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Featured Reviews




Askerne Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Bordeaux Varietal Releases

27 June,2018

Askerne Winery was established in 1993 when John and Kathryn Loughlin planted 11 ha of white varieties on the Te Mata – Mangateretere Road at Havelock North, just down the road from John’s father’s Waimarama Estate. They did not plant reds so as to not conflict with Waimarama Estate’s production. They eventually planted 9 ha of reds in 2000 after John’s father sold, this giving them a vineyard offering a broad range of wines. The Loughlins have had a number of different winemakers, but I believe that the wines have taken a noticeable step-up with Ant Mackenzie coming on board in 2013. The arrival of the talented Hayden Penny has furthered the progress, and both Ant and Hayden have given fine-tuning viticultural advice to the Loughlin family so the fruit is in even better condition. Hayden Penny has now taken over the winemaking role, joined at the start of May this year by Oliver Styles from Vidal Estate. Ant now takes a less hands-on, but still important consultant’s role. The advances and developments at Askerne are looking pretty exciting. Here I review new releases of Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Syrah and the Bordeaux-varietal wines. www.askerne.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Askerne Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

18-/20

Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, paler edged. The nose is softly full with moderately deep aromas of yellow stonefruits entwined with notes of flinty, minerally lees and some sweet, nutty oak. Creamy barrel-ferment and savoury mealy layers unfold to add richness. Medium-bodied, the palate is rich and rounded with plush flavours of savoury yellow stonefruits along with mealy notes, subtle creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak. The flavours are balanced and integrated and show good mouthfeel and presence. Light acidity provides freshness and tension as the wine flows to a soft finish. This is a rich and plush, integrated Chardonnay with stonefruit, nutty and mineral notes with good mouthfeel and weight. Match with roasted pork over the next 4 years. Clones Mendoza, 15, 95 and 6, fully barrel-fermented, partially with indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc., the wine aged approx. 10 months in 35% new oak, undergoing 100% MLF. 18.0-/20 Jun 2018 RRP $22.90

Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, paler edged. The nose is softly full with moderately deep aromas of yellow stonefruits entwined with notes of flinty, minerally lees and some sweet, nutty oak. Creamy barrel-ferment and savoury mealy layers unfold to add richness. Medium-bodied, the palate is rich and rounded with plush flavours of savoury yellow stonefruits along with mealy notes, subtle creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak. The flavours are balanced and integrated and show good mouthfeel and presence. Light acidity provides freshness and tension as the wine flows to a soft finish. This is a rich and plush, integrated Chardonnay with stonefruit, nutty and mineral notes with good mouthfeel and weight. Match with roasted pork over the next 4 years. Clones Mendoza, 15, 95 and 6, fully barrel-fermented, partially with indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc., the wine aged approx. 10 months in 35% new oak, undergoing 100% MLF. 18.0-/20 Jun 2018 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Gewurztraminer 2016

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

19-/20

Full, even, light golden-hued yellow colour. The nose is softly full and voluminous, with ripe, opulent aromas of tropical fruits along with rose-petals and Turkish Delight, unfolding savoury musk notes, exotic florals and a little root ginger adding interest. Medium in sweetness and medium-full bodied, the palate has deeply rich, opulent and decadent flavours of savoury tropical fruit, musk, wild honey, entwined with rose-petals and Turkish Delight, and a complexing thread of root ginger. The mouthfeel has suggestions of unctuousness and the fruit is underlined by a little alcoholic power. The acidity is soft and enhances the fruit opulence and luscious textures. The fruit carries to a very long, lush finish. This is a rich, lusciously opulent medium Gewurztraminer with ripe tropical fruit, musk and Turkish Delight flavours with notes of honey. Match with mildly spicy Middle Eastern fare over the next 3-4 years. A blend predominantly of clone 1106 and 456 fruit, a late-picked portion of clone 456 indigenous yeast barrel-fermented, the fruit fermented to 14.0% alc. and 11 g/L RS. 19.0-/20 Jun 2018 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Gewurztraminer 2015

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

18.5-/20

Bright straw-yellow colour with lemon-gold hues. The nose is fresh and taut with a fine and firm core of exotic florals, rose-petals, citrus fruit, suggestions of herbs and nuts, and a steely edge with mineral nuances. Medium in sweetness and medium-full bodied, the palate has elegantly concentrated and fine heart with soft-textures, showing flavours of rose-petals, exotic florals and citrus fruit, along with refreshing and steely notes of herbs and minerals. The palate possesses richness and a degree of lusciousness, the core unveiling spices and an array of florals. The wine flows smoothly with linearity along a fine-textured line with soft acidity, leading to a lingering finish. This is an elegantly concentrated, rich, medium Gewurztraminer with taut flavours of rose-petals, exotic florals, citrus fruit, herbs and minerals forming a sleek mouthfeel and line. Serve with Asian fare over the next 4 years. Fruit fermented in tank with 15% in barrel to 14.0% alc. and 11 g/L RS. 18.5-/20 Jun 2018 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

16.5/20

Garnet-red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is soft with gently packed and integrated aromas of savoury berry fruit along with a layering of earth and dried and dark herbs, along with an amalgam of red florals and undergrowth elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate has soft, savoury red berry fruit and dark-red floral lifted fruit harmoniously interwoven with dark and dried herbs, a little earth, some game and nuances of cedar adding detail. The fruit forms a softly concentrated core with good integrated acidity and light, supple tannin extraction. The wine carries to a light finish. This is a soft and harmonious Pinot Noir with savoury red berry and floral fruit with notes of herbs and earth on a supple palate. Match with antipasto and tapas over the next 3 years. Predominantly clones 667 and 777, with Abel, 5 and 10/5, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 30% new French oak. 16.5/20 Jun 2018 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5+/20

Dark, deep, ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is fresh and firm with very good depth and concentration of ripe dark-red cherry and berry fruit along with notes of black plums and spices, unfolding some fresh, piquant dark herbs. Some game notes unfold with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and sweet, juicy and vibrant fruit flavours of red berry fruit, dark plums and subtle notes of savoury dark herbs and earth, unfolding spice nuances. The palate is bright and the mouthfeel has good vitality and energy. The fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction with light, lacy acidity providing freshness and energy. The wine carries to a soft, lingering finish. This is a bright and juicy, ripe Pinot Noir with cherry, berry and plum fruit flavours along with dark herbs and earth unfolding floral and spices on a fine-textured palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 5 years. Predominantly clones 667 and 777, with Abel, 5 and 10/5, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 30% new French oak. 17.5+/20 Jun 2018 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2016

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5/20

Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, a little lighter edged and youthful in appearance. The nose is elegantly presented with fresh, fragrant aromas of dark raspberries and blackberries with notes of black pepper, a little spice and some violet floral elements, unfolding a hint of funky, savoury game. This has good depth and presented harmoniously. Medium-bodied, the palate has sweet, plush and luscious flavours of dark raspberries and blackberries along with black pepper, spices and some game elements. The fruit is underlined by supple, fine-grained tannins and softly fresh acidity lending a moderately fine line with some grip. The wine carries to a taut, lingering finish of blackberries, raspberries, earth and game. This is a sweet and plush Syrah with blackberry and raspberry fruit along with spice, floral and funky game suggestions on a fine palate with some grip, Serve with Mediterranean fare over the next 4+ years. 100% Syrah, fully destemmed, given a cold soak and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 30% new French oak. 17.5/20 Jun 2018 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

18+/20

Full, even, dark, deep ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is firm and tightly bound with a core of ripe blackberry fruit along with a complex amalgam of violet florals, black pepper, minerals and tar, along with complexing earthy and reductive elements. This is concentrated, intense and elegant. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a firm and well-bound, well-concentrated palate with flavours of ripe black berried fruits entwined with black pepper and minerals with a little tar and earth. The fruit forms an intensely deep, but elegantly proportioned heart which is supported by fine-grained, flowery tannin extraction with fine acid balance. This has richness, structure and linearity, and carries to a sustained finish of ripe black fruits and minerals. This is a taut and concentrated ripe Syrah with rich fruit, mineral and tar notes on a fine-grained, well-structured palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-8 years. 97.5% Syrah and 2.5% Viognier, hand-picked fruit, destemmed, given a cold soak and indigenous yeast co-fermented to13.0%, the wine aged 18 months in 30% new French oak. 18.0+/20 Jun 2018 RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Franc 2016

Cabernet Franc from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5+/20

Dark, deep, even ruby-red colour with black hues at the heart, a little lighter edged. The nose is full and broad with well-packed aromas of savoury dark-red berry fruit and earthy notes along with subtle notes of black and redcurrants. This has depth and density. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a solid but rounded core with flavours of dark-red berry fruit entwined with a layering of soft dark and dried herbs, with earthy elements, unveiling some redcurrant and blackcurrant notes. The fruit sweetness grows as the wine flows. The palate is underlined by fine-grained tannin extraction lending good structure and grip, and the wine flows to a fulsome, broad, savoury finish. This is a well-packed, solid Cabernet Franc with savoury berryfruit melded with herbs and earth on a well-structured palate. Match with casseroles and slow-cooked game meats over the next 5-6 years. A blend of 93% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot, indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 38% new oak. 17.5/20RRP $22.90

Askerne Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2016

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

18+/20

Dark, deep, ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is very elegant in proportion with intense and vibrant aromas of dark-red berry-fruit and black plums, along with blackcurrants, a little cassis with fresh mint and herb elements. This has fragrance and aromatic lift. Medium-full bodied, the palate is bright and fresh with lively and aromatic fruit flavours of ripe, dark-red berry fruit and black plums, along with notes of earth and blackcurrants, entwined with fresh and dark herbs. The fruit is sweet and lively and is enhanced by fresh lacy acidity and the wine flows along a fine-grained tannin line, leading to a long, lingering finish of sweet blackcurrants, black plums and aromatic herbs. This is a beautifully vibrant and lively Merlot/Cabernet/Franc blend with bright berry fruit and herb notes on a fine-grained palate with freshness. A blend of 65.9% Merlot, 14.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.2% Cabernet Franc and 7.3% Malbec, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 18 months in approx. 40% new oak. 18.0+/20 Jun 2018 RRP $22.90

Askerne ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec 2016

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

18.5/20

Full, even, dark, black-hued ruby-red colour with some purple tints. The nose is deep with concentrated aromas of ripe, dark-red and black-berried fruit along with black plums intermixed with savoury berry fruits, earthy elements and a subtle layering of dark herbs. Full-bodied, the palate has rich and ripe, densely packed flavours of black plums and black berried fruit with a layering of dark herbs and earth. The fruit has sweetness and vitality and is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction lending balanced structure and grip. Fresh acidity lends energy and tension, and the concentrated flavours carry to a sweet, lingering blackcurrant and plum-fruited finish. This is a rich and densely-packed, vibrant Merlot/Franc/Cabernet blend with black fruits and earth on a sweet palate with excellent structure and life. Match with roasted and grilled game meat dishes and semi-hard cheeses over the next 6-8+ years. A blend of 42.8% Merlot, 28.6% Cabernet Franc, and 14.3% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 50% new oak. 18.5/20 Jun 2018 RRP $31.90

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