Sileni Estates 2015 ‘Cellar Selection’ and ‘Plateau’, and 2014 ‘EV’ Pinot Noirs

02-Jun-2016
While Hawke’s Bay is well-recognised as making this country’s best Chardonnays, Bordeaux-varietal blends and Syrah, the most under-rated variety in the region must be Pinot Noir. But recent developments with new clones and rootstocks, and vineyards planted in higher altitude inland or cooler coastal areas have resulted in very high quality fruit that has produced an increasing number of exceptional Pinot Noir wines. The plantings of Pinot Noir in Hawke’s Bay figure over 300 ha, on par with that of Syrah.

Sileni Estates has been taking the production of top class Pinot Noir extremely seriously, and now crushes over 500 tonnes annually. The company draws Pinot Noir fruit from its inland ‘Plateau’ and ‘Springstone’ vineyards on the Mangatahi Terraces these sites with approx. 25 ha and 5 ha respectively, as well as from its ‘Parkhill’ vineyard at Te Awanga which has over 14 ha of the variety. Sileni also contracts fruits from a number of other cool sites, in particular, from Crownthorpe. The company has nearly 80 ha of Pinot Noir in total to draw from.

Although Sileni’s chief winemaker is an avid fan of Merlot as his favourite red variety, he has taken on the challenge of Pinot Noir with Cairn Coghill, the company’s red winemaker. It’s an exciting time at Sileni as the viticultural and winemaking teams are increasing the production of higher quality and more complex Pinot Noir wines encompassing all the modern techniques which are so well recognised in the other Pinot Noir producing regions of the country.

Here, I review the current Sileni Estates Pinot Noirs, the 2015 ‘Cellar Selection’ and ‘Parkhill’ reserve, plus the limited edition 2014 ‘Exceptional Vintage’. The ‘Cellar Selection’ is fruit focussed, the ‘Plateau’ and ‘Exceptional Vintage’ have intensity and robustness, the latter a ‘dry red’ style. To experience the next stage of growth, I tasted a barrel sample of a 2015 ‘Springstone’ single vineyard wine, employing 15% whole clusters and 5% new oak. This showed greater aromatic finesse with floral detail, and a fresh, fine-grained, elegant palate and structure. (Being a barrel sample, it is not posted as a reviewed wine.) It appears Sileni are on the right track with Pinot Noir. www.sileni.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW

  • Sileni Estates ‘Cellar Selection’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2015
  • Sileni Estates ‘Plateau’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2015
  • Sileni Estates ‘Exceptional Vintage’ Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2014

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