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Murray Almond's "From the Left Island"

Taste of New Zealand Wine Fair 2002 - Part 3
© Murray Almond
4 April 2002

This column summarises day two of the Taste of New Zealand Wine Fair tasting when it passed through Melbourne in February.

The Wineries tasted in this column are

Prices are the suggested retail in Australian dollars ('np' means no price available).

Seresin Estate, Marlborough

The presentation and packaging of Seresin stood out at the show, a classy presentation even before arriving at the stand.

2001 Seresin Estate Pinot Gris $32.00
Spicy characters with slight butter character with some residual sweetness. Good finish, enjoyable in a steely style.

2001 Seresin Estate Sauvignon Blanc $23.00
Medium weight, slightly green style, probably middle of the pack in the NZ Sauvignon Blanc.

2000 Seresin Estate Chardonnay $26.00
Straightforward chardonnay style with a medium full finish. I enjoyed the wine and the price is pretty reasonable.

2000 Seresin Estate Reserve Chardonnay $34.00
Straw colour, melon nose, mouthfeel slightly on the buttery side, good quality, great long finish. The step up in quality is obvious.

2000 Seresin Estate Pinot Noir np
Good mouthfeel with lifted acid and nice plum characters if a bit on the green side. Medium fine tannins and a long finish. A good wine.

Nautilus Estate, Marlborough

Nautilus NV Brut $21.95
The bubbly spends 5 years on yeast lees. Good Pinot-styled nose, very good mouthfeel with lifted acid and a good long finish. A very classy bubbly.

2001 Nautilus Estate Pinot Gris $24.95
Slight citrus nose with pear aromas. Buttery mouthfeel, the aging on yeast lees shows through. Enjoyable but a touch overpriced.

2001 Nautilus Estate Sauvignon Blanc $18.95
A tank fermented wine, quite grassy on the nose, with great tropical fruit characters, buttery/malolactic style and a long finish, slightly green but very good.

2001 Nautilus Pinot Noir $29.95
Medium weight brick red colour, plum, berry and pepper characters, medium to full finish. A decent wine to age for 3-5 years.

Kumeu River Wines, Auckland

Kumeu River was a highlight of the tasting. Paula and Melba Brajkovich were both behind the counter serving their wines and discussing them. I was busy chatting about the wines, screwcaps and other topics and didn't take too many notes, however the paucity of notes does not reflect on the excellent taste of the wines. Truly great ambassador to the industry.

2001 Kumeu River Pinot Gris $27.00
Medium straw colour, full mouthfeel, great long finish. Very young, should age well.

2001 Kumeu River Chardonnay $36.00
Excellent Wine, fantastic fruit, providing excellent balance and long finish.

1999 Kumeu River "Melba" Merlot/Malbec $27.00
Tasting very young yet, medium weight nice balance, long finish.

2000 Kumeu River Pinot Noir $36.00
Nicely complex flavours, long finish, a great wine that needs time to develop.

Allan Scott, Marlborough

2001 Allan Scott Riesling $15.00
Pale straw colour, muted nose showing good varietal characters. Nice fresh mouthfeel and good finish. Decent value for the price.

2001 Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc $16.00
Good crisp mouthfeel with steely grape berry and citrus. Good fresh characters and easy drinking in the steely dry style.

2001 Allan Scott Chardonnay $20.00
Melon and oak evident on the nose, buttery mouthfeel with french oak evident, good acid although a little too 'worked' for my taste. Reasonable for the price.

1999 Allan Scott Pinot Noir $20.00
Pale colour, nice nose in a leaner style. Very good drinking in the lighter style and will gain complexity with age.

Babich Wines, Auckland

Babich source wines from the Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne and Auckland regions. The sauvignon blancs come from Marlborough.

2001 Babich Sauvignon Blanc $19.95
Good varietal fruit, crisp acid rich characters and a long finish.

2001 Babich Reserve Sauvignon Blanc $25.00
Spritzy mouthfeel and nice balance, and good finish, not a great step up in intensity over the 'standard' release from Babich.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough

Cloudy Bay already have a great, and justified, reputation in Australia, so they were presenting wines outside their best known releases. I welcomed this, but some who marched up only wanting to try the "Sav Blanc" went away disappointed.

NV Pelorus $27.40
Crisp apply style, quality chardonnay fruit obvious, clean steely characters on the palate. Slight bitterness on the back palate, and a good aperitif style.

1996 Pelorus $34.80
Pinot Noir dominant (60%). Nice complex nose with good Pinot characters showing through the palate and a great long finish. Much more preferable over the NV.

1999 Cloudy Bay "Te Koko" Sauvignon Blanc $32.40
A new style Sauvignon Blanc for Cloudy Bay using some oak and wild yeast. Fantastic nose of wild yeast and wild grass, just a touch funky. Medium subtle intensity on the palate with nice complex flavours, and a great long finish. Interesting style that I greatly enjoyed.

2000 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay $32.40
True straw colour. Melon and grapefruit on the nose, medium weight buttery characters coming in and a rich long finish. A very good complex chardonnay

2000 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir $32.40
Medium weight wine. Nice earthy characters with plum and slight toast, medium length finish. A wine that should gain complexity with 3-6 years in the cellar.

Forrest Estate Winery, Marlborough

The people at the Forrest stand were quite chuffed that their straight Merlot had just one a major gong at a wine show. This bought an extra step of enthusiasm that supported their very nice wines. They were showing their 2001 Sauvignon Blanc in both screwcap and cork for comparison.

2001 Forrest Sauvignon Blanc (screwcap) $18.00
Quite obvious fruit forward style, nice balance across the palate and a good long finish. Good value.

2001 Forrest Sauvignon Blanc (cork) $18.00
Far more muted on the nose, although consistent on the palate and finish to the wine in screwcap. It appears that the cork has the action of 'dumbing' the nose of the wine when young.

1999 Forrest Riesling np
Bone dry with a slight kerosene character, fairly oily character with a steely backbone. Short to aging from here.

2001 Forrest Riesling $18.00
Low intensity on the nose, Good fruit characters, good finish. A well structured wine that would age well.

2001 Forrest Gewürztraminer np
Very nice spice and rose petal on the nose. Slight residual sweetness on the palate, very nice acid balance and a long finish. Lovely

2000 Forrest Chardonnay $22.00
Pale straw colour, good chardonnay fruit of melon and peach and medium, balanced oak. A nice tasting wine.

2000 Forrest Pinot Noir $27.00
From 8 year old vines. Savoury characters with good spice, a touch of blackberry and a good long finish. OK new and should improve with age.

2000 Forrest "Cornerstone" Cabernet Sauvignon Blend np
Good complex mouthfeel although a touch green and a good finish. It should come together well with time in the cellar.

Highfield Estate, Marlborough

I enjoyed the Highfield Estate, very nicely put together from premium fruit. The Sparkling wine in particular was a highlight of the show.

1998 Highfield Estate Marlborough Cuvee Brut $35.00
Lovely complex nose of quality fruit and toasty yeast characters. Lovely mouthfeel with great complexity and intenstit6y and a long finish. Made with consultation with M. Drapier from the Champagne house which shows through.

2001 Highfield Estate Sauvignon Blanc $25.00
Very full on the nose, with big flavours in the grassy style. Full lees aged mouthfeel, and good finish. A wine for early drinking.

2001 Highfield Estate Pinot Noir $45.00
More obvious on the nose than other Pinots tasted, nice fresh berry character and long finish. Probably early drinking to five years.

Next column I'll discuss the excellent Pinot Noir seminar that was held as part of the exhibition.

From the Left Island


Overview of the New Zealand Wine Fair in Melbourne.
Opinions and notes from the first day of tasting.

© Murray Almond
4 April 2002

Any feedback? Send it to Murray at

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