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Featured Reviews




The Writer’s Block - Wine2Trade Portfolio

01 January,2011


The Writer’s Block is the personal project of Brendan Seal who is making tiny volumes of single vineyard wines from Central Otago. A winemaker with extensive experience in the region making wine there since 1999, including roles at Chard Farm, Mt Difficulty and Mount Edward, Brendan has made Pinot Noir in Oregon and California, in addition to work in Alsace, Cyprus and the U.K. In 2013, Brendan set up the Packspur Wine Studio, a small-scale contract facility to produce wines for himself and small-volume premium clients such as Georgetown Vineyard and Kalex.

His Writer’s Block label is a vehicle to produce distinctive wines from unique vineyard sites and often involve some experimentation with winemaking techniques. Like an author, Brendan only intends to release when he feels the vineyard and winemaking has "something worthwhile to say”. The analogy continues "authors write all the time, but they don’t release everything they write”.

Two barrels of Pinot Noir were produced from a Bannockburn vineyard in both 2009 and 2010 to start the project. No wine was made in 2011 and 2012. Brendan will have 70 cases of a Bendigo Terraces Pinot Noir and 100 cases of an Alexandra Pinot from the 2013 vintage. Brendan vinified a total of 28 tonnes at the Wine Studio in 2013 for himself and his clients, a size which allows him to do all the work himself and focus on optimum quality. www.thewritersblock.co.nz

In 2016, Brendan established URBN VINO, an urban winery in a heritage building in Dunedin where her transported fruit from Central Otago to vinify. This is a concept that has proven very successful overseas, and can also be seen in the proliferation of craft breweries in cities.  He has continued to expand the venture with the assistance of crowd funding. He plans to move his base of operation to Dunedin for the 2018 vintage and will offer an interactive wine experience in winemaking for groups visiting his urban winery.  The wines made will be under the Urbn Vino Dunedin label. www.urbnvino.nz

Archived tasting notes on wines no longer commercially available can be seen by clicking here

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



The Writer’s Block ‘Novella’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

17.5/20
Moderately deep, dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. This has an elegantly proportioned nose with ethereal perfumes of dark red berry and black cherry fruit along with violet floral and fresh herbal elements and nuances of minerals. Medium-bodied, the palate is bright and vibrant with fresh, finely succulent, fruit flavours of dark red cherry fruit enlivened by brisk, lacy acidity. This has a finely concentrated core with fine-grained tannin extraction and mouthwatering acidity. The flavours carry with good tension and energy to a lingering finish with a subtle amalgam of red fruits, herbs and minerals. This is a bright and fresh, red cherry flavoured Pinot Noir with light textures, refreshing acidity and focussed fruit flavours. Match with poultry and pork, and Asian cuisine over the next 3+ years. Clones 5, 777, 115 and 667, 95% from a Bannockburn site and 5% from a Northburn vineyard, fermented to 13.5% alc. with 18% whole bunches and aged 18 months in seasoned oak, 33% being 1 y.o.. 110 cases available. 17.5/20 Jul 2016 RRP $32.95

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

The Writer’s Block Central Otago Late Harvest Gewurztraminer 2013

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Otago

18.5-/20

Brilliant, very pale straw colour, near colourless on rim. The nose is tight and constrained, with delicate aromas of rose-petal florals, exotic spices, stonefruit kernels and some fresh fermentation esters lift. Sweet to taste and medium bodied with good weight and presence, luscious and softly decadent flavours of rose-petals, Turkish Delight, honey and musky florals fill the palate. The mouthfeel is soft, near-unctuous and rich with creamy, soapy-smooth and seamless textures. The wine flows effortlessly through the palate line, the acidity quite restrained and soft, enhancing the gentle progression of richness to opulence. The flavours carry through to a soft, full, mellow finish with sustained musk and honey notes. This is a deliciously soft and gently opulent late-harvest Gewurztraminer to match with pate, fruit desserts and soft cheeses over the next 2-3 years. Late-picked Gewurztraminer from selected rows with no botrytis from Charcoal Gully, Lowburn, stainless-steel fermented to 12.0% alc. and 65 g/L RS, with 3.87 pH and TA 3.8 g/L. 50 cases made. (375 ml) 18.5-/20 Nov 2013 RRP $25.00

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

Urbn Vino Dunedin Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

18-/20

Even ruby-red colour, lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is subtly presented with fragrant aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit, with delicate notes off dark herbs, unveiling dark-red and violet florals. Medium-full bodied, the palate has elegant flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit entwined with dark herbs and dark-red and violet florals. The fruit is gently rich and is enlivened by soft, but fresh acidity, and supported by light, supple tannin extraction. The flavours grow in depth as the wine leads to a finely concentrated, deep, and lingering finish. This is an elegant Pinot Noir with dark-red cherry and berry fruit with floral lift on a supple palate that grows in depth in the glass. Match with duck and pork dishes over the next 4-5 years. A blend of 50% clone 4 from Bendigo, 25% clone 114 from Bendigo and 25% mixed clones from Bannockburn, fermented to 13.9% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 25% new oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 75 cases made. 18.0-/20 Dec 2017 RRP $42.00 TBC

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

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