Esk Valley

Esk Valley The Hillside Merlot Cabernet Franc Malbec 2013 Hawkes Bay

Intense bouquet, bold and expressive with aromas of baked blackberry and roasted Doris plum, sweet olive and toasty woody baking spices; complex and intriguing. Complex and concentrated on the palate; dry, full-bodied flavours with a core of fruit and noticeable toasty oak flavours. Ripe intense tannins with chalky mealy textures, medium+ acidity and long persistent finish. A great example of the future of Hawkes Bay blended red wine. Decant for service. Best from 2023 through 2033.

98 Points

Cameron Douglas
Grey Ridge

Grey Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago

Bold with a rich red fruit and oak bouquet showing off aromas and flavours of dark cherry and baked plum, some black currant and plentiful toasty wood spice layers. Dry, spicy and fruity with moderate tannins with chalky  and toasty textures, dark cherry and plum flavours finishing with toasty clove and wood flavours. Best from late 2019 through 2026.

91 Points

Cameron Douglas
Grey Ridge

Grey Ridge Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago

Fruity and ripe with aromas of black cherry and black currant jelly, dark red rose, undergrowth and brown baking spices with some sweet oak moments. Dry, fruity, ripe and vibrant on the palate. Flavours of baked goods with dark cherry and plum, black currant and spice. Balanced, youthful and fresh with fine to moderate tannins and medium+ acidity, mild toasty wood spice notes and length. Balanced and well made reflecting the Otago voice well. Best from now and through 2024.

89 Points

Cameron Douglas
Mt Difficulty

Mt Difficulty Havoc Farm Pinot Noir 2016 Gibbston Valley Central Otago

Very distinctive bouquet of Pinot Noir with layers of dried herb thyme and savoury spice then plum and dark cherry, sweet vanilla and clove and a licorice layer. Dry, savoury, firm and youthful with tense and youthful tannins, medium+ acidity. Flavours of red berry fruits and dried thyme, moderate length and finish. A youthful wine needing food and time to come together completely. Decant for service and enjoy with food through 2019. Best from 2020 through 2024.

88 Points

Cameron Douglas
Man O' War

Man O' War Valkyrie Chardonnay 2017 Waiheke Island

No mistaking the signature of oak leading the bouquet with vanilla and raw sugar then baked yellow stone fruit of peach and nectarine with a little apricot and butterscotch. Dry, full-bodied and quite rich in flavour with toasty oak and baking spices then fruit flavours and some butterscotch notes. Balanced and still quite youthful with a moderate finish and complexity. Best from 2019 through 2023.

90 Points

Cameron Douglas
Man O' War

Man O' War Pinot Gris 2017 Ponui Island Auckland

Semi aromatic with distinctive scents and flavours of honeysuckle, spicy pear skin, yellow apple and white nectarine. Fresh and lively textures, a light gentle spritz let's the wine dance on the palate. Some residual sweetness is contrasted by a refreshing acid line. Bright and refreshing finish, well made with a moderate finish.

90 Points

Cameron Douglas
12,000 Miles

12,000 Miles Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Gladstone

Fruity, forward, herbaceous and vibrant bouquet with aromas and flavours of crisp green apple, lemon, grapefruit and hay. Dry, bright refreshing acidity, light weight with a layer of steely minerality. Drink now and through 2021.

88 Points

Cameron Douglas
Vidal of Hawkes Bay

Vidal of Hawkes Bay Soler Chardonnay 2017

A great bouquet of Chardonnay with textured & layered aromas suggesting white peach, sweet grapefruit, quince, lemon and white flowers. A flinty mineral layer adds complexity with a mix of new and older oak flavours adding additional allure. A weighty wine on the palate with a dry finish. A wine for many Chardonnay aficionados to embrace with finesse and charm. Drink now and through 2028.

97 Points

Cameron Douglas
Vidal of Hawkes Bay

Vidal of Hawkes Bay Legacy Syrah 2016 Gimblett Gravels

Fantastic bouquet of Syrah with softly spoken white pepper, baked raspberry, crushed black cherry, rose and a quiet yet powerful charm. No mistaking the complexity with a beguiling seductive core. Velvet & silk tannins, a backbone of acidity, vanilla, clove and a soft filé powder note. Long and complex finish. Drink now and through 2028.

96 Points

Cameron Douglas
Vidal of Hawkes Bay

Vidal of Hawkes Bay Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2016 Gimblett Gravels

Youthful, fruity and alluring bouquet with an intriguing textured complexity. A core of red and dark berry fruit flavours layered between finely tuned flavours of oak, firm chalky tannins and abundant acidity. There is a dry-stone mineral layer alongside  toasty wood spices adding in further complexity. A very appealing wine that will age well into the late 2020s. A great food wine option with decanting is highly recommended. 

95 Points

Cameron Douglas
Selaks

Selaks Silky Smooth Merlot 2016 Hawkes Bay

Bold and fruity bouquet packed with aromas of red cherry and plum; some toasty wood aromas and warm generous attack. Dry on the palate with flavours of plums and red berries, some cherry and violets flavours; some woody baking spice flavours highlight the tannins and acidity leading to the dry finish. Balanced and well made. Drink now and through 2024. 

87 Points

Cameron Douglas
Wet Jacket

Wet Jacket Pinot Gris 2017 Central Otago

Fresh, lifted, varietal and intense bouquet of Gris. Aromas and flavours of Bosc pear, D'Anjou pear, red and green apple, white pepper and stony mineral messages. Just dry with perhaps a whisper of residual sweetness; the core of this wine is the fruit then textures from acidity and a light lees or skin contact (or both). Balanced and well-made with decent length and intensity. Drink now and through 2021.

92 Points

Cameron Douglas
Man O' War

Man O' War Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Waiheke Island

Varietal bouquet with a mix of fresh tropical fruits, citrus and fresh herbs. Overall, vibrant and lively. Dry on the palate with plenty of acidity highlighting the frsh herb flavours; lemon, orange and tropical fruit flavours follow. A lively and herbaceous style with medium to light weight, dry on the finish and easy to drink. Enjoy now and through 2020.

85 Points

Cameron Douglas
Wet Jacket

Wet Jacket Chardonnay 2017 Central Otago

A classic bouquet of Chardonnay led by aromas of toasty vanilla spiced oak, baked yellow stone fruits and a spicy cashew nut & butterscotch layer. Plenty of intensity and allure as well as these elements complement each other. Dry on the palate with flavours that reflect the bouquet; medium+ acidity and oak, the wine has persistent oak and fruit messages, nutty oak layer and lengthy balanced finish. Best from 2019 through 2025.

90 Points

Cameron Douglas
Wet Jacket

Wet Jacket Riesling 2017 Central Otago

Lovely lifted and fragrant bouquet of Riesling with a white blossom, mandarin, lime flower and green apple; a mineral wet stone layer adds depth and complexity. Off-dry with some residual sweetness - however the drive on the palate with this wine is the texture and flavour combinations of citrus and peach, apricot stone and mandarin; the floral lime flower message returns as well. Crisp, refreshing and dry on the finish. Drink now and through 2028. 

92 Points

Cameron Douglas
Gladstone Vineyard

Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 Wairarapa

Ripe, red fruits of Pinot with red cherry, dark cherry, raspberry and some plum. A layer of baking spices highlights the use of oak with a soft vanilla and clove note. Dry with more intense fruit flavours on the palate, youthful chalky textured tannins, a light silty mineral line and plenty of acidity. A wine to enjoy today or cellar for a while. Best from late 2019 through 2025.

91 Points

Cameron Douglas
12,000 Miles

12,000 Miles Pinot Noir 2016 Gladstone - Wairarapa

Ripe, fruity, fresh and varietal with aromas and flavours of plum an red cherry, some raspberry and red flower suggestions. Fine tannins and decent level of acidity. Clam, youthful, balanced and totally drinkable today. Best from now and through 2022.

88 Points

Cameron Douglas
Wet Jacket

Wet Jacket Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago

Great Pinot Noir bouquet with a mix of soft ripe red fruit aromas - dark cherry, wild raspberry and boysenberry suggestions. A mix of oak scents with brown spices and a whisper of smoke and toast. Overall quietly complex. Dry, fruity and varietal with flavours that match the nose plus textures from tannins and acidity - both vibrant and youthful. Fairly lengthy finish, balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2024.

91 Points

Cameron Douglas
Villa Maria

Villa Maria Albarino Braided Gravels 2017 Hawkes Bay

Fresh, vibrant bouquet with aromas of peaches and lemon, some floral layers and gentle surge of white spice. Dry on the palate with a fleshy, juicy and fruit centric flavours. Plenty of texture adding both energy and appeal with a chalk, white peach and lemon barley flavours. The wine transitions naturally from stone-fruit to citrus to textures. Long and refreshing finish. balanced and well made. Drink from now and through 2022.

90 Points

Cameron Douglas
12,000 Miles

12,000 Miles Pinot Gris 2017 Gladstone - Wairarapa

Floral, fresh, varietal and fruity with aromas and flavours of sweet pear and yellow apple, a twist of lemon and white peach. Just dry, fruity and fleshy on the palate, a simple yet refreshing expression, white fleshed fruit with a hint of spice. Immediately enjoyability and drinkability. Best from today and through 2020.

88 Points

Cameron Douglas