Hawkshead 2017 Pinot Gris. 2015 Riesling and Bannockburn Pinot Noir, and 2014 ‘First Vines’ Pinot Noir
Smoking Loon, La Crema, McManis and The Crusher Releases
Two Sisters Central Otago Pinot Gris 2016
Clearview Estate 2016 ‘Old Olive Block’, Enigma’ and ‘The Basket Press’
Ceres 2017 ‘Swansong’ Pinot Gris and 2016 ‘Composition’ Pinot Noir
Vicarage Lane Canterbury Pinot Noir 2016
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
Kuru Kuru and Tarras Vineyards Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Red Queen Marlborough Pinot Nor Rosé 2017
Waipara Valley Wines Blanc de Blanc, 2016 Sauvignon, and 2016 Pinot Noir
Elephant Hill 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and Reserve Chardonnay
Aix Rosé, A Torres Selection and Lustau Vermut from EuroVintage
Mills Reef 2017 ‘Reserve’ Pinot Gris and Chardonnay
Nevis Bluff ‘Duke of Cromwell’ Pinot Blanc 2017, and 2017 Rosé, 2014 Pinot Gris and 2013 Pinot Noir
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
Auntsfield 2016 ‘Single Vineyard’ Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
The Crossings ‘Wild’ Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Pisa Range Estate‘ Black Poplar’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
Z Wine ‘Rustica’ ‘Reserve’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015
Grava Wines 2016 Martinborough Sauvignon, Rosé, Riesling and Pinot Noir
// View More Featured Reviews

Featured Reviews

Theory & Practice and Craft Farm Aromatic Wines, 2017, 2016 and 2015

28 December,2017

Ant Mackenzie has built up a very strong reputation for aromatic wines from fis time at Framingham, Spy Valley, Mud House and Dry River. Under his own brands, he is revelling in making these wines and other innovative styles, as well as the more classical Hawke’s Bay wines. Here, I review a selection of the aromatic wines as new releases. The Theory & Practice Pinot Gris is regarded by Ant as "pretty straight down the line” but there are tweaks. Ant aims to make "ultra-powerful Gewurztraminer”, otherwise he "would rather not make anything!”. In 2017, Gewurztraminer did not fare well, but he is very happy with the results to date. The ‘Rose Hip’ wine is an aromatic white blend that has been given some skin contact in the ‘natural wine’ mould, following some observations of his colleague Hayden Penny’s ‘Green Glow’ and ‘Spooklight’ wines. Clearly there is much to follow with Ant’s aromatic wines.


Theory & Practice Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, pale straw-yellow colour, a little lighter edged. The nose is fresh with a taut core of white and yellow stonefruits harmoniously entwined with stonefruit pith, nutty lees elements and a complexing mineral overlay. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly proportioned with a fine, tightly-bound heart of white and yellow stonefruits melded with nutty notes and a suggestion of minerals. The mouthfeel is refreshing and enlivened by bright acidity, and the wine flows smoothly along a subtly-textured line with underlying drive. The wine carries to a lingering, refreshing finish of stonefruits with nutty and floral elements. This is a taut and elegant, lively, dry Pinot Gris with stonefruit, nutty and mineral flavours on a fine, linear palate. Match with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 3 years. Fruit from the ‘Cape Coast’ and ‘Inland River Terraces’ sites, 60% tank-fermented and 40% in 1000L German oak fuders, partially with indigenous yeasts to 12.5% alc. and 10.0g/L RS, 30% of the fuder wine undergoing MLF, the wine aged 4 months in oak and tank. 17.5/20 Dec 2017 RRP $24.95

Craft Farm ‘Rose Hip’ Hawke’s Bay 2016

Blended White from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Pale orange colour, a little opaque, with some depth, lighter on the rim. This has a gently full and voluminous nose with good depth of citrus, spice and musk fruit aromas along with a piquant yeasty, leesy and hop-like layering intermingling with mineral elements. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a good, deep heart of savoury citrus fruits and tropical fruits, with spice and musky grape notes, entwined with subtle yeast, lees and hop-like skinsy notes. The fruit is poised with edgy, firm, bitter elements and the acidity lends cut and freshness. This has precision and clarity, and the flavours carry with good energy to a lingering, nuanced finish of nutty lees and musk. This is a dry skin-contact wine with flavour precision, showing savoury citrus, spice and musk flavours along with a nutty, hop-like and mineral layering. Match with pork and veal dishes over the next 3 years. A blend of 30% each Gewurztraminer, Muscat Petit Grains and Albarino with 10% Pinot Gris, from the ‘Home’ vineyard, undergoing some foot-stomping and indigenous yeast co-fermented to 13.5% alc. and 1 g/L RS, the wine on skins for 2 weeks, undergoing MLF and bottled with 30ppm SO2. 800 bottles made. 18.0+/20 Dec 2017 RRP $34.95

Craft Farm Hawke’s Bay Gewurztraminer 2015

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Brilliant, light golden-yellow colour with lemon hues and some depth, paler edged. The nose is softly restrained with ripe fruit aromas of tropical fruits, exotic yellow florals, spice, honey and musk. The aromatics build subtly in depth and presence in the glass, growing in opulence with aeration. Medium in sweetness and fullish-bodied, the palate is gently mouthfilling but stylishly restrained, showing tropical fruits, exotic florals, musk, honey and spicy nuances. The mouthfeel possesses an unctuous, rounded texture with soft acidity. There is underlying alcoholic power and drive, and the wine flows smoothly along a soft line, leading to a lingering finish of honey, savoury musk and spice notes. This is a rich, near-unctuous, medium-sweet Gewurztraminer with sty;lishly restrained tropical and exotic fruits, honey and musk with underlying alcoholic drive. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 4-5 years. Gewurztraminer fruit with 5% Muscat Petit Grains and Pinot Gris, from the ‘Home’ vineyard, WBP and fermented in barrel and tank to 14.5% alc. and 26.75 g/L RS, the wine aged 9 months on lees. 100 dozen made. 18.5+/20 Dec 2017 RRP $34.95

Under the ‘Ant Mackenzie Wines’ umbrella. 40% barrel-fermented to 14.5% alc. and 27 g/L RS. Bright straw-yellow with some depth. This has a full nose with an array of florals, with exotic rose-petal, Turkish Delight and spice aromas, along with lychee and savoury, nutty, musky complexities. Medium in sweetness with a full body and alcoholic drive, the flavours unfold evenly with exotic florals, lychees, and savoury interest for balance. The phenolic handling seems spot-on, resulting in richness and a degree of unctuousness. 18.5/20 Jul 2017 RRP $34.90

Craft Farm Hawke’s Bay Gewurztraminer Bunch Selection 2016

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Moderately deep golden colour with a suggestion of orange, pale on the rim. The nose is elegant in proportion with intense and penetrating, decadent aromas of ripe tropical fruits, grapefruit and marmalade, entwined with exotic florals, honey and musk, unveiling creaming soda and spices. Very sweet to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is rich with decadent and opulent flavours of ripe tropical fruit, Turkish Delight, honey and musk, marmalade and nectar, and some bitter grapefruit elements. The mouthfeel is soft and plush, with a luscious and unctuously rounded core. The wine flows smoothly and seamlessly along a very fine line with soft acidity, leading to a long and sustained finish of Turkish Delight, tropical fruits, honey and musk. This is a rich and decadent botrytised Gewurztraminer with tropical fruits and Turkish Delight, honey and musk flavours on an unctuous, smooth flowing palate. Match with spiced, baked desserts and fruit desserts over the next 4+ years. Gewurztraminer fruit with 5% Muscat Petit Grains and Pinot Gris, from the ‘Home’ vineyard, the bunches selected for botrytis infection, foot-stomped and fermented in tank to 13.0% Alc. and 105.75 g/L RS, the wine aged 9 months on lees. (375 ml) 200 dozen made. 18.5+/20 Dec 2017 RRP $34.95

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