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New Zealand tasting notes

text and photographs © 2007 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on New Zealand's North Island.


Alpha Domus, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Lovely nose of lifted, greengage, a touch of passionfruit, fine touch of herbal, gooseberry and greenness, but no overt herbaceousness. The palate has plenty of crispness and a very uncompromising, fine finish.

Alpha Domus, Semillon 2002
Beautiful toasty notes of toast and a nice opulent lime note beneath. On the palate the oak is pretty dominant at present, with plenty of weight, but a fine lemon fruit and a real testiness. Mealiness emerges. Fine candied fruit quality, and will age.

Alpha Domus, Viognier 2005
50% Barrel, 50% steel. Fine pear and ripe, juicy pear and peach. The palate it very fine, with a crisp, quite steely character. The acidity is quite bright and forceful. With a certain pithiness, but nicely judged.

Alpha Domus, 'AD' Chardonnay 2004
Various clones planted. This has a very fine nose, with quite a light touch to the oak. This is 70% new oak. This has a very pear-flavoured mid-palate. With plenty of ripe, juicy fruit, but all quite linear and tight and restrained. Very tight, with a fine juiciness about the finish. VG

Alpha Domus, 'AD' Chardonnay 2002
'A good time to be drinking this' with 2 years. The oak is more integrated and waxy and fine, there's a rich, full-textured mouthfeel. With a more complex, multi-layered mid-palate. Lovely drinking, with fine, balanced acidity. Nice vanillin notes and soft toastiness.

Alpha Domus, 'The Pilot' Pinot Noir 2004
10 months in French oak, with sandalwood and some spicy aromatics. There's a nice cedary, earthy quality, with plenty of juicy cherry, and quite ripe earthy fruit. The mid-palate has a slight hollowness, and it could perhaps do with a little more flesh. Very spice and cedary in the finish.

Alpha Domus, Pinot Noir 2002
Some really fudgy, fine qualities here, with a softly baked, refined quality, lots of softness and fleshy warmth. Fine vanillin and good cherry acidity. Fine quality.

Alpha Domus, The Navigator 2002
Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec and Franc. Lovely nose: instantly aromatic, cedary, fine Bordeaux-like structure with hints of dustiness and capsicum, but beautifully handled. Fine, juicy, structured palate. Lots of cedaryness and fine structured quality.

Alpha Domus, Aviator 2002
Cab dominant blend, in years when the cab is really good. Last vintage until, hopefully, 2006. Beautiful silkiness on the nose. Very, very fine Sandalwood, with ripe berry fruits, blackcurrant and fine red cherry. The palate has a fine mouthfeel, with a juiciness at the core and wrapped in a structure of tannins and a touch of chocolate. Fine acidity at the core. Superb.

Alpha Domus, Aviator 1998
There's a touch of menthol in this (there were eucalyptus trees in the vineyard), with plenty of spice and cedar. Quite a tight, fine, tightly structured with lots of bloody and fine notes of earth and touches of chocolate. Lovely grip here. Very fine, and ageing well.

UK Agent: McKinley Vintners, Tel: 020 7928 7300

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