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Featured Reviews




Akarua 2017 Sauvignon and ‘Rua’ Rosé, and 2016 ‘Rua’ and Bannockburn Pinot Noirs

03 October,2017
Akarua is one of Central Otago’s largest vineyard owners with five sites, these being the original 48 ha Cairnmuir Road vineyard, the 21 ha Felton Road vineyard, the 14 ha Lowburn vineyard, the 28 ha Kawarau vineyard and 9 ha 25 Steps site, giving the company 120 ha of estate vines. With this abundance of resource, the Pinot Noir wines, which are the primary focus of the company can only improve. The estate vineyards, along with contracted fruit has broadened the range as well as strengthened the portfolio that will give the market greater choice and brand continuity. The winemaking is under the care of Andrew Keenlyside, with the company since 2009, and the vineyard manager is the very experienced Mark Naismith. Here, I review the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and ‘Rua’ Pinot Rosé, have a re-look at the 2016 ‘Rua’ Pinot Noir, and have my first look at the 2016 Bannockburn Pinot Noir. www.akarua.com

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Akarua Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Otago

16.5+/20
Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is elegant and tightly bound with fresh aromas of gooseberries, subtle notes of white florals, unfolding green capsicums, herbs, nutty elements and minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a softly concentrated core of bright gooseberry fruit, along with cut grass, green capsicums and herbs, with nutty hints. The mouthfeel is bright and zesty with brisk acidity, and the wine flows along a fine, dry, mouthwatering phenolic-textured line. The flavours lead to a crisp, elegant, lingering finish. This is a refreshing, elegant and softly concentrated Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry and cooler spectrum flavours on a dry, light-textured, thirst-quenching palate. Serve with seafood, salads and vegetables over the next 2 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Tait’ vineyard, Pisa, WBP and fermented partially with indigenous yeasts in tank with 20% in seasoned oak to 12.0% alc. and 3.9 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 16.5+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $26.00

Akarua ‘Rua’ Central Otago Pinot Rosé 2017

Rose from New Zealand – Otago

17.5-/20
Bright, light cerise-pink with purple hues and some depth, lighter on the edge. The nose is fresh, bright and up-front with good intensity and depth of raspberry fruit entwined with dark-red cherries, a little herbal nuance and lifted confectionary notes. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has rich, vibrant and aromatic fruit flavours of raspberries and cream with cherry and red floral notes and some confectionary lift. The mouthfeel is fresh with lacy acidity, and the wine flows along a light-textured, thirst-quenching line that leads to a long, lingering raspberry and confectionary nuanced finish. This is a bright and vibrant, up-front dryish rosé with aromatic raspberry, cherry and floral flavours with some confectionary lift on a light-textured, mouthwatering palate. Match with canapes, dim sum and antipasto over the next 2 years. 54% clones 5 and 6, fruit from the ’25 Steps’ Pisa vineyard, vines 15 y.o., and 46% clone 115 from the ‘Cairnmuir Road’ vineyard, vines 16 y.o., given 6 days skin contact and cool-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 7.2 g/L RS. 17.5-/20 Oct 2017 RRP $24.00

Akarua ‘Rua’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

17+/20

Even ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is gently full and up-front with aromas of ripe, dark-red cherry and raspberries along with harmoniously integrated notes of dark herbs and red florals. Medium-full bodied the palate is even in expression with gentle, mouthfilling flavours of dark-red cherries and raspberries with subtle notes of plums. Notes of dark herbs, earth and liquorice show, unfolding red florals. The fruit is underlined by supple, balanced tannin extraction with integrated acidity. The flavours carry smoothly to a lingering finish of dark red fruits with herb and earth suggestions. This is a harmoniously balanced, up-front Pinot Noir with dark cherry and raspberry fruit and subtle herb notes on a supple, light-textured palate. Serve with pasta, poultry and pork dishes over the next 3+ years. Central Otago fruit fully destemmed and fermented partially with indigenous yeasts to 14.0% alc. the wine aged 6 months in 10% new French oak. 17.0+/20 Oct 2017 RRP $ 25.00

Bright, even, ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose elegantly presented with fresh, bright primary dark-red cherry and raspberry fruit aromas, along with lifted red floral notes and subtle whole berry fermentation confectionary perfumes, unfolding a layer of thyme herbs. Medium-full bodied, the palate features bright, up-front, lively primary and aromatic fruit flavours of cherries and raspberries, with lifted florals and confectionary detail. The palate balances juicy fruit with fine, grainy tannin structure, with fresh lacy acidity providing energy and vibrancy. The wine carries to a long and sustained, slender finish of bright cherry and raspberry fruit. This is an up-front, vibrant, primary-fruited Pinot Noir with cherry and raspberry flavours on a balanced, dry, grainy-textured palate. Match with antipasto, poultry and pork over the next 3+ years. Central Otago fruit fully destemmed and fermented partially with indigenous yeasts to 14.0% alc. the wine aged 6 months in 10% new French oak. 16.5+/20 Mar 2017 RRP $25.00

Akarua Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

18.5+/20

Dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour. The nose is soft, fully voluminous and up-front with dark-red berry and black plum fruit aromas, This has very good ripeness. The palate features rich, ripe fruit flavours of black cherries and berries with subtle black plums. This is succulent and plush. The fruit is supported by ripe tannin extraction with good enlivening acidity. A classical and archetype example. Fruit from the ‘Cairnmuir’ and ‘Felton Road’ blocks, vines 20 y.o., fully destemmed and fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 27% new French oak barriques. 18.5+/20 Nov 2017 RRP $43.00

Full, even, ruby-red colour with slight purple tints on the edge. The nose is very elegant in proportion with refined and concentrated, fragrant aromas of dark-red cherry nd berry fruit with plum nuances, and hints of liquorice with a layering of spicy oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate has elegantly rich and concentrated flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit with plums, notes of liquorice and spicy oak. The fruit has good depth and intensity, with fine-grained, flowery tannin extraction in support with integrated, balanced acidity. The palate flows smoothly along a refined line, leading to an elegant, sustained finish of cherries, liquorice and spices. This is a beautifully elegant, refined Pinot Noir with intense cherry and berry fruit with herb, liquorice and spicy oak interest on a fine-grained palate. Match with poultry and pork, and with Asian or Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 6-7+ years. Fruit from the ‘Cairnmuir’ and ‘Felton Road’ blocks, vines 20 y.o., fully destemmed and fermented to 14.0%alc., the wine aged 10 months in 27% new French oak barriques. 19.0-/20 Oct 2017 RRP $43.00
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