the Year’ in 2014, and the wines are still some of the best I taste every year. The production is limited and it is advisable to obtain the wines on release, rather than wait too long and miss out. Here, I review the new 2018 Aromatic White and 2014 Pinot Noir releases, and the Flowerdays’ first Noble Riesling from the 2017 vintage, to be released next year.


Te Whare Ra Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is firm with fulsome, well-packed aromas of gooseberry fruit, fresh herbs and subtle notes of nettles and cut-grass with green stonefruit elements. This is refreshing and mouthwatering. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has lively, vibrant and intense flavours of gooseberry fruit along with subtle notes of nettles and fresh herbs and green stonefruits. The palate possesses richness and vitality from the bright acidity, and the wine flows along a fine-textured line leading to a rich, lingering finish. This is a vibrant, intense gooseberry-fruited Sauvignon Blanc with notes of fresh herbs and nuances of green stonefruits on a rich palate with a fine-textured line. Match with Pacific Rim and Mediterranean fare over the next 2+ years. Fruit from 3 sites, 47% ‘Shamrock’ and 39% ‘Trelawne’ from the Awatere, and 14% TWR ‘Home’ block, the latter hand-picked, all fermented in stainless-steel with 8% in seasoned French oak demi-muids to 13.2% alc. and 0.5 /L RS, the wine aged on fine lees. 4,900 cases made. 18.5/20 Dec 2018 RRP $26.00

Te Whare Ra ‘Single Vineyard 5182’ ‘Toru’ Marlborough 2018

Blended White from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is firm and taut but elegantly presented with a core of exotic lime and citrus fruit that speaks of Riesling at present, along with subtle notes of florals and spice with stonefruit elements. This has a positive and deep core and unfolds fresh nuances of minerals. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has very good depth and intensity of finely concentrated flavours of exotic citrus fruit and florals, unfolding rose-petal and Turkish Delight suggestions of Gewurztraminer, harmoniously melded with stonefruits and honeysuckle. The palate is complete and balanced with soft acidity and a smooth-flowing line, carrying to a light, nuanced, lingering finish. This is a deep and intensely flavoured, finely concentrated medium-dry aromatic white blend with harmonious spice, floral, stonefruit and honeysuckle flavours on a smooth-flowing palate. Match with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 3 years. ‘Toru’ means ‘three’ in Maori. Hand-picked and hand-sorted fruit from the TWR ‘Home’ Block, given skin contact and co-fermented as field blend of 75% Gewurztraminer, 16% Riesling and 9% Pinot Gris, to 13.3% alc. and 7 g/L RS. 951 cases made. Certified BioGro organic. 18.5+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $28.00

Te Whare Ra ‘Single Vineyard 5182’ Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2018

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale straw colour with a little depth, lighter on the edge. The nose is very deep with intense and deep aromas showing good penetration of exotic florals, with rose-petals and soft notes of Turkish Delight, along with refreshing herb nuances and a little mineral essence. The aromatics are tightly bound. Medium in taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a positive core with plenty of presence, intensity and weight, showing refined exotic rose-petal and exotic florals melded with Turkish Delight and honey with subtle musky notes. The mouthfeel is rich and finely balanced by fresh acidity and refined phenolic textures, the palate showing some unctuousness. This has a tight core with drive and linearity, and the wine carries to a very long and sustained finish. This is a beautifully refined and intense medium Gewurztraminer with exotic florals, honey and musk flavours with some richness and unctuousness and a very long finish. Match with fine Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 4 years. Hand-picked and hand-sorted fruit from the TWR ‘Home’ block, vines planted in 1979, given skin contact and fermented in stainless-steel to 13.9% alc., and 18.0 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 368 cases made. Certified BioGro organic. 19.0/20. Dec 2018 RRP $35.00

Te Whare Ra ‘Single Vineyard 5182’ Marlborough Riesling ‘M’ 2018

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour with suggestions of green hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is elegantly with pure and refined aromas of exotic citrus and lime fruit with an amalgam of honeysuckle and florals. The aromatics build in richness showing plenty of presence, Medium sweet in taste and light-bodied, the palate has rich and open flavours of ripe limes and lemons enriched by subtle notes of honeysuckle and yellow florals. The flavours blossom to become mouthfilling, and are enlivened by good acidity. The wine flows along a fine-textured line of fruit extract and light phenolic grip, leading to a textured, off-dry finish. This is an open, accessible medium Riesling with lime, lemon and honeysuckle flavours on palate with some fruit extract textures and soft acidity. Serve as an aperitif and mildly spicy cuisine over the next 4-5 years. Hand-picked and hand-sorted fruit from designated sections of the TWR ‘Home’ block, vines planted 2004 and 2007, given some skin contact and cool-fermented in tank to 10.0% alc. and 30 g/L RS, TA 8.1 g/L and pH 2.95. 375 cases made. Certified BioGro organic. 18.5/20 Dec 2018 RRP $28.00

Te Whare Ra ‘Single Vineyard 5182’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Even, dark-hued garnet-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is soft and fragrant with ethereal aromas of soft-red cherry fruit with nuances of black-berried fruits at the core, unfolding an array of dark-red florals with a subtle complexing amalgam of dark and dried herbs. The aromatics are harmoniously presented. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly proportioned with sweetly rich flavours of soft red berry fruits and nuances of black fruits, with dark and dried herbs and an array of red florals. The fruit is luscious and enlivened by fine, lacy acidity and supported by a very finely extracted and structured line that carries the wine to a lingering, ethereal finish. This is a very elegant, but lusciously rich red cherry and dark-berried Pinot Noir with ethereal florals on a fine-structured palate with fresh, lacy acidity. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 5+ years. The second release of a Pinot Noir under the ‘SV 5182’ designation. A blend of 8 clones, 113, 114, 115, 667, 777, 10/5, Abel and 5 from the TWR ‘’Home’ block, the fruit hand-picked and hand-sorted, destemmed and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 10-14 days on skins post-ferment and aged 11 months in 30% new French oak. 129 cases made. Certified BioGro organic. 18.5+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $75.00

Te Whare Ra Marlborough Noble Riesling 2017

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough


Deep, golden-yellow colour with slight orange hues, lighter edged. The nose is softly fresh and densely packed with concentrated and opulent aromas of very ripe tropical and citrus fruits harmoniously entwined with nectar and honey, marmalade, crystallised fruits and some savoury musky botrytis elements. Very sweet to taste and distinctly unctuous with decadent flavours of ripe tropical fruit and citrus fruit, along with honey, nectar, crystallised fruits, figs and caramel, with an underlay of musky botrytis. This exudes opulence, with a rounded, plush mouthfeel on a fine line of underlying acidity. The wine carries smoothly to a long succulent finish of tropical fruits and honey. This is an opulent and decadent Noble Riesling with tropical and citrussy fruit, honey and nectar, marmalade, caramel and musk on an unctuous palate. Match with fruit and baked desserts, crème caramel and blue cheeses over the next 4 years. Botrytised Riesling fruit from the ‘Kilravock’ vineyards, Wratts Road, Rapaura, hand-picked and bunch selected, hand-sorted, WBP and foot-stomped, fermented in stainless-steel to 10.5% alc. and 241 g/L RS. (500 ml) 617 bottles made. 18.5+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $40.00 To be released in 2019.

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