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
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Featured Reviews

Vidal 2015 ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay, Merlot Cabernet and Syrah

21 April,2017
Vidal is one of the independent brands of the Villa Maria Estates group. While sharing much of the same resources in fruit sources, winemaking, elevage and to a degree, the marketing, as its sister labels of Esk Valley, Te Awa, Thornbury and Villa Maria itself, it has its own identity and style, as do the other brands, which is in part due to the direction set, and winemaking and blending choices made by the winemaker, Hugh Crichton at Vidal. Hugh reminded me of the strength of the 2015 vintage in Hawke’s Bay, and how the fruit from the top vineyards go into the Vidal ‘Reserve’ wines, "the ‘Legacy’ wines are solely from vintages that are truly extraordinary”. The ‘Reserve’ wines are thus deemed the premium wines, with the ‘Estate’ bottlings as the accessible range. Here, I review the new release 2015 ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay, Merlot/Cabernet and Syrah. They are all beautifully bright fruited and impeccably balanced.


Vidal ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright straw-yellow colour, a little lighter on the edge. This has a soft and gentle, harmoniously interwoven nose with aromas of white stonefruits, subtle nutty oak and flinty lees detail. The aromatics are elegant and well-proportioned. Medium-bodied, the palate is finely presented with balanced flavours of moderately rich white and yellow stonefruits, along with citrus fruits and nutty, flinty and mineral detail. The palate has a well-concentrated core which follows a light, phenolic-textured line with refreshing, bright acidity enlivening the mouthfeel. The wine leads to a soft, gently packed finish of stonefruits and nuts. This is an elegantly concentrated and well-balanced Chardonnay with white stonefruit, nutty and flinty detail on a fine-textured, fresh palate. Match with seafood, poultry, pork and veal over the next 3-4 years. A barrel selection wine. Fruit from ‘Kakako’ in the Ohiti Valley. ‘Keltern’, in Maraekakaho, Te Awanga and the Gimblett Gravels, fully barrel-fermented, partially with indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 18% new French oak with partial MLF conversion. 18.0-/20 Apr 2017. RRP $19.99

Bright, even, light golden-yellow colour with green hues, lighter on the rim. This has a softly full and reserved nose of ripe yellow stonefruits and citrus fruits that form a dense core, revealing mealy notes, with creamy and nutty barrel-ferment elements and delicate flinty lees detail, along with toasty oak. Medium-bodied, the flavours of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit are rich and well-entwined with layers of creamy and nutty barrel-ferment, and complexed by subtle flinty lees and toasty oak notes. This has a tightly bound core, the fruit richness balanced by fresh, lacy acidity. The wine follows a very fine-textured line, carrying to an elegant finish of stonefruits and nuts. This moderately rich, stonefruited and citrussy Chardonnay is balanced by creamy and nutty oak and flows with good energy along a fine line. Serve with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4 years. Fruit from Kokako in the Ohiti Valley, Keltern in Marekakaho, Te Awanga and the Gimblett Gravels, barrel-fermented, partly with indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 8 months in 18% new French oak on lees with partial MLF. 17.5+/20 May 2016 RRP $19.99

Vidal ‘Reserve’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Very dark, black-hued purple-red colour, a little lighter on the rim, very youthful in appearance. The nose is very fine and elegantly concentrated with refined blackberry, black plum and nuances of blackcurrants and fragrant, spicy oak notes. The nose is has beautiful precision and focus. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegant in proportion with a finely concentrated core of succulently sweet and vibrant flavours of blackcurrants and black plums, unfolding nuances of cassis and dark herbs. The mouthfeel is poised with fine-grained tannins providing linearity and fresh, lacy acidity lending energy and vitality. The wine leads to a long, lingering, tightly bound finish of black fruits and herbs. This is a refined and elegantly concentrated Merlot/Cabernet blend with sweet fruit, fine-grained extract and a fresh, bright mouthfeel. Serve with lamb and beef dishes over the next 5-6 yeas. A blend of 75% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Malbec from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 24% new French oak barrels. 18.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP $19.99

Vidal ‘Reserve’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour with purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is elegantly presented with intense and tightly bound aromas showing finesse and depth of ripe blackberry fruit with black plums, liquorice and subtle spice and florals. The fruit is restrained and soft, but there is underlying concentration. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegant and well-proportioned with ripe, well-packed and dense fruit flavours of blackberry fruit and black plums, along with hints of black pepper and iron-earth minerals. The fruit richness is matched by plenty of fine tannin grip and tannin extraction providing good structure. The acidity is integrated, and the wine flows positively to a dense, rounded finish. This is a deep and dense, well-proportioned, balanced Syrah with ripe black fruits and plenty of structure that slightly dominates. Keep this 7-8+ years. Syrah fruit, two-thirds from the ‘Omahu Gravels’ and one-third from the ‘Twyford Gravels’ vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels, destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 17 month in 33% new French oak barrels. 18.5-/20 Sep 2017 RRP $24.99

Full, near saturated black-red colour with youthful purple hues. The nose is very fresh, with firmly concentrated aromas of ripe blackberry fruit entwined with notes of liquorice and black pepper, unfolding nuances of spices, florals and dame and black mineral detail. Medium-bodied, the palate has rich, sweet and juicy flavours of blackberries, plums and liquorice forming an elegantly concentrated, fine-textured heart, unfolding nuances of spices, florals and minerals. The mouthfeel possesses fine-grained tannin extraction and integrated, balanced acidity, and the wine flows smoothly to a restrained, nuanced finish of black fruits and minerals. This is an elegantly concentrated, sweet-fruited Syrah with blackberry, plum, liquorice and black pepper flavours on a fine-textured palate. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 4-5+ years. Syrah fruit, two-thirds from the ‘Omahu Gravels’ and one-third from the ‘Twyford Gravels’ vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels, destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 17 month in 33% new French oak barrels. 18.0+/20 Apr 2017 RRP $24.99
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