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Featured Reviews

Daniel Le Brun Methodes and Morton Estate ‘Black Label’ Wines from LionCo

03 December,2018

The brewery giant Lion has long maintained a strong wine division, with the distribution of several high profile New Zealand wine brands that have performed very well. Lion over the years has acquired a further number of wine producers and labels strengthening their wine presence in the marketplace. One of the most significant was the purchase of Wither Hills in 2002. In 2007, Lion picked up the Daniel Le Brun method traditionnelle brand from the Nightingale family and co-owners, and this was followed by the acquisition of several Pernod-Ricard labels following the latter’s divestment of plant and vineyard assets in the Gisborne region. This brought to the Lion portfolio the very important Lindauer sparkling wines, as well as Corbans and its associated labels. The Morton Estate brand was purchased by Lion in 2014. Along with many other highly recognised and successful labels, the Lion wine portfolio is among this country’s largest and holds a most significant market share. Here, I review three wines from Daniel Le Brun, these being beautifully refined, and two bolder ‘Black Label’ wines from Morton Estate.


Daniel Le Brun Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle Brut NV

Sparkling Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with some depth, the bubbles very fine and very persistent. The nose is elegant in presentation with very fresh aromas of white and yellow stonefruits and apples along with a light, but concentrated core of delicate bready-yeasty autolysis. This is softly rounded and gentle in expression, but builds in intensity with aeration. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has fresh and sweet fruit flavours of white and yellow stonefruits and notes of apples and citrus fruits forming a rich, lush core. The fruit is entwined with subtle, restrained autolysis bread notes which lend a fine guiding line, with fresh acidity enlivening the mouthfeel and some creamy effervescence. This is refreshing and mouthwatering, and the flavours carry to a lingering finish. This is a fresh, up-front, fruit-focussed method traditionnelle with subtle autolysis and a mouthwatering palate. Serve as an anytime sparkling over the next 2-3 years. Hand-picked fruit from the Wairau Valley, 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir fermented to 12.5% alc. and aged 2-3 months on lees with MLF, then following secondary fermentation aged a minimum of 3 years on lees with a dosage of 8 g/L. Lot L170619-14. 18.0/20 Dec 2018 RRP $29.99

Daniel Le Brun Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle Rosé NV

Sparkling Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale candy-floss pink with some depth, lighter on the edge, the bubbles very fine and moderately persistent. The nose is fine in proportion with a taut, elegantly concentrated core of yellow stonefruits harmoniously melded with subtle notes if red berry fruits and suggestions of red florals, along with delicate, but positive bready-yeasty autolysis. This exudes delicacy, beauty and elegance. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is soft and rounded at the heart with harmoniously integrated flavours of yellow stonefruits, red florals and nuances of red berry fruit, complexed by delicate bread and yeast autolytic flavours. The mouthfeel is smooth with soft creaminess, with low acidity enhancing the roundness. The wine carries to a gentle finish with light, dry textures. This is a soft, smooth and harmonious rosé method traditionnelle with stonefruit and subtle floral and red berry fruit, and complexing gentle autolysis. Serve as an aperitif, with canapés and antipasto over the next 2+ years. Hand-picked Pinot Noir fruit from 3 Wairau Valley sites, fermented to 12.5% alc. and aged 2-3 months on lees with MLF, blended with 3-5% red Pinot Noir table wine and aged on lees in bottle with a dosage of 8 g/L dosage. Lot L180625-15. 18.5-/20 Dec 2018 RRP $29.99

Daniel Le Brun Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blancs 2012

Sparkling Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale golden-hued yellow colour, lighter on the rim, the bubbles fine and persistent. The nose is softly full and gently packed with a heart of white and yellow stonefruits, along with citrussy elements, intermixed with finely intense and penetrating bready-yeasty autolysis at the core. Nuances of savoury, nutty notes show the beginnings of complex development detail. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has tightly bound, intense and penetrating, deep flavours of white stonefruits, white florals and citrus fruit entwined with bready-yeasty autolysis and subtle nutty complexities. The fruit is delicately rich and luscious, and the mouthfeel has a creamy mousse, the wine flowing smoothly along a fine line with fresh acid energy and poise, carrying to a sustained finish. This is a tight and refined Blab de Blanc method with white stonefruits, red floral and berry notes with good depth of complexing autolytic flavours. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood and white meat dishes over the next 2-3+ years. 100% Chardonnay from the Wairau Valley WBP and fermented in French oak and stainless-steel and aged 2-3 months on lees, undergoing partial MLF to 12.5% alc. the wine aged a minimum of 5 years on lees in bottle with 6 g/L dosage. Lot L180625-12. 18.5+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $39.99

Morton Estate ‘Black Label’ Methode Brut NV

Sparkling Wine from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Bright, pale golden-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim, the bubbles very fine and persistent. The bouquet is finely proportioned with tightly bound aromas of yellow and white stonefruits harmoniously melded with a soft, savoury amalgam of bready-brioche and yeasty autolysis notes and subtle nutty aldehyde suggestions. The aromatics are integrated in expression. Dryish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is elegant in presentation with restrained flavours of yellow stonefruits with some citrus fruit notes entwined with savoury bready autolysis and a hint of nutty aldehyde. The flavours form a well-bound core with some concentration, and the mouthfeel enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity with the fine mousse adding creaminess. The wine carries along a very light-textured line leading to an elegant finish. This is an elegant, restrained method traditionnelle with yellow stonefruits, savoury autolysis and nutty elements on a fresh, creamy palate. Serve as an aperitif, and with white meat dishes over the next 3 years. A blend of 45% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir and 12% Pinot Meunier from Hawke’s Bay, fermented to 12.0% alc. undergoing MLF, and aged 4 years on lees in bottle with a dosage of 9 g/L, disgorged mid-2017. Lot L171009-13. 18.0-/20 Dec 2018 RRP $19.99

Morton Estate ‘Black Label’ Gisborne Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Gisborne


Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter edged. The nose is full and broad with good volume and a deep heart of ripe tropical and citrus fruits melded with a layer of creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak along with some buttery MLF. The aromatics are soft and round in presentation with subtle nutty, toasty detail emerging in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the palate has full and rich flavours, and is packed with ripe citrus and tropical fruit flavours, harmoniously entwined with creamy barrel-ferment, nutty, toasty oak and subtle lemon-curd and buttery MLF. The flavours are mouthfilling and accessible with fresh acidity providing palate drive, and the wine carries along line leading to a positive finish of tropical fruits, nuts and butter. Match with roasted pork over the next 4 years. Clones 15 and 95, equal portions from Ormond and Patutahi, fully barrel-fermented to 13.7% alc., the wine aged one year in 15% new oak with batonnage and partial MLF. 18.0+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $19.99

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