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Clearview Estate 2016 ‘Old Olive Block’, Enigma’ and ‘The Basket Press’
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Paddy Borthwick 2017 Riesling and Chardonnay, and 2016 Left Hand and Right Hand Pinot Noirs
Trinity Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016
Villa Maria ‘Ngakirikiri’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Paxton ‘NOW’ Shiraz 2017 and Hogshead Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
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Smith and Sheth ‘CRU’ Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Syrah Releases
Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Gris 2017
Karikari Estates 2014 ‘Calypso’ and 2015 Chardonnays, 2016 Viognier and 2015 Syrah and Pinotage
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The Crossings ‘Wild’ Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2016
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Grava Wines 2016 Martinborough Sauvignon, Rosé, Riesling and Pinot Noir
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Featured Reviews

The Pilot by Alpha Domus 2015 Chardonnay and 2014 Merlot Cabernet

22 February,2018

Alpha Domus is a well-established producer of classical Hawke’s Bay wine with 20 ha of vineyard on Maraekakaho Road in the Bridge Pa Triangle district. Owned by the Ham family, the brand is especially well-regarded for high quality expressions of Chardonnay and the Bordeaux red varieties which are the region’s hallmarks, as well as the new Viognier and Syrah varieties. The flagships are the ‘AD’ range, and the ‘Alpha Domus’ label is the premium. These are supported by the value and accessible ‘The Pilot’ tier, a reference to the nearby airfield. Here, I have another look at ‘The Pilot’ Chardonnay 2015, and ‘The Pilot’ Merlot/Cabernet 2014.


The Pilot by Alpha Domus Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim, with slight green hues.  This has a full nose with ripe fruit aromas of citrus fruit melded with savoury nutty and toasty oak, creamy barrel-ferment elements and a layering of buttery MLF.  Medium-bodied, the palate has full and up-front flavours of ripe citrus and tropical fruit along with nutty, toasty oak and butterscotch MLF.  The mouthfeel is rounded with broad, mouthfilling flavours underlined by fresh acidity.  The wine flows with good energy and linearity to a long, lingering finish of exotic fruits, toast and butterscotch.  This is an up-front and full-flavoured Chardonnay with rich citrus and tropical fruits, along with nutty oak, creamy and buttery MLF and a thread of cutting acidity.  Match with roasted pork over the next 3 years.  Clones 15, 6 and Mendoza fruit, fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 6 months on lees with batonnage and given oak contact, undergoing full MLF.  18.0-/20  Feb 2018  RRP $20.00

Bright, even yellow colour with pale gold hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full, with up-front and well-packed aromas of ripe yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit with nutty lees and oak notes, unfolding creamy and lanolin elements. Medium-bodied, the palate is up-front with flavours of ripe yellow stonefruits and citrus fruits entwined with nutty lees and oak notes. The fruit recedes as the wine flows along a light, grainy-textured phenolic line with integrated acidity, carrying to a light, lingering finish of stonefruits and nuts. This is an up-front, ripe, yellow stonefruited Chardonnay with nutty oak and lees notes, and a light, textured line. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 3+ years. Clones 15, 6 and Mendoza fruit, fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 6 months on lees with batonnage and given oak contact. 17.0+/20 May 2017 RRP $20.00

The Pilot by Alpha Domus Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet 2014

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Dark, deep ruby-red colour with black hues and some garnet on the rim. The bouquet is softly full with aromas of black plums entwined with earth and minerals, along with some funky game notes. The fruit has richness and ripeness, and is well-concentrated. Medium-bodied, the palate has a complex amalgam of ripe, dark-red and black plums, with notes of earth, iron-earth and savoury, funky game flavours. The fruit forms an elegant, but firm heart, underlined by fine, grainy tannin extraction and fresh, lively acid. The grip carries the wine to a moderately long, slender, dry finish. Thus is a well packed Merlot/Cabernet blend with flavours of black plums, earth and funky game on an elegant, grainy, dry palate. Serve with slow-cooked game meat dishes over the next 3-4 years. A blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 14-21 days on skins post ferment, and aged 16 months in 20% new French oak. 16.5+/20 Feb 2018 RRP $20.00

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