Very dark, deep ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues. The bouquet is reserved and shy, showing ripe black fruit aromas with good presence. Medium-full bodied, this has a rich, concentrated, dense core of ripe, dark red berry fruits, quite sweet, but essentially tight and locked up. The palate is well-proportioned with supple tannins and lacy, crisp acidity providing a fresh, brightness. The textures from the extraction build to show the serious nature of this wine and its balance suggest good development over the next 5-6+ years. Mostly 115 and 114 clone fruit from 16 y.o. vines, indigenous yeast fermented to 14.39% alc., the wine aged one year in 20-25% new French oak. 225 cases made. 18.0-/20 Sep 2012
Mostly clones 667 and 777 from 7 y.o. vines from the ‘Folium’ vineyard, indigenous yeast fermented to 14.02% alc., the wine aged one year in 20-25% new French oak. Dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour, youthful. This is tightly packed on nose with dark berry and plum fruit aromas with notes of graphite and minerals. Medium-full bodied, ripe dark raspberry fruit flavours form a tight core with depth. The oaking is discreet, with some dark herbal nuances unfolding. This has supple tannins that are a little prominent at present, but drive the palate positively. The fruit has richness, with good acid energy, and the wine finishes with rounded, plum and dark red floral nuances. Elegantly concentrated, this will become rounder and more plummy over the next 4-5+ years. 190 cases made. 17.5+/20
Brilliant, pale-straw colour with green hues. The nose is very fine, elegant and detailed with subtle aromas of gooseberries, minerals and a hint of passionfruit. Dry and well-concentrated , this is tight and steely with stylishly presented flavours of steely gooseberries, minerals and herbs. The fruit is concentrated with plenty to open. The palate has excellent drive and line, and the fine acidity provides energy and tension. Beautifully textured and very long on the finish. This is a tightly bound, elegant and mineral-infused Sauvignon Blanc that will develop over the next 2-3+ years. A wine to serve with shellfish. Fruit from 16 y.o. vines from the clay soils of the ‘Folium’ vineyard, fermented to 13.57% alc. and <2 g/L rs. 420 cases made. 18.5/20 Sep 2012
Fruit from 7 y.o. vines on the stony soils of the ‘Folium’ vineyard, fermented to 13.52% alc. and 5 g/L rs. Pale straw-yellow colour, pale on rim. This has a softly full nose with aromas of ripe gooseberry and capsicum fruit with savoury, minerally elements, quite restrained in expression. Dry to taste, subtly rich flavours of gooseberries and red capsicums feature with good depth and slightly elevated acidity. The palate has a fine textural line, and the mouthfeel is racy, the flavours carried to a dry finish. A fine, brisk Sauvignon Blanc with subtly open fruit. 2-3 years. 500 cases made. 17.5+/20 Sep 2012
Take a perfectionist Japanese winemaker, a tricky-to-grow French grape and New Zealand’s largest wine region and you get a great new Pinot Noir. The winemaker is Takaki Okada, who learned the ropes at Clos Henri before buying his own Brancott Rd vineyard in 2010. This smooth, soft spicy pinot is the result.
Like its non-reserve stablemate (above), the 2011 vintage (5*) of this Brancott Valley red is highly impressive and priced sharply. Hand-picked from the oldest vines (16 years old, compared to 7 years old for the non-reserve), it is deep and youthful in colour, with substantial body (14.4 per cent alcohol) and concentrated, ripe plum, cherry and spice flavours. Very savoury and supple, finely textured and harmonious, it should be at its best from 2015 onwards, but is already a lovely mouthful.
Takaki Okada, who arrived in New Zealand in 2003, owns a vineyard in the Brancott Valley originally set up by Fromm. The debut 2011 vintage (4.5*) was hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in French oak casks (25 per cent new.) A weighty, full-coloured and sweet-fruited red, it is youthful, with deep, ripe plum/spice flavours, complex, savoury and lingering. Fine value.
The 2011 vintage (3.5*) is slightly overshadowed by its non-reserve stablemate (above.) Estate-grown in the Brancott Valley, it is weighty and minerally, with citrusy, slightly appley and spicy flavours, showing very good depth, and a steely, high-acid finish.
The distinctive 2011 vintage (4*) is from close-planted vines in the Brancott Valley (certified organic since 2012.) Hand-picked and matured on its yeast lees for up to eight months, it is not highly aromatic, but weighty and sweet-fruited, with melon, lime and slight passionfruit flavours. A restrained style, it offers very satisfying drinking, with a touch of complexity and excellent mouthfeel, delicacy and depth.