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Featured Reviews

Greystone, Muddy Water and Thistle Ridge 2013 Releases

08 July,2014
The Thomas family who own the Greystone, Muddy Water and Thistle Ridge labels in the Waipara Valley are finding great success with all of their brands, putting them among the leading producers in the district. The 2012 wines from a cooler and what is regarded as a relatively challenging vintage have captured many top awards, and now come the 2013s, deemed an outstanding year. No doubt, expectations will be high! I feel winemaker Dom Maxwell has been in his stride over the last couple of years, and even better things are in the works. Here, I review a selection of 2013 wines from the Thomas family. The aromatic wines show a greater degree of elegance and finesse, along with the increasing incorporation of minerally complexities in nominated labels for diversity in the ranges of wines under the different brands. The wines have retained brilliant acidity and freshness.


Greystone ‘Sand Dollar’ Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2013

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara

Bright, very pale straw-yellow colour, lighter on edge. The nose is delicate and refined with aromas of pure white stonefruits and subtle exotic florals, revealing nuances of pears and honeysuckle. Dryish to taste, the palate is finely proportioned and tightly bound with very delicate flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, enriched with pear fruit and honeysuckle notes. The mouthfeel is bright and refreshing with a steely linearity, the fresh, lacy acidity providing good energy to the palate core. The wine flows with good tension to a light, subtle floral lifted finish. This is a very elegant, tightly restrained and delicate, dryish Pinot Gris, with fresh acidity. Serve with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 4+ years. Early-picked fruit, cool-fermented in tank, with 5% indigenous yeast fermented in barrel to 13.5% alc. and 4.7 g/L RS, the wine undergoing batonnage. 1,095 cases made. 17.5+/20 Jul 2014 RRP $26.00

Greystone Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2013

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara

Bright, full, straw-yellow colour with a suggestion of blush. This has an elegant, refined and tightly bound nose with concentrated aromas of white florals and white stonefruits in a restrained and complex amalgam of honeysuckle and minerally, flinty lees work. Nuances of exotic florals and spices unfold, and the expression is beautifully poised and balanced, with fruitiness juxtaposed with complexity. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a softly concentrated core of white and yellow stonefruits interwoven with honeysuckle and flinty detail. The mouthfeel has a discreet richness and very fine-textured flow, with soft acidity providing good tension and liveliness. Exotic floral and tropical notes emerge and are carried to a delicate, long-lingering finish with honied notes. This is an elegant, medium-dry Pinot Gris with a softly concentrated array of exotic and minerally flavours. Match with most white meat courses and Asian fare over the next 4-5 years. Fermented in tank with a small portion in 500 L French oak puncheons to 13.5% alc. and 12 g/L rs, the tank portion undergoing batonnage for 2 months and aged on les for 3 months. 1,085 cases made. 18.5/20 Jul 2014 RRP $26.00

Greystone ‘Sea Star’ Waipara Valley Riesling 2013

Riesling from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara

Hand-picked fruit from high sloped sites, given a 10 hour soak and WBP, cool-fermented to 13.0% alc. and 2.8 g/L RS, with TA 7.0 g/L and pH 3.27, the wine undergoing batonnage. Brilliant straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale on rim. The nose is very fine and tightly held with pure aromas of limes, lemon, white florals and wet-stone minerals, revealing honeysuckle notes in the glass. The bouquet is mouthwatering with its clarity. Dry to taste, rich and succulent lime and lemon fruit flavours are enlivened by fine, underlying acidity. The flavours blossom to reveal white flowers and honeysuckle. The palate flows seamlessly and with vitality, underlined by a very soft, fine phenolic thread and line, melded with delicate flinty nuances. The piquant acidity carries the wine to a very long and sustained, thirst-quenching finish. This is a delicately poised, luscious and mouthwatering dry Riesling. Serve as an aperitif and with subtle seafood dishes over the next 5-6+ years. 275 cases made. 18.5+/20 Jul 2014 RRP $26.00

Muddy Water ‘James Hardwick’ Waipara Riesling 2013

Riesling from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara

Bright, full straw-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on rim. This has a full and densely concentrated nose of honied florals entwined with funky, flinty minerally lees aromatics, the bouquet refreshing, lively and expressed with vitality and focus. Medium-dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the mouthfeel has plenty of presence with a softly concentrated and complex core of citrus fruits and wet-stone minerally reduction. The fruit has sweetness and juiciness, and is balanced by crisp, racy, mouthwatering acidity and a very fine-textured phenolic line. The wine has positive drive, leading to a lusciously long, lingering finish with lime and flinty notes. This is a complex, funky, off-dry Riesling with juicy fruit in a contemporary Alsace style. Serve as an aperitif, with tapas, seafood and poultry over the next 5-6 years. Hand-picked fruit from two blocks at Muddy Water, from vines around 20 y.o., WBP and cool-fermented by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., and 12.0 g/L RS and pH 3.14. Certified AsureQuality organic. 18.5+/20 Jul 2014 RRP $26.00

Thistle Ridge Waipara Chardonnay 2013

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara

Predominantly clone 95 fruit, hand-picked and 50% indigenous yeast barrel-fermented with 50% tank-fermented, to 14.0% alc., the tank portion aged in oak puncheons, and the wine undergoing MLF. Bright straw-yellow colour with slight golden hues. The nose is fresh and up-front with moderately deep aromas of citrus and yellow stonefruits intermixed with creamy, buttery, nutty aromas of MLF and barrel work. Medium-bodied, juicy, plush and succulent citrus and stonefruit flavours form a good core with mealy, buttery MLF and oak elements. The flavours are up-front, and refreshed by bright and lacy acidity providing balance to the creamy textures and flavours. The palate is guided by a light, textured line to a soft, harmonious finish. This is a softly full and succulent Chardonnay with creamy, buttery flavours and a fresh mouthfeel. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 3-4 years. 485 cases made. 17.5/20 Jul 2014 RRP $20.00

Thistle Ridge Waipara Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara

Full, dark, even ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on rim. The nose is full, up-front and softly packed with ripe aromas of dark raspberries and plums, along with fresh herb and minerally notes, lifted with florals and hints of whole berry fermentation confectionary elements. Medium-full bodied, rich, ripe and succulently sweet fruit flavours of red berryfruit, raspberry liqueur and plum jam feature on the palate. The mouthfeel is fresh and lively with bright, elevated acidity, and the fruit is supported by grainy tannin extraction and structure which builds in texture and presence. The wine has energy and drive, and the palate leads to a dry, chalky finish. This is a full, up-front, ripe, raspberry fruited Pinot Noir with lively acidity and dry tannin textures. Serve with pasta, risotto, poultry, and barbecued and grilled dishes over the next 4 years. Predominantly clones 115 and 777, indigenous yeast fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine spending 25 days on skins and aged 11 months in French oak. 1,100 cases made. 17.5+/20 Jul 2014 RRP $20.00
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