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  • Date publishedMonday, August 15, 2022

August 13, 2022 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Summer White Wines



LCBO Wine Picks: August 13, 2022 VINTAGES Release
Apologies for the delay! Here are my top wine picks from the August 13, 2022 LCBO VINTAGES Release. The theme of the release focuses on summery white wines. Also included in this release are many other lovely wines not part of the theme, as well as a sneak preview of the August 27th LCBO VINTAGES Release. By now, all of the wines from this release should be available in LCBO outlets across Ontario.

We begin with the theme on summery white wines and of the eighteen wines featured as part of the theme, six are included among my top white wine picks. The only blend among the half dozen is from Portugal and it consists of 70% Loureiro and 30% Alvarinho. There are also a pair of lovely white wines from Italy - a Pecorino from Abruzzo and a Falanghina from Salento. From Spain there is a Godello, and from New Zealand is a $20 Sauvignon Blanc. For sweet wine lovers, the consistently delicious Riesling from Niagara is your best bet.

Mud House Sauvignon Blanc 2021 (88 pts)

Among my red wine picks, the Gran Selezione Chianti Classico is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot / Colorino, while the Brunello is 100% Sangiovese. From Rhône, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 60% Grenache, 31% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, and the balance other permitted varieties, while the Gigondas is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. Also from France, the lovely red wine from Bordeaux consists of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The red wine from South Africa is a blend 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Cabernet Franc, 13% Cinsault, 10% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec, while on the local front the red wine from Niagara is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and 11% Cabernet Franc.

Château Clarke 2016 (92+ pts)Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2017 (92 pts)

White wine picks from the rest of the release are led by the excellent $26 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough and followed by a trio of Chardonnay wines - two from Burgundy and one from the high altitude region of Tupungato in Argentina.

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2021 (92+ pts)Domaine Sève Terroir Pouilly-Fuissé 2020

Among my dry rosé wine picks, the Prestige Rosé from Provence is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Rolle, while the M de Minuty consists of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Tibouren. My third rosé recommendation is from Rhône and it is a blend of Syrah and Grenache.

My last wine picks is a lovely sparkling wine from Limoux, the birthplace of Champagne, and it is a blend of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, and 10% Mauzac.

Antech Cuvée Eugénie Brut Crémant de Limoux 2018 (91 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • 13TH STREET EXPRESSION SERIES CABERNET / MERLOT 2020 - Sustainable, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#18880) (XD) - $17.95
  • TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2019 - Sustainable, Mendoza, Argentina (#77776) (XD) - $19.95
  • WARWICK PROFESSOR BLACK PITCH BLACK 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#24250) (XD) - $19.95
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2020 - Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $20.95  89 pts  wine review
  • PIRRAMIMMA WHITE LABEL SHIRAZ 2019 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#987784) (XD) - $29.95
  • DOMAINE DU GRAPILLON D'OR 1806 GIGONDAS 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#981787) (XD) - $36.95
  • RUFFINO RISERVA DUCALE ORO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2017 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#353201) (XD) - $49.95  92 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU CLARKE 2016 - AC Listrac-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#503904) (XD) - $49.95  92+ pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#959627) (XD) - $54.95
  • SAN GIORGIO UGOLFORTE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#372953) (XD) - $59.95
Zuccardi Q Malbec 2020 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • MARIA PAPOILA LOUREIRO / ALVARINHO 2021 - DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal (#408146) (XD) - $17.95
  • MARTIN CODAX MARA MARTIN GODELLO 2020 - Vegan, DO Monterrei, Spain (#25613) (XD) - $17.95
  • FERZO ABRUZZO PECORINO SUPERIORE 2021 - DOP, Abruzzo, Italy (#573683) (XD) - $17.95
  • TERRES SECRÈTES LES PRÉLUDES MÂCON-VILLAGES 2019 - Sustainable, AC, Burgundy, France (#23988) (XD) - $18.95
  • MUD HOUSE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 - Sustainable, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#190454) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CATENA APPELLATION CHARDONNAY 2020 - Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina (#10964) (XD) - $19.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2020 - Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#557165) (M) - $19.95
  • MASSERIA ALTEMURA FALANGHINA 2020 - IGT Salento, Puglia, Italy (#23867) (XD) - $21.95
  • GREYWACKE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#164228) (XD) - $25.95  92+ pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE SÈVE TERROIR POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2020 - AC, Burgundy, France (#681056) (XD) - $32.95

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU VAL-JOANIS TRADITION ROSÉ 2021 - AP Luberon, Rhône, France (#707281) (XD) - $19.95
  • M DE MINUTY ROSÉ 2021 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#575316) (XD) - $27.95
  • CHÂTEAU MINUTY PRESTIGE ROSÉ 2021 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#19849) (XD) - $39.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • ANTECH CUVÉE EUGÉNIE BRUT CRÉMANT DE LIMOUX 2018 - Traditional method, sustainable, AP, Languedoc, France (#25367) (XD) - $23.95  91 pts  wine review


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  • Date publishedFriday, August 12, 2022

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2021 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

white wine review is this always terrific Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. After a one year absence and skipping a couple of vintages, the 2021 vintage of this wine arrives at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Greywacke (pronounced Grey-wacky) was established in 2009 by legendary winemaker Kevin Judd. The name refers to the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones found in the soils of the vineyard in Rapaura. He registered the name while working for another winery in New Zealand for many successful years and sought to fulfill a dream to create his own wines. This dream became a reality for him and his wife, Kimberley, in 2009 and Greywacke remains a family affair located now in the heart of Marlborough's Omaka Valley, one of the Southern Valleys.

Kevin is a pioneer in Marlborough winemaking and uses a 'keep it simple' and hands-on approach with minimal interventionist winemaking techniques. All of the fruit for Greywacke wines are sourced from mature vineyards in prime viticultural sites. The vineyards are sustainably managed with a substantial and increasing portion coming from organically farmed sites. Crop levels are restricted to enhance concentration of flavours, while meticulous canopy management allows for sufficient sun exposure to deliver ripeness of flavour, textural richness, and optimum acid balance. Greywacke is accredited with Appellation Marlborough Wine to ensure provenance, authenticity and integrity. As a renowned photographer, Kevin's photos adorn the labels of all Greywacke wines.

For the 2021 vintage, the fruit was sourced from various prime vineyard sites in Marlborough's Southern Valleys and the central Wairau Plains, specifically in Woodbourne, Renwick, and Rapaura. This Sauvignon Blanc was grown on various soil types ranging from the young alluvial soils of Rapaura and Renwick which contain high proportions of New Zealand's ubiquitous greywacke river stones, to the older and denser clay-loam soils of the Southern Valleys. The grapes were mostly machine-harvested during cool and often cold night time conditions, then trucked to the winery in the Omaka Valley where they were lightly pressed to yield a modest volume of high-quality juice. It was fermented primarily in stainless steel tanks with cultured yeast, while a smaller portion underwent spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation in old oak barrels. All individual vineyard batches were kept on their lees and separate until they were blended in late June, and finally bottled in mid-August of last year.

The 2021 growing season produced a smaller crop due to some very cold nights and light frost in September, followed by drought conditions from December to March. However, quality was not compromised as the vintage is described as exceptional with Sauvignon Blanc showing great intensity and balance. Having tasted several previous vintages of this Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc over the years, I fully expect this latest vintage to be just as delightful. Let's see how this 2021 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is tasting tonight...

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2021 (92+ pts)

Tasting Note:

GREYWACKE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#164228) (XD) - $25.95
Screw cap. Fragrant, perfumed, and highly aromatic, it is subtly nose-tingling and quite complex with ripe tropical fruit, passion fruit, guava, kiwi, mango, and citrus aromas with delicate floral tones and touches of rock melon and lemongrass. It's medium-full bodied and fleshy with very good concentration and ripe flavour replays of passion fruit, kiwi, guava, zesty citrus, mango, and lemongrass. Nicely textured on the mid-palate, while acids are fresh, juicy, and well-balanced. Leans more floral and citrusy with a sense of minerality on the very long, zesty finish. Keeps getting better every year. Highly recommended buy! Score: 92+ pts

Other excellent wines by Greywacke are available at the LCBO and through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedSunday, August 7, 2022

Antech Cuvée Eugénie Brut Crémant de Limoux 2018 (Languedoc) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely sparkling wine from Limoux, a region widely considered the birthplace of traditional method sparkling wine with the first bubbly's produced in the year 1544. This Limoux sparkling wine is a new arrival to the LCBO and should be in stores across the province by next weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Antech Limoux, a winery that was founded in the late 19th century by Zélie and Jules upon their family's long history of passion for wine. Early in the 20th century, the estate was run by Eugénie Limouzy, a dynamic, courageous, and modern woman who lived through wars unbowed to ensure the winery's long-term survival. In 1930, Eugénie's niece, Marguerite, married fellow vintner Edmond Antech. It was a match made in heaven as two winemaking families merged and gave birth to the Antech name.

In 1965, their sons Georges and Roger were inseparable as they took the reins of the estate at a very early age and in the 1970s decided to produce only sparkling wines. In 1996, the 6th generation of the family joined the estate as Georges' daughter, Françoise, arrived and carried on the family tradition to raise Antech to the ranks of the greatest sparkling wine makers.

Today, Antech (pronounced "An-tesh") is one of only 24 producers in Limoux and is by far the region's most celebrated. They are known for producing sparkling wines with purity and elegance by harnessing the three terroirs of Limoux - freshness from the Pyrenees, vinousness from the ocean, and roundness from the Mediterranean. The estate was originally planted to 120 acres of vines six generations ago, while adding another 24 acres since then. The family vineyard sits on the appellation's highest land nearly 400 metres above sea level on stony, south-facing hillsides. For over 90 years, Antech has also purchased fruit from several friends who have plots on the top of the mountain that sits north of them, grapes which are grown at high altitudes and add freshness to the wines.

Women have been the driving force at Antech for the last three generations. Today, Antech is led by winemaker Francoise Antech, one of France's more vocal and gregarious female winemakers. Antech is committed to integrated winemaking and implements the Terra Vitis approach for integrated, sustainable viticulture, a certification they obtained in 2013.

This cuvée pays homage to Eugénie Limouzy, a pioneering woman winemaker in Limoux and great aunt of Francoise Antech. Eugénie ran the Antech estate after her brother and his fiancé were killed in WWI, and lived with Francoise until she passed away at 96 years old. This Crémant de Limoux sparkling wine is crafted with 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, and 10% Mauzac. Chardonnay adds body to the wine, while Chenin adds acidity and freshness, and Mauzac keeps the wine rooted in Limoux and contributes creaminess to the textured finish. All of the grapes were handpicked in the morning, cooled, and directly pressed and fermented separately in stainless steel. After lot selection, wines were blended and second fermentation occurred in bottle for 18 months in temperature controlled cellars. Let's see how this 2018 Crémant de Limoux is tasting tonight...

Antech Cuvée Eugénie Brut Crémant de Limoux 2018 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

ANTECH CUVÉE EUGÉNIE BRUT CRÉMANT DE LIMOUX 2018 - Traditional Method, Sustainable, AP, Languedoc, France (#25367) (XD) - $23.95
This blend of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, and 10% Mauzac has a fresh, elegant nose of medium-high intensity that offers aromas of white flowers, bread, toasty, and citrus with a sense of minerality. The soft, medium+ bodied palate has a kiss of sweetness on the flavour profile with notes of ripe peach, white flowers, citrus, honey, and toast with mineral undertones. Soft and mildly structured with fine acidity and elegant bubbles. Well-balanced, while finishing crisp, dry, and long with lovely peach, citrus, white floral, and mineral notes. Elegant bubbly and a highly recommended buy! Score: 91 pts

Other lovely wines by Antech can be ordered through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedThursday, August 4, 2022

New Zealand Wine Tasting - Marlborough - Day 2 (Mar. 2020)

After enjoying a fine half day of wine tasting in Marlborough on the first Monday of March, my wine tour through Marlborough continued on . It was a long (and fairly busy day) with visits to five wineries, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

Villa Maria Vineyard

The day began where I spent the night - Villa Maria Estate - one of New Zealand's largest wineries. Villa Maria was founded in 1961 by 21-year-old Sir George Fistonich. Having a Croatian background, George was passionate about wine from a young age and it was central to his upbringing. He leased five acres of land from his father in Mangere, Auckland, and crafted his first wines using the one acre of vines that were planted on the site to form Villa Maria. George understood very early on the importance of regional differences between grape quality and wine styles. He pioneered the use of contract growers - a very common practice in New Zealand these days - and was the first New Zealand wine company to initiate payment for grapes based on quality, rather than quantity. Beginning with the 2002 vintage, Villa Maria was the first major wine company in New Zealand to seal all of their wines by screwcap.

Villa Maria's success is attributed to the team's commitment to quality, innovation, and passion to create the best wines possible, starting with exceptional vineyards and people. It it not surprising that by making quality wines the focus, recognition and awards naturally follow - Villa Maria is New Zealand's most awarded winery.

The team at Villa Maria is very tight-knit. George was keen to nurture the talent of the individuals on the team while also providing winemakers with the opportunity to express their own flair. I had the opportunity to meet with Helen Morrison, Villa Maria's Senior Marlborough Winemaker. Upon graduating from Lincoln University in Canterbury with a bachelor's degree in Viticulture and Oenology, she took on winemaking and judging for a number of years prior to joining Villa Maria in January 2014 where she enjoys working for such an iconic winemaking family with a strong focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Being environmentally responsible has been a core objective for Sir George Fistonich for a very long time, with a strong desire to leave something for the next generation. Villa Maria has been a member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) since its inception in 1995, received its BioGro (Organic) Certification in 2009, and acquired CEMARS Certification in 2010. Some of the many Sustainable Practices employed by Villa Maria include the use of organic vineyards, heat recovery, night air cooling, natural lighting, recycling, and hybrid vehicles - all with the goal of reducing their carbon footprint and impact on the environment. In Fall 2021, Villa Maria was acquired by Indevin.

Villa Maria Wine Tasting

Starting at 9 a.m. sharp, Helen and I tasted through a number of wines from the Villa Maria portfolio. The range begins with the entry level Private Bin series - a value range of wines that are approachable with consistent quality, and popular with wine drinkers globally. A step up is the Cellar Selection range - wines that are complex, elegant, and food-friendly, with an emphasis on fruit quality and minimal handling. The Reserve range features Villa Maria's most distinguished wines with exceptional quality and ultimate finesse. And finally, the Single Vineyard range features wines with identity, with each wine displaying its own distinct characteristics due to the unique terroir where the grapes are grown. All of the wines I tasted from each range were delicious, while some were really fantastic wines. Many wines from Villa Maria are available at the LCBO, including some in VINTAGES. Wines can also be ordered via their agent - Dandurand. Wine reviews of a few of my favourites from this tasting are provided below.

Nautilus Clay Hills Vineyard
The second stop of the day was a short drive northwest to Nautilus Estate. I was picked up by winemaker Clive Jones, but before heading to the winery, we took a nice driving tour of some of Nautilus' vineyards, beginning at the Clay Hills Vineyard in the Omaka Valley, Southern Valleys sub-region. This 5.5 hectare site is located on an elevated hillside (120 metres above sea level) with clay soils on the eastern Omaka Valley and is exclusively Pinot Noir that was planted between 1999 and 2004. We then headed north into Wairau Valley and made a quick stop at their organic Renwick Vineyard - with its classic stony "Rapaura" soils - that was purchased in 1992 and was Nautilus' first vineyard.

Following the vineyard visits, we headed to the Cellar Door of Nautilus Estate, a small, boutique winery that was established in 1985 by owner and fifth-generation vigneron - Robert Hill-Smith. Being family-owned, Nautilus takes a cautious, long-term approach to everything they do. They are also a member of the Family of Twelve - a group of 12 prestigious family-owned wineries in New Zealand that they share ideas and time with. In 2000, Nautilus opened the first dedicated Pinot Noir facility in the Southern Hemisphere, and in 2006 they completed a separate, energy-efficient white wine making facility. Over the years, they have maintained their focus on harnessing the different sub-regional flavours in this cool climate region while using innovative winemaking practices to craft textural and complex food-friendly wines that are also vegan and vegetarian-friendly.

Nautilus Pinot Gris, Albarino, and Gruner Veltliner from Marlborough

Clive and I tasted through the many wines from the portfolio - a pair of traditional method sparkling wines and an array of white wines including their popular Albariño and Grüner Veltliner single varietal wines. We then took a brief tour of the winemaking facility before heading back to the tasting bar to taste a flight of Nautilus Pinot Noir. Clive joined Nautilus as winemaker in 1998 and has overseen their Pinot Noir programme, including the design of the Pinot Noir gravity flow facility. Moreover, the Nautilus Pinot Noir has shown a high pedigree ever since Clive's first year at the estate and today it is considered a Marlborough benchmark.

Wine reviews of a few of my most favourite wines from Nautilus are provided below. The wines of Nautilus are imported into Canada by Negociants International, and their Agent in Ontario is Breakthru Beverage Canada.

Allan Scott Family Winemakers

A short drive east in the Rapaura area along the northern edge of the Wairau Valley to Allan Scott Family Winemakers was the third stop of the day. As the name suggests, this is a family winery that established itself as one of the first independent wineries in Marlborough in 1990. Allan Scott planted some of the region's most famous vineyards, including the very first, and has worked at the winery every vintage since. Allan is one of the most experienced people in the Marlborough wine business as he has been working in the industry for nearly 50 years after settling in the region in 1973. Allan and his wife, Catherine, purchased a block of land to get into contract growing, setting themselves up for the new era of New Zealand's wine industry when independent winemakers began to emerge. All three of Allan and Catherine's children are now involved in the family's winemaking business.

Allan Scott - large tanks
The eldest daughter, Victoria, is responsible for marketing, while their son Josh is Chief Winemaker. Their younger daughter, Sara, also trained as a winemaker, but mostly works in the vineyard. I had the pleasure of meeting Sara as she gave me a quick tour of the facility. Allan Scott is one of the few wineries in Marlborough with their own bottling line. During the tour, I also was surprised to see that they are packaging wine in kegs so that wines can be served as Wine on Tap. After the conclusion of the tour, we headed to the on-site Allan Scott Bistro for a wine tasting with a fine lunch and great conversation. The Allan Scott Bistro has a lovely sheltered outdoor courtyard (where we enjoyed lunch), as well as indoor dining by the fire. During lunch, I also had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Allan Scott himself and later received a signed copy of his book - Marlborough Man.

Lunch at Allan Scott

Allan Scott is a member of Méthode Marlborough and their Cecilia Brut Méthode Traditionnelle NV (reviewed below) is a lovely Chardonnay-based sparkling wine that I hope comes to the LCBO, although it may be available through their Agent - The Case For Wine. I also learned that Allan Scott is experimenting with ageing sparkling wines under the sea - the wines were dropped into Marlborough Sounds a couple of years ago and they are looking to bring a few back up soon. Allan Scott also practices sustainability, while all wines beginning with the 2018 vintage are vegan-friendly.

In addition to their Marlborough wines, Allan Scott also has a vineyard and winery in Central Otago. As Sara explained to me, Central Otago in the deep south was a family holiday spot when they were younger, often referred to as "our base", with the name eventually morphing to "Scott Base" and the brand Scott Base Wines was borne. I enjoyed the Scott Base Pinot Noir (reviewed below) and it was one of the few wines from Central Otago I tasted on this trip to New Zealand.

Spy Valley Wine Tasting

The fourth stop of the day was southwest into the Waihopai Valley to visit Spy Valley Wines. The name of the winery comes from its proximity to an international satellite communications monitoring station - a spy base. I discovered the wines of Spy Valley a number of years ago, most notably their barrel-fermented ENVOY Sauvignon Blanc, and have been enamoured with their wines ever since. I met up with Tricia Pike, Cellar Door Supervisor, who gave me a tour of the winery and vineyards, followed by a tasting of many special wines from Spy Valley portfolio.

Spy Valley Wines was founded in the 1990s by Bryan and Jan Johnson when they established 180 hectares of estate vineyards on land in the Waihopai Valley considered too hard, too dry and too unfertile for wine. The terroir at Spy Valley is stony, free-draining riverbed terrain, while the terraced vines sit on both rocky riverside gravels and deeper clay and silt soils. The venture started as a passion for the land and continues today with a commitment to the land and people who tend it - nurturing the soil and vine, and focusing on sustainability to ensure guardianship of the land for generations to come.

Since the beginning, Spy Valley has been accredited under New Zealand Sustainable Winegrowing - an initiative that promotes economically and environmentally sustainable vineyard management. This sustainability initiative encompasses their own winery and vineyards, as well as grower vineyards, and they have seen firsthand how the environment has benefitted. At Spy Valley, some of these sustainability initiatives include biodiversity, minimal irrigation, reduce energy usage by various means such as the use of solar panels. Spy Valley also uses low-toxic and environmentally products in the vineyard and winery. The principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle are prevalent throughout Spy Valley. While their bottles are made out 96% recycled glass, they also crush their own glass to make a fine dust that they mulch and distribute below the vines, thus enhancing light reflection. When I took a stroll through the vineyard with Tricia, she talked about the fine glass dust that sits in the vineyard and that we must be careful. The mission at Spy Valley is to produce quality wines that ensure a sustainable business for the future, while also benefitting the environment. Spy Valley wines come through LCBO VINTAGES throughout the year, but are also available via their Agent - Noble Estates Wine & Spirits.

Johanneshof Cellars - Edel Everling & Warwick Foley
The fifth and final stop of the day was a 25 minute drive northeast into the mountainous locality of Koromiko, about 20 km north of Blenheim, to visit Johanneshof Cellars. This artisan boutique winery was established in 1991 by Edel Everling, from Germany, and Warwick Foley, a 5th generation New Zealander. Edel's family had been making wine for five generations, while Warwick, as a teenager, planted one of Marlborough's first vineyards on the steep hillside land in Koromiko in 1977. With a long history of European tradition combined with Kiwi ingenuity, they have combined old world knowledge and customs with new world terroir to produce a collection of outstanding New Zealand fine wines.

In keeping with Europe's century old wine culture, Edel and Warwick created New Zealand's first underground rock cellar in 1993. It was tunnelled into solid sandstone and is located underneath their hillside Maybern Vineyard. I had the pleasure of taking a tour and experiencing an intimate tasting in the cellar with Edel and Warwick and their lovely 2009 EMMI Brut Méthode Traditionnelle (reviewed below) which spent 7 years on the lees. The cool, stable temperature and high natural humidity of their underground cellar provides ideal storage conditions to allow the maturation of wines, which are aged in French barriques and German barrels.

Johanneshof Cellars

Another unique thing about Johanneshof Cellars is the aforementioned Maybern Estate Vineyard. It stretches up behind the estate, on a 30 degree slope, northwest facing, and oversees the winery and cellar door below. The Maybern vineyard is not irrigated and is the only vineyard in Marlborough to have Kenepuru (sandy silt) soils over a bedrock of schist and iron-rich sandstone. All of the wines are made on-site by Edel and Warwick by combining traditional winemaking techniques with modern technology, including the use of gravity to move the wine throughout the facility. Johanneshof Cellars is a member of New Zealand Winegrowers, New Zealand Sustainable Winegrowing, and a founding member of Méthode Marlborough.

Since I was a bit pressed for time because I had a plane to catch to Hawke's Bay, I didn't get a close look at the vineyard, nor the winemaking facility, and instead tasted through almost the entire portfolio that consisted of many lovely wines (a few of my favourites are reviewed below). Unfortunately, the wines from Johanneshof Cellars are not available in Canada at the time of my visit, but they are seeking representation.

This concluded my short trip through Marlborough wine country by visiting eight wineries over two days. The Sauvignon Blanc wines I tasted were lovely, as expected. I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality Pinot Noir wines, as well as the fresh Pinot Gris. The biggest surprise were the white wines made with Albariño and Grüner Veltliner - two grapes not widely planted, but growing in popularity.

Full wine reviews of some of my many favourites wines from Marlborough are below, and my next post is a visit to Hawke's Bay for a full day of wine tasting. Pricing is in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise noted, and would be approximate given the timing of this post.

Tasting Notes:

VILLA MARIA SINGLE VINEYARD SOUTHERN CLAYS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#447474) (XD) - $29.99
Bottled recently. A single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc with grapes coming from the Southern Clays sub-region within the Wairau Valley that has tight, dense clay soils. With many months on yeast lees, this has fresh, lemony, stone fruit, citrus, herbs, and some yeasty/leesy characters, as well as earthy mineral aromas. On the medium-full bodied palate, it is rich, creamy and nicely textured with very nice citrusy, peach, and grapefruit flavours supported by juicy acids. Very good length on the finish. Needs another 1-2 years to really show itself. Score: 91+ pts

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (91+ pts)Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Gris 2018 (92 pts)

VILLA MARIA SINGLE VINEYARD SEDDON PINOT GRIS 2018 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#497361) (D) - $34.90
From a cool, long ripening site with wind blown silt soils on the southern bank of the Awatere River. One-third of this delicious wine was wild fermented used barrels and had 6 months of lees contact. This single vineyard Pinot Gris has a medium-high intensity nose that is clean and elegant with peach, nectarine, and citrus aromas, plus some leesy, stone fruit, and spice characters. It’s medium-full bodied, fleshy, richly textured and a touch creamy in the mouth. Off-dry on the palate with honeysuckle, ripe stone fruit, peach, ginger spice flavours. It has balanced acids and finishes long with ginger spice, peach, and citrus notes. Score: 92 pts

VILLA MARIA TAYLORS PASS PINOT NOIR 2016 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $59.99 NZD
Made with Clone 5, 667, and 777 on a terrace furthest away from the Awatere River with an interesting soil split between stony and silty for clones 667 and 777, leading to the grapes being picked in lots and vinified separately. The nose is fresh, elegant, and perfumed with sweet baking spice, raspberry, rhubarb, and cherry aromas, plus some blueberry and mulberry notes. The medium-full bodied palate has lovely, velvety tannins that have some grip on the back palate. Very nice aroma replays on the balanced flavour profile, lingering through to the long, succulent finish. Enjoy over the next 5-7 years. Score: 92

Villa Maria Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2016 (92 pts)Nautilus Estate Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV (91 pts)

NAUTILUS ESTATE CUVÉE MARLBOROUGH BRUT NV - Traditional Method, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $39 NZD
Made in the traditional method since 1989, consisting of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay and aged for a minimum of 36 months on the lees in used oak barrels. Lovely, fragrant aromatics deliver biscuity, toasty, yeasty, and lemon citrus notes that have more citrusy and grapefruit replays on the crisp, dry palate. Bubbles are fine while acids are crisp and refreshing. Excellent length on the dry finish. Score: 91 pts

NAUTILUS SOUTHERN VALLEYS PINOT NOIR 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#606913) (XD) - $29.95
Indigenous yeast fermented, with some whole bunch fermentation, and matured in French oak for 11 months. Fresh, medium+ intensity nose is earthy with beetroot, rhubarb, cherry, and spice aromas. It’s medium+ bodied and nicely balanced with lovely aroma replays, plus cran-cherry flavours, supported by fine-grained tannins that offer some structure on the back palate. Balanced throughout with a long, clean finish. Enjoy over the next 6-8 years. Score: 90+ pts

Nautilus Southern Valleys Pinot Noir 2016 (90+ pts)Nautilus Clay Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (92 pts)

NAUTILUS CLAY HILLS VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $68 NZD
25% whole bunch fermented. Clean, refined and elegant nose features earthy, beetroot, cherry, rhubarb, and subtle sweet spice aromas are quite complex. The medium-full bodied, structured palate is spiced with lovely raspberry replays, plus touches of tea leaf and supported by succulent, juicy acids. Tannins are on the firm side, but well-integrated. Excellent length on the finish with savoury beetroot, rhubarb, and spice notes. Score: 92 pts

ALLAN SCOTT CECILIA BRUT MÉTHODE TRADITIONNELLE NV - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $26 NZD
Vegan-friendly and predominantly Chardonnay blended with Pinot Noir that spent 18+ months on lees, this has a fairly aromatic and clean nose with biscuity, leesy, yeasty, and citrus aromas with touches of seaweed. It has fine mousse and crisp acids on the palate with citrus and grapefruit flavours, plus biscuity and pastry notes. Long, crisp, and dry with touches of saline on the finish. Score: 90 pts

Allan Scott Cecilia Brut Méthode Traditionnelle NV (90 pts)Allan Scott White Label Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (91 pts)

ALLAN SCOTT WHITE LABEL SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $18.95
The restrained, medium-high intensity nose is elegant and clean with ripe tropical fruit, passion fruit, kiwi aromas, and whiffs of minerality. Nicely balanced on the medium-full bodied, slightly creamy palate with very good fruit concentration. Lovely, balanced aroma replays on the flavour profile and supported by vibrant acids that continue through to the long, ripe finish. Vegan-friendly. Score: 91 pts

ALLAN SCOTT SCOTT BASE PINOT NOIR 2018 - Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $38 NZD
Lovely, perfumed aromas of raspberry, black cherry, currant, and spice, with some beetroot and earth. It’s medium+ bodied with firm, structured tannins and nice raspberry and black cherry replays layered over earthy tones on the flavour profile. There's fresh, balanced acidity, and a long savoury finish with raspberry and black cherry notes. Should improve in 2-3 years. Score: 91 pts

Allan Scott Scott Base Pinot Noir 2018 (91 pts)Spy Valley ENVOY Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (91 pts)

SPY VALLEY ENVOY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Johnson Vineyard, Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#429308) (XD) - $29.95
Naturally fermented in French oak for 6-10 months, this has a highly aromatic and complex nose with smoky, flinty, citrusy lemon/lime aromas and hints of herbally and grassy notes. It’s medium-full bodied with lovely smoky, herbaceous, herbally, green pepper flavours, plus hints of white peach. It has a very nice texture with juicy acids and a long, juicy finish. Should continue to drink well over the next 5 years. Score: 91 pts

SPY VALLEY ENVOY GEWURZTRAMINER 2018 - Johnson Vineyard, Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (M) - $34.90 NZD
Fermented in small oak barrels, this has a lovely, highly aromatic nose of floral, lychee, rose, candied ginger, and honeyed spice notes. The medium-full bodied palate is rich and spiced with nicely balanced, medium sweet aroma replays. Lively acids freshen the juicy palate. Lovely honeyed spice flavours linger on the long, clean finish. Score: 92 pts

Spy Valley ENVOY Gewurztraminer 2018 (91 pts)Spy Valley Handpicked Single Estate Pinot Noir 2016 (91 pts)

SPY VALLEY HANDPICKED SINGLE ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2016 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $32.90 NZD
Handpicked as individual vineyard blocks and vinified separately until final blending. Naturally fermented and aged for 11 months in French oak. Lovely, black cherry, spice, earthy, beetroot, and rhubarb aromas that echo on the nicely balanced, lightly oak spiced, medium-full bodied palate with very good fruit concentration. Acids are very good, while tannins are smooth and finely-grained. More black cherry, currant, and cherry with spice notes linger on the long finish. Score: 91 pts

JOHANNESHOF CELLARS METHODE TRADITIONNELLE EMMI BRUT 2009 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $41 NZD
A blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay that spent 7 years on the lees. This sparkling wine has a lovely, highly aromatic and complex nose featuring biscuity, leesy, toasty, fine lees, pastry and some citrus notes. mature fine bubbles and acids. Fresh acids, juicy, lovely citrusy still quite fresh. The medium-bodied palate is citrusy with fine, mature bubbles and still quite fresh acidity. Fine pastry, biscuity, and brioche flavours that continue through to the long, slightly minerally finish. Fine bubbly! Score: 93 pts

Johanneshof Cellars Methode Traditionnelle EMMI Brut 2009 (93 pts)Johanneshof Cellars Pinot Gris 2019 (90 pts)

JOHANNESHOF CELLARS PINOT GRIS 2019 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (D) - $25 NZD
Tank sample. Restrained stone fruit, white peach, and some earthy characters on the nose. The medium-full bodied palate is fat, fleshy, and concentrated with lovely off-dry flavours of honeysuckle, quince, and peach flavours supported by balanced acidity. Some herbal, stone fruit, and white peach flavours linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 90 pts

JOHANNESHOF CELLARS RIESLING 2019 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (D) - $24 NZD
Fresh, honeysuckle, floral, lemon-lime and stony mineral aromas in a dry profile emanate from the glass. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with a nice, fleshy texture and off-dry flavours of white peach, lime zest, mineral, and herbs. It has juicy acids while the long, complex finish has herbally, white peach, quince, pear and floral characters. Score: 90 pts

Johanneshof Cellars Riesling 2019 (90 pts)


First image of this post
  • Date publishedTuesday, August 2, 2022

New Zealand Wine Tasting - Marlborough - Day 1 (Mar. 2020)

Marlborough Wine Region, South Island, New Zealand
After a fine afternoon of wine tasting on Waiheke Island, I caught a late-morning flight the day after, a , to New Zealand's largest and most famous wine region - Marlborough. Located on the South Island, this was the first of two days of wine tasting in Marlborough.

My first stop of the day was Greywacke, the Marlborough label of one of New Zealand's finest winemakers, the legendary Kevin Judd. I was first introduced to Greywacke back in 2016 and have been enamoured with Kevin's wines ever since. And when I landed at Marlborough Airport (BHE) just west of Blenheim, I was excited to have Kevin personally come and pick me up from the airport. We headed straight to the winery - where they had just recently move to - on Kennedys Road in the Omaka Valley, and I met his wife, Kimberley, and the rest of the team for a lovely, home-cooked lunch.

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc Wines
After lunch, Kevin and I headed over to the building next door and he took me through his amazing portfolio of wines, including a few back vintages. Kevin was born in England and grew up and studied winemaking in Australia. He moved to New Zealand in 1983 and built his reputation as one of Marlborough's pioneer winemakers at Cloudy Bay, where he was the founding winemaker. But, after 25 years at Cloudy Bay, he decided to fulfill a long-held dream to have his own winery and in 2009 established Greywacke (pronounced: grey-wacky) with his wife Kimberley. He registered the name back in 1993, while with Cloudy Bay, thinking that one day he might use it for his own label. The name "Greywacke" comes from the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones that are found in their first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura, a short drive northeast of where the winery is located now. These stones, like other stones found in other vineyards throughout the wine world, have an impact on the vines and the grapes that grow from them. Seeing the greywacke stone on this trip was on my wish list, and mission was accomplished as Kevin had one on the table where we tasted the wines.

The high quality wines at Greywacke are made from mature vineyards within the central Wairau Plains and the Southern Valleys. Much of the fruit is sourced from vineyards owned by the Sutherland family (a friend dating back to their days at Cloudy Bay and now part-owners of Dog Point), while additional fruit comes from select sites within these sub-regions. The Greywacke portfolio is primarily focused on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but there are also limited releases of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. There are also a couple of botrytis-affected wines. I was surprised to learn that a portion of every wine throughout the Greywacke portfolio undergoes wild fermentation. Most notable are the Wild Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, both of which were 100% wild fermented. As I learned during my visit to Marlborough, many wineries are using this natural fermentation technique.

Kevin Judd, Greywacke

All of the wines I tasted from Greywacke were just lovely. Some of these wines do make an appearance in LCBO VINTAGES, while the rest can be ordered through their agent, Connexion Oenophilia. Wine reviews of a few of my favourites are provided below.

In addition to producing fine wines, I didn't realize that Kevin is also very passionate about and excels in photography. All of the pictures on Greywacke's labels were photographed by Kevin. He also has a few books that showcase some of his works, including The Landscape of New Zealand Wine. To view Kevin's books and prints, visit Kevin Judd Photography.

My second stop of the day was a short drive north to Dog Point Vineyard. Ivan and Margaret Sutherland of the aforementioned Sutherland family were among the earliest Marlborough wine industry pioneers - planting grapes in the region in the late 1970s. Ivan, along with Kevin Judd, helped build Cloudy Bay, and they were eventually joined by James Healy. However, in 2004, Ivan & Margaret, along with James & (wife) Wendy wanted to return to a more 'hands-on' approach and launched Dog Point with fruit from the 2002 vintage.

Dog Point Pinot Noir Grapes
The name 'Dog Point' dates back to the earliest European settlement in Marlborough, when boundary dogs were used to fence in the herds of sheep. Some of these dogs wandered off and formed their own packs, eventually coming back to attack the sheep. Over time, the settlers removed these wild dogs from the area and named it Dog Point.

Today, the four founders of Dog Point are still actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the winery. Dog Point owns some of the oldest vineyards in Marlborough with vines that are 30+ years old. All of the grapes are grown in organic vineyards certified under BioGro New Zealand and hand-picked. The entire Dog Point portfolio consists of just four wines - enabling them to focus on creating high-quality wines of great character. All of the wines are vinified in a low interventionist method, without any fining and minimal filtration, with the goal of producing wines that can be cellared and aged.

At Dog Point, I met up with Jak Nash who gave me a quick tour of the property in the DP classic car that you see on their website. We stopped at a few different points, including a hill that had clay soils and was known for producing the high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that goes into their own wines. Overlooking the hill was a gorgeous view of the Southern Valleys vineyards, some of which are their own. The extraordinary 2020 harvest looks to be yet another very special vintage.

Dog Point Wines

I tasted all four of their current releases - which are all vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free - and each wine is fantastic! Wine reviews of my top three are provided below. While one or two wines from the Dog Point portfolio may come to LCBO VINTAGES, you can also reach out to their agent Noble Estates Wine & Spirits to order the full lineup of Dog Point wines.

The final stop of the day was a short drive north to Whitehaven Wines, located at the northern edge of the Wairau Valley and bordering the Wairau River. General Manager Simon Toneycliffe gave me a brief tour of the estate vineyards, some which are approaching 30 years old before we headed into the winery to learn about Whitehaven and taste a few wines.

Whitehaven Wines

Whitehaven Wines was one of Marlborough's pioneering wine businesses when it was established in 1994 by Greg and Sue White after sheltering in a yacht in the Marlborough Sounds during the Pacific hurricane season and thought the area would be a nice place to start a new project. The winery is named Whitehaven for the importance of family and the calming port 'haven' they'd found while anchored in Marlborough - hence the anchor in the logo. Today, Whitehaven is led by Sue White, continuing the dream she shared with her late husband Greg, while their daughter Samantha will steer the company into the future.

To make the wines, the fruit comes from around 45 estate owned or managed vineyards, or from contract grower vineyards across Marlborough's three sub-regions - Wairau, Awatere. and Southern Valleys. This practice is quite common in the wine world, but I learned is especially common in New Zealand. What I found surprising is the sheer number of vineyards where the fruit can come from. For example, Whitehaven's White Label Sauvignon Blanc comes from these 45 vineyards across the Awatere, Wairau, and Southern Valleys, with grapes from each vineyard vinified separately prior to creating the final blend. Many of their contract growers have been part of the Whitehaven 'family' for a long time. In total, Whitehaven has access to more than 200 hectares of vines, and all of the vineyards (including grower vineyards) are Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) accredited. In 2019, Whitehaven became a member of Appellation Marlborough Wine (AMW) - assuring, among other criteria, that they only use Marlborough fruit for their Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Wairau Valley from Whitehaven Wines

After tasting the wines with winemakers Diana Katardzhieva and Rowan Langdon, we toured the production facility that was recently renovated with further improvements and expansion coming soon. I also had the opportunity to go up the catwalk and get a gorgeous view of the Wairau Valley. It was quite windy on this day, but perfectly suitable for winegrowing as the wind helps cool the grapes. Upon completion of the tour, I enjoyed a fine BBQ dinner at Diana's home and accompanied with many Whitehaven wines, including some back vintages. Rowan also joined us and I thank both of you and your partners for a wonderful evening and hospitality!

Whitehaven Wines

Whitehaven wines are available at the LCBO (including VINTAGES), with wines from the rest of their portfolio available through their agent - E. & J. Gallo Winery Canada.

Tasting Notes:

GREYWACKE WILD SAUVIGNON 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#282806) (XD) - $39
From clay soils. Wild fermented with two-thirds undergoing full malolactic fermentation in oak barrels, and spending 8 months on the lees. This Sauvignon Blanc has a fresh, oak influenced, and balanced nose of orchard fruit, stone fruit, and hints of citrus with yeasty, leesy, and herbal characters adding further complexities. It's medium-full bodied and quite fleshy on the palate with lovely spicy replays plus citrusy and lemon flavours, all supported by fresh, lively acids. A textural wonder with ripe fruits, subtle oak, and excellent length on the finish. Score: 93 pts

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2017 (93 pts)Greywacke Chardonnay 2016 (93 pts)

GREYWACKE CHARDONNAY 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $45
2 clones of Chardonnay from 4 vineyards. Pressed straight to barrel and underwent natural indigenous yeast fermentation, followed by malolactic fermentation in French oak barriques (20% new). This Chardonnay has a rich, highly aromatic, oak influenced nose that is smoky with buttered popcorn, and baked apple, pear, and stone fruit aromas. It's full-bodied on the rich, creamy palate with very nice smoky-flinty replays and apple flavours. It has fresh, succulent acids to go along with a tight structure and very good length on flinty, orchard fruit finish. Score: 93 pts

Greywacke Pinot Noir 2017 (92 pts)

GREYWACKE PINOT NOIR 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#402651) (XD) - $46
Made with Dijon clones from vineyards in the Southern Valleys, this Pinot Noir has a fresh, open, fragrant, and complex nose of raspberry and black cherry mingling with earthy, forest floor, beetroot, clove, strawberry, and cherry notes, along with hints of floral. It's light-to-medium bodied with lovely aroma replays on the pretty palate with some tannins on the back-palate. Acids are balanced. Earthy, beetroot, spice, and black cherry notes linger on the long finish. Score: 92 pts

DOG POINT SECTION 94 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#325977) (XD) - $44.95
A single vineyard parcel grown on silt/clay loam soils that was wild fermented and aged for 18 months in older French oak barrels, this has a highly aromatic and reductive nose layered over citrus, melon, and subtle smoky oak aromas. It's medium-full bodied with lively acids that brighten that palate. Lovely flavours of spice, citrus, melon, and passion fruit notes with touches of herbal characters. Palate quenching with excellent length on the finish. Score: 92 pts

Dog Point Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (92 pts)Dog Point Chardonnay 2017 (93 pts)

DOG POINT CHARDONNAY 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#238568) (XD) - $45
From the oldest vines in Marlborough which were planted in 1981 and a clonal combination of 70% Mendoza and 30% Clone 95. Wild fermented in barrels. It has a fairly intense nose that is reductive in style with smoky, flinty, buttered popcorn, golden apple, peach, stone fruit aromas that are very clean and offer purity of fruit. The medium-full bodied palate is spiced with golden apple, peach, and citrus flavours that flow through the juicy, succulent mid-palate. Nice replays. Excellent length on the long, juicy finish. Score: 93 pts

Dog Point Pinot Noir 2017 (92 pts)

DOG POINT PINOT NOIR 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#329672) (XD) - $50
Mostly Dijon clones from vines planted in 1983 (the oldest in Marlborough), wild fermented (15% whole bunch) and matured in French oak barrels (35% new) for 18 months. The medium-high to highly aromatic nose is clean, elegant, and perfumed with lovely black cherry, dried tea leaf, dark cherry, earthy, cherry, beetroot, and anise aromas. It's medium+ bodied, elegant, and quite concentrated with pleasing black cherry, mulberry, and cassis flavours with subtle oak spice notes. Nicely balanced throughout with clean acids and fine tannins. Lovely earthy, forest floor, and black cherry notes linger on the long finish, with excellent length. Score: 92 pts

WHITEHAVEN GREG SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#325944) (XD) - $23.95
Fresh, elegant aromatics are clean and ripe with melon, citrus, wet rock minerality, and grapefruit notes. It's medium+ bodied on the fresh, broad palate with nicely ripe melon replays, followed by some mineral, gooseberry, and nettle flavours. It's got fresh acids and a long, crisp, and lightly spiced finish. Score: 91 pts

Whitehaven Greg Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (91 pts)Whitehaven Pinot Gris 2018 (89 pts)

WHITEHAVEN PINOT GRIS 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#447516) (XD) - $19.95
From estate grown fruit, the fresh, medium+ intensity aromatics offer stone fruits, melon, pear, honeysuckle, and floral characters with a touch of cotton candy. The medium-full bodied has a kiss of sweetness with spiced melon, quince, and pear flavours and a touch of herb. With 5 months of lees contact, it is nicely textured with very good acidity, while the finish is long and palate quenching. Score: 89 pts

Whitehaven Pinot Noir 2016 (90 pts)

WHITEHAVEN PINOT NOIR 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#532929) (XD) - $26.95
A 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir from the Awatere and Southern Valleys, this has a medium-high intensity nose that is clean with red and black fruits, black cherry, raspberry, plum, dark berry, and spice, along with some earthy tones and hints of tea leaf. The medium-full bodied palate is structured and quite concentrated with nice red and black fruit replays. Raspberry, tomato leaf, and whiffs of tea leaf and mineral also appear on the flavour profile. Acids are still quite juicy, while the finish length is very good. Score: 90 pts


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