Southern Cross and Nikau Point from The Wine Portfolio
The Wine Portfolio is a set of brands developed around Morton Estate. With the different labels, the company, owned by John Coney, has been able to grow significantly in all sectors of the domestic and international markets and efficiently use the considerable existing resources of company and in fact grow over the last decade. Arguably the best-known label is Nikau Point, introduced in 2002, designed to accompany Pacific cuisine. Other lines include Penny Lane, created in 2007, Southern Cross in 2008 and Cathedral Cove in 2010. The sparkling ‘Mimi’ brand was released in 2011 and ‘Southern Dawn’ last year, the latter targeting sales in China.
The Wine Portfolio sources fruit from five vineyards in Hawke’s Bay and two in Marlborough, which are under the care of Pete Scott, with the company for over 15 years, and he is assisted by John Arlidge in the ‘Kinross’ vineyard in Hawke’s Bay, and by Tom Van der Burgh with the Marlborough sites. Winemaker is Will Shields, who joined the company in 2012. Harking from the Hunter Valley, Will has had extensive experience throughout Australia, more recently from Western Australia where he was winemaker at Clairault and Vasse Felix before that. In The Wine Portfolio winemaking team also are Michael Sweetlove in Katikati and Leigh Ashworth in Hawke’s Bay.
The ‘Riverview’ winery in Hawke’s Bay is the main facility where most of the Hawke’s Bay fruit is processed, and the barrel maturation is conducted. Some of the fruit that does not see oak is handled in the original Katikati winery, where the company also runs its Morton Estate cellar door. Of the Marlborough fruit, whites are crushed in Marlborough and trucked to Katikati for fermentation. The Pinot Noir is crushed and fermented in both Hawke’s Bay and in Marlborough at a contract facility, but barrel maturation is in Hawke’s Bay. www.wineportfolio.co.nz
Here I review a selection of value-priced Southern Cross and Nikau Point ‘Reserve’ wines.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Southern Cross Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 23-Apr-2014Bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hues, pale on rim. The nose is full, broad and up-front with aromas of pungent passionfruit, cut grass and minerally notes. Dry to taste and medium-bodied the flavours of passionfruit and chalky minerals are tight, but grow to show some sweetness and roundness on the front palate. Fresh, lively acidity and mouthwatering, minerally textures form a firm linearity, becoming near austere, and the mouthfeel reveals a dry phenolic line that carries through to a light finish. This is a chalky-textured, up-front and pungent Sauvignon Blanc. Serve with antipasto and seafood over the next 2 years. Fruit from the upper Awatere and Wairau valleys, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 0.2 g/L RS. 16.5+/20 Apr 2014 RRP $15.95
Southern Cross Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2010Chardonnay from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 23-Apr-2014Bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hues, lighter on edge. The bouquet is tightly bound with a firm amalgam of secondary aromas of yellow stonefruits, nuts and creamy barrel-ferment notes, allied to a steely citrus and minerally element. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the stonefruit flavours are light and straightforward, but expressed with moderate richness and a subtle creaminess. This is beginning to show hints of bottle-development detail. The mouthfeel is fresh with good acid cut and combines with a fine textural thread that leads to a dry, light finish with citrus and nutty flavours. This is a light and crisp Chardonnay with subtle citrus and nutty flavours. Serve with seafood and poultry over the next 3 years. Fruit from Hawke’s Bay fermented to 13.4% alc. and 4 g/L RS, 20% in seasoned French oak, with no MLF. 16.5+/20 Apr 2014 RRP $15.95
Nikau Point ‘Reserve’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011Pinot Gris from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 23-Apr-2014Marlborough fruit cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 14.0% alc. and 6 g/L RS. Full, even, straw-yellow colour with light golden hues. This has a fulsome and deep nose with softly packed aromas of ripe yellow stonefruits, honey and savoury, secondary minerally notes. Off-dry to taste, the mouthfeel is soft and rounded with up-front flavours of ripe apricots and honey, along with some savoury, secondary development. The fruit sweetness combines with the residual sugar providing a richness and a soft, open mouthfeel. There is some alcohol warmth and power along with phenolic textures carrying the palate and botrytis-like flavours to an easy-flowing finish showing some bitter stonefruit kernel nuances. This is an up-front, rounded off-dry Pinot Gris with honied and savoury development flavours. Match with Middle Eastern and Asian fare over the next 2+ years. 16.5/20 Apr 2014 RRP $17.95
Nikau Point ‘Reserve’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013Pinot Noir from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 23-Apr-2014Moderately deep ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on edge. The nose is fresh with bright primary aromas of dark raspberries, dark plums and red liquorice, the fruit ripe and attractively uncomplicated. Medium-bodied, soft, rounded and up-front juicy flavours of raspberries are the feature on the palate. The fruit is supported by grainy tannins which provide a chalky, underlying texture, and a hint of minerally reduction is revealed in the glass. The fruit recedes on the finish, leaving a light, dry, fine textures. This is an up-front, sweet and juicy, raspberry flavoured Pinot Noir with a fine, dry finish. Serve with poultry and pork over the next 3+ years. Marlborough fruit fermented to 12.9% alc., the wine seeing light oaking. 16.5/20 Apr 2014 RRP $17.95