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Featured Reviews




West Brook 2018 Rosé and White, and 2017 Chardonnay Releases

26 September,2018

One of the under-the radar winery sales occurred earlier this year with Anthony and Susan Ivicevich of West Brook in Waimauku, West Auckland selling to the Chen family, residents in New Zealand for 16 years. The changeover occurred without fanfare at the beginning of March, during vintage, and reflected the seamless transaction that did not interrupt the workings of the winery. Winemaker James Rowan remains in place, as does his team, with Anthony still having a hand in things. Twinsen and Jessica Chen are ostensibly the ’drivers’ of the new ownership, with Twinsen from a media background, but willing to try his hand at anything, reports James. Sales to China have begun, and there are plans to introduce ‘higher tier’ wines. So as James says, life at West Brook goes on, "under another stewardship…with a crazy team…loving what they do”. James has sent me a selection of 2018 wines and two 2017 Chardonnays to review. www.westbrook.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



West Brook Waimauku ‘Crackling’ Rosé 2018

Rose from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

17/20

Bright, pale cerise-pink colour with slight purple hues and some depth, lighter edged. This is very fresh and taut, and tightly bound on the nose with aromas of cherries and strawberries, along with subtle ref floral lift and some mouthwatering chalky minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a lively mouthfeel with a little effervescence alongside restrained flavours of strawberries and cherries and red floral notes. The fruit forms a dry, firm core and the wine carries along a light, phenolic-textured line, lending a thirst-quenching mouthfeel, with light, lacy acidity providing cut and dryness. The flavours carry to a slender, but lingering finish. This is a firm, mouthwatering dry rosé with cherry and strawberry fruit with subtle floral and mineral notes on a light-textured dry palate with a little effervescence. Serve as an aperitif and with antipasto over the next 2 years. Hand-picked fruit, a blend of approx. 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Franc from the Waimauku vineyard, cool-fermented in stainless-steel with 9% in French oak barriqies to 12.4% alc. and 3.5 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees and given a light carbonation. 17.0/20 Sep 2018 RRP $19.90

West Brook Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

18-/20

Bright, pale straw colour with slight green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is well-proportioned with very good depth, concentration and intensity of pungent passionfruit aromas melded with soft notes of tropical fruits and fresh herbs. The aromatics are harmonious in presentation. Dry to taste, the palate has a well-packed heart with softly entwined flavours passionfruit and tropical fruit with herbal nuances. The palate flows along a light-textured line with balanced refreshing acidity enlivening the mouthfeel. The wine carries to a soft, fine finish with light passionfruit flavours. This is a soft, but well-packed Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit, tropical fruit and herb flavours on a fine-textured palate with fresh acidity. Match with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from one block of the ‘Wiffen’ vineyards in the Southern Valleys, fermented in stainless-steel with 7.5% in seasoned French oak to 12.7% alc. and 5.2 g/L RS. 18.0-/20 Sep 2018 RRP $21.00

West Brook Marlborough Riesling 2018

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5/20

Brilliant light straw-yellow colour with some depth, pale on the edge. The nose is softly concentrated with gently packed aromas of lime, lemonade and tangerine fruit, along with subtle notes of honey and exotic florals, with suggestions of mouthwatering minerals. Medium to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a soft, finely concentrated core of lime, lemonade and tangerine citrus fruits, along with notes of honeysuckle and floral, with mineral nuances. The palate has linearity and drive, with plenty of presence, and carries with good richness and balancing zesty acidity, leading to a lingering finish. This is a finely concentrated medium Riesling with exotic citrus fruit, floral and honeysuckle flavours along with thirst-quenching minerals on a zesty palate with good presence and linearity. Match with Asian fare over the next 4 years. Fruit from a single block of the ‘Wiffen’ vineyards in the Southern Valleys, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 11.9% alc. and 16 g/L RS, TA 9.5g/L and pH 2.78. 18.5/20 Sep 2018 RRP $22.90

West Brook Waimauku Pinot Gris 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

17.5+/20

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless. The nose is elegantly presented with finely concentrated aromas of white and yellow stonefruits entwined with an amalgam of exotic florals and complexing mineral notes. The aromatics build in intensity and penetration with aeration. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has restrained but detailed flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with subtle notes of exotic florals and minerals. The flavours show well on the front palate with elegant depth and concentration. The wine becomes more slender as it flows along a fresh, lively line, leading to a delicate finish. This is an elegant, fine-textured, dryish Pinot Gris with stonefruit, floral and mineral flavours with a fresh mouthfeel and slender finish. Match with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 3 years. Hand-picked fruit from the Waimauku vineyard, cool-fermented in stainless-steel with a small portion in seasoned oak barriques to 12.5% alc. and 6.3 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 17.5+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $25.00

West Brook Marlborough Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5+/20

Brilliant, light golden-hued yellow colour with some depth, a little paler edged. The nose is tightly bound with fragrant aromas of yellow stonefruits with subtle notes of fresh herbs intermixed with light creamy barrel-ferment elements and nutty, toasty oak. This is youthfully fresh and will develop. Medium-full bodied, the palate is fresh and taut with clean and pure white and yellow stonefruit flavours gently intertwined with subtle creamy and nutty oak. The mouthfeel is fresh and bright, the fruit lively and vibrant, enhanced by fresh, lacy acidity. The wine has good vibrancy and energy and carries with tension to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a fresh and vibrant Chardonnay with taut fruit flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with subtle oak and an elegant finish. Match with seafood and poultry over the next 3-4 years. Clone 15 fruit from a single block from the ‘Wiffen’ vineyard in the Southern Valleys, fully barrel-fermented to 13.4% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 26% new French oak, undergoing batonnage and partial MLF. 17.5+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $26.90

West Brook Waimauku Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18+/20

Bright, light straw colour with slight green hues. The nose is elegantly concentrated and well-proportioned with fine and detailed aromas of white and yellow stonefruits entwined with subtle mealy notes, and creamy, nutty and toasty oak. This is fresh and intense, but refined in expression. Medium-bodied, the palate is finely presented with tightly bound flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, melded with creamy barrel-ferment, mealy elements and nutty oak. This has layers of detail. The mouthfeel is fresh and taut and the wine flows along a fine-textured line with balanced acid freshness, leading to a sustained finish. This is an elegant Chardonnay with layers of flavour detail showing stonefruit, nutty oak and mealy interest on a taut, linear palate. It will develop over the next 4 years. Serve with grilled and roasted pork. Hand-picked fruit, clones 95 and Mendoza from the Waimauku vineyard, fully barrel-fermented to 12.8% alc., the wine aged 9 months on lees in 21% new French oak barriques with batonnage and partial MLF. 18.0+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $45.00 Not Yet Released.

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