Featured Reviews

The Hunting Lodge 2017 and 2016 Releases

03 May,2018

The Hunting Lodge in Waimauku, north-west Auckland has a history that stretches back to 1868, but the modern times start in the 1970s and the lodge’s association particularly with the restaurant to the Matua Valley days of the Spence brothers is notable. Following a series of corporate purchases, The 32 ha estate was purchased by the Spence’s long-time friends Brent and Denise Sutton in 2016 from Treasury Wine Estates. The Hunting Lodge has undergone a period of refurbishment to the cellar door, café, restaurant, gardens and facilities, as well as the winery and bottling plant.

Part of the revitalisation was the creation of The Hunting Lodge own-label wines, which are now on their second release. The wines are made from fruit sourced from the 3 ha of Sauvignon and Chardonnay vines in the Home Block and from neighbouring vineyards in Waimauku, as well as other regions. The winemaker is the well-known and well-respected Pete Turner, who has made wine in South Africa and France, and in New Zealand, notably in West Auckland and Waiheke Island. Pete was the senior winemaker of Matua’s North Island wines from 2013 until 2016, when the Waimauku winery closed. Here, I review a selection of The Hunting Lodge wines. They are very well-made and show sophistication. www.thehuntinglodge.com


The Hunting Lodge Gisborne Marsanne/Viognier 2016

Blended White from New Zealand – Gisborne


Bright yellow colour with light golden-green hues, a little lighter on the rim. The bouquet has excellent presence and depth with rounded and concentrated aromas of yellow stonefruits and an underlay of ripe apricots, along with exotic yellow florals, nuances of herbs, nuts and stonefruit kernels. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is gently full with a rounded core of ripe yellow stonefruits and apricots. The flavours are harmoniously integrated, and the mouthfeel shows good presence with a soft phenolic line and fresh acidity. The flavours are carried by a little alcoholic power to a lingering and lively finish. This is a gently full and rounded Marsanne/Viognier blend with stonefruit and apricot flavours, plenty of palate weight and some alcoholic power. Match with Middle Eastern fare over the next 3+ years. A blend of 60% Marsanne and 40% Viognier, hand-picked from a single site in Hexton, WBP and fermented in tank with 10% in seasoned oak barriques to 13.0% alc. and 2.41 g/L RS, the wine aged 6 months on lees. 18.0+/20 May 2018 RRP $25.00

The Hunting Lodge Gisborne Albarino 2017

Viognier from New Zealand – Gisborne


Brilliant straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hues, paler on the rim. The nose is very fresh and taut, elegant and tightly bound with penetrating aromas of exotic yellow florals, citrus zest, white and yellow stonefruits and an amalgam of apricots and herbs. This has a subtle salinity and the aromatics possess clarity. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated with fine aromatic flavours of apricots and yellow florals, along with citrus zest notes. The mouthfeel is bright and lively with fresh acidity, and the wine has linearity with fine phenolic textures guiding to wine to a lingering aromatic finish. This is an elegantly concentrated, refreshing, aromatic Albarino with floral, citrus zest and apricot flavours on a bright, lively palate. Match with seafood and Asian cuisine over the next 3 years. Hand-picked fruit from a single site in Gisborne, fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 3.4 g/L RS, TA 6.96g/L and pH 3.5, the wine aged 5 months on lees with a small component in seasoned oak. 18.0/20 May 2018 RRP $28.00

The Hunting Lodge ‘Home Block’ Waimauku ‘Wild Ferment’ Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, paler edged. The nose is full and voluminous with broad and complex-layered aromas of ripe green stonefruits, greengages and nectarines, along with fresh herbs, nutty elements and smoky oak detail. The aromatics build in concentration and depth, and are commanding. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has rich, up-front, accessible and mouthfilling flavours of green stonefruits, greengages and nectarines along with fresh herbs. The fruit is interwoven with creamy, nutty and smoky oak, and the palate is enlivened by bright, zesty acidity. The wine flows with excellent energy and tension along a fine-textured line, leading to a long stonefruit and nutty finish. This is an up-front mouthfilling, complex-layered oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with green stonefruit, herb, nutty and spicy flavours on a fresh palate. Serve with herb-marinated pork and veal dishes over the next 3+ years. Fruit from the ‘Margan’, ‘Spence’ and ‘Watson’ blocks from The Lodge ‘Home Block’, hand-picked and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented with some solids to 13.0% alc. and 2.9 g/L RS, the wine aged 5 months on lees in 25% new French oak barriques. 100 dozen made. 19.0/20 May 2018 RRP $33.00

The Hunting Lodge ‘Home Block’ Waimauku Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Bright, light yellow colour with some depth and pale green tints, lighter on the rim. The nose is elegant in proportion with fine and tightly concentrated aromas of fresh citrus fruit and yellow stonefruits, along with an underlay suggesting creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes with mealy detail. The fruit has clarity and the aromatics refreshing. Medium-bodied, the palate has elegantly concentrated flavours of white and yellow stonefruit with citrus fruit notes, along with spicy, nutty oak and subtle creamy barrel-ferment. The mouthfeel is fresh ad zesty with crisp acidity enlivening the fruit aromatics. The flavours form a tight core with excellent linearity and some alcoholic drive that carries the wine to a sustained citrussy and nutty finish. This is a youthfully fresh and lively, elegant but intense Chardonnay with stonefruit and citrus fruit, and nutty oak flavours on a zesty palate. Match with grilled and roasted seafood and poultry dishes over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Margan’ block from The Lodge ‘Home Block’, vines 10 y.o., WBP and barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 9 months on lees in a 2 y.o. French oak barrique with no MLF. 260 bottles mode. 18.5/20 May 2018 RRP $55.00

The Hunting Lodge ‘Single Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Ruby-red colour with some depth and light purple hues, paler on the rim and youthful in appearance. The nose is elegant and slender in presentation with a fine, concentrated heart of dark-red cherry fruit along with nuances of raspberries and subtle notes of dark herbs, dark-red florals and some mineral detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate has an elegant core of dark-red cherry and berry fruit with raspberry elements. The fruit is harmoniously melded with fresh and dark herbal nuances, red florals, hints of nutty oak and minerals. The fruit possesses sweetness and richness, and the mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity. Fine tannin extraction provides structure and grip, and the wine carries to a lingering finish. This is an elegant Pinot Noir with red cherry and berry fruit harmoniously balanced with florals, herbs and oak, on a palate that grows in depth and presence. Match with poultry, pork, beef and lamb dishes over the next 4-5 years. Hand-picked fruit from a single site in Omaka in the Southern Valleys, destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 35% new French oak barriques. 17.5+/20 May 2018 RRP $38.00

The Hunting Lodge ‘Single Vineyard’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour with some purple hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is well-proportioned with ripe fruit aromas of dark raspberries and plums with nuances of blackberries and hints of boysenberries, along with liquorice and dark herbal notes. Medium-full bodied, the palate has flavours of ripe black cherry and raspberry fruit with plums and blackberries, unfolding liquorice. The fruit is sweet and plush, and supported by fine, light tannin extraction that allows the fruit richness to feature. Some alcohol power lends drive, with balanced acidity freshening the mouthfeel as it carries to a sweet, juicy finish. This is a rich and plush dark berry and plum fruited Pinot Noir with soft tannins and a rounded palate with power. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 4-5 years. Hand-picked fruit from a single site in Bendigo, fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in approx. 25% new French oak barriques. 17.5+/20 May 2018 RRP $39.00

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