96+ points Stuart McCloskey “A fabulous mature nose of undergrowth, earth and balanced beautifully with a dash of spicy red fruits and rosehip, which could easily be interpreted as a high-class Burgundy. There’s lots to discover on the palate – time in the glass / decanter reveals a real depth and complexity rarely found at this price level. The palate is subtle, silky with a lovely sweet entry. Layers of fruit continue to build leading into blood orange, cranberry and a touch of warm spice. A beautiful wine with perfectly judged acidity and ultra-fine tannins. This is a model of pure sensitivity –simply, a faultless joy. Served using a Zalto Burgundy glass. Drinking window: Now to 2023”
96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey
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.
97 Points - James Halliday
Sourced from the Coal River and areas of southern Tasmania; hand-picked, and fermented with 25% whole bunches, 75% destemmed; matured in French oak barriques (25% new). It has absolutely outstanding colour and has an exhilaratingly pure expression of varietal fruit in a predominantly red fruit spectrum, with some darker notes adding to the flavour complexity. The balance is faultless, the oak evident but not intrusive, the finish very long. Great as it is now, it will be even better in 5-10 years time.
Gold Medal - 2015 National Wine Show of Australia
96 points - Stuart McCloskey
I was curious to sample the ’05 as I am not a huge fan of sparkling Rosé. A beautiful copper colour with cranberries, red stone fruits, sweet raspberry, orange peel and a little rosewater. In fact, the wine builds with endless layers and has the structure (as with the entire Arras range) of great, Grand Cru Champagne. There’s no holding back with this wine – It’s been released to be relished. There’s real depth and a density on show which takes this Rosé to the head of the class and deservedly so. I could imagine a dozen grilled, Loch Linnhe langoustines partnered with a chilled bottle of the ’05. Simply, heaven.
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."
94 Points – James Halliday
Deep crimson-purple; competes with its sister Bay of Fires Pinot, and has a similar throbbing power behind the deep colour of its robes. It is still impossibly young and trenchantly demands time for its texture to open up and its spicy black cherry/plum to supply the mouthfeel.
16.5+ Points – Julia Harding MW (JancisRobinson.com)
Mid cherry red, the fruit aroma not too sweet, with more dark-red fruit and raspberry character. Peppery and scented and even very slightly floral. Delicate and peppery on the palate too. Fine, dry, elegant texture. This was a great match at lunch with the duck pastrami.
18 Points - Raymond Chan
We are delighted to introduce Akitu’s fourth vintage with production levels reaching a modest 430 cases, which translates to a little more for our customers. Their inaugural vintage (2012) produced a tiny 325 cases and sold-out within a matter of weeks.
94 Points - Bob Campbell
First release of a brand new wine brand. Quite a rich, flavoursome and oaky red with cigar box, plum, dark berry, anise, spice and liquorice flavours. A weighty, textural wine with appealing spicy complexity. Accessible now but should age well
Stuart McCloskey "Muddy Water Pinot Noirs truly reflect their philosophy, more so than any other New Zealand Pinot Noir (with the exception of Devotus) I have encountered. Burgundian to the very core but by no means trying to copy. Evolution has been kind to all three. Perfectly judged, uniquely captivating, full of detail, effortless, precise and everything a Grand Cru should be. Unquestionably, three Pinot Noirs which stop you in your tracks. Simply stunning by any measure and not one wine dipped below 97+ / 98 points. All served using Zalto Burgundy glassware. Decant for 30 minutes."
The Hare’s Breath block is Muddy Water’s hillside plot that consists of seven different Burgundy clones, one of which was allegedly smuggled out of the Domaine Romanee Contee vineyard in the 1970’s tucked into a rugby players boot. Each clone adds its own distinct element to craft wines of great complexity, structure and intensity...
* Tasting note coming shortly *
The original block that Muddy Waters planted, the Slow Hands name derives from their founding philosophy of meticulous but gentle care be awarded to the vineyard, the vines must be tended by ‘slow hands’. The wine is only made in the best years when the conditions are dry, warm and sunny enough to aid the slow ripening from this block. This slow ripening is one of the defining features that gives the Slow Hands wine it’s distinct structure and texture, only the finest grapes are selected and the wine is made in very small batches. The wines are described as being an iron fist in a velvet glove, balancing intense power, with a fine, velvety texture delivering sensual blackcurrant, blueberry, plum, bramble and violet, seamlessly combined with gentle, French oak.
The original block that Muddy Waters planted, the Slow Hands name derives from their founding philosophy of meticulous but gentle care be awarded to the vineyard, the vines must be tended by ‘slow hands’. The wine is only made in the best years when the conditions are dry, warm and sunny enough to aid the slow ripening from this block. This slow ripening is one of the defining features that gives the Slow Hands wine its distinct structure and texture, only the finest grapes are selected and the wine is made in very small batches. The wines are described as being an iron fist in a velvet glove, balancing intense power, with a fine, velvety texture delivering sensual blackcurrant, blueberry, plum, bramble and violet, seamlessly combined with gentle, French oak.
95 Points - Bob Campbell
Aromatic pinot noir with spice, plum and violet aromas that are joined by liquorice, prune and subtle nutty oak on the palate. Dense, intense wine with strong sweet fruit restrained by subtle tannins. A rich, almost chewy wine, with impressive underlying power. Best served slightly chilled to temper fruit sweetness.
94 Points - James Suckling
Complex, brambly red-cherry and red-plum aromas with a lightly sappy, forest-floor edge. The palate has a super smooth array of vibrant red cherries and a clearly defined, layered texture.
95 Points – Bob Campbell
Felton Road's entry level pinot noir is an elegant blend of several vineyards with a mix of savoury, earthy, herbal and coffee flavours with cherry, floral and spice characters. It's a supple and complex wine that reveals power through a lengthy finish.
97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey
It's a testament to the power of the fruit that the 2015 Reveur Pinot Noir spent 19 months in 40% new French oak and yet emerged with such profound purity and freshness. Hints of tea and roses add complexity to ripe cherries and clean compost, which infuse the palate from front to back in richly textured layers of flavor. It's medium to full-bodied, with plenty of tannin, yet it remains approachable and should drink well through at least 2024.
97+ - Stuart McCloskey
We thought the 2013 was something special, however the 2014 could well go down as one of the greatest ‘young’ Pinot Noirs to ever pass our lips. The ’14 is blessed with an incredibly intense, powerful nose - the perfume is extraordinary, almost exotic. Although young, the palate is showing beautiful structure, filigree tannins and is utterly sensuous. This is an irresistible Campbell Ranch, a little fatter and more generous than the previous two vintages. Effortless, mercurial and brilliant.
93 Points - Antonio Galloni
The 2014 Pinot Noir Campbell Ranch Vineyard is one of the more overt, fruit-driven wines in the line-up. The small berries here give the wine an intense, almost flamboyant sense of ripeness that stands out. Expressive floral notes round out the close. There is a directness and sense of immediacy to the Campbell Ranch that is compelling.
96 Points - James Halliday
The Dr Edge Pinots are part of a voyage of discovery, so it is that the East, North and South are all clone 115 (the ‘16s were MV6), and all have identical vinification: half whole-bunch carbonic maceration, half whole berries, once wild fermentation begins, 80% of the bunches are destemmed on top with 20% remaining as whole bunches, matured in French barriques (10% new) for 9 months. Fragrant, with more red fruits, long and silky; reflects the clonal change, driven by the very cool vintage, the tannin sotto voce.
95+ Points - Gary Walsh (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.
97 Points - James Halliday
MV6, 777 and 115 clones, 60% from the Derwent Valley, 30% East Coast and 10% Tamar Valley. The bouquet is multifaceted, with no single message from the single vineyard group, the palate moving onto another tier, but carries with it the higher-toned red fruits of clone 115 (compared to MV6 last year). It also achieves a lightness of touch without any sacrifice of line or length. This is the serious business of enjoyment, not the science of dissecting small pieces of a large puzzle.
96+ Points - Gary Walsh (The Wine Front)
It’s a Big Day in the North.
Woah. Pow pow powerful, yet light too. Dark cherries, damp earth, spice, maybe some cheeky violet, but a brooding kind of ‘minerality’ throughout. Tannin is firm, a long emery rasp through the palate, pure acidity, perfume, earth and grip on a long finish. There’s some meatiness and smoky reductive stuff here, for sure, but the fruit and vineyard shines through. I’m all about this. Wonderful.
93 Points - Antonio Galloni
Chanin's 2014 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard is silky and beautifully layered throughout. Sweet red berry fruit and floral notes are pushed forward. Rose petal, blood orange and white pepper develop in the glass, adding brightness and tension to the acid-driven finish. The 35% whole clusters are pretty much buried by the sheer luxuriousness of the fruit...
An intensely perfumed nose that’s dominated by floral notes in the typical Calvert expression. Rose and violet give way to underlying blueberry and plum with background hints of leather and polished wood. The power of the fruit is considerable but the overall mouthfeel is characteristically refined, precise and detailed. The linear nature of the tannins brings a pleasing tautness and purpose. As accurate and fulfilling as we could ever imagine it to be.
Bright ruby in the glass, the aromatics concentrate—cherries, raspberries, dried rose petals, a touch of sweet oak and a hint of forest floor. The entry is silky with a classic Pinot Noir palate: loads of ripe red fruit, savory undertones and a principled backbone of acidity. Balanced, lean and complex, the wine finishes softly at length.
97 Points - Bob Campbell
Delicious pinot noir, with a sumptuous texture and floral, plum, dark cherry and Oriental spice flavours. Supple, elegant wine with impressive underlying power - the flavours linger long after the wine has been swallowed (or spat in my case). An accessible wine in a very appealing style.
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.
366 cases produced.
19 Points - Raymond Chan
Even, dark ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. This has a very fine and intensely concentrated, tightly bound nose of fragrant and aromatically piquant dark raspberry and cherry fruit lifted by black and dark-red florals and entwined with dark thyme herb and whole bunch stalk complexities, and nuances of black minerals. Medium-full bodied, the flavours of savoury dark raspberry fruit are interwoven with dark thyme herbs, dark red and violet florals and savoury whole...
441 cases produced.
19- Points - Raymond Chan
Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with purple hues, a little lighter on the edge. This has a very full, soft, near-ethereal nose of savoury dark red berry fruits with suggestions of red-brown fruits along with earthy and dried herb layers harmoniously interwoven with subtle whole bunch stalk nuances. This is well-packed and blossoms with ease. Medium-full bodied, the palate features soft and fulsome flavours of rich and succulent savoury red berry fruits unfolding layers of earth...
400 cases produced.
19- Points - Raymond Chan
Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with slight black and purple hues. The nose is well-proportioned with tight and densely packed aromas of black berried and dark-red berry fruit, along with notes of liquorice, savoury herb and whole bunch stalk elements, iron-earth and black minerals. The nose is reserved and brooding. Medium-full bodied, the palate is full and concentrated with powerful and deep flavours of dark-red and black berried fruits entwined with liquorice, dark herbs...
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."
International Wine Challenge: Bronze 2016
916 cases produced.
19.5 Points - Raymond Chan
Very dark, very deep, black-hued ruby-red colour with youthful purple tints, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is firmly concentrated with deep and intensely packed, fresh and vibrant aromas of dark-red berry and black cherry fruits melded with complexing layers of dark herbs and whole bunch stalk notes. The intensity and depth build in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the fruit flavours of dark-red berry and black cherry fruits are rich, ripe, lusciously sweet and vibrant and form...
97 Points - James Halliday
The vineyard was planted in '94 to clones 114 and 115, believed to have mutated into a single 'Sangreal' clone. Always made with 50-70% whole bunches, and 60-70% new oak maturation for 18 months. While the power of the wine is typical Farr, this vintage bestows a measure of linearity, a sinuous line to the palate that links and loops around the complex flavours of forest floor/spice and wild strawberry.
95 Points - Bob Campbell "Appealing aromatic pinot noir with cherry, violet, chalky mineral flavours together with a subtle seasoning of fresh herbs. Elegant wine with purity and poise."
94 Points - James Suckling "The Old Weka Pass Road pinot from the 2013 vintage is very much reflective of the same DNA seen in the Bell Hill bottling from the same vintage, but only a lighter and more transparent rendering. It delivers redder cherry-fruit aromas, and is quite fragrant and pure, but less of the darker fruits and swanky oak-derived overtones. The palate's fine, elegant and focused with a core of bright and crunchy red cherries. Quite elegant and refreshing. The texture is chalky, supported by tannins that hold a linear shape and an almost crunchy edge. Drink now to 2020."
The 2015 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is bold and racy, but also shows a good bit of freshness. Dark cherry, plum, lavender, mint, violet and sweet spices are front and center. Pliant and ripe, but with good supporting energy, the 2015 is all about balance.
Decanter World Wine Awards: Gold 2017
Gold Medal – 2017 Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships
Gold Medal – 2017 International Wine & Spirit Competition
99 Points - Stuart McCloskey
Extraordinarily left on the lees for 12 full years and disgorged June 2015. This is far from a New World gimmick - Mind-bogglingly brilliant and without question, the greatest sparkling wine outside of Champagne and better than many within. A sublime blend of 61% Chardonnay & 39% Pinot Noir which offers a profusion of aromatics and flavours. The wine delivers mouth-filling generosity with nutty honeycomb, toasted brioche, bread (a factor of the extended lees contact), toasted grains, caramel and citrus notes. I detect some ocean sea salinity which makes sense given the marine location. Clearly, the wines maturity is for all to see however, the purity and finesse is quite staggering. A towering masterpiece, riveting, difficult to share as several glasses is never enough and I honestly can't imagine it getting any better. Truly epic and the New World benchmark. Almost perfect! Served using Zalto universal. Only 2,200 bottles produced.
18.5+ Points - Raymond Chan
Full, even, very dark ruby-red colour with black-purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is tightly bound and expressed with elegance of proportion, the fruit pronounced in fragrant dark-red and black cherry and berry aromas, along with dark-red florals and subtle, complexing herbal notes...
95 Points – Bob Campbell
Quite a tight and tannic Pinot Noir that appears a little closed at this youthful stage. Ripe and reasonably dense plum and dark cherry flavours with hints of spice. I can say with confidence that the wine will age well although it is hard to judge right now.
Fine and slightly edgy Pinot Noir with plum, red cherry, spice and dried herb flavours. Less robust and perhaps more varietal than usual. The wine has a good structure of fine tannins and acidity that suggest good cellaring potential.
17.5 Points – Julia Harding (jancisrobinson.com)
A little darker than the 2008. More fragrant as well as more savoury. Oak spice a little more evident than on the 2008 though still subtle. So fresh and lively on the palate. Juicy red fruit but not at all bumptious. Silky though rich and long.
99 Points – Bob Campbell
Ripe, dense and fairly deep-coloured Pinot Noir with dark-fleshed plum, dark cherry, violet and liquorice flavours plus a hint of rhubarb on the aroma. Clearly a very complex wine that won’t reveal its full potential for a few years yet. I particularly like the wine’s silken texture and almost chewy body. It must surely rate as one of Dry River’s best ever Pinot Noir vintages.
96 Points – Bob Campbell
Intense and powerful wine with focused varietal flavours including Black Doris plum, anise/Oriental spices, dark chocolate, liquorice and floral/violets. Beautifully textured Pinot Noir with a very lengthy finish. Terrific Pinot Noir from one of the country’s leading producers.
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...
The Royal St. Robert cuvee is dedicated to our grandfather Robert Mondavi, who taught us to be committed to excellence. Our 2016 RSR cuvee comes from the true Sonoma Coast behind Bodega Bay and is a marriage of special lots that we feel are the best in our cellar. This wine opens with wild strawberries, crushed bing cherries, and rose petals that fill the bowl with sweet resin, white tea, thyme, forest floor and wet rock. The texture is rich, complex and leads to a long sumptuous finish.
The 2016 Freestone-Occidental wine shares the same winemaking techniques as our vineyard designated pinot noirs. The 2016 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 2016 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 (13.4%) makes this wine a perfect complement to any meal. It is delicious now and will develop nicely in bottle.
98 Points - James Suckling
Fabulous aromas of slate, rust, iron, and dried strawberries. Full body, firm tannins, wonderfully polished. Fine and caressing. Complex flavors too. A wonderful finish. Dusty texture as well. This is a small production wine from the family’s best vineyards of the Manzanar farm with pure slate soils.
99 Points - James Suckling
18 Points - Raymond Chan "Light, even ruby-red colour with slight garnet-purple hues, lighter on the rim. This has a softly concentrated and well-packed nose with aromas of savoury dark-red berry and black cherry fruit melded with dark herbs and notes of earth and black minerals, unveiling subtle and harmonious oak and whole bunch stalk detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a well-concentrated core of sweet dark-red and black berried fruit intermixed with dark herb and subtle whole bunch stalk elements, along with black mineral nuances. The extraction provides balanced, fine-gained tannins and the mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh, balancing, lacy acidity. This has a good line, leading to a lush, lively finish od red and black fruits and subtle herb notes. This is a moderately concentrated, sweet, dark-fruited Pinot Noir with moderately extracted, supple tannins and fresh acidity. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 4-5 years 70% Abel clone and 30% clone 5, the fruit fermented with 26% whole bunches to 13.81% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 22% new French oak. 230 dozen made."
95 Points - Robert Parker
The 2012 Pinot Noir Aidan (445 cases) emerges from Dijon clones 115 and 777 planted in the cool Wild Rose Vineyard in the Russian River. This beauty reveals notes of strawberry jam, plums, blackcurrants, cherries, resiny pine forest, unsmoked cigar tobacco and a hint of cloves. Fresh, full-bodied and complex, it should drink well for a decade.
96 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
From a site on the eastern side of the Sta. Rita Hills and aged in 50% new French oak, the 2016 Pinot Noir Atticus John Sebastiano Vineyard offers a very pretty, perfumed style. Red cherries, red plums, rose petals, and blood orange notes give way to a medium-bodied, ethereally textured, seamless 2016 that has some background oak, a layered, ultra-fine personality, and a great finish. It's going to age beautifully. Again, this is easily the most ethereal and seamless in the lineup and shines more for its nuance and elegance than power or richness. Drink it any time over the coming decade.