Featured Reviews

William Murdoch – Gimblett Gravels Guard

25 October,2011
Earlier this year, in March, I had the opportunity of visiting the 13.15 ha organically managed Murdoch Wines vineyard in Gimblett Road. (View my report by clicking here.) Planted in 1999 to the Bordeaux varietals and Syrah, the vineyard was acquired by Brett Murdoch who supplied contract fruit until 2009 when he made his own first wines with the guidance of Bruce Helliwell, then Jenny Dobson. The young and passionate Bragato Scholarship winner Hayden Penny has come on board as manager and winemaker since, and with Jenny Dobson, has taken on the hands-on work. Brett's family has been connected with the Coldstream Guards regiment of the British Army and the branding refers to his grandfather William Murdoch, a guardsman. The finished 2009 and yet-to-be bottled 2010 wines spoke of the Gimblett Gravels to me, and shared a vineyard and/or house style. The 2009 wines are about to be released and are reviewed here. They are very powerful in their structure and reflect the quality of the vintage. Contact Hayden Penny on Tel: 06 879-4333 for availability.


Station House ‘Blossom' Hawke's Bay Rosé 2010

Rose from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

The accessible wine label for William Murdoch. Made from 100% Merlot fully certified organic, undergoing saignée. The drawn must was fermented to 12.5% alc. and dryness. Bright peach-pink colour, with a light peachy rim. This has a tight, shy nose, solid and dense, with strawberry and red fruit aromas along with notes of earth, mineral and herbs. Dry and medium-bodied, there is a firm core of savoury red berry fruits and herbs, a little restrained, but with good vinous presence. The discreet textures are balanced by crisp, underlying acidity, leading to a moderately sustained finish. Serve with antipasto and tapas over the next 18 months to 2 years. 16.0+/20 Oct 2011 RRP $21.95

William Murdoch Hawke's Bay Syrah 2009

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Chave and MS clone Syrah from the ‘Murdoch Wines' vineyard, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 14 months in predominantly French oak barriques with some American and Hungarian wood, 35% new. Very full, deep, purple-hued, dense ruby-red colour, youthful in appearance. The nose is full, powerful and robust, yet to come together, but showing spicy, savoury black pepper and black fruits along with liquorice and wild herb aromas. Full-bodied, this has bold and lusciously rich flavours of black fruits, pepper, Asian spices, with an array of savoury game and herb notes, all infused with assertive, spicy oak. Firm tannins and good fresh acidity contribute to the vigorous structure. This powerfully constructed Syrah will be a match for hearty Middle Eastern and Mediterranean red meat dishes over the next 7-9+ years. 18.5-/20 Oct 2011 RRP $34.95

William Murdoch Hawke's Bay Merlot/Malbec/Cabernet Franc 2009

Merlot from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Bright, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour with a light edge. Elegantly presented on bouquet with savoury, dark-red berry fruit and plum aromas, along with milk chocolate and cedary oak adding interest. Medium-full bodied, this has considerable extraction, grip and structure framing the mouthfilling flavours of cooked red berry fruits, Middle Eastern spices, cedary oak and milk chocolate. There is sweetness and richness, backed by firm tannins, and the palate flows with balance. A blend of 45% Merlot, 30% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 14 months in 35% new French oak barriques, with some American and Hungarian barrels. Match with casseroles and slow-cooked red meats over the next 6-8 years. 17.5/20 Oct 2011 RRP $31.95

William Murdoch Hawke's Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Malbec 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Fruit from the ‘Murdoch Wines' site, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Franc, fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 14 months in French oak barriques, with some American and Hungarian wood, 35% new. Deepish ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on rim. This has a fine, intense and penetrating nose of blackcurrants, dark red berry fruits and liquorice with the signature aromas of iron-earth and minerals of the Gimblett Gravels, along with subtle oak notes. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a concentrated and full core of ripe, sweet, cassis and liquorice fruit flavours, alongside tar and minerally elements. The tannin extraction is substantial, but reasonably fine-grained, allowing the fruit richness to feature. This is youthful and possesses drive and length, and should become rounder, showing more layers of flavour over the next 8-10+ years. Match with hearty roasted and grilled red meats. 18.0+/20 Oct 2011 RRP $31.95

William Murdoch ‘The Guardsman' Hawke's Bay 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

The flagship wine of William Murdoch, this is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc fermented to 13% alc., the wine aged 18 months in new French oak barriques, 50% new. Bright ruby-red colour with good depth, this has an elegant, refined and somewhat reticent bouquet showing ripe blackcurranty fruit with layers of plums, cedar, fresh herbs and subtle oak spices, gently unfolding in the glass. Medium-full on the palate, the palate is tightly bound and brooding, with concentrated flavours of blackcurrants, berries and dark plums and nuances of spices, minerals and oak, supported by very fine-grained tannins. The wine has finesse and a well-proportioned structure that has intensity with drive and length. A wine with class, detail and harmony to match with roasted lamb and beef, and with aged hard cheeses over the next 8-10+ years. 18.5/20 Oct 2011 RRP $65.00
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