Alpha Domus

Alpha Domus The Aviator 2016 , Hawkes Bay

A blend of Cabernets Sauvignon & Franc, Merlot and Malbec - in a Special Edition offering.

Aromas of blackberry and plum, milk chocolate and vanilla, toasty oak and violet. An intriguing, fruity and youthful bouquet overall. Flavours on the palate include blackberry pie, dark plum, black cherry and vanilla pod. Violets, wood, earth and dry stone. Bold tannins, medium+ acidity, full-bodied and lengthy. A natural complexity and long finish. This wine deserves to mature in your cellar for at least 4 years before you try again. Best from late 2022 through 2028+. Well made and quite delicious!

94 Points

Cameron Douglas
Cable Bay Wine Ltd

Cable Bay Chardonnay Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2017 Auckland

Peaches and dried red apple, vanilla , cashew and a little burnt butter, some wild flowers, grapefruit peel and mild toasty complexity. Delicious on the palate at ambient temperature - flavours of wood spice and cashew, apple and grapefruit then peach. Almost full-bodied, medium+ alcohol youthful acid line. As the wine matures slowly in glass the pieces of the puzzle move closer together forming a natural harmony. Nice creamy texture with a light flinty/mineral quality. Lengthy finish, well made. Drink now and through 2024.

92 Points

Cameron Douglas
Stonecroft

Stonecroft Serine Syrah 2016 Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay (Organic)

Varietal, peppery, oaky and focused fruit forward momentum. A nicely youthful bouquet too with aromas of pepper spice, black currant, fresh and dried raspberry and whole clove oak spice. The wood also has a toasty almost sweet layer adding complexity and intrigue. Plush and fruity on the palate with flavours that reflect the nose. No mistaking the impact of oak and barrel maturity with a sweetness and brown spices layer. The natural pepperiness is balanced and well tuned into the palate. Medium+ acidity and lengthy developing complex finish. Drinking best from late 2020 through 2026.

93 Points

Cameron Douglas
X Wines

X Wines ‘Little x’ Organic Pinot Noir 2015 Upper Moutere

Nice bouquet, attractive and quite alluring with baking spices, red berry fruits and old rose aromas. Clove then vanilla, toasty wood layer, fresh and dried cherry, dried strawberry and plum. Dry with a firm youthful palate of textures - fine tannins, chalky, some drier red berry fruit flavours, floral and organic wild berry fruits, slightly elevated alcohol (easily tamed with food), fairly lengthy finish, well made. Overall this is a very nice wine with a particular personality and pinosity. Drink now and through 2022.

89 Points

Cameron Douglas
Jules Taylor

Jules Taylor Chardonnay 2018 Marlborough

Plush, fruity, gently spicy, varietal bouquet of Chardonnay with aromas of white peach and apple, hints of clove and vanilla then a mineral core of dry stone. Weighty, fresh and dry on the palate with a fine creamy texture, flavours of peaches and apples, wood spices and stony minerality. Balanced, lengthy and totally enjoyable. Drink now and through 2024.

90 Points

Cameron Douglas
Hancock and Sons

Hancock and Sons Chardonnay 2018 Bridge Pa, Hawkes Bay

A very classically styled bouquet of Chardonnay with some very attractive aromas of fresh peach and red apple, quince, vanilla and a little grapefruit peel. A layer of nut and seared butter and some stony mineral moments. Nice and dry on the palate with a pure fruit expression immediate, flavours of yellow and white orchard fruits, balanced, nicely placed use of oak, medium + acidity and complexity. A young wine still finding its true statement and balance. Lots of potential. Well made. Drinking best from mid 2020 through 2025.

91 Points

Cameron Douglas
X Wines

X Wines Moutere Hills Pinot Noir 2014 Nelson

A great bouquet of Pinot Noir - floral, complex and a little mysterious. Aromas of baking spices, red plum and strawberry, some cherry moments, old rose scents and layers of oak. Equally complex and layered on the palate with flavours and textures of plum and dried cherry, whispers of smoke and tobacco, brown spices and old rose. Fine integrating tannins, clay and crushed rock soil suggestions, lovely balance and length. A delicious wine. Drink now and through 2024.

95 Points

Cameron Douglas
Rockburn

The Chosen SV Pinot Noir 2018 Central Otago - Produced by Rockburn Wines

Really lovely and lively, youthful bouquet of Pinot Noir with aromas of dark red rose and cherry, softly spoken baking spices of oak, a whisper of raspberry and red apple skin, plush and perfumed. Quite lush and fruity on the palate - and youthful - with flavours that reflect the nose - rose and cherry as well as plum and tart raspberry. Fine to moderate tannins and medium+ acidity. Moderate presence of oak, fairly lengthy finish, quite delicious. Drink now and through 2024.

90 Points

Cameron Douglas
NO1 Family Estate

NO1 Family Estate Cuvée Remy 2013 Marlborough

Crafted from 55% Chardonnay with the balance in Pinot Noir, aged for 55 months on lees - the bouquet is something rather special. Fully developed autolysis with a delicate smoky nutty quality, toasted white fleshed stone fruits, citrus and red apple. A natural spice and white rose give way to a core of minerality and complexity. Just dry on the palate with the suggestion of just a little sweetness. Creamy rounded and silky textures with abundant acidity and a very fine mousse. A totally charming wine, complex, weighty and rich yet also elegant and just a little bit sexy. Drinking perfectly now, but will continue to develop as the wine integrates further. Best from today and through 2026.

97 Points

Cameron Douglas
Neudorf

Neudorf Rosie’s Block Chardonnay 2018 Nelson

A calm, even, fragrant bouquet of Chardonnay. A mix of ripe yellow fruits layered between scents of oak with cashew and brown spice then ripe grapefruit and apple. Equally calm on the palate, balanced, even and persistent. Flavours of yellow stone fruit and citrus then roasted nut and cream. The weighty creamy texture is not forced yet is also a wine with a youthful medium+ acidity, a new oak moment and a natural complexity bringing all the attributes together. Lengthy finish and well made. Drink now and through 2024.

95 Points

Cameron Douglas
Archangel

Archangel Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago

Floral, fruity, spicy and varietal with a core of ripe red and dark cherry, some plum and black currant. A distinctive rose and red tea layer adds complexity as well as charm. Equally floral and fruity on the palate with flavours that reflect the nose. The oak adds a layer of spice and toastiness as well as tannins and structure. Dry, fine chalky tannins and a balanced even, lengthy finish. Decant for service if enjoying before 2021 with best drinking from 2021 through 2027.

94 Points

Cameron Douglas
Rippon

Rippon Tinker’s Field Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2016 Laka Wanaka, Central Otago

The bouquet of this wine is complex and takes some time to let go and release its story - so decant for service please. Aromas and flavours of dark berries and plums, wild flowers and bespoke tea. No mistaking the youthful tension of tannin and acidity supported by a core of fruit and minerality then oak. Complex and lengthy finish. Very young still needing some cellar time. Best enjoyed from 2024 through 2034+

96 Points

Rippon Tinker’s Bequest Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2016 Lake Wanaka, Central Otago

Immediately complex and inviting with a distinctive perfume of roses and minerals, wild thyme and preserved plums. Baking spices of oak and a generous toasty nuttiness. Dry on the palate with a varietal package of fruit, youthful expressive tannins, abundant acidity and steely textured core. Decant for service if drinking before 2021, best from 2024 through 2032+.

95 Points

Cameron Douglas
The Elder

The Elder Pinot Noir 2016 Martinborough, Wairarapa

Distinctive, focused , varietal and attention seeking bouquet of Pinot Noir. Aromas of dark red berries and plums, plenty of brown spices and toastiness of oak with clove and vanilla all underpinned with stony rocky mineral foundation. Equally distinctive on the palate with flavours that mirror the nose and core of power and youthfulness that needs quite some time to settle. Abundant tannins and acidity, plenty of oak and fruit flavours combine to show the potential for ageing this wine has. Lengthy finish. Best to try again in 2021 and likely ready to enjoy then and through 2030.

92 Points

Cameron Douglas
Pegasus Bay

Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2017 Waipara Valley, North Canterbury

A great bouquet - intense and forward - no mistaking the baking spices and roasted cashew attack then aromas of sweet grapefruit, lemon, white peach and minerality. On the palate - full-bodied and full-on with a powerful core of flavours from baked custard and brulée to citrus and apple to stone fruits and baking spices. Plenty of oak, toastiness and acidity to play with. A long finish with some fine oak tannins and great complexity. Drink now and through 2028.

Points 95

Cameron Douglas
The Elder

The Elder Pinot Gris 2017 Martinborough, Wairarapa

A precise, clean, fruity and varietal bouquet with aromas of green pear and apple, quince and crushed rock minerality. Nicely dry on the palate with a pure fruit expression - lemon , pear, apple, citrus pith and a fresh mineral quality. Plenty of acidity with a gentle phenolic texture adds a layer of complexity and charm. Decent length and finish. One of the few Pinots Gris I taste that needs some cellar time. Best from late 2020 through 2024.

Points 92

Cameron Douglas
Pegasus Bay

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Riesling 2017 Waipara Valley, North Canterbury

Aromas of lemon curd, white peach, apple, white rose and honeysuckle are mirrored on the palate with a tense and vibrant acidity, flavours of citrus and white fleshed orchard fruits, a core of minerality with a saline note. As the wine opens up the complexity builds keeping pace with flavour concentration and texture. Delicious! Drink now and through 2030+.

95 Points

Cameron Douglas
Akitu

Akitu A1 Pinot Noir 2017 Central Otago

A richly scented bouquet of Pinot Noir with aromas of dark berries, wood spices, wild thyme and a core of savoury complexity. Plum and dark cherry, black currant and wild flowers, stony, rocky outcrop minerality. Youthful, tense , firm and focused textures on the palate with flavours that reflect the nose - dark berries then wood spices, some wild thyme and undergrowth moments. Youthful tannins and acid line. Lengthy finish, dry, well made, youthful. Best from 2021 through 2029. 94 Points

Footnote: I judged this wine at the Decanter World Wine Awards just a few weeks ago. Wines at this competition - the largest in the world - are poured from 750 ml bottles, tasted blind and discussed by a panel of fours judges. I gave the wine 95 points - at that judging. The score above (94 points) was from a sample bottle 375 ml tasted in my tasting room at home. Have to say I’m pretty happy with the 94 Points. It demonstrates pretty clearly (to me at least) that bottle size can matter - though not by much - when wine is simply this good. Well done Andrew Donaldson and the winemaking team.

Cameron Douglas
Novum

Novum Chardonnay 2018 Marlborough

An intriguing almost sensual bouquet of Chardonnay. Aromas of red apple and sweet peach tea, lees spices and white flowers, flint and chalk-like minerality, and a light dusting of fragrant baking spices. Very sophisticated and quite pure on the palate - dry, complex, even and lengthy. A precise palate weight with a youthful acid line, extremely fine wood tannins and fine lees texture. Flavours of white and yellow orchard fruits, wood spices and fine stone-like minerality. A delicious example, modern, youthful, complex and intriguing. Lots to like. Drink now and through 2026. 95 Points

Cameron Douglas
Anthony Joseph Vidal of Hawkes Bay

Vidal Soler Chardonnay 2018 Hawkes Bay

There’s no mistaking the power and youthful impact that the bouquet of this wine offers - peach and nectarine, vanilla, burnt butter and brazil nut, lees spices and blond tobacco. A natural complexity and raw energy. Equally intense on the palate with flavours of yellow stone fruit, grapefruit, apple and layers of wood spice and lees textures. An abundance of oak and acidity with some fine oak tannins. Very lengthy & finishing just dry and complex. Decant for service now and through 2021. Ideal drinking from 2021 through 2028. 96 Points

Vidal Soler Syrah 2017 Hawkes Bay

A bouquet filled with aromas of violets, black currants, raspberry, peppery sweet meats, smoky oak and layers of garrigue, dry stone and baking spices. Complex and beguiling. Very expressive on the palate with flavours of oak and wood smoke, dark raspberry and black currant, loads of pepper and sweet black olive. Weighty yet fine, a strong back bone of acidity and firm youthful tannins, a core of fruit and ripeness with a long dry finish. This wine is delicious and should be in your cellar. Decant for service now and through 2022. Excellent drinking from 2022 through 2030 if stored well. 98 Points

Vidal Soler Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Hawkes Bay

A bouquet that is slow to reveal it’s story. Aromas do emerge of blackened blackberry, dark plum and fresh cigar tobacco. Marmite and meat, a sweet toasted wood scent accentuated with aromas of clove and vanilla, then dried herb and baked bell-pepper. A complexity unfurls after many minutes in glass. Youthful, tense, firm and dry with flavours reflective of the nose. Abundant fruit and wood tannins with plenty of acidity. Complex, lengthy finish. A wine that should be in your cellar - will age and harmonise over the coming 3-5 years. Ideal drinking 2024 through 2034. 96 Points

Cameron Douglas
Anthony Joseph Vidal of Hawkes Bay

Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2018 Hawkes Bay

Seductive, enticing, complex and glamorous bouquet of Chardonnay. Aromas of roasted cashew and yellow peach, baked golden apple then grapefruit, a cheesy, whipped cream moment and easy to spot wood spices. On the palate - tense, vibrant, weighty, youthful and dry. As complex and glamorous as the bouquet suggests with flavours of white and yellow orchard fruits, wood spice and a flinty, leesy, toasty harmonious core. Quite youthful with a refreshing acid line, very fine wood tannin layer, lees spice and mineral finish. Delicious now though I do recommend decanting, even better in 2021. A wine of investment that will be the talk of many fabulous dinner parties through to 2030 and probably beyond. 96 Points

Cameron Douglas