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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

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

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



The Writer’s Block Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago

18.5-/20

Dark, even ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with garnet suggestions. This is elegantly concentrated on the nose with a fine and firm depth showing intense aromas of dark-red and black cherry fruit, some liquorice and mineral notes, dark herbs and fragrant violet florals. Some nutty oak unfolds from the core. Medium-full bodied, this has a tight, concentrated core of rich and ripe black cherry and dark-red berry fruits, with notes of liquorice and herbs, the whole cluster well-integrated. The fruit sweetness is supported by fine-grained, powdery tannin extraction with balanced acidity. Notes of florals, nutty oak and minerals show and carry to a juicy, vibrant, lingering finish of cherries and berries. This is an elegantly concentrated Pinot Noir with black and red cherry fruit and notes of thyme herbs, liquorice and florals on a fine-textured palate. Match with duck, pork and lamb over the next 5-6 years. Clones 667, 777, 115, Abel and 5 from a single site on the Bendigo Terraces. An equal blend of two fermentations, with 30% and 10% whole cluster respectively, fermented to 14.2% alc., the wine aged 12 months in seasoned French oak, one-third 1 y.o., bottled unfined and unfiltered. 65 cases made. 18.5-/20 Oct 2016 RRP $50.00

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

Moderately dark, deep, opaque ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on rim. This has an elegant and refined nose with tightly bound aromas of dark red cherry fruit entwined with a fine thread of thyme herb and liquorice, with harmoniously integrated, savoury stemmy whole bunch nuances. The aromatics build in density and concentration, revealing mineral and floral perfume detail with aeration. Medium-full bodied, this palate is finely proportioned with intense and well-concentrated flavours of sweet, dark cherry fruit, thyme herb, minerals and spices, the whole cluster elements integral. The fruit is supported by fine-grained, guiding tannins and ripe, lacy acidity providing linearity and poise, leading to a subtly sweet and rich-fruited finish with lingering floral fragrances. This is a beautiful, elegantly concentrated, perfumed Pinot Noir with subtle herb and integrated complexities. Match with poultry, pork and hare over the next 6+ years. Clones 667, 777, 115, Abel and 5 from a single site on the Bendigo Terraces. An equal blend of two fermentations, with 30% and 10% whole cluster respectively, fermented to 14.2% alc., the wine aged 12 months in seasoned French oak, one-third 1 y.o., bottled unfined and unfiltered. 65 cases made. 18.5/20 Jun 2014 RRP $50.00

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

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

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