La Rioja Alta is one of the most traditional wineries in Haro’s Barrio de la Estación, famous for producing wines that are good to drink on release, but also age beautifully in bottle. This new Gran Reserva, made from Tempranillo with 6% Graciano for added backbone, is very much a reflection of the cooler, more “Atlantic” 2014 vintage. La Rioja Alta didn’t make its top two Gran Reservas – 904 and 890 – in 2014, so all of its best grapes were used for Viña Arana. Fine and elegant, with vibrant acidity, notes of coconut and cinnamon from the American oak and a core of savoury, refreshing tobacco leaf and red berry flavours framed by fine, caressing tannins. Old-fashioned Rioja at its glorious best.
Sun & Moon is the top Pinot from Seresin (made in this instance from the Raupo Creek vineyard) with a price tag to match. It is consistently among the best New Zealand reds and that’s the case here with this outstanding 2010, which is maturing with grace and elegance. Concentrated, savoury, yet also refreshing this combines structure with succulence, sustained by acidity and not afraid of tannin. A wine that will age for another ten years.
Leah is a blend of the three Seresin estate vineyards (Home, Tatou and Raupo Creek) and is often the most forward of the Pinots from this outstanding Marlborough producer. 2011 was a tricky vintage for Pinot in New Zealand, but this top-notch biodynamic producer has excelled. This is concentrated, spicy and textured with notes of white pepper and red fruits, plenty of concentration, well integrated oak and a complex, earthy finish.
The wines from this biodynamic estate in Marlborough are now among the best in the South Island. This is the pick of the current Pinot Noir releases, sourced from clay loam soils and showing an extra dimension of concentration, tannin and sap. It’s savoury and sweet, with taut acidity, subtle oak and impressive vivacity, line and length. A wine that wouldn’t look out of place in Burgundy.