Site Search:

Wine Tasting Notes

Tasting notes of New Zealand wines

Stonecroft Syrah 2002 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Dark coloured. Quite a tight, intense dark fruits nose with some freshness and spicy, tarry notes in the background.There’s a hint of minerality, too. The palate has wonderful acidity providing a savoury, tarry minerality to the dark fruits. A pretty serious effort with the bright dark fruits emphasized by the acidity. A really good food wine, and possibly one for the future. Very good/excellent

Stonecroft Syrah 2003 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
2003 was a short vintage, with half the usual crop. Really appealing pefumed nose: predominantly red fruits with a subtle herby edge and distinctive pepperiness. Hints of tar. The Palate is savoury and fresh with lovely spiciness and structure. Quite old world and expressive in style. Fine, fresh and almost Burgundian! Very good/excellent

Stonecroft Chardonnay 2004 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
This is a fantastic wine if you like the style: a big, powerful Chardonnay. Very intense, full direct nose of rich, spicy tropical fruits with some well-integrated oak. Both mesh well. The palate is concentrated and intense with powerful melon and tropical fruit, combined with a rich, spicy streak. Powerful and complex with fantastic concentration and class. Very good/excellent 

Dry River Craighall ‘Amaranth’ Riesling 1998 Marlborough, New Zealand
Named after the unfading flower of Greek mythology. Quite a deep yellow/gold colour. Intensely limey, toasty petrolly nose is quite evolved with some honey notes. The palate is concentrated, rich and quite minerally. A dry style – very savoury and whether you like this will depend on what you think of the petrolly character.  

Wither Hills Chardonnay 2001 Marlborough, New Zealand
Screwcapped, this is an extremely impressive New Zealand Chardonnay. Lovely intense nose with ripe, tropical figgy fruit and some toasty, slightly coconutty oak influence. The palate is fruity and concentrated with some spicy, savoury oak. Brilliant balance and concentration of flavour is the key here. Very good/excellent

Villa Maria Riesling Reserve 2000 Marlborough, New Zealand
Ripe, almost exotic citrussy nose, with floral hints and a touch of melon. The palate shows brilliant balance between the ripe concentrated citrus fruit with a rounded texture. Quite structured, with just a hint of residual sugar. Brilliantly intense and drinking well now. Superb balance. Very good/excellent

Montana Riesling 2000 Marlborough
Quite an appealing limey nose. Rounded palate with a touch of honey to the apple and lemon fruit. Just a touch of residual sugar? Attractive. Very good

Montana Merlot Reserve 2000 Marlborough, New Zealand
Interesting leafy, herby edge to the nose which shows red berry fruits and some delicacy. On the palate the herby fruit dominates with some firm mouth-drying tannins. Slight caramel edge. Good varietal character. Very good+ 

Montana Lindauer Brut NV, New Zealand
This bottle-fermented fizz with a subtle slightly yeasty nose. The palate is clean and crisp, lean and savoury and not too much fruit. Fine mousse. I like it. Very good+

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Marlborough, New Zealand
Aromatic ripe, fruity nose is quite grassy and displays a blackcurranty, slightly honeyed edge. The palate is lean and quite acidic, on the grassy end of the Sauvignon spectrum. Good concentration, with lots of flavour, and finishes with crisp acidity. An impressive Sauvignon Blanc that’s good with food. Very good/excellent

Montana East Coast Pinotage 2000, New Zealand
Pinotage from New Zealand? Yes, and presumably in substantial quantities, if Montana are making it. This wine has a slightly bizarre sweet herby chemical-edged nose, which I guess you could call varietally true. The palate is mid weight with good acidity and a slightly cheesy, animal edge to the strawberry and cherry fruit on the palate. Spicy finish. Interesting and unusual, but perhaps a bit flawed? Don’t blame the producer, though. Very good
Mount Edward Pinot Noir 2001, Central Otago, New Zealand
A stunning New Zealand interpretation of Pinot Noir. Deep coloured. Lovely herbal nose is slightly medicinal with some almost animal-like complexity. The palate shows chunky, chewy fruit and good herbal complexity. Great balance. Very good/excellent 

Oyster Bay Pinot Noir 2001, Marlborough, New Zealand
Deep coloured sweet edge to the berry fruit nose. Chewy herby fruit on the palate is ripe and rich with a spicy, tarry edge. A bold interpretation of Pinot Noir. Very good+

Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2001, Marlborough, New Zealand
Quite lovely nose: smoky, herby complexity to the fruit, which shows good depth. Juicy fruit on the palate with a spicy edge and a hint of savoury medicinal character. Oak is there but not too prominent. Brilliant new world Pinot Noir. Very good/excellent

Nautilus Pinot Noir 2000, Marlborough, New Zealand
Open sweet herby nose with vivid berry fruit. The palate shows good concentration and lovely herby complexity to the nicely balanced fruit. Good acidity. Harmonious and expressive. Very good/excellent

Felton Road Chardonnay 2000, Central Otago, New Zealand
Winemaker Blair Walter has experience in Burgundy and Otago, and aims to produce wines of elegance and complexity. This wine is deep yellow in colour with very rich, complex herby fruit on the nose, a slight tinned pea character and some smokiness. The palate is very rich and complex with lots of herbal fruit and a caramel-like edge. Unusual and quite ambitious. Very good+

Alana Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Martinborough, New Zealand
A fruity, forward wine with a nose displaying sweet notes of boiled sweets, gooseberry and blackcurrant. The rich fruity palate is very approachable, with sweet berry flavours. Very good+

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Marlborough, New Zealand
(Tasted blind, note as written) There’s quite an attractive sweetness to the fruit on the modern nose, which shows aromatic, slightly grassy fruit, a touch of elderflower and some boiled sweets character. The palate has a lovely texture: quite rounded, savoury, slightly waxy and grassy. Finishes dry. It’s almost certainly a full flavoured, new world Sauvignon Blanc. Very good/excellent

Palliser Estate Pinot Noir 1996 Martinborough, New Zealand
This is really expressive Pinot Noir that's ageing very well. The sweet herby nose has some spicy, undergrowthy complexity with a hint of 'animal' about it. The palate is lovely and savoury with some cherry fruit, herby complexity and a spicy finish. It's ripe, but carries the 14.5% alcohol very well. Wouldn't hold it much longer, but a delightful drop now. Very good/excellent

Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 1996, Martinborough, New Zealand
Evolved, quite fragrant nose is sweetly herbal with lifted acidity. Palate is drying out a bit with some savoury herbal fruit and a firm spicy finish. There's quite a bit of acid and some alcoholic warmth. Nice stuff but it is drying out on the palate and needs to be drunk soon. Would have been nicer a couple of years ago when it had more fruit. Very good

Lawson Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Marlborough
Sealed with a screwcap. Very lively aromatic nose of tropical fruit with a grassy, gooseberry edge -- very striking. The palate is bone dry, and if I'm going to be critical there's a bit of hollowness and alcoholic burn on the finish. High acidity. Very dramatic, but a bit manufactured. Very good

Te Kairanga Pinot Noir 2000, Martinborough, New Zealand
Martinborough has established a reputation as one of New Zealand's best regions for Pinot Noir. Quite pale coloured, this has a nice herby nose with some toasty notes (from the oak?) and dark berry fruit. Primary berry fruit dominates the bright palate, which is underpinned with more oak. Quite 'square' now, but with the potential to develop. Very good

Wither Hills Vineyards Pinot Noir 1999, Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely open nose showing pungent, herbal cherry fruit with notes of undergrowth. Lovely palate is richly fruited with a savoury, herbal edge. Lovely stuff: expressive and complex. Excellent

Matariki Wines Pinot Noir 1999, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
There's a smoky, earthy edge to the distinctive nose, which has a spicy edge. Powerful, ripe, full spicy palate with some sweet, spicy oak notes and a long, savoury finish. Quite a full, ripe new-world-style Pinot Noir, but lovely nonetheless. Very good/excellent

Huia Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Marlborough, New Zealand
With an over-the-top aromatic nose of grassy, ripe fruit, this is a wine that shouts its varietal origins. The palate is intense with cutting acidity. Quite refreshing and a very modern, archetypally Marlborough style of Sauvignon. Very good

Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2001, New Zealand
The striking, modern nose is grassy, ripe and rounded, with a blackcurrant edge. Palate is fresh, tight and acidic: this is quite a lean wine. May open out a little more; a good food-compatible Sauvignon. Very good

Montana Reserve Chardonnay 2000, Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely nose shows ripe peach and tropical fruit, combined well with toasty, nutty oak. The palate is deep, rich and nutty, with lots of fruit and quite a dash of oak influence. There's also a herbal edge and a bit of spice and coconut in the background. Great concentration of flavour. Very good/excellent

Ngatarawa Glazebrook Chardonnay 2000, Gisborne, New Zealand
This has a full-on ripe, tropical fruit flavoured palate with a touch of herbaceousness. Impressive, unoaked style with lots of flavour. Very good+

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 1995, Marlborough, New Zealand
I found it hard to make my mind up about this wine. I could have been fooled by the nose into thinking that this was a fairly serious Burgundy, but the intense, slightly harsh palate made this hard work to drink. A deep yellow colour, the pungent nose shows smoky, herby, burnt cabbage notes. The intense palate shows bitter papaya fruit, with firm acidity and complex, savoury bready and coffee notes. A powerful, interesting wine that is still very much alive, but one that certainly needs food to offset the bitterness on the palate. Very good

Isabel Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Marlborough, New Zealand
It's inevitable that the gold standard against which all Marlborough Sauvignon's are compared is Cloudy Bay, but this is one of the select NZ Sauvignons that has the reputation of being BTCB ('better than Cloudy Bay'). Is it? Well, it's certainly an excellent example of the genre, but I have to admit to being a tiny bit disappointed. It has an aromatic, herbaceous, gooseberry-laced nose, and the palate is slightly spritzy, with herby grapefruit notes and high acidity. The overall impression is of a wine that is intense and quite taut. Not as extreme and strongly flavoured as some Marlborough Sauvignons, but still Very good+

Babich Winemakers Reserve Syrah 1998, Cimblett Road Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, NZ
Deep red/black colour, this brightly flavoured medium-bodied wine shows prominent spicy oak on the nose, along with raspberry fruit and a nice smoky edge. The palate is quite light, but there's attractive berry fruit and more spicy oak. It’s a hard call: the oak is a little too prominent at present but the youthfulness of the wine suggests it may evolve nicely, with the oak integrating further. Very good

Alana Estate Pinot Noir 1999, Martinborough, New Zealand
A restrained, classy new world Pinot Noir, from a region in New Zealand that specializes in this grape. Deep cherry colour, with a nose of sweet fruit, some herbs and a touch of smokiness. The palate shows sweet cherry fruit with a nice balance of tannin and acidity, and some spice and vanilla. Good varietal character here. Very good +

Ngatarawa Stables Sauvignon Blanc 1996, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
This is unusual in that it's an oaked Sauvignon. It shows a smoky, ripe, tropical fruit nose with a slight vegetal character. On the palate it is full flavoured with more tropical fruit and a slightly off-putting hint of tinned peas, together with firm acidity. As it warms up it develops pronounced grassy aromas. Unusual, but quite nice with food I suspect. Very good

Goldwater Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 1999, Marlborough, New Zealand
This is a well made, balanced Sauvignon Blanc, which just lacks some of the excitement and intensity for which examples of this grape from Marlborough have become so well known for. It has a ripe, intense nose with tropical fruit and a touch of elderflower character. On the palate it is ripe and herby, with a bit of the Marlborough gooseberry character but not too much. A nice wine, but not one to plump for if you are looking for that full-on NZ Sauvignon rush. Very good +

Forrest Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Marlborough, New Zealand
Wild, exotic nose, grassy and aromatic. This is a huge Sauvignon with masses of ripe fruit, nice texture, and good balance of fruit and acid. Stunning stuff in the classic Cloudy Bay/Marlborough style. Very good/excellent

Millton Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 1998, Gisborne
From a New Zealand's best known biodynamic producer, this is quite restrained on the nose, but it has a great impact on the palate, showing flavours of rich, nutty, bready flavours. Complex and seamless, this is a very classy Chardonnay: subtle and restrained. Very good/excellent

Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay 1998, East Coast
Very attractive full-flavoured and thick-textured Chardonnay. It's ripe and spicy, with toasty oak well integrated with the buttery tropical fruit flavours. Great balance. Very good+

Selaks Premium Selection Sauvignon Blanc 1999, Marlborough, New Zealand
Lean, fresh and acidic, this is a rather disappointing New Zealand Sauvignon. It's quite austere, and while there's some of the characteristic gooseberry and grapefruit character, there's also an odd broccoli-like flavour. OK/good.

Fairleigh Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Marlborough, New Zealand
Familiarity does indeed breed contempt, and its easy to overlook just how remarkable Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs can be -- this was a wine style that didn't exist until the 1980s. This is another top-notch example, with a striking nose of gooseberry and citrus, a super savoury palate and knockout concentration and intensity. Very good/excellent 

Delegats Reserve Chardonnay 1999, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Rich toasty, oaky nose leads into a soft, buttery palate. Good concentration, but very similar to many hundreds of other new world Chardonnays. Good/very good.

Hawkesbridge Willowbank Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 1999 Marlborough
Delicious rounded Marlborough Sauvignon, with good intensity, soft fruit and great balance. Aromatic, grassy, ripe gooseberry fruit dominates. A really super example. Very good/excellent.

Shingle Peak Pinot Noir 1998, Marlborough, New Zealand
Sweet nose of cherries and herbs. On the palate it is quite simple and youthful, with some fruit and a touch of petillance on the tongue. A glugger; nothing to get excited about. OK
Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc 1999, Martinborough, New Zealand
A cracking wine. Intense varietal nose of gooseberries, elderflower and green pepper, with a bit of cut grass thrown in for good measure. Huge wine of dramatic proportions. On the palate it is quite fat with herbal notes and good acidity. Top notch New Zealand Sauvignon, but this extreme style may be off-putting to traditionalists. Very good/excellent. Yes, it is as good as Cloudy Bay, if you must make that comparison.

Montana Chardonnay 1999, Marlborough, New Zealand
Nicely balanced Chardonnay with buttery, peachy fruit, good concentration and some oak character. This is backed up by reasonable citrus-like acidity. Not a groundbreaking wine, but one of the better examples of its genre.

Canterbury House Show Reserve Chardonnay 1998, Waipara, New Zealand
Quite an unusual cool-climate, biscuitty Chardonnay with lean, honeyed, biscuitty, nutty and butterscotch character. There is a touch of oxidation to this wine, and it owes more to grapes than oak. Unusual; not a mainstream wine. It is a bit like a still Champagne. Faulty?

Cooks 1998 Chardonnay, Gisborne, New Zealand
Good, clean, commercial Chardonnay with some tropical fruit character and firm acidity. A touch of bitterness on the finish detracts slightly from what is otherwise a good example of its genre.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 1999, Marlborough, New Zealand
This wine has become a ‘cult’ wine in the UK, and is now normally sold on allocation, very rarely reaching the retailers shelves. Part of this cult status is undoubtedly due to its quality – this was the wine that really launched New Zealand Sauvignon onto the world map – but I suspect it is also to do with the clever marketing of Veuve Clicqout, the parent company, who are rumoured to release it in tranches thus keeping up the impression of scarcity which is so important in securing cult status for a wine. The 1999 incarnation has a huge nose of gooseberries and elderflower, which on the palate are joined by grapefruit-like flavours. There is high acidity, and some notes of citrus (perhaps imparted by the undisclosed dollop of Semillon that is often included in this wine). Juicy and appealing, this is top notch stuff, and although it is now joined by many lesser known but equally good New Zealand Sauvignons, it probably deserves its reputation.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 1999, Marlborough, New Zealand
My second time with this vintage. It is deserving of its stellar reputation: crisp and intense, very well balanced. Notes of grapefruit, goosberries and elderflower combine with freshly cut green peppers to produce a mouthwatering and sophisticated wine of real impact.

Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 1999, Marlborough, NZ
This is the second label of Vavasour, made for early drinking, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is therefore not a worthy wine. It has an amazing nose of gooseberries and fresh-cut green peppers, with a slight herbaceousness and some tropical fruit thrown in. On the palate it is zingy and intense, with bright acidity. This is a tremendous effort, with good intensity and concentration at a very good price. Made from Wairau Valley and Awatare Valley grapes. Very good, but perhaps a little tart without food.

Forrest Semillon 1996, Marlborough
From a small 16 ha estate. This is amazing: it is a Semillon that tastes for all the world like a Sauvignon blanc! Herbaceous nose and dry crisp citrus and grapefruit on the palate. The fresh fruit flavours, good concentration and bracing acidity make it a good match for modern cuisine. Good.

Lawsons Dry Hills Gewurztraminer 1998, Marlborough, NZ
Attractive, spicy wine in an Alsace style, with crisp, fresh fruit and a nice weight. However, there is a bit of bitterness on the finish.

Millton Chenin Blanc 1998, Te Arai Vineyard, Gisborne, New Zealand
Biodynamically produced wine from a 20 Ha estate established in 1981. This was barrel fermented in 600 litre barrels. Pale yellow/gold. Lfted, creamy nose with a touch of honey and a slight smokiness. On palate there is soft, smoky fruit with some fatness and spice from the oak. Creamy and toasty, this is a rich savoury wine with a lovely soft texture and good intensity. The firm acidity suggests that this wine may develop further. Well priced. 
Montana Sauvignon Blanc 1998, Marlborough, New Zealand
Pale and fresh, with zippy acidity, but not as distinctively varietally flavoured as previous vintages, it seems. Disappointing for what is normally a very reliable wine.
Villa Maria Clifford Bay Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 1999, Marlborough, New Zealand
Astonishing, piercing flavours of pure gooseberry fruit, with a touch of herbaceousness. This is very much at the lean and zippy end of the Sauvignon blanc spectrum, with taut, firm acidity and structure. Fine example -- almost Loire-like. Very good.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 1997, Marlborough
Very good, fresh intense sauvignon. Gooseberries, blackcurrants (!) and a leafy edge, with high acidity. 

Villa Maria Sauvingnon Blanc Reserve 1997, Wairau Valley, New Zealand
Huge rich nose with big flavours of elderflower, herbs, tinned litchees and tropical fruit. Not much gooseberry here: this is more of a full flavoured heavy weight style of Sauvignon. This is richly textured and delicious: one of the best.

Reviews / Comments for Wine Tasting Notes

No reviews have been written write a review now.

Developed by Wetstone Technologies