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Featured Reviews




Tantalus 2017 ‘Cachette’, 2015 Merlot Franc, and ‘Voile’, ‘Evoque’, and ‘Ecluse’

17 September,2018

Tantalus Estate is the Waiheke Island winegrowing venture of Campbell Aitken and Carrie Mendell who in 2013 purchased and revitalised an existing vineyard in the Onetangi Valley that was originally planted in 1998. The 8.1 ha site has 5.3 ha under vine, the varieties being Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, along with Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Viognier. Chris Ward is the viticulturist and the winemaker is Alex Perez, originally from Argentina. I reviewed a selection of their first releases two years ago (click here to see my reviews), which showed plenty of promise to meet the standard of Waiheke Island’s best. Since then, Alex has advised that they have now taken over the management of the Te Whau vineyard, so there is even greater potential to achieve very well. Here, I review the 2017 ‘Cachette Reserve’ Chardonnay, the 2015 ‘Estate’ Merlot/Franc and 2015 ‘Reserve’ reds of ‘Voile’ Syrah, ‘Evoque’ (Merlot dominant), and ‘Ecluse’ (Cabernet Sauvignon dominant). The wines are fulsome and robust in character. www.tantalus.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Tantalus ‘Cachette Reserve’ Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18+/20

Bright, light golden-hued yellow colour with slight green tints, lighter on the rim. The nose is full and deeply concentrated with soft and dense aromas of savoury yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit melded with complexing mealy notes with a little creamy barrel-ferment and dusty, nutty oak. This has very good presence and depth. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich and softly juicy , succulent flavours of ripe, savoury yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit harmoniously layered with complex mealy nuances along with a little creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak. The fruit has richness, depth and presence, and flows smoothly along a light phenolic line accompanied by fresh, lacy acidity, leading to a long, dry finish of nutty oak. This is a softly rich and fulsome Chardonnay with savoury and juicy stonefruit and citrus fruit, along with a soft layer of mealy, creamy and nutty complexities on a smooth, weighty palate with some power. Match with pork and veal dishes over the next 4 years. Clones 15, 95 and Mendoza fully barrel-fermented, 30% by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 30% new oak, undergoing batonnage with two-thirds MLF. 18.0+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $70.00

Tantalus ‘Estate’ Waiheke Island Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

17.5+/20

Full, dark, near impenetrable black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is very fresh with voluminous but well-packed, robust aromas of dark-red plum fruit entwined with dark herbs and iron-earth elements, unfolding redcurrant notes with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has full and rich flavours of savoury dark plum fruit along with dark herbs, currants and iron-earth notes. The fruit richness is mouthfilling and balanced by light, grainy tannin structure with fresh, acid liveliness. The palate has richness, vibrancy and freshness, and carries toa soft, plummy, earthy and curranty finish. This is a rich and juicy Merlot/Franc blend with dark plums and currant flavours along with earth and herbs on a lively mouthfilling palate with balanced structure. Serve with roasted red meats over the next 6-8 years. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 50% new French oak. 17.5+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $50.00

Tantalus ‘Voile Reserve’ Waiheke Island Syrah 2015

Syrah from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18.5/20

Very full, even, dark ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is elegant in proportion with full and stylish aromas of ripe blackberry fruit along with boysenberries and plums, with subtle notes of Asian spices and liquorice, unfolding black pepper and some violet perfumes. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich flavours of ripe blackberries with notes of boysenberries, plums and liquorice, revealing earth, spices and black pepper. The flavours provide good weight and presence. The fruit is supported by sine-grained tannin structure with fresh, balanced acidity, and the wine carries to a lingering finish. This is a stylish and elegant Syrah with rich fruit flavours of ripe blackberries, boysenberries and plums with spices, earth and pepper on a palate with presence. Match with roast lamb and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 7-9 years. 98% Syrah with 2% Viognier, fermented with 2% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 60% new French oak barriques. 18.5/20 Sep 2018 RRP $80.00

Tantalus ‘Evoque Reserve’ Waiheke Island Merlot/Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18.5+/20

Full, dark, deep ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is beautifully and elegantly proportioned with well-concentrated aromas of sweetly ripe dark-red and black plums harmoniously melded with a layer of spicy oak entwined with dark herbs and curranty nuances. This has finesse and intensity. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegant with a fine and light heart with concentrated flavours of ripe, sweet, dark-red and plum fruit along with succulent berried fruits, unveiling dark herbs and curranty hints. The fruit is sweet with a layering of oak spice, and supported by fine-grained tannin extraction lending structure and balance. The acidity is fresh and lacy, adding to the energy, and the wine carries to a long and sustained, sweet finish. This is an elegant, beautifully balanced Merlot-based blend with ripe black plums, nuances of herbs and currants, and spicy oak. Match with roast lamb, beef and venison over the next 8-10+ years. A blend of 86% Merlot, 5% each Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Cabernet Franc, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 60% new French oak. 18.5+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $85.00

Tantalus ‘Ecluse Reserve’ Waiheke Island Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Malbec 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland

18.5-/20

Full, even, very dark ruby-red colour with black hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is full and broad with voluminous and solidly-packed aromas of very ripe blackberry and plum fruit, along with a little portiness, entwined with plenty of nutty and pencilly oak. along with nuances spice and earth. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich and sweet with plush, mouthfilling flavours of ripe blackberry fruit, along with blackcurrants and cassis liqueur, plus black plums, all underlaid by spicy, nutty oak. The fruit sweetness is underlined by considerable fine-grained tannin extraction lending plenty of structure and grip. The wine has good acid energy, carrying the flavours to a long, plush, juicy finish. This is a rich, ripe plummy-fruited Cabernet Sauvignon-based red with mouthfilling flavours, plenty of oak and considerable structure. Match with roasted game meats and casseroles over the next 8-10+ years. A blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot and 5% Malbec, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 100% new French oak barriques. 18.5-/20 Sep 2018 RRP $90.00

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