Simply gorgeous. This honeyed, apricot-laden, rich, plush dessert wine is balanced by zippy acidity and leaves the palate fresh, clean and satiated. Peach, orange and nectarine flavors add interest. Complex.
The folks at Wairau River have picked up their game, turning out a slightly austere, minerally 2009 that balances those attributes with hints of nectarine, melon and fig. It’s medium-bodied, with a long finish.
The proprietors spray the vines with water to encourage botrytis formation, then turn off the water and let nature take its course. The result is a fabulously rich dessert Riesling, full of dried apricots and tangerines. There’s a musky, spicy character too, and a strong undercurrent of acidity keep sit from being cloying.
The philosophy here is to rely on bottle age to bring the acids into balance, rather than doing a lot of malolactic fermentation. The current release is this ’97 when most producers are onto the ’99s. Despite only 15% malo, there’s a creamy richness to this wine in the mouth to go with delicate toast and bold pineapple flavors that pick up anise and black pepper…
Melon, citrus and green-bean aromas get a lift from some smoky oak. The thick, meaty palate is also a tad oaky, but it comes through with plenty of ripe melon, citrus and a hint of butterscotch—presumably from the oak. The finish is full and evolves in layers, always a good sign of a wine’s overall quality.
Despite having 6.2 g/l residual sugar, this intense, concentrated Riesling comes across as being dry, powered by assertive lime, tangerine and stone fruit flavors. Drink it over the next couple of years for its bold fruit.
This is a nicely made Marlborough Sauvignon at an attractive price, with herbal, grassy notes and a touch of bell pepper backed by underlying tropical fruit. It’s round without being soft, retaining sufficient crispness to serve alone or with seafood.
This winery hasn’t fared all that well in recent vintages, but hopefully the 2007 represents a step in the right direction. The overly pungent, grassy notes have been replaced by riper, more balanced fruit that calls to mind honey, melon and fig yet finishes dry and minerally. A bit tarry and rubbery when first opened, so a quick decant is recommended.