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Featured Reviews

Vicarage Lane 2017 Whites and 2014 Pinot Noir Releases

10 August,2017
Vicarage Lane is the Marlborough wine venture of John Kennard and Satu Lappalainen, originally established with a 4 ha block of land including 2 ha of Sauvignon Blanc in 2002. The intention was to make and promote quality Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. In 2003, John and Satu sold half of their company to Brent and Shirley Rawstron, best known for their Rossendale wines. The partners each make their own wines, with John and Satu involved in tending to the viticulture of the 60 ha of Rawstron vineyards. The Vicarage Lane home vineyard is 7.6 ha in size and is located on the corner of Middle Renwick and St Leonards Roads. While Sauvignon Blanc is the focus, John and Satu have Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Noir, the latter two purchased as finished wine from Canterbury. There are plans to introduce a Chardonnay. The highly experienced Alan McCorkindale is the Vicarage Lane winemaker, who uses the Spring Creek Vintners facilities. Export to Finland takes up a good proportion of the production. Here, I review the new 2017 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Bubbly, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Canterbury Riesling, plus the 2014 Canterbury Pinot Noir.


Vicarage Lane Marlborough Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sparkling Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright straw-yellow colour with moderately persistent brad and bubbles that fade. The nose is softly full with well-packed aromas of pungent passionfruit, gooseberries and fresh herbs, with cut grass notes that form deep aroma. The aromatics are clean and fresh. Dryish to taste, the palate features flavours of cut-grass, gooseberries and fresh herbs, along with lifted floral elements, bright lacy acidity and effervescence. The mouthfeel is brisk and racy, showing intensity, cut and steeliness. The raciness carries the flavours of cut-grass and green capsicums to a long, slightly dry textured finish. This is a crisp and softly intense sparkling Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry and cut grass flavours, racy acidity and a dry-textured finish. Serve as an aperitif, with seafood, salads and vegetables over the next 2 years. Marlborough fruit vinified to 12.5% alc. and 11 g/L RS, and carbonated, with bottling at Wine Works in Hawke’s Bay. 15.5/20 Aug 2017 RRP $14.99

Vicarage Lane Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, even, pale straw colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is fill and deep with penetrating aromas of pungent passionfruit along with dark herbs and savoury topical fruits. This has plenty of presence. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a softly full mouthfeel with flavours of passionfruit, tropical fruits, fresh herbs and cut grass, with nettle nuances. The fruit shows good richness and body, with some phenolic textures and fresh acidity providing a zesty liveliness. The flavours flow along a light, dry, textured line, leading to a sustained finish of passionfruit and grass. This is a fulsome, up-front Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit and tropical fruits, with cut grass and herb flavours, with good textures and freshness. Match with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Estate fruit cool-fermented in tank to 12.5% alc. and 2.3 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 16.5-/20 Aug 2017 RRP $13.99

Vicarage Lane Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough

Bright, light straw-yellow colour, lighter on the edge. This has a full, solid, up-front and uncomplicated nose of yellow stonefruits with underlying notes of steely power, and suggestions of nuts and honeysuckle. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is up-front with straightforward flavours of white and yellow stonefruits with suggestions of nuts, florals and honeysuckle. The palate has mouthfeel and presence with some phenolic grip and texture, with balanced acidity providing some energy and pension. This has a degree of robustness and the wine flows with vigour to a dry, grainy, aromatic finish. This is an up-front, uncomplicated dry Pinot Gris with some body, structure and presence. The first release of a Pinot Gris. Marlborough fruit cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 12.5% alc. and 2.3 g/L RS. 16.0/20 Aug 2017 RRP $13.99

Vicarage Lane Canterbury Riesling 2017

Riesling from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara

Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with suggestions of green hues, near colourless on the rim. The nose is very delicate and shy, with restrained aromas of white stonefruits, limes, white florals unfolding a thread of minerals and exotic tangerine elements. Medium-dry in sweetness and light-medium bodied, the palate has a concentrated core of exotic citrus fruits, limes and florals, with some aromatic wild honey. The mouthfeel has some phenolic texture and grip, providing a grainy, drying line. The acidity is refreshing and leads with energy and liveliness to a lingering finish of exotic fruit notes. This is an exotic, aromatic off-dry Riesling with floral and citrus notes on a textural palate with grip and acidity. Serve with Asian fare over the next 3 years. Fruit from Waipara, transported to Marlborough for vinification, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 12.0% alc. and 5.8 g/L RS, TA 7.3 g/L. 16.5-/20 Aug 2017 RRP $13.99

Vicarage Lane Canterbury Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara

Light garnet-red with a little depth, pale on edge with a touch of brick. The nose is full and voluminous with fragrant red berry fruit aromas entwined with subtle nuances of dried herbs, unfolding some savoury red floral notes. The aromatics are attractive and just beginning to show some secondary detail. Medium-bodied, the palate has light flavours of savoury red berry fruits along with dried herbs and some earthy secondary detail, The mouthfeel is enlivened by bright, lacy, near-racy acidity and the wine flows smoothly along a very fine textured line, leading to a light, dry, savoury finish with red fruits and dried herbs. This is a light-flavoured Pinot Noir with savoury red berry fruits with herbal and secondary development on a brisk palate. Match with antipasto, risotto and pasta over the next 2+ years. Waipara fruit, hand-picked, destemmed and fermented partially by indigenous yeasts to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 7 months in barrels. 16.0+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $16.99
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