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Featured Reviews




Tasman Bay, Latitude 41 and Goose Bay Wines from Spencer Hill

04 July,2018

Spencer Hill Estate was established by Phil and Sheryl Jones in 1988 with wines from the Upper Moutere district of Nelson. There, they own two vineyards, one in Upper Moutere and the other in the Coastal Ridge area. They supplement their fruit with that of growers. The Jones also have an American wine venture, Pacifica, based in the Colombia Gorge , the Evans vineyard established in 2006, spanning Washington and Oregon. The Jones spend much of their time in the U.S. and have Matt Rutherford as the general manager of the Nelson operation. Matt has been with the company since 1990, and has had considerable winemaking experience, which sees him travel to work on the Pacifica wines. Jules Randell is the Nelson head winemaker, joining Spencer Hill in 2011. The Jones and Spencer Hill have been innovative in a number of approaches, and were among the first to openly use oak staves for wood character. They also use the ‘Zork’ closures on the ‘Latitude 41’ tier. Here, I Review wines from the ‘Tasman Bay’, ‘Latitude 41’ and ‘Goose Bay’ wines, the latter all Kosher for Passover, and with an annual production of approx. 10,000 cases. www.spencerhillwine.com

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Tasman Bay Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Nelson

16.5+/20

Bright pale straw-yellow colour with slight lemon-green hues, pale edged. The nose is fresh and firm, and well-packed with aromas of gooseberry fruit melded with subtle notes of green beans and fresh herbs, unfolding cut-grass, nettles and mineral nuances. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is bright and spritely with vibrant flavours of gooseberries, white florals and notes of green beans with fresh herbs, and some cut-grass. The mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing with zesty acidity, and the wine flows along a light-textured, phenolic line leading to a lingering finish of gooseberries, beans and herbs. This is a bright and lively, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, bean, fresh herb and cut-grass flavours on a palate with racy acidity and a light phenolic line. Match with salads and vegetables, and Mediterranean fare over the next 2 years. Nelson fruit fermented in tank to 13.0% alc. and 1.8 g/L RS, the wine aged 4 months on lees with 5% given French oak contact. 16.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $14.99

Tasman Bay Nelson Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Nelson

16.5-/20

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim. The nose is light with fresh aromas of white and yellow florals and stonefruits, along with subtle notes of pears, unfolding mineral suggestions. Dryish to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has delicate and nuanced flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, with floral fragrance and some pear elements. The fruit show on the front palate with moderate depth and refreshing acidity enlivening the mouthfeel. The wine flows along a light-textured line, leading to a lightly-nuanced finish. This is a light and delicate, dryish Pinot Gris with stonefruit, floral and pear flavours on a fresh palate. Serve as an aperitif, or match with light Asian fare over the next 2 years. Nelson fruit fermented in tank to 12.5% alc. and 5.5 g/L RS, the wine aged 3 months on lees with 5% French oak contact. 16.5-/20 Jul 2018 RRP $14.99

Tasman Bay Nelson Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Nelson

16.5+/20

Light ruby-red colour with garnet hues, paler on the rim with a little bricking. The nose is taut and firm, with a slender presentation of red berry fruit along with a subtle layering of dark and dried herbs and nuances of oak resin, unfolding an amalgam of red florals and earth. Medium-full bodied, the palate has an elegant core with softly packed and concentrated flavours of red berry fruit harmoniously entwined with red florals and subtle herbal notes. The oaking is integrated. The mouthfeel is softly textured with supple tannin extraction and integrated acidity, and the wine carries easily to a long, soft-textured, savoury red-fruited finish. A little resinous on the nose, this is an elegantly concentrated Pinot Noir with red fruits, florals and herbs on a supple-textured palate. Match with duck or pork over the next 3+ years. Nelson fruit fermented with 10% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., 60% aged on French oak, 40% in American oak for 8 months with 100% new wood equivalence. 16.5+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $14.99

Spencer Hill ‘Latitude 41’ Nelson Sauvignon Blanc Sur Lie 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Nelson

17+/20

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, a little lighter edged. The nose is softly fresh with gently full aromas of gooseberry fruit with subtle notes of cut-grass and nettles, with some green bean nuances, integrated with nutty lees and mineral elements. This is very harmonious in presentation. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a firm and taut core of gooseberry fruit with cut-grass, fresh herbs and green bean notes, unfolding nutty lees and oak elements. The mouthfeel is fresh and crisp with lacy acidity, and the wine flows smoothly along a fine line, leading toan elegant, lingering finish. This is a taut and concentrated Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, herb and nettle flavours on a firm, racy palate with subtle nutty and mineral nuances and a fine flowing line. Match with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from the Upper Moutere and Waimea Plains, 50% indigenous yeast fermented, 70% in tank with 30% in barrel to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 6 months on lees with batonnage, with 10% undergoing MLF. 17.0+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $18.99

Spencer Hill ‘Latitude 41’ ‘Hill Block’ Nelson Pinot Gris 2016

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Nelson

17+/20

Bright, very pale straw colour, very light on the rim. The nose is delicate with fresh aromas of white stonefruits and floral elements, along with pear and honeysuckle notes, forming a finely concentrated core. This has purity and clarity. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has a fresh, rounded, aromatic heart of white and yellow stonefruits harmoniously entwined with exotic florals, pear and honeysuckle. The palate has good presence and mouthfeel with soft textures and fresh, lacy acidity. The wine has good linearity and carries to a lingering, elegantly concentrated finish. This is an elegant, aromatic, dry Pinot Gris with a harmonious palate of stonefruits, florals, pears and honeysuckle with good freshness and body. Serve with Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine over the next 3 years. Fruit from the Moutere ‘Home’ block, fermented in tank with 8% in oak contact to 12.5% alc. and 6.5 g/L RS, the wine aged one month on lees with batonnage, the oak component in wood for 6 months. 17.0+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $18.99

Spencer Hill ‘Latitude 41’ Moutere Nelson Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Nelson

18/20

Full, even, lemon-green hued, light golden colour, a little paler on the edge. The nose is soft and harmoniously integrated with aromas of citrus fruit and yellow stonefruits intermixed with subtle creamy and nutty oak, forming a well-concentrated heart. Some spicy oak nuances add complexing detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a rich and intense core of ripe citrus and yellow stonefruits melded with nutty and creamy oak and a subtle layering of lemon-curd and butterscotch MLF. The fruit shows good depth and energy, and the palate is enlivened by fresh acidity. The wine flows along a fine-textured line, leading to an elegant finish. This is a rich and concentrated Chardonnay with citrus and stonefruit flavours entwined with creamy and nutty oak on a fresh palate. Match with roasted poultry and pork over the next 4 years. Fruit from the Moutere ‘Home’ block fermented with 50% each French and American oak to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 9 months with wood, undergoing batonnage and 100% MLF. 18.0/20 Jul 2018 RRP $20.99

Spencer Hill ‘Latitude 41’ ‘Small Batch’ Nelson Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Nelson

17.5-/20

Light ruby-red colour with garnet hues and some depth, paler edged with a little bricking. The nose is softly full with a rounded core of strawberries and red cherry fruit along with an amalgam of fresh herbs, subtle notes of nutty oak unfolding red florals. The fruit is gentle and restrained in expression. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a strong heart of strawberry and savoury cherry fruit melded with fresh and dried herbs, and spicy, nutty oak. The flavours form a rounded and weighty mouthfeel and the wine has soft, grainy tannin extraction providing balanced structure and fine grip. The acidity lends some tension and the wine carries positively to a soft, even finish. This is a well-integrated and concentrated Pinot Noir with strawberry, cherry herb and spicy oak flavours with good structure and a gentle freshness. Match with coq au vin and casserles over the next 4 years. Fruit from the Moutere ‘Home’ block and ‘Palmer’ Flett Road vineyard, fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 100% new French oak. 17.5-/20 Jul 2018 RRP $21.99

Goose Bay South Island Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Nelson

16.5/20

Brilliant light straw-yellow colour, a little paler on the rim. The nose is elegant in proportion with soft and finely concentrated aromas of gooseberries with an amalgam of cut-grass, nettles and hints of green beans, unfolding white floral and mineral elements. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has a slender core with bright and brisk flavours of cut-grass, nettles and gooseberry fruit, along with fresh herbs, and nuances of white florals and minerals. The mouthfeel is bracing with zesty acidity and the wine flows along a taut, light-textured line leading to a slender finish. This is a crisp and racy, slender Sauvignon Blanc with cool-spectrum cut-grass, nettle and gooseberry flavours. Serve as an aperitif and with shellfish over the next 2 years. Nelson fruit tank fermented to 13.0% alc. and 3 g/L RS, the wine aged 3 months on lees, 8% given French oak contact. 16.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $19.99

Goose Bay South Island Pinot Grigio 2018

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Nelson

17+/20

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is up-front with fresh and intense aromas of exotic florals and white and yellow stonefruits, along with lifted confectionary-like fresh fermentation esters and pears. This has good depth and penetration. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate is soft and rounded with a gentle core of fragrant white and yellow stonefruits entwined with exotic florals, pears and confectionary-like fresh fermentation esters. The flavours are up-front and show good aromatic presence with some richness and lusciousness. The wine carries along a soft, smooth line with gentle acidity leading to an aromatic finish. This is a soft and rounded dry Pinot Gris with up-front stonefruit, floral and pear flavours along with fresh fermentation esters on a smooth palate. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 3 years. Fruit from Moutere, Nelson, tank-fermented to 12.5% alc. and 4 g/L RS, the wine aged 3 months on lees and 5% given French oak contact. 17.0+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $19.99

Goose Bay ‘Small Batch’ South Island Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Nelson

17.5/20

Light garnet-red colour with some depth, paler edged with a little bricking. The nose is softly restrained, but possesses a deep and well-packed core of savoury red cherry and red berry fruit, integrated with subtle notes of dark and dried herbs, and nutty, spicy oak. The aromatics are uniform and harmoniously interwoven, unfolding earthy complexities. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a rounded but concentrated core of sweet red cherry and strawberry fruit alongside savoury red fruits, some dried herbs and spicy, nutty oak. The fruit is underlined by balanced, fine-grained tannin structure with softly integrated acidity. This has good mouthfeel and depth, and the wine carries to a sustained finish. This is a sweet-fruited and gently concentrated Pinot Noir with savoury red cherry and strawberry fruit along with herb and oak notes with fine tannin grip. Serve with slow-cooked game meat dishes over the next 4 years. Moutere fruit fully destemmed and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months with 70% French and 30% American oak, 100% new. 17.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $22.99

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