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Notes from New Zealand, 2011

text © 2011 Tom Cannavan

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


fiona turner Launched in 2006, Tinpot Hut is the solo venture of winemaker Fiona Turner (right), who has collaborated for a number of years with winemaker Matt Thomson in the production of some of New Zealand's most highly-regarded wines. The name Tinpot Hut is derived from the old sheep mustering huts in the remote hills between the Wairau and Awatere Valleys.

Fiona has worked in Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Waipara, Central Otago and in the United States, and for Tinpot Hut she uses fruit from her own vineyards at Blind River in Marlborough's Awatere Valley, but will continue to source from other regions to make the styles of line she likes: "I love Syrah from the Northern Rhône, so I look to Hawkes Bay for aromatics in the plum and spice spectrum." she cites as one example.

Currently the range comprises a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough Pinot Gris, Marlborough Grüner Veltliner and a Hawkes Bay Syrah. "I try to make wines that I would like to drink," she says, "so from Marlborough I'm aiming for a Sauvignon Blanc with a subtle Awatere Valley mineral influence."

The wines are already exported to the Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Canada, but there's a special UK connection (apart from the six months Fiona spent behind the counter in Oddbins in the 90s), as the company is jointly owned by Fiona Turner and Matt Thomson, in partnership with Liberty Wines UK, represented by David Gleave, M.W.

the wines

Tinpot Hut is imported into the UK by Liberty. See all Tinpot Hut wines on wine-searcher.

Tin Pot Hut, Pinot Gris 2010
From Awatere vines planted in 2006. Quite delicate nose, with stone fruit aromas and a touch of orange peel. The palate has an off-dry character, with a lovely lemon rind snap and good, dry apple fruit. Very nice balance with a little spice and phenolic grip in the finish. 89/100.

Tin Pot Hut, Sauvignon Blanc 2010
A blend of Awatere (Blind River) and Wairau fruit from heavier silt soils. Very peppery and crunchy, with a touch of herby, soft green leaves and lemon grass. The palate broadens nicely, with a hint of juicy, almost tropical fruit on the mid-palate but then that searing core of mineral, dry acidity fine length and lots of finesse here. 91/100.

Tinpot Hut, Grüner Veltliner 2010
From the Wairau Valley. Nicely aromatic and spicy, with some floral and peach down aromas joining spices and a touch of white pepper. There's plenty of interest here, touching on an almost Sauvignon-like pungency. The palate has the same picture of juicy clarity and grapefruity punch of fruit and acidity, into a long, tangy finish. 91/100.

Tin Pot Hut, Syrah 2007
Only 10% of this goes into new oak, from a single vineyard in Hawkes Bay. It has a lovely smoky bacon, game and cool climate herb and bloody nose. Very bold fruit. Delicious fruit sweetness, with a redcurranty, racy fruit quality. The wine has a beautifully silky mouth-feel and it finishes with length and harmony. A terrific Syrah. 92/100.

Tinpot Hut is imported into the UK by Liberty. See all Tinpot Hut wines on wine-searcher.

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