Delta Wine Company Consolidates
Delta Wine is a company and brand that is being repositioned following its full acquisition of shareholding by Neil Ibbotson of the Saint Clair winery from other founders David Gleave MW and Matt Thomson last year. The company was established initially to supply the U.K. market with Pinot Noir from a vineyard on the site of the Delta Farm at the mouth of the Waihopai Valley. In this guise, it increased its portfolio to include Sauvignon Blanc.
The new company now encompasses other varieties and other wine growing areas, the winemaking coming under the supervision of Heather Stewart, a senior and very experienced winemaker of Saint Clair. I must admit when it happened and the first new releases from the brand were released, I was worried that the label was being ‘dumbed-down’ to supply alternative retail channels and FMCG. I mentioned my concerns to the Saint Clair staff several times, but their response was that Delta Wines would not be lost as a premium brand.
Here I review a selection of wines from the Delta Wine Company that encompasses the value ‘River Delta’ range, the ‘regular’ ‘Delta’ tier, and the flagship ‘Hatters Hill’ label. I believe the redevelopment of this brand is just beginning again, and await further developments. www.deltawines.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
River Delta Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 16-Jun-2018Very pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is soft, light and gentle in expression with aromas of savoury gooseberries with green and yellow stonefruits, soft herbs and a hint of green beans. The aromatics are straightforward, gently filling the nose while retaining freshness at the core. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has soft, up-front flavours of savoury gooseberries, green beans, hints of green capsicums and herbs. The mouthfeel is softly textured and the palate has slippery acidity. The flavours carry to a blossoming finish with tropical fruit notes. This is a soft, up-front Sauvignon Blanc with savoury gooseberry and green bean flavours on a smooth, slippery palate. Match with Mediterranean fare over the next 18 months to 2 years. Fruit from the Wairau Valley cool-fermented in tank to 12.5% alc. and 3.7 g/L RS. 15.5+/20 Jun 2018 RRP $13.99
Delta Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 16-Jun-2018Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full with aromas of savoury gooseberries along with yellow stonefruits, subtle notes of herbs and a little green bean. The aromatics are soft and voluminous with some depth. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a tight core of savoury gooseberry fruit entwined with stonefruits and herbs, some green bean with green capsicum elements. The mouthfeel is brisk and zesty with bright, refreshing, mouthwatering acidity, and the wine flows along a very light-textured line, leading to a crisp, dry, gooseberry and herb nuanced finish. This is a tightly bound, brisk and racy Sauvignon Blanc with savoury gooseberry stonefruit, herb and bean flavours with a light-textured line. Fruit from Dillons Point, Lower Wairau, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 12.5% alc. and 3.8 g/L RS. 16.0+/20 Jun 2018 RRP $18.99
Delta Marlborough Chardonnay 2017Chardonnay from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 16-Jun-2018Straw-yellow colour with a little depth, pale edged. The nose is softly full with good depth of white and yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit, melded with melded with some creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak, and a dense layering of lemon-curd MLF with butterscotch notes. This is up-front and grows in intensity. Medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth and weight of stonefruit and citrus fruit flavours, entwined with some creamy barrel-ferment along with nutty and toasty oak. Lemon-curd and butterscotch MLF flavours unfold to fill the palate and the wine is fulsome and broad, showing depth, all underlined by alcoholic drive. The acidity is fresh, providing energy for the wine to flow along a light-textured line, leading to a long finish. This is a rich and fulsome Chardonnay with stonefruit and citrus fruit, along with toasty oak and a layering of MLF. Match with creamy seafood and poultry dishes over the next 3 years. Clone 15 Chardonnay from the Lower Wairau Valley, fermented in seasoned French and American oak to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in barrel undergoing batonnage and MLF. 17.0+/20 Jun 2018 RRP $18.99
Delta Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2017Merlot from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 16-Jun-2018Dark, deep, black-hued purple-ruby colour with good depth, a little lighter on the rim, youthful in appearance. The nose is elegant in presentation with fresh, bright, ripe, aromatic dark-red berry and black plum fruit, still quite primary in expression with floral and esters lift. Medium-bodied, the palate has a bright, lively and vibrant heart of primary dark-red berry fruit with subtle aromatic plum notes. The fruit is sweet with floral lift, unfolding hints of spices and dark herbs. The fruit is underlined by light, grainy tannin texture with a fresh line of acidity providing tension and energy. The wine carries to a clean and fresh finish of berries and plums. This is a bright and lively, primary fruited Merlot with berry and plum flavours with primary aromatic lift on a tight-textured, refreshing palate. Fruit from the Gimblett Gravels, trucked to the Marlborough winery and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 8 months in French and American oak. 17.0+/20 Jun 2018 RRP $19.00
Delta ‘Hatters Hill’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 16-Jun-2018Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the edge. The nose is taut and tightly bound with fresh aromas of pungent passionfruit intermingling with fresh herbs, some cut grass elements and snow peas, unveiling mineral nuances. This is refreshing and mouthwatering. Dry to taste and medium-bodied. the palate has a fine, elegantly concentrated, taut core of passionfruit with notes of fresh herbs, snow peas, cut grass with nettles revealing mouthwatering mineral elements. The palate is bright and vibrant with refreshing acidity which enlivens the fruit sweetness, and the wine flows along a fine line leading to a tight, lingering, minerally finish. This is a taut and zesty, mouthwatering Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit, snow peas, nettles and glass with minerally freshness. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from the company’s Dillon Point vineyard, Lower Wairau, cool-fermented in tank to 13.0% alc. 17.5/20 Jun 2018 RRP $26.99
Delta ‘Hatters Hill’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017Pinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 16-Jun-2018Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and voluminous with gently packed aromas of dark-red cherry and raspberry fruit harmoniously entwined with subtle notes of fresh herbs, unfolding hints of whole bunch stalk perfumes and dark-red florals. A little sweet oak and some raspberry liqueur elements add interest. Medium-full bodied, the palate has sweet fruit showing bright and lively flavours of dark-red cherries and berries alongside subtle notes of dark herbs, lifted red florals and a little whole bunch stalk perfume. The fruit sweetness is the feature and is enlivened by fresh acidity and supported by light, fine-grained tannin structure. This has a good core and heart that carries to a lingering finish. This is a bright and vibrant cherry and raspberry fruited Pinot Noir with herb and floral notes on a refreshing palate with fine textures. Serve with poultry and pork over the next 4+ years. Clone 115 fruit from the ‘Delta Farm’ vineyard, Waihopai, fermented with 12% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 33% new French oak barriques. 18.0-/20 Jun 2018 RRP $34.99