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Notes from New Zealand, 2011

text and photgraphs © 2011 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on New Zealand 2011.


UK importer for Ostler is Berry Bros & Rudd. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

Ostler Vineyards, Blue House Vines Riesling 2008
From vineyards on an alluvial river terrace, not on limestone. Nice, light, lemony nose with a touch of light saline. The palate is very dry, with a racy, lime and lemon freshness and lovely delicacy. 88/100.

Ostler Vineyards, Blue House Vines 2010
Quite an elegant, lemon rind and lime and note that is a little more sparky, lightly waxy note. Fantastic punch and verve on the palate with that same delicious shimmering balance. Long and beautifully tapering and elegant in the finish. 91/100.

Ostler Vineyards, Audrey's Pinot Gris 2009
One third in big, old oak barrels. Whole cluster, wild ferment. A tiny little pear skin note and a touch of lemon rind, very much focused on a tight fruit quality. The palate has a dry character, with lots of that lovely pithy, lemon and grapefruit punch to the acidity. This is fine and very racy, and has a real bite and lightness. 13.5% alcohol with plenty of punch. 90/100.

Ostler Vineyards, Audrey's Pinot Gris 2008
Has a lot more fat and sweet vanillin richness on the nose, a clean melony fruit and a lovely, with a touch of honey and lots of apple pie fruit. Slightly short on the finish, but really nice crisp acidity and balance. Drinks beautifully. 89/100.

Ostler Vineyards, Blue House Pinot Gris 2009
From a clay-rich limestone moving into alluvial soils. Partially foot-trodden, this has a rounded, appealing, lightly honeyed quality, lightly honeysuckle. Has a touch of melon and peach ripeness, but the stone fruit comes through and is delicious and taut. Very nice palate, plenty of dry acidity and a tight fruit definition into a long finish. 89/100.

Ostler Vineyards, Caroline's Pinot Noir 2009
100% wild yeast and 25% new French oak. Grapes were 100% de-stemmed, but that philosophy is changing. 14.3% alcohol, the highest to date. Lovely fragrant oak, with a tight spiciness and light cherry and cherry skin fruit, a touch of liquoricy concentration. Superb palate, a tight raspberry and cherry juice quality, wreathed in delicate smokiness and with a tight, lightly herbal edge that really focuses the finish. 92-93/100.

Ostler Vineyards, Caroline's Pinot Noir 2008
Lovely soft nose, with more earthy open-textured raspberry and red cherry fruits. There's a big orangy acidity here, a real tang of fresh, citrusy acidity as it hits the palate, with tight structure of the tannins. Again that chicory and liquorice bittersweet quality is lovely and has a tight, structured palate that will soften over coming years. Less bold and deeply-fruited than the 2009, but has energy and edge. 92/100.

Ostler Vineyards, Caroline's Pinot Noir 2006
Still quite a solid, deep colour. Gorgeous Pinot development here, with some truffle and damp, undergrowth notes, the soft red berry fruit nicely mingled in there. The palate has a little vegetal quality suggesting less ripeness than the 2009 certainly, but it is attractively lithe and sinewy, with tight acidity that is perhaps just a little prominent, but again a very fine wine. 90/100.

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