Featured Reviews

Ostler Waitaki Valley Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir

16 June,2017
The Waitaki Valley vignoble has proven to be one of the more difficult, but also most exciting areas to grow wine in New Zealand. Inland from Oamaru on the limits of North Otago, the climate has a combination of the continental cool-climate with the influences of the eastern seaboard. The area experiences considerable extremes for viticulture. However, arguably the most important factor is the limestone-influenced soils of the north-facing vineyards. A number of high profile producers, such as Grant Taylor and John Forrest have shown the determination to persevere in the district, making high quality wine. But arguably the most successful is Ostler, the venture of Jim Jerram and his brother-in-law Jeff Sinnott, who planted their first grapes in 2002. A community of grapegrowers has sprung up around them to provide fruit to supplement their own ‘Clos Ostler’, these including the ‘Blue House’ vines of Rob and Pam Crosbie (now sold to Murray Turner), 12 km away, and the ‘Lakeside’ vines of Paul Sinnott, inland from Kurow at Lake Waitaki, this with less limestone. Jeff Sinnott is a veritable artist and thinker about wine, and his bottlings are always very interesting and usually high in quality. Here I review the new 2016 ‘Lakeside Vines’ Pinot Gris, 2015 ‘Grower Selection’ Gewurztraminer, 2015 ‘Audrey’s’ Pinot Gris, the 2015 ‘Blue House Vines’ Pinot Noir and 2015 ‘Caroline’s’ Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noirs in particular demonstrate the complex herb and mineral cool-spectrum complex amalgam that is unique to the Waitaki Valley. It can polarise opinions! www.ostlerwine.co.nz


Ostler ‘Lakeside Vines’ Waitaki Valley Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago

Bright pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale on edge. The nose is very fresh and aromatically pure with yellow stonefruits and exotic florals along with hints of spice, unfolding some honeysuckle. Medium-dry to taste and fullish bodied, the palate has a richly concentrated core of yellow stonefruits and lifted floral flavours, and notes of spice and honeysuckle. The palate has very fine phenolic textures with some underlying alcoholic power. The fresh acidity provides good cut, balance and tension, and the wine is carried by the alcohol drive to a very long and sustained finish of florals, spice and honey. This is a rich medium-dry Pinot Gris with lifted stonefruit and floral flavours along with honey and spice notes of a fresh, fine-textured palate with some alcohol drive. Match with Chinese and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3-4 years. Clone 457 fruit from the ‘Lakeside’ vineyard, WBP, the free run juice fermented in tank and the press fraction indigenous yeast fermented in seasoned oak to 14.3% alc. and 11.0 g/L RS. 18.0/20 Jun 2017 RRP $29.90

Ostler Waitaki Valley Gewurztraminer 2015

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Otago


Bright, very pale straw-yellow colour. The nose is very refined and tightly bound, but showing good intensity of rose-petal florals entwined with mineral detail. Off-dry to taste, the flavours of rose-petal florals and Turkish Delight are presented with delicacy. Some honied notes, spices and minerals add to the detail and interest. The wine has a richness of texture and is guided by a light phenolic line and balanced acidity, with a little underlying alcoholic power. This is bright, lively and possesses clarity. 13.5% alc. and 7 g/L RS. 17.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $N/A

Bright, even straw-yellow colour with pale golden hues. This has an elegant nose with finely concentrated aromas of exotic florals, rose petals and Turkish Delight, along with suggestions of root ginger, musk and honeysuckle, just revealing a little savoury development. Medium-dry to taste, the palate is fresh and crisp, whilst simultaneously is slippery and unctuous in texture. The fruit favours ae positively presented with savoury exotic florals, rose petals, Turkish Delight, along with musk, honeysuckle and a little hair-oil development adding to the interest. The phenolic textures provide a fine line and the wine slides easily to a light, lingering finish of florals, savoury musk and honeysuckle. This is an elegant dryish Gewurztraminer with fine exotic floral, Turkish Delight, savoury musk and honied flavours of a fresh, slippery, near unctuous palate. Match with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 3 years. The first Gewurztraminer from Ostler. A ‘Grower Selection’ wine. Colmar clones 1106 and 457 fruit from ‘Shine’s’ vineyard, hand-picked and given some skin contact and tank-fermented to 13.6% alc. and 7.4 g/L RS, the wine aged 9 months on lees. 17.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $27.00

Ostler ‘Audrey’s’ Waitaki Valley Pinot Gris 2015

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago


Very pale coloured, very youthful in appearance. This has a full nose with aromas of ripe white stonefruits and thirst-quenching wet-stone minerals, along with detailed floral lift. The aromatics grow in volume and depth in the glass. Dryish to taste, the palate has rich and luscious white stonefruit flavours along with honied notes. The mouthfeel is energetic and vibrant, enhancing the richness. The wine flows along a soft-textured line, with edgy acidity carrying the wine to a honied finish. This just grows in presence. 8 g/L RS. 18.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $N/A

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. This has a full, even, elegantly concentrated nose of white stonefruits and subtle layers of nutty elements, lees and smoke, long with some oxidative suggestions providing complexing detail. The aromatics are fresh and youthful in expression. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a concentrated core of rich white and yellow stonefruits complexed by notes of nutty lees and oak, with subtle oxidative nuances. The mouthfeel is fresh with lacy acidity, and the palate flows along a fine-textured line, the concentrated core carrying to a long, savoury stonefruited and nutty finish. This is a fresh, elegantly concentrated, dryish Pinot Gris with savoury stonefruit and nutty complexities on a fine-textured and long palate. Serve with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4+ years. Barrie, 7A and 40A clone fruit, WBP, the free run juice tank fermented and the press fraction, comprising 20-25% is wild yeast barrel-fermented, then blended to 13.5% alc. and 7.5 g/L RS. 18.0+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $35.00

Ostler ‘Blue House Vines’ Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

Light ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is fresh and elegant with bright red cherry and dark-red berry fruit aromas entwined with subtle notes of herbs, integrated with mineral nuances. This grows in soft intensity, unfolding a little leaf and stalkiness with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate has a tight core of bright and lively dark-red cherry and berry fruit enlivened by fresh, brisk acidity. The fruit is in the cooler spectrum with light, fresh herb notes and a hint of stalk. The wine flows with good energy and vitality along a supple textured line, leading to a finely concentrated, tight, but juicy red cherry finish. This is a bright, lively and refreshing Pinot Noir with red cherry and berry fruit with some cooler herb and stalk notes on a supple, zesty palate. Match with tuna, salmon, antipasto and tapas over the next 3-4 years. A ‘Grower Selection’ wine. Clones 114, 115, 777, 5 and Abel, from the Crosbie’s ‘Blue House’ vineyard, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 9 months in tank and barrel. 16.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $29.90

Ostler ‘Caroline’s’ Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Light ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues. This has a softly full nose with aromas of red berry fruits, red florals and complexing suggestions of earth and game with a herb nuance. The aromatics grow in ethereal volume. On palate very fresh and vibrant, quite elegantly proportioned and tightly bound, a little shy, even. This has a taut and tightly bound core with fragrant red berry fruits with some herbal detail. The extraction is very fine, and along with the fresh acidity, the wine carries along a long line unfolding mineral nuances. This is youthfully bright and fresh. The red fruits quite ethereal and beautiful. 18.5/20 Aug 2017 RRP $N/A

Full, even ruby-red colour with some depth and youthful purple hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is elegantly proportioned with refined and concentrated, well-packed and integrated aromas of dark-red berry and cherry fruit with dark-red florals and liquorice notes in a complex amalgam of dark herbs and minerals. Medium-bodied, the palate has sweet and juicy flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit along with dark herbs and subtle notes of liquorice and spice, unfolding dark-red florals, herbs and minerals. The flavours form a dense and concentrated core and flow along a fine-textured palate, with fresh, underlying acidity and cut, carrying to an elegant, lingering finish. This is a rich and elegantly concentrated, individual Pinot Noir with cherry-berry fruit, along with liquorice, spices, and a complex herb and mineral amalgam on a fine-textured, lingering palate. Serve with herb-marinated duck and pork dishes over the next 5-6+ years. Multi clone blend from ‘Clos Ostler’, destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 15 months in 18% new French oak. 18.5/20 Jun 2017 RRP $59.00
Copyright © 2011 Raymond Chan Wine Reviews
Website by DataFlex | Design by Skinny