The 2016 Cristom Vineyards Estate Viognier exhibits the pure, and nearly textbook, characteristics of this varietal, with aromas of orange blossoms, honeysuckle, clover, and anise as well as the ripe fruit aromas of peach, apricot, and lychee. Slightly viscous on the palate, with bright and mouth watering acidity that support the fruit structure of the wine, it is well integrated and perfectly balanced.
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."
Now that the 2011 Esprit de Tablas Blanc has been in bottle for a while, the depth and density of the vintage is more apparent in the wine's honeyed, expansive texture. Hints of tropical fruit, almonds, orange peel and spices wrap around the resonant, creamy finish in this highly expressive white. The 2011 is 64% Roussanne, 26% Grenache Blanc and 10% Picpoul Blanc.
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."
Stuart McCloskey "Without doubt, the best new world Riesling I've tasted."
18.5+ Raymond Chan "Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, paler on the edge. The nose is elegant in proportion with rich and concentrated, well-packed aromas of ripe citrus fruits along with honey, marmalade and musk, unfolding exotic floral elements. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a concentrated, dense heart packed with harmoniously integrated flavours of ripe citrus fruits, marmalade, honeysuckle and musk. This has real body and presence, and the palate has a rounded and gently unctuous mouthfeel. The acidity is ripe and soft, providing underlying energy and drive, and the wine carries to a long, lingering finish of honey, citrus fruits and musk. This is a full and concentrated dry Riesling with ripe citrus fruits, honey, musk and marmalade botrytis flavours on a rounded, unctuous palate.
96 Points - James Suckling "The refinement and brilliance of the fruit on offer here really sets this wine apart from the regular Pegasus Bay pinot noir. Deliciously rich dark cherry aromas and flavors are presented amid silky, refined and long-form tannins. A great wine, in every respect. Drink now. Screw cap."
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Reductive with aromas still very much in development. That said, this impeccably made wine is centred around textural elegance, satiny structure, mid-palate depth and an effortless sense of cohesion. Decanting for a short while is essential as the oxygenation takes it from the ordinary to immensely appealing. Layer upon layer of fruit and white flowers harmonises beautifully with oatmeal and a beautiful vein of minerality. This is more tensile, finer than many, which adds an intellectual quality found with high-quality Burgundy. This is a superb Chardonnay from one of New Zealand's leading producers. I recommend a drinking window from now to 2025 but would not be surprised to this peak beyond 10 years.. Sampled in Zalto Bordeaux glassware and comes highly recommended”.
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.
95 Points - Bob Campbell "Intense, ripe sauvignon blanc with tree fruit, nectarine, red capsicum and guava flavours. A rich, gently tangy and deliciously accessible wine that stood out from the crowd in a tasting of 2018 wines.
17 Points - Jancis Robinson "Very racy, alluring, complex nose with some reductive struck-match character. Rather splits the difference between Marlborough and Sancerre. Creamy undertow with exciting top notes. Extraordinary tension on the palate. Dry but not drying finish. Long. Very accomplished and intense."
99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey
The nose is very intense and does require a good hour in a decanter to unlock its captivating bouquet of dark berries, bilberry and sous-bois. The palate is medium-bodied exquisitely balanced with ultra-fine tannins. At times the ‘Finn’ comes across as something very powerful, at other times sensory. Certainly, a mercurial Pinot Noir which washes effortlessly across your palate. Extraordinary, a moving wine and nigh on perfection.