New wine reviews – Tiki Wines, May 2020

Tiki Wines is owned by Sue and Royce McKean (pictured above), who live in Christchurch and own a 325 hectare vineyard in the Waipara Valley, 40 minutes’ north of the city in North Canterbury. The brand was named in honour of Royce’s great great grandfather, Ngati Uenuku Chieftain, Tiki Tere Mihi.

Their wine story began in the early 2000s when they searched for land to plant in grapes, finally purchasing a 325 hectares sheep farm in Waipara, which they have subsequently converted into a vineyard, naming it Waiata Vineyard. That was completed in 2006 and in 2009 they harvested their first grapes from an expansion they made into Marlborough. They also make wines from vineyards in Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago.

Here are my reviews of the new wines they sent me this week.

Tiki new releases


2019 Tiki Single Vineyard Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay $24.99

Barrel fermentation and malolactic ferment to soften the wine give this wine richness and softness. It was pressed using a Champagne cycle with no press cuts which provides very clean, high quality juice, which was then fermented in French oak and aged for 10 months on lees by Hawke’s Bay winemaker Evan Ward. This wine is bone dry and made from 100% Chardonnay Clone 15. It has fresh, clean, creamy flavours and spicy notes from the pronounced oak influence, which is held in good balance thanks to the firm acidity from this wine. The grapes come from a vineyard 34 kilometres inland in Hawke’s Bay with nearly 200 metres elevation; high, for this region.

Drinks well now and can continue to age for four to five years.



2019 Tiki Koro Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay $34.99

A richly flavoursome Chardonnay; dry, full bodied and succulent, thanks to extended time on yeast lees in barrel following 100% barrel fermentation. It is made from 100% Chardonnay clone 5 from a vineyard 34 kilometres inland at 175 metres above sea level in Hawke’s Bay. Winemaker Evan Ward fermented 55% of this wine in new French oak barriques, following the ferment with full malolactic to add complexity and softness to the palate. Ten months on lees with fortnightly battonage (lees stirring) further adds to the weight in this ripe, rounded, full throttle creamy Chardonnay. The lees stirring encourages yeast mannoproteins in the wine, which add flavour and complexity.

This is a stunner; big and bold with balance and the ability to age for up to seven to eight years. It also drinks well right now.



2019 Tiki Koro Central Otago Pinot Noir $34.99

Central Otago leads the way when it comes to Pinot Noir with 80% of its vineyards devoted to this red grape. The 2019 vintage was a smaller than usual one due to frosts in this edgy cool climate wine region.

This wine was fermented in open top fermenters and hand plunged daily during its 22 days of maceration then pressed into 225 litre French oak barrels for 10 months, which adds notes of smoothness, spice and a touch of complexity.

It is a light bodied red with freshness and drinks well now. It can hold for the next two to three years too, providing a lovely refreshing red.

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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