Great white and ruby red… meet the Medoc

One weekend and two days of wine classes meant an indecent number of bottles were opened, but these two stood head and shoulders above many others.

They were served with their IDs concealed at dinner by Stephen Bennett, Master of Wine, who had them as advance samples. They will be released in New Zealand on 1 September through in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand, followed by a release to the wider trade in December.

Both retail for less than $40 and come from the Medoc in  Bordeaux.


2012 Chateau Loudenne Bordeaux RRP NZ $34.95, 14% ABV

This great white is made by a first class Medoc producer in Bordeaux and this wine highlights how outstanding and underrated the Semillon grape is; it’s blended here with the better known Sauvignon Blanc, both of which combine to make a dry, full bodied and zesty white, where the high acidity is balanced by a rich, creamy, full body and flavours of intense lemon, ripe apples and hot buttered toast, which linger on the finish.

It offers very good value for money.

Available in New Zealand from 1 September from


2011 Chateau Loudenne Medoc Cru Bourgeois RRP $40 NZ, 13.5% ABV

This super youthful, bright young, ruby hued red comes from Bordeaux and has pronounced flavours of blackcurrant, blackberry and black cherry with almond, cedar and clove notes kicking in on the palate. It’s a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant Cru Bourgeois (a category that has to be applied for each year by quality minded wine producers). It is dry with high acidity, big smooth tannins and a lingering finish. It’s commanding now and it has outstanding aging potential for up to 10 years, possibly longer  in a cool, dark cellar – or in similar conditions.

Available in New Zealand from 1 September from


The Bordeaux white above reminds me of a trio of outstanding New Zealand whites, the makers of two consistently shine a fresh light on New Zealand whites by taking Sauvignon Blanc and blending it with Semillon. They are Te Mata Estate in Hawke’s Bay (Cape Crest – a barrel fermented Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc) and Pegasus Bay’s North Canterbury SSB;  barrel fermented, rich in flavour, full bodied, high in acidity, long on flavour and affordable.

The third wine is a rare 100% Semillon from Sileni Estates in Hawke’s Bay, which begs the question: why don’t we make more Semillon in New Zealand these days? Our winemaking, packaging and understanding of vineyard sites has never been better and there has never been less Semillon grown – nor has it ever tasted better. It’s a pretty small production run of Semillon that is made at Sileni but the quality is outstanding and, due to this grape’s naturally high acidity, it has incredible potential to age well too – gaining flavour as it does.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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