New Zealand wine is largely produced in ten major wine growing regions spanning latitudes 36° to 45° South and extending 990 mi. The regions are from north to south; Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury/Waipara and Central Otago. New Zealand red wines are typically made from a blend of varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and much less often Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec), or Pinot Noir. Recently, in Hawkes Bay, there have been wines made from Syrah, either solely or blends, as well as Tempranillo, Montepulciano and Sangiovese. In white wines Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc predominate in plantings and production. Individual wine makers and the particular qualities of a vintage are more likely to determine factors such as malolactic fermentation or the use of oak for aging.
- Item #: i_378233Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 92WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Vibrant and mouthwatering, with generous flavors of Key lime pie, fleshy green papaya and savory roasted herb. Focused and intense on the long, refreshing finish. Drink now. 3,000 cases made."
- Item #: i_381101Bottle Size: 750mlIn only three decades, Martinborough has transformed from a sleepy colonial town to a world-class wine village. And Pinot Noir is the wine that really put this region on the map with its boutique Burgundian style. In 1980, owner Clive Paton sold his herd of cows and planted his first vines on a small, stony sheep paddock. He became one of a handful of people who pioneered winegrowing in the area and named his small plot of land Ata Rangi meaning "dawn sky" or "new beginning." Obviously, he made the right decision and his wines are undoubtedly amongst the best Pinot Noir's crafted in the new world.
- Item #: i_377109Bottle Size: 750MLAta Rangi, meaning "dawn sky" or "new beginning" is a small New Zealand winery with a big reputation. Located at the southern end of the North Island, Clive Paton planted his first vines on a small, stony sheep paddock at the edge of the Martinborough village in 1980 as one of the early pioneers of wine-growing in the area.
A vibrant, textural, food-friendly style of sauvignon blanc thanks to Martinborough's naturally low yields, hand-picked, hand-sorted fruit, partial barrel ferment and extended contact with yeast lees in both tank and barrel. Refined aromas and flavors of passionfruit and lemongrass align with hints of honeysuckle, gooseberry and ruby grapefruit to provide a mouth-filling medley of drinking pleasure. This wine is all class; rich and finely balanced, with great length on the palate. As wine-writer Tyson Stelzer notes "Helen Masters' ideal sauvignon is neither herbaceous nor tropical, but strikes a balance in between."
- Item #: i_382553Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The medium to full-bodied 2015 Burn Cottage Vineyard Pinot Noir offers up aromas of roses, ripe cherries, crushed stone and subtle hints of pencil shavings. Despite 31% whole clusters and 19% new oak, neither is readily apparent on the nose at this stage. On the palate, there's a sense of restrained fruit coupled with wiry, herbal, tea-like nuances that add complexity and texture, extending through a long, silky finish. This remarkable property remains at the forefront of Central Otago Pinot Noir producers."
Marquis Sauvage sought out Ted Lemon, owner and winemaker of Littorai in Sebastopol, CA, to plant their new vineyard. Ted proposed that Burn Cottage would be Biodynamically farmed from inception, and that is the path that has been followed with great commitment and enthusiasm. From there, a great partnership was formed, thanks to the potential of the land as well as Ted's deep connections to New Zealand, and particularly, to Central Otago. Ted is head winemaker and vineyard manager, and as Marquis calls him, "the guiding hand on the tiller at Burn Cottage." Similarly to Ted's property at Littorai, Burn Cottage is a fully functional farm, with 10 hectares under vine and the rest of the land devoted to cattle, chickens, beehives, olive groves, and other native species of New Zealand plants, bushes, and trees. They also produce their own compost and grow many of the preparations needed for Biodynamic farming. At Burn Cottage, they believe that biodiversity is the cornerstone of healthy farming.
This is the flagship wine from Burn Cottage: the 100% estate vineyard Pinot Noir. The label is a derivative of a 1795 fairy tale called “The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily” which represents the ideal intersection of people and the land reflected in Biodynamics. This Pinot Noir was harvested from ten different clones on seven different blocks of the vineyard. 1,076 cases produced.
- Item #: i_382515Bottle Size: 750mlCashburn is Burn Cottage's second label made from barrels that didn't go into the Burn Cottage bottling. This wine is Exhibit A in our case for Central Otago Pinot Noir's status as a worthy contender on the world stage. A prime vineyard site, perfect Pinot climate, and a masterful hand at the helm all add up to gorgeous terroir and varietal expression. If Cashburn came from Sonoma or Chambolle-Musigny, you'd surely be shelling out twice this price to acquire this wine.
Winemaker's Notes - Ripe dark cherry, redcurrant and chocolate notes precede savoury notes of wild thyme, briar and earth. Supple mouthfilling tannins give depth to the palate, while the freshness and red-berry acidity retain lovely length, focus and balance.
- Item #: i_377780Bottle Size: 750mlA Pinot Noir hailing from New Zealand that exhibits juicy plum and black cherry which are contrasted by notes of spice and rose petal. On the palate, this wine is eminently smooth and balanced, with cherry notes standing out and silky tannins adding structure.
- Item #: i_377149Bottle Size: 750mlThe Bourgeois family was on a worldwide search for a new slice of terroir, similar to their own in Sancerre, where ultra-premium Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir could be grown. After a 12-year exploration, New Zealand revealed itself as the place to create a style of wines that would reflect the Bourgeois philosophy. In 2000, the family fell in love with the land and wines of Marlborough and in the same year, made the instinctive and emotive decision to purchase 98 Hectares of native pasture. Their first grave vine planting was in 2001 and with much hard work and meticulous management and planning, they started producing wines of stellar quality-- like this one.
In the French tradition, the vineyard is planted in high density to encourage competition between vines and restrain vigor. This natural vigor control means the vines put more energy into the grapes, rather than the canopy - concentrating the berries. Dry farming (using no irrigation) also helps keep vigor under control. By stressing the vines to just the right level, it forces the roots to go deeper in the soil, thereby getting the purest expression of terroir and showing more minerality from the river stone soil.
The nose is resplendent with stone fruits and spring blossoms dancing amid well water, flint and mineral scents. The palate is viscous and rich, yet tempered by good acidity, as a mélange of mixed stone and tropical fruits (pear, white peach, lichee, lime) lead to a mid-palate of rich, brown spices and mineral water. Mixed fruits flourish in the crisp, fresh finish. Think fruits of the sea (richer fish, shellfish) or your favorite 'bigger' cheeses
- Item #: i_377372Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 90Pinot Noir is the single red varietal of Cloudy Bay and is ideally suited to the climate and soils of this remote southern wine region. An intensely varietal palate reveals layers of dark red fruits, savoury dried herbs, charry oak and silky tannins.
WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, the 2015 Pinot Noir has pretty violet, red cherry and warm raspberry scents with a hint of cinnamon and dusty earth. Soft, elegant and medium-bodied, it gives lovely purity and a more understated expression."
- Item #: i_382966Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay spent 12 months in 15% new French oak. It features subtle hints of toasted hazelnut and butter, along with notes of white peaches and citrus. This medium-bodied wine is silky in texture, with a long, grapefruit-tinged finish. It shouldn't be overlooked in the Cloudy Bay lineup."
JAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS - "This is a concentrated chardonnay with fruit in the melon and apple zone. Some flinty complexity here, too. Poached pears and lemons combine on the palate. There’s a nutty twist through the finish. Drink now. Screw cap."
- Item #: i_377090Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 93JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - ale lemon straw. Ripe Sauvignon Blanc aromatics with notes of white peach, citrus blossom, honeysuckle and kaffir lime. Harmonious and rich on the palate with ripe citrus and fresh apple and a layered, dry, textural feel."
- Item #: i_381223Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Wine Spectator: 92James Suckling: 93There’s a consummately crafted dimension to this wine that propels it above the vast sea of sauvignon, a wine of genuine character and interest. A one-fifth portion of wild ferment and lees ageing instils a mineral mouth feel and complexing nuances of struck flint. Carefully regulated yields have produced an impeccably gauged fruit profile that tactically dodges the extremes of underripe herbaceousness and overripe passionfruit, falling neatly into the middle ground of grapefruit, lemon zest, guava and golden delicious apple. A focused acid line and outstanding, lingering, textural persistence make not only for immediate appeal but promise medium-term potential.
- Item #: i_379448Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 92WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "This white mixes power with elegance, delivering generous lemon meringue, orange blossom, peach and dried mango notes, with spice, green tea and floral details swirling about on the long, expressive finish. Drink now. 4,386 cases made."
- Item #: i_379954Bottle Size: 750MLFermented in wooden French cuvees, hand plunged and aged in 50% new French oak barriques for 18 months. It was bottled without fining or filtration, promoting soft mouth feel and texture. The wine was given every priority during its elevation and now shows all the hallmarks of a grand young wine on release in 2016. It is at the vanguard of Pinot noir style in the New World and should age gracefully for up to 10 years. The wine is a true reflection of both Martinborough’s unique terroir and the skills and experience of winemakers Larry McKenna and Huw Kinch.
- Item #: i_380558Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker Notes - Crushed sea shells and delicate citrus blossom lead the focussed and detailed nose. The palate follows with a salinity and minerality that is subtle, complex and intriguing. Devoid of any overt wine-making characters, the wine offers a transparency that allows its unique vineyard origin of schist gravel soils to really shine and take centre stage. Refined and poised with serious precision.
- Item #: i_383428Bottle Size: 750mlBIODYNAMIC
Wafts of elegant perfumed florals dominate the nose in the usual Calvert manner, but with a stronger emphasis in this very precise and attractively scented vintage. Hints of crushed spice and red fruits give way again to a cascade of florals on the palate. Ethereal, sophisticated and majestic. The finish is tightly focussed with its characteristic fine grained and seamless tannins. Silky and long.
- Item #: i_379498Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 93JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "This has impressive depth of fruit as well as fragrant top line perfume. The oak spice suits the dark cherry and sweet earthiness. On the palate there is a punchy frame of tannins that draws tight and fresh through the finish thanks to bracing acidity."
- Item #: i_383699Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 96WINE SPECTATOR 96 POINTS; #12 TOP 100 2018 - "Elegant, fresh and vibrant, this red starts off wonderfully perfumed, with lavender, white pepper and green tea notes that accentuate the purity of the cherry and raspberry flavors. Polished tannins still provide some grip on the finish, where white truffle and forest floor details linger. Drink now through 2032."
- Item #: i_381863Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 91James Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "This youthful sauvignon has attractive lime-leaf and fresh-herb aromas with passion fruit and a succulent, fine and fresh lime finish. Immediate enjoyment here."
We are huge fans of New Zealand wines so it's natural that we would follow Kevin Judd and what he's doing... Kevin's career is intrinsically linked with the global path of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. He was born in England, grew up in Australia and moved to New Zealand in 1983; soon after he became the founding winemaker at Cloudy Bay and remained there for their first 25 vintages. In 2009, Kevin unveiled his personal venture, Greywacke (pronounced "grey-wacky"), named after New Zealand's prolific bedrock, and fulfilling a long-held dream of his and his wife Kimberley. Once we tasted his wines we were instantly smitten-- these are wines of character, showcasing the terroir they come from, the high quality of New Zealand grapes and the knowledge and talent of the winemaker behind it all. And the critics agree:
"Some of New Zealand's most exciting emerging stars include Greywacke... Kevin Judd takes Marlborough Sauvignon to new heights." - Lisa Perotti-Brown, eRobert Parker.com
- Item #: i_383456Bottle Size: 750mlWinery Notes: "A beguiling combination of gooseberry, melon, tropical fruits and lime zest, along with an elegant seam of acidity, and a refreshing effervescence. This crisp, clean and undeniably vibrant sparkling wine elevates classic Marlborough Sauvignon to celebratory levels. A perfect partner to the freshest of seafood, particularly oysters. This wine is equally delicious on its own and imperative when there is cause to raise one’s glass."
- Item #: i_383442Bottle Size: 750mlLocated in Upper Wairau Valley, a remote corner in one of the most remote wine regions in the world, Hillersden is an interesting winery that is as much about Kiwi ingenuity as it is of wine.
The wine is an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc. Nose of guava and pineapple with an understated note of fine herb. The palate is texturally richer than most New Zealanders, with soft pear flavors that are kept in line with a POW of fresh acidity in the finish. Fresh grass and hazelnuts on the finish.
- Item #: i_382598Bottle Size: 750mlBurghound: 90Vinous Media: 90The Innocent Bystander ranks as one of our top Pinot Noir buys of the year. Boasting an expressive nose and wonderful texture, this Pinot Noir delivers on all fronts. Raising a glass to the nose reveals intense florals and a mélange of fruits that awaken the senses. Tasting this wine is a true pleasure with beautifully polished tannins framing perfectly ripened fresh red and dark fruits.
This wine received a 90 Point score from Josh Reynolds of Vinous Media who declared, "This is a wonderful value in Pinot Noir." Of course, he was referring to this wine at the regular price and we've been selling a lot of it at $21.98 per bottle. The great news is we received special pricing and can now offer the Innocent Bystander at $14.95 per bottle! This is a savings of more than 30%.
Even more impressive, Allen Meadows of Burghound also gave this wine a 90 point score. Meadows is a well-known wine critic who is regarded as perhaps the greatest authority on Pinot Noir. He does not hand out high scores without merit and it unusual to see him give 90 points to a wine at this price point.
The southernmost vineyards of the world lie in Central Otago. Unlike most other New Zealand appellations, Central Otago is located inland in the middle of the southern island. Its continental climates feature large diurnal shifts with warm temperatures during the day and very cool nights. This makes Central Otago perfect for growing grapes which thrive in cool climates such as Pinot Noir. The grapes are harvested by hand and the wine is made with minimal intervention, letting the grapes speak for themselves.
The Innocent Bystander is a perfect wine for this time of year when the sun is shining a little brighter and things are warming up. This is a versatile wine which can be served to friends and family with confidence.
ANTONIO GALLONI VINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "Vinified with 25% whole clusters and aged for ten months in 90% used and 10% new French oak barriques. Light red. Intensely perfumed nose combines red berries, potpourri and Asian spices, with a hint of musky sassafras in the background. Juicy and incisive on the palate, offering sappy raspberry and cherry flavors and a strong suggestion of spicecake. Shows excellent clarity and lift on the floral, firmly tannic finish. This is a wonderful value in Pinot Noir."
BURGHOUND 90 POINTS - "A restrained but quite elegant and pretty nose offers up a layered blend of both red and dark pinot fruit, spice, violet and plum scents. There is both good verve and volume to the delicious, round and agreeably textured middle weight flavors that possess fine depth and length. While there is a very subtle trace of warmth it is no more than a background nit and overall this is really quite good. Moreover, note that it could easily be enjoyed now if young fruit is your preference."