Featured Reviews




West Brook Marlborough Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs, Waimauku Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Malbec

26 June,2017
It may seem that West Brook is one of the few surviving family wineries operating in West Auckland. Located on Ararimu Road in Waimauku, Anthony and Sue Ivicevich have around 4 ha of vines on their 8 ha property, with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Malbec, reflecting the market preferences and the suitability of the vines to the terroir. The Ivicevich family have also had a long term relationship with Charles and Sandi Wiffen in Marlborough and a reciprocal arrangement of grape supply for contract winemaking is in operation. Though it is a hands-on operation, James Rowan plays a significant role in the winemaking process, his experience as a wine judge regarded by the Ivicevich family as an asset to making better wines, including those made under contract at West Brook. Indeed, all of the wines have achieved notable success on the show circuit giving credit to the positive approach to the business. Last year, West Brook was put up for sale, but the process is still to see its way to conclusion. So it is business as usual at West Brook. Here, I review a selection of wines, three from Marlborough and three from Waimauku. www.westbrook.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



West Brook Marlborough Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

18+/20
Bright yellow colour with lemon-gold hues, a little lighter on the edge. Te nose is soft and elegantly concentrated with bright citrus fruit aromas melded with spicy, nutty oak and subtle creamy barrel-ferment elements and a suggestion of lemon-curd MLF. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a tightly concentrated core of ripe citrus and stonefruit entwined with creamy barrel-ferment and spicy, nutty oak flavours. The mouthfeel is brisk and racy with fresh acidity, and the wine flows with good energy and linearity, unfolding lemon-curd and buttery MLF flavours as it flows to a long, lingering finish, This is a refreshing, lively, but well-concentrated Chardonnay with citrus fruit, creamy barrel notes and nutty, spicy oak with lemony-curd and buttery MLF flavours, Match with seafood and creamy poultry and pork dishes over the next 4+ years. Fruit from the Wiffen vineyards in the Southern Valleys, fully barrel-fermented to 13.8% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in barrel with batonnage, then given a further 3 months on lees, the wine undergoing partial MLF. 18.0+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $35.00

West Brook Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5/20
Even ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge with garnet hues. This has a fresh, elegant nose with aromatic notes of dark-red cherry and berry fruit lifted by fresh dark herbs and dark-red florals, unfolding nuances of liquorice and fennel. Medium-bodied the palate is fresh and taut with a finely concentrated core of dark-red cherry fruit, lifted by red florals and dark herbal elements. The mouthfeel is refreshing with a fine line, the fruit supported by refined tannin extraction and driven by lacy acidity, providing energy and tension. The wine carries to an elegant, long lingering finish of dark cherries, herbs and liquorice. This is an elegant ant taut Pinot Noir with bright dark cherry fruit lifted by herbs and florals on a fine structured and refreshing palate. Serve with tuna and salmon, poultry and antipasto over the next 4 years. Clones 10/5 and 667 from the Wiffen Southern Clays vineyards, fully destemmed and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 25% new French oak. 17.5/20 Jun 2017 RRP $29.00

West Brook Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

18/20
Moderately deep, dark ruby-red colour with lighter garnet hues on the rim. This has a softly full and gently voluminous bouquet with harmoniously interwoven aromas of savoury dark-red cherry and berry fruit with dark herbs at the core, along with suggestions of minerals and game. Medium-full bodied, the palate has mouthfilling flavours of ripe, savoury dark-red berry and cherry fruit melded with layers of dark herbs, game meat, liquorice and Asian spices, the aromas just beginning to show secondary development. The mouthfeel is fresh and lively with bright acidity and the fruit is underlined by fine, grainy tannin extraction and grip. The flavours carry with good mouthfeel and presence to a solid and fulsome, rich, well-textured finish. This is a rich, mouthfilling Pinot Noir with savoury dark-red fruits with notes of herbs, liquorice, spices and some secondary development on a grainy structured palate. Clones 10/5 and 667 from the Wiffen Southern Clays vineyards, fully destemmed and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 25% new French oak. 18.0/20 Jun 2017 RRP $29.00

West Brook Waimauku Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18-/20
Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, and a suggestion of blush. The nose is soft and gently full with moderately deep and concentrated aromas of ripe yellow stonefruits entwined with subtle honeysuckle and soft, creamy barrel-ferment hint, unfolding delicate yellow florals and nutty elements. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a concentrated vibrant core of white and yellow stonefruits energised by lively acidity. The flavours of honeysuckle and nuts unfold as the wine flows along a fine-textured, firm line. This has good power and drive, and carries to a brisk, lively, thirst-quenching finis of stonefruits. This is a firm and well-concentrated, lively and brisk, well-driven off-dry Pinot Gris with a fine textured line. Serve with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 3+ years. Fruit from top-grafted Merlot vines, first Pinot Gris yield in 2009, hand-picked and tank-fermented with 9% in seasoned oak to 12.5% alc. and 12 g/L RS. 18.0-/20 Jun 2017 RRP $24.00

West Brook Waimauku Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18.5+/20
Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. The nose is softly full and gently packed with subtle layers of stonefruits and citrus fruits along with mealy detail and subtle flinty complexities, unfolding nutty oak and nuances of lemon-curd MLF and smoke. Medium-bodied, the palate has a rich, concentrated core of complex white and yellow stionefruits, layered with mealy notes, subtle creamy barrel-ferment and nutty lees and oak detail. The flavours unfold to reveal layers of smoky and nutty oak with a suggestion of flint. The mouthfeel is fresh and dry, and flows along a fine-textured line with soft, lacy acidity providing tension. Notes of toast and smoke with butterscotch emerge on the elegant, lingering finish. This is an elegantly concentrated, complex layered Chardonnay with citrus, mealy, nutty and flinty flavours with some oak toast ant buttery detail. Match with grilled and roasted seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4+ years. Mendoza and clone 95, first cropped in 2009, fully barrel-fermented to 12.4% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 20% new French oak with batonnage, then given a further 3 months on lees, the wine undergoing partial MLF. 18.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $35.00

West Brook Waimauku Malbec 2014

Malbec from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18/20
Very dark, deep, near impenetrable black-hued purple-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose has a firm and finely concentrated nose with good depth of spicy blackberry fruit entwined with black plums and subtle notes of dark herbs, unfolding some liquorice, mineral and earth notes. Medium-full bodied, the palate has sweetly rich and luscious fruit flavours of dark-red and black berried fruits with notes of spiced plums and dark herbs, all enlivened and lifted by fresh, lacy acidity. The fruit is supported by fine, grainy tannin structure, and as the wine flows, liquorice, mineral and earthy elements emerge. The wine leads with positive drive and energy to a long and sustained finish of black fruits, spiced plums and dark herbs. This is a sweetly rich, bright and lively Malbec with black berry, and plum fruits along with dark herbs and spices on a firm, grainy palate. Match with grilled and roasted lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 6-8 years. From Malbec vines first cropped in 2002, hand-picked and hand-plunged, and fermented to 13.3% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 16% new French oak barriques. 18.0/20 Jun 2017 RRP $35.00
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