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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Other White Wines
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 7 Sep 2008

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.

[2005 and younger] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999] [1998] [older] [index]

2004 Vintage [top] [index]

Alpha Domus Hawkes Bay Viognier 2004Light floral / bready aromas lead into a lifted, clean, viscous, nutty palate a rich, apricot-like stonefruit finish. A full-bodied wine, but with delicacy that good Viognier should have, the nuttiness lingers with the sweetness of apricots on the aftertaste. 14% alc. $22.95. 7Apr2005.

Ascension 'The Apogee' Viognier 2004 (sc) A grapey rasin-like aroma and a full-boded creamy palate with apricot and sultana flavours, good acidity and a bright, spicy finish. Fruity but not fruity said the Chardonnay-loving fiance of my niece. 14% alc. $24.95. 11 Dec2004.

Ascension 'The Rogue' Flora 2004 (sc) Pale coloured and lightly oily in appearance, strongly aromatic with luscious winey and floral scents, ripe pear, apricot and citrus fruit, a spicy twist to the off dry musky finish and lingering vanilla and nuts. It would be applauded if it were Pinot Gris (which people thought it was before DNA testing revealed it to be Flora). Try it with salmon. 14% alc. $24.95. 11Dec2004.

Bentwood Pinot Blanc 2004 Sealed with a Zork popcap, this rather neutral flavoured wine is fresh and clean with natural acidity that comes in the form of apple and pear-like fruit while the finish is nicely vinous and delicately floral. Neutral means it will be good with a variety of foods. Grown on the outskirts of Christchurch at Tai Tapu and crafted by award winning winemaker Grant Whelan. 13% alc. $18. 1Mar2005.

Bilancia Hawkes Bay Viognier 2004 (sc) The first 100% Viognier from Bilancia's Hawkes Bay vineyards, this wine is strongly aromatic with a herbaceousness reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc – but that's where any likeness stops. Warmly textured with fruity stonefruit and nutty flavours, there's a slightly vanillin character to the long savoury finish with fruit sweetness to the aftertaste. Fermented in 100% seasoned oak and bottled just prior to tasting, give the wine time to settle to see its full potential. 14% alc. $31. 22Aug2004.

Clevedon Hills 'Chiara' Chardonnay Arneis 2004 (sc) Light to medium gold in colour, buttered fruit aromas with a nuance of honey suckle and a hint of loquat blossom, crisp and steely at first in the palate with a creamy malolactic influence and bright fruity flavours in the citrus / tropical fruit / pineapple spectrum. Quite reminiscent of Chardonnay but not a big toasty oak 'in-your-face style', just very lightly oaked with lovely poise and balance. There's a mouthfilling richness mid-palate, a long nutty, lightly savoury, dry finish and the sweetness of ripe stonefruits and pears lingering on the aftertaste with just a hint of rose spice. 12.8% alc. $24. 19Mar2004.

Coopers Creek Gisborne Viognier 2004 (sc) Pale straw. Bright and breezy with a warm vanillin oak character, a touch of honey and a spicy, slightly gingery, slightly salty finish. The sample was quite cold and oak dominated the finish to leave a savoury oak aftertaste. 14.5% alc. $20. 22Aug2004.

Esk Valley Black Label Hawkes Bay Chenin Blanc 2004 (sc) Fragrant and full of juicy fruit, there's a fruit salad in this wine with lashings of passionfruit to top it off. Good palate weight with lemony lees contact flavours adding texture and complexity, and a long rich finish. Impressive wine. Off dry. An alternative summery style. 13.5% alc. 4.7g/L rs.7.88g/L TA. $19.95. 15Sep2004.

Escarpment Chardonnay / Pinot Blanc 2004 (c) Light gold coloured. Citrussy aromas and citrus and sweet apple flavours with white peach, a hint of pineapple and a touch of custard in the background. A smooth-textured wine with an earthy, savoury finish and lots of mealy, smoky overtones, then the fruit emerges again to linger on the juicy aftertaste. 13% alc. $29. 5Nov2005.

Francis-Cole Bianco Edition 1 (sc) Quite fragrant, floral, aromatic, soapy smelling. Soft acids in the reasonably weighty palate with a lightly oily texture, apricot and tropical fruit, musk and asian spices building to a full, rich, spicy finish. Little influence of oak. A refreshing yet fulfilling wine, good without food, good with lightly spiced foods. There is no clue to the blend on the bottle so you have to go by what the producer grows in his vineyard. However there's a decent dollop of Gewurztraminer in here, I suspect. 13.5% alc. $23. 24May2005.

Grove Mill 'The Diversion' Marlborough Pinot Gris / Pinot Blanc 2004 (sc) Pale lemon with a lustrous hue. A delicate, lightly floral perfume with apple blossom, pears and a spicy mealiness to the scent. Delicate pear and spiced apple flavours float across the lightly creamy, oily textured palate. A bright lemon bread flavour comes through to linger on the lifted spicy finish with a hint of apricot and there's a suggestion of fennel pollen (spice of the angels), as it lingers. A dry wine of texture and form with the body, balance and length of a chardonnay, though overall far more neutral. 13.5% alc. $22. 12Apr2005.

Huntaway Reserve Gisborne Viognier 2004 (sc) Fragrant and floral with lemon blossom scents yet also yeasty and a little sugary smelling. In the palate it is not as clean and delicate as a French one would be with its earthy, yeasty backbone but it has heaps of flavour with a full body, spicy vanillin oak and delicate stonefruit while the finish is rich, fragrant and a little reminiscent of barrel-fermented Chardonnay. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 2Jun2006.

Odyssey Reserve Iliad Gisborne Viognier 2004 Aromatically scented with a lime blossom fragrance, floral, spicy and lifted in palate with unobtrusive vanillin oak, fragrant and elegant, lusciously rich and creamy with a long full, slightly caramel/honeyed oak finish. Lingering sweet stonefruits and a musky aftertaste with a slightly spritzy salty/savoury factor that I think is one of the intrinsic qualities of Viognier. 13.5% $26.95. 4Nov2004.

Passage Rock Waiheke Island Viognier 2004 (sc) Soft, creamy, a little earthy and biscuity to the nose, delicate notes of tropical fruit with a full rich creamy finish and a sweet nuttiness and spiciness to the aftertaste. Great length with a full-bodied nutty richness to the aftertaste. 14.5% $30. 22Aug2004.

Schubert Tribianco 2004 (cork) Deep old gold. Very fragrant and richly flavoured, full-bodied yet delicate as it has no intrusion of oak, rather apricot and honey that infers sweetness, yet it finishes dry. The barrel fermentation in old oak adds richness and complexity without the oak flavour. A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Muller Thurgau made from Wairarapa fruit, and much enjoyed by all the troops. 14% alc. $23. 2Jun2006.

Spencer Hill Coastal Ridge Nelson Viognier 2004 Showing some spritzness in the glass this aromatic wine has an earthy, honeyed aroma together with apricot and pollen. Rich and vibrant in the mouth with a light oily texture and a nutty finish, it is laced with spicy acidity in the form of lemon zest and apricot. Clean and fresh with juicy fruit all the way through, rich, creamy apricot comes through on the lingering finish. 13.5% alc. $26.95. 5Nov2005.

Te Mata Woodthorpe Hawkes Bay Viognier 2004 Barrel-fermented in seasoned oak with 8 months on yeast lees, this is perfumed yet delicate in its aroma and delicate in its flavour too. Subtle stonefruits on a mealy backbone with savoury oak and lifted, spicy acidity on the finish and a long, savoury, stonefruit aftertaste with a perfumed sweetness. 14.5% alc. $25. 12Apr2005.
Fragrant, honeysuckle aromas with a hint of vanilla, and toasty flavours with an earthiness to the apricot and tropical fruits. Creamy textured with a full-bodied palate with good acidity on the finish and a musky floral note to the spicy aftertaste. Rich, bready and textural. Lots of acidity. 14.5% alc. $29. 10Oct2005.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels (New Wave/First Edition) Hawkes Bay Viognier 2004 (sc) Tasted from a pre-bottling sample, this wine has been partially fermented in old oak. Light gold in colour, it's closed on the nose but is immediately mouthfilling with a saltiness (savouriness) coming through on the palate together with yellow stonefruit character to build up to a long, spicy sweet fruited finish. 14.5% alc. Probably $34.95. 22Aug2004.
A beautifully fragrant perfume of apricot, citrus blossom and pineapple sage sets the expectations high. A richer, more full-bodied style (than the Odyssey) showing more oak and yeast lees characters on the front of the palate but only fleetingly until the delicious stonefruit and juicy tangelo flavours take over with abundance to finish with a hint of apricot and a touch of musk. It's a dry wine that opens up beautifully in the glass, building the essence to linger. Very enclosed by upfront yeastiness but evolves so incredibly in the palate, building to a deliciously fruity and fragrant finish. 14.5% alc. 4Nov2004.
A nutty floral bouquet leads into a full-bodied, sightly oily textured mouthful that is chock full of tropical fruit with lemon and apple carrying the acidity. Quite hot with a spicy lifted finish, musky apricot and stonefruit come though on the aftertaste. Very long, very aromatic, it opens up just beautifully in the glass and you wish there was more. 14.5% alc. $28.95. 17Nov2004.

TW Gold Label Gisborne Viognier 2004 (sc) Aromatic to the nose with fragrant honeysuckle flowers and stonefruit, there's a warm, slightly mealy, nutty, bright flavour to the taste with lemon bread and delicate stonefruits leading to a long spicy, full-bodied finish that has a salty tang. Selected from the three best barrels, the oak is well integrated to the point you wouldn’t even know it was there – it adds textural richness and power. 13.5% $27.95. 22Aug2004.

TW Estate Gisborne Viognier 2004 (sc) The second tier of TW's two Viogniers, this is the one with the white label. Quite yeasty on the nose with melon and creamy notes at first, more fruit was forthcoming when I came back to the wine. Bright and zesty in the palate with a buttery (butterscotch) nutty richness through and a creamy, spicy, gingery note to the smooth textured finish. 13.5%. $19.95. 22Aug2004.

Vidal Hawke's Bay Viognier 2004 (sc) Fragrant, lightly floral, with a nuance of herb and the slightest suggestion of toastiness, this soft wine is fresh and ripe with a slightly oily texture, a hint of black jelly bean (anise), delicate apricot-like fruit, hints of oak and a mealy richness to the long, creamy finish. Beautifully balanced with lovely mouthfeel. 13.5% alc. $36.95. 10Aug2005.
Very pale straw coloured, it looks like a new vintage wine. On the nose it's ever so slightly reductive, which is shown by the smoky, flinty and slightly cheesy (soft cheese) aroma. The smoky character carries through to the soft, full-bodied, rounded palate, which is floral, and clean with apricot, honeysuckle and delicate spices that persist on the weighty, full, dry finish. The acids are soft and nutty notes linger with floral overtones. 13.5% alc. $36.99. 13Dec2006.

2003 Vintage [top] [index]

Coopers Creek Gisborne Viognier 2003 Pale lemon and delicately fragrant with nutty, yeasty, musky, honeysuckle scents and loquat, lemon, apricot and sweet blossomy winey flavours. Starts delicately but builds in breadth and flavour to a powerful finish. Drink young - made for the summer of 2003. First crop grapes off a vineayrd in Back Ormond Road. Screwcap. $19. 3July2003.

Greenhough Nelson Pinot Blanc 2003 This is the first time the pinot blanc has not been blended into something else. Neutral fruit characters but lovely texture, subtle barrel-ferment adds charm without overpowering. Very delicate fruit, think gentle melon and stonefruit, fruit esters too and a honey spice finish. Wouldn’t want to identify the variety. Could be chardonnay but with much more acidity on the finish. 11Nov2003.

Karikari Estate White Cloud 2003 A blend of similar proportions of Chardonnay, Semillon and Viognier, this light gold coloured, smoky, cedary white has obvious chardonnay but the other grapes add brightness and difference. Interesting aromas - a little honeyed, leesy with tropical fruit and smoke, in the palate it is fat and mealy with a soft influence of American oak adding a toasty richness. The finish is sweet-fruited and bready and the aftertaste is long and full with just a touch of salinity and good acidity will cut through creamy sauces. 13.8% alc. $25. 21Sep2004.

Millton Gisborne Viognier 2003 Fermented in 600-litre 'demi-muids' barrels, the seasoned oak adds a warm textural feel to this slightly salty wine that has delicate apricot and stonefruit flavour with a slightly vanillin finish. James Millton promotes the wine with Pacific Rim food, especially nori and rice. 13% alc. $22. 22Aug2004.

Passage Rock Waiheke Island Viognier 2003 Delicate yet fragrantly scented, very perfumed to the palate, apricots, citrus blossom, a touch of zesty spices, still some yeasty characters and a lemony finish. Lovely oily texture, very smooth. Impressive, something you should experience if you can – it will be hard to find. Just 1 barrel made. 13.5% alc. $35. 26Sep2003.

Sileni Estate Selection Semillon 2003 (screwcap) Pale gold. A fruity smelling wine with fruit salad, stonefruit, some subtle barrel leesy influences and a touch of grapefruit. It's bright and refreshing with a smooth soft palate and a long warm fruity finish. 20% saw fermented in oak and 30% underwent malo. A user-friendly style that sits somewhere between Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. 12.5% alc. $24.95. 19Nov2003.

Te Mata Woodthorpe Viognier 2003 Light gold, bright in colour. Leesy with a faint oak influence on the stonefruit-rich nose. Bright fruit upfront, a subtle barrel ferment influence draws the wine into a softly acidic, slightly smoky fruit salad of peach, apricot, pear and pineapple, it's quite textural and very appealing with stonefruits flavours winning on the day. The warm fruity finish, where sweet orange emerges, lasts for ages. Te Mata consider this an aromatic variety and it tastes as such although it didn’t appear so at first on the nose, it opened up later. Barrel fermented. Yeast lees aged. 13% alc. $33. 24Feb2004.

TW Gold Label Gisborne Viognier 2003 Lemon and honey on the nose, it's freshly aromatic on the nose with apricot scents developing. It's fresh and vibrant with good mouthfeel, a quite lush and slightly viscous palate with spicy tropical fruit and a talcy, earthy, slightly smoky, tangy (salty) finish. 13.5% alc. 1.5gms rs. 60 cases made. 26Aug2003.
A lightly earthy character to the nose, there's tropical fruit sweetness on a full-bodied vibrantly luscious palate with a touch of saltiness on the finish. Plenty of power, plenty of appeal, it can’t be confused with anything else. 13.5% $27.95. 22Aug2004.

2002 Vintage [top] [index]

Alpha Domus AD Hawkes Bay Semillon 2002 Pale gold, good aromatics with vanillin oak, summer hay and a bready yeast lees influence, this wine is somewhat like oak aged Sauvignon Blanc with heaps of lees contact and a creamy texture but does have the green pungency of Sauvignon. Good lemon acidity, spicy oak, apricot and citrus and and ever so slightly buttery finish. Not a wine to drink on its own but to accompany food. It's going to develop well in the bottle. 14% 12Feb2004.
Floral with cedary overtones, it is just starting to show fusel notes to the nose making it a little reminiscent of Aussie Semillon. Toasty in the palate with a grainy lemony backbone and long rich flavours of stonefruits and mealy flavours that come from the wild yeasts, honeyed oak lingers on the finish with just a hint of anise. An excellent example of the style, it is definitely a food wine. 14% alc. $29.95. 1Sep2004.

Ascension Matakana Viognier 2002 ($24.95) Spicy and lush with an exotic perfume that hints of flowers, pear, citrus and apricot. The taste is full, creamy and slightly nutty with the lift of lemon and the richness of stonefruit, finishing dry but with lingering sweet fruit, ginger spice and just a hint of toastiness. $25. 12Nov2002.

Collards Rothesay Viognier 2002 (Auckland) Good palate weight. Aromatic, lifted and floral with apricot and nut scents. Perhaps a little hard on the finish but I liked the lifted vibrancy in this wine. 18Aug2002. TBR Sept '02.

Gibbston Valley Pinot Blanc 2002 Light gold in colour with a pretty 'wow' aroma, it smells rich and yummy with its bready, caramel aromas. Full-bodied, rich and mealy with spicy oak, honey, stonefruit, melon and pear. A lovely wine with lovely balance, soft acidity and lifted spices on the finish. Chardonnay drinkers will love this. Cellar door only. 14.5% 18.5/20. 7Dec2003.

Herzog Marlborough Viognier 2002 A barrel-ferment style, the mealy oaky flavours are quite dominant on both the nose and in the mouth. There's citrus and apricots in the palate with lots of mellow French oak barrel influence and a touch of honey on the finish. It's a rich full-bodied wine with the most gorgeous texture and mouthfeel, but really needs food. People rave about this wine but for a Viognier it is, for me, a little too Chardonnay-like. 14% alcohol. 21Aug2003.

Kerner Estate Marlborough Pinot Blanc 2002 Pale straw. Interesting bouquet – slightly spicy with old oak, grape skins and an oily scent but overall quite neutral. What the bouquet lacks is made up for in the palate with good textural richness and soft yeasty flavours. It is slightly citrussy with a smoky nuance, tropical fruit and a spicy zestiness to the creamed nut finish that has plenty of alcoholic warmth and lingering flavours of nectarine. Long and smooth. I don't really know too much about Pinot Blanc but this reminds me of Pinot Gris in a way, perhaps with more acidity. 14.5% alc. 1Jun2004.

Margrain Late Harvest Martinborough Chenin Blanc 2002 Slightly perfumed with a canned fruit aroma when chilled, sweet and honeyed in the palate with hints of caramel, it becomes much fruitier as it warms up. A medium to full-bodied wine with a slightly grainy texture, it's quite sweet but with a core of acidity that brings it into balance, and a pungent, slightly hot peppery finish. While I liked it chilled, I preferred this wine this following day served at room temperature when it showed lovely baked apple and honey flavours and a long persistent finish lifted by bright green apple laced with pollen. I'd love to try it again in about 5 years time, I think it will develop into something pretty special. 14% alc. 7Dec2003.

Matakana Estate Semillon 2002 Full-bodied wine with a musky lemon perfume, warm lemon bread flavours, a hint of butterscotch and a touch of spicy oak. Contrasting grassy herbaceous flavours leave the mouth feeling zingy and refreshed. I rate it as the best New Zealand semillon (made in a dry to off-dry style) that I have ever tasted. $22. 24Jan2003.

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2002 - Gisborne Pale gold with greenish hints. Very shy on the nose at first with lemon and a slight suggestion of oiliness (as in handcream) then honey, apple, pear and apricot emerging as the wine opens up. A 'non-aromatic wine' that is textural and nutty with dried apricot and apples baked with honey, it's oily, smooth and slightly hot as it flows across the palate. The stonefruit really comes forth on the finish, which is lifted with sweet tangerine and honey and lingers with the flavours of baked apples. Great mouthfeel, excellent length and a terrific example of NZ Chenin Blanc. Certified organic. 14.5% alc. 17Sep2003.

Millton Tjeitjen 'Growers Series' Gisborne Viognier 2002 Grapefruit and yeast lees aroma. In the mouth it's rich and toasty with refreshing citrus flavours but there's a steeliness too. The texture is quite oily and this character is more noticeable on the finish. While it seems not classically varietal, as in I couldn't detect apricot at all, it is still a deliciously refreshing drink. 18Aug2002.
Pale gold with lemon hues, this is ever so slightly toasty on the nose. It's a salty tangy wine, slightly sherbety, slightly citrussy yet rich, full-bodied, creamy and mealy in the mouth like a chardonnay but the finish is crisp and tangy. The citrus is predominantly mandarins. Fermented in old oak, 14.5% alc. Jul2003.
Lemon gold, aromatic, slightly flinty with lime leaf, honey, apricot and white pepper on the nose, it's dry, rich and textural with a creamy palate, subtle stonefruit flavours and a slightly salty lemony note to the finish. A touch of oak adds complexity. It's very good. Try it with sushi. Not grown by Millton, therefore not certified organic. 14.5% alc. 17Sep2003.

Te Mata Woodthorpe Viognier 2002 Rich and warm with a lovely full body scents of apricot and subtle musk, dry, nutty and spicy in the palate with a lovely silky texture and lingering delicate apricot flavours with a musky richness. A wine with lovely vinosity, it's more about texture than flavour and evolves nicely in the glass. 14.5% alc. 30Oct2003.

TW Gisborne Viognier 2002 Great aromatics then in the mouth fantastic flavours and texture. It's oily with nut, peach and apricot of excellent ripeness and finishes off-dry. Just 60 cases made. If you see it, buy it. $33. 18Aug2002.

Villa Maria 'East Coast' Muller Thurgau 2002 A lime citrus and floral bouquet but it is more like mandarin citrus in the mouth. This is a medium sweet with a touch of ginger spice. It seems a bit phenolic and bubblegum-like up front but I like the pretty finish. It is lifted and lingers with some pear and floral notes and a touch of musk too. It you are in the mood for something a little sweet and don't want to spend too much money, this might be the answer. It you want a cheap wine to cellar, try this - it will become like honey nectar with age. 25Jul2002. ~$7.

Waipara Hills Canterbury Pinot Blanc 2002 Fragrant, floral, lemony, musky and minty on the nose, there's lots of lemon acidity in the palate, musk and smoke and a fruit salad finish. There's a touch of barrel complexity in here. A refreshing aperitif that leaves you guessing as to what you could be drinking. It's a bit like gewurztraminer with its musky and spice but the fresh fruity, lemon finish reminds me of riesling. A wine that will be great for the summer. 24Jul2003.

2001 Vintage [top] [index]

Grove Mill Roussanne 2001 Winemaker's Reserve Trial wine - the the trial is to look at fruit quality from the 5 year-old vines, not winemaking manipulation. Honeysuckle aromas with hints of apricot stone. A very dry wines with good acidity, sweet citrus & limes, just ripe apricot honeysuckle, lemon drops and talc mineral. Very lifted and refreshing. Has fantastic long term potential. Incredible length with hints of tangerine peel. 2 days later. Lightly floral & lemon/apple scents. This bottle tastes slightly corked but the refreshing bright acid shows through. 31Oct2001

Margrain Chenin Blanc 2001 Lovely baked apple aromas carrying through to the palate. Excellent balance with good acidity balancing the residual sugar. Another little ripper Chenin from Margrain. 18Sep2001.
Wow, this wine is really developing nicely. Now it's quite toasty and spicy with apricot, apple and honey flavours. It is really well balanced and mouthfilling with a slightly viscous texture. Good! 11.5% alc, 20gms rs. 16Oct2002.

Millton Te Arai Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2001 Certified organic. Straw gold. An array of apple flavours from tart to very ripe. Hints of honey too, adds to the flavour and textural structure. Very acidic in its youth and tart as heck but filling out with apricot and apple pie flavours. 29Aug2002.

Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2001 Smoky, fume blanc style of sauvignon with good grassiness, soft acids, lemon juice, grapefruit, wild yeast, leesy mealy characters, a creamy texture and butterscotch nuances on finish. Hints of passionfruit emerge and linger. Oak-aged SB with a bit of classy barrel work. Very bright and warmly tasty. $23.95. 3Apr2002.
Love those lemon leesy aromas, that are quite mealy and interesting. Lots of grapefruit upfront then it fills out with ripe peach and nectarine flavours. There's a bit of an underlying peasy character as well, together with nice barrel complexities that come from the oak-aged semillon. 9Sep2002.

Schubert Tribianco 2001 A lovely flavoursome white, spicy with a rich palate, a touch of lanolin and a creamy texture. Rich, creamy, spicy and lifted with a lovely citrus backbone - a hint of oak adds complexity. A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Muller Thurgau. Do not serve chilled. 13Oct2003.

Te Mata Estate Woodthorpe Viognier 2001 Pale gold in colour, the fragrant lemon zest aromas together with orange blossoms hint of the zesty spice I get in the mouth on that first sip. However this aromatic wine is full-bodied with the warmth of subtle and mealy lees characters plus apricot richness and a hint of pineapple too. It is lovely drinking now but will gain a little more complexity with about 10-12 months cellaring. 14.0% alcohol. ~NZ$25. 26Mar2002.
A pale coloured sweetly scented wine with hints of apricot and musk. Quite a yeasty bready dominance at first then lots of apricot and floral notes and a ripe fruit finish. Reminds me of tree fallen Whangamata apricots, the ripe fruit of a seaside summer. A dry wine with stonefruits, musk and lanolin, it seems be quite delicate in letting that yeasty winemaking character show through. But the finish is ripe, lush and more-ish - a very positive feature of this wine. Good, interesting and drinkable. An excellent match with oily salmon fillets and sweet fresh scallops. 23Jan2003.
Apricots and musk on the nose with a spicy, mealy nuance and spice in the palate. Smooth, mellow, creamy textured and citrussy with gorgeous dried apricot flavours lingering and afterwards a suggestion of candied grapefruit peel on the nutty finish. Drinking very well now. 14% alc. 10Oct2005.

Te Whare Ra Semillon 2001 (in screwcap). Hints of apricot on the nose. Spicy and perfumed in the palate with a touch of bitter grapefruit at first. But a nice fruit finish that fills out well on the palate with spiced pear and apricot lingering. Concentrated fruit at the end. No oak. No herbaceousness. $16. 17Oct2001.

Woollaston Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon 2001 30% semillon component. Soft, with some gooseberry and some flesh. Grassy, with pleasing palate weight and texture. 16Aug2001

2000 Vintage [top] [index]

Alpha Domus AD Semillon 2000 Ripe and toasty vanillin scents. Lovely ripe strawberry and apricot flavours with lifted acidity and a creamy texture. Very good balance and flavour enhanced by beautiful oak and a lingering broad toasty finish. Very nice. Has spent 10 months in French oak, of which 50% was new. 24Sep2001.
This wine is starting to come into its own as is developing some of those classic semillon characters. It has the scent of summer meadows with lemon/limey hints on the nose. White flowers, leesy sweetness, tropical and stone fruits. Richly textured. A great food wine. Oysters would be perfect. 23Sep2002.

Main Divide Semillon /Sauv Blanc 2000 A blend of Canterbury and Marlborough fruit. Aromatic, perfumed, bright citrus, slightly sweet, a little musk, a little honey, Subtle barrel complexities and hints of developing asparagus. Very pleasant flavoursome starter. $14.95 17/20 23 May 2001

Margrain Chenin Blanc 2000 (Martinborough). Pale coloured and gently aromatic with scents of apples and ginger spice. Sweet and lemony with crisp ripe apples, apple shortcake, hints of nuts, faint clove spices, a touch of white pepper, sweet juicy lemons, nectarines and a dry, toasty, almost toffee apple-like finish. Sweet glycerol coats the mouth yet the zingy acids ensure the taste is clean and fresh with a tinge of white honey. Nov 2000

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2000 (Gisborne). A barrel ferment wine with spicy oak quite dominant at first, then apples emerge on the rich finish. 18Sep2001.

Montana Gisborne Semillon 2000 ($13.95) is a good mouthful of a wine with melon and pear fruit, a butterscotch complexity, grassy acidity and a long aftertaste. 18/20 Aug 2000

Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2000 Straw-gold colour. Plenty of attraction in the fumé, smoky and grapefruit-skin aromas then in the mouth it's a lively, flavoursome wine with upfront passionfruit, pineapple and apricot, a suggestion of straw and a warm toasty leesy influence, a subtle hint of musk. A herbal note creeps in on the finish where the flesh of ripe sugared-frosted grapefruit lingers alongside it. 70% tank-fermented, lees-aged sauvignon blanc and 30% barrel-fermented semillon.

Rippon Osteiner 2000 A soft honey of a wine with a flavour reminiscent of poached pears in syrup. There's a touch of spiced citrus on the nose, a lovely round palate and a balance of flavours. This wine has been fermented dry. $16. 24Sep2001.

Rippon Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2000 A blend of 74% sauvignon blanc and 26% semillon. 40% of the sauvignon went into older oak. Semillon-dominant aromas with mellow honey and stonefruit aromas. Toasty, poached peach and a nice fruit balance without too many herbaceous characters. Toasted honey, peach and hay on the full-bodied rich finish. Peach and pineapple flavours linger. An interesting wine. Very nice. $22. 24Sep2001.

Trinity Hill Mistral Roussanne Viognier 2000 Softly aromatic with a blossomy fragrance, oily texture and nutty flavours, a touch of older oak that adds structure and complexity and a full-bodied and long lemony finish with sweet fruit that lingers on the dry finish. 30Mar2002. $18.95 ex winery
Pale gold coloured with the delicate fragrance of loquat blossoms over lemon and subtle vanillin oak. Full-bodied and dry, slightly oily in texture and mealy in flavour with flowers and summer meadows, lemon and apricot, a hint of coconut and a touch of lanolin. The lingering lemony finish with that 'sucking on an apricot kernel' dryness fills out with blossoms again. 25May2002.

1999 Vintage [top] [index]

Alpha Domus Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc 1999 65% Sem / 35% SB and 25% barrel-fermented. Aromatic on the nose with some lifted oak on top of citrus and stonefruits. In the palate there is broad ripe fruit reminiscent of poached peach, apricot and nectarine. A very ripe style with no hints of herbaceousness. 24Sep2001.

Rippon Central Otago Osteiner 1999 First tasted at the Negociants Winemakers Tour, it was just so clean and refreshing after all the weighty chardonnays. Tried again at the winery it revealed an attractive aroma and a citrus and nashi pear-like flavour. Perhaps similar to some Pinot Gris wines that I've tried, but with more acidity and lighter body. 10.5% alc. About $17.00. 31Oct1999.

Te Mata Woodthorpe Terraces Viognier 1999 This is the third vintage of Viognier from Te Mata, but the first to be made in enough quantity to be offered for sale. It has a fairly intense colour influenced by the use of oak. It is a very delicate, floral aroma, slightly nutty with peachy notes and a touch of smoke. Later the aroma is more pronounced. There is an oily character in the palate. The acid is low and the texture is smooth and creamy. This is a well-balanced, very nice, subtle wine with a soft, delicate flavour. After some freshly baked salmon on cucumber, there was more pronouncement of flavour on the nose and in the palate, where melons come forth and acidity seems more pronounced. It has a sweet ripe finish and an excellent food wine. 7Mar2000.

1998 Vintage [top] [index]

Collards Chenin Blanc 1998 Crisp fresh zingy acidity, tropical fruit flavours, good balance of the acid to ripe fruit with nuances of honey and a flavoursome aftertaste. $9.95. WOTW 26Mar2000.

Esk Valley Chenin Blanc 1998 (Hawkes Bay). Faint aromas of honey. Lees flavours with straw, apricot and apples emerging. Fattish wine. Could develop well but do not like the overpowering lanolin at the moment. Wood aged. 15.5/20 Tasted 30/10/2000
Gold and bright. Developing well. Honey, a little toasty, plenty of apple and lanolin with sweet toasty almost creamy texture. Little hints of apricots linger. Long and rich. Lovely balance with a balanced acid lift. Very good. Drinking well now. 17.5 25July2001.

Older Vintages [top] [index]

Te Mata Woodthorpe Viognier 1997 Unlabelled. Mellow smelling, floral, a bit like aged Semillon with that lemongrass meadow-flower character, then in the palate there's a soft woody character over honeyed white currants with good acidity that leaves a fresh citrus zest character to the fruity finish with the lemongrass emerging again to linger on the finish. An interesting wine, still drinkable and showing complexity with age. 13% alc. 10Oct2005.

[2005 and younger] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999] [1998] [older] [index]

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

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