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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.


Burnt Spur, Sauvignon 2005
Tank fermented, combination of Martinborough and Marlborough fruit. Very nice slightly more understated vegetal nose, with hints of asparagus and green, grassy and a lovely tropical fruit quality; lots of pineapple and lychee. Good texture and mouthfeel, fine, ripe fruit. Very opulent, spangle and vivid lime acidity.

Martinborough Vineyard, Riesling Jackson Block 2005
Very dry herbal and lemony notes. Little touches of aromatic, lightly flinty and petrolly. Fine, waxy, fleshy texture, with plenty of juicy fruit and a fine, crisp acidity, that stays quite thick and rich.

Martinborough Vineyard, Riesling Manu 2005
27gl. Delicate, sherbetty, quite floral nose. Very fine, with some candied fruit and delicate spiciness. Quite full, with good fruit and a sweet, light palate.

Martinborough Vineyard, Pinot Gris 2004
50% old barrels, all stirred every two. Nice herbal tinged, rich, quite leesy nose. Fine apple and pear white fruit character. The palate has lovely weight, with a lovely grapefruit and orange fruit. Good acid. Fine skinny characteristics. Have been making PG for 10 years.

Martinborough Vineyard, Chardonnay 2004
25% New French oak, rest old. Lees stirring. This has a very fine green fig quality, with a fine, spicy, herbal, tobacco oak. Buttery and rich, and quite Burgundian. Lovely waxy fruit here, like waxy lime and nectarine, very juicy. Very lovely fruit, classy and fine length.

Burnt Spur, Russian Jack Pinot Noir 2004
Lovely, savoury, spicy, herb tinged and peppery Pinot. Soft, herb-tinged raspberry fruit. Lovely fruit on the palate. A touch light on fruit through the mid palate, but maintains good sweetness, and a fine balance of lighter tannins.

Martinborough Vineyard, Te Tera Pinot Noir 2004
Lovely earthy, schisty, quite complex earthy and bracken quality. Some fine plummy fruit. The fruit is very clean and quite weighty, and the texture is good. Lovely long, savoury, juicy finish.

Burnt Spur, Pinot Noir 2003
A blend of estate and bought in fruit, though will be all estate from 2004. A subtle, gentle herbal and earthy, smoky quality to the cherry and rounded, plummy fruit. Very fine, ripe, fleshy plum and good texture.

Martinborough Vineyard, Pinot Noir 2003
'Martinborough Terrace' Very fine quality here, with a touch of mint and a fine, ripe fruitiness. Very fruity, though not too much. The fruit on the palate is ripe and juicy, with lots of plum flesh and a fine, rounded finish. Silky and tannins ripe.

Martinborough Vineyard, Pinot Noir 2002
Definitely touches of more herbal, complex, undergrowth and mushroom notes. The palate is leaner, but really lovely quality of fruit with a great spicy depth of oak and fine tannins. Quite grippy and ripe, with plenty of juicy fruit and well balanced.

Martinborough Vineyard, Late-Harvest Riesling 2004
Very lovely unctuous nose of green fig lightly touched with honey, figgy, buttery, good greengage fruit. Medium to full-bodied, with a lovely sweetness, very fine fig and ripe melon flavours, lovely juicy, orangy quality. Finishes very clean and long.

UK Agent: Billecart-Salmon, Tel: 020 8405 6345

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