2016 Decanter World Wine Awards

By | 04/07/2016

The start of the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards judging week did not bode well. I’d been excused judging on the first day (not enough NZ entries apparently) so was catching up on emails when I received a fraught text from Emma asking me if I could venture out buy her something warm to wear as Tobacco Dock was ‘freezing’. It was no hardship to dash off to Uniqlo for a padded jacket and it was money well spent (Emma’s) as it snowed the next day. Snow. In April.

It is always interesting when your judging sheets are emailed to see what wines are being sold in the UK. It would appear there is a lot of woeful sauvignon blanc (I used tart, dilute, charmless a number of times) out there. But there was some real excitement too. These are a selection of the wines I liked best, with my personal unedited judging notes and score. The final score, awarded after the panel discussion, may differ from the one shown here.  And although I’m not fond of publishing scores, I’ve included mine as these were awarded blind.

2015 Giesen Vineyard Selection Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Very lovely lifted aromatics; elderflower, citrus. Touch of red capsicum. Light bodied, dry. Not a ballsy example but lovely delicate mouthwatering quality to flavours. Decent length. Attractive. 92.0

2015 Matua Lands and Legends Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Beautiful aromatics; really old school; green capsicum, apple, tomato stalk. Nice degree of passion fruit. Strong acid spine, pithy, dry texture. It is very definitely in the greener, cooler spectrum but great length and spine   95.0

2014 Akitu A2 Pinot Noir, Central Otago
Opulent and perfumed. Damson and liquorice. Medley of red and black fruit on the palate – generous and dense. Tannins kick in mid palate. Ripe and textural. Just pulls up a wee bit short.  92.0

2015 Craggy Range Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc, Martinborough
Very lovely minerally, wet stone, fresh jalapeño character. Phenolics but well done. Pithy texture. Dry and bright. Not a big wine but one with plenty of richness and concentration. Lovely and with decent length too. 92.0

2015 Te Awa Left Field Albarino, Gisborne
Lovely fresh fruit aromas; ripe green pear and just-ripe apricot. Lovely ripeness on the palate whilst retaining the mouthwatering, wet stone acid spine. Good length. Impressive wine. 90.0

2012 Marisco Vineyards Craft Series The Exemplar Viognier, Marlborough
Lovely gingerbread character – some nice musky rock melon notes too. Palate has really lovely weight and texture; definite Viognier varietal character coming through. Plenty of concentration without sacrificing freshness. Great length. Really lovely example. 93.0

2014 Silent Cellar Selection Merlot, Hawke’s Bay
Very lovely super ripe merlot; blueberry and blackberry. Hint of violets. Lovely aromatic that retains freshness. Silky tannins, fresh. Lovely drive and poise. A super example. 96.0

2014 Blind River Pinot Noir, Marlborough
pretty perfumed aromas; raspberry, red cherry. Very lovely aromatics – some oak but well done. Silky tannins. Decent fruit concentration. A wee hint of liquorice coming through. Very attractive with ripeness on the finish. Quite a lot of wine for the price. 93.0

2013 Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard Dry Riesling, Marlborough
Deeper colour and some secondary notes reflect 2013. A touch of toast/kerosene starting to emerge. A mouthwatering succulent palate – quite a big bold example of Riesling. Weighty, an unusual style for NZ, almost more in common with Clare Valley. Lengthy. Score: 92.0

2015 Ata Mara Riesling, Central Otago
Very pretty lemon sherbet, Granny Smith apple sorbet aromas. Pristine. Mouthwatering acidity. Very slightly pithy texture gives an appealing character. Really good length. 95.0

2013 Kimura Cellar Pinot Noir, Marlborough
very perfumed. Lovely combination of red and black fruit. Touch of reduction – a wee hint of smoky, char. Soft tannins, silky palate. Probably not for long haul but very attractive. Oak kept in check. 91.0

2013 Nautilus Pinot Noir, Marlborough
Plenty of red fruit. A touch of reduction but starting to show some complexity and interest. Still quite a bit of tannin. Alcohol just makes the mid palate a wee bit hot. Quite a big wine, definitely take no prisoners style, but has great length. 93.0

2014 Delegats Crownthorpe Terraces Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay
Nice mealy edge, smoke sulphides and new French oak – not in the honkingly overwhelming spectrum. Touch of cashew nut and nougat. Lovely bright acidity. Becomes lovelier with time in glass. Good length. 94.0

nv Akarua Methode Traditionelle Brut, Central Otago
Appealing cooler site aromatics; blossom and pear. A touch of savoury, almost funky notes creeping in. Adds complexity and makes the nose less ‘fruit driven’. Tight and linear; good thread of acidity running through. Very buttoned down style. Lovely subtle wine. 92.0

2014 Murdoch James Blue Rock Pinot Noir, Martinborough
Lovely aroma. Red fruit with a hint of spice too. Structured firm palate – tannins provide real support. Lovely savoury edge. Not immediately approachable but with interest and a degree of complexity. 95.0

2014 Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Pinot Noir, Martinborough
Huge aroma. An immense amount of oak – too much for Pinot noir? But it does give a very appealing come hither quality to the nose. Red liquorice. Bold flavour on the palate – quite exotic – almost Otago but then firm savoury tannins kick in. Good length. 92.0

2015 Te Pa Family Vineyards Chardonnay, Marlborough
Modern chardonnay; lots of flint and gun smoke but there is some fruit underlying. Lovely pristine acidity keeps wine fresh and bright. Succulent white peach. Lovely mealy edge. Great length. 95.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *