Featured Reviews

Charles Wiffen Wines – Wine2Trade Portfolio

04 August,2011

The Charles Wiffen wines consistently win gold medal and trophy awards. Charles and Sandi Wiffen are long-established Marlburnians farming cattle and sheep on their 14,000 ha ‘Inverness' property just a few kilometres north of Cheviot. The Wiffens wine industry involvement began as partners in a share-planted vineyard in 1980, which saw them as one of the original grape growers for Penfolds and Delegats, supplying some of the earliest Marlborough wine labels. In 1997 they set up their own label, Charles Wiffen Wines.
The Wiffens have 50 ha of vines, planted in the Lower Wairau and Southern Valleys regions, on New Renwick Road, adjacent to Wither Hills. The varieties planted are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Merlot. Melissa Sutherland and Jason Tripe are the viticulturists. Their vineyard provides practically all the fruit for their wines (a little is sourced from Peter Rose's vineyard), and the remainder is taken by other producers as premium quality resource. At present, the annual production is around 6,000 cases of wine.
Charles and Sandi have entrusted their winemaking to Anthony Ivicevich and James Rowan of West Brook, in Waimauku, West Auckland. Daughter Rebecca is a winemaker, at Lawson's Dry Hills, where some of the fruit is initially processed before being tankered up to Auckland.  www.charleswiffenwines.co.nz

The second tier ‘Hopscotch’ label offers wines with a friendly approach. The front label features a hopscotch grid used for the popular children’s game, and the back label quotes Cat Stevens "Remember the days of the old school yard, we used to laugh a lot”, thus evoking fun and carefree times.
Archived tasting notes on wines no longer commercially available can be seen by clicking here


Charles Wiffen Marlborough Riesling 2012

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough

Brilliant yellow colour with lemon-green hues, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is elegant and tightly concentrated with aromas of lime fruit entwined with piquant yellow florals and delicate herbal notes, revealing soft, complexing toasty elements with honey nuances. The aromatic grow in finesse and intensity with aeration. Medium-dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the flavours of lime and citrus fruits are entwined with yellow florals, toast and honey and show with real penetration and depth. The mouthfeel is crisp, bright and taut, with very fine textures from the fruit extract. Brisk acidity lends raciness and tension, and the wine leads to a mouthwatering, zesty finish of limes and toast. This is a crisp, bright and intensely flavoured medium-dry Riesling with lime fruit and complexing toasty and honeysuckle notes. Serve as an aperitif, with seafood and Pacific Rim fare over the next 5+ years. Fruit from two ‘Wiffen’ blocks, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 10.9% alc., 20 g/L RS, TA 10.7 g/L and pH 2.7. 18.5+/20 Jun 2016 RRP $20.15

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2012

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Marlborough


Full straw-yellow colour with light green-gold hues, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is softly full and broad with harmoniously presented aromas of savoury tropical fruits with notes of root-ginger, and nuances of exotic florals unfolding some earthy secondary development complexities. Medium-dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has rich flavours of savoury tropical and exotic fruits along with Turkish Delight and root-ginger, entwined with savoury earthy and nutty complexing detail. The flavours form a rounded, near-unctuous core with moderate concentration, underlined by some alcoholic power. The wine carries with light phenolic-textures to a lingering finish of savoury tropical fruits. This is a mature medium-dry Gewurztraminer with a near-unctuous palate of savoury tropical fruit flavours on a palate with alcohol drive. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 2+ years. Fruit predominantly from the ‘Rose’ vineyard with ‘Wiffen’ estate fruit, fermented in stainless-steel with 9% in seasoned barrels to 13.2% alc. and 15 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 17.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $24.00

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, even, light lemon-gold colour with some depth, paler on the edge. The nose is elegantly proportioned with softly concentrated and packed aromas with layers of yellow stonefruits and citrus fruits harmoniously melded with subtle, fragrant nutty oak along with mealy and toasty complexities. This has a completeness to the expression. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a taut and concentrated heart with intensely packed, but stylishly presented, layered flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, citrus fruit, creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak all interwoven and harmoniously balanced. The palate flows smoothly and seamlessly with some underlying power and fine, lacy acidity, leading to an elegant, sustained finish. This is a beautifully harmonious and integrated Chardonnay with stonefruit, citrus fruit, creamy and nutty oak and mealy detail, the wine quite complete in itself. Serve with grilled or roasted poultry or pork dishes over the next 4 years. Fruit from the Wiffen ‘Omaka’ block, fully barrel-fermented to 13.7% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 20% new French oak barriques, undergoing batonnage and full MLF. 18.5+/20 Oct 2018 RRP $24.55

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2018

Rose from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale cerise-pink colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh and firm with elegantly concentrated aromas of redcurrants and red florals with subtle thirst-quenching herbal elements, unfolding cranberry notes. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has moderately concentrated fruity core showing redcurrants, cherries and herbal notes, revealing cranberry and floral elements. The mouthfeel is refreshing and mouthwatering with crisp acidity, and the wine flows with good linearity, leading to a lingering finish that unfolds a red floral and herb amalgam. This is a moderately concentrated, refreshing and thirst-quenching dry rosé with redcurrant, red cherry and cranberry fruit with herb and floral detail and good linearity. Match with antipasto, tapas, and Mediterranean fare over the next 2 years. Pinot Noir fruit from the ‘Flynn’ vineyard off Rapaura Road, given 8 hours skin contact and pressed to tank for fermentation to 12.0% alc. and 4.5 g/L RS. 17.5/20 Oct 2018 RRP $21.35

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

Charles Wiffen ‘Reserve' Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


41% clone 10/5, 32% 115, 21% 667 and 6% 777. Fifth crop fruit from the ‘Charles Wiffen' vineyards in the Southern Valleys, hand-picked and fermented to 13.4% alc., the wine was aged in French oak barrels for 9 months. Moderately deep ruby-red colour with garnet and brick hues on edge. This has a tight, elegant bouquet of savoury red berry and cherry aromas along with notes of dried herbs, forest-floor and oak cedar forming a complex amalgam. Medium-full bodied, this has a layered, secondary flavour profile with red berry fruits, dried herbs, cedar, Middle Eastern spices and toast. The flavours on mid-palate are rich and enlivened by bright acidity and underlined by fine, near velvet-like tannins which lead to a long, dry, direct finish. Showing complexing secondary development, this has fine textures and oak spices that will make it a match with pork and lamb dishes over the next 3-4+ years. 17.5/20 Feb 2012 RRP $35.00

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade', the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews' operates

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Merlot 2015

Merlot from New Zealand – Marlborough

Even, dark ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues. This has a light and tightly bound nose with aromas of black berried and curranty fruit melded with a soft and gentle amalgam of black plums, herbs and oak toast. Light-medium bodied and elegantly presented, the palate features a light core of black and red curranty fruit with nuances of plums, herbs and toasty oak. The mouthfeel has modest, fine-grained tannin extraction and fresh acid cut and line providing brightness and vitality. The wine carries to a light, lingering, fine-textured finish of currants and herbs. This is a fresh, light fruited and bodied Merlot with curranty, plum and herb flavours and fine, light grip. Match with beef and lamb dishes and Mediterranean fare over the next 4 years. Hand-picked fruit, fermented to 12.7% alc., the wine aged 7-8 months in 27% new oak. 16.5/20 Feb 2016 RRP $25.35

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Late Harvest Riesling 2015

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth. The nose is rich and full with aromas of ripe citrus fruit interwoven with layers of tropical fruits, musky grapes and raisins with nutty and honied notes. This has depth and intensity. Very sweet to taste and light-medium bodied, the flavours are up-front and well-proportioned, showing ripe apricots, citrus and tropical fruits, melded with honey, musk and raisin notes. The mouthfeel is rounded and has a degree of unctuousness, with soft acidity providing gentle energy. The wine follows a subtly-textured line which leads to a soft, lingering finish of ripe citrus fruit, honey and raisins with delicate phenolics and grip. This is a softly rich Late Harvest Riesling with citrus, apricot, honey and raisiny flavours. Match with fruit and baked desserts over the next 4+ years. Late-picked Riesling fruit with a little botrytis from the Wiffen ‘North Block’, fermented in stainless-steel to 12.5% alc. and 160 g/L RS, TA 8.03 g/L and pH 3.41, the wine aged 7 months on lees. (375 ml) 17.5+/20 Mar 2016 RRP $35.35

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

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