Ara 2013 ‘Select Blocks’ K54, M36 and M62 Marlborough Pinot Noirs
The recent sale of Ara Wines saw the company’s vineyards go to Indevin, while the brand assets and bottled stock went to Giesen Wines. The acquisition of the Ara brand will enable Giesen to expand their marketing reach and deepen their premium portfolio. The Giesens see the Ara wines made by Jeff Clarke as offering very high quality with a difference to the existing Giesen premium wines. It is a difference they are keen to cultivate, and now have former Ara chief winemaker Jeff Clarke as a consultant working with Nikolai St George to continue the styles he developed, but employing the fruit from Giesen’s existing 285 ha of vineyards in the region. The 2016 vintage will be the first of these wines.
In the meantime, there are existing stocks of Ara wines to be commercialised. Here, I review three of Ara’s most highly regarded Pinot Noir wines under the ‘Select Block’ label. www.arawines.co.nzwww.giesen.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Ara ‘Select Block K54’ ‘Limited Release’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013Pinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 06-Aug-2016Ruby red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. This has a firm and well-packed nose with ripe aromas of dark-red berry fruits along with savoury plums and complexing layers of dried herbs. The aromatics are beginning to how some secondary interest, and unfold piquant floral elements with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate possesses sweetly rich flavours of savoury dark-red berry fruits with nuances of plums and liquorice and dried herbs. The wine has tight, grainy tannins and fresh acidity lending good presence and mouthfeel. The fruit sweetness prevails and carries to a lingering finish with savoury secondary herbal detail and red florals. This is a rich, savoury dark-red fruited Pinot Noir with floral lift and balanced structure now beginning to show secondary dried herb complexities. Serve with coq au vin and casseroles over the next 4-5 years. Clone 777 fruit from older vines in ‘Block K54’, fully destemmed but not crushed, given a cold soak and fermented to 14.2% alc., the wines on skins 15-20 days and aged 10 month in 20% new French oak. 18.0+/20 Aug 2016 RRP $44.95
Ara ‘Select Block M36’ ‘Limited Release’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013Pinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 06-Aug-2016Even, light ruby-red colour with some garnet hues. The nose is full and broad with gently voluminous and harmoniously integrated aromas of dark-red berry fruits melded with dried herbs, some game, undergrowth and secondary mushroom development. This builds with a soft density to the aromatics. Medium-bodied, plush, juicy and rich flavours of dark-red berries and plums feature on the palate, and unfold subtle game, dried herb and undergrowth layers. The mouthfeel is very smooth and harmonious with velvety textures, supple tannins and integrated acidity. The richness and density fills the palate and leads to a soft-textured, dark plum-flavoured finish. This is a rich, gently packed, plush and plummy Pinot Noir with smooth textures and some secondary complexities. Match with game meat dishes over the next 4+ years. Clone 5 fruit from older vines in ‘Block M36’, fully destemmed but not crushed, given a cold soak and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wines on skins 15-20 days and aged 10 month in 20% new French oak. 18.5/20 Aug 2016 RRP $44.95
Ara ‘Select Block M62’ ‘Limited Release’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013Pinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 06-Aug-2016Even ruby-red colour with light garnet hues and a touch of bricking on the rim. The nose is soft and elegantly concentrated with a firm core of dark-red and black berried fruit along with plums, entwined with violet florals, and dark herbs, unveiling some spicy oak elements in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the fruit flavours of dark-red and black berries are rich and juicy and form a well-packed, concentrated heart. Layers of dark plums and fragrant violet florals emerge. The mouthfeel is enlivened by refreshing acidity and follows a fine-grained textured line of supple tannins. This has precision and focus, and the flavours carry to a vibrantly fresh, long lingering finish of sweet black fruits. This is a rich and sweet-fruited, elegantly concentrated Pinot Noir with black fruits and a precise, fine-grained palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6+ years. Clone 115 fruit from older vines in ‘Block M62’, fully destemmed but not crushed, given a cold soak and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wines on skins 15-20 days and aged 10 month in 20% new French oak. 18.5+/20 Aug 2016 RRP $44.95