Wines of the week… Barossa, Martinborough and Central Otago

Another week, another bunch of tastings. Every day this week has been fascinating when it comes to wine with tastings from the Spanish island of Majorca one minute and Tuscany the next with importer Sophie Cotter of St Vincent’s Cave. Not to mention Valli Pinot Noirs from Central Otago with winemaker Jen Parr and Hawke’s Bay Chardonnays, Syrahs and Merlots.

My top picks this week come from far and wide and here they are, without further ado.

Bargain buy

2017 Jacob’s Creek Barossa Signature Shiraz $19.99

Next level is the aim of the winemakers behind the new Jacob’s Creek Barossa Signature reds, which includes a Cabernet Sauvignon (highlighted last week) and this juicy, full bodied, dry but juicy Shiraz, which contains 14.5% ABV and was matured for 12 months in a combo of American and French oak barrels. The new Barossa Signature range is a step up from the big JC’s core wine range and designed to look that way too, thanks to its smart new black labels.

Both wines were launched in New Zealand this  month.



Treat of the week

2016 Julicher 99 Rows Te Muna Road Pinot Noir $32

Winemaker Martin Bell blended seven different clones of Pinot Noir (5, 6, 114, 115, 667, 777 and Abel) grown on different vineyard blocks on Te Muna Road, 9 kms east of Martinborough township. All grapes were hand harvested and destemmed into small open top vats for fermentation and given a four to five day cool pre-fermentation maceration to extract colour. Punch downs took place three times a day during fermentation and provide firm smooth tannins in the wine, which was matured for 10 months in a combo of old and new (20%) French oak barrels. The wine was filtered for clarity.

It tastes full bodied, dry and fresh with dark fruit flavours and a lingering finish. It is my pick of the two new releases from Julicher Estate in Martinborough, owned by Wim and Sue Darling.



Reaching for the stars

2017 Valli Pinot Noir Waitaki $69.99

If this is how a tricky vintage tastes, then bring it on.

Vineyards in the Waitaki Valley were first planted in the 2000s and it’s a challenging, cool climate region with altitude around 200 metres of sea level and high limestone content in the soils.

Flowering at harvest is a big challenge in this cool maritime climate of the Waitaki Valley and the yields per vine are generally small with bunch weights of Pinot Noir at a dismally low 50 to 70 grams and only 1000 to 2000 tonnes per hectare. The flip side is great concentration of flavour and a long ripening season with warm days and cool nights, leading to wines that contain elegance in spades. This Pinot Noir is dry, medium bodied and floral with silky, succulence and lingering flavours.


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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