Featured Reviews




Tohu New Releases of Methode, White and Red Wines

17 October,2017
Tohu was New Zealand’s first Maori owned wine company, established in 1998. It comes under the Kono umbrella of the Wakatu Incorporation, a collective comprised of four iwi (tribes) from the top of the South Island. The company encompasses seafood, beverage, horticulture and fruit products. Kono has embraced the concept of kaitiakitanga, which is guardianship, protection and sustainability of the environment and its natural resources. This aligns extremely well with the wine world’s concern for the environment as shown in sustainability, organic and biodynamic values. The Tohu viticulture and winemaking is carried out with respect to these principles. Tohu’s vineyards and wines come primarily from estate Marlborough vineyards as well as fruit from the company’s Nelson vineyard, supplemented with contract fruit from these regions and beyond. The winemaking is under the care of the experience Bruce Taylor, operating out of the company’s winery in the Awatere Valley. Over the years, the Tohu wines have grown in breadth of portfolio as well as quality. The flagship wines are the black-labelled Kaumatua Reserve range, named in honour of an elder from the Maori owners. Here, I review a broad range of new releases which method traditionnelle, whites and reds. www.tohuwines.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Tohu ‘Rewa’ Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blanc 2014

Sparkling Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5/20
Bright straw-yellow colour, a little lighter on the edge, the bead very fine and moderately persistent. The nose is very fresh and elegant in proportion with good intensity and penetration of white stonefruit aromas, with subtle white florals, harmoniously entwined with bready-yeasty autolysis, unfolding a little toasty detail. The nose is refined in expression. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is refined with good intensity of white stonefruit and floral flavours that form a gently firm core with fresh bread and delicate yeasty autolysis notes. The palate is soft-textured with creamy mousse and a fine phenolic-threaded line and soft acidity. The wine has good drive and energy and carries smoothly to a dry finish of stonefruits and yeast. This is an elegant, classical Blanc de Blancs methode with white stonefruit and floral fruit and delicate autolysis on a fine-featured palate. Serve as an aperitif and canapes over the next 3+ years. Hand-picked clone 6 Chardonnay from the ‘Rothay’ vineyard, Rapaura, fermented in tank to 12.0% alc., and 2.25 g/L RS, the wine undergoing MLF, the wine aged 20 months on lees, and disgorged in late February 2017. 18.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $33.95

Tohu Nelson Pinot Rosé 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Nelson

17.5/20
Bright cerise-pink with some depth, lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is fresh with light, slightly shy aromas of raspberry fruit and soft notes of quince and cranberries, with lifted red florals and delicate, thirst-quenching mineral notes. Some confectionary aromatics emerge with aeration. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has fresh fruit flavours of strawberries and cranberries with soft herbal notes and mouthwatering mineral elements. Red floral and confectionary flavours add detail. The palate has a good heart with depth and light, dry textures with gentle acid liveliness. The palate has good drive and line, and carries to an aromatic, mouthwatering, textured finish. This dryish rosé has a shy nose, but good body and a concentrated heart of strawberries and cranberries, with floral detail and a mouthwatering finish. Serve with antipasto and tapas over the next 2 years. Nelson Pinot Noir fruit given 3 hours skin contact and stainless-steel fermented to 13.5% alc. and 7.8 g/L RS. 17.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $21.95

Tohu ‘Single Vineyard’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

18+/20
Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues. The nose is very fresh and tightly bound with slender, but intense and deep aromas of pungent passionfruit, fresh herbs, cut grass and nettles with saline notes and thirst-quenching mineral detail. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has concentrated flavours of passionfruit and herbs with hints of nettles, forming a fine, tight core. The palate has smooth phenolic textures and fresh, lacy acidity, and the wine flows easily along a fine line, leading to a very long and sustained finish of passionfruit and herbs. This is a finely concentrated Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit, herb and nettle flavours, good drive and linearity, leading to a very long finish. Match with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from the company’s Awatere vineyard, cool-fermented in tank to 12.5% alc. and 3.6 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 18.0+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $19.95

Tohu ‘Single Vineyard’ Marlborough Riesling 2016

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough

18/20
Bright, pale straw colour with slight green hues. The nose is very tightly bound and elegant in presentation, with pure lime fruit entwined with thirst quenching chalky minerals, unveiling citrus fruits and white florals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is taut with a finely concentrated core of lime fruit, white florals and mouthwatering mineral notes, unfolding suggestions of honey and toast. The mouthfeel is very fine-textured from the fruit extract and subtle phenolics, and soft tight acidity. The palate is sleek and flowing with a very dry, thirst-quenching finish of lime fruit and minerals. This is a very taut and mouthwatering dry Riesling with fine, lime fruit, hints of florals and minerals on a very fine-textured palate. This will develop well over the next 5+ years. Serve with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine. Hand-picked fruit from the company’s upper Awatere Valley vineyard cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 12.0% alc., 9.1 g/L RS, TA 8.8 g/L and pH 2.88. 18.0/20 Oct 2017 RRP $21.95

Tohu Marlborough Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5/20
Bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hues. The nose is fresh with aromas of white stonefruits and subtle nutty lees and mineral notes forming an elegantly concentrated core with good depth, revealing some lemon-curd MLF with aeration. This is pure and mouthwatering. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate rich, mouthfilling flavours of white and yellow stonefruits melded with a layer of lemon-curd and butterscotch MLF flavours unveiling notes of nutty lees and minerals. The palate has a rounded heart with fine textures and lacy acidity, and the wine flows with good energy and linearity, leading to a long finish of stonefruits, lemon-curd and nuts. This is a flavoursome unoaked Chardonnay with stonefruit, lemon-curd and butterscotch flavours on a rounded palate with good line and length. Match with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 3 years. An unoaked Chardonnay. Fruit from the ‘Rothay’ vineyard, Rapaura, fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and dryness, the wine undergoing batonnage and 100% MLF. 17.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $21.95

Tohu ‘Single Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Blanc 2016

Pinot Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5/20
Bright, pale straw-yellow colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full with aromas of white stonefruits and citrus fruit with earthy and herb suggestions, unfolding creamy barrel-ferment elements with nutty and toasty oak and nuances of lemon-curd MLF. The aromatics form a deep hearted core. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a well-concentrated and deeply packed core with flavours of white stonefruits, creamy barrel-ferment, and nutty and toasty oak. The oaking and inputs feature over the fruit somewhat. But the palate and flavours are full of interest, showing presence, and the wine carries to a lingering finish of stonefruits and oak. This is a flavoursome Chardonnay-like Pinot Blanc with subtle stonefruit flavours with creamy and nutty oak and some MLF richness. Match with roasted poultry, pork and veal dishes over the next 3-4 years. This is the first commercial release of this wine. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Araroa’ block in the company’s Awatere vineyard, from vines planted in 2010, WBP and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented in seasoned oak to 13.0% alc. and 3.4 g/L RS, the wine aged 10 months in oak, undergoing batonnage and 100% MLF. 17.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $24.95

Tohu ‘Single Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

16.5/20
Even, light ruby-red colour, pale on the edge. The nose is soft and light with aromas of dark strawberry and cherry fruit, harmoniously integrated with soft notes of dark herbs, red florals and hints of nutty oak. Medium-bodied, the palate has light, aromatic fruit flavours of strawberries and dark-red cherries intermingling with soft herbal notes and lifted red florals, forming a softly packed heart. The mouthfeel is rounded with light, supple tannin extraction and lacy acidity lending a lively, fine-textured palate with a little grip. The wine leads to a gently full finish of red fruits and florals with subtle herb nuances. This is a moderately fruity Pinot Noir with strawberry, cherry and herb flavours and a light, fine-textured palate. Match with tuna and salmon, poultry and pork over the next 3+ years. Fruit from the company’s Upper Awatere Valley vineyard, destemmed and fermented partially with indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in new and seasoned French oak barriques. 16.5/20 Oct 2017 RRP $27.95

Tohu ‘Rore Reserve’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5-/20
Full, dark, deep ruby-red colour with some youthful purple hues. This has a firm and deeply concentrated nose with aromas of ripe dark-red and black berried fruits entwined with dark herbs and a little spicy and toasty oak, unfolding complexing earth and mineral elements. This has plenty of depth, detail and interest. Medium-full bodied, the plate possesses good depth with flavours of dark-red and black berried fruits infused with dark herbs along with earth and mineral nuances. Nutty oak and some toastiness add interest. The mouthfeel features fruit drive and is supported by fine-grained tannin structure with integrated acidity and the wine carries with concentration and linearity to a lingering, savoury finish. This is a rich and complex savoury dark-fruited Pinot Noir with herb, earth and mineral nuances just beginning to show secondary development and fine structure. Match with casseroles and game meat dishes over the next 5-6+ years. A barrel selection wine. Hand-picked fruit from the company’s Upper Awatere Valley vineyard, destemmed and fermented partially with indigenous yeasts with 5% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 13 months in 20% new French oak barriques. 18.5-/20 Oct 2017 RRP $38.95

Tohu Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5+/20
Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red with purple hues, a little lighter edged. The nose is elegantly proportioned with rich, vibrant and penetrating, fragrant aromas of dark raspberry fruit intermixed with dark-red and violet florals, along with black and white pepper and subtle spicy notes. Medium-full bodied the palate has a bright and lively fruit core showing dark raspberries, violet florals, white pepper and spice nuances. The mouthfeel has freshness and vitality with fine, grainy tannin textures and lacy acidity. The wine has an elegant presence and liveliness that carries to a fresh finish of red fruits, pepper and hints of liquorice. This is a bright and vibrant Syrah with dark raspberry, floral and white pepper flavours on a fine, grainy palate. Match with lamb and beef, and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 4 years. Hawke’s Bay fruit, hand-picked and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in seasoned French oak barriques. 17.5+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $27.95
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