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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.


Te Awa, Sauvignon Blanc 2004
50% tank, 50% in oak, 10% new. There's just a creamy background to this. This has a fine citrus and passionfruity nose, with some tropical notes overlaid. On the palate a fine, juicy acidity. There's a citrussy quality, with plenty of lemon and lime bite. A little oatmeal richness just comes through.

Te Awa, Chardonnay 2004
This has 100% French oak, around 25% new, for 10 - 11 months. Quite a mealy, slightly herbal note at first, with a rich ripe tropical fruit coming through. There's lovely freshness, with a waxy, boiled sweet and a nice herbal punch. Excellent, concentrated lime fruit. 2% Malolactic.

Te Awa, Merlot 2002
A little Malbec and Cab Franc, maybe 10 - 12 %. A little touch of dankness and slightly green, earthy note. There's a liquoricy quality to this, with a broad, dark stripe of cherry and plum skin acidity. There's a meatiness and definite Bordeaux-style. The cedar comes through and plenty of acidity. Savoury and dense.

Te Awa, Cabernet Merlot 2003
Frost affected year with a cooler summer. 50 Cab, 40 Merlot. 10 Franc. There's a tiny note of dustiness, with just a little hint of capsicum. On the palate it is a little leaner. There's a cool, slightly minty quality to the fruit. Savoury and juicy, a leaner style, with good juicy tannins and a crisp edge of acidity into the finish. Fine Quality.

Te Awa, The Boundary 1999
35% new barrels, all French. Very cool season. Merlot-dominant blend, of around 85% Merlot, 10% Sauvignon and 5% Franc. There's a touch of dusty, slightly herbal quality here. The nose has a fine earthy, cedary, very Bordelaise quality. On the palate it is quiet cool and classy, but the slightly lean, green streak does come through and detracts slightly. The fruit is very sweet, and the tannins have just that hint of greenness, but a coffee note comes through.

Te Awa, The Boundary 2000
Slightly more baked plum and cherry pie quality. Spice and fine, clove notes. Excellent spices and clove but a touch of herbal again. This has a slightly dank palate. There is good fruit. Nice acidity, balanced.

Te Awa, The Boundary 2001
Very good season. 82% Merlot. Nose of sandalwood and incense. Not certain if the wood is quiet right on this. There's a meatiness and an incense quality. On the palate the fruit is slightly mean. Very dry tannins. Second bottle much better. Much more vibrant fruit. Fine, cedary oak. Palate it much more convincing. With plenty of rip, sweet fruit wrapped in a clove and cedar framework.

Te Awa, Syrah 2002
100% French oak, 15% new. Very expressive nose of schist and black pepper. Solid, fine black fruit. Very crisp, fine cherry character. The palate has a fine, ripe, very solid blackcurrant fruitiness. There's plenty of verve and bite, with a peppery overlay and a very juicy acidity. The tannins and very ripe, but grippy and quite lean - nicely so, giving an edge to the wine with good acidity.

Te Awa, Pinotage 2003
15 - 20% new oak, this has a lively cedarwood and spicy, peppery black fruit nose. There's a touch of chocolate too. The palate has terrific fruit sweetness, and a real concentration and focus. The tannins are quiet rustic, but not harsh, and the acid is good. In all, this has a fine, good quality palate and good length.

UK Agent: MARC Fine Wines, Tel: 020 7647 1878

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