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Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 2016 (1x 75cl)

Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. Clive planted the bare, stony five hectare home paddock at the edge of Martinborough in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Ata Rangi vineyards are situated in Wairarapa, just north of Wellington. Craighall is located directly opposite the main Ata Rangi home block. The 30 year old Mendoza clone of Chardonnay vines, with their characteristic 'hen and chicken' fruit set, are always low yielding. Soils here comprise a thin layer of well-drained alluvial soil deposited on what was the original course of the river as it flowed east to the Pacific Ocean.

A fabulous summer in 2015 provided excellent conditions for ripening grapes across the country, resulting in vibrant, fruit driven wines. Yields were 27% down on the record 2014 vintage. Despite the excellent summer, the cool spring weather contributed to the marked reduction in the crop. Fruit was harvested between the 25th and 29th of March.

Hand-picked fruit was whole bunch pressed in a Willmes membrane press. Unsettled juice was fully barrel-fermented in Burgundy barriques, of which 25% was new oak, using indigenous yeasts. Fermentation took place between 15-20°C. The lees were stirred during this time in all barrels and partial malolactic fermentation occurred. The wine was aged in barrel on the lees for 12 months before bottling in July 2016.

A very alluring, restrained nose of citrus, white-flesh nectarine and citrus blossom leads onto a tight, fine palate with a subtly chalky texture. With no one, single flavour dominating, the 2015 is an intriguing, very complex and very complete Chardonnay with fabulous flow and persistence. Fully barrel fermented with 'wild' indigenous yeasts, this exceptional release has excellent cellaring potential.

£31.40

Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x 75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).

Ata Rangi SB 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. Clive planted the bare, stony five hectare home paddock at the edge of Martinborough in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Ata Rangi vineyards are situated in Martinborough, to the north of Wellington. The grapes for this wine come from Waiora, Walnut Ridge, Hau Ariki Marae and Southdowns Estate. Vineyard husbandry is important to Ata Rangi, including leaf plucking to keep the canopies open. Naturally low yields, older vines, small canopies and judicious, labour-intensive hand picking of the entire crop are all factors in producing this uniquely Martinborough style of Sauvignon Blanc. Lean, stony soils are low in vigour and fertility. The vineyards are in conversion to organic certification and are accredited as 100% sustainable.

Fruit was hand-picked and crushed with around half given a few hours of cold soak skin-contact before draining and pressing. Four separate ferment components make up the final wine. A small portion of de-stemmed whole berries were loaded into a super-sized oak barrel where the juice fermented in contact with the berry skins. Adding further complexity and savoury notes, around 30% was fermented in neutral oak barrels.

The on-skins component has highlighted beautiful citrus florals, with a hint of fresh fennel and lime zest. The wine has an impressive textural quality with mouth-watering drive and a tight, flinty, satisfyingly long finish.

£16.05

Burn Cottage Riesling/Gruner Veltliner 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition panel tasting of "Alternative" New Zealand Whites (not Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) (see blue link below)...

Burn Cottage Riesling/Gruner Veltliner 2015 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

... and comments from two of the reviewers...

Burn Cottage Riesling/Gruner Veltliner 2015 - Sept 2018 Decanter review - individual comments

Burn Cottage refers to the name of a road on which the 24 hectare property sits in Central Otago. The estate was once a sheep paddock until its purchase by Marquis Sauvage in 2002. Marquis brought on board Ted Lemon of Littorai as their winemaker and in 2003, they started planting Pinot Noir. Six years later, they released their first wine.

The Riesling and Grüner Veltliner vines account for just over one hectare of total plantings at Burn Cottage, the only part of the vineyard which is not planted with Pinot Noir. At the time of planting back in 2007, the aspect of this particular plot did not suit Pinot Noir, so they decided to plant these two aromatic white varieties instead. The first crop was harvested in 2014. As with the Pinot Noir, the vines have been cultivated biodynamically from day one, Ted Lemon’s one stipulation for his involvement.

Less rain during winter and a very windy October meant vine growth started off slowly. Some frost fighting was required, however, no damage was sustained. The weather warmed considerably to above average temperatures throughout spring enabling healthy vine growth and a favourably short flowering. Central Otago had fantastic summer weather and very warm nights at times, so the season quickly caught up to normal timing and maturity progressed well. Cooler periods in February did not change the overall flow of the season and harvest took place at the usual time during March and April.

The Riesling and Grüner Veltliner were harvested separately at different times and were subsequently crushed, pressed and fermented separately. The Riesling was crushed by foot to soak the berries in juice. The Grüner Veltliner underwent the same methods of production but spent only 48 hours in contact with the skins. Static settling took place overnight and the wines were racked off the gross lees. The wines were fermented in stainless steel vats and rested in old oak barriques for 11 months.

The Grüner Veltliner component in the blend offers attractive aromas of beeswax and white pepper coupled with a zesty lime flower, chamomile and lemon curd from the Riesling. The wine is rich on the palate but is well-balanced with bright acidity. The finish has a lovely energy and lingers on the palate.

£43.40

Carrick Chardonnay 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition review of New Zealand Chardonnay (see blue link below).

Carrick Bannockburn Central Otago - February 2018 Decanter review

It’s 20 years now since Steve and Barbara Green established the first of Carrick’s vineyard plantings on the Cairnmuir terraces at Bannockburn in Central Otago, extending the estate four years later. What was at the time a tangle of wild thyme and briar roses has become one of the region’s most successful producers. Francis Hutt wisely spent a year in the vineyards with viticulturist Blair Deaker before taking over as Carrick’s winemaker in 2011. A devotee of organic and biodynamic wines, he took particular pride in taking charge of Carrick’s first organic bottlings in 2012. Meanwhile, Steve Green somehow combines the roles of owner, general manager, assistant winemaker, marketer and overseas traveller with a position on the board of Wine New Zealand.

After gentle whole-bunch pressing, the chardonnay juice was gravity feed into French oak barrels, (10% new) with a high grape solids content to add interest and texture. All lots were fermented with indigenous yeast and the barrels were stirred daily during fermentation then left to rest and settle over the winter months.

Tropical fruits along with the cool climate attributes of Central Otago combine to make a truly amazing Chardonnay that could rival anything else in the world. It is a flinty elegant wine with good structure and balance. Barrel fermented in French oak.

Perfect with seafood and white meat dishes like chicken pie, prawn linguine and dover sole.

£17.15

Ceres Composition Riesling 2014 (1x 75cl)

The Ceres wine brand is the result of a collaboration of brothers Matt and James Dicey. Their grapes are always grown to a high standard. This means a lot of hand care and attention and low yields to ensure concentrated and intensely flavoured grapes. Yields are restricted to a maximum of 6t/ha and all grapes are hand harvested.

To find out more about this excellent wine please click the blue link below.

Ceres Composition Riesling 2014 - fiche technique

£17.75

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2015 (1x75cl)

Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. At the time, it was almost an unimaginable place to set-up a vineyard but Cloudy Bay’s founder, David Hohnen, was convinced of its potential to produce great wine and invested in the best land of the region. The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook found during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. His discovery coincided with flooding in the region, which washed large amounts of sediment into the sea. Noticing the water’s opaque appearance, Cook christened the area Cloudy Bay. 

Powerful and exotic, the 2015 Chardonnay is an embodiment of the artistry and the craft of Cloudy Bay. The grapes are sourced from four vineyard blocks located in separated sub-regions: Brancott, Fairhall, Ben Morven and Central Wairau Valley. The vines are planted on a mix of free-draining gravel and loam based soils.

In 2015 there was an immediate clarity of Chardonnay flavour from the moment that the fruit was received in the winery. The harvest season commenced on March 13th and culminated on March 31st.

After gentle pressing, the juice was pumped into barrels. The vinification utilised naturally occurring yeast populations to undergo a wild fermentation. A portion of the wine was fermented with full solids in order to build additional texture and complexity in the wine. After fermentation the wine rested in French oak barrel for one year of maturation.

Jim White, Technical Director at Cloudy Bay says the following of Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2015: "The 2015 Chardonnay is savoury and complex, a wine whose deftly woven aromatics give way to power on the palate."

The aromas include exotic flavours of orange blossom and preserved lemon with an undertow of smokey lees character. The flavour has the classic characters of zesty grapefruit and citrus rind. The wine lingers with roasted hazelnut notes and linseed flavours on the finish.

£26.00

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five wine makers to venture into Marlborough. At the time, it was almost an unimaginable place to set-up a vineyard but Cloudy Bay’s founder, David Hohnen, was convinced of its potential to produce great wine and invested in the best land of the region. The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook found during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. His discovery coincided with flooding in the region, which washed large amounts of sediment into the sea. Noticing the water’s opaque appearance, Cook christened the area Cloudy Bay. 

Cloudy Bay has built a reputation for refined, elegant Sauvignon blanc, and the 2017 vintage is no exception despite critical harvest conditions: lower quantities to meet high quality standards. The vineyards are located in the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions of the Wairau Valley. The vines are planted on free-draining gravel based soils with shallow sandy-loam horizons.

The Sauvignon Blanc 2017 harvest commenced on April 1st and was completed on April 20th. Grapes were picked with ripe flavours and great acid balance.

Following harvest, the free-run juice was cold settled for 48-72 hours before racking. Fermentation was primarily carried out in stainless steel tanks with a mixture of cultured yeasts and wild yeast. Approximately 3% of the blend was fermented at warmer temperatures in old French oak barriques and large format vats. As usual this sauvignon blanc was stringently blended, including only the strongest batches.

Jim White, Technical Director at Cloudy Bay says the following of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2017:  “Cloudy Bay 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent vintage that reveals an elegant and concentrated palate with ripe, juicy stone fruit and lemongrass, supported by a lovely minerality. Its crisp acidity leads to a mouth-watering and persistent finish suggesting a Sauvignon Blanc that will age well.” 

The aromas are bright. Lifted citrus aromatics of Kaffir lime and grapefuit abound, supported by ripe nectarine-like stone fruit notes. An elegant, concentrated palate reveals ripe, juicy stone fruit and lemongrass, supported by a lovely minerality.

£26.15

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (1x75cl)

Cloudy Bay broke the winemaking rules to create a sophisticated style of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc made through wild fermentation and aging in old French oak.

The Te Koko is made from a blend of six of Cloudy Bay's Sauvignon Blanc vineyards located within the Rapaura, Brancott and Renwick sub-regions. The vines are planted on free-draining gravel based soils with shallow sandy-loam horizons.

After gentle pressing and settling for a period of 24 hours, the juice was racked directly to French oak barrels (8% new) where it underwent a slow and steady fermentation that was initiated by indigenous yeasts. The wine rested in barrel on fine lees until the spring of 2016. Whilst in barrel, the wine underwent a partial malolactic fermentation. Careful maturation in the cellar creates the unique texture and acid profile of Te Koko, with the resultant wine reposing a delicate balance.

On the nose there are aromas of grapefruit and white nectarine displaying a fresh counterpoint to the richer notes of lemon curd and beeswax. The palate is tightly focussed with a taut entry.The finish is an amalgamation of nectarine, glacé fruit and a subtle smoky oak complexity. Floral characters linger in the background.

£35.40

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from multiple regions in New Zealand. Owner Terry Peabody and his family pursued the single vineyard approach to winemaking, planting on green fields and bare land ensuring a focus on quality from the very beginning. New Zealand, with its diversity of soils types offered the perfect location to plant the vines. From the stony, warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay to the volcanic, clay soils of Te Muna Road in Martinborough these exceptional vineyards produce wines with amazing aromatics, purity and complexity.

Grown on the lower terrace at Te Muna Road, this wine shows a unique level of texture and complexity. The cooler climate of Martinborough ensures the wine is aromatic with steely minerality while the rocky soils gives intensity of the fruit.

Around 90% of the grapes used to make this wine are destemmed. It is then fermented using a combination of stainless steel tanks, French oak cuves & French oak barriques. The yeasts used are a mix of innoculated and indigenous.

This wine has a pale lemon straw colour. There are vibrant aromas of nectarine, green apple, honeysuckle and a hint of nettle. Lovely precision on the palate with a core of zesty fruit and a long satisfyingly dry textural finish. Matt Stafford, Chief Winemaker says: "We chase complexity in our Sauvignon... you can literally smell the meadow and taste the flintiness of the rock in these wines."

£15.70

Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

Felton Road's story is one of refusal to compromise. The estate is fully organic and uses biodynamic viticulture (Demeter certified) ensuring that fruit arrives at the winery as pure as it can be. The entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible. There is a commitment to hands off winemaking: gravity flow, wild yeasts, wild malolactic, an avoidance of fining and filtration all help preserve the wine's expression of its terroir. The result is wine that express the authenticity and complexity of their unique vineyards. 

Please click on the blue link below to see an excellent tasting and information sheet on this wine by the winemakers themselves.

Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling 2016 - fiche technique

£23.40

Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).

Felton Rd Block 1 Riesling 2016 - January 2018 Decanter review

Beginning with meticulous site selection and vineyard design started in 1991, Felton Road's story is one of refusal to compromise. A strict 100% estate policy with fully organic and biodynamic viticulture (Demeter certified) ensures that our fruit arrives at the winery as pure as it can be, while our entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible. A commitment to hands off winemaking: gravity flow, wild yeasts, wild malo, an avoidance of fining and filtration all help preserve the wine's expression of its terroir. The result is Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which accurately express the authenticity and complexity of our unique vineyards.

Felton Road farms four properties totaling 32 ha in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago. Block 1 is a north facing slope immediately west of Block 3 on The Elms vineyard.  Meticulous summer management of a single vertical shoot positioned (VSP) canopy ensures even and early fruit maturity. Shoot thinning, shoot positioning, leaf plucking, bunch thinning and harvest are all carried out by hand to ensure optimum quality fruit. Cover crops are planted between rows to assist in vine balance and to improve soil health and general biodiversity

Riesling from Block 1 was carefully hand-picked followed by whole bunch pressing. The juice was settled overnight followed by a 3 week fermentation with indigenous yeasts. The fermentation was stopped by chilling to balance the high natural acidity with residual sweetness of 67g/L, resulting in the low alcohol of 9.0%. The wine rested on fine lees with minimal processing before bottling in mid-September to highlight the delicate Riesling characters.

Ripe stone fruits, peach and honeydew melon are married to an aromatic infusion of fennel, lemongrass and ginger with distinct florality. The wave of sweet fruit builds in power to reveal an exotic midpalate richness. Although sweet up front, the inviting and fruit-laden mouthfeel is illuminated by a crisp and mineral finish. Surprisingly refreshing with an engaging, lingering intensity and impeccable balance.

£26.89

Felton Road Dry Riesling 2017 (1x75cl)

Felton Road's story is one of refusal to compromise. The estate is fully organic and uses biodynamic viticulture (Demeter certified) ensuring that fruit arrives at the winery as pure as it can be. The entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible. There is a commitment to hands off winemaking: gravity flow, wild yeasts, wild malolactic, an avoidance of fining and filtration all help preserve the wine's expression of its terroir. The result is wine that express the authenticity and complexity of their unique vineyards. 

Please click the blue link below to see Felton Road's excellent information and tasting note for this wine.

Felton Road Dry Riesling 2017- fiche technique

£25.90

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 article on Sweetness in Wine (see blue link below).

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition panel tasting of "Alternative" New Zealand Whites (not Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) (see blue link below)...

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Please click the blue link below to see Framingham's excellent information and tasting note for this wine.

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 - fiche technique

Rich gold in colour, this wine delights with mellow aromatics, which are reminiscent of pear, apple, quince, dough and cream, with a touch of wood smoke. On the palate, generous flavours of baked apple, quince, cream, nuts and pastry. The intense, complex and rich palate balances acidity with good weight and a silky texture, culminating in a spicy, leesy finish.

£14.50

Greywacke Chardonnay 2014 (1x75cl)

This wine was awarded 89 points and Highly Recommended status in Decanter's February 2018 review of New Zealand Chardonnay. They say "An elegant Chardonnay beaming with tropical fruit, pineapple, ginger and creme brulee sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts, finishing with a warm lick."

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.

The grapes for this wine are primarily sourced from the low-yielding Mendoza clone, known for its concentration of flavour and crisp acidity; the balance were from Clone 95. The majority of the fruit was sourced from the lower reaches of the Brancott Valley and Fairhall, grown in gravelly, clay-loam soils, the remainder coming from Rapaura, grown in young alluvial soils containing high proportions of New Zealand’s ubiquitous greywacke river stones. All vineyards were trained on a two-cane VSP trellis.

The vineyards were hand-picked separately at high ripeness levels and fruit was whole bunch pressed. The resulting juice was lightly settled and racked to French oak barriques (20% new).The juice underwent spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation, the final phase continuing for many months. The wine received occasional lees stirring and underwent a complete malolactic fermentation. It was transferred out of oak after 18 months and bottled in December 2015.

A deliciously rich amalgam of pink grapefruit, figs and baked apples intertwine with more savoury characters redolent of meadow hay, toasted hazelnuts and buttered brioche. This grapefruit and nutty savouriness pervades the crisp, dry palate, while the power and concentration of the Mendoza clone creates an extraordinarily long finish that lingers and lingers.

£24.90

Greywacke Marlborough Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd who was the chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay for 25 years. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.

The fruit for this wine was grown at the organically-farmed Ashmore Vineyard in Fairhall, adjacent to the mouth of the Brancott Valley on gravelly clay-loam soils, conditions more typical of the Southern Valleys than the Wairau plains. The 17 year old vines were trained on a two cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) trellis and careful shoot and bunch thinning was carried out. All Greywacke wines are produced from vineyards that are accredited to the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) program and most of the vineyards are in conversion to become certified organic.

The grapes were hand-picked at moderate ripeness levels and were whole bunch pressed using a very low maceration press cycle. The resulting juice was cold-settled, then racked to fermentation vessels. Half of the juice was inoculated in a stainless steel tank using cultured yeast and the balance was filled into old French oak barriques where it was allowed to undergo spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation. Towards the end of fermentation all the wine was transferred to a stainless steel tank where the fermentation was stopped, retaining 20 g/l residual sugar. The blended wine was then put in old barrels where it remained on yeast lees for a further five months before bottling in December.

A virtual fruit salad of mandarin segments, white fleshed peaches and crisp apples, sprinkled with lemon blossom and a dollop of honey. A lively, aromatic off-dry style that delivers a sherbet-like balance of bright, natural acidity and a subliminal touch of sweetness.

£17.75
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