95 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2015 Bodega (Freestone Occidental) is the deepest and richest of these wines but it has somehow achieved all of that intensity while retaining its translucent personality and feel. Lavender, violet, plum and an array of blue stone fruit flavors give the Bodega its distinctly dark profile. At the same time, the 2015 is endowed with remarkable aromatic freshness and nuance. The whole clusters are evident, but also beautifully woven into the wine's fabric."
Chanin's 2014 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard is gracious, aromatic and nicely lifted, all signatures of the sandy soils on this site. The fruit is forward and juicy, with just a dollop of whole clusters that adds balance and intrigue.
93 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com) "Plums, passion fruit, spring flowers and hints of violet all emerge from the silky, beautifully polished 2014 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard, which comes from very sandy soils located just outside of Los Alamos. It spent 12 months in a tiny 12% of new French oak. Medium-bodied and exceedingly elegant, with beautifully polished tannin, it should evolve nicely for a decade."
96 Points - James Suckling "Super vibrant with plenty of earthy forest floor aromas as well as toasted spices. The palate reveals a core of pristine dark cherry fruit flavor, beautifully judged ripe tannins and a level of effortless depth that singles this out as a consistently great New Zealand pinot noir. Drink now. Screw cap."
96 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz - "A serious, multidimensional Pinot Noir from New Zealand. Sweet raspberries, forest floor evolving to red cherries and pomegranate with a little aeration. Tannins, as you would hope for, are satiny and wrap the fruit perfectly. A hallmark of the producers is elegance but the wine fans-out beautifully on the palate." Served in a Zalto Burgundy Glass.
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95+ Points - Gary Walsh (The Wine Front) "Fine perfume, pretty and floral, strawberries dusted with pepper and spice, smoky autumn leaves and walks in the park. It’s delicate, rose petals over strawberry, cool bell-clear acidity, a playful rasp of tannin, and a spicy strawberry finish of impeccable length. Lacy, delicate wine. Diaphanous and thoroughly charming. Oh yes."
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96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The Pinot Noir for the ’17 Avancé was sourced from three vineyards in Southern Tasmania’s Upper Derwent and Coal Valleys. Sweet, succulent entry with an abundance of red cherries, wild strawberry, plums and sweet spices all laced together with bright, perfectly judged acidity. Medium-bodied, with pure silky tannins. The quality of racy, plush fruit is exquisite however, it’s the wines overall balance and completeness which stands out the most. You will have to look very hard to find a better buy for the money. A wine of pure and total pleasure. Just gorgeous and not to be missed”. Served in Zalto Burgundy glass (Highly-Recommended by the way! ), drinking beautifully now but will develop over the next 3-6 years."
Campbell Mattinson (The Wine Front) "From one end of the price scale to, almost, the other. This is an impressive wine, from an impressive producer. Excellent varietal character including a hearty sling of flavour through the finish, as is the way of the better examples. This pinot noir is blessed as much with confidence as it is with length, its sour-smoky fruits littered with sweet herb and orange rind notes, a whisper of reduction not hurting matters at all. A dry, structural, fruit-pulsed finish makes for a beautiful exit. Quality and value are both on offer here."
94 Points - Antonio Galloni "Raen's 2015 Royal St. Robert Cuvée is an exotically beautiful, almost overwhelming wine endowed with superb depth and intensity in all of its dimensions. A burst of ripe red and purplish-hued stone fruits rushes across the palate. Rose petal, lavender, spice, blood orange and spice overtones follow in short order..."
Winemakers notes "The 2017 Freestone-Occidental is a vibrant, perfumed wine with a chiseled red-fruit character that is typical of the wines from our Bodega Headlands and Bodega Ridge properties. The 2017 Freestone-Occidental offers a superb balance of primary red fruits and saline elements. It conveys outstanding energy, precision and lift in the mouth and finishes vibrant and long with discreet tannins. Its modest alcohol (14.1%) makes this wine a perfect complement to any meal. It is delicious now and will develop nicely in bottle."
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96 Points - Sam Kim (Wine Orbit) "It is irresistibly expressed on the nose showing dark berry, raspberry, dried herb, toasted almond and olive characters. The palate is equally engaging and gratifying with sweet berry flavours and multi-layered mouthfeel, finishing superbly long and flowing. Sophisticated, comforting and stunning. At its best: 2019 to 2027."
Winemaker "This incredibly fragrant and elegant wine is from our relatively cool site in Bannockburn in a cool growing season resulting in a wine with great tension and incredible layers of red fruit, spice and earth. The aromas are both intriguing and complex: fresh berry, wild game, gun smoke, baking spice and wild thyme. The palate is long and bright with cherry, blackcurrant, cardamom, and delicious savoury undertones. Silky fine tannins compliment the vibrant acidity, giving the wine length and memory. This wine is drinking beautifully at release and will continue to do so for at least a decade."
96+ Points - The Wine Front
What is left to say about Timo Mayer, aside, he keeps on making outstanding, fascinating, wonderful wines. There’s the howling at moon, baying at the wind, shirt tearing and pant splitting stuff, of course, and his incredible, unique site, but we know all that. This, of all the ‘Mayer’ wines, is only half whole bunch, the rest destemmed, where typically Mayer wines are 100% whole bunch. One thing you could reason, is that Timo’s wines are usually even better in worse years, but 2017, as great a season as it was for Yarra Valley, makes a hash of that rule.
Whiffs of smoke, gravelly-earthy note, dark cherry, mushroomy funk, undergrowth; where the wild things are. Love this fog of scent. Fine boned in the palate, draped in silky-sweet cherry and herbal flavours, rolls on a sheet of glossy acidity, finishes fine, perky, tight and squeaky. It’s a superb pinot noir, detailed, complex, layered and yet compact. Watch this unfurl.
97 Points - Bob Campbell MW
From a low-yielding vineyard in the Waihopai Valley with clay-based soils and 17 year-old vines. 50% whole-bunches in the fermentation. Evocatively perfumed wine with savoury, fresh herb, violet, red rose, cherry and berry flavours supported by classy spicy oak. Dense and seamless with an impressively lengthy finish. Delicious wine.