Featured Reviews

Vidal ‘Reserve’ 2018 Rosé and Pinot Gris, 2017 Chardonnay, and 2016 Syrah and Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon

08 August,2018

Vidal Estate has a history stretching back to Anthony Joseph Soler in 1888, and in modern times to 1976 when it was acquired by George Fistonich of Villa Maria. The wines over the last decade plus have been among the best in the country, and the quality and style of the Chardonnays, Syrahs and Bordeaux-variety reds earned Vidal Estate my recognition as ‘Winery of the Year’ in 2017 (click here to see my article). As with all my winners of this award, the quality of the wines at the levels down from the flagships (if made) are also of high quality, and the Vidal ‘Reserve’ and ‘Estate’ bottlings perform extremely well, a number of the ‘Reserve’ wines in particular earning 5-star or status or gold medals over the years. Here, I review the ‘Reserve’ 2018 Rosé and Pinot Gris, 2017 Chardonnay and 2016 Syrah and Merlot/Cabernet. The 2018 vintage wines are from the first harvest handled at the new ‘super winery’ complex (click here to see my report on visiting it earlier this year) at the Te Awa site. All the wines are from Hawke’s Bay fruit. www.vidal.co.nz


Vidal ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2018

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, pale pink colour with slight purple hues and some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly fresh with light, but positive aromas of strawberries and cherries along with nuances of strawberries and cream and subtle, thirst-quenching earthy and mineral elements. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a vibrant and intense core of cherry and strawberry fruit, entwined with red florals and a steely, mineral note. The palate is fresh, lively and slippery, flowing along a fine-textured line with crisp acidity providing energy, leading to a soft, dry, but fruit-expressive finish. This is a bright and vibrant dry rosé with cherry and strawberry flavours with florals and minerals on a slippery, refreshing palate. Serve as an aperitif, with antipasto and tapas over the next 2 years. A blend of 94% Merlot from the ‘Joseph Soler’ vineyard with 5% Pinot Noir and 1% Syrah, given a short period of skin contact and cool-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 4.2 g/L RS, the wine aged 4 months in tank. 18.0-/20 Aug 2018 RRP $19.99

Vidal ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale on the edge. The nose is elegantly proportioned with fresh aromas of white and yellow stonefruits entwined with exotic florals, and a subtle amalgam of honeysuckle and herbs. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has good weight and presence with restrained flavours of white and yellow stonefruits interwoven with exotic, perfumed florals and hints of honeysuckle. The fruit is upfront and fills the palate, and light, phenolic textures carry the wine with balanced acidity to an elegant finish. This is an up-front dry Pinot Gris with good weight and flavours of stonefruits, florals and honey, on a light-textured palate with an elegant finish. Match with Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine over the next 2-3 years. A blend of 95% Pinot Gris, 4% Gewurztraminer and 1% Albarino, predominantly from the Ohiti Gravels with parcels from Te Awanga and the ‘Joseph Soler’ vineyard, Bridge Pa Triangle, cool-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 4.5 g/L RS, the wine aged months on lees. 17.5+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $19.99

Vidal ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright straw-yellow colour with light green-gold hues, lighter edged. The nose is full and voluminous with soft and well-packed aromas of white stonefruits and citrus fruit melded with a layer of nutty notes and a thread of flinty, reductive complexities, unfolding smoke and minerals. Medium-full bodied, the palate has mouthfilling flavours of white stonefruits and citrus fruit with flinty reduction. The wine has good breadth and depth and the flavours flow positively along a fine-textured line growing in fullness, with lacy acidity lending freshness and energy. Notes of toast and minerals emerge to add detail as the wine leads to a softly full, even finish. This is a mouthfilling Chardonnay with stonefruit, smoke, flinty and minerals with light textures and fresh acidity. Match with most white meat dishes over the next 3-4 years. Fruit predominantly from the ‘Keltern’, ‘Kokako’ and ‘Lyons’ vineyards, fully barrel-fermented, partially by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in 20% new French oak barriques, the wine undergoing partial MLF. 18.0/20 Aug 2018 RRP $19.99

Vidal ‘Reserve’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Full, very dark, black-red colour with ruby-red hues on the rim. The nose is full with softly concentrated and deep aromas of ripe blackberries along with dark raspberries and black plums harmoniously melded with notes of spice and black pepper. The aromatics are expressed with softness and finesse, and unfold black and violet florals with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate has moderately sweet, rich flavours of blackberries and black pepper and soft notes of savoury dark raspberries with spice and iron-earth elements. The flavours are up-front and gently mouthfilling, and the fruit is supported by fine, grainy tannin structure and soft acidity. The wine carries positively to a sustained finish. This is a gently rich Syrah with flavours of blackberries, black pepper, and dark raspberries with plum, spice and earthy elements on a softm mouthfilling, grainy-textured palate. Match with casseroles and slow-cooked game meat over the next 4-6 years. Syrah fruit, 61% from the ‘Omahu Gravels’ and 39% from the ‘Twyford Gravels’ in the Gimblett Gravels, destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 20 months in 27% new French oak barrels. 18.5-/20 Aug 2018 RRP $24.99

Vidal ‘Reserve’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Very dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is elegant in proportion with aromas of ripe black plums entwined with blackcurrant and redcurrant notes, and fresh and dark herb elements. The aromatics build to show a fine, concentrated core. Medium-full bodied, the palate has vibrant and sweetly rich flavours of ripe blackcurrants and black plums along with dark herbs and hints of nutty oak, forming an elegantly concentrated heart. The palate is softly mouthfilling and fine, grainy tannins unfold to coat the palate and provide an even, positive structure and grip. The wine carries with soft acid drive to a finish with good textures. This is an elegantly proportioned and concentrated Merlot/Cabernet with black plum and blackcurrant flavours that softly fill the palate, which is supported by fine, grainy structure. Match with roast lamb, beef and venison over the next 5-6+ years. A blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon from estate Gimblett Gravels vineyards, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 19 months in 20% new French oak barrels. 18.0+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $19.99

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