Featured Reviews

Misha’s Vineyard 2013 White and Older Pinot Noir Releases

14 March,2014
There’s nothing like meeting the owners of a vineyard on the land where their grapes are planted to gain an understanding of the philosophy, passion and toil of their winegrowing venture. This is certainly true of Andy and Misha Wilkinson and their Central Otago Misha’s Vineyard brand that is based on the fruit from their 26 ha of plantings on the eastern terraces overlooking Lake Dunstan on Bendigo Station. Due to Misha’s marketing prowess and enthusiasm, most wine critics and wine lovers will be aware of the label, as I have been from the very start. But I only came to properly appreciate the sinewy style of the wines and the drive of the Wilkinsons, their viticulturish Rich Williams and winemaker Olly Masters by standing on the near desolate land where their vines are slowly gaining a foothold.

It is said that strength comes from adversity, and it is the case for the Misha’s Vineyard wines. Every year and with each new release, I see a small but forward step in the wines. Very good from the outset, they gain in excellence and consistency. Here, I review the new 2013 white releases, 2012 ‘Impromptu’ and 2010 ‘High Note’ Pinot Noirs, the whites only being the sixth commercial release. The 2013 and 2012 vintages are noted for producing beautifully aromatic wines, and 2010 I see as an outstanding one for classically structured, ageworthy Pinot Noirs. This release sees winemaker Olly Masters building in greater textures in the ‘Lyric’ Dry Riesling and ‘The Gallery’ Gewurztraminer, and crafting an ‘Impromptu’ Pinot Noir with increased accessibility. www.mishasvineyard.com


Misha’s Vineyard ‘The Starlet’ Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Otago

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on rim. The nose is elegant and restrained in fruit expression, showing subtle green stonefruit and hints of tropical fruits and nuances of fresh herbs, along with a minerally, chalky density. Dry to taste, fine textures are the feature on palate, the fine-grainy extract filling the mouth with excellent weight and presence. Subtly luscious tropical fruits and lantana provide a richness and delicate lusciousness to balance the dry textural elements, and the flavours flow with good drive and underling soft acidity to a wet-stone, dry and mouthwatering, grainy finish. This is a restrained, well-textured Sauvignon Blanc to serve with firm-flesh seafood and creamy poultry dishes over the next 3+ years. Hand-picked, WBP and 37% indigenous yeast fermented in seasoned French oak to 14.0% alc. 1,150 cases made. 17.5/20 Mar 2014 RRP $26.95

Misha’s Vineyard ‘Lyric’ Central Otago Riesling 2013

Riesling from New Zealand – Otago

Brilliant light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. This has a very soft and gently full nose with beautifully interwoven aromas of lime fruit with nuances of talc which are melded with layers of delicate flinty barrel-ferment notes. This has detailed, mineral and chalky complexities that exude exotic interest, and the bouquet is quite complete. Dry to taste, the palate is very finely poised with a tight and refined core of chalky minerals and flint entwined with lime fruit, along with a suggestion of talc and sherbet. The acidity is soft but thirst-quenching, and the palate flows with good drive and linearity to a long, near austerely textured finish lifted by lime and floral elements. This is a beautifully textural, dry Riesling with delicate flinty complexities. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 5+ years. Hand-picked, 41% wild fermented in seasoned French oak to 13.0% alc. and 5.5 g/L RS, TA 8.7 g/L and pH 3.10. 306 cases made. 19.0-/20 Mar 2014 RRP $27.95

Misha’s Vineyard ‘Limelight’ Central Otago Riesling 2013

Riesling from New Zealand – Otago

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, pale on rim. The bouquet is very delicate, quite pristine with mouth-wateringly pure lime and white floral aromas, unfolding subtle nuances of honeysuckle and jasmine notes. Medium in sweetness, delicately luscious flavours of lime fruits, florals and honeysuckle show with great finesse. The palate is balanced between showing subtle richness with juicy acidity and the most refined textures and line. The mouthfeel has a slipperiness with the soft acidity providing a lift to the florals and aromatic profile. Nuances of smoke from the indigenous yeast and barrel work appear on the finish, leaving the mouthfeel dry, but carrying lingering floral notes. This is a delicately lush and slippery medium Riesling with lovely refinement. Serve as an aperitif and with Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese fare over the next 4-5+ years. Hand-picked fruit, WBP and 13% indigenous yeast fermented to 11.5% alc. and 31 g/L RS, TA 8.6 g/L and pH 3.21. 818 cases made. 18.5+/20 Mar 2014 RRP $27.95

Misha’s Vineyard ‘Dress Circle’ Central Otago Pinot Gris 2013

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago

79% GM 2.15 and 21% Barrie clones, hand-picked, WBP and 42% wild fermented to 14.0% alc. and 5 g/L RS. Bright pale straw yellow, even with a suggestion of a blush, lighter on edge. Very soft and gently broad on bouquet, this is subtly packed and concentrated with refreshing aromas of yellow stonefruits with kernel elements, lifted with exotic florals, rose-petal nuances and some honied elements. The aromatics build with a degree of finesse, unfolding layers of nuance. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, this has a tight core of white and yellow stonefruits alongside notes of pears, exotic spices and a hint of honeysuckle. Delicate flinty and mineral complexities drive the palate with fine phenolic textures and a little alcohol weight. This is refreshing with some acid liveliness that carries the wine to a lingering, clean, steely finish. This is a fine-textured dry Pinot Gris with exotic and flinty nuances and good line. Match with most white meat courses over the next 4-5+ years. 1,135 cases made. 18.5+/20 Mar 2014 RRP $27.95

Misha’s Vineyard ‘The Gallery’ Central Otago Gewurztraminer 2013

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Otago

For the first time, this has been fully fermented in seasoned oak, 40% by indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc. and 12 g/L RS. Brilliant, pale straw colour with slight green hues, pale on rim. The nose is restrained and gently aromatic with an amalgam of softly exotic rose-petal florals and lychee fruit entwined with delicate flinty, minerally barrel influence and earthy-smoky indigenous yeast layers. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, gentle and subtly mouthfilling flavours of rose-petal and exotic floral fruits are melded with gentle layers of flinty and mineral from the indigenous yeast and barrel work. Some lusciousness and honied elements add to the sweetness and provides some richness. The fruit is underlined by fine textures and good acid linearity and is carried to a lingering finish with honey and spice notes. This is a restrained and finely textured off-dry Gewurztraminer with some sweet nuances. Match with fine Chinese cuisine over the next 4 years. 310 cases made. 18.0+/20 Mar 2014 RRP $31.95

Misha’s Vineyard ‘Impromptu’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

Moderately deep ruby-red colour, lighter on rim. This has a softly full nose of ripe dark cherry fruit with hints of raspberry liqueur and dark herbs with an earthy dusting. This has good depth and volume, revealing some savoury red fruit interest. Medium-full bodied, the palate is full and mouthfilling with layers of sweet dark red berry fruits and earth, well-balanced by fine, grainy tannin structure that allows the fruit sweetness to prevail. A subtly dense core of sweet dark red fruits is the feature, revealing spice and dark herb notes. The fruit is upfront and even, and carries through to a gently full, moderately long, raspberry nuanced finish. This is a full, up-front, dark red fruited Pinot Noir with full, supple mouthfeel and structure. Serve with roasted pork, lamb and beef over the next 5+ years. Clones 114 and 4 with 115 and 667, plus small amounts of 5, Abel and 777 fruit fully destemmed and fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 15% new 300 L French oak hogsheads. 1,344 cases made. 17.5+/20 Mar 2014 RRP $27.95

Misha’s Vineyard ‘The High Note’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Dark, deep, ruby-red colour. The bouquet is full and firmly packed with aromas of ripe, dark-red berry fruit, the nose youthfully brash with a solidness and robust density. Savoury minerally notes bring complexity. Tightly bound and well-structured, the fruit is ripe with sweet dark red cherry and berry flavours, expressed with lovely purity. The minerally, earthy nuances are very much in the background, and more chalky and textural. The palate is taut, sinewy, lively from brisk acidity, and long in length. This is still very tight and youthful, but the extract and structure promises a long life. This is indicative of the vineyard site. 18.5+/20 Jun 2014 RRP $45.00

Predominantly clone 5 fruit with significant portions of 777, 667 and 115, plus Abel and clone 6, fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 38% new 300 L French oak hogsheads. Very dark, deep ruby-red colour, slightly paler on rim, youthful in appearance. The bouquet is elegantly concentrated with bright, ripe dark berry fruit aromas, some raspberry liqueur and dark red florals entwined with an amalgam of oak and fresh herbs. Medium-full bodied, this has a tightly concentrated core of sweet dark red berry and cherry fruit. This has purity and depth and excellent linearity with fine-grained, firm tannin drive and excellent acidity for vitality and vibrancy. The oaking is sensitive, adding to the brightness and shine, and this has classical proportion and structure. The extraction builds to become the feature, carrying the fruit to a long, sustained finish. This is a fine, firm and concentrated Pinot Noir with bright dark red berry fruits and the structure to develop over the next 7-9 years. Match with fine roast red meat dishes and hard cheeses. 1,863 cases made. 18.5+/20 Mar 2014 RRP $45.00
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