97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey "What a welcome back after a three-vintage absence (for me, not the wine!). Waves of plums, mulberries, black cherries and hints of blood orange wash effortlessly across your palate. There is an intense core of rich dark fruits perfectly framed by fine tannins which is impossible not to admire. Certainly, an intriguing Pinot Noir which straddles styles and certainly would not be out of place with some of Sonoma’s ‘top’ Pinot Noirs. Utterly joyful and quite honestly soars above many of its New Zealand peers. Served in a Zalto Burgundy glass but I do feel a little unkind with my score – Perhaps another point (98+) if I had the patience to decant which I would highly recommend."
92 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com)
Another terrific vintage for this cuvee, the Syrah and Grenache-dominated 2014 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem was harvested between the 12th of September and the 3rd of October with miniscule yields of 28 hectoliters per hectare. Completely destemmed and aged all in concrete tanks, its ruby opaque color is followed by complex notes of garrigue, leather, plums and violets. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and layered, with a great texture, this fruit-forward, balanced Roussillon is already hard to resist, but will continue drinking nicely for 6-7 years.
Winemaker "We hand pick the fruit from Matthews Lane vineyard ensuring each parcel of fruit is in pristine condition. After a yeast starter the juice rests on yeast lees for 11 months in new 1,000L German Oak Fuder Barrels. The use of Fuder barrels in this way ensures our Single Vineyard white wines develop a greater complexity and refinement because oak doesn’t dominate. The ratio of wine in contact with the barrel surface is less than smaller barrels so oak pick up is less. The staves of Fuder barrels are thicker which means the temperature of ferment tends to be warmer and we find the fruit characters gain greater depth and complexity."
97-99 Points - Wine Advocate "The 500-case production of this wine comes from a three-hectare parcel of Roussanne planted in 1909. The Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes takes the quality of Beaucastel's traditional white and raises it another level. Caramelized pineapple sounds sweet and cloying, but it isn't when it's backed by amazing texture, citrus zest and a briny sensation on the never-ending finish. As this was the last wine of my visit to the estate, I found it especially hard to spit out."
96-99 Points - Jeb Dunnuck "Last of the whites, huge notes of buttered citrus, exotic flowers, pineapple, honeysuckle, and almond notes all emerge from the 2017 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Roussanne VieillesVignes, a rich, yet fresh, elegant, vibrant barrel sample that does everything right. You can’t find a wine like this anywhere else in the world, and it’s consistently one of the world’s great white wines."
Finalist, FINE WINES OF NEW ZEALAND. 2019
18.5/20 Raymond Chan "Very pale straw colour. The nose is soft with ripe, passionfruity aromas and gentle density. This has lovely harmony. Medium-bodied, the ripe passionfruit flavours are softly presented, and the palate is composed of fine phenolic textures with bright acidity. The integration, balance and togetherness is gorgeous. Luc Cowley reported that 2018 wasn’t an easy vintage, but lessons learnt from 2017 were invaluable." Tasted August 2018
Bob Campbell "Bright, tangy sauvignon blanc with gooseberry, lime, grapefruit, pineapple and a suggestion of passionfruit flavours. A punchy, assertive and flavoursome wine." Tasted October, 2018
Cameron Douglas "Seductive and alluring bouquet of SB with softer fruit spice layers woven between suggestions of lemon and sweet grapefruit, apple, mineral and fresh lychee. Crisp, dry, packed with flavour and texture. Notable acidity well balanced against the ripeness of fruit and gentle fruit spice moments. Lengthy and quite complex finish. Drink now through 2022." Tasted February, 2019
Five Stars, Michael Cooper "Estate-grown on the south side of the Wairau Valley, on a site where the region’s first wines were made in the 1870s, this youthful wine was mostly handled in tanks; 5% was fermented in old French oak casks. Mouthfilling (13% alc/vol) and dry, with excellent weight and depth of ripely herbaceous, grapefruit/lime flavours, it’s a powerful, finely poised wine with a long finish." Tasted November, 2018.
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.
95 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com)
Starting off the single vineyard efforts, the 2012 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Visitare Interiore Terrae (VIT) is a blend of mostly Syrah, with a small portion of Grenache, that comes from the schist soils around the town of Latour de France. It’s unfortunate that there are only 180 cases of this beauty to go around, as it offers a singular profile...
97 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com)
Similar in style to the hedonistically-styled Cuvee de l’Orée (especially when compared to the structured, mineral-laced l’Ermite), the 2014 Ermitage le Méal Blanc (aged in 10% new demi-muids) offers layers of celery seed, brioche, caramelized pineapple and citrus oil on the nose. Thick, rich, voluptuous and full bodied with a massive finish, drink this sensational white anytime over the coming two to three decades.
94-97 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com)
More focused and delineated than the Les Granits release, the 2014 Saint Joseph le Clos comes from a mostly east-facing parcel that's located high up on the slope. Surprisingly, it’s an early ripening parcel that’s harvest in mid-September in most vintages. Crème de cassis, liquid rock, graphite and violets characteristics all flow to a full-bodied, structures and layered Saint Joseph that has uncommon density, concentration and depth. It will have two decades of longevity.
96 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com)
The 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Le Clos du Caillou is near the top of the heap in the vintage, and is a brilliant wine. Giving up classy creme de cassis, black raspberry, ground herbs and creamy licorice, it has full-bodied richness and depth to go with an open, sexy, supple style that’s hard to resist. The tannin here is present however, but is polished and sweet, so it will evolve gracefully going forward.