This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2005

UK Wine Forum - New Zealand
Notes from participants in the UK Forum are added in chronological order.

whites - reds


09/03 Quartz Reef Alto Ridge Sauvignon 2000
This goes down for me as the most Loire like sauvignon outside of the Loire I've tasted. Yes, an extra degree of power and development for a young wine, but spot on reserved sauvignon flavours of gently grassy/nettly gooseberry and blackcurrant leaf. A hint of honey too. Good acid, but not intensely so. Drink now, and a good one too. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

07/03 2002 Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Clear bright pale silvery lemon. Clean youthful nose of pronounced intensity, dominant characters are gooseberry, cut grass and wet pebble. Very fresh on the palate, starts slightly off dry, high acidity, good fruit intensity specifically gooseberry and asparagus. Finishes dry. Classic Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, if that's what pulls your chain. (Phil Shorten, UK)

07/03 2002 Isabel Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Clear pale silivery lemon, greenish tinges. Clean youthful nose, relatively closed, touches of green pea, capsicum and lime rind. Dry, elegant palate, slightly creamy (Isabel normally include 10%-15% of wine that has been barrel fermented in the final blend), but where's the fruit - this is restrained to the point that it lacks any fruit intensity. I was a fan of the 2000 and 2001 Isabel Sauvignons, but this bottling was extremely disappointing. (Phil Shorten, UK)

07/03 2002 Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough)
Clear pale silvery lemon/lime in colour. Clean youthful mineral laden nose - very Sancerre like, touches of elderflower. Dry, light-medium bodied, slightly herbal palate, hints of lime, nice minerality. Good finish. Very good indeed. (Phil Shorten, UK)

07/03 2002 Kumeu River Pinot Gris (Auckland)
Clear pale silvery yellow. Clean nose of ripe peach, Nashi pear and guava. Dry, medium bodied rich palate of pear, white peach, touches of spice on the finish. Very good, medium weight Pinot Gris. (Phil Shorten, UK)

07/03 2000 Martinborough Chardonnay (Martinborough)
bottled in screw cap. Clear bright medium yellow verging on gold. Clean developed nose of beeswax/honeycomb, caramel, vanilla and oak, oak, oak. On the palate, medium bodied, quite elegant, but charry oak and vanilla dominate. Not my style of Chardonnay - the Kumeu River bottlings would hit this one for six. (Phil Shorten, UK)

06/03 Jackson Estate (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Mrs. Fincham thought it was "class", I thought it was rubbish, especially at £8.99 from Tesco. 13%abv (Daron Fincham, UK)

05/03 Isabel Estate 2001 Sauvignon Blanc 12,5%
Does it get any better ? Initial sample I tried 3 months ago was a bit young and clumsy, but now everything is singing. It's got that lovely minerally, gooseberry nose and in the mouth it's the perfect New Zealand Sauvignon. Good long finish, this is the standard by which all other New Zealand Sauvignons should be judged. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

04/03 Sauvignon Blanc, Neudorf 2001
Served with cold cucumber and mint soup (delicious) then terrine of salmon (good). I've had other vintages of this wine and enjoyed them; and this was enjoyable too. The nose was unmistakable NZ tropical fruits with a strong hint of gooseberry, a lively and ripe fresh attack and mouthfeel and a good, ripe finish. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

03/04 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2000
Straw to gold in colour. A grassy citrus nose with undertones of vanilla. On the palate lovely dry creamy oak with a hint of citrus. Full bodied well balanced with good finish. A very good wine. (Jason Forman, UK)

02/03 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2002
What an outstanding Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc this is and in Stelvin to boot! An almost watery straw with a stunning aromatic nose showing freshly picked ripe goos-gog, passionfruit & grassy herby undertones. Follows through with great gusto with layers of gooseberry, blackcurrant, bell pepper, lemon, a touch of spice and just so beautifully balanced. Finishes crisp & bright with great acidity, some mineral and outstanding length. A class act & benchmark stuff although not in the bargain basement at nine quid. 13%abv. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

02/03 2000 Waipara Riesling
Very limey nose with hints of petrol. Very fresh and distinctly limey on palate. Quite zingy & refreshing. Good acid - quite tingly on finish and after. Very good length. A rather good food wine, which went very well with the 'fusion' food at Providores (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

02/03 Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2002, Marlborough
Green almost watery colour, but the nose was anything but. The nose lacked subtlety but subtlety is clearly not what the maker was aiming for. Mangoes, gooseberry on the nose, prickle of sparkle on the palate, perhaps lacking the mouth-searing acidity to give greater structure. Ripe and decent finish. Hugely juicy and more-ish, if a little one-dimensional. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

01/03 Lawson Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Typical nose of gooseberry/grass, quite intense. Half way to Sancerre in flavour though: some flint/mineral and hint of oaking as well as the gooseberry flavours. Slightly disjointed sharp acidity spoils it slightly. G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

12/02 1991 Jackson Estate SB 2002 in screwcap
I was hoping this thread might be also titled A.K.A Screw you Cloudy Bay, but unfortunately not. Sure, it's a better wine than the 2001 SB, that is much more on form SB flavour profile (gentle gooseberry with a hint of nettle), similar flavoured palate with better integrated (softer) acid - but overall it seems to lack concentration - the finish is quite persistant though. I haven't had the Jackson since around the '96/7 vintage when abouts I thought the quality started to drop off; unfortunately I think it's stayed off. Still, it's a well put together wine - and it's persistance is classy. A very good wine, but not outstanding. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

12/02 1991 2001 Brancott "Reserve" Sauvignon Blanc
More aromas than one should describe in a single TN, with pungent herbs, grapefruit, and exotic notes of anise and passion fruit amongst the melange here. For the price this is a great QPR wine and significantly better than the regular Brancott SB. Ample layers of citrus fruit with lime and grapefruit and an herbal tang that all provide freshness to the fruit's intensity. (Roy Hersh, USA)

12/02 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2001
A slightly sweet citrus nose veering towards pineapple. The simple palate much the same but some disjointed acid finishes off the poor overall impression. Closer to a third rate Oz riesling that a Kiwi SB, would still be overpriced at half the current retail (£12 Tesco) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

11/02 Lawson's Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2002 Marlborough NZ. 13%
Very pale, slightly greenish straw. Big fresh herbaceous SB nose - mango & I do actually detected the cat's pee. Very fresh attack. V clean crisp fruit which fills into an acid herbaceousness. Nice body. Good structure. Finishes v well with notable length. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

11/02 Felton Road, Dry Riesling 2001 – 10%
A very light yellow with a fairly closed nose, some grass. It tasted ok but seemed to lack any stuffing. 80/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

10/02 Fromm La Strada Chardonnay 1999, New Zealand
Slighty burnt buttery shortbread nose, smooth peachy and buttery in the mouth, well balanced oak, long mouth cleansing finish. An excellent chardonnay, almost burgundish and not over done IMO. Excellant, no rush up to 2 years. (Russ Sainty, UK)

10/02 2001 Sauvignon Blanc, LeGrys, Marlborough, NZ £7.95
Pale lemony colour. Big nose - v. heavy gooseberry scent. Attractive attack. Fills nicely. Lots of fruit. Nice and elegant. Good. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

09/02 Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc 2000
This seemed quite elegant, and perhaps it was losing its fruity impact. Still quite attractive though, but didn't really match the white onion soup. Good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

09/02 Montana Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Vineyard Selection 2001
I don't know why, but I expected more tropical fruit! This was a delicious wine (not sure about VFM), quite understated and elegant rather than the almost too strong-flavoured NZ Sauvs. Seemed to strike a good balance of ripeness and acidity. Very pleasant, though more of a glugger than an intellectual challenge. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

08/02 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 1998
Subdued bouquet, classic SB character has softened leaving a reasonable complex almost riesling like wine with a long finish. Unlike the later vintages I could drink this without food. Very good. (Charles Adams, UK)

08/02 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 1999
More grassey, firey, in your face with green vegetables (mange tout), really quite harsh burning finish. OK (Charles Adams, UK)

08/02 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2000
More bouquet, aspharagus, more concentrated and lemony than the '98, hot finish. Classic NZ SB! Good (Charles Adams, UK)

08/02 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2001
Similar bouquet to 2000, this really hits you and makes your eyes water, the combination of high alcohol and high acidity makes it hard going, would be interesting to see if this goes the same way as the '98. Good. Retasting, the '98 does not come across quite so well after the knockout punch of the '00 and '01. (Charles Adams, UK)

08/02 Isabel Estate Riesling 2001
Sweet on the nose, more like a sauvignon blanc than one should expect, closest to the '98 but with more sweetness and lime rather than grass, easier drinking than the Cloudy Bay. Good (Charles Adams, UK)

08/02 2000 Fromm, La Strada Riesling Auslese
Very pale yellow. Nose is sweet with granny smith apples and faint grapefruit. Palate is very sweet and reminiscent of a part fermented wine – actually only 7.5% alcohol. At this age the wine is still relatively simple, with apples and pears on the palate and very good acidity. When it's 30°C outside, this is incredibly more-ish. I liked this a lot. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 West Brook Riesling 2000, Marlborough
Good colour. Citrus nose, hint of apricot. Refreshing palate with tangy acidity and plenty of citrus/tropical fruit. Good length. Yum. Good plus; could improve. (David Pope, UK)

07/02 2001 Sauvignon Blanc, Lawsons Dry Hills, Marlborough
Pale green/straw colour with very pronounced herbaceous/grassy nose, leggy in glass. In the mouth this is just far too acidic, 2nd bottle tried, again too acidic by far, about the worst bottles of NZ SB I have tasted. Poor. (Dave Sansom , UK)

07/02 1999 Cloudy Bay Te Koko, Marlborough
The nose is archetypal NZ SB "cats pee on a gooseberry bush", in the mouth smooth, rich and concentrated gooseberry/boiled sweet flavours with a sort of sweetish acidity. Finishes roundly and smoothly but fades quickly, nice enough but certainly not worth the pennies. Nice. (Dave Sansom , UK)

06/02 Sauvignon Blanc, Grove Mill Waihai Estate 2000
Truly expressive and typical NZ Sauvignon and a highly enjoyable, tasty wine. Perhaps a little overpowering for the delicate food we had with it, but full of tropical fruit notes, good concentration and great ripeness and sweetness of length. Most enjoyable wine of the weekend. Very good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

03/02 Isabel Estate Pinot Gris 2001 Marlborough £10
Very pale colour with initially dumb nose which opens over 20 mins or so to encompass peaches and floral hints. The palate is very mouthfilling, oily and rich which enormous weight of fruit, with perhaps a little residual sweetness, although this may just be fruit. Finishes long with crisp acidity, gorgeous 17.5/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

03/02 Fairhall Downs Pinot Gris 2000 Marlborough £12
Again quite pale but with more lemony tinge to colour. Nose quite light and floral, which is followed onto palate. More elegant than the Isabel but much easier to drink in large quantities and with food. Has a waxy quality to the lemon led fruit, hides its 14% alcohol very well in the refreshing finish. Much better than my notes from a tasting 6 months ago 15/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

02/02 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Marlborough
Classic NZ SB nose with gooseberries and citrus fruit aromas. More gooseberries and lime flavours come through in the medium weight palate. Slight richness and crisp acidity on the finish. 14/20 (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 1991 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay
Gold colour. Slightly oxidised, vegetal nose, rich and buttery too(I know that's v. clicheed, but it was!) . Palate showing remarkably young with lemony acidity, and sweet apricot notes. Elegant, well integrated oak in midpalate, very good length. Very good. (Stephan Muller, UK)

02/02 1996 Cloudy Bay Sauvingon Blanc
Colour is still vibrant, limey green gold, nose still has a freshness about it but dominated by citrus/pineapple notes. Mouthfeel is rich, full and rounded, mineral notes, concentrated asparagus, beautiful creamy finish with nice acidity. I wonder how many NZ SB producers add that ?% of Semillon? (Dave Sansom, UK)

02/01 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 1994 Marlborough
Out of curiosity I've been holding back a bottle of each vintage from '94 - '99 just to see what happens to them. This is the first 'old' one I have tried and am so impressed I might even start buying Cloudy Bay again just to age them. A: Pale green/golden colour with bright flashes. N: A sort of aged Aussie Semillon on the nose also showing gooseberry, lemon and lime aromas. P: A light peppermint and yellow plums initially followed through by lychees, honey and cream with a raspberry jam sharpness. The finish is quite rich but balanced with a tight creamy acidity. S: I'm surprised by how well this has developed into a very well balanced and mellow wine having shed the typical youthful aggressiveness apparent in most NZ SBs. One of the few wines I've found capable of standing up to gravadlax. Drink now - 2004. (Paul Anderson, UK)

12/01 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2001
Light, green-tinged colour. Massively obvious Sauv.Blanc nose of gooseberry, grapefruit and some vanilla mingling in. Palate disappoints a little after the high toned, aggressive nose, but the finish is decently long, and the acidity lively enough if maybe a little coarse. Not really my favourite style of NZ SB. (Stephan Muller, UK)

12/01 Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc 2001
Lovely, forceful but much more subtle and elegant nose with some pineapple, white peach and floral aromas swirling around. Elegantly fruited, cool palate followed pretty smartly by a long, Bramley apple finish. Much more like it. V. good. (Stephan Muller, UK)

09/01 Gibbston Valley 'Reserve' Chardonnay 1999
Good fresh yellow/green tint. Good fragrant nose of sweet pears, melon, and traces of apple, quince and lime. The follow through is quite full-bodied given the 13.5% with a good hazelnut cream oak and reasonable acid. A well crafted wine that is definitely New World and from the southern most winemaking region, Otago, but for me it wasn't enough to separate it from many other New World Chards, very good never the less. Drink soon. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

06/01 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 1999
Very deep gold colour, and a polished, hot nose of oak and fruit. Very full bodied (14.5%). The oak and alcohol stand out far too much in the finish to make this a balanced wine, and there is only moderate length. OK if you like the style. Even if you do like the style you will not want to pay £16 for this, as there are numerous producers out there who do the same thing for half the price - eg Glen Carlou from South Africa, although their reserve cuvee is a tenner, it knocks this into a cocked hat. (Joel Hopwood, UK)

06/01 Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc 1997
this one had languished in my wine rack too long, I expected. Expectations fulfilled - colour going dangerously yellow, nose of mouldy nettles, palate still with some residual SB 'zip', but getting a bit flabby with a waxy mouthfeel more reminiscent of a Semillon. Only quite good, and going downhill fast. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

06/01 Montana Sauvignon Blanc 1998
quite nicely poised between nettley youth and more complex asparagus flavours. Good but drink up. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

06/01 Lawsons Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2000
Nose: gooseberry, baked pears and newly cut grass.Delightful. Palate: Classic fresh gooseberry and a touch of nettley spritz. Very refreshing. Very good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

04/01 Isabel Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Marlborough
I have to admit to being a tiny bit disappointed. It has an aromatic, herbaceous, gooseberry-laced nose, and the palate is slightly spritzy, with herby grapefruit notes and high acidity. The overall impression is of a wine that is intense and quite taut. Not as extreme and wild as some Marlborough Sauvignons, but still Very good+ (Fortnum & Masons £10) (Jamie Goode, UK)

Green gold colour with nose of tropical fruit. Smooth and concentrated creamy lime and pineapple in mouth,good acidity. Long smooth finish leaving lime marmalade flavours. This had been open for a week with just the cork to seal. Very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Pale gold colour with a grapfruit nose. Sherbet lemons in mouth, finishes a bit short and goes cardboardy. Fair. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Pale lime gold colour, rich and concentrated tropical fruit and nettles. Mouthfeel of sherbet and melon, apples, bananas and pineapple fruit with a nutty background, lively on the tongue. Finish is green,nutty and persistent. Very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Pale green gold colour with a sumptuous gooseberry, asparagus and green fruit nose. In the mouth a touch of capsicum and nettles, sweet green fruit and sherbet, a refreshing lime acidity. Finish is smooth, clean, long and lovely. Very very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

01/01 Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blance 2000
This wine has a small percentage of Semillon which has seen new oak. A very upfront gooseberry aroma, very fruity with highish acidity. Will improve - leave until summer. Very good. (Mark Robertson, UK)

12/00 Pelorus (Cloudy Bay) Sparkling Wine 1994
Quite strong yellow colour. Big bubbles to start, but after a little while in the glass they shrank and became quite fine. Rich, nutty, yeasty. Not very subtle, and not champagne, but really pretty good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

10/00 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 1999
Light golden straw with tinge of green. Full bore gooseberry and some grass notes, with a floral, almost honeyed tinge and some ripeness, though vegetal on another sniff - slightly curious. Apple/malic entry, doesn't really let up, okay but not great, bit rich, showing more fruit but still noticeable acid on finish. (Yixin Ong, UK)

08/00 Palliser Sauvignon Blanc 1999
Had to try this after all the good press on the forum even though I am not really a fan of Sauvignon blanc. Bouquet reminded me of Ame (elderflower?). Certainly a very good example of sauvignon blanc, and I can see the attractions of the odd glass on a hot summers day. (Charles, UK)

02/00 Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc 1998
£8.99 Oddbins. Nice pale golden colour. Nose was a whoosh of grapefruits and goosberries. The palate was extremely refreshing and full of ripe gooseberries and nettles before climaxing with a lingering grapefruit finish. Tried this about 12 months ago and it was still as delightful as back then. (Graham Simpson - UK)

02/00 Hunter's Miru Miru 1996 (Sparkling)
A: Mid gold.
N: Most strikingly, a strong yeasty note, almost unpleasant. Some fruit.
P: Good mousse, more subtle bready flavours. Acidity refreshing.
Overall: Different, enjoyable. (Chris Kissack - UK)

02/00 Millton Chenin Blanc 1998
Biodynamically produced wine from a 20 Ha estate established in 1981. This was barrel fermented in 600 litre barrels. Pale yellow/gold. Lfted, creamy nose with a touch of honey and a slight smokiness. On palate there is soft, smoky fruit with some fatness and spice from the oak. Creamy and toasty, this is a rich savoury wine with a lovely soft texture and good intensity. The firm acidity suggests that this wine may develop further. Well priced. (£7.99, Tesco) (Jamie Goode - UK)

02/00 Dry River Chardonnay 1997
I really didn’t get on with this one. An odd chemical character on the nose really had me struggling to drink it. It may have just been a unusual combination of oak, acid and alcohol but overall I didn’t get it. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

01/00 Villa Maria Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 1999
Astonishing, piercing flavours of pure gooseberry fruit, with a touch of herbaceousness.This is very much at the lean and zippy end of the Sauvignon blanc spectrum, with taut, firm acidity and structure. Fine example -- almost Loire-like. Very good. (Jamie Goode - UK)

01/00 Dashwood Sauvignon blanc 1999
This is the second label of Vavasour, made for early drinking, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is therefore not a worthy wine. It has an amazing nose of gooseberries and fresh-cut green peppers, with a slight herbaceousness and some tropical fruit thrown in. On the palate it is zingy and intense, with bright acidity. This is a tremendous effort, with good intensity and concentration at a very good price. Made from Wairau Valley and Awatare Valley grapes. Very good, but perhaps a little tart without food. (Oddbins £6.99) (Jamie Goode - UK)


03/04 2000 Rippon Pinot Noir (Central Otago)
The winery is near Lake Wanaka. Medium strawberry red, the nose showed some sous bois nuances and sweet red plum. The palate was ripe with red fruits and reminded some of us of mature Grenache from the Rhone. A very nice wine. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/03 Muddy Water Pinot Noir 2001
Medium colour. Indistinct nose. Dry palate with some tannin. More full bodied than the Firesteed but the fruit is less obvious. Short again. Dry, slightly tart finish. May improve. OK. (David Pope, UK)

03/03 Ata Rangi 2000 Pinot Noir
Good colour. Mushrooms, oak and red fruits on the nose. More full-bodied palate than most of the others here. Cherry, strawberry fruit, slightly savoury. Very good length. Still needs a bit more time. Good plus now, probably very good plus in time. (David Pope, UK)

03/03 Mount Edward 2001 Pinot Noir
Medium-scarlet colour. Attractive nose of cherries and strawberries. Palate rather tight, albeit with good length. Needs time. Probably good, perhaps better with time. (David Pope, UK)

03/03 Crossroads Reserve Pinot Noir 2000
A new name to me. Good colour. Lovely nose of red fruits and a hint of mushroom. Palate a bit closed but has far more than the three examples above. Some new oak, lovely fruit, elegant. Good length. Should improve. Very good. (David Pope, UK)

03/03 Felton Rd 2001 Pinot Noir
Deep colour for a Pinot Noir. Complex nose of raspberry, cherry and redcurrant and some new oak. Smooth, elegant palate with good length. Delicious fruit, some oak. Still a bit tight but should improve. Yum. Very good. (David Pope, UK)

08/03 2000 Isabel Estate Pinot Noir, Marlborough 13.5%
Medium-dark, clear. Quite reductive nose, smoky and slightly stinky. Jammy, almost sweet fruit, fading quite quickly. Mild acidity with soft-medium tannin, whose grip was only noticeable at the back palate. Good/Very Good (Ray Abercromby, UK)

07/03 Villa Maria 2001 Pinot Noir Reserve £15 (US$23)
The Boss told me that he had heard a lot of good things about this bottle. Medium cherry red, the nose was a tad smoky with new oak in plentiful supply. The taste was very sweet jammy red fruits, with a high level of acid, and that was it. This was not balanced at all initially, and did not carry its 15% alcohol very well. After an hour I retasted it and the acid was even more tart. I don't know if this wine will settle down and age well. To my taste, I could not drink more than a sip of this now. The blond enjoyed it but I did not. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 2001 Wither Hills Pinot Noir, Marlborough
Clear bright raspberry red. The nose is classical mature Burgundy - manure, forest floor and farmyard. On the palate, medium bodied, not fully developed, forest fruits, quite pronounced acidity and firm tannin, quite a big wine. Not really my style of Pinot as I like elegant sappy ones, but many liked this wine. (Phil Shorten, UK)

07/03 2001 Waipara Springs Reserve Pinot Noir, North Canterbury, Waipara
Clear bright raspberry red. Clean youthful spicy (cinnamon, cloves) nose, also showing ripe raspberry/summer fruits, reflected on the medium bodied palate. Nice wine, but best drunk in its youth as I don't think it has the structure to age well; lacking in both tannin and acidity. (Phil Shorten, UK)

07/03 2000 Mills Reef "Elspeth" Syrah, Hawke's Bay
Clear, deep crimson/cerise. Clean youthful nose of dark plum, blueberry, spice and hints of Northern Rhone game/meatiness. Dry, medium bodied, slightly rich palate showing intense dark cherry, blueberry and dark plum fruit, together with hints of oak spice, fine grained tannins. A very good example of what NZ is capable of doing with the Syrah grape. My favourite wine of the night.

07/03 2000 Matariki Quintology, Hawke's Bay - Gimblett Gravels
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Malbec. Clear bright deep (almost opaque) purpl/crimson. Clean youthful nose of vanilla, licorice, blackcurrent/blackberry and cherry liqueur. The bouquet is reflected on the dry medium bodied palate velevet/satin smooth palate, which slightly disappoints, particularly on the sour finish. Nice wine, but one can't help feeling that it could have been better.

03/03 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir '99
First bottle of the '99, no discernable difference from the excellent'98. Good cherry/plum colour,juicy ripe fruit,hint of sweetness without being at all confected.Very drinkable and satisfiying. (Don Reid, UK)

02/03 Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2001
Bright cherry with a good forward scented nose of bitter chocolate, maraschino cherry, raspberry, hung game & spicy complexity with a touch of VA poking through. Good, slightly rustic mouthfeel showing bright acidity, spicy oak, tight tannins & finishing with reasonable length. The 14% alcohol showed a little hot for me though. Certainly not a blockbuster but a reasonably judged bright wine although not worthy of the £16.99 price tag. Perhaps another year in the bottle would do it justice but at this showing I won't be back. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/03 Fairhall Downs Pinot Noir 2000 Marlborough
Oh dear, my troubles with Pinot continue. Deep colour but very dumb nose, even after airing for some time. Palate has a small amount of lean fruit followed by a hefty whack of acid and very firm almost astringent tannin. Not even roast beef could soften it. Lean, hard and very ungenerous, with a QPR so poor, I thought I'd picked up a Burgundy by mistake. As a final word, their obvious aspirations to quality as evidenced by the £17 price tag, are then made a mockery by the unforgivable use of an agglomerate cork. Very disappointing, 11/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

11/02 Felton Road, Pinot Noir 2001 – 13.5% - £18.50 (US$28)
This wine was made with older vine pinot fruit from a higher altitude vineyard than the next wine. A nice dark raspberry colour with a concentrated nose of red plums and raspberries. It tasted quite closed, not harsh in any way, a good use of oak supported this wine. As Nigel Greening said to me, it is critical to Pinot that it is not swamped in oak and that the level of use in Pinot wines was one of the most important decisions that he makes. A nice wine, needs a year to round out – 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Cornish Point, Pinot Noir 2001 – 13.5% - (US$23)
Made from a lower altitude vineyard than the previous pinot, with yields of 20 hl/ha. A good red colour, the new oak and new world origins were more obvious that the previous wine. Again, this wine tasted close with ripe tannins and soft acidity. 83/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Jackson Estate Pinot Noir 2001
Its got some fruit. Its not complex. Its 13.5% abv. Its at Majestic. Its £10.99. Its not worth it. (Daron Fincham, UK)

10/02 Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir 2000
This Pinot Noir put a lot of Burgundy Premier Cru`s to shame. V complex nose of black fruits and a burnt match. Intensely minerally palate with pure Pinot Noir character. Good acidity. V elegant and long. First time I`ve tasted this and I was v impressed. (Neal Martin, UK)

10/02 2000 Pinot Noir, Hope Vineyard, Greenhough, Nelson £15.95
Fairly deep if muddy-ish purple. V nice PN nose - touch farmyardy & mushroomy. Fair attack. Fills ok. Bit acidic on middle with unformed tannins coming through on finish. Has a bit of complexity to it. Probably needs more age before it starts to show properly. Just a touch too astringent at the moment. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

10/02 Babich 2000 Winemakers Reserve Syrah: Hawkes Bay, New Zealand – 12.5% - £7.49 (US$12)
A medium red coloured syrah gave way to a eucalyptus and ripe black fruits nose with a strong vanilla presence. It was medium bodied, not as ripe as the nose suggested and a high level of acidity. Other tasters remarked that it was 'stalky' and I can understand their point of view. Not my favourite. My score a generous 4 (3.2). (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

08/02 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 1998
Never had a bad one of these. Everything where it ought to be and all in proportion alcohol/fruit/tannin all hand in hand. Not Burgundy, but very much better than not bad. (Don Reid, UK)

08/02 2000 Fromm, La Strada, Martinborough Pinot Noir - Fromm Vineyard
Quite deep cherry, and still purple at the rim. The nose is not so obviously oaky as the Clayvin vineyard wine. There are bright red fruits, raspberry in particular. The palate is quite fat with good acidity and medium tannins, sweet but very oaky, and doesn't have the overt juicy-ness of the Clayvin wine. The finish is pretty good and has some licorice on the ending. Whilst it's certainly a very good wine, it doesn't strike me as being so individual as the Clayvin, though from a very similar mold. Time will tell. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir Reserve 1998
Medium dark Pinot colour. Petrol again, fried mushrooms and bamboo shoots as of Chinese food, with the fruit not very expressive today. Quite vegetal, showing some amounts of strawberry fruit. Decent quality but why pay L23.50? (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Fromm Winery Marlborough Pinot Noir Clayvin Vineyard 2000
There's a hint of La Tâche in the label design and this NZ pinot costs around £20, so I guess I'm supposed to take it seriously. Quite deep cherry, still with a purple rim. The nose betrays high toast oak, but this is well enough matched by the underpinning of a very pure pinot nose of earthy and creamy red fruit. The palate is fat with good acidity and medium tannins - very sweet (14%) and succulent, tons of "small red fruits". The oak is prominent on the palate and also on the earthy finish. I have to say though, that I'm quite impressed by this. Whilst the oak is quite noticeable just now, unlike many premium 'New World' attempts, it is not simply a Burgundy wannabe because it has a style of its own and actually has more than enough fruit to balance the barrel treatment. I guess the true test will be how dominant the oak is in another couple of years, but it's a rewarding drink now. Not cheap but absolutely worth a punt! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 Fromm Winery Marlborough Pinot Noir Clayvin Vineyard 2000
Moderately intense purple, dark for Pinot but slightly faded. Slightly organic and mildly petrolly nose again. Quite elegant and juicy on the palate, sweet and quite juicy fruit, still in a light register, with notes of strawberry. Not bad, though lacks class. But has softness and an easiness of drinking. Good range from Lay & Wheeler – all wines very drinkable and acceptably priced. L16. (Nerval, UK)

04/02 Olssens of Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 1998
Lovely already mature nose of strawberry/forest floor/gaminess. Palate has a fine razorblade of acidity in a velvetty glove. Medium bodied, elegant almost classic Pinot Noir. Excellent, maybe even Excellent/Sublime. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

02/02 Dry River Pinot Noir 1997
Thought I had lost this when I opened it. Primary fruit had gone on the nose & tasted 'closed'.After an hour in the old jug however & with food this elegant wine had opened out considerably and continued to improve until the last drop was rung from the glass. Fruit seemed to have integrated/combined very well no discernable tannins or pronounced truffle like quality but a smooth top draw Kiwi Pinot Noir. Never be mistaken for Burgundy but equal to all but the very best of Burgundy I have tried. (Don Reid, UK)

02/02 Isabel Estate 1999 Pinot Noir (Magnum)
Great glass of wine. Beautiful pinot fruit, slightly smokey and decididly easy to drink. Lovely balance and a long finish. Red wine of the night for me. Great with the duck course. Only downer was that the cork was a little bit loose. Makes me wonder if I should chance leaving the last bottle a lot longer. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

01/02 1975 Mission Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Hawkes Bay
A friend had found these bottles when doing a house clearance. The levels in both bottles were at the bottom of the neck, the first bottle, which looked as though it might be dodgy having held it up to the light lived down to expectations, the cork disintegrated and the contents were totally undrinkable. The second bottle which still looked fairly bright in the light opened cleanly and easily. The wine seemed to have a lot of tiny air bubbles surfacing when poured, it looked like viscous cold tea, the nose showed caramel, rose hips and tea with some "off" smells. There was not a lot going for it in the mouth, the fruit had virtually disappeared leaving residual oak and definite signs of oxidisation. (Dave Sansom, UK)

01/02 1999 Unison Selection, Hawkes Bay
Dark garnet with purple rim. Nose is sweet and though reticent in the fruit department, it is 'cigar boxy' and even white peppery. Very mouth coating tannins with nice acidity, nice mouthfeel and vanilla just coming through on the finish. Apparently this blend is Merlot dominated, I would say in the style of Pomerol rather than St.Emilion, which means it is right up my street. Beautifully made and a lovely drink today though bags of structure will save it should you lose a couple in the cellar ! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/01 Pinot Noir, 1998 Cloudy Bay, Marlborough
A: Brick red, clean. Clear rim. N: Sweet red cherries with hints of dark mushrooms. P: Cherry and bramble flavours slightly overshadowed by a strong confected sweetness. Dry tannins on the finish with some acidity. S: Slightly disappointing given the price tag (£18). Lacks the earthiness you get from Burgundy and the sweet fruit spoils the balance a bit. Now - 2005 (Paul Anderson, UK)

07/01 Martinborough Reserve Pinot Noir 1997
Not crystal clear, but nothing out of order on the nose. Lots of oak, but not the high toasted variety. Plenty of plummy damson fruit on the nose and the palate. Lower acidity than the 'non-reserve' version from this year. Good but unremarkable, I prefer the non-reserve 1997. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/01 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 1999
Ruby red colour, pleasant nose of cherry fruit with a slightly earthy nose. Similar on palate but unfotunately ruined by the prickle of CO2 which made it taste semi sparkling. Presumably a fault or maybe secondary fermentation.??? 15/20 but for the sparkles as it is nicely balanced and quite long. (Anthony Taylor, UK)

06/01 1996 Te Motu (Waiheke Island) Cabernet/Merlot
Quite a deep rich ruby red. Good ripe blackberry nose with nicely integrated vanilla. Soft and velvety with smooth ripe tannins. Plenty of blackberry and plum fruit and again well-integrated oak. Quite good length. Good with or without food. Will last a couple of years but lacks the structure for much more. Very good overall, but more like a £15 wine than the £25 it cost. (Trevor March, UK)

05/01 Te Motu Cabernet/Merlot 96 Waiheke Island NZ £25
Cigar box and pecil lead nose with slight vegetal hints. Deep red but not opaque. Nose and palate would have lead me to believe it was a claret. Plate is well integrated and nicely balanced. Only medium bodied and at 12.5% ABV just right. Palte has minerally touch with unobtrusive oak and fruit, good acidity and a hint of sweetness, I think from the fruit. Very good and excellent food wine (Anthony Taylor, UK)

05/01 Alpha Domus Hawkes Bay, Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Deep, dark and opaque. Lovely fruity and vanilla nose. Sweet, with firm but ripe tannins. Gluggable. 13.5% abv. £9.99 from Safeway (Daron Fincham, UK)

04/01 Ata Rangi Celebre 91
Ruby red colour no fade to rim. Nose of vegetation which cleared after 10 mins or so to reveal a nose of strawberry jam, reminding me of an 83 Brane Cantenac I had last year. Similar notes on palate with hint of sweetness. Not full bodied and now negligible tannin but still with balance and a long finish. V nice. 16/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

03/01 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 1999
On an Aussie website pinot tasting this was called a 5 star, "Holy Grail" wine (Lordy!) whilst Tim Atkin called it a wine for hedonists. Well I'm a hedonist and on this wine's showing Tim Akin's parties must be really boring. A woody nose, some vanilla. A bit of fruit, the acid is in balance - but no sweet finish we hedonists crave! A firm tannic backbone and 13.5% alcohol, but I don't think Burgundy is going to be quaking in it's boots against what is supposed to be NZ's top pinot noir at over twenty quid a bottle from Tanners. (Daron Fincham, UK)

Good colour, nose full of fruit with background oak and marshmallow. Mouthfeel is light with spicy fruit nicely balanced by cedar. Light structure. Finish is long, smooth and refined. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Vibrant colour, very leggy with a nose showing lovely fruit. In the mouth the fruit flavours are very deep with smooth bitter cherry cough mixture and dusty oak, background peppery spice, a bit confected. Very long and smooth finish. Appealingly commercial feel to it, accessable. Very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

03/01 Te Mata "Awatea" Cabernet/Merlot 1998
A drop-dead gorgeous wine. The nose is splendid with rich vanilla and cinnamon spice. The palate is full and rich, all liquorice and cloves - just yummy! It's more how I imagine those garage St. Emilions taste or a full-fat Pomerol from a ripe vintage. Pure pleasure in a glass. A hedonistic 13.5% abv-er, smooth and round with great length. And so it should be at £14.40 from Tanners. (Daron Fincham, UK)

02/01 Ata Rangi Celebre '98 (cab/merlot/syrah)
A deep burgundy. Initial impression is of lots of caramel oak - not really toasted enough for this style of wine IMO. Hints of liquorice along with obviously ripe and concentrated jammy cassis fruit. Not very complex. On the palate dense jammy cassis fruit cosseted in lots of sweet oak. Gets more chocolatey/Barossa Shiraz like with air. Good firm underlying tannin and acids are nearly submerged in fruit and draw out a good long finish. Overall good potential to develop mid term but a little straightforward today. Reminds me of Californian styled cabernet, which in it's way isn't a bad thing as this would be cheap for a Californian cab ! May buy a bottle or two for ageing, I reckon outside of Pinot this is probably the best NZ red I've tried to date…albeit more oaky (or less toasted) than my ideal. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

02/01Alana Estate Pinot Noir 1999, Martinborough
A restrained, classy new world Pinot Noir, from a region in New Zealand that specializes in this grape. Deep cherry colour, with a nose of sweet fruit, some herbs and a touch of smokiness. The palate shows sweet cherry fruit with a nice balance of tannin and acidity, and some spice and vanilla. Good varietal character here. Very good + (Jamie Goode, UK)

01/01 Matua Valley Cabernet Merlot, Hawkes Bay 1998
The trouble starts with this wine when you see the colour - that cherry red that you don't usually associate with cab or mer. No wood apparent on the nose and the "fruit" reminds me of raspberries, again not my usual association. This is less than medium bodied. Acidic, tart and thin would be more apt. It comes across as one of those terrible supermarket burgundies. I was disappointed with this as 1998 was supposed to be great for NZ red. Still, you know me, as soon as I see the word "boutique" on the back label I'm sold! 13.0% abv. £8.99 (Daron Fincham, UK)

10/00 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 1995
strawberry oaky nose, some fizz on the palate, quite light and smooth at first with stronger cherry warmth following up. drinking very well on 2nd night. better than many a Burgundy, for the money one might expect even better, but this was not a great vintage for Martinborough. (about 15 quid Bottoms Up and elsewhere). (CharlesA, UK)

10/00 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 1998
a better vintage but should be left for 2-4 years. very dark and opaque for a pinot. slightly bitter aftertaste that faded with extended breathing. This was drunk blind with the Stonier, and the Stonier was better but this result may change over time. (CharlesA, UK)

10/00 Stonier Pinot Noir 1998
Quite thin and transparent, characteristic pinot bouquet, nicely balanced and integrated with good flavour and length. more pleasant drinking that the '98 Martinborough at the moment. (11.95 Noel Young) (CharlesA, UK)

07/00 Montana (Marlborough) Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 1998
Dirty wood nose. Not nice at all. Little fruit. Thin-bodied. Disappointing. 13%abv. £6.99. Tesco. (Daron Fincham – UK)

07/00 Church Road (Hawkes Bay) Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 1998
Very nice raspberry pastille nose. Cassis and fruity palate. Medium-bodied. Very good. 13%abv. £7.99. Victoria Wine. (Daron Fincham – UK)

07/00 Delegat's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Dark colour. Slightly confected nose. Over extracted and "one dimensional". Didn't improve overnight, becoming more acidic. Unbalanced, due in part to a whacking 14.5%abv. £8.99. Oddbins. (Daron Fincham – UK)

06/00 Montana "Barrique" Pinot Noir from New Zealand 1998
This is the business. A lovely fruity Pinot that hits the spot and at £9.99 from Victoria Wine I thoroughly recommend it. (Daron Fincham - UK)

06/00 Felton Road Pinot Noir 1998
Just a gorgeous aroma of cherries, mulberries and ripe raspberries with a hint of oak (mushrooms, vanilla) and spice (coffee grounds and cinnamon). I just adore the combination of classy New World Pinot fruit and oak and this wine is judged so well. The palate is like the nose - lovely balance of fruit and oak and so much style! Tannins are soft and ripe and this wine is drinking so well. Very special. (Will Hamilton - UK)