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In an average year, Michael Cooper tastes around 3,000 wines and his wealth of knowledge has earned him the position of New Zealand’s most acclaimed wine writer. Join this site to take advantage of Michael’s expert advice, reviews and best buy recommendations.


This Month’s Best Buy

Stonecroft Crofters Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2019

Stonecroft Crofters Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2019

As a drink-young style of Hawke’s Bay Syrah, this smooth-flowing red is hard to beat. Hand-picked and partly barrel-matured, it is highly fragrant, fresh, medium-bodied and supple, with strong, plummy, spicy flavours, showing excellent ripeness, density and harmony. Certified organic, it offers fine value.
Number of Stars:
4.5
Price:
$25.00
Variety:
Syrah
Vintage:
2019

This Month’s Treat Yourself

Elephant Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2017

Elephant Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2017

Already delicious, but set for a long life, this skilfully crafted red was estate-grown at three sites in the Gimblett Gravels, the Bridge Pa Triangle and Te Awanga. Matured for 20 months in French oak casks (38 per cent new), it is full-coloured, weighty and complex, with concentrated, plummy, spicy flavours, supple tannins and a very harmonious, lasting finish. A notably ‘complete’ wine.

Number of Stars:
5
Price:
$54.00
Variety:
Syrah
Vintage:
2017

Most Recent Tasting Notes

The 2019 vintage (4.5*) is ‘a sexy little number’, according to the back label. Based entirely on Pinot Noir, it is pink, with a hint of orange. Fresh and vivacious, it is full-bodied, with strong strawberry, apricot and spice flavours, and a very harmonious, dry (3 grams/litre residual sugar), appetisingly crisp finish. Tasted in mid 2020, it’s drinking well now.

Details

Type: Rosé Wines
Variety: Rosé Wines
Vintage: 2019
Overall Rating for All Vintages Tasted: ★★★★ – 4 Stars
Price: $29.00 NZD
Sweetness: DRY
Value for Money: –V

Buyer’s Guide Edition: 2021

The 2018 vintage (4*) was grown at a site south of Martinborough township, formerly Hudson Vineyard. Matured in French oak barrels (16 per cent new), it is a gentle, strongly varietal, savoury wine with ripe, cherryish, spicy, slightly nutty flavours, balanced tannins and considerable complexity. Drink now or cellar.

Details

Type: Red Wines
Variety: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2018
Overall Rating for All Vintages Tasted: ★★★★ – 4 Stars
Price: $45.00 NZD
Sweetness: DRY
Value for Money: –V

Buyer’s Guide Edition: 2021

Offering good value, the 2018 vintage (4.5*) was estate-grown in West Auckland. Fragrant and refined, it is mouthfilling, vibrant and youthful, with excellent depth of ripe grapefruit and peach flavours, finely integrated biscuity oak, balanced acidity and obvious potential for cellaring. Best drinking 2022+.

Details

Type: White Wines
Variety: Chardonnay
Vintage: 2018
Overall Rating for All Vintages Tasted: ★★★★✰ – 4.5 Stars
Price: $25.00 NZD
Sweetness: DRY
Value for Money: V+

Buyer’s Guide Edition: 2021

The overall rating for quality is Tentative, as Michael has only reviewed a small number of vintages of this particular wine.

When to drink: 2022

The rich, tightly structured 2017 vintage (5*) was estate-grown at Te Awanga (principally) and in the Bridge Pa Triangle, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured for a year in French oak barrels (26 per cent new). Bright, light lemon/green, it is full-bodied, with concentrated, ripe stonefruit flavours, biscuity, mealy notes adding complexity, and a crisp, sustained finish. A refined, tight-knit wine, still youthful wine, it’s well worth cellaring to 2021+.

Details

Type: White Wines
Variety: Chardonnay
Vintage: 2017
Overall Rating for All Vintages Tasted: ★★★★★ – 5 Stars
Price: $54.00 NZD
Sweetness: DRY
Value for Money: AV

Buyer’s Guide Edition: 2021

This wine is a Potential Classic.

When to drink: 2021