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Wine Reviews - Other White Wines
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 12 Sep 2016

Although some of these tasting notes may be found elsewhere on this site, this page brings together most of 'Other White Wines' (other than Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc), listed alphabetically by Producer. Click here for rating systems and abbreviations.

[2013] [2012] [2011] [2010] [2009] [2008] [2007][2006] [2005] [2004 vintage and older] [index]

2015 Vintage [top] [index]

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gisborne Albarino 2015 (sc) This lemon straw wine has a delightfully fruity bouquet – a fruit salad in a glass. In the mouth it’s all apples, pear and peach with a salty, flinty undercurrent and a touch of zingy spice that has accents of ginger and white pepper. It initially seems light but increases in richness with every mouthful to become quite mouthfilling and intense. Bright, fresh, juicy acidity makes this wine sing. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 11Nov2015.
Straw gold with quince jelly and vanilla poached pear filling the bouquet, and flavours of apples predominantly with a flinty undercurrent and a spicy peppery zing, becoming more textural and fuller to the mouthfeel with every sip. Tonight it seems like it would slot in somewhere between pinot gris and riesling. Lightly chill but do not over chill. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 16Mar2016.

Wairau River Marlborough Albarino 2015 (s) I describe this as hauntingly aromatic – this nose is beautiful even though the scent is subtle and coy. It has all those lovely fermentation grape esters with lemon balm, apple zest and hints of musk. Seems quite savoury on first tasting – I wonder is this has wild yeast – but overall crisp and neutral then a touch of butterscotch with baked apple and a zesty zing of spice brings it alive. I like it with its edgy malic freshness. Tasting again from the same bottle two days later, it has garnered so much more complexity. Matched to asparagus, the wine sings. 13.5% alc. $25.00. 28Oct2015.

Wairau River Reserve Marlborough Viognier 2015 (sc) Light gold with a glimmery citrine glow. The bouquet is soft and heady — classically apricot – pure apricot – with a layer of flower nectar and the scent of freshly picked Golden Queen peach adding to the aromatic allure with a hint of vanilla and a bready nuance too. It’s smooth flowing in the palate where bright fruit is honed in by an earthy spicy character – not earthy earthy however – let’s call it a spicy savouriness. I do get an intense apricot stone character too — sucking on an apricot stone. It’s apricot. It’s peach. It ebbs and flows. It’s exciting wine with body and soul. It’s stainless steel fermented with 10 per cent matured in seasoned French oak. A terrific match with baked chicken with apricots. 13% alc. $30. 16Jun2016.

2014 Vintage [top] [index]

Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Albarino 2014 (sc) Light gold. Perfumed with a delicate lemonade sherbet aroma with some subtle floral notes wafting through, this has fullness to the texture and a vibrant, peppery, zesty bite like sucking a wedge of fresh lemon! There are hints of guava and just ripe stonefruit in the background. Ultra dry and astringent right now but has potential. There’s a touch of honey that brings the lemon into balance and the lingering taste is more soft and rounded. But because the upfront taste is so acidic I don’t think this will be everyone’s cup of tea. 13% alc. $24.95. 17Jan2015.

Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Gruner Veltliner 2014 (sc) Pale straw gold. Aromatic and fruity with a lovely vibrancy to the lemon sherbet, tropical fruit and lime bouquet. Spicy in the palate, a little flinty with palate weight that is tending towards medium bodied. The fruit reminds me of a luxurious fruit salad – even a touch of cherry in there. Smooth with a harmonious finish. Tasted with the Waimea 2014 they both have a spicy, brightness yet have richness and softness to the mouthfeel. 13.5% alc. $24.95. 17Jan2015.

Babich Family Estates Fernhill Viognier 2014 – Hawkes Bay (sc) Light gold. Heady aromatics of apricot, peach, melon and nut bread. Warm and textural in the palate with a spicy brightness, a savoury mealy richness, ethereal flavours of apricots beautifully honed by a touch of lemon honey, and a radiating glow to the finish that’s silky and long with wonderful mouthfilling intensity. 14% alc. $20.99.15Oct2015.

Coopers Creek Single Vineyard The Bell Ringer Albarino 2014 (sc) Light gold. The first sense from the bouquet is of a little smoke, I know this is an unoaked wine, so perhaps a little sulphide / struck match. Let that pass and aromas of tropical fruit and spice are revealed, and intriguingly a slightly sweaty character that is more akin to sauvignon blanc. The taste is honeyed and spicy then steely citrus notes come through. There is a sense of roundness and complexity to the texture with touches of honey, nashi and peach, and a bright tangy finish. Possibly bordering on astringent, but I like it. There is underlying flintiness and harmonious fruit sweetness as the wine lingers. 13.5% alc. $21. 17Jan2015.

Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Viognier 2014 (sc) This light gold-coloured wine is gorgeously aromatic and the taste is quite lifted and ethereal with a nod to Condrieu. It’s high-toned yet fleshy with an almost oily mouthfeel, classic apricot flavours together with macadamia, white peach and dried tropical fruit, a soupçon of ginger and a warm, rich, full-bodied finish with lingering notes of preserved lemon. There is a little oak but it is not intrusive, just adds to the texture of this beautiful wine. This really is an excellent example as it is not too heady and overpowering and while the fruit is ripe and sweet, the wine is dry. I loved it. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 8Jul2015.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Verdelho 2014 (sc) Fragrantly scented and nutty with hint of blossoms and honey, then in the palate it is nutty, biscuity and just a little spicy – lemon pepper maybe – with a warm full-boded finish and lovely freshness from the soft acidity that imparts impressive length. 14.5% alc. $16.99. 24Sep2014.

Falconhead Hawkes Bay Viognier 2014 (sc) Spice biscuits, apricot and honeysuckle fill the heady bouquet of this light gold wine and it's wonderfully rich in the palate with the fruit ripe and sweet. There's an elegant aura to the complex & textural taste that has Viognier's classic apricot, spice and orange blossom flavours and it finishes with a silky flow. Partially barrel fermented but there is no obvious oak taste. 14.5% alc. $11.99. 27Jan2016.

Gladstone Vineyard Gladstone Viognier 2014 (sc) The colour is a glossy white gold and the bouquet is rich and heady, emanating scents of apricots and aromatics spices well over a foot away from the glass. Proper nosing reveals savoury, bready, lemon leesy notes and the apricot becomes even more concentrated and steady. The texture is fine with an underlying flinty note … I get a sense of hot dusty river stones on a dry river bed with wild lemon thyme and wild lemon verbena growing in the crevices. Meanwhile the concentrated apricot and peach leaf flavours, the delicate suggestion of musk and the harmonious infusion of aromatic biscuit spices is just divine. Then a subtle nuance of tropical fruit on the warm rounded finish with hints of dried pineapple and mango and again a lovely lemon lift as the medium to full bodied flavours linger. With its ethereal aura, it ticks all the boxes for Viognier. 13% alc. $25. 20Feb2015.

Matua Valley Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Albarino 2014 (sc) Light gold. Delightfully fragrant with apricot, pepino, apple, honeysuckle and delicate hints of citrus zest. Concentrated and textural in the palate with a tight almost flinty backbone, yet juicy and thirst-quenching at the same time. Like a fleshy peach at the peak of ripeness with floral nuances, clean fresh acidity and a touch of ginger adding spice to the powerful finish. So much going on in this tasty aromatic wine. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 1Oct2014.
This straw gold wine is aromatic and fruity. It smells at first a little like Pinot Gris with its fresh orchard fruit scent but the flavours are so different … and exciting. There's spiced apples, juicy tropical fruit, touches of summer herbs – perhaps pineapple sage and basil – and there's even a twist of white pepper on the juicy mouthwatering finish. Served chilled, it is thirst quenching and fresh – a wine to serve as an aperitif. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 28Jan2015.
A ‘leggy’ wine in the glass with an adamantine lustre to the lemon gold hue, this has a delicate and very pretty bouquet of cottage garden flowers with hints of poached pear, apricot and honey – there is something very beguiling and exotic in here. It’s crisp and spicy to the taste with a sucking on a peach stone feel – like there is some fleshy lusciousness yet at the same time dry with a little white pepper / ginger-like tingle. Complex in its peach / apricot dominant fruit salad flavours with the fruit sweetness balancing the acidity, it has fullness to the finish without ever losing its aromatic ethereal appeal. 13.5% alc. $28.99. 15Apr2015.
This fragrant light lemon gold wine is a lovely fresh style with aromas of freshly picked perfectly ripe apricot and a lithe body. Sweet grapefruit infuses apricot and tropical apricot fruit with a zesty vibrancy from the acidity that is still so alive while a touch of white honey brings it all into balance. Looking exceptionally good tonight it seems to be blossoming with time in the bottle. Can take reasonable chilling. 13.5% alc. $28.99 . 6Jan2016.

Riverby Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2014 (sc) The light lemon-hued wine is fairly restrained on the nose – it has vinosity alright but the perfume is delicate, a kind of violet-infused sherbet in a way. It’s crisp in the mouth with spice space the first impression, then lemon, lemon and more lemon together with green apples and a smattering of chilli pepper heat in the background. The lightly viscous texture makes it seem smooth and the finish is fresh and long with natural vinous sweetness balancing it nicely and leaving behind lingering flavours of quince. 12.5% alc. $22.99. 15Jun2015.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Marsanne Viognier 2014 (sc) The bouquet of this medium gold-hued wine is a little shy, perhaps a little nutty with the most delicate floral nuance but the full-bodied mouthfilling taste is such a contrast with masses of fruit and textural complexity. There's melon, tropical fruit, hints of ripe apple and a sprinkle of strudel spices with brightness to the long, rounded finish where hints of apricot emerge. A blend of 55% Marsanne and 45% Viognier wild fermented and matured in older oak. 14.5% alc. $28.99. 18May2016.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gisborne Albarino 2014 (sc) Lifted aromatics of pear and quince join an attractive yet elusive floral scent. Texturally complex for an aromatic white, possibly due to a wild yeast portion, with yellow spectrum fruit that is juicy and bright. I get yellow plums, nectarine and tropical fruit, perhaps banana passionfruit and mountain paw paw with bright acidity in behind, all beautifully balanced by a suggestion of honey and a spicy almost pepper note, like you get from the seeds of mountain paw paw that grows so well in Auckland. A very exciting wine, finishing dry, it shows the potential for the variety to become a star. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 19Nov2014.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Viognier 2014 (sc) From the Waikahu Vineyard, orange blossom fills the nose, and the taste is super flavourful and creamy with flavours full of peach, apricot, honeysuckle, musk and exotic spices with a touch of oak adding a biscuity complexity and a crispness to the long clean finish. Ticks the boxes for the generic description – somewhere between Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer. Serve lightly chilled, just to tone the unctuous flavours down. 14.5% alc. $14.99. 19Nov2014.
Delightfully fragrant and spicy, the bouquet like spiced raisin bread with chunks of dried fruit including of course apricot so associated with this variety. Mouthfilling and textural with a vibrant freshness from the orange sherbet-like acidity with ethereal notes of apricot nectar and hints of peach and feijoa blossom. Love the zesty spicy aromatic tickle and the full-bodied creamy richness to the delicately spicy finish. Neil says quite a nutty nose and a rich juicy palate. Matched to chicken cooked with shallots, bacon, mushroom, and thyme and deglazed with Chardonnay sherry . 14.5% alc. 5May2015.
This glossy light gold wine has inviting aromatics that hint of freshly-baked baguette, apricot and orange blossom. It’s mouthfilling and spicy with an upfront zesty zing becoming quite soft and creamy with a nutty richness, classic apricot fruit flavours and a warm finish. Use of wild yeast and barrel fermentation adds structure and texture. Drinking beautifully now, winemker Nick Picone suggests matching to lightly spicy foods. 14% alc. $14.99. 11Nov2015.

Waimea Nelson Albarino 2014 (sc) Light gold. The bouquet has richness yet delicacy with musky floral notes, hints of tropical fruit, lemon basil and yellow plums. The flavour is quite unique in that it doesn’t remind me of any other wine. It’s all tropical yellow guavas and there is a sense of spritz to the texture that make the tastebuds dance. Refreshing and quenching with crisp, juicy white-fleshed fruit joining in – red apples and Nashi pear together with harmonious aromatic spices and a tangy finish. Tasted alongside three others of this variety, this was the most pungent and impressive. 13.5% alc. $23. 17Jan2015.

Waimea Nelson Gruner Veltliner 2014 (sc) Light gold. The bouquet is floral with a little honey and a touch of spice. Exotic fruit fills the palate – guavas and orange blossom come to mind, and there is a delicate honeyed coating and a tingly peppery bite. Bright and fresh yet with richness and complexity to the mouthfeel and a long, harmonious and lightly spicy finish. Tasted with the Aronui 2014 they both have a spicy, brightness yet have richness and softness to the mouthfeel. 13.5% alc. $23. 17Jan2015.

Waimea Nelson Sauvignon Gris 2014 (sc) Light gold, aromas quite floral / orange blossom fragrant - it’s a little grassy but not overtly so, and quite exotically fruity also with South American exotics coming to mind. There's a touch of sweetness to this wine, a honeysuckle sweetness and a creamed honey smoothness and richness to the texture. A juicy wine with ripe nectarine fruit, a touch of ginger and nutty complexity to the finish where those lovely orange blossom nuances from the bouquet linger pleasingly. and after a while there's a sense of caramel too. Delicious. 14.8% alc. $23.00. 27Mar2015.

2013 Vintage [top] [index]

Coopers Creek SV 'Bell Ringer' Gisborne Albarino 2013 (sc) Pale straw, shy on the nose but in the palate it's green fruit through and through. Green melon, green apples, a bit of gooseberry maybe and limes with a lacing of white pepper. Very very dry with some oiliness to the texture, I think it needs a little more time. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 3Jul2013.
Served chilled there's a delicate floral nuance to the fragrance and the first taste seems quite dry and nutty but a slight oily feel too. Fruit is reminiscent of apple and pear with a scintillating underlying seam of juicy fresh citrus and a tickle of spice on the lifted finish. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 27Nov2013.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Chenin Blanc 2013 (sc) Light lemon gold in hue with a smoky nuance to the scent of dried pineapple and tangy herbs that intertwine on the vibrant bouquet. A smooth, soft style that must have some oak influence to tone the lively acidity down, it is mouthfilling and flavoursome with tropical fruit, stone fruit and baked apple harmonising on the ultra long and slightly grassy finish. 14% alc. $16.99. 16Jul2014.

Falconhead Hawkes Bay Viognier 2013 (sc) Light lemon gold. Fragrant, spicy aromas with hints of blossom and apricots, a brightness to the flavours and a smooth creamy texture. The taste is warm and spicy with apricot, citrus and honeysuckle and a clean finish with a tantalising touch of sweetness. Barrel ferment adds complexity without overpowering. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal tasting. 8Sep2014.
Light lemon gold. Fragrant and spicy with hints of honeysuckle and apricots and a brightness to the creamy spicy flavours with apricots and the most subtle suggestion of lychee. There’s a sense of lusciousness yet at the same time the wine seems dry with a tickle of ginger and lemongrass on the full, fleshy and very generous finish. A stunning buy. 13.5% alc. $12.99. 17Sep2014.
The hue is light golden, the bouquet is nutty and spicy with a touch of exotic tropical fruit – pawpaw and mango come to mind – and it is concentrated and heady in the palate where the variety's typical apricot flavours are a star. The texture is noticeably oily which makes the mouthfeel so soft and rounded, and warm exotic spices add spark to the finish. 13.5% alc. $12.99. 26Nov2014.
The delicate bouquet hints of fresh orchard fruit with orange blossom and flower musk but the taste is much more powerful. It has a mouth-coating texture with nuances of marzipan-like almond together with apricot, poached pears and the heat of ginger and white pepper. A hint of sweetness to the soft fruity finish makes this very approachable. 13.5% alc. $12.99. 14Jan2015.

Forrest The Doctors Gruner Veltliner 2013 (sc) Straw gold with a lustrous glow. The bouquet is green apple and lime juice infused with honeysuckle while apple flavours dominate the palate. A concentrated wine (more so than the Spinyback) with a rich oily texture and an underpinning of lime, then a suggestion of (almost burnt) barley sugar comes to mind. Citrus dominates the finish, which is like biting into a poorman's orange such is the vivacity of the bittersweet tang. This wine changes markedly with time in the bottle with quince, yellow guava and honeysuckle the overriding flavours that then come to mind. Seems more of a European style of wine. I loved this wine so much more with time in the glass. 12.5% alc. $22. 16Jun2014.

Matawhero Church House Gisborne Arneis 2013 (sc) Green grape aromas infuse the delicate honeysuckle scent with a tantalising vanilla (creaming soda) fragrance too. A vibrant punchy wine in the mouth, it bursts with stonefruit and citrus over a dry flinty backbone and a sucking on a peach stone mouthfeel. Fresh, vibrant, spicy and textural … there is peach leaf in there and a suggestion of strawberry and cherry as the succulent flavours linger. While seemingly dry there is a very appealing softness and the finish is salivating and long. Coming back to the wine later the 14% alcohol seems quite heady and the flavours resonate vanilla, the faintest suggestion of rose petal, honeysuckle, stonefruit and lime. Very exciting wine. 14% alc. $27.90. 16Jun2014.

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2013 (sc) Moderate gold colour. Toffee apple and melon on the nose. Soft, spicy, fleshy and juicy in the palate with a tingle of spice and some luscious honey notes coming through. Lovely mouthfeel, concentration and length – and the acidity is very well honed. Very tasty indeed. 13.5% alc. $32.99. 30Apr2014.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Sauvignon Semillon 2013 (sc) Complex savoury aroma with all the lovely dovely wild yeast connotations and funk - oatmeal biscuits also come to mind. Creamy and smooth in the palate with a beautifully honed zing of grapefruit that is the perfect foil to the savoury complexity of the oak and the winemaking processes. Full-bodied, smooth, powerful and long. An excellent match to asparagus and hollandaise. % alc. $30.00. 28Oct2015.

Te Mata Estate Zara Viognier 2013 (c) There's an apricot sweetness infusing the creamed nut bouquet of this light gold wine. The aromas carry through to the heady palate that has a bready richness, subtle hints of rose musk, exotic spices and preserved lemons with exceptional length to the finish. Like the other whites this is bone dry. 14.5% alc. $25.99. 14May2014.

Spinyback Nelson Gruner Veltliner 2013 (sc) Light straw gold in the glass, this is a fragrant wine with a spicy, floral, lime blossom and honeysuckle scent. A little spicy and peppery in the palate with freshly squeezed lime and tangelo playing a spritzy tune with a little bit of flesh in the juice to add textural percussion. It’s fresh, bright, clean and tangy with a dry, flinty, oyster shell note to the juicy finish. Waimea recommends oysters as an accompaniment and I can see this combo working exceptionally well. A lovely alternative to Riesling – it has all that grape's brightness but the musky floral notes make this juicy dry style very accessible right now. 12.5% alc. $20. 16Jun2014.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Arneis 2013 (sc) Light gold. Aromatic and fresh with citrus and peach leaf and a honeysuckle-like floral overlay. Lifted and just a little spicy in the mouth, I sense a chalkiness to the texture and exotic tropical fruit with very subtle nuances of apricot and red apple. There’s a delicacy yet an intensity at the same time. Very pretty light bodied wine the vinosity nicely offset by a salty tang to the lingering finish. 13% alc. $?. 17Jan2015.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Viognier 2013 (sc) Pale gold coloured with a sweet mealy scent infused with creamed nuts and apricot nectar. Quite shy on the nose but powerful and heady in the palate. The mouthfeel is rounded with glycerolic smoothness and weight and the taste is balanced and harmonious with soft acidity, hints of vanilla and the brightness of spiced peaches and apricots on the lifted and lingering finish. A blend of Hawkes Bay and Gisborne (40%) grapes. 14% alc. $14.99. 20Nov2013.

Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Arneis 2013 (sc) Light gold. Fairly neutral aroma - I get a momentary whiff of smokiness (sulphides perhaps) but overall delicately floral, honeyed and spicy. The flavours are reminiscent of tropical fruit with orange / lemon zest, apple and melon and there is quite a firm chalky texture, youthful astringency perhaps, but overall a very fruity light bodied wine with a long juicy finish and the lingering aftertaste has a round mouthcoating feel. 13% alc. $? 17Jan2015.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Vineyard Verdelho 2013 (s) Light to moderate gold in hue. Full-bodied on the nose with citrus and pear and a delightful savoury allure. Creamy and fleshy to the taste with a lovely burst of peach infusing the savoury layers that come in waves. There's a little touch of spice and the finish is fresh and bright reminding me of mandarin zest and lime.. A soft textured wine with a bright finish, and reasonably dry. 13.5% alc. 29Nov2015.

Waimea Estate Nelson Sauvignon Gris 2013 (sc) Soft aromas of concentrated Pinot Gris-like apple and vanilla-infused pear with a touch of lemongrass too, and while it tastes a little to the sweet side of off dry (5 g/l rs) the underlying freshness keeps this in check. The finish has herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc-like pungency but Sauvignon Gris is not a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, it is a grape variety in its own right. Gold Medal NZIWS. 13% alc. $19.99. 13Nov2013.
Straw gold coloured with a bright tropical fruit aroma that has a pineapple zing that carries through to the fresh, tangy palate. Medium-bodied with loads of citrus, tropical fruit, pears, summer herb flavours and more, you could be forgiven for thinking this is big brother Sauvignon Blanc but it seems soft and creamier with rounded edges. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 19Mar2014.

Waimea Nelson Viognier 2013 (sc) Straw gold with citrine highlight and a gemmy glow. Distinctly varietal scent of apricot with a spicy, heady aura. Full-bodied and lifted in the palate - the apricot, stonefruit flavours harmonious while pronounced, yet balanced with lemon grass. It has a glycerolic mouthfeel and a mouthcoating finish. 8.1 g/l rs. 13% alc. $29.99. 4Nov2013.

Wise Owl Hooting White 2013 (sc) Made from an unnamed assemblage of grape varieties, initially green apples, yellow guavas, exotic tropical fruit and honeysuckle with a zing of orange zest and an underpinning of summer herbs come to mind. As I taste the wine with its soft full mouthfeel and think about, it changes. I get hints of pineapple, apricot and spices with a sweet musky floral note that is so pretty on the finish. I think this wine has lots going for it and if I needed a house white, this would fit the bill perfectly. 13% alc. $12.99. 21Jun2014.

2012 Vintage [top] [index]

Coopers Creek SV "Bell Ringer" Gisborne Albarino 2012 (sc) Aromatic, perfumed, with apple blossom and honeysuckle. There's a flinty nuance to the backbone and a spiciness to the finish. A little like a cross between Pinot Gris and Viognier with the aromatic expression of Riesling, an exciting new variety and a delicious aperitif. 12.5% alc. $16.99. 19Sep2012.

Forrest The Doctors' Marlborough Arneis 2012 (sc) Light gold in colour, it smells of wet stones and salt and pepper. There's a hit of lanolin too. It smells European! Light in body with a little spritz to the texture, from a dry start with lashings of lemon it is an expansive wine as it lingers in the palate with some pretty orange blossom notes coming through. Superb match to chicken baked with blue cheese and peach, and the next day to tomato and basil salad. Very versatile wine either with food or as an aperitif.. 12% alc. $25.00. 19Jan2013.

Mahurangi River Matakana Garden of Light Roussanne 2012 (sc) Buttery oak nuances infuse the stonefruit and tropical fruit scent. Creamy and savoury to the taste with caramel layers between citrus and tropical fruit. Smooth and easy, lots of flavour without ever overpowering. Benefits from chilling to enhance the acidity and balance the juicy stonefruit sweetness. Improves in the bottle after opening. Have a glass, reseal the bottle, and retaste the next day and you will see how luscious and seductive it becomes. 13.9% alc. $39.00. 12Jan2013.

Matawhero Church House Gisborne Gruner Veltliner 2012 (sc) Light yellow gold. Very ripe yellow fruit on the nose and in the palate - custard apple, pepino and pineapple come to mind. It's full of tropical fruit with a lightly spritzy texture, a subtle nuance of smoke, an underpinning of flint and the finish is warm and bready, zingy and dry yet with some honey coming through as the taste lingers. I think it would go nicely with roast chicken and bread sauce. 6.8 g/l rs. 12.6% alc. $27.00. 29Mar2013.

Pask Gimblett Road Viognier 2012 (sc) A whimsically fragrant, floral bouquet and dry and nutty in the palate with musky florals and spice coming through perhaps not as luscious as I would have expected from past renditions of this wine, but Kate explains this is a result of winemaking decisions to combine early pick and late pick fruit, but the cool 2012 vintage just didn’t allow the fully ripe flavours in the late pick portion (quite the opposite of 2013). Partial barrel ferment has help to build up the texture in this wine. It's youthful and fresh and I think will fatten out with time. 12% alc. $19.99.

Passage Rock Waiheke Island Viognier 2012 (sc) Now this smells different. It's full of those summer sun-ripened stonefruit flavours with a tickle of sherbet adding to the freshness and the most slightest suggestion of tarragon to add a savoury exoticness to the taste. There's a nutty character to the backbone and a spicy warmth to the apricot finish. 14% alc. $26.99. 6Mar2013.
Golden in colour with wood smoke on the nose, like from a food smoker, and a powerful presence in the palate with an oily texture. Tonight it seems a little toasty and oaky but the varietal apricot notes float over the background and there's a bright spicy flourish to the finish. Maturing beautifully. 14% alc. $29.99. 5Mar2014.

Saint Clair Marlborough Premium Gruner Veltliner 2012 (sc) Light glossy gold. A suggestion of oak from the nose, or it could just be nutty, mealy characters I guess. Quite a creamy, layered, textural wine, all apples and pears, like Pinot Gris but it has something more. There's a touch of spice (but not actually peppery), a hint of stonefruit, creamed pineapple and edgy tropical guava - then melon as the wine warms up. Fresh and pleasing for an alternative drink.. 4.1 g/l rs. 13% alc. $21.50 27Jun2013.
While the honeysuckle and apple blossom of the straw lemon-hued wine is quite delicate, it tastes fresh and aromatic with a high-toned presence in the palate that’s beautifully complemented by a light viscosity to the texture. It a green-fruited wine and while it is not feijoa, a sense of feijoa juice / kiwi berry / does come to mind. There's a talc note too, like you get in some Rieslings, together with an earthy almost mealy undercurrent and a touch of honeysuckle / honey. But what is most exciting about this wine is the spicy pepper-like tingle that the best Austrian GVs get. 12% alc. $15.99. 18Mar2015.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Verdelho 2012 - Auckland (sc) This straw gold wine has a delicate floral bouquet with hints of apple sherbert and a subtle green guava-like nuance - perhaps kiwiberry. The taste is clean, unoaked and fresh with vinosity to the texture and while the fruit is hard to describe it definitely has a refreshing juiciness to it. I think of lemonades and some kind of heritage apple and there’s also an intriguing, almost slightly reductive note from the partial wild ferment and a salty tang to the dry, crisp finish. 13.5% alc. $22.99.18Feb2015.

Yealands Estate Gruner Veltliner 2012 (sc) The bouquet reminds me a little of tropical guava and there's a subtle gunflint-like smokiness too. In the palate gooseberry and guava making it seems a little Sauv Blanc-ish, but without the overpowering pungency, then a bright white pepper-like spiciness and light viscosity to the texture. I think this is terrific drinking as an aromatic white wine style. 13.5% alc. $24.95. 25Jun2013.

2011 Vintage [top] [index]

Ake Ake Vineyard Northland Pinot Gris Chardonnay 2011 (sc) There's a smoky nuance to the scent and it is dry in the palate and although the fruit is restrained, it has richness to the mouthfeel and a rounded finish with a fleshy feel as it lingers. Lovely fruit weight and concentration - these two varieties work very well together. 11% alc. $25.00. 16Sep2011.

Babich Individual Vineyard Fernhill Viognier 2011 (sc) This has a beguiling fragrance, perhaps even a hint of rose petal to the scent and in the mouth it is full-bodied with a smooth slippery sensual texture. The flavour is spicy, perhaps a touch of ginger, but also savoury with pear and apricot fruit and again the musky rose petal nuances lingering on the end. A Viognier that will appeal to both Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer drinkers, sitting somewhere in the middle of the two. But it has the body and richness of Chardonnay too. 14% alc. $25.00. 8Aug2012.

Babich Individual Vineyard Headwaters Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2011 (sc) Soft, floral aroma with a hint of pear and a little earthy 'play dough' nuance too, like smelling bread that is just starting to proof. Talking about dough it’s quite doughy in the palate, like dough that’s been kneaded with yeast and spice and about to go into the oven. A little phenolic and herbal in its youth, it seems very dry. 12% alc. $25.00. 20Mar2012.

Brancott Estate Letter Series 'R' Marlborough Sauvignon Gris 2011 (sc) Although restrained on the nose, tropical fruit still comes to mind and while the taste is fruity and vibrant, it is not as punchy as its close Sauvignon Blanc relative can be. There's a flinty character and fruit seems to be in the yellow plum, white peach and nectarine spectrum; there's a slightly herbaceous edge and the citrussy finish is fresh and dry with a touch of pineapple and increasing pungency. 14% alc. $25.99. 15May2013.

Coopers Creek Gisborne 'Bell-Ringer' Albarino 2011 (sc) Aromatic with a nutty infusion to the bouquet, it smells textural and rich and the palate has that richness too. Quite rounded, smooth and creamy, a little like Pinot Gris with it's initial nutty neutrality, a little like Viognier with its mid-palate apricot delicacy and a finish that's more punchy with Riesling-like tropical fruit and lime. Extremely dry. 12.5% alc. $20.00. 23Jul2011.

Dry River Martinborough Viognier 2011 (c) Light gold coloured with an apple aroma at first but swirling release more grape-like scents. Sweet and musky to the taste, it's quite powerful and heady with flavours of apples and Muscat grapes and a lingering hint of spice. Smooth textured, lightly viscous and almost oily, which gives it an harmonious and seamless flow. Needs to be chilled well. 14% alc. 10Mar2011.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Chenin Blanc 2011 (sc) Delicately perfumed apple blossom scent, this has fresh and stewed apple flavours to the fore, a combination of tart and sweet, like apple pie / apple strudel, with a hint of melon over the crisp, flinty high acid backbone and a touch of musk and anise to the long, rich finish. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 1Aug2012.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Verdelho 2011 (sc) Bright fruit aromas of musk, herbs, tropical fruit and grass - a little reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc - the aromas carry through to the palate that is texturally rich and pleasing. A distinctive, juicy and refreshing wine with a salty tang, and a long, juicy, quenching aftertaste, it shows excellent potential. $23.99. 13Nov2011.
A terrific, fragrant, juicy, flavoursome wine with a touch of tropical fruit, a hint of pineapple and a hint of flower musk. There's a surprisingly rich, dry savoury undercurrent that perfectly balances the fresh fruity flavours and the lingering aftertaste is tantalising. ?% alc. $23.99. 31Jul2012.

Forrest The Doctors Marlborough Arneis 2011 (sc) Straw gold coloured with an apple aroma. Spicy and savoury to the taste, it's dry, crisp and flinty. Apples and a hint of lime make me draw a comparison to Riesling and the long finish is juicy and fruity with a touch of orange zest and spice. 12% alc. $25.00. 10Dec2011.

Forrest The Doctors' Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2011 (sc) Straw gold coloured with an apple aroma that is infused with the most subtle hint of violet. Bright and tangy to the taste, a little nutty as well, with apple to the fore, a hint of guava and an earthy depth. There's lots of fresh green apple acidity here. 11.5 alc. $25.00 10Mar2011.
Light gold in colour with a delicate scent of bath salts and lilacs and, with a slight effervescence in the palate, bath salts again come to mind. It reminds me of 'Fizzy Fruit' sherbet lollies with underlying richness and weight and waves of 'clay'. An excellent match to pan-fried fillet of salmon. Aromatics and palate weight make this exciting. 11.5% alc. $25.00. 19Jan2013.

Passage Rock Waiheke Island Viognier 2012 (sc) Exotic tropical fruit on the nose and in the palate fleshy yellow fruits come to mind – babaco, pepino and banana passionfruit – with a lanolin undercurrent that adds body and a zesty rightness to the tangy finish. Heritage apples too. There's lovely purity to this moderately dry wine – it will work well as an aperitif. 14% alc. $29.99. 5Jun2013.

Saint Clair Marlborough Premium Gruner Veltliner 2011 (sc) With aromas of tropical guava and apple it smells quite racy but it's contrastingly soft in the palate with a delicate musky sweetness and an orange blossom tang. Just off dry with roundness and richness and a long lingering finish, it shows much promise. There's partial oak ferment but it's not obvious to the taste. 14 alc. $21.50 10Mar2011.

Te Mata Zara Viognier 2011 (D)The bouquet has bright citrussy tones with smoky spiced nuts and a touch of mandarin peel and the taste is soft and creamy with a smoky nuance, apricot and citrus. Underlying firm phenolics hint of potential longevity – it will be exciting to see this wine unfold over the next year or so. Upfront vinous sweetness yet a dry wine throughout with an expansive and hauntingly spicy finish. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 13Mar2013.

Te Whare Ra Toru Marlborough 2011 (sc) A blend of three grape varieties that shows different characters at different temperatures and different times of day. Tonight at the tasting the citrussy characters (from the Riesling) dominate upfront, with the oily texture and spicy characters of the Gewurztraminer more dominant mid to end palate and orchard fruit from the Pinot Gris lingering with a touch of spice. Off dry in style and very tasty, it ticks the boxes for a range of palates. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 27Feb2013.

THE Marlborough Viognier 2011 (sc) Fragrant Pinot Gris-like on the nose but more Viognier-like in the palate. Rich, ripe and fleshy with soft acidity, juicy sun-ripened peaches, apricots, nuts and a delicate touch of spice. Full-bodied, rounded, mouthfilling and satisfying, sets a high benchmark. Has a lovely touch of sweetness to it without being sweet, and desirable musky notes too. Drinks well when chilled, but also at cool room temperature. 13.5% alc. $24.95. 12Jan2013.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Arneis 2011 (sc) The aroma is like a bowl of fruit salad with a dollop of passionfruit stirred into the pear, nectarine, pineapple fruit and a tangy citrussy freshness. It tastes medium-bodied, zesty and tingly with a juicy fruit presence - pear, pineapple, passionfruit etcetera, with a slightly flinty undercurrent. It has richness and roundness yet it is an easy drinking fruity wine without being too confrontational. 13% alc. $23.99. 27Mar2012.

Villa Maria Private Bin Hawkes Bay Arneis 2011 (sc) Fresh, bright and tangy on the nose with tropical fruit salad that has amongst it banana. Taste seems a little more savoury and fuller than the Cellar Selection tasted alongside it with fruit reminiscent of melons, cherimoya and green passionfruit and a touch of sweetness and a citrus tang to the finish. 13% alc. $21.99. 27Mar2012.

Waimea Nelson Gruner Veltliner 2011 (sc) Medium light gold. Very fresh, floral and spicy with funky yeast characters adding to the bouquet - this trait more obvious in the palate. At first it seems almost bone dry but it is also exotically fruit with lime, sherbet, feijoa and grapefruit. There's a subtle nuance of honey and perhaps even a hint of anise. Fresh with well-balanced acidity and a smooth rounded mouthfeel. A perfect match to pan-fried fresh salmon - the wine and food in harmony. 13.5% alc. $25.00. 19Jan2013.

2010 Vintage [top] [index]

Blackenbrook Nelson Muscat 2010 (sc) Tantalising aroma of fresh Muscat grapes, jasmine and honeysuckle makes you think this wine going to be sweet, and it's slightly sweetish, but there's a well balanced citrus-like tang running through the wine that keeps the fresh, fruity sweetness in check and a tingle of ginger-like spice adds to the tantalising verve. Serve chilled it is very easy to drink. 13% alc. $21.90. 4Oct2010.

Churton Marlborough Viognier 2010 (c) A heady aromatic wine, with a gem-like citrine hue, there are smoky nuances joining the delicately spicy and tantalising blossomy scent. The aromatics flourish in the palate – apricots, five spice, orange blossom, and then a creaminess from the oak. A rich and scented wine, moderately high-toned, with well-defined orange zest on the lingering finish and a pretty, floral aftertaste with a biscuity sweetness. 14.8% lc. $36. 4Jul2010.

Coopers Creek Gisborne 'The Groover' Gruner Veltliner 2010 (sc) Smells quite neutral but there is an appealing exoticness to the flavour with a hint of musk and guava. A little Euro-centric in style, it has body and texture and is perhaps off dry. Seems like it would be a good food wine. 13.5% alc. $20. 7Sep2010.
Smelling like a dry Riesling when served chilled straight from the refrigerator. It's floral and limey with a hint of talc, but that's where any Riesling similarity ends. It has soft acidity and an oily richness to the texture and is nutty and spicy with a delicate musk and apple sweetness, yet finishes dry. I like the mouthfeel and mouthcoating fullness and the subtle suggestion of tarragon that lingers on the finish. It really is a delicious summer drinking wine. 13.5% alc. $19.00. 10Jan2011.
A neutral wine at first, seemingly a little earthy and austere, but this is an exciting example of this New Zealand-grown Austrian grape. It's oily textured with ginger, green apple, guava and grape with racy acidity stimulating the taste buds and providing a fresh, dry finish. 13.5% alc. $20.99. 20Apr2011.
Light gold coloured, fragrant, spicy and textural with apricot, nuts and a hint of rose petal, a rounded, almost oily mouthfeel and a long, full finish. Slowing lovely purity of the Viognier grape.14.5% alc. $13.99. 14Dec2011.
Light gold coloured, not overly aromatic, a little bit biscuity perhaps, yet rich and textural in the palate with an almost oily, lanolin-like texture. An interesting and intriguing wine with hints of apricot and pepino, a nutty richness and a warm, glycerolic mouthfeel. A very clean wine, a lovely aperitif style and doesn't need too much chilling. 13% alc. $20.99. 23May2012.

Coopers Creek Gisborne Viognier 2010 (sc) Light in colour with a tantalising fragrant scent as the chill wears off, this is a warm, rich spicy wine with rose petal, lime leaf, apricots, nuts and a seductive, almost ethereal texture. Delicious. 13% alc. $13.99. 7Sep2011.

Dry River Martinborough Viognier 2010 (c) A gemmy, moderate to light gold colour; delightfully aromatic with scents of spice and hints of the alcohol richness within; this is a wine of richness and power with nuances of flower musk, hints of botrytis, a touch of liquorice (aka tarragon) and a tickle of ginger . High-toned and spicy with flavours of sweet poached pear, tart apple and tangelo zest with a suggestion of freshly picked Golden Queen peach on the finish. Dry yet luscious, steely yet supple with a full body and a perfect slippery texture. 14% alc. $45. 29Aug2010.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Verdelho 2010 (sc) Apples dominate the aroma and infiltrate the grapey flavour. A full-bodied dry and very crisp wine throughout but this was a freshly opened bottle that seemed to have come straight out of the fridge. It seemed to me quite phenolic. 14% alc. $24. 31Oct2010.
Apples are the dominant character in this moderately full bodied wine. It has a warm spicy character and a touch of sweetness to the crisp acid finish - like a layer of toffee over apple, and there's barrel work adding complexity. 14% alc. $21.99. 1Aug2012.

Forrest Marlborough Chenin Blanc 2010 (sc) Light gold coloured with a radiant lustre, it has a rich toasty aroma that hints of a little age and the scent is joined with yellow-skinned heritage apples and intriguing floral nuances too. Then in the palate there's a touch of sweetness balancing the tantalising orange/tangelo flavours plus melon and honeysuckle, and a concentrated richness like you get in apricot jam but without the jamminess, if you know what I mean. An exquisite wine with clean acidity, perfect oiliness to the texture and a lingering ripe red apple finish. 11.5% alc. $25. 20Mar2012.

Forrest The Doctors' Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2010 (sc) A neutral wine both in aroma and flavour but rich and textural to the taste. Just off dry, with sweet apple characters poking through. 13.5% alc. $25. 20Mar2012.

Gladstone Vineyard Wairarapa Viognier 2010 (sc)Yellow gold coloured with a lovely rich, creamy, spicy aroma that is infused with those distinctive apricot scents. Quite mellow in the palate and perhaps a little warm, but full of quintessential apricot with apple and a little bit of spice, and a zing of underlying citrus adding zest. 3 stars. 14.2% alc. $24. 11Feb2011.

Longview White Diamond 2010 (sc) The bouquet is like a bunch of table grapes and that distinct grapey flavour comes through in the taste. It's a sweetish wine but not overly sweet and chilling it down, as it should be drunk, adds to its fruity charm. Clean, fresh and intoxicating, not only from the alcohol but also from the memories it invokes - especially if you were a kid that put your hand through the fence to steal the neighbour's grapes. 13.5% alc. 28. 21Sep2010.

Man O' War Gravestone Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010 (c) Overtly fragrant with sweet mealy wild yeast aromas infused with toast and lemon. It's creamy and savoury to the taste with Sauvignon's vivacious pungency subdued by the use of yeast lees and oak. The fruit has a citrus seam, but it really is more melons and sweet juicy nectarines. Then the hammer hits the rock and smoky flinty nuances embrace the wine and linger. 70% Sauvignon and 30% oak fermented Semillon 14% alc. $36. 18May2013.

Mills Reef Hawkes Bay Viognier 2010 (sc) Beautifully aromatic with a hint of spicy oak and concentrated apricot quintessential to the variety. Fragrant also to the taste with apricot to the fore and an underlying bready richness. It has an ethereal grapey brightness that I really like. It has a very appealing rounded mouthfeel and tarragon lingers on the finish with apricot and spice. 5 stars. 14% alc. $24.95. 29Mar2011.

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2010 (sc) Yellow gold coloured, rich and voluptuous smelling and mouthfilling flavours of apricots, nuts and nougat with a savoury depth. There's a sweetness to the wine and roundness to the texture with a floral brightness, a touch of spice and a long, juicy finish with a smoky aura as it lingers. A left field style of Chenin Blanc. 12.5% alc. $32.99. 11Apr2012.

Morton Estate Hawkes Bay Viognier 2010 (sc) It's golden in colour and smells of citrus and the taste confirms this impression. There's a suggestion of sweetness and soft rounded edges. It seems like it has some age and it does, but the taste is still very fresh. Packed with flavours of apricot, nougat, honey, biscuit spices and lemongrass with a long rounded finish, this offers value-packed drinking. 14.5% alc. $12.99. 9Apr2014.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Sauvignon Semillon 2010 (sc) The scent of this wine is all wild yeast and French oak in harmony with concentrated tropical fruit and a kind of sewing machine oil character too! The wild yeast characters set a fuse running into the core where the fruit flavour explode. Vibrant, creamy, toasty and delicious - with a touch of grapefruit zest on the end, yet all the time a harmonious underlying savouriness too. Oak in the Semillon portion but both rested on the wild yeast lees for 6 months. 13.5% alc. $27.95. 18May2013.
This golden hued wine smells pungent, smoky and funky with a nuance of sewing machine oil. Wild yeast ferment characters are pronounced in the mellow, full-bodied palate. It's smoky with fleshy peach, citrus and honey and despite being Semillon dominant there is a distinctive aged Sauvignon 'canned pea' character, and the finish is crisp, savoury and dry. A fascinating wine. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. $31.99. 30Oct2013.

Te Awa Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2010 (sc) Intriguing bouquet of roasted peaches with the sugars starting to caramelise as well as lanolin, wet potters clay and summer herbs. Yes intriguing! The savoury earthy characters carries through to the palate that's layered with creamy oak, a touch of wood smoke, vanilla and rocket juice (that's regula to some of you). Warm and harmonious without any overpowering pungency with the freshness of grapefruit and melon on the finish. 61% Sauvignon Blanc, 39%.Semillon 12.5% alc. $26.95. 18May2013.

Te Mata Zara Viognier 2010 - Hawkes Bay (D) A bouquet of stonefruit, warm mealy notes, citrus peel, vibrant apricot and freshly squeezed citrus leads into the warm, sweet-fruited palate that's layered with creamed nuts, stonefruit, a hint of zest, delicate spice and a sweet natured creamy, honeyed finish. Hits all the 'yes' buttons. A beautiful wine. Just divine. 14.5% alc. $27.99. 14Mar2012.
Glossy gold colour with a lovely bright lemon scent infused with a delicate and very appealing touch of spice. Warm and textural in the palate with apricots, lemon verbena, pastry and toasted nuts, it has nice lift and length with a touch of lemongrass emerging on the dry, savoury finish. 14.5% alc. $27.99. 13Mar2013.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Arneis 2010 (sc) Fermented with natural and aromatic yeasts, the bouquet is delicately floral with slightly musky/nutty scents adding to its appeal. With a smooth slippery texture and lovely ripe grapey flavours, finishing dry, it seemed to me like the combo of a good Viognier and a good Pinot Gris and I think it will have wide appeal - after all Ar-nayz is not too hard to say. 13% alc. $24. 31Oct2010.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Viognier 2010 (sc) Fragrantly aromatic and full-bodied and flavoursome with a Gewurz-like spiciness, smoky oak, bubble gum, apricots and a savoury bready note to the finish. It's a powerful wine with a touch of oiliness to the texture that is texturally pleasing. 14.5% alc. $17.99. 30Mar2011.
The heady aroma has an initial whiff of smoke followed by a soft jubey sweetness and floral nuances, perhaps carnation. Full-bodied in the palate with a little tannin grip, it has a rich yet dry mouth feel. Partial malo adds creaminess to the wine and the 15% new oak adds to the texture (and perhaps introduces the tannins). Lime blossoms and apricots float on the ethereal finish. 14.5% alc. $17.99. 8Jun2011.

Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Viognier 2010 (sc) Apricots and spiced toasted nuts introduce this young, aromatic, vibrant and tasty expression of this northern Rhone grape, the aromas carrying through to the palate that's soft and rounded with a smooth texture and a mouthfilling, lasting aromatic finish with a youthful veneer. 14.5% alc. $13.99. 19Sep2012.
Apricots fill the palate of this soft, smooth, fragrant, oily textured wine. It's spicy and savoury, rich and weighty with harmonious fruit balance, toasted nuts a touch of honeysuckle and a long, lifted finish. Ready to drink now or within the next year. 14.5% alc. $13.99. 14Nov2012.

Villa Maria SV Omahu Gravels Hawkes Bay Viognier 2010 (sc) Light yellow gold. Aromatically perfumed with roasted cashew and grilled apricot scents, hints of spice and cedar. Warm and rich in the palate with a mouth-coating texture, classic apricot and nut flavours, smoky nuances and sweet orange adding freshness. Can handle chilling well. 14.5% alc. $26.99. 2Oct2013.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Verdelho 2010 (sc) This is grown on the vineyard surrounding Villa Maria's Auckland winery and I tasted this immediately after the Arneis. The first impression is that is has more acidity than the Arneis with green apple and grape skin scents. Steely on entry to palate but then softening with a flower musk-like oiliness creeping in and the lingering taste is of apples and pears with a delicate underpinning of spice. 13.5% alc. $27. 31Oct2010.

Waimea Nelson Edel 2010 (sc) Fragrant with almost violet-like florals. Nice touch of sweetness making it seem off dry to medium in style, in fact there could almost be some botrytis in here. The texture is smooth and slippery and the flavours are fresh and generous. There are melons, pawpaw, mandarin and bittersweet marmalade and aromatic spices, like ginger, adding vibrancy and zing and the warm rounded finish seem dry. A blend of Riesling 47%, Pinot Gris 41% and a teasing 12% Gewurztraminer , the florals come forth again on the finish and It flows nicely and lingers for a while. Delicious. Excellent with ham steak and pineapple. 13.5% alc. $21.00. 29Mar2013.

Waimea Nelson Gruner Veltliner 2010 (sc) Fairly dry but with textural richness that adds weight, this is neutral on the nose and rounded in the palate with delicate hints of aniseed, perhaps tarragon, a bit of that sucking on an apricot kernel character and a hint of flower musk creeping in on the finish. Of three GV's tasted, this was my favourite. 13.5% alc. $NA. 7Sep2010.
This is deliciously refreshing when served very chilled. The aromas are aromatic with a hint of lemon zest and the punchy flavours are juicy and herbal with a tropical fruit richness. There's a Sauvignon Blanc similarity to the flavour profile but as the wine warms up in the glass the inherent spiciness of the Gruner Veltliner grape comes through, and it finishes nutty and dry. 13.5% alc. $23.90. 10Jan2011.

2009 Vintage [top] [index]

Butterfish Bay Northland Viognier 2009. (sc) Very pale. It takes a while for the aroma to open up, but it is worth the wait - it is fragrant and full of apricot and delivers, apart from No, 2, the best aroma of the lot. Apricot, Dutch spices, youthful esters and underlying phenolics - proudly strutting its youth. It is texturally interesting with a slight oiliness and lift to the fruit sweet finish. Next day the taste hints of the warm alcohol - though the wine is dry, it is alcohol sweet and heady. 14.5% alc. $27.95. 13Aug2009.

CJ Pask Hawkes Bay Viognier 2009 (sc) Lemon gold. Fragrant apricot and pear drop aromas with apricot sweetness brimming through the palate together with vanilla and port wine magnolia-like florals and a lifted finish. A smooth, powerful, weighty wine with a spicy kick. Slightly controversial in the tasting - some people found it too overpowering. 14% alc. $16.99. 12May2010.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Viognier 2009 (sc) On the nose, florals, nuts, and spice and in the palate a full-bodied creamy texture with flavours of vanilla, apricot, lime zest, guava-like fruit and nuts. A powerful wine with a warm whack of oily lusciousness, yet the finish seems dry. A lovely example of the Kiwi style. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 12Jan2011.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Viognier 2009 (sc) Glassy yellow gold with a tempting bouquet of caramel cream, apricot and spicy oak and a rich, smooth, creamy texture layered with tropical fruit and apricot. There's purity of fruit all the way through, this finish is rich and heady and there's a flourish of butterscotch at the end. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 4Jan2012.

Coopers Creek 'The Little Rascal' SV Gisborne Arneis 2009 (sc) There's an oily richness to the scent that when very cold hints only of lemon zest, but as it warms up in the glass is tantalisingly more floral with the fruity deliciousness of cherimoya. It's quite full-bodied in the palate with a musky, spicy note and dominant flavours are apple skin, spice and white pepper and the wine finishes dry. But what is so delightful about this wine is the oily, silky, mouth-coating texture and the delicate flavours of apricot that linger on the finish. 14% alc. $19.00. 10Jan2011.

Discovery Point 'Fleur' 2009 - Marlborough (sc) A blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, it's hard to pinpoint the dominant variety when you first taste this wine. Served quite chillled, it had a lanolin character that made med think Europe, but becomes more fruity and familiar as the chill is chased away with floral nuances together with apricot, honey, citrus and flint and more and more yellow fruit and spicy Gewurztraminer characters coming through. When it's not so cold the perfume becomes more alluring too. It's a dry wine with a savoury richness and the finish is long and satisfying. Followers of Alsace style wines will like this. I did. 13.5% alc. $12.99. 25May2011.

Dry River Martinborough Viognier 2009 (c) Pale with a spicy scent combining with nuts, apple and apricot with a hint of pineapple coming through. In the palate the spice is zingy and the fruit is juicy - there's apple, apricot, tropical fruit and pear. Seems to have high acidity, or perhaps it's the phenolics, but the edges are rounded and there's honey too. There's a delicacy to the wine and it is perhaps not as concentrated as I had expected, and mealy undertones come through as the flavours linger. 14% alc. $na. 11Feb2011.

Estuary Kingsview Estate Mangawhai Viognier 2009 (sc) Delicately scented with ripe juicy flavours of tropical fruit, yellow guava, melon and musky grapes with soft acidity and loads of fresh juicy richness. Perhaps a hint of smoke coming through on the well-balanced finish. Delicious summer drinking. 12.5% alc. $18.99. 10Feb2010.

Gladstone Wairarapa Viognier 2009 (sc) A light citrine hue with a glassy lustre. It's aromatic and heady with scents reminiscent of creamed nuts, spiced pears and hints of musk (as in smoker lollies). It's dry to the taste with an impression of ripe fruit and is smooth and gentle in attack with a texture that is viscous and glycerolic. It's neither oaky nor pungent - it's simply an all round good fellow and when matched to a variety of seafood it seems to meld into every seafood's comfort zone and leaves you with a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. 14.8% alc. $29. 31Dec2009.

Forrest The Doctors' Marlborough Arneis 2009 (sc) Very pale straw in colour. Perfumed, floral on the nose and a little pinot gris-like in the palate with spiced apple and pear, but perhaps more body and richness and just a touch of sweetness with well-balanced underlying acidity and a bright orange juice / orange zest zing. Light and fresh but with power to the finish. Some anise-y like herbs coming through too. Quite intriguing. 14% alc. $26.99. 19Aug2009.

Forrest The Doctors' Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2010 (sc) Llight gold coloured with a rich full scent. In the palate it's soft to start with a subtle vanillin nuance and bright fruit flavours of apricot, ripe apple and honeysuckle and a bright, tangy, persistent and long finish. I just love the complexities it has garnered with time in the bottle. Clearly the highlight of these 'new varietals' on the night 13.5 alc. $25.00 10Mar2011.

Matawhero Gisborne Arneis 2009 (sc) Moderate light yellow gold. Creamy, nutty, lightly floral aroma - moderately high-toned - a mezzo-soprano. Fruity yet savoury with a yeasty richness and warm, soft tones of melon and apricot accented with apple and just a hint of ginger. A dry, weighty wine with a firm, phenolic finish. There are some characters here reminiscent of Viognier, but also of Pinot Gris. 14.4% alc. $23.99. 1Jun2010.

Milton Clos de St Anne 'Le Bas' Chenin Blanc 2009 (c) The first under this label from this renowned Gisborne producer, it's light gold with varietal apple scent. Lovely full textual richness in the palate balances the zingy acidity with hints of red apples, pineapple and tropical guava and a long dry savoury finish with a tangy salinity. There's an underlying luscious factor and I imagine this will become rich and honeyed with time. 13.5% alc. $75. 3May2013.

Moana Park Vineyard Selection Dartmoor Valley Viognier 2009 Light gold. Warm, inviting apricot and bready scents. Lovely rich, ripe, warm flavours infused with florals, apricot and just a hint of honey. Rich, flavoursome, stylish, with a toasty full-bodied richness and a touch of spice as it lingers. Excellent. 13.8% alc. $14.99. 28Apr2010.

Selaks Winemaker's Favourite Hawkes Bay Viognier 2009 (sc) Yellow gold coloured with a nutty/apple/apricot skin aroma and a suggestion of plasticine too. Rich, luscious palate, yet earthy and spicy. A fat style with a honeyed finish, but flabby and alcoholic without chilling.15% alc. $21. 11Feb2011.

Seresin Marlborough Chiaroscuro 2009 (sc) Made from Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris and served at late autumn room temperature, it has a tantalising aroma of lemon bread, freesia blossoms and honeysuckle and the taste is rich, textural and full-bodied with tangy citrus acidity cutting through the creamy mealy backbone. There's an ethereal quality to the wine, which is floral with hints of apricot, rich flavours of ripe fresh pear and subtle oak nuances adding complexity. Natural ferment took place 500-litre oak puncheons, where the wine remained for 13 months. 14% alc. I thought it an excellent example of how these varieties blend together to make a sensational wine for drinking but sadly it wasn't the success I had hoped for with my pan-fried, crispy-skin salmon. 14.5% alc. $65.00. 27May2011.

Seresin Marlborough Viognier 2009 (sc) A beguiling and ethereal aroma of apricot with a subtle nuance of freshly baked bread follows through to the full-bodied palate where there's a softness to the texture and flavours of apricot with an infusion of five spice and orange blossom emerging as this beautiful, seamless wine lingers. Feremnted naturually in seasoned oak puncheons. 14% alc. $55. 27May2011.

Tolaga Bay Estate Tolaga Bay Muscat 2009 (sc) Light gold-coloured with a full, rich, brightly aromatic, fruity, spicy aroma and richly textured in the palate with an intriguing infusion of sweet orange / grapefruit, exotic spices and flower nectar. A creamy nutty backbone produces the structure, but there's a delightful spritzy character too. It's perfectly posed, harmonious and long and with its exotic spiciness and floral nuances, it's almost like Gewurztraminer but not as powerful. It's a delightful aperitif style wine and would be at home with Asian flavours. Be sure to serve chilled. 10% alc. $14.95. 10Dec2011.

Te Mata Zara Hawkes Bay Viognier 2009 (D)Served very lightly chilled, the aromas and flavours are perfect. The fragrance is subtle but tempts with apricot, pear, nut, nougat and a hint of smoke and the texture is lightly creamy with a spicy allure to the flavour that has a fine seam of lemon verbena and a depth of apricot fruit. There's an exciting complexity and a lingering salty tang. Made from NZ's oldest Viognier vines, 85% of the wine was fermented in seasoned oak, the remainder in tank. Impressive. 14% alc. $25.99. 17Mar2010.
Delicately perfumed with hints of nougat, this seems a very young wine with pink bubblegum esters, a peach and tropical fruit freshness and a nutty richness. Texturally pleasing with low acidity and a touch of spice on the bright fruit finish. 14% alc. Diam. $25.99. 18Aug2010.
Fragrant, lifted, floral and apricot skin scent. There's a high-toned salty nuance to this wine too and youthful chewing gum esters with an ethereal halo to the beautifully balanced flavours of apricot, flower musk and exotic spices. The fine texture is creamy, almost oily, and the finish is tight (rather than flabby as some V's can go). It has evolved beautifully in the bottle since tasting last year. 14% alc. $26.99. 9Mar2011.
Light gold coloured with aromas of tropical fruit and citrus, this is smooth textured, almost oily, with nuts, citrus, green melons and quintessential apricot and spice on the finish. From NZ's oldest Viognier vines, 85% of the wine was fermented in seasoned oak. 14% alc. $27.99. 14Mar2012.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Viognier 2009 (sc) Perfumed, floral with lemon and honeysuckle, hints of apricot and nutbread. Textural wine with viscosity to mouthfeel with apricots, nuts, nougat and flower musk. A dry wine with a steely backbone, vinous sweetness and a fresh, youthful, lithe, caressing, light creamy mouthfeel. This wine improves in the bottle over a day. 14.5% alc. $21.99. 2May2010.

Waimea Nelson Edel 2009 (sc) A blend of 47% Riesling, 38% Pinot Gris and 15% Gewurz, this is an interesting wine to the taste – pinot gris-like orchard fruit up front, then the lychees and spice of the Gewurz the kicker on the finish, and there's a waxy honey / honeysuckle character that could only come from the Riesling that provides the acidity to balance the fruity sweetness. With its rounded structure and fruit/spice flavours that are not too over powering, I think it could have wide appeal but it musy be served chilled. 13% alc. $21.90. 1Apr2011.

Waimea Nelson Viognier 2009 (sc) Light to medium gold in colour, this is a fragrant wine with tantalising scents of nougat, fig and apricot and a wonderful luscious, lightly oily texture. A hint of oak underpins the savoury, leesy, nutty flavours with apricot emerging to linger gracefully. Texturally intense with a tingle of spice and a touch of sweetness to the finish. Delicious. 14% alc. $18.99. 22Sep2010.
Yellow gold coloured with a rich, full bouquet with tantalising apricot and ripe peach scents, some rose petal florals too. A sweet honeyed style and I wonder if it has some oak - yes, it does! Fruit is ripe and fleshy, infused with citrus, but no way acidic. This is Viognier for Chardonnay drinkers and it takes chilling well. 4.5 stars. 14% alc. $23.90. 11Feb2011.
Golden yellow with a floral perfume, it tastes very ripe almost tending towards Turkish delight. It has a gloriously smooth slippery texture with flower musk infiltrating the tropical guava and apricot fruit and the delicate spice. Takes chilling well and finishes with heady ethereal notes and even a suggestion of toffee creams. 14% alc. $19.99. 15Jun2011.
A rich, almost sweet, opulent, fragrant scent and the heady flavours of butterscotch and caramel in harmony with juicy apricot and peach. Rich in colour with a smooth texture, a curvaceous complexity and an expansive finish. I rate this 5 stars. 14% alc. $19.99. 1Feb2012.

2008 Vintage [top] [index]

Alpha Domus The Wingwalker Viognier 2008 (sc) Wow, this is a big, rich wine - a heady wine with alcohol adding to the instant appeal of this full-bodied blockbuster. The aromatic aromas lead into a spicy flavoured wine with a little honey, a nice touch of smoky oak, some leesy notes and a touch of grapefruit. A pleasing barrel fermented style of Viognier. 14% alc. $21.50. 20Nov2009.

Coopers Creek 'The Little Rascal' Gisborne Arneis 2008 (sc) Pale straw gold with a juicy, fruit-driven aroma, this full-bodied, unoaked white has a fruity flavour reminiscent of pineapple jubes with soft acidity and a slight salty tang to the heady finish. While still quite fresh, there's a pleasing textural richness and served chilled, it's delicious summer drinking now. 14.5% alc. $20.99. 26Jan2011.

Dry River Estate Viognier 2008 (c) Light yellow gold, lustrous with an oily citrine glow. Aromatic and fresh with hints of apricot, lemon verbena and an earthy nut bread scent. Packed with tropical fruit in the palate - there's pineapple, orange blossom, and a driving acid brightness. Rounded and full with apricot making its presence know on the bright, zesty finish - lots of citrus peel adds a marmalade nuance too. ****1/2. 14% alc. 6 Sep2008.

Kaimira Nelson Brightwater Semillon 2008 (sc) An intriguing toasted lemon/lime scent with the merest suggestion of sandalwood. Wonderfully tangy to the taste with preserved lemon, candied tropical fruit (pineapple comes to mind) and those wonderful Semillon connotations of dried hay and sunny days. There’s an underlying nuttiness, a sucking-on-a-river-pebble dryness, an earthy leesy savouriness and a fine film of honeysuckle nectar on the pulsating finish. It builds in complexity and coats the mouth with its richness and warmth. It has outstanding presence and length. 13% alc. $18.00. 15Oct2013.

Karikari Estate Viognier Chardonnay 2008 (D) A little 'baked' on the nose - baked apple / custard apple and mealy yeast lees. Dry in palate with that unusual character detected on nose coming through - a hint of ginger too. Different in its own special way. broad - stewed apple and peach and a steeliness to the finish. An unoaked blend of 62% Viognier and 38% Chardonnay. 14% alc. $30. 13Aug2009.

Millton Riverpoint Vineyard Gisborne Viognier 2009 (sc) A fragrant wine, perfumed with lemon oil, hints of apricot and flower musk, it's smooth and oily in texture with lifted flavours of apricot nectar, citrus and spice. A smoky nuance comes through and hints of caramel corn with rose petal on the floral finish and a tangy, clean, almost salty aftertaste that lingers beautifully. 14% alc. $23.99. 25Nov2010.

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2008 (sc) Not expressing too much on the nose - some oily nuances with delicate florals and zest, but delicious and luscious in the powerful, full-bodied palate, this is spicy to the max with wonderful acidity in the form of orange and tangelo zest and a lasting expression of Granny Smith apple. The oiliness detected on the nose comes through in the texture and there's a hint of gunflint on the finish. An excellent New World example of this famous Loire Valley grape. 14.5% alc. $29.99. 1Sep2010.
Bright yellow gold with a gentle bouquet of honey, dried hay and lanolin, this is lifted on entry to the palate with zingy Granny Smith apple acidity tempered by honeysuckle and beeswax with a fumé-like savouriness from fermentation in oak barrels. It's off dry in sweetness level and has a great deal of finesse. Made to biodynamic principles and certified organic. 12.5% alc. $23.99. 6Apr2011.
Rich golden yellow, like daffodil reflections, this is a fruity wine, tropical scented with a waxy overtone and a sweet nutty richness to the melon and apricot flavours. It's rich and dry and flavours coming are reminiscent of custard and apple pie. Acidity provides length and focus and there's a spicy nuance too. With time in the bottle it has become flirtingly full-bodied and curvaceous, but drink in the next couple of years before the wrinkles set in. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 20Jul2011.

Pasquale Alma Mater 2008 (sc) A blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer from the Hakataramea Valley (north of the Waitaki River), it is light yellow gold in colour and has a delicate, perfumed Gewurz-like scent with rose petal florals and a hint of pink bubblegum infused by a brighter aromatic component, no doubt due to the Riesling. Quite-acid driven in the palate with a touch of sweetness and juicy lime and ripe apple fruit, it starts off bright and racy then softens and lingers gently. We liked this 'just off dry' wine, deciding it's the kind of wine to drink when you don't know what to drink. 12% alc. $27. 10Oct2009.

Passage Rock Waiheke Island Viognier 2008 (sc) This pale straw lemon-coloured wine has a blossoming fragrance - it's delicately smoky, a little bready with apricot and a sweet floral and nougat scent. Then the flavour - the gorgeous flavour - the palate equivalent of heady - this is rich and textural and though it is probably bone dry, there is a mealy, winey, alcoholic sweetness. There's a subtle nutty toastiness, the apricot, peach and nougat take over, there's a touch of exotic spiciness and the lifted finish is rich and full. There's a lovely lemony intonation too - like citrus curd or lemon verbena. *****. 14% alc. $30. 20Dec2008.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Viognier 2008 (sc)Golden coloured with citrus, nut biscuits, creamy oak and nougat aromas and toasty, mealy flavours with a malty undercurrent, well-balanced acidity and a citrussy flourish to the bright fruity finish with apricot and spice flavours lingering. 14.5% alc. $34.99. 23Jun2010.

TW Gisborne Viognier 2008 (sc) Nutty on the nose, creamy in the palate with hints of apples and pears and savoury oak adding a Chardonnay-like signature to the finish, it's smooth and creamy and nice to drink but perhaps not as varietally distinctive as the apricotty 2007. 13% alc. $22.99. 26Aug2009.

Vidal Estate East Coast Viognier 2008 (sc) Straw gold with a hint of yellow, this wine has a pretty perfume that is floral and delicately nutty with a hint of flower musk. A little spritzy on the first taste, it tones down to reveal a full-bodied richness with a creamy/oily texture, apricot and exotic tropical fruit, perhaps a hint of oak adding complexity, and zesty spice. Gentle and warm with a nut bread finish. 14.5% alc. $15.99. 25Mar2009.

Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Viognier 2008 (sc) A light to moderate gold. Delicately perfumed with a bread sauce savouriness, hints of apricot and lemon zest - nose is tantalising and exciting. Beautiful texture - perfectly oily - gentle attack with apricot, peach and citrus, a white pepper nuance and flower musk. Full-bodied, concentrated, alcoholic - I feel it even though I'm spitting. Finishes dry with a lingering savouriness. Gisborne & Hawkes Bay fruit with 6 months in seasoned oak barriques and tank. 14.% alc. $17.99. 20May2009.

Waimea Nelson Viognier 2008 (sc) Moderate gold colour with aromas that are quite neutral - nutty and bready with a delicate hint of apricot. However the palate is so much more flavoursome that the nose would suggest. Although there is a bready / yeasty undercurrent, the wine is fresh and bright, light in its attack with a dancing texture and a citrussy finish, there's a subtle hint of grassy herb pushing through. 17.5/20. 14% alc. $21.90. 5May2009.

2007 Vintage [top] [index]

Alpha Domus Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007 (sc) Very pale and just a little oily in appearance. Zesty and spicy with lemon and lime to the fore. Lime peel and lime juice makes this inherently aromatic upfront with a creamy mid-palate and a bright, fresh, lifted finish. 14% alc. $27. 9Oct2007.
Just bottled when tasted last time, this wine has settled nicely. Gone are the upfront lemon and lime citrussy notes and it now offers spicy, bready aromatics infused with apricot and honeysuckle. It's creamy in texture with a creamed nut underlay to the fleshy but delicate peach and apricot fruit. Quite alcohol and heady with some balancing phenolics, hints of lemon and a moderately dry and bright zesty finish, it is clean and focussed and delivers what it is meant to. 35% oak ferment. 14% alc. $27. 11Mar2008.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007 (sc) Light honey gold. Served chilled the initial scent is nutty and mealy while the taste of this powerful wine is savoury and crisp with an oily warmth to the texture and an aftertaste I can only liken to full-bodied Champagne. As the wine warms up it is beautifully aromatic with hints of apricot carrying through to the palate with a touch of lemongrass, a bright spiciness, a delicate suggestion of salinity and just a hint of earthiness to the long and lingering aftertaste. Old oak adds to the complexity of this savoury mouthful as well as about 25% wild fermentation and partial malolactic fermentation. WOTW May 2008. 14.5% alc. $33.95. 14May2008.
A straw gold colour. Initially quite savoury with the nuttiness from the yeast lees quite dominant together with a subtle smoky nuance that draws back like a curtain at the start of a performance to let a chorus of orange blossom and the star of Viognier - apricot - come through. A full-bodied dry wine - rich, opulent and heady with an creamy/ oily texture, vinous sweetness to the finish and a tangy, almost salty character that makes it all so interesting. 14.5% $32.99. 12Aug2009.

Clayridge Marlborough Pinot Blanc 2007 (sc) Buttery oak, creamy and bright, hints of apricot and a long, delicious, juicy finish. An interesting wine that starts off a little like chardonnay but morphs into something like Viognier with the apricot infusion into the bright, floral finish. Still a baby when tasted, this fascinating wine should be even more exciting with a little more time. 13%. 2Sep2007.
Delicately citrussy scent with a hint of beeswax and bright, spicy, zesty almost spritzy textured flavours - yet layered and creamy with soft acidity. Ripe and delicious with loads of juicy tropical fruit and floral honeysuckle nuances, it becomes more complex with every delicious mouthful. Wild fermented in seasoned barriques. 13% alc. 8.1g/l rs. 14Dec2007.

Coopers Creek SV 'The Little Rascal' Gisborne Arneis 2007 (sc) Aromatically scented with aromas of nuts, flowers, herbs and spice and breezy, bright flavours with apricot and lemon/lime/tangelo to the fore. It's young, fresh, dry and fruity with soft acidity and a warm, rich, fleshy, rounded texture, a touch of savouriness and Sumac-like citrussy spice with the tang of tangelo peel infused into a syrupy orange Madeira cake on the lingering finish. Different and exciting. 14.5% alc. 6g/l rs. $23. 13Oct2007.
Pale straw coloured with nutty, almost chardonnay-like butterscotch aromas and ripe stone fruit flavours supported by taut lemon acidity, which keeps the line on a linear track. But it branches out on the finish with hints of florals, fascinating sweet/dry connotations and an aromatic honeysuckle finish. 14.5% alc. $21.99. 14May2008.

Coopers Creek Gisborne Viognier 2007 (sc) Light gold with fruit salad aromas and bright fruit flavours of apricots and lemon biscuits with a soft, full, fruit nectar texture and a youthful tingle. Very ripe with soft acids, you can taste the clean flavours, you can taste the exquisite fruit. 14% alc. $19. 21May2007.
Served slightly chilled, this pale gold wine is not overly expressive on the nose but it’s bright and juicy in the soft, creamy, nutty palate with apricot and rock melon and a flourish of alcoholic warmth on the fruity finish which just expands with its exquisitely pure Viognier flavour. Brilliant New Zealand example of the variety and excellent value. 14% alc. $19.99. 16Jan2008.
A delicate floral bouquet with a touch of lemon candy. Just off dry to the taste with a delicate hint of flower musk and while quite neutral in the fruit department there is plenty of vinous weight. Apricot emerges on the finish and lingers with a creamed nut and vanilla spice overlay. Delicate but clean and ethereal with a persistent finish. 14% alc. $22.99. 8Jul2009.

Coopers Creek SV 'Chalk Ridge' Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007 (sc) Fragrant and citrussy with hints of apricot on the nose. Soft, full-bodied, creamy and spicy, this soft acid wine has a lovely infusion of sweet citrus zest and hints of ginger flower and white pepper, and just the slightest suggestion of smoky oak. Fragrant, lifted and complex with waves of flavour, while the apricot signature of Viognier lingers on the rich, full-bodied and fragrant finish. Long, spicy and clean. 14.5% alc. $23.13Oct2007.

Elephant Hill Te Awanga Viognier 2007 (sc) Aromatic and clean with hints of apricot kernel on the nose and a bright, zesty, spicy palate with a herbal, almost gooseberry undercurrent. It's crisp and fresh with a citrus infusion to the honeyed finish, the richness, weight and texture of the wine leaves a lasting impression. That was when tasted chilled. At room temperature this bright aromatic wine has a rich, toasty, full-bodied backbone. 13.5% alc. $25. 4Sep2007.

Kaimira Estate Brightwater Nelson Semillon 2007 (sc) Rich lemon gold. Tropical fruit aroma, perhaps some banana, and a grainy textured palate. Seems quite light in both palate weight and fruit weight - dilute may be a better word. Tropical fruit, a little honey that adds some viscosity and zesty spice. Tasted amongst 11 Sauvignon Blanc, this was the odd wine out - a good thing really because it *is* a different variety. 12% alc. $20. 6Feb2009.
Lustrous lemon gold. On the nose there are hints of tropical fruit, perhaps some banana and initially bright acidity drives through the light, grainy textured palate. Pear and apple fruit join the tropical fruit together with a honeyish viscosity and some zesty spice. The finish is warm and generous with additional complexity from a touch of oak. The oak is subtle and the fruit is ripe and sweet but of course the wine is dry. 12% alc. $20. 6Feb2009.

Margrain Martinborough Chenin Blanc 2007 (sc) Pale in colour and delicately scented, just the slight waft of grapey vinosity. With bright, vivacious acidity, the highest in a line-up of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Viognier, it's fresh, juicy and vibrant with lots of verve. A fantastic alternative to Riesling with richness and power. 12% alc. 18g/l rs. $30. 14Dec2007.

Mills Reef Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007 (sc) Aromas of sweet nutty oak and creamed nut flavours to the fore in the initially Chardonnay-like palate, finishing bright and rounded with a touch of fruit sweetness. It has classically varietal apricot together with juicy peach, spice, sweet oak, bubble gum esters, and floral nuances. Smooth, rich and mouthfilling with a delicacy of flavour throughout. 13.5% alc. $16.95. 15Jun2008.

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2007 - Gisborne Straw gold. Flinty and steely at first on the nose and then blossomy floral and honeysuckle scents emerge. Unexpectedly sweet in the palate with toasty apples, underlying lemon cheese and boiled lemon lollies but there's a steely crisp backbone and juicy apple flavours come to the fore on the finish. A powerful wine. Let it evolve and it will surprise you. 12% alc. Cork. $26.99. 10Sep2008.

Morton Estate Private Reserve Hawkes Bay Viogner 2007 (sc) Lemon gold with pears and citrus blossom on the nose and citrussy flavours with soft acidity, gingery spices and a touch of musk building to a long, creamy finish with a juicy, stonefruit freshness and a long, bright and clean aftertaste. 14.5% alc. $21.99. 10Oct2007.
Light yellow gold. Initially a hint of reductiveness on the nose (rubber band) which quickly blows away, the aromas fill out with nutty oak, pear drop, lemon bread and yeast-derived complexities. High-toned compared to the Villa Maria, it has a soft lightly oily texture and spicy nutty, yeast lees flavours with ripe yellow stonefruits and a touch of anise. Apricot fills the mouth with abundance on the long, sweet-fruited aftertaste and the bright zesty finish has richness, length and power. 14% alc. $21.99.5Mar2008.
A dry wine with a fragrant apricot, nut bread and lemon grass scent and lovely ripe apricot and spicy lemon grass flavours with a touch of oak adding palate richness and fullness, and a lingering lifted finish that is musky and long. 14% alc. $21.99. 1Oct2008.

Ngatarawa Glazebrook Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007 (sc) Lemon gold in colour. Soft, ripe and creamy with apricot kernel flavours, a nutty undercurrent and a touch of spice. The apricot keeps pushing and pushing through with a fruit purity. A dry wine with body and texture, it's 100% barrel fermented in French oak, 15% new. 14% alc. $28. 9Oct2007.

Omaha Bay Vineyard 'The Imposter' Matakana Flora 2007 (sc) There's a sweetness to the wine but well balanced acidity and a touch of musk-like rose petal and a delicate suggestion of smoker lollies together with orange water leave a pleasing, delicately luscious lingering flavour in the mouth. Once you adjust to the sweetness of the wine, it really is lovely. A wine that twists and turns - from sweetness to zestiness, always bright with a honeysuckle and lemon verbena overlay to the lasting finish. I thought it exceptional with sweet chilli, honey and garlic roasted chicken. 12.5% alc. $27. 2Aug2008.

Saint Clair East Coast Viognier 2007 (sc) A little earthy on the nose and initially some reduction (thought it was PG) and hints of bubblegum too, exotic tropical fruit flavours mingle with apricot and lime with youthful bubblegum esters. There's a texturally richness and a tarragon/Thai basil/chervil note too with lots of juicy fruit and citrus on the drying finish. Would be quite good with chicken wrapped in bacon. 13.5% alc. $20.95. 13Aug2009.

Seifried Nelson Würzer 2007 (sc) Pale straw coloured, this exotically scented wine has enticing aromas of tropical fruit and a slight waxy nuance suggesting light botrytis. In the mouth it's lightly oily in texture with flavours of fruit salad, ginger and musk and a touch of sweetness that adds to the mid palate weight while acidity comes through on the finish making it seem drier. A grape variety created by crossing Muller Thurgau and Gewurztraminer and first grown in Germany in 1932 and the result, an interesting tasty wine. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 3Feb2010.

Te Mata Woodthorpe Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007 (sc) Light yellow gold in colour, immediately upfront and fruity on the nose with a strong leesy lemony brioche scent and musk, orange blossom and honeysuckle, this juicy young Viognier is bright, fresh, zesty and spicy to the taste. It's slightly oily textured with a deep warmth and richness, pink bubblegum estery flavours, hints of butterscotch coating fresh stonefruit and candied fennel (aniseed) on the fruit-sweet lingering finish. 14% alc. $25.99.12Mar2008.

Ti Point Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007 (sc) Delicate creamy scents are infused with honeysuckle, sherbet and spice, it's tastes lifted, spicy and vibrant with a creamed nut backbone, hints of apricot, alcoholic warmth and a savoury, mealy undercurrent. A baby wine, it's still so young and really needs to go through puberty to tame the phenolics. But the best of the three V's as a food match to juicy fresh corn on the cob. Partial barrel ferment with wild yeasts. 13.5% alc. $19.90. 14Dec2007.

TW CV NV (sc) This non vintage 2007 release of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Viognier from Tietjen Witters in Gisborne, this has all the traits of a soft, rich, leesy unoaked chardonnay with a full bodied palate and melon the dominant fruit. The fragrance and prettiness of the viognier component comes through on the lightly spicy, apricot infused finish. It's all about softness, approachability and all round friendliness. It's non-confrontational with lots of flavour and ready to drink. 14% alc. $20. 4Sep2007.

TW 'Growers Selection' Gisborne Viognier 2007 (sc) Pale gold. Perfumed with apple blossom and a hint of rose petal, it has soft acidity and fullness to the texture. A very pretty wine, delicately spicy and quite fruity with apples and a touch of apricot and creamed nut on the finish. Full-bodied yet has a light touch. A smart wine and an excellent example of its variety. 14.5% alc. $21.99. 11Feb2009.

Vidal East Coast Viognier 2007 (sc) Sweet-fruited and ripe smelling with nutty aromatics, it's a big wine in the palate with apple and apricot fruit, a honey and nut backbone and a spicy zest. Oak adds to the complexity of palate, which is subtle in the fruit expression yet vinous and rounded with great textural appeal. Alcohol seems a little hot on the finish and nut bread flavours linger at the end. 14% alc. $19.50. 15Jun2008.

Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007 (sc) Steely smelling and delicately aromatic with apple and lime scents and dominant apple flavours, it doesn't immediately scream Viognier to a blind taster. It's spicy and lifted yet nutty and earthy with a gorgeous slippery texture that you hear winemakers talking and totally shows what the texture of Viognier is like on its own and why it does what it does when co-fermented with Shiraz. This wine is all about texture and vinosity rather than fruit. It's dry and quite hot (alcohol most likely) with great mouthfeel and excellent length. 14% alc. $29.99. 15Jun2008.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007 (sc) With hints of oak and wild yeast nuances on the nose, it's rich, creamy and savoury and similar in a way to the Trinity Hill tasted alongside it but it's younger and a little more vibrant. Clean, delicately creamy with lovely purity of fruit, this gorgeous wine starts gracefully like a flower just starting to open but develops beautifully into a rich, powerful and lingering finish. Omahu Gravels subregion. 14% alc. 14Dec2007.
With a touch of butter caramel on the fragrantly scented blossomy nose and a spicy savouriness to the flavour, there's a Chardonnay-like nuance to this soft, smooth, deep, heady wine with a nutty undercurrent, malt, fig and a suggestion of honeyed toast. Apricot adds lushness to the smooth seamless finish and a hint of orange zest adds brightness. 14% alc. $23.99.5Mar2008.

Waimea Nelson Viognier 2007 (sc) Youthful, yeasty, slightly unresolved scents. Much sweeter than expected to the taste, perhaps some botrytis. Baked apple makes me think Pinot Gris in the context of the tasting, although I would have gone Chenin Blanc if that had been an option. A sweet rendition of Viognier with a touch of honeyed oak, it is sweet, rich and luscious with a soft texture, ripe spicy baked apples and a touch of orange honey on the warm finish. Tasted again 2 days later, this wine is just so beautiful even though it is not what I expect Viognier to be. It has reasonable acid brightness that balances the sweetness, a biscuity, nutty, voluminous backbone with orange blossom and nuances of five spice. 14% alc. $21.90. 15Jun2008.

2006 Vintage [top] [index]

Ascension 'The Rogue' Matakana Flora 2006 (sc) Fragrant and fruity on the nose, a little like muscat and quite muscatty to the taste, like fresh juicy grapes joining pear flavours that are a little reminiscent of Pinot Gris, it's dry, and crisp with hints of mandarin zest and white pepper on the spicy finish. Full-bodied and flavoursome. 13% alc. $29. 10Jul2007.

Dry River Late Harvest Viognier 2006 - Martinborough Light gold in colour but very bright with an unusual aroma that hints of smoke (but the wine has had no oak), with a hint of liquorice and honeysuckle too. It's fat and oily in the palate, ripe and lush, totally endowed with citrus and apricot, there's a touch of pineapple and a gorgeous spicy lift to the finish. The texture is warm and rounded, like light runny honey and there's something to the palate weight that reminds me of chardonnay. It's late harvest in style, but not overly sweet, more of a 'medium', if you know what I mean. 13.5% alc. 45g/l rs. $45. 11Mar2007.

Esk Valley Black Label Hawkes Bay Chenin Blanc 2006 (sc) Pale gold. Delicate smoky on the nose with apricot and honeyed lime. Vibrant red and green apple acidity in the palate with a hint of stonefruit, a touch of honey and the hint of smokiness detected on the nose emerging with a European-like funkiness from the savoury yeast lees. Slightly grainy in texture with a crisp, dry finish and a soft fruity aftertaste with a hint of passionfruit. So much potential for long term development. 13% alc. 4g/l rs. $20.50. 14Aug2007.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Verdelho 2006 (sc) Peachy, apricot, Viognier-like aromas with a touch of lemon nuttiness, and a bright zesty palate full of tropical fruit, passionfruit, stonefruit and citrus with a soft creamy texture and plenty of spice - it's like Pinot Gris and Viognier and unoaked Chardonnay with a touch of Riesling acidity. A tasty wine with a kick of alcoholic warmth to the finish. A crisp, fresh wine that will appeal to many palates. There's some barrel ferment component, but it is hardly detectable. A couple of days later when I revisit the wine, it's all peach and apricot and a little bit of honey. Truly delicious. 14.5% alc. $21. 4May2007.
A myriad of tropical fruits on the nose with yellow guava, orange, pear, melon, stonefruit and honey adding to the delicately alluring scent. Crisp and dry to the taste with a slightly grainy texture, a mid palate fleshiness, spicy zest and subtle oak adding richness and creaminess without detracting from the delicious fruit. 14.5% alc. 7g/l rs. $20.50. 14Aug2007.

Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Blanc 2006 (sc) Neutral aromas and quite neutral flavours at first but it starts to build in richness with its rounded creamy texture and bright citrus and apricot fruit. Just what do we expect from Pinot Blanc? I’m not sure. This is an interesting and textural wine but it would be easy to confuse with a fuller-bodied, ripe Pinot Gris or a Viognier. It has the full-bodied richness and the aromatic spiciness with crisp underlying acidity and even a hint of rose petal on the finish. 14.5% alc. $27.50. 1May2007.

Gladstone Wairarapa Viognier 2006 (sc) Fragrant, biscuity, bready aroma and dry, lean, spicy, citrussy flavours, it becomes quite creamy as it flows across the palate with hints of lemongrass and a fruit flavour reminiscent of fresh loquat. There's crisp, underlying acidity but with its warm alcohol, it becomes richer and more complex with time. 14.9% alc. $19. 16Nov2006.

John Forrest Collection Marlborough The White 2006 Made from seven different varieties, the assemblage is Viognier from Hawkes Bay; Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Gewurztraminer from Marlborough and Pinot Gris from the Waitaki Valley, so not surprisingly this wine is complex in its flavours. I remember tasting last year's version and depending on the time of the day and the warmth of the wine, different flavours kept coming into play. Today it exhibited itself as a crisp, clean wine with apple the dominant fruit at first, then exotic tropical fruit mid palate and melon on the finish. Warmly textured with richness from the Chardonnay component, this has a freshness to the finish and a hint of honey emerges to linger. 5.4g/l rs. 14% alc. $50. 26Jul2007.

Kim Crawford Te Awanga Vineyard Hawkes Bay Viognier 2006 (sc) Fragrant and bright aromatics with lemon zest, florals and underlying baked apple flavours, it's a little like Pinot Gris at first but there's a tinge of apricot creeping through to show its varietal signature. Medium to full-bodied with a lemon bread undercurrent, there's an aromatic brightness to the slightly musky finish and the aftertaste is long and fruit sweet. 13% alc. 9Sep2007.

Lonely Cow Gisborne Viognier 2006 (sc) There's an oily hint to the stonefruit/apricot aroma and a rich texture to the vibrantly spicy flavour with citrus emerging in the mid palate and a well-defined musky character to the long soft finish. Fresh with lots going on, it will be delicious with white fleshed seafood. 14% alc. $19. 10Oct2006.
Light lemon gold in colour with lifted, floral, apricot and slightly nutty scents. Lightly oily, slippery in its soft, mouth-coating texture, it's a soft acid wine with peach and apricot kernel flavours, a hint of flower musk and plenty of spice. It's dry but the fruit is mouthwatering and ripe, there's the merest hint of honey (honeysuckle) and lemon grass brings a crispness to the long lifted finish. Delightful. 13% alc. $20. 10Feb2007.

Margrain Vineyard Martinborough Chenin Blanc 2006 (sc) Lemon gold with fresh, crisp, apple and lime (Riesling-like) aromas that carry through to the palate with a subtle honeyed richness. When chilled the naturally high acidity is accentuated making the wine seem dry and crisp but as it warms up it becomes richer and fatter with pineapple and a touch of tree-ripened apricot, and the residual sugar tames that vivacious acidity. Honeysuckle and dried hay emerge on the nose and there is a whiff of wet clay too. All the hallmarks are there for a wine that will be long-lived with Margrain's hallmark lusciousness developing in the bottle with time. 12.5% alc. 22 g/L rs. $28. 20Jan2007.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Viognier 2006 (sc) Water pale in colour, it smells of red apples and honeysuckle, like you’d find in a sweeter Riesling, and finishes like a musky, floral, spicy Gewurztraminer but with its soft acids, weighty palate, honeyed tropical fruit, pears and apricot, it can’t really be either. It has the hallmarks of classic Viognier in a reasonably dry and incredibly fruity package, and seems awfully easy to quaff right now. 14% alc. $21.99. 23Aug2006.
Light gold, delicately fruity, clean and bright with a soft oily texture and a slightly musky flavour with a spicy complexity, zesty acidity and an array of fruit reminiscent of apple, lime, feijoa, melon, apricot and passionfruit. A fresh, light to medium-bodied, lunch time style. 14% alc. $21.99. 2May2007.
Light gold coloured, light toasty oak, spice oak and tropical fruit aromas - a little reminiscent of a lightly oaked Chardonnay - and quite savoury to the taste with fig, melon and underlying pineapple-like acidity building to a long, juicy, creamy biscuity finish. Reasonably rich and full-bodied with apricots emerging to linger, it's fleshing out nicely since last tasted. 14% alc. $21.99. 31May2007.

Morton Estate Hawkes Bay Viognier 2006 (sc) Light gold coloured. Delicately aromatic on the nose with a subtle floral allure, it's distinctly Viognier to the taste with its pretty apricot flavours supported by florals and an infusion of anise-like spices. It's medium to full-bodied with a roundness to the fragrant biscuity palate and lots of musky florals on the warm, lingering, spicy and lifted citrussy finish. Lovely light attack that lingers with an ethereal beauty and garners increasing richness. Fermented in old oak, but no oaky taste. Very nice. Yum. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 9Sep2007.

Omaha Bay Vineyard 'The Imposter' Flora 2006 - Matakana (sc) Soft lemony notes, a little spicy and biscuity. A sweetish wine, warm textured, spicy pear and stonefruit, a touch of citrus zest which nicely balances the sweetness. Warm and soft, creamy texture, bright , crisp and clean with a savoury finish and a juicy burst of fruit. 14% alc. $27. Screwcap. 26Feb2007.

Rippon Osteiner White Wine 2006 (sc) What a cool wine - cool as in cooool - it's vibrant and spicy with a myriad of fruity flavours that are like summer in a glass. With tropical fruit, red apples and a fresh citrussy finish, this gorgeous, fresh, juicy wine will be perfect served chilled. 11.6% alc. 11g/l rs. $15.50. 10Oct2006.

Rongopai Gisborne Reserve Viognier 2006 (sc) Although fermented and aged in 5 year old oak, the aromas give no indication of oak just flowers, lemon drop and earthy leesy notes. The palate is smooth and spicy and just a little musky, with a smooth full-bodied texture and a stonefruit juiciness to the finish. Lovely mouthfeel and length. 14% alc. $18.50. 150 cases. 9Oct2006.
Lemony nose and a bright creamy palate with just a wee touch of oak and a fragrant citrussy finish. Good palate weight with a spicy floral lift. 14% alc. 2Sep2007.

Schubert Wairarapa 'Tribianco' 2006 A blend of chardonnay, pinot gris and muller thurgau, this is a gorgeous medley of exotic tropical and stone fruits backed up by soft buttery oak with a fruit salad and bread pudding aftertaste. Just texture, richness and all round niceness. Not released when tasted, it's about 14% alc. and about $25. 4Sep2007.
On first tasting the apple character of the Pinot Gris is most dominant but soon the peachy flavours of the chardonnay start to show through. But it coming across as fairly neutral in its fruit flavours - it is, instead, a powerful wine with vinous complexity and body (14% alcohol), subtle oak and a slightly mealy undercurrent. With its full- bodied, warming texture, it is a great food style. 14% alc. $25. 21Jun2008.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Viognier 2006 (sc) Fairly neutral on the nose with a hint of pear and a nuance of musk, it smells a little like Pinot Gris but there is no comparison to that varietal when it comes to the taste. It's creamy textured with delicate oak and hints of apricot and builds in richness to a warm, powerful, spicy finish with talc and rose petals emerging on the long dry aftertaste which is underpinned with a gorgeous stonefruit sweetness.14.5% alc. $34.99. 27Sep2006.
Light gold with juicy stewed apple aromas that have a sweetish, floral, lightly honeyed overtone, it's soft and oily textured in the lightly toffeed palate with dried banana slices the dominant flavour at first then later subtle apricot. It's low in acid with alcoholic warmth and a nutty mealy toastiness with a touch of lemongrass and nuances of oak spice emerging on the lingering finish. Full-bodied and long. 4 g/l residual sugar (rs). 14.5% alc. $34.99. 18Apr2007.
Fragrant scents, a little high-toned with pure essence of apricot. Light and lifted with a creamy backbone and hints of honey, butterscotch comes forth on the nose with a little time in the glass - and spicy zest too. Bordering on phenolic - but does it well. Luscious and long with underlying lemon rind and a savoury aftertaste, it just expands on the palate with richness and power. 30% fermented in older oak barrels with 3 months aging on yeast lees to add complexity & texture. 14.5% alc. $30. 14Dec2007.

Vilagrad Chardonnay Traminer 2006 (sc) Perfumed and spicy on nose, it doesn't really smell like either Chardonnay or Gewurztraminer, in fact it's hard to put your finger on the varietal and that's because it's a blend. In the palate it's full of spicy apricot and tropical fruit and reminds me of the taste of Viognier without the palate weight. Medium-bodied, tasty, clean and fresh. If you're not a label seeker, try this very enjoyable blend of 65% Gisborne Chardonnay and 35% Waikato Gewurztraminer. 12% alc. $18. 8Oct2006.

Villa Maria Omahu Gravels Hawkes Bay Viognier 2006 (sc) Pale straw gold with delicately fragrant aromas of apricot, pear and citrus zest and pure, clean flavours of apricots and spice with a perfect level of alcoholic warmth. Light and ethereal in its fragrant nature, it's seductive and enticing with mid-palate richness, persistent length and a musky, rose petal intrigue. Muse over it and enjoy it and let all the little intricacies evolve. 14.5% alc. $32.99. 3Oct2007.

2005 Vintage [top] [index]

Alpha Domus Hawke’s Bay Viognier 2005 (sc) A delicate floral fragrance infused with scents of tree-ripened peach, and toasty, spicy, mouthfilling, creamy textured, barrel-fermented flavours with good acidity and a surge of tropical fruit on the finish. It's a little reminiscent of a youthful Gisborne chardonnay with its juicy fruit and estery characters. 13% alc. $22.95. 22Mar2006.
Light lemon gold, aromatic and fruity smelling - like juicy fruit chewing gum - with a light freshness and a touch of sweetness to the taste. With the essence of apricot coming through and a creamy brazil nut backbone, this is light and fresh yet creamy and rich with a smooth texture and alcoholic warmth. 13% alc. $22.95. 23Jun2006.

Bilancia Hawkes Bay Viognier 2005 (sc) Delicately aromatic, but quite heady and vinous with hints of apricot, then in the palate this has a gorgeous silky texture with lifted apricot and a touch of lime with delicate musky characters and complexity coming from a touch of oak. The finish has a touch of sweetness. Gorgeous wine. 14.5% alc. $29.95. 4Nov2005.

Coopers Creek Gisborne Viognier 2005 (sc) A vibrant, fresh wine with subtle aromas, a rich texture and delicate apricot flavours, this expresses the essence of Viognier with a lovely expression of fruit on a creamy backbone with spice and nuts and a long lifted finish with a fresh vibrancy. 14.5% alc. $20. 9Nov2005.

Coopers Creek Limited Release Gisborne Viognier 2005 (sc) Similar to the other Coopers Creek Viognier but this has a richer, fatter texture, honey spiced nuts, a hint of sage and a touch of lemon bread. Delicately aromatic and full-bodied with a creamed nut finish and a bright fruity aftertaste. 14.5% alc. $22.95. 9Nov2005.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Verdelho 2005 (sc) Aromatic with pear drop aromas and a herbal nuance coming through. Light texture, flinty, a hint of green fruit, a touch of passionfruit and excellent length - it has nuances of sauvignon blanc but with softer acidity. 14.5% alc. $19.95. 6Sep2005.

Gladstone Wairarapa Viognier 2005 Pale lemon in colour with mesmerising, slightly nutty scents of apricot and orange zest and ripe stonefruit flavours - nectarine, peach and apricot - with a touch of citrus, a creamed nut richness, a silky-smooth oily texture and a spicy tropical fruit finish with just a smidgen of sweetness as it lingers. 14% alc. 5g/l rs. $27. 11Dec2005.

John Forrest Collection The White 2005 (sc)
A multi-regional blend of Viognier, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Chenin Blanc, this pale straw coloured wine is aromatic and floral with nuances of musky, spicy Gewurztraminer and apricot-like Viognier, but it is apple blossom that dominates this fragrant drop. It's zingy and fresh to the taste with a grainy texture and concentrated fruit, with perhaps the citrus steeliness of Riesling making its mark at first but every time you taste it, the different varietals have their turn in teasing your tastebuds. Tonight, however, it was the passionfruit of Sauvignon Blanc that was contributing to the pungent finish and ultra-long aftertaste. There is little influence of oak and you can't detect the Chardonnay at all but John says, "Put it with smoked meats and you will swear it is Chardonnay in the glass". A wine that will be interesting to watch as it evolves. Screwcap. 14% alc. 5.8 g/l rs. $49.95. 12Jul2006.

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2005 Bright yellow gold in colour. Honey and beeswax scents are joined with lanolin, hints of orange zest and toast; it seems quite dry to the taste with a honeyed beeswax backbone, exotic tropical fruit, hints of lime and apple and a spicy kick to the luscious fruity finish. Medium to full-bodied in palate weight, it's tasty, bright and refreshing. 25% of the grapes had botrytis and the finished wine has 11g/l residual sugar. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 6Jun2007.

Morton Estate White Label Hawkes Bay Viognier 2005 (sc) Lifted and clean, the fruit is spiced apricots through and through with a lovely seam of delicate floral notes running through it. A clean and fragrant expression of viognier with a smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel and a combo of apricot, peach and lime blossom that builds to a long, lifted finish. Rather nice to drink on its own - it sings. It has been fermented in older oak barriques, but the oak is not at all obvious. 13% alc. $18.95. 4Jan2007.

St Aubyns Dry White A simple, soft, mellow wine without much character. Made from Muscat, Muller Thurgau and Riesling. Gisborne. 12% alc. $7.95. 6Sep2005.

St Aubyns Medium White Soft, fruity, lightly tropical with a Muscat grape influence and a spiciness to the finish. A blend of Muscat, Muller Thurgau and Riesling. Gisborne. 11% alc. $7.95. 6Sep2005.

Te Mata Woodthorpe Hawkes Bay Viognier 2005 (sc) Bright clear gold. Scents of apricot nougat and orange scented brioche and a bright, spicy, mealy palate infused with raisin bread and rich, ripe apricot and nectarine fruit. Full-bodied and silky with a lingering musky, estery, tropical fruit and orange water character, it is soft, full, long and dry. 14% alc. $25. 15Feb2006.
With its fragrant, peachy, mealy, smoky, barrel fermented scents, this golden yellow wine smells a little like Chardonnay at first until more typically Viognier musk and floral scents come through too. It's full-bodied and toasty to the taste with a smooth slippery texture, a bright zesty undercurrent, a lemon bread richness and a spicy vibrancy with hallmark apricot on the lingering stonefruit finish and just a hint of fennel. 14% alc. $24.99.12Mar2008.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Viognier 2005 - Hawkes Bay (sc) Honeysuckle aromas with hints of apricot and citrus lead into a soft, lush, fruity palate with a touch of vanilla bean and a delightful floral note to finish to the slightly honeyed, musky finish. Seemingly delicate at first, there is underlying power from barrel aging which gives a fabulous mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish. 14% alc. $29.95. 21Sep2005.
Creamy yellow in colour with perfumed, slightly musky, lemon and vanilla aromas leading into a beautifully expressive palate with apricot, lemon bread and an earthiness to the spicy oak backbone. It is full-bodied, rich and weighty with lime zest coming through to linger on the mealy finish and apricots on the aftertaste. This can be well chilled. 14.5% alc. $29.95. 2Nov2005.
This has garnered a luscious complexity over the past year. Apricots are to the fore on the nose and fill the palate and it's balanced to dryness even though the lusciousness makes you swoon. Golden hued, lime blossoms and honeysuckle join apricot on the nose, there's hints of honeyed oak, underlying citrus blossoms and lemongrass, a creamy finish and a bready richness as it lingers. 14.5% alc. $29.95. 14Nov2006.

Villa Maria Riverstone Chardonnay / Chenin NV Dryish with a touch of buttery oak over ripe melon and tropical fruit this trans-Tasman blend is a light fruity quaffer. 13.5% alc. $10.95. 6Sep2005.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Omahu Gravels Hawkes Bay Viognier 2005 (sc) Aromatic with a smoky nuance and a rich, spicy palate, it is floral and a little honeyed with a spicy richness, delicate stonefruits and a musky, gewurz-like pungency to the fragrant finish. Delicate at the beginning with a richness to the finish. $35.00. 6Sep2005.
Pale, clear and bright in the glass, aromatic and delicately musky with a hint of white pepper and pear on the nose, there's a musky floral character with a nutty undercurrent to the essence of apricot fruit, the texture has just the right amount of slipperiness and the dry finish is long and clean with a slightly bready note as it lingers. Fermented in barrel with no oak flavour coming through to compete with the delicacy and vinous sweetness of the simply ethereal fruit. A young wine, it become mesmerising with time. 14.5% alc. $36.95. 20Jun2006.
With sweet caramel oak on the nose together with honeydew melon and spice, it smells a little like Chardonnay but the taste is so different. It's spicy, vibrant and lifted in the palate with a smooth texture, apricots, lemon bread and dry clove, cinnamon, cardamon-like spices that linger on the long, dry nutty finish. French oak plays a serious role in this seriously interesting wine. 14.5% alc. $36.99. 25Oct2006.

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Index to Varietal Tastings
Chardonnay Gewurztraminer
Riesling
Pinot Gris Sauvignon Blanc Other Whites
Bubblies Sweeties Pinks
Cabernet dominant Merlot dominant Pinotage
Pinot Noir Shiraz Other Reds

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