Featured Reviews

Wairau River 2017 Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris

24 July,2017
Phil and Chris Rose first planted vines in the Wairau River in 1978, putting them in the pioneers of the Marlborough winegrowing industry. Much of their enviable mature fruit resource comes from their significant plantings in 1992. Nowadays their company, Wairau River Wines has around 285 ha of estate vines in 9 different sites. They are one of Marlborough’s largest family owned winegrowing businesses with an excellent cellar door and restaurant facility at the start of Rapaura Road near the junction of S.H. 6, and a well-equipped winery further along Rapaura Road. The second generation and extended family are fully involved in the business, and make classical Lower Wairau expressions under their ‘Estate’ and ‘Reserve’ ranges. 2017 was a challenging year for ripeness for those with crops for commercial wines, but growers of estate fruit for quality wines, such as the Rose family, fared considerably better, if not well. Here, I review the 2017 Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. www.wairauriverwines.com


Wairau River Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, very pale strawberry-pink with a little depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is very fresh and initially delicately presented with vibrantly aromatic strawberry fruit entwined with lifted red florals and fermentation esters, and hints of confectionary. The aromatics grow in depth and concentration with aeration. Off-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has rich and juicy, refreshingly lively fruit flavours of strawberries melded with lifted red florals, notes of confectionary and fermentation esters. The flavours are up-front and mouthfilling, and flow along a soft-textured phenolic line with good underlying acid energy. The wine carries to a fragrant, thirst-quenching finish of strawberries and confectionary. This is an up-front, juicy and lively dryish rosé with pretty mouthfelling flavours of strawberries and confectionary on a soft-textured palate. Serve as an aperitif and with canapes over the next 2 years. Pinot Noir fruit primarily from the ‘Rapaura’, ‘Spring Creek’ and ‘The Angler’ vineyards, crushed gently for some maceration and fermented in stainless-steel to 12.5% alc. and 7.5 g/L RS. 16.5/20 Jul 2017 RRP $20.00

Wairau River Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is elegantly proportioned with softly packed and concentrated aromas of pungent passionfruit, tropical fruits and fresh herbs. The nose has softness in presentation with intensity. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate possesses softly concentrated and moderately full, mouthwatering flavours of pungent passionfruit and tropical fruits with fresh herb detail. The fruit sweetness is balanced by light, dry, phenolic textures and structure, with integrated, fresh, lacy acidity. As the wine flows the flavours gently recede to a light, lingering, passionfruity finish. This is a balanced Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit, tropical fruit and herb flavours on a dry-textured, mouthwatering palate and an elegant finish. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit predominantly from the ‘Home’ vineyard, fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 3.5 g/L RS. 17.0/20 Jul 2017 RRP $20.00

Wairau River Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. This has a very delicately and subtly expressed nose with aromas of white stonefruits and lifted white florals at the core with suggestions of honeysuckle, unfolding nutty note. This has good detail. Off-dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is shy in expression with delicate flavours of white stonefruits, aromatic white florals and notes of honeysuckle. The flavours are up-front, but stylishly restrained, and follow a fine-textured line, unveiling nutty elements. The acidity is fresh and balanced, and the wine carries to a delicately nuanced finish. This is a delicate, dryish Pinot Gris with stonefruit, and floral flavours on a fresh, fine-textured palate. Match with Asian fare over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from the ‘Home’ vineyard, vines planted in 1990, fermented in stainless-steel with 10% in seasoned French oak to 13.5% alc. and 7.0 g/L RS. 16.5+/20 RRP $20.00
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