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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

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Charles Wiffen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5/20
Bright, very light straw colour, near colourless on the rim. The nose is soft and finely expressed with gently concentrated aromas of gooseberry fruit intermingling with herbs, green capsicums, white florals and mouthwatering mineral nuances. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate is very tightly bound and youthfully slender in proportion, showing flavours of gooseberries, white florals, herbs and limes. This has a taut, concentrated and focussed core, the wine flowing with precision along a thirst-quenching, fine phenolic, dry-textured line. The acidity is refined and integrated, lending tension as the palate carries to a tight, chalky, minerally finish. This is a youthfully taut and elegant, mouthwateringly dry Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry and minerally flavours. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 2+ years. Fruit from the ‘Flipper Block’, a single vineyard wine, fermented in stainless-steel with 12% in oak to 13.0% alc. and <1 g/L RS, TA 7.9 g/L and pH 3.02. 17.5/20 Feb 2016 RRP $21.35

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

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Riesling 2012

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough

18.5+/20
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 Pinot Gris 2015

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

18-/20
Light straw-yellow colour with slight green-gold hues and a suggestion of blush, pale edged. The nose is softly packed with aromas of yellow stonefruits entwined with gentle layers of honeysuckle and exotic florals, revealing savoury, nutty lees elements as the aromatics grow in volume and depth. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate features a good core of yellow stonefruits melded with yellow florals and subtle honeysuckle notes. Some nutty lees elements add interest. The flavours are gently rich and harmoniously presented with good concentration, and flow along a fine-textured phenolic line with soft underlying acidity providing energy. The wine carries to a softly packed, lingering finish of stonefruits and savoury honeysuckle. This is a softly concentrated, medium-dry Pinot Gris with balanced richness and textures. Serve with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from the ‘Wiffen’ vineyards, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.8% alc. and 12 g/L RS, 10% aged in barrel for 8 months, as was the tank-aged portion. 18.0-/20 Jun 2016 RRP $24.00

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

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2011

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Marlborough

18/20
Fruit from the ‘Wiffen’ vineyard and ‘Rose’ block in Spring Creek, fermented with 12% in seasoned oak to 13.2% alc. and 11 g/L RS. Brilliant straw-yellow with light lemon-gold hues, pale edged. The bouquet is elegant with good intensity and concentrated aromas of rose-petals infused with musk, revealing ginger elements in an amalgam with savoury hair oil and creaming soda elements. Medium-dry to taste, the palate features a moderately rich and lush core with a slippery flow. Flavours of rose-petals, root ginger, musk and creaming soda are complexed by subtle savoury secondary nuances. The wine possesses good underlying alcohol power and drive, balanced by lacy acidity which enlivens the fruitiness. The wine leads to a softly textural finish with a little characteristic varietal bitterness. This is an elegantly concentrated medium-dry Gewurztraminer with some richness and subtle secondary oily richness. Match with Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine over the next 3-4 years. 18.0/20 Aug 2014 RRP $24.00

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

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2014

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough

18-/20
Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale on rim. The nose is softly full and restrained in expression with a harmoniously interwoven core of white and yellow stonefruits, citrus fruits, nuts and creamy barrel-ferment elements. Complexing white floral, lemon curd and oak vanillin nuances emerge with aeration. Medium-bodied, the flavours of stonefruits show with a delicate richness, enhancing the subtle unctuous and smooth-flowing textures and line. Citrus fruit, nuts, creamy oak and a little MLF unfold in the glass. A finely textured linear thread and core carries the wine with good lacy acid poise to a long, lingering, elegant finish. This is a very youthful, elegant Chardonnay with subtle richness and smooth textures. It has the potential to develop greater levels of interest with a degree of finesse over the next 4-5+ years. Serve with seafood and most white meat dishes. Mendoza and clone 15 fruit from mature vines fully barrel-fermented to 13.3% alc. and 3 g/L RS, the wine aged 9 months in 25% new French oak, on lees with a small portion undergoing MLF. 18.0-/20 May 2015 RRP $24.55

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


Charles Wiffen Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2016

Rose from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5+/20
Bright, light, cherry-pink colour with some depth, paler on the rim with slight purple hues. This has a fresh, elegantly proportioned nose with bright and fragrant raspberry and cherry fruit entwined with red florals, along with subtle notes of confectionary and suggestions of fermentation esters. The aromatics grow in intensity and penetration with aeration. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated with a core of raspberry, cherry and strawberryish fruit lifted by red florals and notes of confectionary. The palate balances juiciness with refreshing acidity lending a thirst-quenching mouthfeel, and the wine flows along a fine-textured line, carrying to a long, lingering, aromatic finish of red berry fruits and nuances of confectionary. This is a juicy, refreshing, aromatic, dryish rosé with raspberry, cherry and strawberry fruit. Serve as an aperitif, with tapas and dim sum over the next 2 years. Estate grown fruit for the rosé style, 93% Pinot Noir, given 12 hours skin contact and tank-fermented, the wine blended with 7% Pinot Gris. This is 12.5% alc. and 4 g/L RS. 17.5+/20 Feb 2017 RRP $21.35

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

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5/20
Moderately dark, even ruby-red, a little lighter on the rim. This has a soft, restrained and gently voluminous bouquet with seamlessly interwoven aromas of soft red berry fruits, savoury herbs, hints of earth and game, and nutty, cedary oak. The aromatics are smooth layered with detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate and mouthfeel is soft and smooth, with lovely integration and layers of savoury red berry fruits, red florals, dried herbs and earthy suggestions. This is just beginning to show some secondary development and interest. The wine follows an elegant line and smooth-flowing core with supple, fine-grained tannins and integrated acidity in support. The palate leads to a sweet and savoury long and sustained, crisp finish of red fruits, herbs and cedar. This is a smooth and integrated Pinot Noir with seamless savoury flavours of red fruits, herbs, earth and cedar. Serve with mushroom dishes, and wild duck or pork over the next 4-5 years. A blend of 64% 10/5, 23% 667 and 13% Abel clone, hand-picked destemmed, given a cold soak and fermented to 13.7% alc., the wine aged approx. 9 months in 25.4% new French oak barriques. 17.5/20 Nov 2015 RRP $28.20

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

17.5/20

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

16.5/20
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

17.5+/20
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

Hopscotch Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

16.5+/20
Brilliant, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is fresh and tightly bound with youthful aromas of gooseberries, cut grass and nettles, the fruit in the cooler spectrum, unfolding white florals, fresh herbs and mineral nuances. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate possesses fresh and taut, mouthwatering flavours of gooseberries, white florals and herbs, with layers of cut grass and nettles. The palate is crisp and lively with brisk acidity, and the wine follows a taut, fine, grainy textured, drying line, which carries to a tight, lingering finish of gooseberries, cut grass, nettles and florals. This is a crisp and tightly bound Sauvignon Blanc with cooler-spectrum gooseberry, cut grass and nettle flavours and a dry, textural line. Serve with seafood, salads and vegetables over the next 2 years. Fruit from the ‘Flipper Block’, a single vineyard wine, fermented in stainless-steel with 12% in oak to 13.0% alc. and <1 g/L RS, TA 7.9 g/L and pH 3.02 16.5+/20 Jun 2016 RRP $17.95

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

Hopscotch Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough

17.5+/20
Even, dark ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with a suggestion of garnet. This has a finely concentrated bouquet with well-packed aromas of dark-red berry fruits entwined with subtle nuances of fresh and dried herbs, and some nutty, spicy oak, savoury red florals and the beginnings of secondary detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate possesses a concentrated core of rich and moderately luscious, savoury dark-red berry fruits melded with a layering of fresh and dried herbs. Some secondary undergrowth elements emerge to add interest. The fruit and mouthfeel have vitality and lacy acidity adds liveliness. The wine flows along a gently extracted line and the structure is supple and balanced. The wine carries to a sustained, juicy and refreshing finish. This is a finely concentrated, juicy dark-red fruited Pinot Noir with some savoury secondary interest developing, on a supple, lively palate. Match with wild duck and pork dishes over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Wiffen’ vineyards, fully destemmed and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 30% new French oak. 17.5+/20 Dec 2016 RRP $25.95

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

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