Beyond Sauvignon Blanc: a New Zealand masterclass

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Beyond Sauvignon Blanc: a New Zealand masterclass

These are my notes from today’s seminar on New Zealand wine, beyond Sauvignon Blanc, held in Edinburgh. These wines were selected by Archie MacDiarmid, who I did the seminar with.

Hunter’s Offshoot Pet Nat Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Marlborough
Cloudy, complex, tangy and bright with lovely citrus fruit, as well as some elderflower and peach notes. Such vivid fruit here with lovely lemony focus and real precision, showing nice acidity. 91/100

Akarua Brut NV Central Otago
18 months on lees, with 15% reserve wines over three years. 7 g/litre dosage. This is lively and bright with juicy, zippy citrus and pear fruit. Some appley richness and a twist of toast, with a bit of sweetness on the finish. Very classy. 90/100

Mount Difficulty Target Gully Riesling 2006 Central Otago
Very rich, rounded and toasty with bold melon and citrus fruit with lots of depth to the fruit. Really bold and intense with some development, and figgy richness. Off dry with a sweet finish: a really distinctive wine. 91/100

Neudorf Pinot Gris 2017 Nelson
This is bold and textural, with some richness to the pear and apple fruit. Subtle waxy notes with a touch of herb and some fennel hints, as well as a touch of cherry. Stylish stuff. 90/100

Staete Landt State of Surrender Viognier 2015 Marlborough
This is showing beautifully. It’s a textural wine with pear and apricot fruit, showing a subtle nuttiness and lovely texture. This shows lovely varietal character. Real poise. 93/100

Milton Libiamo Field Blend Skin Ferment 2017 Gisborne
200 days on skins. 60% Viognier with Muscat and Marsanne the balance. Slightly cloudy, this has lovely aromatics of peach, pear and citrus peel. The palate is powerful, tangy, concentrated and bright with lovely structure and some herbal hints. A really distinctive, characterful wine. 94/100

Matawhero Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 Gisborne
This has lovely fleshy fruit here from vines planted in 1975 that are dry farmed. It shows sweet citrus and pear fruit with subtle toast and fig notes. Generous and fleshy with lovely fruit quality. 92/100

Cable Bay Chardonnay 2017 Waiheke Island
Taut and expressive with a nice mineral framing to the bright fine toast and matchstick notes with lovely lemony fruit. Shows a bit of peach and nut richness. Very expressive. 94/100

Bell Hill Chardonnay 2015 North Canterbury
Bold, peachy and toasty with some pineapple and citrus fruit. Powerful with good acid line. This is still compact and intense with amazing depth and precision. Combines richness and freshness, finishing with lovely acidity. A really layered wine that should carry on developing over the next few years. 95/100

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017 Central Otago
Lovely concentration, brightness and texture to this wine. Sweet red cherries and plums with some black cherry richness, a hint of salinity, and lovely acid line. Silky but also with a bit of tannic bite. Very appealing with richness allied to precision. 94/100

Two Paddocks Last Chance Pinot Noir 2016 Alexandra, Central Otago
There’s freshness and detail here with fine red cherry and plum fruit, with a real sense of elegance. Fresh and fine with harmony and precision, showing fine-grained tannic structure under the crystalline red fruit characters. Such lovely delicacy here: drinking beautifully at the moment. 95/100

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2016 Martinborough
Great concentration and precision here. Compact sweet berry and cherry fruits with good structure and precision. Such incredible fruit, with floral interest but also lovely richness, allied to good structure. Lovely layers of fruit here: really hard to spit. 96/100

Te Awanga Quarter Acre Syrah 2017 Hawke’s Bay
Very fine-grained, pure and expressive with sweet cherry and plum fruit and nice structure. Hint of coffee bean. Polished berry and cherry fruit, with the peppery notes sitting very nicely in the mix. Lovely stuff. 94/100

Te Awanga Quarter Acre Syrah 2015 Hawke’s Bay
Lively and peppery with nice juicy, fresh, peppery raspberry and cherry fruit. This has a nice texture with some tannic structure. Lively and peppery with lovely texture and perfume. Thrilling wine. 95/100

Alpha Domus The Aviator 2015 Hawke’s Bay
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. Rich, vivid and beautifully textured with fleshy blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. This has nice precision and freshness with bright plums and cherries. Subtle green hints, with great concentration and lovely balance. Serious effort. 94/100

Craggy Range Sophia 2016 Hawke’s Bay
Aromatic and sweetly fruited, this shows a lovely concentration of ripe red fruits with some fresh blackcurrant. Very expressive with sweet fruit, good definition, and sleek red fruits with good structure that suggests this wine has a long life ahead of it. Superb stuff. 95/100

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