Thursday, May 12, 2016

Swimming Against The Mainstream

When a tasting of Cullen, Bindi, and Ata Rangi wines is announced, you can't be anything but excited. I certainly was, given I have wines of  these producers in my cellar. But it is interesting to note what happens when three things come together
- High expectations set you up for a fall
- The setting of the tasting, including glasses is poor
- Some of the wines are not outstanding

I was aware of the influence of the first two factors and tried to be objective (from my point of view), as much as I could. This is what I thought:

The Bindi wines tasted are new labels and  in part from new blocks of the home vineyard.
- The 2015 Kostas Rind Chardonnay (formerly Composition Chardonnay) was very floral and a bit broad (88 points)
- The 2015 Dixon Pinot Noir ( formerly Composition Pinot Noir), which includes fruit ftom a new block K), tasted of kirsch and was very young and fruity (89 points)
These wines are too expensive for what they offer

In some quarters, the 2014 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir has been described as even better than the sensational 2013. I tasted
- The 2014 Crimson Pinot Noir. This is not a bad wine for a second label. It is savoury, with mushroom and licorice flavours on the palate. The wine is a little light (91 points)
- The 2014 Pinot Noir. The bouquet smells of roses, quite intense and unusual. On the palate, the mouthfeel is balanced, but not huge. The wine is savoury with good length and dry tannins leading to an expanding finish. This wine will increase complexity over time (94 points)

With Cullen, I have a mixed relationship. I simply do not 'get' the Kevin John Chardonnay, and while I appreciate the increased delicacy of the Cabernet, I wonder if some depth has come out of the wine.
- The 2014 Kevin John Chardonnay shows peach flavours and good lashings of (high quality) oak. I find the wine a bit broad (92 points)
- I was impressed with the 2014 Diana Madeline Cabernet. It has good depth of blackberry and blueberry fruit. The flavours penetrate without being heavy. It is a very harmonious wine with firm dry tannins on the finish (95 points)   

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