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Featured Reviews

Waitapu Estate Northland 2015 Syrah and 2014 Pinotage

02 November,2017
Waitapu Estate is the Northland wine venture of Eric and Sandra Shackleton who purchased a lifestyle block on Masters Access Road at Ahipara, near Kaitaia and planted vines. Their flagship wines are Syrah and Pinotage but also have Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo and Sangiovese, the wines having different tiers for different segments of the market. The Shackletons tend to the viticulture and the wines are made at Karikari Estate. Here, I have another look at the ‘Reef View’ 2015 Syrah and 2014 Pinotage. The wines have shown some improvement with another year in bottle. Eric reports both the 2015 and 2014 vintages were "reasonable years, not awful like 2017, and not as great as 2010.”


Waitapu Estate ‘Reef View’ Northland Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Full, dark, deep, ruby-red colour with black hues, a little lighter edged. The nose is initially a little shy, but possesses well packed and solidly concentrated aromas of blackberry fruit along with a harmonious amalgam of game, black pepper and minerals. The aromatics grow in depth with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has concentrated and intense flavours of ripe blackberry fruit intermingling with black pepper and mineral elements. Some dark herb and earthy detail adds interest. The fruit forms a firm core with moderately fine-grained tannin extraction and has balanced acidity. The flavours carry along a fine line, leading to a lingering, light finish. This is a well-concentrated Syrah with blackberry, black pepper and mineral flavours on a finely extracted palate. Match with roasted lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 4+ years. Syrah fruit fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in seasoned French oak. 17.0/20 Feb 2018 RRP $28.95

Dark ruby-red colour with black hues at heart and some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and densely packed with aromas of ripe, savoury blackberry fruit melded with earthy notes unfolding some black pepper and spices, with nuances of funky game. Medium-full bodied, the palate has up-front, rich and sweet, lively fruit flavours of blackberries with spices, earth and black pepper notes, revealing game hints. The fruit is softly concentrated with good depth, and is supported by light, supple tannins and light, acid liveliness. The palate has linearity, and carries to a juicy finish of blackberries, pepper and earth. This is a softly packed Syrah with fulsome and rich flavours of savoury blackberry fruit with notes of spice, black pepper and game, and supple grip. Match with barbecued and roasted game meat, and casseroles over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from ‘Waitapu Estate’, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 2-3 y.o. French oak barrels. 16.0+/20 Nov 2017 RRP $28.95

Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with black hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is soft and full with aromas of gentle aromas of black-berried fruits along with savoury raspberries, liquorice and spices and black pepper elements, unfolding nuances of chocolate and earth. Medium-bodied, the palate has a bright and lively mouthfeel with fresh, gentle flavours of black fruits, raspberries, plums and liquorice. Spice and black pepper nuances unfold to add interest. The fruit is enlivened by lacy acidity and supported by modest, grainy tannin extraction lending a soft-textured mouthfeel. The flavours carry with good drive and energy to a lingering, brisk finish of blackberries, spices and pepper. This is a fresh, lively, blackberry, plum and liquorice flavoured Syrah with some tannin grip and brisk acidity. Match with barbecued fare over the next 3 years. Fruit from ‘Waitapu Estate’, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 2-3 y.o. French oak barrels. 16.0/20 Nov 2016 RRP $28.95

Waitapu Estate ‘Reef View’ Northland Pinotage 2014

Pinotage from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Full, very deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is full with vibrantly ripe, high-toned, lifted aromas of dark-red mulberry and black berried fruit along with subtle layers of earthy elements and nutty oak, revealing nuances of game. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and juicy flavours of ripe, dark-red mulberry and black fruits with lifted, high-tone notes, unfolding subtle earthy and nutty notes. The mouthfeel features fine-grained tannin extraction providing a firm-textured core and line. The fruit is enlivened by light acidity and the wine carries with energy to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a classically high-toned Pinotage with lifted savoury blackberry and mulberry fruit with subtle notes of earth and oak on a fine-grained and lively palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison, or Mediterranean fare over the next 4+ years. Fruit from ‘Waitapu Estate’, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 28 months in two-thirds seasoned French oak barrels. 16.5+/20 Nov 2017 RRP $28.95

Very dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour with light purple tints on the rim. This has a very full, broad and voluminous nose of lifted, ripe mulberry fruit with dark plums, jam and funky volatile esters, along with nutty and cedary oak, caramel and nuances of chocolate. Medium-full bodied, the flavours are up-front, but have a deep heart showing ripe mulberries, plums, berry fruit and jam, with volatile esters, entwined with nutty, cedary oak and caramel notes. The palate is well-extracted, providing a grainy structure, and has balanced, background acidity. The flavours recede on the finish leaving light notes pf cedar, spices and volatility. This is an up-front, rounded and deep Pinotage with mulberry and plum flavours and consideable funky volatile notes on a grainy textured palate. Match with game meat dishes over the next 3+ years. Fruit from ‘Waitapu Estate’, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 28 months in two-thirds French oak, 6-8 y.o. 15.0/20 Nov 2016 RRP $28.95
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