|Spencer Hill was the first New Zealand winery to use the 'Zork' closure in a major range of wines (a polyethylene-based closure, shown right). Spencer Hill say "We are
not fans of the screwcap closure due to its limiting ability to let wines age and the risk of reduction in the wines".
Spencer Hill is now Nelsonís second largest winery in sales, and meanwhile they have been
expanding into North America, planting vineyards in the Columbia Gorge area of Washington State.
Spencer Hill, Tasman Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007, New Zealand
The Tasman Bay Sauvignon was partially fermented in small French oak barrels, although there's just a trace of mealy richness on the nose. Otherwise, there are stone fruit and lemony aromas, and a touch of more pungent gooseberry and nettle coming through. On the palate there's a mouth-filling density of fruit here. It is tangy and grippy, with a touch of leesy texture and weight, with quite a dramatic balance between sweetly ripe flavours and a pithy acidity. This is a more food-friendly style of Marlborough Sauvignon than some, with a bit of phenolic grip in the finish. £9.95, Smart Wines, Wholefoods.
Spencer Hill, Tasman Bay Pinot Noir 2006, New Zealand
Coming from fruit in Nelson and Marlborough, native, wild yeasts were used for fermentation and the wines aged in French oak for nine months. The colour is a medium-pale garnet, and the nose offers an attractive perfume of wild strawberry and black fruits, with a smokiness and touch of toast and spice. On the palate this has richness and a nicely silky texture, with earthy and truffly tones to moderate black fruit. The lean tannins add a slightly aggressive edge to an otherwise very easy-drinking, sippable wine that has good Pinot character and plenty of style. One that might be better with food. £11.95, Smart Wines, Wholefoods.
Spencer Hill, Latitude 41 Pinot Noir 2007, New Zealand
Like the Sauvignon blanc also tasted in this Latitude 41 range, bottled with a 'Zork' closure - an easy to remove plastic stopper with tear off grab handle. Like the company's 'Tasman Bay' Pinot, a blend of Nelson and Marlborough fruit, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in French oak for nine months. Fine, light ruby colour, with refined aromatics suggesting ripe berry fruits, briar and a touch of woodland undergrowth. There's a slick of vanilla too, and a hint of espresso. On the palate the fruit is a little lighter, but also sweeter and more translucent than in the Tasman Bay example, with sweeter tannins giving this for me, a more harmonious finish. Lovely. £12.95, Smart Wines, Wholefoods.