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Notes from New Zealand, 2011

text © 2011 Tom Cannavan

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


Notes from a large, walk-round tasting held during the 'In Praise of Riesling' event in Waipara, New Zealand in 2011. See all Waipara Riesling on wine-searcher.

Waipara West Riesling 2008
Whole bunches, with some lees ageing. Slightly neutral nose, with pleasant lime blossom notes, the palate nice and juicy lively, just off dry to a touch peachy softness. 86/100.

Mountford Riesling 2009
Lemon and gently herbal aromas, a little phenolic, skinny note. The palate has plenty of sweetness, clear peach juice character, with lots of juicy, fresh lemony acidity. Lovely tang here. 87/100.

Ataahua Riesling 2010
Grassy tones here, with a little yeasty, waxy fruit skin quality. There's a grippy phenolic character to this wine, with a rich mouth-feel and lovely length and focus with lots of fruit and great balance. 89/100.

Waipara Springs Dry Riesling 2009
Nicely fresh, apple fruit with a little apple skin bite. Nicely balanced palate, the fruit staying keen and sharp, with some peachy notes and very nice, fresh finish. Belies its 14% ABV. 87/100.

Waipara Springs Premo Dry Riesling 2009
Attractive, herbal and lightly doughy notes, quite intense lime fruit. Big, juicy grapefruit finish, with lovely acidity and real persistence. Balanced and very attractive, with a gently smoky minerality. 90/100.

Waipara Springs Riesling 2009
Pleasantly smooth and silky, with an orangy tang and lemon peel lick of richness. Very nice mouth-feel, with the sugar giving a very nice feel, balancing plenty of racy acidity. 88/100.

Sherwood Clearwater Riesling 2005
Very nice and juicy, a note of very ripe red pepper, very juicy and sweet and hanging together very nicely. 88/100.

Sherwood Riesling 2005
Delicious, lightly honeyed and toasty hints of development, lovely glace fruit elegance and shimmering. 88/100.

Thornbury Riesling 2008
Slightly dull aromatics, the nose not showing much zing and the palate fruity and enjoyable, but not distinctive. 85/100.

Black Estate Riesling 2010
Lea & Sandeman. Very crisp, a touch of leesiness in the background. Nicely skinny and grippy, with the very punchy apricot and peach punch. Just off dry, but ripe and rich. 89/100.

Black Estate Riesling 2009
Fine nose, quite appley and dry, some nice phenolics just adding a little grip. More luscious style, with great style and lovely length and balance. 88/100.

Black Estate Riesling 2008
Apricot and open orangy fruit, with lots of lime and really nice waxy tones and textures. Delicious and tangy in the finish. 89/100.

Greystone Riesling 2010
Lovely fresh, clean style. Very nice sweet fruit, with lots of charming, fruity style. Long and shimmering, with a rally juicy mandarin orange finish. 90/100.

Greystone Sea Star Riesling 2010
Dry, slightly funky wild ferment style, with a little bruised apple quality. The palate has an open, dry flavour and clear textures, the acidity very lemony and crisp, a bit of phenolic grip too. 89/100.

Greystone Feather Star Riesling 2010
A little dull at this stage, not singing aromatically. The palate has lots of lemony fruit, but with a super-sweet, peachy overlay and the acidity is very nicely integrated. 88/100.

Weka River Riesling 2009
Not fantastically aromatic, but has a really nicely pitched, gently juicy and ripe stone fruit character. The palate has good acids, lots of lime and lemon clarity and nice balance. 88/100.

Muddy Water dry Riesling 2009
Certified organic. Lovely lemony quality, a touch of lemon meringue pie delicacy. The palate is pretty dry, with really nice, tangy acidity and very good zingy brightness. 88/100.

Muddy Water Reloaded Riesling 2009
aged in old oak puncheons, but otherwise the same as the dry. Much less fruity, but with more complex aromatics, a bit of oxidation adding cidery tones. Bright and impressively focused, the fruit is beautifully punchy and tangy, with extra concentration. 91/100.

Muddy Water unplugged Riesling 2009
A mix of Botrytis and clean fruit, 77gl of residual sugar. A little toast and lots of apricot ripe fruit. Full and luscious, really lovely fruit concentration here: a hugely grippy wine without losing precision and finesse, and very impressive. 92/100.

Dancing Water Oneuku Riesling 2008
Very nice, if slightly muted nose, with a bit of bready quality. The palate is very dry, with skinny, grippy flavours and phenolics. Tangy, pithy acidity and focus, but a little one dimensional perhaps. 88/100.

Dancing Water Oneuku Riesling 2009
Much more vibrant and orangy, with punchier fruit and a tangy apply skin quality. The palate seems very dry, a pithy lemon fruit and acidity and bit of real phenolic punch. Needs food, in an Austrian style, but very punchy and powerful. Perhaps a touch hot. 90/100.

Dancing Water Kamaka Riesling 2008
A little bit vegetal and herbal, a little bit oxidised, the full, weighty palate has a nice depth of apricotty fruit and lots of tangy, punchy acidity. Delicious, full with sweetness powering through. 89/100.

Dancing Water Reka Riesling 2008
Second pick of the Oneuku vineyard, two weeks later, with 60% Botrytis. A little apricot and subtle lemon confit notes, but rather subdued. The palate has delicious acidity, lots of vibrancy and really captures a shimmering Spätlese balance and tension. 90/100.

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Riesling 2009
New Generation. Nicely leafy and toasty edges, a pleasantly vegetal feel and mineral hints. The palate is bone dry, with really concentrated fruit and a touch of lemon rind. Really nice wine, with racy acidity and punchy phenolics. Big and bonny. 90/100.

Pegasus Bay Riesling 2009
Stone fruit aromas, a little lemony brightness, the palate showing a little ripeness, but mostly the impression is of the citrussy fruit and acidity, just little sweet edges. 88/100.

Pegasus Bay Aria Riesling 2009
Very nice, sweet, beautifully ripe apricot fruit. A fair degree of sweetness here: a little passionfruit and mango exotic character, and lovely acids. 90/100.

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Riesling 2010
I like the mineral, gently stony character here, with great finesse. The palate has lovely freshness and great. Tang and grippy brightness in the finish. 90/100.

Crater Rim Canterbury Riesling 2010
Funky, nicely yeasty, with a bit of clove and mineral and a palate that has lots of fresh acidity to balance some sugar. Wild ferment. 89/100. Lea & Sandeman.

Crater Rim From the Ashes Riesling 2010
Very fine herb and apple nose, lots of bright, lightly figgy fruit, but really the crunchy apple freshness comes through. The palate has lovely delicacy and balance. Tangy and very drinkable. 90/100.

Crater Rim Waipara Riesling 2010
More orangy and gently clove like notes here, with a touch of herbs and a nice zestiness. Lovely palate too, with more residual sugar apparent on the palate than the Ashes, and a terrific balance and edge of shimmering acidity. 90/100.

Crater Rim Dr Kohls Riesling 2008
50% Botrytis, wild ferment for over 12 months. Smoky, flinty, sulphidic character with more minerality. The palate has lovely exotic fruit - pineapple and mango, and a great tang of tangerine acidity and concentration. 91/100.

Terrace Edge Riesling 2009
Nicely leesy and gently yeasty, a touch of cider, and the palate a little flabby (though bottle rather warm). 86/100.

See all Waipara Riesling on wine-searcher.

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