Featured Reviews




Laithwaites – An Imported Wine Selection

08 August,2017
The presence of Laithwaites in New Zealand since 2015 shows how much the U.K. home delivery wine merchant business established in 1969 has grown. The company has offices in the U.S. and Australia, and operates in many and diverse markets. One of the keys to its success is the ‘personal’ or ‘small scale’ image which promotes a closer relationship with the customer. Another factor is the care taken in selecting wines to suit each market. I’ve reviewed a number of Australian wines offered to New Zealand customers previously. Here, I review a more international selection, showing the global reach of the company. www.laithwaiteswine.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Alma Andina Mendoza Pinot Grigio 2016

Pinot Gris from Argentina

16.5+/20
Very pale straw colour, near colourless on the edge. The nose is very fresh, tight and slender in proportion with penetrating aromas of white stonefruits entwined with nuances of fragrant exotic florals, herbs, nutty elements and minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is finely concentrated and elegant in presentation with a tight core of white stonefruits melded with nuances of exotic florals, and an amalgam of herbs and honeysuckle. The tight heart and mouthfeel is enlivened by brisk acidity, and the wine flows along a light, firm-textured line leading to a clean refreshing, aromatic finish. This is a taut and elegant dry Pinot Grigio with stonefruit and floral flavours on a lively, firm but fine palate. Serve with Asian fare over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from Mendoza, Argentina, fermented in stainless-steel to 12.0% alc. Winemaker: Stephen Damien McEwen. 16.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $24.99

Vignobles Canet Picpoul de Pinet 2016

Other White from France – Other

16.5+/20
Bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hues, paler on the rim. This has a fresh and solidly packed nose with aromas of yellow and green stonefruits, fresh herbs and nuances of lanolin and wax. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is bright and vigorous with flavours of green and yellow stonefruits, fresh herbs and waxy, lanolin elements. The mouthfeel features fresh, lively acidity and the wine flows along a light, dry phenolic-textured line. The fruit forms a concentrated core and carries with some grip to a dry, textural finish of herbs and lanolin. This is a vigorous and robust Picpoul with herb and lanolin flavours with some phenolic grip and zesty acidity. Match with Mediterranean fare over the next 2 years, Picpoul fruit from the Coteaux de Languedoc, fermented in stainless-steel to 12.5% alc. Winemaker: Floris Lemstra. 16.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $26.00

H. J. Fabre ‘Barrel Selection’ Patagonia Malbec 2014

Malbec from Argentina

18/20
Very dark, deep, black-red colour, near impenetrable, with purple hues on the rim. The nose is elegantly presented with good depth and intensity of concentrated aromas of ripe blackberry and boysenberry fruit with blue fruit notes, and fragrant spiced plums, along with nutty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate is well-proportioned with concentrated flavours of blackberries, boysenberries and black plums. The fruit possesses richness and sweetness and is underlined by fine-grained tannin extraction and structure, with integrated, softly ripe acidity. Fragrant spice notes and sweet, nutty oak unfold and carry to a long, lingering, juicy finish. This is an elegantly proportioned, ripe Malbec with blackberry, boysenberry and fragrant spiced plum flavours on a fine and textured palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 4 years. Malbec fruit from Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina, from 30 y.o. vines, fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 2 y.o. French oak barriques. Winemaker: Herve Fabre. 18.0/20 Aug 2017 RRP $31.99

Cabalie Pays d’Oc 2016

Blended Red from France – Other

17/20
Full, very dark, purple-hued black-red colour, very youthful in appearance. This has a full, solid and up-front and rounded nose with good volume and robust presence, showing dark raspberry and blackberry fruit aromas along with an amalgam of dark herbs, earth and mineral notes. The nose unfolds jam and confectionary whole berry fermentation elements in the glass. Medium-bodied, the palate is up-front with sweetly rich flavours of dark raspberries, blackberries and dark-red plum fruit. The flavours are aromatic and lifted with confectionary and jam notes from whole berry fermentation. The mouthfeel is robust and rugged with grainy, but rounded tannin rip, with integrated acidity. The wine has plenty of fruit drive and carries to a grainy textured finish. This is an up-front, juicy, Grenache-based red with ripe raspberry and black plum fruit along with jammy notes on a grainy, grippy palate. Serve with barbecued meats and casseroles over the next 3-4 years. A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Carignan, from Roussillon vines 50+ y.o., fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 6 months in 3 y.o. French oak. Winemaker: Herve Sabardeil. 17.0/20 Aug 2017 RRP $25.99

Le Prince de Courthezon Cotes du Rhone 2015

Blended Red from France – Rhone

17.5-/20
Even ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is elegant in proportion with fine and moderately intense aromas of tightly bound dark raspberry fruit melded with mineral elements, fresh herbs some inky detail. With aeration, some whole berry fermentation confectionary elements emerge to add fragrance. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a tightly concentrated, firm core of ripe dark raspberry and blackberry fruit with mineral and dark herb interest. The fruit has sweetness and richness, with good depth, and is supported by considerable fine-grained tannin extraction and structure. The tannins balance the fruitiness and carry the wine to a firm, dry, lingering finish with light fruit nuances. This is a tightly bound Cotes du Rhone with sweet, but firm fruit flavours of dark raspberries, and plenty of tannin structure. Match with lamb, beef, and semi-hard cheeses over the next 5-6 years. A blend of 80% Grenache and 10% each Syrah and Mourvedre, fermented to 14.0% alc., the Grenache and Syrah both aged 6 months in 3 y.o. French oak. Winemaker: Thierry Ferlay. 17.5-/20 Aug 2017 RRP $30.00

Pagos de Tahola Rioja 2014

Tempranillo from Spain

17+/20
Moderately dark, ruby-red colour, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is taut and tightly bound with initially restrained and slender aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit entwined with sweet, vanilla oak elements and savoury nuances. The nose blossoms in volume and grows in depth with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a concentrated heart with flavours of dark-red cherry fruit with notes of raspberries and blackberries, melded with sweet vanilla and oak. The fruit is underlined by plenty of fine-grained, powdery tannin extraction with soft and integrated acidity. lending gentle energy and tension. The flavours carry to a long, lingering, finely concentrated finish of sweet fruit and oak. This is a finely concentrated Rioja with rich and sweet fruit red fruit flavours and vanillary oak on a powdery-textured, extracted palate. Serve with roasted and grilled red meat dishes and semi hard cheeses over the next 4+ years. From Bodegas Larchago, 100% Tempranillo from Alavesa. Fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in predominantly French oak with some American wood, 2 y.o. Winemaker: Miguel Lopez Nunez. 17.0+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $29.99
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