Featured Reviews

Opawa and Nautilus Pinot Gris, and Nautilus Chardonnay 2017

17 May,2018

Nautilus Estate is one of the most consistent producers in Marlborough, making classical regional wines with finesse and subtle complexities and textures since 1985. Led by Clive Jones, the Nautilus team with Mike Collins as viticulturist and Brett Bermingham as assistant winemaker make benchmark Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, the region’s most important varieties. The standard is equally high with the full range from outstanding methode traditionnelle, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, to the rarer Gruner Veltliner and Albarino bottlings. The secondary brands ‘Opawa’ and ‘Twin Islands’ have seen a rise in quality and consistency as has the premium label, and across the board, one could not ask for a more steadfast portfolio.

Clive Jones reports that 2017 will be regarded as one of the more challenging vintages in Marlborough in recent times. However the high viticultural standards attained by Mike Collins provided fruit in premium condition. Key to the retention of quality was the ability to harvest at optimum times, as well as having the winery capacity to handle extremes of intake. With the benefit of nearly a year down the track, Clive and his team are very happy with the results with all their varieties, and already a number of wines have attained top show awards confirming their thoughts. Here, I review the 2017 Opawa and Nautilus Estate Pinot Gris, plus the 2017 Nautilus Estate Chardonnay. www.opawawine.com www.nautilusestate.com


Opawa Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight lemon-green hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full and voluminous with gentle depth of white and yellow stonefruit aromas along with white floral elements and subtle nutty notes. The aromatics grow in density, unveiling a layering of honeysuckle with mineral nuances. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is elegant in proportion with a fine and tightly bound, linear core of white and yellow stonefruits along with notes of floral and honeysuckle. The fruit is enlivened by bright, lacy acidity and the wine flows along a very fine, soft-textured line. leading to a dry, light-textured finish. This is an elegant but well-concentrated dry Pinot Gris with stonefruit, floral and honeysuckle flavours and a good core, fresh acidity and a smooth flow. Match with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese fare over the next 3+ years. Fruit from the Wairau and Awatere Valleys, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 3.4 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 18.0+/20 May 2018 RRP $22.50

Nautilus Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is elegantly concentrated with firm, intense and tightly bound, layered aromas of white and yellow stonefruits entwined with subtle nutty lees and oak elements, revealing lifted exotic florals and mineral nuances. The purity, florality and minerality on bouquet are features. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has rich, luscious and succulent exotic fruit flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, lifted florals, nuances of honeysuckle, and subtle nutty and flinty complexing detail. The palate grows in presence and interest, and forms a light-textured line with balanced acidity. The flavours carry to a long, blossoming, aromatic finish. This is a beautifuly complex, aromatic and detailed dry Pinot Gris with stonefruit, floral, honeysuckle, flint and nutty flavours on a rich, blossoming palate. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 3-4 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Awatere River’ vineyard fermented in stainless-steel with approx. 12% fermented in seasoned oak to 13.5% alc. and 4.2 g/L RS, the wine aged 5 months on lees. 19.0/20 May 2018 RRP $29.00

Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light golden-hued yellow colour with good depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is elegant and finely proportioned with rich, ripe and deep fruit aromas of citrus fruit, tropical fruit and yellow stonefruits entwined with a layer of mealy complexity, showing creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak, and fine, lifted lemon-curd MLF nuances and a whiff of smoke. This has excellent complexity and detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich and sweet with luscious and succulent flavours of ripe citrus fruit and tropical fruits entwined with a layer of creamy barrel-ferment, nutty, toasty oak and lemon-curd and buttery MLF. The flavours are bright, lively and mouthfilling, and the wine flows along a light, phenolic-textured line, with fresh, crisp, lacy acidity providing energy and tension. The flavours carry to a long and sustained finish. This is a rich and succulently sweet-fruited Chardonnay with citrus, tropical and stonefruit flavours layered with creamy, toasty oak in an amalgam with lemon-curd and buttery MLF on a fine, refreshing palate. Match with grilled and roasted seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit, a blend of new Burgundy clones fruit with clone 15 from the company’s ‘Renwick’ vineyard with clone 95 fruit from the ‘Greer’ vineyard, fully indigenous yeast barrel-fermented with solids to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 20% new French oak barriques, undergoing batonnage and 80% MLF. 19.0-/20 May 2018 RRP $35.00

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