IWM issue 3 March 2019

Element Wines www.elementwines.co.nz

2016 Gimblett Gravels Syrah Hawke’s Bay $30.00
2016 Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Hawke’s Bay $30.00

Element Wines is a (relatively) new venture from Dominic and Rachelle Smith. The main focus is on red wines and the latest two releases are both interesting to drink and well-priced. A producer to keep an eye on.  2016 Element Wines Syrah shows more than a passing nod to the wines of the Northern Rhone with its lovely aroma of raspberry, plum and red cherries interwoven with lots of ground black pepper and violets. This creates a perfumed rather than powerful character which is very attractive. The palate is medium bodied with a vibrant fruit character, some supple tannins in support and a moderately lengthy finish. With only 12.5% alcohol this is not a blockbuster style of Gravels syrah but instead a strongly appealing delicious wine; not one to cellar away but to enjoy over the next couple of years. In contrast the 2016 Element Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot is a denser, meatier wine that shows blackcurrant and dark plum with red liquorice, black olive and a little graphite. French oak has given some cedar spiciness and whilst there are some tannins it is ripe and fairly subtle. Again, not a wine for the long haul but over the next 2-4 years it should provide charming drinking.

Jenny Dobson Wines

2017 Fiano Hawke’s Bay $35.00

Jenny Dobson is one of New Zealand’s most experienced red winemakers and to date her focus has been firmly on the classic French varieties that seem to do so well in Hawke’s Bay. It is therefore interesting to see her look further afield for inspiration and explore an Italian variety.
Sourced from New Zealand’s oldest plantings of Fiano, the 2017 Jenny Dobson Fiano is a restrained, chalky wine with a strongly appealing lemon rind, chamomile flower and wet stone aroma. Bone dry with a mouth-watering line of acidity it has plenty of concentration and length. An unusual yet appealing wine that would suit those looking for a drier, less ‘fruity’ white wine.

Novum Wines

2016 Chardonnay Marlborough $40.00
2016 Pinot Noir Marlborough $40.00
2016 Syrah Marlborough $40.00

Novum is the new venture from William Hoare (who sold his interest in Marlborough Fromm Vineyard last year), and his wife, Rachel Jackson-Hoare. Hoare has an ebullient, witty personality which belies a very serious love of wine. A very impressive set of wines. Sourced from Will’s parents’ vineyard, the 2016 Novum Wines Chardonnay is 100% wild ferment Mendoza fruit. Lovely, expressive nose with fruit sitting firmly in the citrus spectrum but with some delicate white peach, lemon curd and white flowers too. There is a touch of gunflinty reduction which gives a smoky edge but this doesn’t overpower, instead adding interest. Some new oak adds a lovely digestive biscuit, sizzled butter note. The palate is at once both taut and focussed (more of the citrus notes) but also has a touch of fleshiness and weight that gives rather a come hither quality, a fresh line of acid tying it all together. The 2016 Novum Wines Pinot Noir is sourced from four parcels in the Southern Valleys. Bucking the whole bunch trend, this is 100% destemmed, though not showing any lack of aromatics, structure or finesse for this choice. Plenty of pure red fruits, especially strawberry, on the nose and a lovely savoury, textural palate. Nice lick of spice on the finish, rich and ripe but balanced and pleasingly dry on the finish. From a mass section vineyard in the Brancott Valley, with 4% viognier and just 12.5% alcohol, the 2016 Novum Wines Syrah is a vibrant, expressively varietal wine with violets, crushed red berry fruit, damson plum and peppery spice. Silky texture, touch of fine oak, it’s deliciously fresh and offers great drinking now, though should look even better in a couple more years. With the current tiny production, this wine is already sold out so that’s probably a moot point now alas.

Mahi www.mahiwine.co.nz

2018 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough $22.00
2017 Chardonnay Marlborough $29.00

Mahi’s owner and winemaker Brian Bicknell is a thoughtful producer whose wines may not be the most exuberant but rarely disappoint. The 2018 Mahi Sauvignon Blanc was quite shy at first with a touch of struck match reduction sitting alongside some subtle bran biscuit and flinty aromas. The wine seemed quite buttoned down but with a little time in the glass it opened up beautifully with a precise pure red capsicum and snowpea character. Unmistakeably sauvignon but with nuance and detail that made it a really interesting glass. The 2017 Mahi Chardonnay is lovely too; some just-ripe stone fruit, a little grapefruit, a silky texture with some sizzled butter, a touch of reduction, subtle oak and a pleasingly dry finish. This is a wine with a great deal of appeal in an unforced way.

Leave a Reply