First, an addendum to the last post. I drank the regular St. Clair Sauvignon Blanc a couple of days ago and it is nowhere near the quality of the single vineyard wines I reviewed. Therefore, if you wish to drink excellent Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, seek out the single vineyard or Reserve wines of St. Clair.
Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island is Man O'War. It has a big area of plantings and many vineyards to choose from. A star performer for this winery is its Chardonnay. I tasted the 2010 Chardonnay, grown on clay and volcanic soil, and the 2010 Valhalla Chardonnay from clay. Both wines are quite fresh with fairly acidic finishes. Lemon and peach flavours blend into the moderate use of oak (90 points).
On to Martinborough, from where I only tasted the 2009 and 2010 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noirs. These were highlights of the tastings. This winery has been at the forefront of New Zealand quality Pinot Noir and it is still on song. The 2009 tasted of cherry fruit, which was quite forward in the glass. As the wine moved down the palate, it displayed its ethereal characters beautifully, leading to a long finish - probably my favorite wine of the tasting (94 points). The 2010 is similar in its structure, but darker and a bit more aggressive (93 points).
Greystone Wines are situated in the Waipara Valley, north of Christchurch. Its best Pinot Noirs are bottled under the Muddy Water label. The 2009 Hare's Breath Pinot Noir comes from an organic vineyard, if I am not mistaken. It tastes of red and black cherries and has a savoury, slightly untidy finish (91 points).The 2009 Slowhand Pinot Noir, from another single vineyard, is very dark, with a good tannin structure. It is masculine, yet elegant and has a satisfying finish (93 points).
phew! Only Central Otago to go now.