Boston Wine Expo 2000

New Zealand


Babich Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough '99 -- Candied pear aromas hit your nose first, and then the grass and asparagus show up. More asparagus shows in the mouth, along with candied apples and pears, and a hint of tropical fruit. The thirst-quenching acidity on the finish really helps this wine.
B

Babich Chardonnay Gisborne '99 -- An unwooded Chardonnay, with good pear and apple aromas, and pure fruit in the mouth. Generous flavors of pear, apple and grapefruit lead to a long citrus finish.
B+

Babich Irongate Chardonnay Hawkes Bay '98 -- A barrel fermented wine, which shows a marked contrast in style when compared to the unwooded Chardonnay. Oaky notes come forward on the nose, along with pear, kiwi and tropical fruits. Vanilla, peach and tropical fruit flavors show nicely, and the vanilla and spice finish completes the experience. Lots of oak, but this wine has the fruit to support it.
B+

Babich Winemaker's Reserve Syrah Gimblett Road Hawkes Bay '98 -- Heady aromas of plums and a touch of spicy oak. Lots of plummy fruit in the mouth and moderate tannins. A very good, lush finish with plum and a hint of leather. May be a bit simple, but when the fruit is this good, who cares? This is a good example of the surprisingly (to me at least) high quality New Zealand reds made in the atypically hot vintage of '98.
A-

Isabel Riesling Marlborough '99 -- Interesting floral and peach nose, with lush peach and apple flavors. Plenty of acidity, and a long finish make this a thoroughly enjoyable wine.
B+

Isabel Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough '99 -- Not one of the agressivly grassy Sauvignon Blancs, this wine shows pear, grapefruit and lemon aromas. However, a little asparagus shows up underneath the pear and citrus flavors, just to let you know that this really is Sauvignon Blanc. Slightly spritzy mouthfeel, and a long lemon and grapefruit finish. Good concentration and nicely balanced.
A-

Isabel Chardonnay Marlborough '98 -- Pears, toast and peach aromas segue into flavors of oak and more pears. The short finish shows elements of oak, grapefruit and pears.
B

Isabel Pinot Noir Martinborough '98 -- Another of the very good reds from '98, this wine exhibits powerful aromas of leather, earth and cherries, that carry over onto the lush, round palate. Not too tannic, with a good dose of acidity perking up the finish.
B+

Matariki Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay '97 -- Pure fruit nose, with lemon and other citrus aromas. On the palate, the Sauvignon Blanc grassiness comes through, along with some grapefruit. Short gooseberry and lemon finish.
B

Matariki Chardonnay Hawkes Bay '97 -- Big oaky aromas, with lemon, grapefruit and even some grassy notes, making me think that this is the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc approach to Chardonnay. Pear and vanilla flavors, with a touch of chile pepper, and plenty of acidity. An unusual Chardonnay, and perhaps not for everyone, but very interesting.
B

Matariki Syrah Hawkes Bay '98 -- Creamy notes on the nose, with generous plum and meat aromas. More plums in the mouth, with leather and a hint of toast. Full and lush, with a strong tannic backbone.
B+

Matariki Anthology Hawkes Bay '97 -- This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah is another success for this producer. Plum, bell pepper and leather aromas give an excellent introduction to the round, full black fruit and green pepper flavors, hanging on a strong tannic backbone.
B+

Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay '99 -- Expressive aromas of grean pea and candied citrus fruit. Served too cold, so it was difficult to get much more from the nose, and the palate was limited to some pea and grapefruit flavors, with a slightly spritzy feel. Not as much acid as many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.
B

Matua Valley Chardonnay Eastern Bays '99 -- Almost no nose at first, as this wine was also served too cold. Even after warming in the glass, though, not much came out. Buttery oak and a little pear fruit in the mouth.
C+

Matua Valley Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Hawkes Bay '98 -- Modest aromas of plum and green pepper, with a good amount of plum, currant and green pepper flavors, framed by an appropriate amount of oak. A solid, if unexciting, effort.
B

Alan Scott Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough '99 -- Asparagus, grass, pear, grapefruit and other citrus flavors and aromas are wrapped into an elegant package with plenty of acidity to keep things fresh. Yet another example of the wonderful Sauvignon Blancs coming out of New Zealand these days.
B+

Alan Scott Chardonnay Marlborough '98 -- Oak totally dominates the nose, with vanilla, toast and spice aromas. Some pear fruit tries to fight its way through a floor of oak planks, but only a little manages to escape. Nice, bracing acidity on the finish, though.
B

Alan Scott Riesling Marlborough '99 -- Unusually floral nose for a Riesling. For a minute, I almost thought that I was tasting a Gewurztraminer. But there were mineral and lemon aromas, too, and grapefruit, apple and mineral flavors, that pegged this wine as a really good example of dry Riesling.
B+

Te Kairanga Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough '99 -- This wine is made without any use of oak, and it shows in the pure fruit and herb aromas and flavors. Grass and gooseberries are the predominant aromas, with chile pepper, grass, and lemon flavors. Slightly spritzy.
B

Te Kairanga Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough '99 -- In contrast with the Marlborough, this wine is 60% barrel fermented, with obvious vanilla and spice overtones on the lemon and gooseberry nose. Lots of citrus fruit and grassy flavors that aren't at all overpowered by the judicious use of oak.
B+

Te Kairanga Pinot Noir Reserve Martinborough '97 -- Cherry, plum and oak aromas, with more cherries, plums and toast flavors. A bit bigger than many Pinot Noirs, and not as lean as many New Zealand offerings.
B+

Te Kairanga Cabernet Sauvignon Martinborough '96 -- Chile pepper and buttered plum nose, with more green pepper and modest plum flavors. Moderate tannins.
B-


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