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Featured Reviews

Queensberry Gardens 2018 Chenin Blanc, and The Lazy Dog ‘Sweet on Chenin’ and Gewurztraminer

11 December,2018

Dean and Diana Harker operate a vertically integrated wine producing business from growing grapes and an edible garden pantry, selling the fruits of their labour at their cellar door and restaurant in Queensberry not far from Cromwell in Central Otago. They produce the ‘Queensberry Gardens’ and ‘The Lazy Dog’ labels, the wines identical, but the former selling outside their property, and the latter from their cellar door.

Dean and Diana came back to New Zealand in 2005 to run establish and run The Lazy Dog restaurant next to Akarua in Bannockburn. In 2008, they planted 0.5 ha to 900 Chenin Blanc vines as ‘The Lazy Dog’ vineyard, along with their ‘Edible Garden’ and ‘Floral Garden’ at Queensberry. The Harkers expanded vine plantings in 2010 with their ‘Gerti’ block with Gewurztraminer, a little Chardonnay and a second clone of Chenin Blanc to ‘The Lazy Dog’ block, and then again in 2016 establishing the ‘Jack’s Prospect’ vineyard introducing Pinot Noir. This year saw more Pinot Noir and Chardonnay planted in the ‘Jack’s Prospect’ block, and the establishment of an on-site winery.

For next year, the Harkers plan to add Pinotage as well as more Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. The total plantings at present are 2.0 ha, with 0.5 ha of Chenin Blanc. 0.1 ha Gewurztraminer, 1.2 ha of Pinot Noir and 0.2 ha of Chardonnay. The wines are made by Dean with consultancy from Jeff Sinnott. Here, I review the new release 2018 Queensberry Gardens Chenin Blanc, and The Lazy Dog ‘Sweet as Chenin’ and Gewurztraminer.


Queensberry Gardens Central Otago Chenin Blanc 2018

Chenin Blanc from New Zealand – Otago


Very pale straw colour with slight green hues, pale on the rim. The nose is elegantly concentrated with fresh and firm, tightly bound aromas of white stonefruits and white florals with a subtle amalgam of fresh herbs, apples and minerals. The aromatics show good intensity and penetration, along with purity and delicacy. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has gently sweet and luscious flavours of white stonefruits, white florals and subtle notes of honeysuckle and delicate nuances of herbs. The palate balances the residual sweetness and acidity, resulting in a softly fresh mouthfeel with good underlying acidity. The wine carries along a very fine-textured phenolic line leading to a delicate, but lingering finish. This is a gentle, sweet-fruited, medium-dry Chenin Blanc with stonefruits and florals, a soft mouthfeel and fine flowing line. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 3 years. 100% Chenin Blanc fermented to 12.5% alc. and 9 g/L RS, the wine aged 5 months on lees in seasoned oak. 140 cases made. 17.0+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $27.50

The Lazy Dog ‘Sweet on Chenin’ Queensberry Central Otago Chenin Blanc/Gewurztraminer 2018

Blended White from New Zealand – Otago


Brilliant pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is softly packed with finely concentrated aromas of white florals and stonefruits along with nuances of exotic florals along with honied elements and a little nuttiness. Sweetish to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has softly rich and gently expressed flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with honeysuckle and exotic floral nuances. The mouthfeel possesses a fine core and some linearity, the wine carrying to a light, phenolic-textured lingering finish with soft acidity. This is a softly rich and gentle, sweetish Chenin Blanc/Gewurztraminer blend with stonefruit, honey and florals on a light, phenolic-textured line. Serve as an aperitif and with gently spiced foods over the next 2+ years. A blend of 90% late harvest Chenin Blanc and 10% Gewurztraminer, fermented in seasoned oak to 12.5% alc., with 55 g/L RS, the wine aged 2 months in oak. 150 cases made. 16.5+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $28.50

The Lazy Dog Queensberry Central Otago Gewurztraminer 2018

Gewurztraminer from New Zealand – Otago


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with a suggestion of blush at the heart, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is elegantly proportioned with finely bound and light, but penetrating aromas of rose-petal florals along with a little Turkish Delight and lychee fruit, along with delicate lifted herb elements. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a rounded but gently concentrated core of rose-petal florals, Turkish Delight and lychees, and suggestions of honey, spice and ginger. The flavours are up-front and form a soft, rounded mouthfeel with some light phenolic textures and soft acidity. The flavours recede a little as the wine flows to a nuanced finish. This is a gently rounded, up-front medium-dry Gewurztraminer with rose-petal florals and delicate spice and ginger notes and a light finish. Serve with mild Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 2+ years. 100% Gewurztraminer fermented in seasoned oak to 12.5% alc. and 9 g/L RS, the wine aged 4 months in oak undergoing batonnage. 90 cases made. 16.5+/20 Dec 2018 RRP $29.00

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