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Tiki Wines on a Wellington Tour

By July 21, 2014No Comments

Royce McKean – Tiki Wines

Royce and Sue McKean and some of their staff took Tiki Wines and their associated portfolio on a tour to Fratelli restaurant in Wellington to show the wines to the trade. Celebrating 5 years, the brand has grown successfully and made excellent market penetration. I called in quickly to taste through the wines to get an impression of how the 2013 wines were progressing, and to get a sneak preview of the 2014 releases in the works, as well as to say a warm ‘hello’ to Royce and Sue, on a cold winter’s day.

The ‘Tiki’ brand is differentiated clearly into the ‘Estate’, ‘Single Vineyard’ and ‘Koro’ tiers. Supporting ‘Tiki’ are the ‘Maui’ and ‘Alpine Valley’ labels. There is a connection with the ‘Hawkshead’ Central Otago label of Denis Marshall and Ulrike Kurenbach, Sue McKean being Denis’ daughter. Tiki have also taken on the ‘Champagne de Castelnau’ Champagne brand for distribution. I only looked at the Tiki, Maui and Alpine Valley wines, having tasted the Hawkshead wines recently (click here to see my report), and unfortunately left the sparkling due to time constraints.

I managed to discuss with Royce the recent news that the McKeans have put their Waipara Valley ‘Waiata’ vineyard on the market. The site on the western side of S.H. 1 north of Amberley has over 300 ha of vines planted, mainly Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. It formed the basis of the McKean’s foray into the wine industry on their return to New Zealand from overseas, and has been the mainstay of their contract grapegrowing business, supplying two major players. The fruit has gone into numerous award winning wines.

Since then, the McKeans have developed their Upper Wairau Valley vineyards which supply the vast majority of their Tiki and associated labels. Moving forward, the McKeans wish to concentrate on their own wine, and the sale of the ‘Waiata’ vineyard will enable the construction of their own winery.  www.tikiwine.com

Sue McKean – Tiki Wnes

A Quick Tasting

The first wine tasted was the Tiki ‘Estate’ Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2014, delightfully pale, with a fresh piercing nose and flavour of strawberries and fresh herbs, and a subtle thirst-quenching finish.

Working through the Sauvignon Blancs, the Tiki ‘Estate’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 has a combination of gooseberries, passionfruit and capsicums, with good sweetness, just beginning to soften and broaden, but retaining a mouthwatering, dry finish. A preview of the Tiki ‘Estate’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 showed a much paler, tighter wine, with lovely purity, cut, intensity and a minerally edge to the passionfruit flavours. It seems it may be a little more elegant than the 2013. A step up in richness could be seen in the ‘Tiki ‘Single Vineyard’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013, rounder, richer and with a plumpness and fleshiness of fruit, some nettle and asparagus nuances adding interest and showing the development of secondary characters. The Maui Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is also developing secondary bean notes, but the wine still has a mineral linearity and drive, with brisk, racy acidity. In a similar vein is the Alpine Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013, another fresh, racy and sleek number, now showing some bean-like bottle development.

I’m beginning to think Pinot Gris could be Tiki’s signature variety. I was taken by the two new 2014 releases, the Tiki ‘Estate’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014 still tightly bound, but already exhibiting the lifted, spicy and exotic florals that make it appealing. Though youthful, there a hint of the unctuous textures to come. The Tiki ‘Single Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014 is beautifully balanced and harmonious, the richness coming to the fore to make it more complete. This too has subtle richness and a hint of oiliness to the mouthfeel, but there’s the acidity to balance it, and greater power and drive. As with the Sauvignon Blancs, the Maui Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014 is a little lighter than the Tiki bottlings, but shares the clear-cut exotic floras and spicy notes. Likewise, the Alpine Valley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014 is a more elegant, lighter, more slender expression, balancing lusciousness with some phenolic textures. It too is very definably Pinot Gris in expression.

There’s a bit more diversity with the Pinot Noirs from Tiki, with wine from Marlborough and two labels from Central Otago, the ‘Koro’ brand being the flagship wine for Tiki. The first wine tasted was the Tiki ‘Estate’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013, fragrant, floral and lofted with cherryish fruit aromas and flavours, still tight and with more to unfold from its core. Give it another year. The Tiki ‘Single Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 is a brooding wine, more savoury from secondary development, but easily richer, sweeter and fleshy, while retaining its elegance. Then onto a preview wine, the Tiki ‘Koro’ Wanaka Pinot Noir 2013, still some way from release, very youthful and purple coloured, with lovely florals and aromatic lift, the palate juicy, succulent, but already supple, from the ripeness of the tannins. The freshness of the acidity bestows good line and length. The current release Tiki ‘Koro’ Wanaka Pinot Noir 2012 has come together well over the last few months, with its deep colour, complete and harmonious aromatics and rich, dense palate. There’s spicy interest and good acid vibrancy too. An excellent comparison is the Tiki ‘Koro’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012, somewhat lighter now, but still with a tight core, now showing some complexing mineral notes to the black fruits and dark herbal core.

Tiki Wines and Vineyards are kind to employ my services in having their wines reviewed. So keep an eye out for the new 2014 wines reviewed here in the coming future.

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