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Featured Reviews

The Boneline 2017 Amphitheatre’ Cabernet Franc and 2015 ‘Iridium’

17 July,2018

The Boneline label from the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury, grew from the Waipara West operation, but instead of making wines that suited the European markets, The Boneline was to be focussed on the Australian and New Zealand palate. The Boneline is the family partnership of London-based Paul Tutton, his artist wife Olga Sienko, and his sister Vic Tutton who is based on the vineyard with her husband Lindsay Hill who is the viticulturist. The wines come from 25 ha of vines planted from 1989, with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling in white, and Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc with some Syrah in red. Behind the change of style were the inputs of the highly respected winegrower Jeff Sinnott, who has been assisted by Paul Goodege. Paul is now the winemaker but Jeff Sinnott remains as consultant.

With the change there has been a rise in popularity of this label. Could The Boneline be the next cult producer in Waipara? The 2016 Cabernet Franc was particularly successful with gold and trophy at the Bragato Wine Awards last year, and this no doubt has added to the interest The Boneline is receiving. ‘The Boneline’ refers to the nearby K-T Boundary line that is evidence of the global catastrophe of an asteroid impact on the earth defining the end of the Mesozoic Era and the extinction of the dinosaurs. The labels feature fossils discovered in the Waipara River dating back as far as 65 million years. The name and labels are also contributing features to the interest! Here, I review the 2017 Cabernet Franc, from a cool, wet year, and flagship 2015 ‘Iridium’ Bordeaux red varietal blend, from a benevolent growing season. Vic Tutton tells me there is growing interest in these wines, especially the ‘Iridium’ in the North Island.


The Boneline ‘Amphitheatre’ Waipara North Canterbury Cabernet Franc 2017

Cabernet Franc from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara


Ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues and some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is elegant in presentation with moderately concentrated and deep aromas of redcurrants with blackcurrant elements harmoniously integrated with dark herbs and suggestions of spices and stalks, with earthy and dark-red floral elements emerging with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has an elegant and finely concentrated heart of dark redcurrants with hints of blackberries and blackcurrants melded with dark herbs unfolding spice nuances. The fruit is softly vibrant, showing good energy, and flows along a smooth, finely-textured line with background acidity lending tension and energy. The wine carries to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a finely concentrated and elegant Cabernet Franc with cooler spectrum redcurrant and herbal flavours on a smooth-textured palate. Match with herb-marinated red meat dishes over the next 3-4 years. A blend of 92% Cabernet Franc with 4% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, hand-picked, destemmed but not crushed to retain whole berries, fermented to% alc., the wine aged 8 months in seasoned oak. 16.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $40.00

The Boneline ‘Iridium’ Waipara North Canterbury 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara


Even, dark ruby-red colour with black hues, a little lighter on the edge. The bouquet is firm and well-packed with deep aromas of redcurrant and aromatic blackcurrant fruit entwined with a layering of dark herbs, unfolding nuances of dark plums, liquorice and mint. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich and plush with sweet and vibrant fruit flavours of redcurrants, subtle blackcurrant notes, dark plums all entwined with dark herbs and nuances of liquorice and spices. The fruit forms a deep and solid core, the mouthfeel showing good presence and weight. Soft, fine-grained, powdery tannin extraction and integrated acidity underlines the fruit. The wine flows to a softm lingering finish. This is a moderately rich, plush and deep Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend with curranty fruit with plum, herb and spice notes on a fine-textured palate. Match with herb-marinated lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 6+ years. A blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot, vines up to 28 y.o., hand-picked, destemmed and fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in approx. 30% new oak. 18.0-/20 Jul 2018 RRP $40.00

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