Winemaker Jannine Rickard’s Instagram is not for the faint-hearted but does give very good insight into why her personal label has been called Huntress. This is her second release of wines under this label, a subtle, smart trio that is well-formed and food-friendly. Fruit is sourced from a number of vineyards in Gladstone and Wairarapa. The labels are really rather beautiful, evoking the local coastline, flora and fauna, and very resonant of how and where Jannine spends her days. When not hunting, fishing, diving, foraging or cooking, Jannine is also the winemaker at Urlar Vineyard in Gladstone.
|2019 ‘Wai Koa’ Waina Ma||11.7% alcohol||$33.00|
|2019 ‘Waikura’ Rosé||12.9% alcohol||$28.00|
|2018 Pinot Noir||13.0% alcohol||$50.00|
|2017 Pinot Noir||13.1% alcohol||$50.00|
Wai koa means ‘happy water’ in te reo Maori, and waina ma is white wine. The 2019 Huntress ‘Wai Koa’ Waina Ma is a pleasing medley of skin-fermented riesling, sauvignon blanc pinot gris, made from organic Gladstone fruit. A fairly vinous nose with light stone fruit, apple and a touch of citrus, the palate is dry with a similar fruit profile and decent concentration; subtle phenolics add texture and backbone. Crisp, with good acid build on the finish, it’s fairly linear and taut with compelling texture and a moreish pithiness to the finish. It’s not super complex but it’s well-made and a good food wine (and rather appropriately, went very well with pork). The 2019 The Huntress ‘Waikura’ Rosé is whole cluster carbonic pinot noir with 35% old barrel-fermented saignée component. Mainly Abel clone from three different vineyards in Martinborough and Gladstone, it’s an enticing jewel-like ruby hue. Raspberry and vanilla biscuit on the nose, the palate is bright, berry-rich, fresh and juicy with soft tannins, driven more by a delicately phenolic texture. Easy to drink with plenty of character, you see the carbonic element but this is a more savoury than overtly fruity rosé. Best enjoyed lightly chilled. Waikura references the red glow of the sky in te reo, a nice nod to its lovely colour. The 2018 Huntress Pinot Noir is made from fruit sourced from the On Giants’ Shoulders vineyard in Martinborough. Dark berry fruit and plum threaded with exotic spices and violets, some oak spice too, initially this was quite closed and earthy with a touch of iodine – seems very classically Martinborough in structure. The palate is firm, with ripe, gravelly tannins. Opens up to a core of dense, savoury fruit, needs a bit of time and/or food at this stage. Jannine also dropped off a bottle of the 2017 Huntress Pinot Noir which with its raspberries, dark cherries, earth and spice, is an altogether lighter-framed wine with juicy red and black fruits, supple tannins and a Campari twist on the finish. It seems to be the yin to the darker, more brooding 2018 yang, quite fascinating to see the wines side-by-side. Jannine attributes this not only to the difference in seasons but also to the 2018 wine having slightly more whole cluster (40% to 2017’s 20%).