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Featured Reviews

SOHO ‘Zabeel’ Waiheke Island 2015

19 June,2017
The SOHO label of Racheal Carter has as its flagship a single vineyard blended red from her Waiheke Island ‘Jomara’ site at Onetangi named ‘Zabeel’. It is properly called ‘Blue Blood Zabeel’ and is named after the Australian and New Zealand Champion sire and New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame inductee owned by Sir Patrick, Lady Hogan and syndicate. The breeding of the horse is inspiration for the wine.

The SOHO ‘Zabeel’ was first launched in 2015 with the 2013 vintage, a blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Syrah and 15% Malbec (click here to see my review). This was a beautifully elegant wine with succulently rich fruit and exotic oaking. The 2014 vintage ‘Zabeel’ was released in May this year, it being a blend of blend of 50% Merlot, 33% Syrah and 17% Malbec (click here for my review). This was a fulsome, black-fruited wine with complex earthiness, which I tongue-in-cheek compared it to ‘Grange’ in communication with Rachael Carter. Both wines have been of extremely high quality. The wines have been made by Janes Rowan and viticulturist Matt Sloane, who explain are slowly coming to a greater understanding of the vines, varieties and how they perform on the site.

The 2014 wine has sold very quickly, necessitating the release of the 2015 vintage ‘Zabeel’. James Rowan reports the "2015 Waiheke vintage was beautifully classic”. The Syrah variety has increasingly impressed Matt and James, so this is the predominant variety this year. Also in their approach was to make a wine with "a tad more elegance and precision, and layers”, so the finished blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Malbec gave the aromatics and acidity that was desired. I review the wine here.


SOHO ‘Blue Blood Reserve’ ‘Zabeel’ Waiheke Island 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

Very full, deep, near impenetrable black-ruby colour with youthful purple hues. The nose is elegantly proportioned with intense and penetrating aromas of blackberry, black plum and liquorice, along with Asian spices and lifted exotic oak, unfolding layers of cassis, dark herbs and black ink, all harmoniously entwined. The aromatics grow in depth and concentration with aeration. Full-bodied, the palate is tightly bound with intensely deep and penetrating, concentrated flavours of blackberries, black plums, liquorice, cassis liqueur, spices, black ink and exotic oak. The palate shows power and drive, along with a sense of proportion. The extraction is serious and very fine-grained with enlivening acidity providing density and immense presence. This grows remarkably in sheer flavour, richness, texture and density, carrying relentlessly to a long, strong and sustained finish of liquorice, spices and oak. This is an impressively concentrated, intense and penetratingly flavoured Syrah blend with spicy black fruits, ink and exotic oak on a seriously constructed, but proportioned palate. Match with game meat, casseroles and hard cheeses over the next 10+ years. A blend of four barrels, with 51% Syrah, mainly MS clone with Grippat B and 470, 36% Petit Verdot and 13% Malbec, fermented to 14.3% alc. The Syrah and Petit Verdot on skins approx. 2 weeks, the Malbec on skins 4 weeks, and the wine aged 9 months in 75% new Alain Fouquet barriques. 19.5-/20 Jun 2017 RRP $138.00
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