Spy Valley wines always display an extra layer of complexity - whether it be from the soil or wine making this is captured well in nearly all of their wines; This wine seems to display an alien intervention with a dry stone minerality laced with fragrant herbacousness and a gentle leesy edgyness; there's plenty of fruit intensity here as well lemon, gooseberry and tropical flavors; great balance and crisp on the finish.
The 2012 Envoy Sauvignon Blanc presents aromas of pink grapefruit, lemon curd and cedar intermingled with passion fruit and green mango hints. Tightly wound and very tart in the mouth, it shows a great concentration of flavors and acid tension before finishing with very good length. Approachable now, it should drink to 2017+.
Pale to medium ruby-purple-colored, the 2011 Envoy Pinot Noir opens with aromas of kirsch, preserved cranberries and raspberry coulis dotted with nuances of violets, rose petals, dried leaves and cinnamon. The palate is bursting with loads of red berry and perfumed, spicy flavors and is nicely supported by medium level, finely grained tannins and exuberant acidity before finishing long and layered. Drink it now to 2017+.
Elegant, youthful wine, hand-picked and barrel-fermented. Fresh, peachy, citrusy flavours, slightly buttery and toasty, with lively acidity and very good depth and drive through the palate. Best mid-2014+.
Deeply coloured red from sites in the Southern Valleys, with a slightly ‘funky’ bouquet. Still a baby, with mouthfilling body, deep cherry, plum and slight herb flavours, fresh acidity and good complexity. Open 2015+.
Tight, crisp, very youthful wine, grown in the Wairau Valley and made with ‘a portion’ of barrel fermentation. Light lemon/green, with ripe, sweet-fruit characters and vibrant passionfruit/lime flavours, showing good intensity. Best 2014+.
Pale pink, full-bodied wine, made with ‘subtle oak influences’. Fresh strawberry, peach and spice flavours, showing a touch of complexity, and a dry finish. A good ‘food’ wine.
Selection from a newly acquired vineyard. The grapes were whole bunch pressed before being partly fermented and matured in oak barriques for a few months. Grapefruit, passion fruit, gooseberry and red capsicum flavours supported by tangy acidity. The wine has impressive weight and texture.
uses barrel-fermentation to bring complexity and body to one of its elite range. Bennie explained "some may say it's more chardonnay-like as it has richness, density and power, but a thread of acidity keeps the wine fresh. Struck match, funky aromas and a touch of caramel - an interesting expression of sauvignon blanc." Suited to full-flavoured dishes and it will gain more lemon curd complexity over a couple of years.
Concentrated and quite succulent pinot with Black Doris plum, dark cherry and spicy oak flavours. A fruit bomb style but well structured with ripe tannins to prevent any suggestion of cloying. Accessible now but should age nicely.
Ripe concentrated stonefruit balanced by savoury oak. A lovely textural and elegant palate with a long clean finish, ideal with grilled salmon.
Spy Valley’s Envoy has marked out a benchmark for Marlborough pinot noir for no fewer than seven vintages, but its Outpost vineyard has only been bottled separately a few times, and such is its rarity that I’ve never seen it outside NZ. It projects a remarkably elegant rose hip and understated exotic spice demeanour for a pinot of no less than 14.5% alcohol. There’s no heat or jamminess here, rather a pure and honed style of great persistence and confident, finely poised, mineral tannins that call for a decade to come into their own. Look out for this label in New Zealand.
Envoy is the child of a single block of Spy Valley’s oldest pinot noir vines, and tends to land at the fuller-bodied end of the Marlborough spectrum. It delivers impressive black cherry and violet fragrance in 2010, with refreshing lift for a pinot of 14.5% alcohol. The palate is built on wonderfully mineral tannin depth, considerable drive and enduring persistence of liquorice and spice flavour. A Marlborough pinot of considerable longevity.
Vine age has been a key driver of the rise of Marlborough pinot noir in recent years. Spy Valley ranks among the best producers in the region, having first planted the variety more than twenty years ago, and even its youngest vines were ten years of age in 2011. This infuses an elegant, mineral tannin profile and impressive persistence, focus and purity of rose hip, red cherry, mixed spice and anise.
There’s a primary purity to this enticing, earlier-drinking style, with a lick of sweetness played carefully to offset its soft acidity rather than adding any impression of sweetness to the palate. Delightfully pristine granny smith apple, lime blossom and kaffir lime are highlighted with appealingly juicy white peach and fleshy pear accents.
Spy Valley has been circling at an ever-higher orbit with each passing year, this year reaching all new levels of control and balance. Firm, finely structured tannins provide a rigid chassis for long-lingering, deep black fruits.
Brilliant, deep, straw-yellow colour with pale green hues on rim. The nose is fresh and gently voluminous with ripe passionfruit aromas along with limes, white florals and mouthwatering minerally elements at the core. Dry to taste, elegantly presented, luscious flavours of passionfruit are enlivened by bright, juicy acidity. There are lime, tropical fruit and gooseberry notes intermingling with mineral and chalky elements forming a very fine-textured line. The mouthfeel is soft with poise between raciness and dryness. Thirst-quenching acidity underlines the palate flow and carries the restrained, pungent fruit to a very long, dry, delicately grainy finish. This is an elegant and fine-featured Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit flavours and mouthwatering mineral notes. Serve with seafood, poultry, salads and vegetables over the next 2 years. Fruit from estate and contract growers, fermented with a portion in barrels to 13.0% alc. and 2.1 g/L RS
Bright, soft, pale salmon pink colour, light on edge. The bouquet is fresh, with shy and delicate aromas of red florals and strawberries, lifted and with subtle perfumes. Dry to taste, this is very finely concentrated on palate with tightly bound, restrained flavours of strawberries and roses. The mouthfeel is fresh and crisp with a firm linearity, moderated by soft textures and slippery, racy, mouthwatering acidity. The wine builds in presence and the flavours blossom on the finish, unfolding gentle waves of floral interest. This is a delicately flavoured, racy rosé that grows in floral and strawberry interest. Serve as an aperitif or with Asian fare over the next 2 years. 100% Pinot Noir from the Southern Valleys, partially fermented in barrel to 13.5% alc. and 2.6 g/L RS.
Fruit from the ‘Johnson Estate’, ‘Outpost’ vineyard and growers in the Southern Valleys, hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in barrel. Dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour, very youthful in appearance. This has a firm and concentrated nose with densely packed aromas of ripe dark berry fruit along with subtle hints of dark plums, spices and oak and red liquorice notes, revealing red florals and savoury herb elements. Medium-full bodied, a core of concentrated and complex flavours of ripe dark berry fruits and plums, spicy oak and savoury herbs show with a spicy lusciousness. The palate is soft-textured with fine, supple tannin extraction, underlined by lacy acidity. The flavours flow with liveliness to a long and sustained finish unfolding liquorice, spice and smoky notes. This is sweet and lush Pinot Noir with concentrated, spicy plum flavours and a fine-textured, fresh mouthfeel. Match with pork, lamb and Mediterranean cuisine over the next5-6 years.
Flavoursome, scented Pinot Noir with a mix of dark and red fruits plus a suggestion of floral and spice flavours. Nicely balanced with fine tannins giving a pleasantly drying finish.
Ripe, fleshy Pinot Noir with plum, cherry, dark berry and spicy oak flavours. Full-flavoured and quite gutsy wine with a firm, drying finish. Needs a little time to mellow and develop even greater complexity.
Concentrated and quite succulent Pinot Noir with Black Doris plum, dark cherry and spicy oak flavours. Quite a fruit bomb style but nicely structured with ripe tannins to prevent any suggestion of cloying. Accessible now but should age well.
Epic, soaring flavours in this tremendous dry Riesling make it one of the finest in New Zealand. Envoy is Spy Valley’s top label and every element of this wine is world class. Treat yourself to a very accomplished match to grouse or any other decadent chicken or fish dish.
"Rich, fruity red with plum, red currant and a hint of chocolate. Flavoursome and appealing red with sweet fruit balanced by crisp acidity and fine, ripe tannins. Accessible now but should develop well, at least in the medium term. It's terrific value at this price."
Bright, medium yellow colour. intensely nutty, strong oak-influenced aroma, with very ripe, tropical sauvignon fruit as well. A rich, complex, heavily worked wine with concentrated flavour and great power and persistence.
95 Points: From the top of a terrace in the Waihopai, this is from Spy Valley's oldest vines, clone 10 x 5, planted in 1992. Lovely perfumed nose showing fresh black cherry fruit with some spiciness. The palate is supple, rounded and elegant with nice structure and an attractive savoury, spicy edge. Just brilliant. 95/100
"Sweet brioche on the nose, toasty, slight perfume and a hint of smoky-bacon crisps. A lingering texture that evolves on the palate with caramelised pears and creme anglaise. This goes on and on and on and has great ageing potential." Drink: 2013-2019. Alc 13.5%
Most New Zealand Rieslings typically are slightly to noticeably sweet, so this came as a shock. The aroma is dead-on varietal with traces of quince, lime and a wild spice note that reminds me of orange blossoms. The shock is the taste: less than 6 grams of sugar means the wine is really dry, though there is a bit of succulence from the sugar. A superb wine that would benefit from the word “dry” appearing on the front label. Best with food.
Rich lemon. Bouquet is sweet, ripe, floral, exotic, and freshly-opened tending too perfumed. It benefits from decanting to reveal ginger-influenced spicy lychee, grapefruit and stonefruit aromas and flavours, good body, sweetness above medium, long flavoured. Cellar 3 – 10 years.
Fragrant, aromatic with appealing floral, red cherry and spice flavours underpinned by classy oak. It has a silken texture and lingering, drying finish. Seductive sweet fruit adds appeal, although the wine is certainly not a fruit bomb style.
"A glorious example of this wonderful variety. If you have never a "spicy" then I urge you to have a go and you would be hard pressed to find a better one than this. Rich and weighty in the mouth with soft acidity and oozing with citrus, spice and lychee, it's a "must take" to a Chinese or Thai restaurant - and a fine partner with pungent cheese." Graham Stringer
'A great balance between sweet, ripe aromatics and acidity,' said Matthew Cocks of Cubitt House, adding 'This has typical Gewürz rose and spice aromatics without being overpowering.' 'This has a a beautiful Turkish Delight/rosewater nose and a nice texture,' said York & Albany's Nigel Lister.
Intense of flavour, elegant in structure, and moreish in appeal, Spy Valley captured the judges' hearts. 'Black fruit compote mixes with smoky, glowing embers on the nose, while the palate is nicely layered with bright fruit and a nicely extended finish,' said team leader Angela Reddin. 'Quite firm oak, lots of dark cherry, grip and juicy fruit. A polished wine,' said team leader Simon Woods.
Stylish and expressive, complex and textured, this has a lovely smoky, flinty minerality. 'Pale pink with mineral notes on the nose. With its strawberry and peach flavours, this is very fresh and well made,' said Sara Bachiorri of The Glasshouse Restaurant. ‘This has enough substance and character to enjoy throughout the year, and to carry you through to a first course,' said Charles Young of Vinoteca.
Lush but finely tuned with plenty of the heady exoticism that makes gewurztraminer so appealing, plus crisp acidity and lovely fruit weight. Will convert non-believers and further enchant the converted.
"Hand-picked grapes were frozen to -22 C before being pressed to retrieve a very concentrated, syrupy juice. The result is a very sweet and moderately luscious wine with concentrated passion fruit flavours. Sweetness is nicely balanced with fine acidity. Excellent value at this price." Bob Campbell
"Moderately sweet Pinot Gris with appealing spiciness adding extra interest to honeyed botrytis and dried pear flavours. More of an Alsace-style vendange tardive wine with higher alcohol and more vinority than is usual. Complex and stylish wine." Bob Campbell
"Ripe, concentrated citrus and tree fruit flavours with a seasoning of sizzled butter, subtle oak and nutty lees characters. Complex wine with plenty of weight and richness. Stylish Chardonnay that's highly recommended." Bob Campbell
Made from five different French and German clones selected for their spice and intensity. Hand-picked grapes, including a percentage of botrytis-affected berries, were fermented in small oak barrels. Rich and appealing gewurztraminer in a very Alsace style with great concentration and a welcome seasoning of spices. Layered and complex, it has 38 grams of residual sugar per litre but an impeccable balance of acidity and sweetness. Extraordinary power and length.
Refined, youthful red, estate-grown and hand-picked in the Omaka Valley and barrel-aged for 18 months. Strong, vibrant, plummy, spicy flavours, with well-integrated oak, fine-grained tannins and a sustained finish. Fresh and concentrated, with obvious cellaring potential.
Powerful, ripe style, still very youthful, estate-grown in the lower Waihopai Valley. Full-coloured and sturdy, with strong plum and spice flavours, a hint of licorice, and a tight finish. Best 2015+.
5 Stars: "Very 'complete' and harmonious wine, with an invitingly fragrant and complex bouquet. Full-bodied, peachy and well spiced, with excellent delicacy and richness. Already drinking well."
"Finely scented, lively wine, still youthful. Light-bodied (8% alc/vol), with good freshness and intensity and a long, gently sweet (69 grams/litre of residual sugar), mouth-wateringly crisp and racy finish."
"Fleshy, rich style, estate-grown in the Waihopai Valley and fermented and lees-aged for nine months in barrels. Fragrant, complex bouquet and real power and 'drive' on the palate, with deep tropical fruit and nut flavours, tight, slightly minerally and long."
5 Stars: "Very refined, vibrantly fruity wine, citrusy and slightly creamy, with a subtle seasoning of oak (fully barrel-fermented) and a hint of 'burnt match' on the nose. Tightly structured and minerally, with good potential. Outstanding value."
4 Stars: "Fleshy, with ripe lychee and spice flavours, fresh and strong, a hint of Turkish delight and a gently sweet, smooth, rich finish."
4 Stars: "Ripely scented and fleshy, with crisp lemon/lime flavours, ripe stone fruit notes and an off-dry finish. Already very open and expressive."
5 Stars "The bouquet is softly full and densely concentrated with warm aromas of stone fruit kernels, perfumed musk, exotic fruits and ginger with rose petal nuances in the background. Medium in sweetness and full-bodied, a smooth and seamless texture is the feature on the palate. Rich and luscious flavours of exotic fruits, creaming soda and musk build, resulting in an oily and unctuous mouthfeel. Though the acidity is soft, this has real presence and drive, and the palate flows to a powerful and long finish with superbly integrated flavours and rich componentry that exudes exotic floral and spice nuances. This is an outstanding, seamlessly smooth and rich Gewürztraminer to serve with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, or with a variety of moderately firm cheeses over the next 4-5+ years."
5 Stars: "Dark, deep ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. The bouquet is vigorous and intense with aromas of ripe dark red berry fruits lifted with dark red and violet florals and spice notes from balance laking. Medium-full bodied, the palate features ripe dark raspberry flavours and dark floral violetty elements with hints of plums and oak spices. The flavours are supported by very fine and supple tannins in the background and flow seamlessly, filling the mouth and follow a very refined palate line. A little alcohol warmth adds to the fruit sweetness and warm, smooth textures, and is carried to a very long, sustained finish with a violet, plum and spice melange. This is a supple Pinot Noir with rich red fruits, florals and spice flavours that are seamlessly integrated. Serve with roasted duck and pork dishes over the next 5-6+ years."
5 Stars: "Bright, even straw-yellow colour, pale on edge. This has a powerfully rich nose of citrus and peach fruit with a complex overlay of creamy, buttery, nutty MLF and oak aromas that unfold revealing smoke, toast and flinty minerals. Full-bodied, but elegantly proportioned, a complext flavour amalgam of citrus fruits, butterscotch, nuts and toast fills the palate, and is supported by an underlying alcohol drive with fine acid cut. The mouthfeel has a soft robustness and fulsome presence, and detailed nuances of nutty, oxidative elements emerge with smoke and toast that carry through to a long, dry finish. This is a fulsome and complex flavoured Chardonnay featuring citrus, cream and nutty flavours. Match with roasted poultry and pork dishes over the next 4-5+ years."
5 Stars: "Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with slight hues, pale on rim. The bouquet is very finely intense and penetrating with a complex combination of lime and lemon fruit with secondary hoeny, toast, a little kerosene and nuances of minerals and the seaside. Medium in sweetness, the palate features bright, racy and crispy acidity driving a cutting line and providing a zesty mouthfeel. The flavours of mineral-infused citrus fruit are entwined lush honied notes and piquant toast elements. Very fine in texture, the fruit flows smoothly, enlivened by the acidity, which carries through to a richness and raciness. Serve as an aperitif and with grilled shellfish over the next 4-5 years."
5 Stars: "Brilliant straw-yellow colour with light golden hues, pale on rim. Initially tight, the bouquet is intensely packed with aromas of yellow florals, pear, honey and minerals that exude a subtle decadence. Medium in sweetness and full in weight, ripe and lush flavours of yellow stone fruits, honey and a hint of caramel are harmoniously entwined and show excellent presence, enhanced somewhat by warm alcohol generosity and power. Soft and oily in mouthfeel, and restrained in acidity, there is an underlying phenolic line that carries the flavours and richness to a sustained, rounded finish. This is a full and powerful, but smooth, rich and lush Pinot Gris to match pates, rich Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine and semi-hard cheeses over the next 3-5 years."
5 Stars: "Bright, even, pale straw-yellow colour, pale on rim. The nose is tightly bound and powerfully concentrated with aromas of nectarines and greengages, along with mouthwatering notes of limes and blackcurrants. The oak is very integral, adding a layer of spice. Dry to taste, intense and penetrating flavours of greengages and stone fruits unfold layers of fresh dark herbs, citrus fruits and minerals. Spices and oak are interwoven, and the palate line is very finely concentrated, with excellent tension and freshness from the acidity. The flavours lead to a very long, fine-textured and dry finish. This is a classical, oak-influenced, concentrated Sauvignon Blanc that will be a match with herb-marinated poultry and pork dishes over the next 3-4 years."
4 Stars: "Very dark, deep, near saturated, purple-hued black-red colour. An amalgam of primary, dark raspberry, boysenberry fruit aromas intermingle with ripe blackcurrants and nuances of dark herbs on the nose. Medium-bodied, blackberry and boysenberry fruit flavours form a juicy core. Notes of dark herbs and oak spices emerge, adding interest on the palate. Soft textures from supple tannins and moderate extraction underline the fruit, providing drive and linearity. The tannins build in firmness and lead the dark fruit flavours to a fine-grained, dry finish with good length. This is a supple, finely textured Merlot-based wine showing the influence of fruity, spicy Malbec. Serve with pizza, barbecued food and casseroles over the next 4+ years."
3 Stars: "Soft, pale pink colour, lighter on rim. This has a delicate nose of strawberries and red florals lifted with gentle fermentation esters and nuances of confectionary and the faintest hints of fresh herbs. Dry to taste and elegantly proportioned, gentle, lifted and subtly sweet flavours of red berry fruits, florals and bon-bins are based on a soft and fine-textured palate. The wine flows smoothly and seamlessly, with discreet acid freshness and the flavours are carried to a light, moderately sustained finish with notes of strawberry. This is a soft and gentle rose with attractive strawberry flavours. Serve on a sunny day with antipasto over the next 18 months."
4 Stars: "Bright pale straw-yellow colour, lively and steely aromas of yellow stonefruit showing Pinot Noir, slong with restrained bread yeast and nutty autolytic notes adding interest. Very dry, fine-featured and tightly bound, the palate has a sauvage austerity with flavours of white stonefruits, chalky minerally elements and subtle yeasty notes. The acidity is in harmony, adding a mouthwatering aspect to a finely textured palate line which carries through to a dry finish with yeast and bread notes. This is a dry and tightly concentrated methode traditionelle to serve as an aperitif, or to accompany shellfish over the next 3-4 years."
Hand-picked at 26 brix from the 'warmest vineyard block', fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured for 18 months in French oak casks, the 2010 vintage is a strapping red (15 percent alcohol), muscular yet supple. Deeply coloured, with dense plum, spice and slight liquorice flavours, it's a drink-now or cellaring proposition.
The 2011 vintage is a great buy. Beautifully scented, generous and savoury, it was hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts and barrel-aged for nine months. Deep ruby, moutfilling and supple, with sweet-fruit delights, strong, ripe cherry/plum flavours and a hint of dried herbs, it is complex and finely textured with a powerful presence.
From hill-grown vines in the Omaka Valley, the 2010 vintage was matured for 18 months in French oak casks. Deep and youthful in colour, it is floral and mouth filling, with rich, ripe plum, cherry and slight liquorice flavours, fresh acidity and a tightly structured, finely poised finish. It's an elegant, age-worthy wine, likely to be at its best in 2014+.
A top vintage, the 2010 is an enticingly fragrant, very generous and sweet-fruited red, estate-grown in the lower Waihopai Valley, barrel-aged for 18 months (French, 28 percent new), and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Silky-textured and savoury, it has beautifully ripe plum, cherry and spice flavours, rich and harmonious
The 2010 vintage is bright, light lemon/green, with a richly botrytised bouquet. It's an elegant sweet wine with citrusy, honeyed flavours, a hint of marmalade, and strong drink-young appeal.
Estate-grown in the lower Waihopai Valley, the 2011 vintage was hand-harvested from the oldest vines, and fermented and lees-aged for nine months in French oak barrels. The bouquet is fragrant and complex; the palate is fleshy, rich and dry. A tightly structured, unusually complex wine, slightly minerally and nutty, with a powerful presence, it's very age-worthy; drink now or cellar.
The 2012 is full-bodied and fresh, with strong peach, lychee and spice flavours, and slightly gingery notes. It's an intensely varietal wine, ripely perfumed.
The powerful 2011 vintage was estate-grown in the Waihopai Valley, hand-harvested and fermented in small oak vessels. The bouquet is richly spicy; the palate is substantial (14.5 percent alcohol), with gentle sweetness, an oily texture and highly concentrated stone-fruit, ginger and spice flavours.
This distinguished wine is estate grown in the Waihopai Valley, hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts and lees-aged in French oak barriques (mostly seasoned) for up to 18 months. The 2009 vintage is still tight and youthful. Barrel-fermented and lees-aged for 18 months, it is vibrant, with deep grapefruit-like flavours, slightly mealy and toasty, fresh acidity and a finely scented bouquet. It should be long-lived.
The bouquet is highly fragrant; the palate is fresh and finely poised, with strong, ripe citrus-fruit and peach flavours, hints of nuts and butterscotch adding complexity, good acidity and a long, harmonious finish. At $22.95, it's a steal - and if you visit the winery cellar door you can snap it up for $19.95.
The 2009 vintage (4 & ½ Stars) was matured for 18 months in French oak barriques (60 per cent new). Estate-grown in the lower Waihopai Valley, it is deeply coloured and very mouthfilling (14.5 per cent alcohol), with deep cherry/plum flavours, finely integrated oak, and a rich, rounded finish. It’s a powerful, but very graceful and youthful wine; open 2013+.
Intense and powerful Chardonnay with strong mineral, white peach, grapefruit, toast, and roasted nut flavours. The wine has had plenty of oak maturation with oak tannins helping to promote a drying finish. Bold wine that needs a touch more finesse although that may well develop with further bottle age.
"A lovely Alsace rendition displaying superb concentration, rich texture and balance, together with citrus, stone fruit and a touch of savoury notes. A little different but very delicious."
The Riot is the celebration of the winners of the International Wines for Oysters Competition. During the Competition, wines entered from all over the world will be sampled with raw oysters by a notable panel of judges made up of wine- and oyster-lovers from the fields of politics, medicine, journalism and food. Each year a field in excess of 400 wines is narrowed through several rounds of blind tastings with the top 10 gold medal winners being announced and poured at The Riot.
“reveals a ruby-purple color and aromas of warm strawberries, macerated cranberries and red cherries with a hint of forest floor. Medium bodied with mouth-filling red berry flavors, it is well supported by finely grained tannins and refreshing acidity, finishing long and a little spicy. Drink it now through 2015+.”
“pronounced notes of lime zest, kumquats, lemon juice and fresh grapefruit with nuances of coriander seed and frangipani. Light bodied and refreshingly crisp in the mouth, it has a medium-dry level of sweetness and very good concentration of citrus flavors, finishing long and a little chalky. Delicious now, it should evolve gracefully and drink to 2016+.”
“lovely perfume of honeysuckle, peach blossom, warm apple slices and spiced pears with hints of coriander seed and aniseed. Full bodied with a notable touch of residual sugar (10.5 grams per liter) it has a seductively silken texture, refreshing acidity and a long finish. Drinking now, it should remain fresh through 2013.”
“a fully sweet, lower alcohol style (8% declared alcohol). It gives pronounced aromas of lime leaves, lemon grass and green apples over straw, honeysuckle and mandarin peel plus a whiff of musk. Light bodied, sweet and with a good line of refreshing acidity, it has a pleasant earthy / musky character on the palate suggesting some botrytis, finishing long and citrusy. Drinking now, it should cellar to 2017+.”
There’s a primary purity to this enticing, earlier-drinking style, with a lick of sweetness played carefully to offset its soft acidity rather than adding any impression of sweetness to the palate. Delightfully pristine granny smith apple, lime blossom and kaffir lime are highlighted with appealingly juicy white peach and fleshy pear accents.
An interesting, rich, ruby red wine – very tasty with an abundance of bright varietal fruit, well matched by some nicely handled oak and an attractive, overall earthiness.
Aromatic, richly-textured Sauvignon Blanc with impressive weight and mouth feel. Quite a complex wine showing gooseberry, capsicum, stone fruit/nectarine and mineral characters. A class act.
Moderately concentrated Sauvignon Blanc with appealing fruit sweetness adding weight and length. It's restrained by fruity acidity to give a pleasantly drying finish. Crunchy sugar snap pea and capsicum flavours with an influence of passionfruit. This is an "A" division wine at a "B" division price.
Sourced from fruit grown in Marlborough’s Waihopai Valley, this three year old wine is already showing deliciously developed oatcake and wet stone aromatics, combined with refreshing, succulent citrus and green apple notes on the finish. “A rich, well-balanced wine,” commented James Rowan, “And really textural,” added Jane.
"Marlborough is coming of age when it comes to chardonnay and pinot noir, and names like Envoy are leading the way. Envoy sauvignon has clearly been assembled with the craftsmanship of Envoy chardonnay and pinot – a level of focus often missing in Marlborough sauvignon. Oak fermented and aged for nine months on lees, there’s a backdrop here of classy oak spice, roast nuts and vanilla, impaled by a gleaming spear of lemon juice acidity that harpoons the palate and careers long through the finish. Its primary fruit triumphs over any oak influence, maintaining a seamless harmony in the midst of the maelstrom, infused with incredible energy and perseverance that will underline a lifespan like Marlborough sauvignon has perhaps never known." Tyson Stelzer
Pale ruby-purple in color, the 2011 Pinot Noir presents aromas of black raspberries and black cherries with hints of cloves, cinnamon stick and chocolate. Medium bodied with plenty of expressive red and black berry flavors on the palate, it has a medium level of grainy tannins, lively acid and a long clove laced finish. Drinking nicely now, it should keep to 2015+.
The 2011 Riesling presents lime cordial and lemon pastille notes with hints of grapefruit peel and beeswax. Light bodied and made to an off-dry style (8.9 grams per liter of residual sugar). it has great tension in the mouth and a long zesty finish. Drink it now to 2017+.
Fermented in French oak barrels and aged on lees for 12 months, the 2010 Envoy Sauvignon Blanc is scented of fresh grapefruit, lime juice and yuzu with hints of baker’s yeast and coriander seed. Crisp, clean and medium bodied, the citrus flavors are developing gracefully on the palate complimented by a subtle silkiness to the texture and finishing long. Drinking very well now, it should continue to cellar through 2015+.
The 2010 Envoy Pinot Noir was matured in oak for 18 months, 28% new. Pale ruby-purple in color, it gives expressive notes of black cherries, mulberries and red currants with hints of underbrush, anise, toast and loam. Full bodied and generously fruited in the mouth, the concentrated flavors are well supported by a medium level of grainy tannins and lively acid, which gives lift through the long finish. Still very youthful, enjoy it now to 2018+.
2010 Spy Valley Pinot Noir: Seamless with concentrated dark plum, cherry and berry fruit flavours supported by smoky oak. Silken-textured wine with good weight and richness.
A shy bouquet was immediately forgotten when the lush fruit swept onto the plush palate. This is a very good pinot gris with masses of character, well balanced by a little sweetness. Good as an aperitif and even better with food.
100% Riesling from the ‘Johnson Estate’ fermented to 12.5% alc. and 8.9 g/L rs, a portion in seasoned oak. Bright, light lemon-straw yellow with green hues, this has a softly fresh bouquet of lime fruit, yellow florals, with notes of sherbet and honey. Dry to taste, the palate has concentrated flavours of limes with hints of honey, sherbet and perfumed talc characters, the richness balanced by crisp acidity, resulting in soft, and very fine textures which lead to a sustained, dry, minerally finish. This is a dry and finely textured Riesling with an intriguingly rich array of aromatics and flavours that is drinking well already. The wine will match Asian cuisine over the next 4-5+ years. 18.5-/20
Nose: An intense bouquet of New World fruits including dark cherry, Raspberry and a little plum all laced with brown spice suggestions from barrel fermentation and ageing in oak. Moderate complexity, it youthful and very new-worldly. Palate: Dry and firm with youthful fine tannins (mostly fine from skin contact). The oak is not far behind adding complexity and hints of brown spices. A youthful plum list reminds me this wine is still in development and will age for a further 3 to 6 years if not more.
A rich, luscious and apparently botrytis affected wine that's made in an Alsace Vendange Tardive style. Complex, concentrated wine with lush honey, apricot and other tree fruit flavours supported by fruity acidity. An excellent buy at this price.
Intense, luscious wine showing a strong honeyed botrytis influence. Rich and unctuous wine with a super-smooth texture. Layers of exotic fruits, spice and musk. Very impressive.
This seems a bigger, more luxurious Spy Valley than previous vintages. Mellow and complex with intense blueberry, spice and fruitcake aromas, an earthy hint of the farmyard, and a plush, smooth palate. Summed up by John Belsham as having a "come and get me" personality.
“Infused with ripe, peach, pear and guava flavours, this is smooth and refreshing, ripe and juicy. Spicy finish. Drink now”
"Enticingly fragrant, very generous and sweet-fruited red, estate grown in the lower Waihopai Valley, barrel-aged for 18 months (French, 28% new) and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Silky-textured and savoury, with beautifully ripe plum, cherry and spice flavours, rich and harmonious. A top vintage".
"A complex, barrel-fermented and oak-matured wine that shows plenty of savoury yeast and oak influence. The result is a powerful and (for Marlborough) fairly distinctive Sauvignon Blanc with wonderful textural qualities and length".
"Medium style pinot gris in an Alsace-like vendange tardive style, with an appealing spicy finish that's rare to find in wines from this country. It's smooth-textured and very long, with a layer of exotic fruit flavours"
"This was made from at least five different Alsace German clones grown on stony ground that tends to produce wines of great price and intensity. The grapes were hand-picked and fermented in small oak barrels...It is rich concentrated gewurztraminer in an Alsace style. Layers of floral, tree fruit and exotic spice flavours truly impress. It's a powerful wine, with a lingering finish that won't quit".
Estate-grown in the lower Waihopai Valley, this barrel-fermented wine is a medium style (31 grams/litre of residual sugar.) Delicious now, it is full-bodied, with concentrated, ripe stonefruit, lychee and spice flavours, showing excellent delicacy and harmony, a subtle seasoning of oak, and a rich, soft finish.
A sauvignon blanc to ponder over. Estate-grown and hand-harvested in the Waihopai Valley, it was fermented and lees-aged for a year in French oak casks. Mouthfilling, slightly creamy and complex, it is tight and elegant, with ripely herbaceous flavours, finely poised, minerally and long. Best mid-2012+.
A top vintage. Slightly biscuity, creamy bouquet. Mouthfilling body and strong, citrusy, mealy, buttery flavours, with firm acid spine and a tight finish. Good now, or cellar.
Producing great gewurztraminer is a Spy Valley specialty. Simon Nunns dubbed this new release the "Jeremy Clarkson wine...power, power, power". Offering attractive musky notes and a svelte, soft texture, it is made in a high-impact style.
‘Guaranteed to enhance a romantic evening for two’, the 2011 vintage (4 Stars) is a pale pink Marlborough wine, delicious from the start. It has strong, vibrant strawberry and spice flavours, with a hint of apricot, slight sweetness (6 grams/litre of residual sugar), and excellent freshness, delicacy and harmony.
The 2010 vintage (4 Stars) is an off-dry style, hand-harvested and handled mostly in tanks, with some use of barrel fermentation. Mouthfilling (13 per cent alcohol), it has good intensity of citrusy, slightly limey and spicy flavours, crisp, tight and lingering. Drink now or cellar.
The 2010 vintage (4 Stars) was hand-picked at 23.5–26.7 brix, fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured for eight months in French oak casks. Youthful, fruit-packed and supple, with substantial body and strong plum/spice flavours, delicately seasoned with oak, it is deliciously smooth, with plenty of potential.
Estate-grown in the Waihopai Valley, the 2010 vintage (4 & ½ Stars) was hand-picked from the oldest vines, and fermented and lees-aged for a year in French oak barrels. Drinking well now, but still developing, it is fragrant, rich and creamy, with an obvious oak influence, coupled with concentrated, ripe tropical-fruit flavours. A wine of real substance, it is complex and well worth cellaring; open mid-2012+.
More ‘feminine’ and ‘funky’ than its Envoy stablemate from the same season, the 2008 vintage (4 & ½ Stars) was sourced from hill-grown vines in the Omaka Valley (5 kilometres from the Waihopai Valley estate vineyard), and French oak-matured for 18 months. Full ruby, it is mouthfilling and youthful, with fresh, vibrant cherry and spice flavours, showing good concentration, and some ‘forest floor’ notes adding complexity.
A generous wine with strong personality, the 2010 vintage (4 & ½ Stars) is a great buy. Harvested at 23.3 to 26.5 brix and partly fermented in old oak casks, it’s a medium-dry style (10.5 grams/litre of residual sugar), fleshy and forward, with good concentration of ripe stone-fruit and spice flavours, a slightly oily texture and a rich, rounded finish.
The 2011 (4 Stars) is full-bodied (14.5 per cent alcohol) and finely scented, with fresh, peachy, citrusy, spicy flavours, showing good concentration and balance. Drink now or cellar.
Estate-grown in the Waihopai Valley, this wine is consistently impressive. The 2011 vintage (4 Stars) was harvested at 23.4 to 25.2 brix and partly fermented in seasoned oak barrels. Slightly sweet (12 grams/litre of residual sugar), it is an exotically perfumed, full-bodied wine with gentle acidity and loads of spicy, slightly gingery flavour.
The 2010 (4 & ½ Stars), barrel-fermented and made in a medium style (31 grams/litre of residual sugar). Delicious now, it is mouthfilling and harmonious, with ripe stone-fruit and spice flavours, a very subtle seasoning of oak, and excellent richness, complexity and roundness.
The 2009 vintage (4 & ½ Stars) was estate-grown in the Waihopai Valley and fermented and lees-aged in large German oak ovals and old French barriques. It’s a fleshy, soft wine with soaring alcohol (14.8 per cent) and very ripe stone-fruit and spice flavours, showing some oak complexity. A beautifully harmonious wine, it is finely textured and rich, with a very rounded finish.
The outstanding 2009 vintage (5 Stars) was estate-grown in the Waihopai Valley, hand-harvested at 25.6 to 27.8 brix, and fermented in small oak vessels. A distinctly medium style (26 grams/litre of residual sugar), it is fleshy and soft, with ripe aromas and flavours of peaches, pears and spices, showing lovely harmony, complexity and richness.
The 2008 vintage (4 & ½ Stars) is enticingly fragrant, fleshy, creamy and soft, with strong, ripe, peachy flavours, showing good complexity.
The 2007 (5 Stars) is very classy – fragrant, citrusy and slightly creamy, with lovely harmony, a fine thread of acidity and a long finish (retasted in 2011, it’s maturing superbly).
"Always a good buy. The 2011 vintage, tank-fermented, is mouthfilling, with slightly ‘sweaty’ aromas. It has strong, ripe tropical-fruit flavours to the fore, with a herbal undercurrent, and excellent vigour, freshness and intensity."
“Crisp and bone-dry (2 grams/litre of residual sugar), lively and yeasty, it’s an elegant wine with citrusy, nutty flavours, showing excellent delicacy and complexity.”
“medium-deep ruby-purple color. It offers notes of warm black cherries, black raspberries and mulberries with nuances of cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, chocolate and cedar plus a whiff of oolong tea. Full bodied and concentrated in the mouth, the taut, muscular fruit is structured with fine tannins and crisp acid. The finish is long and a little cedary. Though approachable now, it should drink best 2012 to 2017+.”
“reveals wonderfully expressive notes of ripe apricots, jasmine, pear juice, guava and mandarin peel with a whiff of allspice. The full bodied palate offers a fairly sweet style (31 grams per liter of residual sugar) with crisp, enlivening acidity, great concentration and a long finish. Drink this one now to 2014.”
“pronounced notes of ripe lemons, grapefruit and yuzu zest with nuances of cedar, fresh peaches and chalk dust plus a whiff of sage. Medium bodied with superb concentration and a great vein of crisp acidity, it finishes long and layered. Delicious now, it should develop gracefully, cellaring to 2015+.”
Fresh and fairly fruit-focused wine with hints of tree fruits and citrus plus a seasoning of appealing bready flavours. Silken-textured and moderately lengthy. Classy bubbles.
"Intensely scented of freshly chopped herbs, lime zest and kumquat with hints of lemon tart and gooseberry. Medium bodied, it offers a very good concentration of citrus and herbal flavors with great balance and a long refreshing finish. Drinking now, it should keep to 2014."
It's elegant and subtle on the nose, yet sweet-scented and peristent with floral, mango and pear notes. The palate is ripe and ample with a beautifully textured finish.
"The wine exhibits classic pinot elegance and discreet power with ripe cherry, game & spice flavours leading to an impressively long finish by fine, firm tannins".
"Light lemony yellow colour. Lemon Sherbet aromas, a flick of anise and lime juice on the nose. Bright, sassy palate with hints of stem ginger, lemon/lime concentration at the core, giving a delicacy and precision that is exceptional. A very lovely wine."
Very bright, pale straw-yellow with some youthful green hues, this has a full, voluminous, softly presented nose with aromas of ripe gooseberries and nectarines along with notes of tropical fruits that unfold in the glass. Dry to taste, this is a rich, lush and fulsome wine with succulent and up-front passionfruit and gooseberry flavours. The palate is mouthfilling with soft textures, but has lively acidity for vibrancy. The wine retains a stylish proportion and plenty of tension to enable matching with Mediterranean fare over the next 2+ years. Fruit from ‘Johnson Estate' and contract growers fermented to 13.5% alc. and 3.0 g/L rs. 18.0+/20 Sep 2011
100% Pinot Noir from the Southern Valleys, fermented in oak and stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 6.2 g/L. Very pale pink with delicate purple hues to the colour. The bouquet shows soft red-berry and fresh redcurrant aromas with a little confectionary lift. Dry, crisp and refreshing, there are light, flavours of strawberries and redcurrants, with melon notes. The palate has good weight and presence, and a fine textural thread provides good line, underscored by crisp acidity. Subtle fruit flavours linger on the dry finish. A subtle-fruited, dry rosé with the vinosity to match with antipasto as well as serving as an aperitif over the next 2 years. 17.5/20 Sep 2011
Bright straw-yellow colour with lemon hues and a pale edge. This has a very fresh, intense and concentrated nose of mealy citrus fruits, nectarines along with toasty oak, still tightly bound and youthfully sleek. Medium-full bodied, this has concentrated flavours of citrus fruit, mealy-nutty fruit and oak amalgam all underscored by crisp and racy acidity. The textures are very fine, the barrel-ferment creaminess balanced by the steel and edginess from the acid. A long finish with citrus and toasty notes completes the palate. 6 clones of Chardonnay from ‘Johnson Estate' and the ‘Outpost' vineyard fully barrel-fermented, partly with indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc. and aged on lees for 12 months with partial MLF. Serve with grilled seafood and roasted poultry and pork dishes over the next 4-5 years. 17.5+/20 Sep 2011
Dry Riesling with flinty, mineral, lime and floral flavours plus a suggestion of tree fruits. Quite a complex wine with taut yet fruity acidity helping drive the flavours to a lingering finish.
Bright straw-yellow colour with lemony hues and a pale edge, this has a voluminous nose with subtly intense aromas of ripe pears and white stonefruits along with pear and nuts. Off-dry to taste, the soft, rich and unctuous texture and weight combined with well-ripened flavours of pears and tropical fruits feature, as does the fresh acid balance which lifts the fruit expression. At present, a little alcohol heat intrudes on the finish, but this may integrate as the wine becomes richer with time in bottle. 100% Pinot Gris from ‘Johnson Estate’ and contract growers, fermented to 14.5% alc. and 9.6 g/L, a portion in old oak, with some MLF conversion. Serve with Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 3-4+ years. 18.5-/20
Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with a pale edge. The nose is very fine and elegant in expression with lifted red florals and Turkish Delight aromas, along with nuances of honey and spice. The delicacy and purity of bouquet is a highlight. Medium-dry, the palate balances extremely fine textures and a rich oiliness with delicate, seamless layers of rose petals, exotic flowers honey and spice. There is depth and good concentration, but fresh acidity and moderate alcohol lend a fine poise and proportion. The finish is long and flows with fruit notes. Fruit from the ‘Johnson Estate’ and contract growers, fermented to 14.0% alc. and 12.5 g/L rs, a portion in seasoned oak. A Marlborough Gewurztraminer with beauty and elegance to match with mildly spicy Asian food and moderately firm cheeses over the next 3-4+ years. 19.0-/20
Very bright, pale straw-yellow with some youthful green hues, this has a full, voluminous, softly presented nose with aromas of ripe gooseberries and nectarines along with notes of tropical fruits that unfold in the glass. Dry to taste, this is a rich, lush and fulsome wine with succulent and up-front passionfruit and gooseberry flavours. The palate is mouthfilling with soft textures, but has lively acidity for vibrancy. The wine retains a stylish proportion and plenty of tension to enable matching with Mediterranean fare over the next 2+ years. Fruit from ‘Johnson Estate' and contract growers fermented to 13.5% alc. and 3.0 g/L rs. 18.0+/20
100% Pinot Noir from the Southern Valleys, fermented in oak and stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 6.2 g/L. Very pale pink with delicate purple hues to the colour. The bouquet shows soft red-berry and fresh redcurrant aromas with a little confectionary lift. Dry, crisp and refreshing, there are light, flavours of strawberries and redcurrants, with melon notes. The palate has good weight and presence, and a fine textural thread provides good line, underscored by crisp acidity. Subtle fruit flavours linger on the dry finish. A subtle-fruited, dry rosé with the vinosity to match with antipasto as well as serving as an aperitif over the next 2 years. 17.5/20
Bright straw-yellow colour with lemon hues and a pale edge. This has a very fresh, intense and concentrated nose of mealy citrus fruits, nectarines along with toasty oak, still tightly bound and youthfully sleek. Medium-full bodied, this has concentrated flavours of citrus fruit, mealy-nutty fruit and oak amalgam all underscored by crisp and racy acidity. The textures are very fine, the barrel-ferment creaminess balanced by the steel and edginess from the acid. A long finish with citrus and toasty notes completes the palate. 6 clones of Chardonnay from ‘Johnson Estate' and the ‘Outpost' vineyard fully barrel-fermented, partly with indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc. and aged on lees for 12 months with partial MLF. Serve with grilled seafood and roasted poultry and pork dishes over the next 4-5 years. 17.5+/20
“Opening up very well, a hearty and gusty wine with good spine and some quite generous fruit unfolding up perfectly. A bold style, best with dinner or early courses and a fine Marlborough statement, which is dry, accessible and yet in no hurry – into 2010.
Out of 678 entries, the 2010 Spy Valley Pinot Noir won 3 out of the possible 16 trophies for: Best Red Wine of the Show / Best Pinot Noir 2010 / Best Estate Made & Bottled Red
A fleshy core of peach and apricot flavors are terrific, ripe and juicy, with intense floral aromatics and whiffs of petrol.
"Digs deep into the spice box, with nutmeg, clove and allspice flavors, that perfectly frame the ripe, supple wild black cherry and raspberry notes. Comes together on a supple frame, with plenty of staying power on the finish." MW
A full, solid, nearly robustly constituted wine, this has lush, sweet dark fruits, lifted by floral elements and nuances of toast, spice and oak char. The palate retains a degree of style from fresh acidity and fine, seemingly understated extraction which shows its presence on the finish. Made from old 10/5 clone fruit from the Johnson Estate F Block, wild yeast fermented to 14.5% alc., then aged 18 months in 60% new French oak. Serve with wild duck and red game meat over the next 5-7 years. 18+/20
Made from five different gewurztraminer clones from France and Germany selected to give spice and weight to the wine. Fermented in small oak vessels with a tiny amount of malolactic fermentation. A late-harvest style of gewurztraminer that's clearly been made from very ripe grapes. Luscious but not cloying, with layers of exotic floral, musk, tropical fruits and oriental spice flavours. Very impressive wine, rich and lingering.
The judges described the Gewurztraminer as a luscious example of the joyous, exotic characters that this challenging variety throws out.
"This luscious Kiwi Gewurztraminer captures the unique, decadently lush personality of the grape perfectly. There's an incredible volume of complex aroma - a cornucopia of rose petals, lychees, oriental spice, floral talcum powder - and an intense palate of excellent depth and structure."
'A wonderfully supple, creamy texture gives way to sophisticated flavors of cherry and raspberry that build to a terrific chord, with nutmeg, vanilla and dried rose petal notes that persist on the finish.-MW'
Youthful, fruit-packed and supple, with substantial body and strong plum/spice flavours, delicately seasoned with oak. Deliciously smooth, with plenty of potential. Best 2012+.
On palate, this is very sweet, rich and luscious, but softly so with its full and broad mouthfilling flavours of lime, marmalade and bush honey. This has a very attractive oily, unctuous texture, kept fresh by good acidity. The wine finishes with length and nuance. This will match most rich desserts, and be a delightful aperitif over the next 3-5 years. 18.5/20
Classic Pinot Noir notes prevail on the nose -- earth, mushroom, blueberry, vanilla and cherry -- in a more complete fashion than many other Kiwi Pinot Noirs. The tannins and acidity on the light-bodied palate are modest, with cola, cherry and blueberry notes dominating over more subtle, earthy complexity.
4 Stars: Fragrant with oodles of passionfruit and melon, lush and mouthfilling with an intense, crisp, assertive finish
Sniffing this wine is like entering an enchanted garden; lavender, rose petal and pot pourri spice are all gloriously there - and "out there". In the mouth it is opulent and utterly delicious, a honeyed sweetness set against a beguiling fleshy, oily texture. Cameron Douglas offered this food match: traditional duck confit, with ground spices including a hint of Cajun.
Fragrant with orange and lime blossom, ripe stone and zingy citrus fruit, rich and textural in the mouth and yet with a well-balanced, crisp dry finish.
Brilliant pale-edged straw-yellow colour with gold-green hues, this has a soft, full bouquet with density and depth of complex secondary aromas of cooked gooseberries and beans with herb notes, along with subtle barrel-ferment notes. Dry to taste, the palate is an amalgam of ripe tropical fruits, herbs and nettles with well-judged barrel-ferment oakiness. This is softly concentrated, and texturally fine, though a touch of alcohol comes through. The finish has good acidity and is sustained. Serve this complex wine with grilled seafood and Middle Eastern vegetable dishes over the next 3-5 years.
4.5 stars “Very elegant, finely poised wine, full-bodied, with fresh, vibrant cherry, plum and spice flavours, seasoned with smoky, toasty oak, and impressive density.”
“Weighty, rich and supple, very elegant and youthful. Full ruby, with a floral scented bouquet, it is muscular (14.5% alc) but not heavy, with sweet-fruit delights and concentrated, vibrant cherry / plum flavours. Best opened mid 2011+.”
“Amazingly deep golden yellow colour for a pinot gris. Very Alsace in style – quite viscous and oily and slightly sweet, with hints of hazlenuts. “Chasing the right style,” said one judge.”
“Strong pinot noir statement retaining the drinkability and appeal of the finest from this variety. A gutsy mouthfeel works perfectly with the bold fruit and the result is a complete wine, still young and unfolding, with style and class. Top flight pinot noir with lots of time ahead to follow and enjoy.”
“Small percentage of malolactic fermentation and old oak matured. Dry with excellent depth to the fruit, a champion of balance with this pear and citrus fruit statement. Very food-friendly and versatile in its partnerships, but a classic wine which will continue to unfold. To be enjoyed for two or three more years.”
“Attractive green-gold. Lemon curd aromas with a complexing note of sweat. Youthful and sweet-fruited. Ripe lemon, gooseberry and a hint of phenolic texture too, finishing cleanly.”
“A lovely expression of cool-climate Chardonnay displaying stonefruit, citrus and gentle nutty oak characters on the nose. The palate is medium-full and elegantly framed with bright acidity and a juicy mouthfeel. A refreshing and appealing Chardonnay with generous fruit intensity.”
“Delicately luscious sweet fruit and soft acidity are a backbone for gentle flavours suggesting red capsicum, passion fruit and tree fruits. Succulent and appealing wine.” www.bobswinereviews.com
“Do you think they could bottle this in an atomizer so that I can spray it behind my ears and elbows? Allspice, lychee and ginger aromas, fleshed out with rose petal and peach notes that lead to incredible concentration of flavour, weight, interest, sweetness, pungency and vibrancy – what else can I say? It’s gorgeous.”
Charming and beautifully poised with dried herb, citrus and subtle flinty notes combined with a concentrated palate.
“An initial impression of sweet stewed apple and pear is modified by fine tannins to give a rather drier finish that shows a little clove / spice finish.”
“It's ripe and immediately appealing on the nose displaying white peach, mango and subtle creamy oak characters. The palate shows ample fruit, silky texture and beautifully balanced acidity. The wine is juicy and supple with a lovely refreshing finish. At its best: now to 2012.”
“It's youthful and freshly perfumed on the nose displaying red cherry, raspberry and thyme characters. The palate is juicy and refreshing with bright acidity and fine tannins. A well balanced and framed Pinot showing plenty of appeal. At its best: now to 2012.”
“Right from the beginning, the Pinot vines at this Waihopai Valley winery have revelled in their situation. The wine has consistently delivered excellence at a good price. This latest rendition is classic New World Pinot, 'compact, bright and taut, with fine, cedary tannins,' noted Jeff Clark."
“It’s great to see our gewurz getting international gongs and this elegant, pure example struck gold. Redolent of the variety’s classic rosewater and lychee characters and infused with cumin and coriander spice, it’s oily, textured with a fresh burst of grapefruit on the finish.”
“This is fine and delicate yet shows lovely intense juicy flavours. Another beautifully crafted Riesling from this outstanding producer, displaying lime zest, flint, mandarin and floral characters on the nose. The palate is vibrant and racy with subtle sweetness (12 g/l) and bright acidity. The wine is tightly structured and lengthy with plenty of appealing flavours. At its best: now to 2015.”
“Aromas of melon with tight, juicy citrus and mineral fruit characters. Ripe fruited yet reasonably dry and showing some nice complexity with maybe a touch of nutty oak too. Nice mouth feel with medium long finish.”
“Lots of violet and floral notes on the nose. Palate is bright and vibrant, lifted by pretty violet characters then filled out with savoury Merlot. Quite youthful and primary yet oak is well integrated. Tannins are firm and youthful.”
“Quite a deep colour for such a young wine suggesting plenty of skin contact. The palate does show some drying tannins but remains fairly silken. Stone fruit, toast and subtle spice characters. Good value at this price. “Bob Campbell MW, www.bobswinereviews.com
Moderately intense Pinot Noir with plenty of weight and plum/dark cherry flavours. Silken smooth with a reasonably lengthy finish. Solid varietal wine that delivers plenty for the price.” Bob Campbell MW, www.bobswinereviews.com
“A rich, powerful Sauvignon Blanc with strong mineral, gooseberry and lemon grass flavours. Impressive ethereal texture and lengthy finish.” Bob Campbell MW, www.bobswinereviews.com
“An initial impression of sweet stewed apple and pear is modified by fine tannins to give a rather dryer finish that shows a little clove/spice character. Concentrated and complex Pinot Gris.” Bob Campbell MW, www.bobswinereviews.com
The Spy Valley Riesling was awarded a Gold Medal and selected in the Top 50 wines at the New World Wine Awards 2010. “Balance, complexity, purity of fruit and intense concentration, this wine has it all. This wine cries out to be matched with freshly steamed cockles.”
The Spy Valley 2009 Gewurztraminer was awarded a Gold Medal and selected in the Top 50 wines at the New World Wine Awards 2010. “Exotic aromas of rosewater, Turkish delight and citrus peel lead into a textural palate which is rich, concentrated and powerful. This variety compliments Thai seafood dishes.”
Spy Valley’s take on Merlot Malbec is a fruity wine of warmth and presence with redcurrant and plum aromas, touched by mocha oak. It was a little to leafy for one taster, but the others liked its balance and intensity, and the savoury chalk tannins that support the palate. Try it alongside minute steak with fine herbs.
Why should you care? New Zealand’s ocean-influenced climate—markedly cooler than that of its neighbor Australia—is ideal for the production of wines with intense fruit and crisp acidity. White wines, especially sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, dominate exports to the U.S. But the country’s rieslings are also varietally accurate and delicious. In spite of their normally brisk acidity, they are rarely austere or difficult to enjoy in their youth; in fact, many of these wines are softened by some residual sugar. Spy Valley’s wines are flamboyantly supple, fruit-driven and user-friendly.
What does it taste like? Spy Valley’s premium Envoy range comes from specific vineyard sites within the greater family estate. Their 2007 riesling, made from Germanic clones, is in a silky, sweeter style (think German spätlese) but with perfect balancing acidity. It offers the distinctly fusel quality shown by many top rieslings from Germany, Australia and elsewhere, along with concentrated apricot and passion fruit flavors, exotic brown spices and a suggestion of honeyed richness. This compellingly pure and immediately appealing wine makes a perfect aperitif—or try it with fresh scallops or sweet and sour Asian dishes.
A bottle of Spy Valley's Envoy Sauvignon Blanc was equally delicious; not nearly as pungent as a typical Marlborough sauvignon but with bags of personality and flavour.
We all liked this wine and its quirky label design. Relatively full-bodied, with lots of citrus and stone fruit flavours, there is just a touch of sweetness. Drinking very well now.
Nose: Generous fruit and floral messages with sweet grapefruit and light ginger spice. As the wine opens up the characters described deepen and soften becoming more inviting and complex. Palate: Dry with green apple flavours and warm citrus flavours. The light body and deepening palate characters show off a well-balanced and well-made wine.
Food Match: Pad Thai with tofu and prawns. Often served with fresh lemon this is a must for this match. Lose the peanuts though in favour of fresh spring onion or chestnut slices.
Weighty, rich and supple, this is a very elegant and youthful red. Full ruby, with a floral, scented bouquet, it is muscular (14.5% alc/vol) but not heavy, with sweet-fruit delights and concentrated, vibrant cherry/plum flavours. Finely textured, with obvious potential, it’s best opened mid-2011+.
French toast and citrus nose. Hints of herbs and minerals. Fresh, steely acidity leads to a strong finish. From 2010
“If anyone is not convinced that Gewurztraminer is the most enchanting aromatic grape, they need to try this beauty. The nose is beautifully perfumed displaying tropical fruit, floral, mandarin and subtle spice characters. It’s succulent and silky smooth on the palate showing subtle sweetness (13.9 g/L) and an opulent mouthfeel which is perfectly balanced by the refreshing acidity. The gorgeous flavours lingers on and on. At its best: now to 2013."
This wine shows friendly style and appeal with its ripe apricot, apple and nutty characters on the nose. The palate is medium-weighted and nicely textured with refreshing acidity and a juicy finish. A very pleasing Chardonnay with ample fruit. At its best: now to 2011.
A richly scented nose displaying dark plum, spice and savoury mushroom characters. The palate is generous and rounded with silky texture and supple tannins. It's refreshing and immediately appealing. Very delicious. At its best: now to 2011.
Big, blackberry aromas. Powerful and lush in the mouth with big dark fruits and lots of oak. Blackberry, chewy and textural, dense but not too sweet. Plenty of round tannins.
The lifted aromatic aromas are followed by peaches and pears in abundance. These are enhanced by the good structure and oily texture creating great weight in the palate. Generous and lengthy finish.
Excellent now but will also improve for a little more cellaring. The turkish delight aromas prepare the way for more turkish in the palate but with added elements marmalade, ginger and spice. Acidity is just a little tart but that will dissipate in the coming months. Thoroughly recommended.
“Unusually for a riesling, this has been fermented in large, old barrels which brings a faint hint of nuts and toffee and a firm, textural mouthfeel to the lime and tropical fruit flavour and crisp, tingly finish. 4 stars (out of 5).
“Made by Spy Valley, this is a pure expression of Riesling, off dry, delicate and totally delicious. The perfect aperitif.”
“The Marlborough region of New Zealand has become justly famous (thanks first to the legendary Cloudy bay) for its tangy, lively Sauvignon Blanc, and this is a good example of the Marlborough style at a very attractive price; it’s a perfect wedding aperitif.”
“This week’s wine of the week is the Spy Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2009, which has cleaned up a few awards recently. Spy Valley has been producing under its current name since 2000, and the winery is situated in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley near the now infamous ‘spy base’ that was shredded with sickles last year.
The 2009 Gewurztraminer is made in a fruit-driven style, which reflects delicious aromas of rose petals, Turkish delight and lychee. These particular aromas are enhanced by a ginger spiciness that gives the wine uplifting warmth.
Spicy citrus flavours coupled with lip-smacking satisfying mouth feel make this wine a true flavor bonanza, with extremely well balanced structure and finish. It really is hard to believe this wine retails around the $20 mark. A true bargain.
This wine would go really well with smoked salmon, a chicken Thai green curry, or jam on toast."
“Racy and fresh; long and bright with keen cherry flavours and lovely fruit. 89 points”
“Like quite a few of us, this wine is bright but not rich. A citrusy vibrancy runs through it, the oak forms a subtle backdrop; a velvety texture supplies comfort and warmth. It would suit a Japanese dish, such as prawn teriyaki.”
“The Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2008 is a killer little Pinot that is too delicious and too affordable to be listed in BC Liquor stores, but is being poured at the Playhouse International Wine Festival this week. Its 25-per-cent new wood does little to interfere with its bright mineral fruit, fresh acidity and finesse. Looks like Pinot, smells like Pinot, tastes like Pinot. All natural winemaking and it shows, Incredible value.”
“Verdict: fantastic. The Spy Valley Late Harvest Savvy was a treat – rich flavours of passion fruit, lychee, ripe pineapple and cape gooseberry jam, with a subtle crisp acidity on the finish. A really perfect match for the stronger cheeses.”
We liked this quite a bit when it first hit town about a year ago and we’re still liking it, with those ubiquitous gooseberries front and centre. Label speak alerts us to more passion – and grapefruit as well as “sweet pea”, which was new to those tasting. Why not? Nice and dry, tart but not overwhelmingly though, with lots of guts to stand up to vegetable dishes, cream sauces for fish, and olive oil poached chicken.”
"A faint blush of dull pink colours this bubbly made from the traditional blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. It hints of berries, toasted hazelnuts and freshly baked bread, is mouthfiling but elegant and has a satisfying, savoury finish."
"This sweet wine has all the seductive charm and fragrance of a freshly picked, tree-ripened peach, with hints of honeysuckle, orange and tropical fruit, and a lively suggestion of lemon on the nicely balanced finish. Try with poached peaches or pears with vanilla and orange blossom water."
"Fragrant with fresh guava, green fruits and dusty gravel, this sweet wine has the herby, capsicum character and crisp green flavour of Marlborough sauvignon, but also an intense sweetness, silky texture and clean finish. Just the thing to go with an aged cheddar."
“Top of the line Chardonnay from Spy Valley. Spicy oak influence from 18 months in the barrel. Rich flavours of lime, lemon, apple and hazelnut.”
"Moderately sweet riesling with enough acidity to give a medium/dry finish. Powerful lime juice, rose petal and slate/mineral characters with good weight and an impressive length."
"Nose: Marmalade, beeswax, honey and intense tropical aromas - seductive and interesting.
Palate: Creamy textures and sweet with the hidden acidity showing a careful balance and richness. Passion-fruit and other tropical flavours persist into an extended finish.
Food match: Peach slices pan seared in brown sugar and then tossed with small wedges of goats blue cheese. Warm cream-anglaise on the side to dress this salad when needed."
“Ripe, sweet fruit notes on the nose and on the palate. There’s juicy Meyer lemon and sweet herbs – really nice. Shows good concentration and very good balance between alcohol and fine grained acidity.”
“Nicely clean and alive, very accessible with excellent fruit base and lots of youthful spine to ensure plenty of development ahead. A wine which shows the potential of this Waihopai sub-region of Marlborough for vibrant, characterful fruit tones. Will work well and develop further over the next three years.”
"Fabulous aromas of jasmine, delicate tropical notes (passion fruit?), wild lavendar, and the faintest hint of petroleum. Slightly sweet entry, but great acidity that makes the wine barely off-dry, and should allow it to work with numerous Asian foods. A classic New Zealand style wine imported by Broadbent Selections."
"While quite a lot of the growing array of sweet savs can lack varietal character, there's no mistaking this fresh and affordable example with its tropical notes of passionfruit and mango and herbal undertones. Try with a Thai curry for a superb synergy between sweetness and heat."
4 Stars "A punchy, fruit salad wine, oozing juicy mango, ripe pineapple, grapefruit, passionfruit and guava, but all supported by a well-balanced, crisp, assertive, dryish finish. Typical, full on Marlborough style. Good value."
"Very elegant, finely poised wine, full-bodied, with fresh, vibrant cherry, plum and spice flavours, seasoned with smoky, toasty oak, and impressive density."
The only Sauvignon Blanc to win gold in this competition
"This is a succulent, generous wine from a winery that has forged a strong aromatics track record. The fascinating flavour spectrum includes spice - 'cardamom, almost into tumeric', said Anna Flowerday - together with guava and fig notes. A very complete Gewurz."
"An overt honey-puff scent signals the rich, interesting taste experience that is in store. Botrytis (noble rot) makes a strong contribution to this toasty, apricot-flavoured, focused wine. The inviting softness and warmth conjure thoughts of colder evenings and classic French onion soup."
"This is bright, lively and distinctive for its apricot, lime and tangerine flavors, which zip nicely through the long, vibrant finish. Drink now."
"A powerful, full-on style from this reliable producer. It's fragrant with hints of eau de cologne, mint and roses, oozing tropical fruit - lychees and mangoes, but with a savoury undertone, and a rich, mouthfilling finish. Delicious."
"Fragrant with hints of grapefruit and smoky oak, and suggestions of melon, spice and oatmeal, this is a stylish, zesty wine, with understated oak and a bright tingly aftertaste."
"Wow. Ginger, lychee, nectarine, roses, a veritable pot pourri of perfumed perfection. Bursting with tropical lusciousness, clean, slicing acidity and rich, textural length of flavour. A must if you're contemplating spicy pork panang or prawn stir-fry."
Spy Valley 07 Pinot Noir was awarded Top Business Class Red Wine in the 2009 Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky Awards. It was listed on Cathay Pacific's wine list, and won out over 64 airlines worldwide.
"Their 2008 achieved a level of refinement, concentration and transparency that is rare in Marlborough pinot noir. It contrasts bright fruit scents of raspberry and firm, mineral-infused tannin, all punctuated by fresh acidity. The wine is supple, complete, lasting with a red glow."
"Although arguably one of the less aromatic varieties, when it comes to the dizzying heights in quality that can be reached by the best, riesling is still king of this category. Made in a wide variety of styles, this one from Spy Valley's top Envoy range, may clock in at a modest 9 per cent alcohol, but has an abundance of flavour in its rich, slaty, spicy and slightly honeyed palate in which its not inconsiderable sweetness is beauitfully counterpoised with a fresh limey acid."
"Fragrant melon and perfumed passionfruit bouquet and some intense spicy pear flavours with hints of ginger on a long, oily palate. Some sweetness. Very polished wine."
"Stand-out wine with excellent complexity and outstanding fruit. Nice tropical lift to the nose and intense melon flavours with a grassy/herbaceous backbone and strong finish."
"It's ripe and immediately appealing on the nose displaying white peach, mango and subtle creamy oak characters. The palate shows ample fruit, silky texture and beautifully balanced acidity. The wine is juicy and supple with a lovely refreshing finish."
"It's ripe and inviting on the nose displaying stonefruit, passionfruit and herbaceous characters. The palate is zesty and full-flavoured with a nicely textured mid palate, well integrated acidity and a lingering fruity finish. A gorgeous Sauvignon."
Only the top 5% of wines receive Top 100 wine status.
"Typically lush and concentrated wine that's as good as any Gewurztraminer made by this high-performing producer. Strong lychee and rose petal with a suggestion of lavender."
Being almost three years old is a rarity in itself for this variety! This is outstanding wine, full fruited, quite a lot of weight and intensity and perfectly made from the vineyard through the winery to protect some wonderful flavours. Everyone should experience this wine as a view seldom seen in New Zealand. This lifts the whole status of pinot gris.
An all-fruit statement without overt oak; a single vineyard wine from the company vineyard at Waihopai. Layers of flavours are opening up perfectly in the second year and showing beautifully with chicken, lamb, veal and more. Plenty of time to enjoy.
"Fragrance of honey and beeswax on the nose. Palate is dryish showing a clean, honest palate with notes of lemonade, pineapple and lime. Good concentration of flavour with some appealing firmness on the finish."
"Very nice Marlborough Pinit Gris, an important strength of this winery. Nicely robust and full of flavour, just off dry and balanced to perfection. Very good wine, ready from now on."
"The aromas are very intense lemon and kiwifruit; a hint of garden salad. It's clean, fresh and vibrant in the mouth, with light to medium body and good, soft acidity that cleans the finish and helps the finish linger. A benchmark Marlborough sauvignon. 92/100. Food Caprese salad."
"Ripe strawberries and a suggestion of boiled beetroot allied to herbal, spicy oak combine in this wine's splendid, mature nose which is heady and very forward. In the mouth, too, there is a medley of nuances and aromas, and ample dry, spicy flavours in a mellow frame with salty finish. Stylish and very accomplished."
"A fine example of the varietal with a rich, firm, intense and complete bouquet featuring white fruit, flower-blossom and subtle spices. The palate is opulent, sweet and multifaceted, of great depth and splendidly framed and reigned in by a gentle vein of acidity. This shows real class and distinction."
"Very nice Marlborough pinot gris, an important strength of this winery. Nicely robust and full of flavour, just off dry and balanced to perfection. Very good wine, ready through 2010."
Wines of the Week. “I have a fantasy vineyard dedicated to Riesling, part of the dream being that people fall head over heels for the wine I make from this vineyard. Needless to say, this top wine of Spy Valley in Marlborough isn’t made from my fantasy vineyard, but if it were I imagine it might taste similar to this luscious little number. It’s the second year in a row that Spy Valley in Marlborough has made the Envoy Riesling, which is all limes and green apples, and freshly citrus in taste, this wine is worth it.”
"A classic Marlborough Sauvignon displaying lifted aromas of passionfruit, pineapple and lime zest characters. The palate is juicy and intense with vibrant acidity and nicely flowing texture. Beautifully balanced and finishes with lovely lingering ripe fruit notes. This is a more rounded version of Marlborough Sauvignon making it a brilliant drink. At its best: now to 2011."
"Bright medium-deep red in colour with a touch of purple around the rim. The nose is aromatic and fruity displaying dark plum, cherry, floral and cedary oak characters. It's juicy and nicely flowing on the palate with well balanced acidity and supple tannins. A medium-weighted, silky Merlot with plenty of appeal. At its best: now to 2011."
BEST IMPORT: This is the reserve wine from one of Marlborough's better emerging wineries. It's soft, flesh and fruit-sweet with lots of whole-bunch character-adding complexity. Pepper, cedar and spicy oak; elegant and perfumed with plummy palate flavours and more tannin than most of its kind. 93/100. Food: spit roast quail.
Wine to try - Spy Valley Pinot Gris "Swordfish is a dense, deep-water fish with a tendency to dry out if it is not carefully cooked. The sweetness of the accompanying roasted capsicum requires a wine with both depth and richness. A light red could work, but here the weight, texture and intensity of good pinot gris is perfect (not a lean, tight, Italianate pinot grigio style but rather the full, rich Alsace style). There are a number of Australian pinot gris that fit that mould, but it's the New Zealanders who are showing us how to make the variety with extra depth, power and concentration. The folk at Spy Valley use partial barrel fermentation, some malolactic influences and leave a touch of residual sugar to build weight and add complexity to this delicious (food-friendly) white wine.
"They often wheel out pinot gris with sweet things in Alsace, and this rich, creamy rendition will wrap itself nicely around Ray's orange cakes. G'sund! (as they say in Alsace)."
"Very nice Marlborough pinot noir, yet again from this winery that has a strong pinot noir record. Nicely clean and alive, very accessible with excellent fruit base and lots of youthful spine to ensure plenty of development ahead. A wine that shows the potential of this Waihopai sub-region of Marlborough for vibrant, characterful fruit tones."
Spy Valley has a reputation for making terrific wines and offering them at reasonable prices. A few years ago, the company decided to create a limited-edition flagship label called "Envoy".
They've now made a string of cracking wines under the label. Its pinot gris is spectacularly good. It's a wine that in my opinion would still rush off the shelves at a much higher price. Here's what I wrote in my tasting notes:
"Rich and creamy Alsace-style wine with a medley of tree- and exotic-fruit flavours, plus an appealing lifted spicy character. Very intense and sophisticated wine that's in danger of giving New Zealand pinot gris a good name."
I love this sauvignon from Marlborough on the South Island, for its value and flavours. The bouquet jumps out of the glass with passionfruit, kiwi and snap pea aromatics. Its fresh uplifted tastes are reminiscent of passionfruit and pink grapefruit granite. Perfect for summer sipping.
Creamy, sophisticated Chardonnay with layers of pineapple, grapefruit, sizzled butter, brioche and spicy oak flavours. Seamless wine with impressive power and length. Very classy Chardonnay indeed.
Very dark in the glass. Rich, ripe and floral on nose. The palate is dense and ripe with cherry, strawberry, blackberry and creamy, toasty oak. And there's good concentration of flavour with reasonable complexity showing too. A superbly balanced wine with strapping young tannins and all the components it will require to mature nicely.
The bouquet combines grapefruit and lemon rind notes with a touch of the region's typical 'sweat'. The flavour profile is crisp, clean and superbly refreshing thanks to nicely balanced acids that bring out the best in the fruit. Sauvignon Blanc's crisp acids sit nicely alongside salty foods. If you're using it to accompany casual nibbles, think olives, cubes of feta chees or salt and pepper squid. Later as part of the meal, it would be good with a salad built around rocket leaves, cubed firm feta and grainy croutons, tossed in a dressing made from a little lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper."
A different take on Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Sweet stone fruit and tropical fruits are balanced by acids and minerals to produce a long, sweet but clean finish.
Darkly shaded in the glass, this has an embarrassment of riches on the palate; after the heady aromatic delights, there is a core of red fruits with a mushrooming firmness parading up the centre aisle. The faint earthiness integrates nicely and drags this back away from the fruit bomb end of the continuum, the tannin component merely an indicator of youth. Excellent.
THis wine has a high degree of botrytis influence with strong honey and musk flavours but citrus and root ginger varietal notes remainvery evident. Even though it's wuite sweet, the wine is perfectly balancedby crisp acidity and is certainly not cloying. It offers particularly good value at this price. - Bob Campbell MW, Gourmet Traveller Wine
Rich and creamy Alsace-style wine with a medley of tree and exotic fruit flavours plus an appealing lifted spicy character. Very intense and sophisticated drop that's in danger of giving New Zealand pinot gris a good name.
A good example of rich, honeyed botrytised wine that can come from Marlborough in suitable years. Hints of dried apricot, grapefruit, mandarin skin, golden kiwi and ginger with a sweet, unctuous intensity, complexity from a little oak aging and a nicely bright crisp finish. Good with a sharp blue or a cardomom and almond biscotti. Good value." - Charmain Smith, Otago Daily Times.
Hints of earl grey tea and mandarin peel with underlying quinces, dried apricot and passionfruit, bring an underlying richness to this bright, slightly herbal wine. Good with not-too-sweet apple pie. - Charmain Smith ODT
Wonderfully fresh and fragrant, this gris has the mouthfilling ripe pear and stonefruit spiced with nutmeg, and a faint infusion of smoke. Jo Bursynska, 27 May 2009.
Nicely clean and alive, very accessible with excellent fruit base and lots of youthful spine to ensure plenty of development ahead. A wine that shows the potential of the Waihopai sub-region of Marlborough for vibrant, characterful fruit tones. Will work well and develop further over the next three years. - Peter Saunders, F&B
The nose of this wine is irrisistible showing opulent apricot characters with gentle spice and floral notes. the palate starts with a subtly sweetness followed by lovely silky texture throught the mid range then finishes with beautifully balanced acidity leaving the palate nice and fresh. Not too sweet, not over the top in floral notes, it's very pleasingly poised. - Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Issue 5
This is a very friendly and approachable wine showing floral, pear and apricot characters with soft notes on the nose. The well weighted palate has attractive sweetness, smooth texture and well harmonised acidity. - Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Issue 5.
Gewurzt is often suggested as a match for curry, but some Indian versions can kill its delicate flavours. Look instead towards Thailand, and try shredding roast duck from a Chinese food market into a mixture of red curry paste, peanut butter, coconut milk, chicken stock and lime juice. - Vic Williams, Hospitality
'Unashamedly rich' the label says, and it is. Quite thick in texture, a botrytis effect present yet not dominate and the fruit is gusty and strong for the heartiest of desserts. Different and full of mouth-interest, something to savour and enjoy for a long time. A little beauty.
Pure and classy, this is a medium sweet Riesling of beautiful structure and great longevity. Pure lemon and grapefruit pith flavours ripple ober river pebble minerality with incredible line, length and poise.
A fresh, zesty wine with sweet stonefruit and a hint of celery, and a juicy, crisp finish. Charmain Smith, ODT 22 April 2009
Soft around the edges with a concentrated tropical fruit core and hints of peach and spice. Lovely texture. John Hawkesbury, Canvas Magazine 4 April 2009
With accurate black cherry fruits, plums, spice and lifted violet bouget, this is a deeper, more black-fruited Pinot Noir than the norm for marlborough, thanks to the cool location of the Johnson Estate vineyard from which it is sourced. The result is a delicious style with balanced coffee/mocha oak and very long, fine tannins.
Another favourite producer of mine is Spy Valley in Marlborough and they certainly know how to make a powerful Gewurztraminer. A hedonist's wine is their Gewurztraminer 2008, with lashings of Turkish delight and ginger on the nose followed through with fresh citrus in the mouth. Drinking this wine is a pure pleasure; soft, alluring and sumptuous it is so inviting the bottle just dissapears.
Pungent with hints of kiwiberries, fresh guava and a hint of greywacke, this fresh, intense wine has a long, tingly finish. Spy Valley invariably offers good value.
One of the best and most reasonably priced in this group, this medium wine hints of eau de cologne, mint and tropical fruit with a hint of toffee and nuts. I enjoyedthe intensity, balanced and the long aftertaste.
There's decadence in the wonderful aroma's of lychees, jasmine, roses and eau de cologne, but the flavours are more precise and poised in this surprisingly alert and fresh wine with a long, stylish finish suggesting eau de cologne mint and toffee. Delicious.
This wine has had some barrel fermentation and lees aging which tones down the tropical fruit salad effect and gives more complexity, texture and a nutty undertone to the luscious fruit. Delicious.
Light and tart, with a haunting gingerbread undertone to the lime, guava, mineral and floral flavours, lingering on the expressive finish.
Perfumed with pineapple, lime and a hint of gorse flowers, this is a taut, racy wine, medium sweet but with a tingly textural finish. One of the few rieslings that invite a second glass.
Spy Valley is a specialist with Gewurztraminer, so it was no surprise when this lovely wine was unmasked. I found the nose rich and honeyed, with lychee and rose-petal fragrance. The flabour is equally rich, assisted by a little sweetness, and is complex and varietally precise.
WOW! My first sip of Riesling in 2009 and this is an absolute beauty! scented with yellow plum, apple skin, beeswax and ripe lime and white peach characters this wine simply singson the palate. Beautifully fresh and at only 9% alcohol it holds deliciously crisp, pure fruit sweetness and fullness on the finish. Just stunning with crayfish and coriander salad.
Suggestions of zesty sweet lime and mineral, sweetish, but so taut and racy it's like dancing on a tightrope. A late harvest style with a steely, crisp finish.
QUince and a tad of Kerosene, with a layer of tropical fruit. Soft and balanced.
Serves up a fragrant medley of tart, black currant, grapefruit and crushed stone nuances. Sea salt and oyster shell give this a savoury edge, with fresh thyme and lime extending through the finish. Drink now.
Spy Valley impressed me with its generous tropical fruit, including paw paw and pineapple. Bourne agreed, adding 'richness, honey and lime'. The wine's full and round in the mouth with a good depth of ripe flavour and a touch of sweetness. It finishes softly, with a light grip.
Attractively scented, citrusy, gently honeyed bouquet. Already delicious, with generous depth of ripe, citrusy, honeyed flavours, hints of lime and marmalade, and a sweet, smooth finish.
Delicious young, with concentrated, very ripe (31.6 brix) peach and passionfruit flavours and a hint of honey. Very harmonious, with a subtle bitrytis influence and well-rounded finish.
'Rich without being too bold' thought Cameron Douglas. Out-there ginger, orange peel and spice flavours are delivered on a rich, oily tide. This would be a great apertife, with a smoked salmon mousse.
According to our surveillance, Spy Valley is up to it's old tricks - creamy, generous, oozing Alsatian-esque white stonefruit and nashi pear characters. Excellentfood style; foie gras comes to mind.
Poised to enter the ranks of New Zealand's greatest Chardonnays, this ultrafine style is both concentrated and elegant, with pure white peach, grapefruit and a supporting layer of hazlenut oak. River pebble minerality gives this a Burgundian feel. 96 Points
Deep yellow. Quite full on the nose. Nice quince, stonefruit and mealy characters, full bodied with some richness to the flavour and texture too. - Wine NZ, Autumn 2009
Rich, creamy nose. Full-bodied and relatively dry with lush, ripe flavours; grapefruit and lychee with notes of rose and spice. Quite big wine, yet nicely structured and well-concentrated. Shows good balance too with well-controlled alcohol.
Spy Valley are well recognised as one of the country's best-value wine producers, making consistently good wines at reasonble prices. The company's new flagship Envoy label raises the quality bar while retaining sensible pricing. Masses of sweetness balanced by sharp acidity produces a finish that's almost medium-dry. This terrific wine makes a strong statement. Powerful lime juice, rose petal and slate/mineral characters with good weight and considerable length.
Creamy, sophisticated chardonnay with layers of pineapple, grapefruit, sizzled butter, brioche and spicy oak flavours. Seamless wine with impressive power and length. Very classy chardonnay indeed.
White-fleshed peach and sweet nectarine, with a hint of nuts and silky texture give this wine a little more complexity than it's unoaked stablemate. It is silky, attractive and well balanced.
Big tropical fruit nose with gooseberry, grapefruit on the tounge - this is a four star wine with the excellent price it offers great affordable value for those who like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc - so i'll slip it a half mark for that.
Weighty and full-coloured, with a spicy, slightly earthy bouquet. Finely textured red with strong cherry, plum and spice flavours, showing good complexity and harmony, gentle acidity and a backbone of ripe, supple tannins.
You know you're on to a winner when you pour your friend a glass of wine and they say "mmm that's delicious." What is it? they ask. You tell them it is Pinot Gris and they raise their eyebrows. "Really" one of them says. 'I've never tasted Pinot Gris like this before,' says another.
Yes, Pinot Gris, but not just any Pinot Gris. This is Spy Valley's top label 'Envoy' and the 2007 vintage is a stunning successor to the inaugural 2006 release. Grapes were hand selected and picked from their original plantings of Pinot Gris. They were whole bunch pressed and fermented in German Oak ovals. The wine was aged for a further seven months on lees prior to bottling. Now that the wine has had over a year in bottle, it is simply delicious. Spy Valley Envoy Pinot Gris 2007 is a light golden colour. The scents entice with spice and floral nuances. In the mouth the texture is satin sheet smooth and the taste is spicy and gently floral with a lovely frash seam of tangy citrus and a finish that fleshes out with freshly picked yellow-flesh peach. A hint of oak adds just the right amount of complexity. The result is very satisfying as the wine slips across the tongue to coat it with a vineous memory. Sue Courtney, 15 March 2009.
Lemon Zest and mineral emerge on the subdued nose. The palate is more assertive, showing sweet pink grapefruit, pomelo and a back note of tropical fruit. Clean, persistence and polished finish; great balance.
The concentrated 2007 has enough structure to carry its substantial fruit. It's a big wine... flavours are ripe and long lasting, with an Asian spice complexity.
Exotically perfumed, gingerly bouquet. Mouthfilling and intensely varietal, with concentrated spice and lychee flavours, slight sweetness and balanced acidity. Weighty, rich and already delicious. - Marlborough Regional Tasting, Winestate
Slightly honeyed, mouthfilling wine with ripe stonefruit and spice flavours. Musky and oily, with an impressive richness. - Marlborough Regional Tasting, Winestate Magazine.
This Spy Valley wine seems to show some development on the nose already, it is complex and fragrant. There is moderate weight in the mouth, showing a nice touch of sweat, lifted passionfruit, gooseberry and underlying notes of ripe peach. it is nice to see this degree of complexity. With its combination of lovely concentration, really nice ripeness and clean bright acid on the finish, this Sauvignon is a cut above and is super buying for this summer.
Good depth of colour, but not dark. Pleasant spicy cherry bouquet with some softening as a result of development. Plenty of fruit and flavour, aging well and preserving good freshness. I like this.
This 2006 vintage is gently sweet. Matured in large oak casks, it is yellow/green with a beautifully scented, complex bouquet, slightly toasty and rich. Light, it has deep, vibrant, citrusy, limey, slightly minerally flavours, racy and long.
Generous and silky-textured, it is bright ruby, with a floral bouquet. Mouthfilling, with fresh, strong, cherryish, plummy flavours, rich and rounded, it is delicious now, but should be even better during 2009.
Launched from the 2005 vintage (5 stars), this distinguished wine is estate-grown in the Waihopai Valley. The 2006 is poised and immaculate. Pale straw, with a fresh, slightly nutty bouquet, it is mouthfilling youthful with rich, ripe, peach and grapefruit flavours, subtle oak and a long, harmonious finish. A very classy wine, it's still unfolding and likely to be at it's peak around 2010.
A consistently attractive, top value wine. A fresh, mouthfilling wine with strong grapefruit and stone-fruit flavours, it shows good weight and cencentration with a dry, lingering finish.
This wine consistently offers great value. It's a full bodied wine with soft, slightly sweet pear, citrus fruit and spice flavours, a hint of ginger, and excellent depth, varietal character and harmony.
The 2007 is still very youthful, but luch and lovely, with a soft texture and rich, peachy, gently sweet flavours. Fleshy and very harmonious, with greater complexity than most New Zealand Pinot Gris and obvious cellaring potential, it is best opened mid-2009+.
The 2008 is another winner. It's ripely scented and mouthfilling, with a slightly sweet, peachy, spicy flavours, strongly varietal and very harmonious. Delicious from the start.
This wine smacks you in the nose with a large bouquet of roses, a tray of homemade gingernuts and box of lavender scented Turkish delight. If that doesn't get you, the palate has a flavour of ginger beer, violets, roses and apples. The acid and alcohol are balanced, the wine is fresh and delicious. A simply remarkable wine.
Sun-warmed granny smith apples, honeysuckle and summer flowers burst from the glass. The palate is off-dry with a splash of sugar, but very juicy with sweet citrus flavours of mandarin and grapefruit with apple and honeysuckle. A charming wine with high acidity, clean and distinctive flavours and lengthy apple finish.
Strong varietal aromas of pear, pineapple and peach with citrus blossom and spice. The palate is rich, full and spicy with white pepper laced with stone fruits, sweet apple and a splash of ginger. Well balanced, dry and tasty. Sure to please by the glass or with moderate to strong starters.
Pinot succeeds when it keeps you guessing, the way this wine does. It has mascularity in structure, but there's no denying the overfall finesse and elegance. "A very stylish palate", noted Larry McKenna.
4 Stars, 90 Points. In a normal vintage I would pick this as an Awatere wine with typical pea pod and tomato leaf flavours. The wine shows reasonable concentration and has an appealing mineral/slate character. The flavours show good focus and purity. Good acidity gives a pleasantly drying finish.
Abundantly fragrant and mouthwateringly juicy with bright racy flavours of grapefruit, passionfruit, gooseberry and lime.
Salmon filled with lemon cous cous matched with Spy Valley Riesling - Salmon is quite a strong flavour and the flesh has a residual oily texture which means that you need a wine which is able to cut through this and has enough flavour to stand up to the salmon. The Spy Valley Riesling is the perfect wine to match with this as it haslovely fruit flavours of citrus, peach and apricot coupled with an underlying backbone of acidity to cut through the oily salmon flesh.
Generous, silky textured and instantly appealing. Bright ruby, with a floral bouquet, it has mouthfilling body and fresh, strong, cherryish, plummy flavours, rich and rounded. Should be even better in 2009. - Michael Cooper
This is a very friendly and approachable wine showing floral, pear and apricot characters with soft spice notes on the nose. The well weighted palate has attractive sweetness, smooth texture and well harmonised acidity. - Sam Kim
Dried rosemary, thyme and french oak nuances infuse the silky, spicy palate that's full of fruitcake cherries and plum.
Oak adds richness to the orange zest and honeysuckle aroma and slightly sweetish lychee and zingy ginger flavours.
A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Apple, citrus and bready yeast flavours with a suggestion of chocolate box from the Pinot Noir component. THe wine is rich with a good texture. A fresh and exuberant sparkling wine offering good value.
Honeysuckle aromas and citrus and tropical flavours are balanced by crisp acidity in this juicy off-dry style.
The nose on this wine is irresistible showing opulent apricot characters with gentle spice and floral notes. The palate starts with a subtle sweetness followed by lovely silky texture through the mid range then finishes with beautifully balanced acidity leaving the palate nice and fresh. Not too sweet, not over the top in floral notes, it's very pleasingly poised.
This is the best vintage of Spy Valley Pinot Noir I have tasted. Bright plum, cherry, liquorice and spicy oak flavours with smooth, almost syrupy texture. Concentrated wine with character. Deliciously drinkable.
Rich, ripe cherry, layered fruit. Full, round, concentrated style, beautiful balance, lifted structure. Sweet, long finish. Delicious.
It's impossible not to join the Pinot Gris fan club with quality wines such as this being released. Hot days and cold Marlborough nights have contributed to this stunning drop that oozes with classic notes of baked pear and stone fruit characters. The absence of oak ensures the style remains fruit driven and suitable to be consumed with or without food.
Before entering the wine industry my first wine experience was Marlborough Gewurztraminer, I can remember being hooked instantly by it's intense perfumed aromas and delicious sweet flavours. These days i'm still hooked and have narrowed down my favourites to a few with Spy Valley taking 1st place as my favourite traminer of the 2007 vintage. Lifted aromas of rose petal, lychee and spice follow through into a palate that is generous yet lusciously textured with hints of Turkish delight emerging in the long satisfying finish. It's no secret that this wine is the perfect match for Thai cuisine.
Adorable from the first smell this stunning offering bursts with a rip infusion of citrus zest and tropical fruits. These flavours are repeated on the clean structured palate and enhanced by a touch of honey merged by a fine acid backbone that will make you smile after every sip. Aromatic wine lovers get back on the Riesling bandwagon! It's great drinking now and will improve for 10+ years in the cellar and in this case superbly priced. Enjoy!
Shows bright tropical fruits and leafy, grassy aromas, plenty of ripe impact and a real focus on freshness. The palate is accessible and ripe with lots of passion fruit flavour - softly balanced.
There has been a judicious mellowing, and though most Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs still have at least a whisper of that original herbaceousness, others that I recommend temper grassiness with hints of melon and apple and are generally more graceful and less assertive. My favourite for our grilled poussins is Spy Valley '07', a charming, discreetly herbaceous wine, with melon and other nuances.
Very nice Marlborough pinot noir, from a winery with a strong record for this variety. QUite silky, young and fresh and opening up well each month to show a classy pinot with both finesse and drinkability and some lovely fruit. - Peter Saunders
"Big colour. Some plum with lots of oak on nose. RIpe, round fruit flavours of cherry, plum and dried herb, black currant and some raspberry. Really nice depth of flavour and concentration with flavour right through the core of the wine. Wuite soft and glyceroly in the mouth with beautiful tannins. Has definite potential to develop too."
Spy Valley MArlborough Pinot Gris 2007 is zesty with delicious bright fruit suggesting ripe pairs and peaches and a hint of tropical, with intensity yet delicacy on the palate and lively, tingly finish.
Try a Gewurztraminer with vanilla-braised duck. The salsa and ginger coconut rice call for something crisp and fragrant - Spy Valley Gewurztraminer will please the crowd.
So, white wine fans, my pick this week are for you. Better yet, they all cost $20 or less... I also love the 2007 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc which is fresh and vivid with honeydew melon and some grassiness. - Laurie Daniel on Wine.
The 2006 Envoy Chardonnay is yet again, very well-defined on the nose with subtle honey aromas with hints of beeswax and lanolin. The palate is more malic but well-balanced with vibrant green apples and bitter lemon. Fresh and vibrant, this is a lovely Chardonnay to drink over the next five years. Neal Martin, Issue 176
...the palate has an engaging, waxy nose with grapefruit, lemon and apple with manolin overtones. Lively peach amd apricot flavours vie for attention on the mosel-like palate that should develop nicely over 3-4 years - Neal Martin
This wine has a beautifully, developed ripe golden colour. The nice biscuity, nutty nose is followed by soft fruit, lemon characters and a creamy, yeasty finish. The very light and elegant bubbles show the refinement of this single vineyard Champenoise.
Marlborough's Waihopai Valley got its colloquial name of Spy Valley from the satellite communications monitoring base in the area. Here, winemaker Paul Bourgeois gets good fruity intensity from his wines. This pinot, fermented on indigenous yeats and aged a year in French oak, has lots of fruit, supple tannins and a nice, open, balanced style. The Chardonnay is also generous with good fruit. - Margaret Swaine
A serious yet seductive wine, deep and youthful in colour, it is finely fregrant, very rich and supple, with layers of plum/spice flavours, highly concentrated and velvet smooth.
Pale gold, it has sweet but not cloying flavours of stone-fruits and spices, notably rich ripe and smooth. It's a softly seductive wine, already hard to resist.
Light lemon/green, it is very scented and punchy, with intense greapefruit and lime flavours, firm acid spine, a splash of sweetness, and bottle-aged, toasty notes just starting to emerge.
Beautifully scented and seductively soft, it's a medium style with substantial body and rich, ripe flavours of stone-fruits, pears, lychees and ginger. Very smooth and harmonious, it's highly reminiscent of the classic Alsace style.
Light lemon/green, with a perfumed bouquet of lychees and spices, it's a distincly mediumstyle, less alcoholic than many, with gentle acidity and rich, complex, delicate, slightly earthy flavours, already delicious.
Youthful in colour, with a complex, mealy bouquet, it is tight, stylish and minerally, with a fine thread of acidity and intense grapefruit and toast flavours, showing excellent delicacy, intensity and structure.
Tangy and very fragrant, with gooseberry, grass, grapefruit-lime and stone nuances. Vivid citrus acidity and graphite minerality shape an intense finish.
Focused and supple, with very good intensity to the wild berry, anise, green tea and black cherry flavours. Cedary oak and herb-edged tannins firm up on the earthy, lively finish.
Fragrant Jasmine, tart green apple and tangy peach flavours give way to a touch of welcome sweetness, with lingering citrus acidity and persistent stoniness.
A light north Indian-style curry would suit this wine's attributes well. Use plenty of ginger, and don't be cautious with the tumeric. - Vic Williams
Spy Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 is another good-value wine, slightly pungent with hints of raw quince, golden queen peaches and a bright, crisp finish. - Charmain Smith
The fruit in this Pinot is quite lovely - concentrated depth, with a core of fruit sweetness and radiating layers of flavour. Great stuff. The acid is in good balance, producing a texture that's somewhere between juicy and tangy, and the tannins are exercising a modest grip; it's firm, but you get a sense they don't really mean it, and you can happily drink this now.
Pale pink in colour from the pinot noir, a pretty fry apertif and canape style; a great appetiser to stimulate the palate for food. plenty of bubble and life; a classy wine and the sparkling enthusiast will be well pleased with this presentatuon of a dry, tasty presentation of both life and maturity. - Peter Saunders
Turkish delight flavours and lifted spice/anise characters. Sauve and seamless with a pleasently dry finish. Another top wine under the flagship Envoy label. Excellent value.
Bright, very pale straw colour with some green hues, near colourless on rim. The bouquet is softly full and voluminous with a well-packed aromatic melange of ripe gooseberries, exotic stonefruit, lantana, herbs and nuances of smoke. Dry to taste, mouthfilling and broad flavours of ripe gooseberries, tropical fruits and grass form a rich and dense core. The fruit is softly luscious with fine, gentle textures in support and slippery acidity enhancing the flow through the palate line. Waves of exotic fruit and herb nuances unfold and are driven by fruit presence and acid zest to ta a full-flavoured, long and dry-textured finish. This is a fulsome, lusciously rich Sauvignon Blanc with an array of ripe gooseberry flavours and slippery acidity. Match with Mediterranean-inspired fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from the ‘H171’ vineyard in the Lower Wairau, hand-picked and WBP, fermented in seasoned oak to 14.0% alc. and 2.9 g/L RS. 200 cases made. 18.0+/20 Nov 2013
Fruit from 6 rows in the ‘G Block’ of ‘Johnson Estate’ undergoing no sprays, hand-picked and cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 9.0% alc. and 41 g/L RS, with a TA of 9.0 g/L and pH 2.92. 20 cases made. Full straw-yellow colour with light golden hints. This has a full and broad nose with deep, ripe yellow stonefruit and citrus aromas along with honey and funky, nutty, kernel and mineral elements. Medium-dry to medium in taste, intriguing flavours of savoury honey, stonefruit kernels, citrus fruits and nuts feature on the palate, forming a gentle, fine-textured line. The phenolics are well-handled. Mouthwatering, racy acidity enlivens the fruit and provides plenty of tension and energy. The flavours lead to a soft, savoury, nutty and honied finish with good length. This is a soft, funky-flavours, savoury and nutty medium Riesling with good acid energy. Serve with Middle Eastern cuisine over the next 4 years. 17.0+/20 Nov 2013
One of the themes on the blog for the past couple of weeks has been value -- does a wine offer more to the consumer than it costs? In this, value is not about price, because not all cheap wine delivers value. Sometimes, it's just cheap.
It's also worth noting that a wine doesn't have to be cheap to offer value. Yes, it's more difficult for an expensive wine to do this, given that too many expensive wines are expensive because their reason for being is to be expensive. But it is certainly possible, and it happens more often than I acknowledge here.
One producer who consistently does this is New Zealand's Spy Valley, which as been making $15 and $20 wines that taste like they cost much more for as long as I have been writing about wine. I had one of those sublime, geeky wine experiences with the sauvignon blanc last year, and it's not even my favorite Spy Valley wine.
That would be the riesling ($18, purchased, 12.5%), which is as enjoyable as it is difficult to find. I only see it in Dallas every couple of years, given the vagaries of the three-tier system, so when I do see it, I buy it, even if it's a previous vintage. The producer is good enough so that doesn't matter.
The 2011 didn't let me down. It's not riesling like most consumers know it -- no sweet tea-like sugar or fruit flavors that taste like they came out of a can. Instead, it's a dry riesling, complex with layers of flavor that range from petrol on the nose (a classic riesling characteristic) to citrus and tropical in the front and middle. It's still fresh and almost aggressive after almost two years in bottle, which is a sign that it's only going to get better with age.
Serve this to someone who doesn't think they like riesling, and see if they change their mind. Highly recommended, and well worth the money.
Flinty stone aromas, pretzel, lemon blossom, lemon/lime and apple scents. Just off dry on the palate, the impression is more of juicy ripeness. Very clean, with spikey acidity, and a long refreshing finish. A very clever wine.
Medium to full yellow colour. Developed bouquet with a distinct touch of kerosene which made it almost Australian to sniff. The palate is bone-dry and has softened pleasantly from age, although it is still a tad austere and needs food.