Wines from New Zealand - November 2010

All 40 Wines Tasted


New Zealand Wines tasted - November 2010

Light and fresh on the nose, with sweet wild red currant tones backed up with herb, spice, and subtle vanilla notes. With air, this just gains focus and freshness while adding a touch of mint and mineral. Elegant in the mouth with real finesse and superb balance, this unfolds in the mouth with a really refined feel that builds on the polished tannins. This is very precise and detailed in the mouth, with bright, vivid wild berry fruit framed by mineral tones that drive the zesty, medium-length finish. Lovely purity and vibrancy. 92pts

Herbal and slightly medicinal-smelling at first, this explodes in the glass with elegant aromas of citrus rind, herbs, and sweet red currant fruits, with light impressions of oak spice and earth rounding out the nose. Big on entry and then broadening out on the mid-palate. This is mouth-filling, with ripe, integrated tannins supporting cherry pit and lightly medicinal fruit that contrast with flashes of sweet berry fruit and blood orange. Lovely vibrancy and complexity. 92pts

This is complex, with a slightly unusual array or aromas that range from distinct black pepper and smoked meats to peach nectar, dried plums, flowers, and a rusty mineral tone. Rich and broad in the mouth, with good balance and surprising transparency for a wine of this size. The mid-palate tightens up, with firm tannins supporting bittersweet red fruits that gain a dusty, savory overlay of flavors on the long finish. This may be a touch over-extracted when all is said and done but is awfully good anyway. 92pts

Mineral and black currant greet the nose, followed by notes of sweet violets, cocoa, and burnt sugar oak spice. On the palate this is very ripe and rich, with a core of dense cassis fruit. While large-scaled, the balance here is very fine, with tannins that are slightly austere yet remain mostly shielded by the fruit’s density, giving this a crisp snap on the rather long finish that continues delivering fruit, spice and mineral notes right to the floral finale. 92pts

Restrained and elegant on the nose, with innately sweet orchard fruits grounded by subtle oak underpinnings and hints of lime oil and steely, minerally undertones. Silky and elegant in the mouth, with lovely balance and freshness. The flavors of pure apricot and apple blossom-toned fruits dance across the palate with fine soil tones and a light framing of oak. This is remarkably fresh and while it may be a touch simple and lacks some stuffing, the result is an ethereal texture that makes drinking this a joy. 92pts

A touch of caramel and lightwood spice greets the nose here, adding aromas of pressed flowers and spicy fennel tones. In the mouth this has vibrant, almost electric, acids that are barely able to contain the huge sheer intensity of the fruit. This is youthful and could still benefit from time in the cellar as the finish, while intense, comes off as a bit aggressive. Still, this is very impressive Chardonnay. 92pts

Reserved aromatically though, with air, motes of green melon and lemon curd emerge from the glass with gentle suggestions of flowers, minerals, machine oil and a hint of flinty smoke adding subtlety. In the mouth this is very precise and fairly firm, with a modest scale but real ethereal feel. The flavor profile is reserved and balanced with a nice minerally earth base and gorgeous bitter apple fruits that reverberate on the long finish. Lovely. 92pts

Crisp and hard on the nose with orchard fruits and smoky oak in a linear, focused style. Bright and focused in the mouth with a really precise feel. This shows lovely finesse and balance and, while the oak is obvious, it is balanced by clear, transparent, mineral-laden fruit that keeps this from seeming sticky or sweet. The mid-palate displays peach and apple fruit tones with wonderfully ripe freshness that follow through on the long finish. This is a strict and unforgiving wine! 92pts

A bit woody on the nose with lots of nutty, toasty, barrel-fermented elements. Very fine in the mouth, with a firm acid spine and a touch of wood tannin helping to fill out what otherwise is a fairly faceted wine. The fruit comes off as a bit simple here, but the wine’s texture -- ethereal and vibrant -- is very appealing. This shows great ripeness without the sweetness you might expect. 91pts

Hard on the nose with complex layered aromas of violet pastille, dried beef, pressed flowers and white pepper. Nicely ripe in the mouth with a really precise feel. This is quite perfumed in the mouth and, while the texture is pleasantly rigid, the fruit is quite expressive and elegant. Clean and fresh with red plums, pepper and spice flavors on the mid-palate that extend through the moderately long finish. 91pts

Light and mineral-toned on the nose with crisp, focused, layered notes of fruit, herbs, and a light vegetal overlay. Very light on the palate with a touch of citrus cream right up front, followed by a gentle soft texture that reveals fresh green apple fruits and a lightly bracing mineral element that extends through the long, clear, bright finish. 90pts

Sharp on the nose with a cheesy, lightly mosquito-y nose that adds a skunky edge to the core of sweet green fruits. Bright and citrussy on entry with a nice ripe feel that highlights the lightly fleshy nature of this wine. On the mid-palate this is surprisingly focused and linear with good length. It’s not the most complex wine but is just lovely, balanced and perfectly proportioned. 90pts

Very fruity on the nose with an exotic, guava edge over a bed of dusty, earthy mineral tones accented by a light wildflower note. Lean and focused in the mouth, with rich green apple fruits that show a light appleseed bitterness and super-fine acids that cut through the sweetness like a laser. The finish is long, with distinct mineral notes accenting the slightly bitter notes of tangerine pith and Seville orange. This is so packed with phenols that it comes off as distinctly bitter. Perhaps time will tame that, but for now a particular wine. 90pts

A little smoky on the nose with a gently candied, slightly roasted fruit profile that features a focused, youthful, herbal top note. On entry this is a bit soft, with a bed of firm tannins helping to focus the dark fruit of the mid-palate. This comes off as muscular, if not large, with an earthy tone to the spicy black raspberry fruit that appears on the fairly refreshing finish. Seems to need some time to fully integrate. 90pts

Very sweetly fruited on the nose with hints of mint, vanilla, and mineral accenting the honeydew melon and peach fruit. Soft and surprisingly not fruity in the mouth, with firm mineral notes that are balanced by herbal tones and a touch of nectarine. This turns very perfumed on the finish and is an unusually elegant example of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. 90pts

Light and mineral-toned on the nose with crisp, focused, layered notes of fruit, herbs, and a light vegetal overlay. Very light on the palate with a touch of citrus cream right up front, followed by a gentle soft texture that reveals fresh green apple fruits and a lightly bracing mineral element that extends through the long, clear, bright finish. 90pts

A lot of wood on the nose, to the point of making this smoky and bacon-y though it’s not sweet wood. The fruit takes some time to top the wood but eventually it does reveal notes of green apple preserves with a touch of pineapple as well. On the palate this is lush and very new world, with the obvious oak flavors topped by layers of cream, vanilla, and very ripe fruits. There’s a nice mineral tone and enough acid to maintain freshness, but this does come off as a bit heavy and perhaps too intense. 90pts

This is downright flinty and smoky on the nose with bright green herbal accents, white fruits, and background hints of dried chili and flowers. A bit soft upfront, though broad and nicely weighty in the mouth. This is full of bitter citrus tones in a concentrated, fairly focused style but its richness obscures some of the fine detail and robs it of some cut on the palate. 89pts

Sweet and simple on the nose, with notes of peach and lime accented by light mineral water tones. Moderately sweet in the mouth with lots of peach and apricot flavors and a hint of tangerine. The acid is up to the job of holding this together and actually offers nice tension in the mouth and on the moderately long finish. 89pts

Toasty on the nose, with lots of beeswax notes, green herbs, noticeably sulfur and honeyed over-ripe fruit tones. Rich, soft and very broad in the mouth with real complexity that sees the Sauvignon Blanc just starting to knit together with the Semillon. Still herbal, particularly on entry, before turning almost tropically fruity, with emerging background notes of dried orchard fruits in a round, fairly long style. 89pts

Dusty and earthy on the nose, with a nice balance of apple fruit and wood spice. Soft and expansive in the mouth, though this tightens up on the mid-palate, leading to a very clear precise expression of orange-tinged orchard fruits with light mineral and pollen top notes that emerge on the moderately long finish. 89pts

With a nice balance of intense ripe fruits and wood spice balancing the nose, this adds notes of crème brûlée, dried fruits, and lightly honeyed, nutty accents with time in the glass. Smooth and well-integrated in the mouth and showing excellent complexity on the mid-palate even if the flavors are distinctly oak-driven. The fruit -- deep, rich, and apricoty -- is strong enough to balance the oak but does turn a bit heavy on the finish. 89pts

Slightly herbal on the nose, with a hint of arugula up front followed by tense black current fruit gently framed by notes of Toblerone. Finely balanced in the mouth, with herbal and floral notes on entry that are joined by mineral-tinged black fruits on the mid-palate. This is tense through the moderately long finish, which shows a touch of wood spice and ends with lifted herbal tones. 89pts

A bit toasty on the nose, with a decidedly green element on the nose that reveals itself as herbal/lime/green peppercorn note. This is also a bit meaty in almost a Syrah-like way, with some tea notes as well as notes of cocoa dust and a smoky top note. Big and sweet on entry, with very soft tannins and lively acids supporting rich, black raspberry fruits on the mid-palate. This feels a bit compressed in the mouth, perhaps it needs some additional time in the bottle, though it already reveals the good clarity and purity of the fruit. 89pts

Cocoa and toasty notes greet the nose, followed by a touch of vanilla and herbal tones over the core of deep, warm, light red fruits. The tannins really pop out in the mouth, angular if modest, and in proportion to this small-scaled, elegant wine. The mid-palate is a touch hard at times but very faceted with mineral and earth notes dominating the mid-palate before adding herbal and boysenberry notes on the sweetening finish. 89pts

Lightly roasted on the nose, with hints of coffee accenting the spicy red fruits that are topped with a touch of blood orange and gently stemmy floral notes. Bright and ripe in the mouth with soft tannins and an edge of evolution to the core of dark red fruits. This offers some nice complexity with an edgy earthiness on the mid-palate, followed by hints of tea and roast meat on the finish. 89pts

A nice flush of herbs greet the nose here. This is quite open and giving already, with herbal and medicinal notes adding complexity to the strawberry fruit. Bright and clear in the mouth with a lovely mineral core that lends good tension to the mouthfeel. This is well-balanced and nicely proportioned if a bit simple. 88pts

A nice nose that combines apple fruit with some citrus pith tones in a waxy, almost woodsy style. A touch sweet in the mouth but well-countered by excellent balancing acids. The fruit here is very pure with a peach core accented by notes of kiwi skin and lemon curd. The sweetness here has a nice purity, recalling cane syrup, and the acid still offers good cut on the moderately long finish. 88pts

Clear and a bit wild on the nose with some golden raspberry tones balanced by mineral accents in a fruity yet focused style. Quite obviously sweet in the mouth with the weight of a Spätlese. The citrus flavors have a light honeyed edge to them and remain fresh and vibrant right through the moderately long finish, which takes on precise notes of pink grapefruit. 88pts

Very intense on the nose with typical aromas of grass and jalapeno over a core of light orchard fruits. Light-bodied in the mouth but very well-balanced, allowing the mostly herbal tones of the fruit to express themselves in the mouth while the overt fruit takes back seat until it re-emerges on the citrussy finish. 88pts

Very crisp on the nose with hints of apple, nectarine and minerals. In the mouth this is lush and a touch soft yet retaining a sense of delicacy. The flavors are rather mineral and rather crabapple-driven that carry through on the almost-salty finish. A bit unusual but distinctly attractive. 88pts

Very floral on the nose, with deep black raspberry fruit edged in slight cough lozenge notes, picking up a hint of blue fruits with air as well as nice stemmy overtones. A bit chewy in the mouth with good acids, but this seems to be a bit soft-styled, with a nice forest floor underlay to the wild cherry fruit in the mouth, which turns flannelly and chewy on the modest finish. 88pts

Apricot and rosewater are prominent in this complex array of aromas that includes deep cantaloupe fruit as well as touch of pumpkin, lime and spicy floral tones. Moderately rich in the mouth with noticeable sweetness that is well-balanced by acids. The floral element of the nose is prominent in the mouth and this does reveal nice spice on the backend but feels a bit blocky and indistinctly fruity for me. 87pts

Woody and aggressive on the nose with sweet, toasty, cedar notes over an apple butter core. Rich and intense in the mouth, though a bit clumsy with simple, slightly leesy fruit and assertive acids peaking out on the finish. 87pts

Sweet and herbal on the nose with notes of coconuty oak complementing fairly intense minty chocolate tones. On the palate this is fresh and crisp with bright plum-skin fruit upfront followed by rich blueberry fruits. This is fairly simple but delivers an attractively pure and rich core of fruit. 87pts

A bit heavy on the nose with notes of peach, green tomato and top notes of cat’s pee and mineral tones. A bit flat in the mouth if quite broad with an almost lush feel that features sweet nectarine fruits and a creamy, easy finish. 86pts

A bit tight and only lightly aromatic with some white peach fruit, a bit of green pineapple and light chili top notes. Light and fresh in the mouth with good balance to the ripe pineapple and lightly passion-fruity fruit tones. 86pts

Smells sweet and creamy with floral top notes to the tropical notes of cooked guava accented with a touch of herb. The entry shows good richness and balance, but the fruit drops off on the mid-palate of this soft, broad wine. There’s a touch of vanilla over the passion fruit and grapefruit tones that follow through on the modest finish. 86pts

A bit flat-smelling with carob and wood toast notes over dusty fruit. In the mouth this is a bit matte and quite tannic, with nice purity to the black currant fruit that has a bit of a hard edge to it. The finish is a bit austere if long, with a slow-to-emerge sweet edge to the black fruit. This may very well just need more time in the bottle. 86pts

Rich and sweetly fruited on the nose with pear fruit and a hint of green tomato, not particularly complex. Some residual sugar is obvious here, adding a syrupy aspect to the pear fruit. There are nice earthy edges to the core of fruit and a layer of spice on the moderate, sugar-extended finish, but this is ultimately a simple and obvious wine. 84pts

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