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Featured Reviews

Spade Oak ‘Heart of Gold’ Gisborne St Laurent 2014

08 June,2017
The Austrian varieties of Gruner Veltliner and St Laurent are generally deemed to have a bright future in New Zealand. The uptake of the white Gruner Veltliner has been rapid, but personally I feel that it will be difficult to gain long-term traction. The planting of the red St Laurent has been much smaller, and at present, there is a lack of consistency to the wines made, however, I believe the future may be brighter than that of Gruner Veltliner here. At present, the main proponent for the variety is Paul Jacobson of Judge Rock in Alexandra, with support from Steve and Eileen Voysey of Spade Oak in Gisborne, and John Forrest in Marlborough. I know there are plantings at Ohau Wines, north of Wellington and at Terrace Edge in the Waipara Valley.

St Laurent has Pinot Noir in its heritage, and the wines I’ve seen generally show some Pinot Noir character. However, there is a ‘wilder’ or ‘funkier’ side to the variety and the wines that emanate from it. Often it is seen as a spiciness, and other times, there are savoury characters, even showing game and funkiness at times. It is this difference to Pinot Noir that makes St Laurent very interesting and potentially good in New Zealand.

Steve and Eileen Voysey have had the St Laurent variety in the ground since 2008. I have tasted the releases since the 2011 vintage, and can report there are swings in style, but generally not far from the Pinot Noir side of expression. The wines made have been consistently pleasing, but I know Steve sees it as a work in progress, working on the range of flavours and the balancing of fruitiness, extraction, tannin structure and acidity. The wines have sold well for Spade Oak, far better than Gruner Veltliner, which they have ceased making. Here, I review the 2014 Spade Oak ‘Heart of Gold’ St Laurent, which Steve sees in the more savoury spectrum, with a firmer structure than earlier releases. The wine is also a reflection of the strong 2014 vintage. Steve reports there will be no 2015 St Laurent, and the 2016 uses puncheons primarily. The 2017 is said to be "looking terrific but big again”. There is much to anticipate.


Spade Oak ‘Heart of Gold’ Gisborne St Laurent 2014

Other Red from New Zealand – Gisborne

Very dark, deep ruby-red colour with good heart, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is elegantly concentrated with deep and well-packed aromas of ripe blackberry and dark-red cherry fruit melded with a complex layering of earth, savoury dark herbs, spices and game. Medium-bodied, the palate has a firm core with flavours of savoury dark-red berryfruit entwined with herbs, spices, earth and funky game notes. The mouthfeel is bright and lively with plenty of acid energy and tension, and the fruit is supported by fine-grained, firm tannin extraction providing excellent linearity and drive. The wine carries to an elegant, finely concentrated, lingering finish. This is a firmly concentrated, lively St Laurent with complex flavours of savoury dark-red berry fruit with herb, earth and funky game-like notes on a linear palate. It will develop over the next 5 years. Match with roasted and slow-cooked game meat dishes. Fruit from the ‘Spade Oak’ vineyard, vines planted 2008, fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 12.8% alc., the wine spending 20 days on skins and aged 7 months in oak with 30% new equivalence. 100 dozen made. 18.0-/20 Jun 2017 RRP $24.95

Disclaimer: This wine is distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates

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