Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.


Geoff Kelly,  MSc Hons

Conclusions from the Tasting:
This tasting worked well:  people enjoyed it.  No one present had sat down to a formal evaluation / blind tasting of six 1999 burgundies vs six 1999 (a couple in fact 1998) New Zealand pinot noirs.  And it is safe to say most people attending would have supposed that the New Zealand wines would be both more than obvious,  and probably past their prime,  especially thinking back to New Zealand pinot noirs and New Zealand pinot noir practice 20 years ago.

But as the tasting unfolded,  the nett impression could hardly have been more different.  It was damnably difficult to be sure which were the New Zealand wines.  At the questionnaire stage,  before the wines were revealed,  apart from ranking the top,  second-favourite and least wines,  the only other meaningful questions to be asked seemed to be:  is this wine from France,  and then,  is it from New Zealand ?  For every wine of the 12,  some thought one,  some the other.  For four of the wines,  the votes were roughly 50-50.   Astonishing.  Details are given below,  noting that 18 approximately of the 21 tasters participated in this ranking.  Tasters agreed this was a challenging and very worthwhile exercise,  which we should be doing a lot more.

It was noticeable however,  that long-experienced pinot noir practitioners – John Kavanagh (Te Kairanga ex Neudorf),  Olly Masters (Misha’s ex Ata Rangi),  and Larry McKenna (Escarpment ex Martinborough Vineyard) – were more on the button in this analysis.  Each easily nailed one of the wines (at least) as clearly from New Zealand,  on details of evaluation which passed most tasters by.  It adds so much to the calibre of the tasting,  when there are winemakers present.  Other tasters learn so much.  For this tasting,  there were seven winemakers and viticulturists.

As to how we found the wines,  even the least would be welcome at dinner.  And it is worth mentioning yet again the bizarre cellar-life estimates of both New Zealand and American wine-writers.  It is as if these people never taste cellared wine,  never cellar wines themselves.  The so-American preoccupation with  ‘consuming’ over-rides all.  Consider the wine reviews given in the ‘admin’ section / introduction for each wine below,  made when the wines were a year or two old,  and then reflect that to a wine-lover,  this tasting seemed appropriate at the 20-year interval.  And tasters were delighted with the result.

Another detail worth commenting on (in the sense of striving for clarity of communication) is the strange fruit and other analogies American wine-writers use,  particularly for pinot noir,  in seeking to find aroma / flavour descriptors.  In 50 years,  I have never encountered blackberry fruit aromas in good pinot noir.  Over-ripe pinot noir,  yes maybe,  but not in good pinot noir.  Nor blackcurrant,  another American favourite,  a specific aromatic berry note so characteristic of cassis,  cabernet sauvignon and temperate-climate syrah.

Though any of the 12 wines in the tasting would be good with a meal,  the top six all had specific things to say about the winestyle pinot noir.  From the left,  the 1999 Felton Road Pinot Noir Block 3 from Otago eloquently portrayed an earlier generation of New Zealand pinot noirs:  intensely fragrant and varietal,  but in that volume of aroma also a hint of leafyness and imperfect ripeness,  confirmed on palate by a relative lightness of body and lack of dry extract, 18;  then next the 1999 Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin,  so totally the opposite on palate as to teach the taster everything needed about the importance of cropping rate and thus dry extract (in the classical French approach to viticulture),  but the wine in relative youth thus far lacking explicit varietal detail on bouquet, 18 +;  then the surprise of the tasting,  the quietly-achieving 1999 Greenhough Pinot Noir from Nelson,  a restrained wine yet with beautiful florality on bouquet,  and a lovely burgundian palate,  the oak near-invisible, 18.5;  next the 1999 Quartz Reef Pinot Noir also from Otago,  one of the lightest in colour as good burgundy so often is,  but surprising with its exact varietal quality on both bouquet and palate,  plus good palate weight, 18.5 +;  then the 1999 Geantet-Pansiot Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes,  a simply astonishing wine for a village wine,  showing that one does not need to spend a fortune on burgundy to smell and taste the very essence of pinot noir florality,  suppleness and charm, 18.5 +;  and finally,  my top wine,  the 1999 Domaine Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques Premier Cru,  the bouquet epitomising the magic of Cote de Nuits as opposed to the Cote de Beaune,  fragrant,  floral,  piquant and nearly aromatic,  red fruits more than black,  subtlest cedary oak,  the palate all this and more,  youthful,  showing what grand cru quality is all about,  in terns of bouquet,  flavour,  texture and dry extract, 19.  This was clearly the most popular wine,  showing a Burgundy quality hard to find on the shelves in New Zealand today.

The Invitation:
Twenty years is an agreeable time to evaluate good pinot noir … where ‘good’ means grapes cropped at a sufficiently low rate for the wine to have enough dry extract to mature attractively in bottle,  over that time span.

The germ for this tasting arose in a letter I recently received.  This was from the New Zealander I regard as having the best palate and best feel for quality in pinot noir as a winestyle.  He said:  “Enjoyed Martinborough Pinot Noir Reserve 1998 last weekend … blitzed the Jadot Clos Saint-Jacques and Bonnes Mares served blind alongside.”

That is some statement … .  Tasters will recall that in 2011 this same 1998 Martinborough Pinot Noir Reserve was in the headlines (small) for winning a pinot noir judging in Pasadena,  California,  against all-comers … the other wines including 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tache.  As a consequence the winery offered to buy in the wine,  from good cellars,  offering $500.  The same wine sold for $915 at Webb’s Auctions,  in Auckland,  in July 2013.  Thus … given these stimuli,  we immediately have a tasting.  The slight vintage mis-match is hardly pivotal.

The New Zealand wines represent each of the quality pinot noir districts in New Zealand.  Opportunities are rare to see these districts alongside each other,  in maturity.  Key features of the wines are shown in the Table.

The French wines offer a microcosm of the world of pinot noir (for ordinary mortals).  From the often-light and fragrant Volnay and Chassagne styles of the Cote de Beaune through richer Le Corton to the more aromatic and exciting wines from Gevrey-Chambertin,  there should be a pinot noir here to please all but the most fastidious.  Note that the tasting includes three Premier Cru wines and one Grand Cru.  And Clos Saint-Jacques is a Grand Cru in all but name.  Opportunities to taste these upper-quality burgundies have become rare,  in recent years in New Zealand.  Let alone examples with appropriate age.

Background for the wines
Attempting to find out basic wine-making information for the French wines is too hard,  from New Zealand.  Information for the New Zealand wines is set out in the Table.

Table 1:  Basic winemaking data for the six New Zealand wines,  only.  North to South across the top,
 parameters down:

’98 M’boro
'99 Greenh
'99 Wither H.
'98 Kaituna *
'99 Quartz R.
'99 Felton R.
SourceM'b TerraceHope V'ydWairau V.Kaituna V'ydPisa V'ydElms V'yd
Clones5, 10/522, 5, 10/5Abel, 6, 11410/5 &5, 10/510/5 &
Vines / hac.3,000c.1,8902,525c.33002,665
Vine age '9910, 15, 20 y.23 & 6 yrsc.5 yearsvarious – 164 years7 years
Tonnes / hac.54 – 554.58.8
Whole-bunchc. 20%NilNilNil28%
Cold soakc.5 days3 – 5 days4 days5 – 7 days9 days
Cuvaison14 ± 2 days28 days20 days26 – 28 days19 days
Barrel-ferm ?NoNoc.10%NoNo
MLF timingin barrel± in barrelin barrelbarrel, springbarrel, spring
In barrel18 months11 months12 months12 months11 months10 months
% bar'ls new502040503357
ToastLowM 80%, M+MediumMediumMedium
Assembly etc4 weeks6 – 7 months5 months4 weeks3 weeks
RS g/LNil< 1 g/L1.5 non-ferm.0.5 g/LNil
9-litre casesc.250180c.2,000950330
 *  Winery no longer in existence,  info from 2007 vintage,  tentative.

Reserve Wines:
1999 highlights the era when New Zealand winemakers were becoming extremely distressed about the high incidence of TCA,  in the corks New Zealand received.  The almost universal adoption of screwcaps for pinot noir followed in the following three vintages.  For this tasting,  winemakers were anxious I have reserve bottles,  several offering to supply a second bottle.  That sort of interest and concern is very much appreciated.  I had second bottles for key ones already standing up.  There were also alternative bottles.

In the event,  we did need a second bottle of the 1999 Quartz Reef,  but not for TCA.  Although to the closest examination the 45mm cork was physically perfect,  the ullage only 10mm,  and the wine penetration along the cork also c.10mm,  the wine in glass was clearly lacking – on reflection,  oxidised.  Once a second bottle was opened and alongside,  the difference in colour confirmed.

Particular thanks to (from North to South):  Paul Mason (present wine-maker,  Martinborough Vineyard),  Larry McKenna (winemaker for the 1998 Martinborough),  Andrew Greenhough (winemaker for the Greenhough),  Brent Marris (winemaker for the Wither Hills),  Rudi Bauer (winemaker for the Quartz Reef),  and Blair Walter (winemaker for the Felton Road),  for the particular interest each took in contributing winemaking information to this tasting,  as summarised in the Table.  The only winemaker unable to be contacted was Grant Whelan,  for the Kaituna Valley wine.

Coates,  Clive MW,  2008:  The Wines Of Burgundy.  University of California Press,  864 p.
Cooper,  M.  2001 – 2003:  successive years,  Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines,  Hodder,  Moa,  Beckett,  c.375 p.  Date on spine used,  not Copyright page.
Morris,  Jasper MW,  2010:  Inside Burgundy.  Berry Bros & Rudd,  656 p.
www.decanter.com = various authors,  some free material,  subscription needed for longer articles,  and reviews
www.jancisrobinson.com  =  Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW,  subscription needed for reviews
www.robertparker.com  = Robert Parker and associates,  vintage chart,  subscription needed for reviews
www.winespectator.com = various authors,  vintage chart,  subscription needed for reviews
The Net generally,  for some quoted reviews ex merchants etc,  ex paid websites I don’t subscribe to.


1999  Domaine Jean-Claude Belland Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Clos Charreau Premier Cru
1999  Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton Grand Cru
1999  Domaine Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin Non Filtré
1999  Domaine Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques Premier Cru
1999  Felton Road Pinot Noir Block 3
1999  Domaine Geantet-Pansiot Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
  1999  Greenhough Pinot Noir Hope Vineyard
1998  Kaituna Valley Pinot Noir Kaituna Vineyard
1998  Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir Reserve
1999  Domaine Nicolas Potel Volnay Taille Pieds Premier Cru
1999  Quartz Reef Pinot Noir
1999  Wither Hills Pinot Noir

This tasting was a pleasure to sit down to.  As tasters poured their wines,  the range of colours revealed was delightfully appropriate to good pinot noir.  And as always with pinot noir,  depth of colour is no guide at all to the quality of the wine,  or its pinot noir varietal expression.  Front row from the left,  wines 1 to 6,  back row 7 to 12.  In this tasting,  wine 8,  the lightest wine,  1999 Geantet-Pansiot,  was the second-highest rated wine.  The same principle applies to the New Zealand wines,  wine 5 the 1999 Quartz Reef being one of the lighter wines,  but also rating well in the results.  But the reverse proposition is certainly not true either,  wine 11 the 1999 Greenhough being one of the darker wines,  yet still intensely varietal on both bouquet and palate.  Wine 12,  the 1999 Claude Dugat,  is the darkest wine,  and here there is a relative lack of exact floral and varietal quality on bouquet,  as yet,  but the palate holds much promise for the future.  The seemingly oaky 1998 Martinborough Reserve at position 9 did not show oak-induced age in hue,  though being in the lighter-coloured half of the field.  Wine 1 is quite deep for a Volnay,  wine 6 the Corton the second deepest,  as might more be expected.  The top wine of the tasting,  the 1999 Sylvie Esmonin at position 10,  closely matches the Martinborough Reserve,  in the lighter half of the field.

The wines are listed below in my rank order,  not the group view,  though taster's thoughts influence the notes.  The first price given is current from wine-searcher.  An approximate original price follows in text,  if known.

Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $259   [ cork 49mm,  ullage 8mm;  Jasper Morris (paraphrased),  2010:  the Domaine formerly Michel Esmonin,  Sylvie's father.  The upper slopes calcareous,  helping explain why ‘Clos Saint-Jacques can be such a complete wine’.  Viticulture tending organic;  predominantly whole-bunch fermentations for this wine,  cuvaison c.14 days. Depending on vintage,  75 – 100% new oak,  three-years air-dried,  cooper Dominique Laurent;  Neal Martin @ Parker,  2014:  The 1999 Clos Saint Jacques from Sylvie Esmonin has a sublime bouquet with wonderful tension and focus, surprisingly youthful with dark cherries, balsamic and a touch of sous-bois. The palate is vibrant with good substance in the mouth. It displays palpable spiciness with an elevated, vivacious finish. There is a bullishness and sense of brio about this Clos Saint Jacques that should continue to give pleasure over the next ten years, 93;  weight bottle,  no closure 594 g;  no website found ]
Ruby more than garnet,  the second lightest wine.  Bouquet here illustrates the inimitable magic of fine Cote de Nuits,  floral,  fragrant,  piquant and nearly aromatic,  exciting,  on red cherry more than black cherry fruit,  and subtlest cedary oak.  And it smells richer than the Geantet-Pansiot.  In flavour the fruit richness / dry extract confirms the bouquet impressions:  where the Geantet-Pansiot is at full stretch,  this is youthful,  supple,  mouth filling,  enchanting.  Yet it is not ‘big’’ wine,  in the sense of Australian reds.  I'd love to know the dry extract for this wine:  it is nearly succulent,  showing what grand cru quality is all about.  This is the essence of pinot noir.  Tasters thought so too,  four first places,  seven second,  and no leasts.  Fifteen thought this wine French,  and three New Zealand.  The wine is perfectly mature,  sweet fruit lingering exquisitely on the tongue.  It will hold for some years.  GK 09/19

Mount Pisa district,  Cromwell Basin,  Central Otago:,  New Zealand:  14%;  $ –    [ cork 45mm,  ullage 16mm;  original price c.$35;  winemaker:  Rudi Bauer;  winemaking,  see Table;  J. Robinson,  2001:  But 1999s such as Felton Road Block 5 and Quartz Reef show that extra savoury dimension that Pinotphiles seek once they have satisfied themselves that a region is capable of producing authentic Pinot Noir fruit flavours [no score];  Cooper,  2001:  The youthful, intense 1999 is a cracker!  Notably powerful and complex, it shows rich colour, very substantial body and sweet fruit characters, with deep flavours of cherries, raspberries and spice and power right through the palate, *****;  weight bottle,  no closure 657 g;  www.quartzreef.co.nz ]
Ruby and garnet,  one of the lighter wines,  below midway in depth.  And then you smell it,  and there is a volume of bouquet here which is sensational,  totally floral,  pink roses with a touch of boronia,  totally burgundian,  just beautiful.  Behind the florals there is attractive red cherry fruit,  and subtlest oak.  Palate is equally beautiful,  an older wine than the Greenhough but capturing burgundian complexity,  florality and finesse to an extraordinary degree,  wonderful.  And critically,  this Quartz Reef wine is closer in richness to the Clos Saint-Jacques than the Geantet.  Tasters did not respond to this wine as much as I did,  partly because I had the advantage of seeing it again the following day,  when it had expanded a great deal.  No votes at all (for best or least),  seven thought it from France,  11 New Zealand.  This wine is at full stretch now,  but no great hurry in a cool cellar.  Decant well ahead.  GK 09/19

Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $44   [ cork 49mm,  ullage 8mm;  release price c.$75;  Jasper Morris (paraphrased),  2010:  viticulture ‘lutte raisonée’ ie tending organic but not so circumscribed;  critical attention to berry sorting;  10 days cold soak,  cuvaison not given;  all wines have much the same élevage,  15 months with 30% new oak.  Wine Spectator,  2003:  Has character, with plenty of fruit and wet earth, good acidity and plenty of cassis and wild raspberries. Medium-bodied, firm but ripe tannins, tempting now thanks to the balanced finish. Pretty Gevrey-Chambertin of good quality for a village. Drink now through 2006. 600 cases made, 88;  Pierre Rovani @ Parker,  2001:  The medium to dark ruby-colored 1999 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes displays candied red and black cherries in its aromatics. This lush blackberry and cassis-flavored wine has enormous sex appeal to its medium-bodied personality. It is oily-textured and exhibits a long finish that reveals virtually perfectly ripened tannin. Drink 2001 - 2008, 89;  weight bottle,  no closure 593 g;  no website found. ]
Ruby and garnet,  light,  but glowing,  the lightest wine.  Bouquet is simply heavenly,  intensely floral,  nearly boronia,  that lovely piquancy of fine Cote de Nuits wine,  nearly aromatic,  nearly spicy,  just so zingy and uplifted alongside the Cote de Beaune wines,  shouting out pinot noir – yet somehow demure and understated as well.  Palate is not the richest in the set,  but is fragrant right through,  the florals noticeable right through to the aftertaste (a rare,  desirable,  and quality attribute in pinot noir),  red fruits,  exciting.  It is not quite as rich as the Quartz Reef,  and is near the end of its plateau of maturity – in imminent danger of drying.  One person had this as their top wine,  one second,  but three least,  while 14 thought it French,  and three New Zealand.  GK 09/19

Waimea Valley,  Nelson,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $ –    [ cork 45mm,  ullage 15mm;  original price c.$36;  winemaker Andrew Greenhough;  winemaking,  see Table;  HS@WS,  2001:  Smooth in texture, with well-focused blackberry and plum flavors that echo nicely on the round finish. Fades a bit on the finish, but otherwise very good. Drink now through 2003. 500 cases made, 86;  Cooper,  2002:  The fragrant 1999 is another generous red … richly coloured, mouthfilling, warm and concentrated, with sweet ripe flavours of cherries, plums and nuts, quality oak and firm underlying tannins. Still youthful, it’s built to last; open 2002+, *****;  weight bottle,  no closure 593 g;  https://greenhough.co.nz ]
Ruby and garnet,  a lovely colour with good glow,  the third-deepest wine.  Bouquet is initially restrained,  but the more you work at it,  the more it gives.  There is a beautiful subtle florality hinting at violets and dusky roses,  still,  even at this 20-year point,  backed by red and black cherry fruit.  Palate is simply lovely,  totally burgundian,  beautifully layered fruit shaped by oak,  yet in one sense the oak near-invisible.  Remarkable wine,  a great achievement,  from a wine on the main Waimea Valley terraces.  Tasters were simply bowled over by this wine,  which I placed at position 11:  eight first places,  two second,  no leasts,  and for country of origin,  France 10,  New Zealand nine.  A great achievement from a low-key winemaker.  GK 09/19

Cote de Nuits,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $225   [ cork 50mm,  ullage 8mm;  original price c.$95;  Jasper Morris (paraphrased),  2010:  A tiny domaine with cult status, and the quality to match. The key to quality here is the raw material, from vines which naturally produce small berries through control of vigour: “I want just as many berries as my neighbour, but berries half the size” says Claude.  No late-picking.  No whole-bunches.  Cuvaison c.14 days.  Our wine 60% new oak,  balance one-year-old,  all Francois Freres.  Average vine age c.50 years,  generalised assessment (Morris again)  for this wine:  “a very solid, rich example of village Gevrey-Chambertin, attractive young but built to last.”;  Wine Spectator,  2002:  "A wine to lay down: dense and thick-textured, with blackberry, raspberry and toasted notes. Firmly structured, full-bodied, it needs time to soften. Best from 2002 through 2008”, 90;  Pierre Rovani @ Parker,  2001:  [ cropped at 4.3 t/ha = 1.75 t/ac ]  “To Claude Dugat, 1999 is 'between very good and great'. The medium to dark ruby-colored 1999 Gevrey-Chambertin reveals lovely red cherry, sweet oak aromas. This pure, lush, medium-bodied wine is velvety-textured and filled with violets and candied cherries. It is plush, opulent, and reveals sweet, supple tannins in its fresh, long finish. 2001 - 2007", 90;  weight bottle,  no closure 602 g;  no website found. ]
Ruby and garnet,  clearly the deepest wine.  Bouquet is intriguing,  big,  rich,  yet not explicitly varietal,  with noticeable oak.  There is a touch of the Penfolds about this wine,  yet in a densely pinot noir way.  It is not exactly floral,  yet it is fragrant,  intense,  and hints at the aromatic quality that makes good Cote de Nuits wines so exciting.  Palate follows perfectly,  a good concentration of darker fruits,  black cherries only,  framed by quality oak,  the wine big and dry,  yet holding a lot in reserve.  Astonishing for a village wine,  but perhaps the sturdy rather than floral character of the wine reflects that.  This is just embarking on its plateau of maturity,  with 10 – 20 years in hand.  Three first places,  two second places,  and surprisingly,  two least places.  Origin for this wine was clearer,  France 15,  New Zealand three.  GK 09/19

Banks Peninsula,  Canterbury,  New Zealand:  14%;  $ –    [ cork 49mm,  ullage 21mm;  this wine has the distinction of including fruit from the oldest semi-commercial pinot noir vineyard in Canterbury,  c.0.3 ha planted 1979 by Graeme Steans then of Lincoln University,  expanded mid-1990s by Grant Whelan to 2-ish ha;  the winery has ceased to exist,  the winemaker Grant Whelan not traced,  so very little info for the Table;  Cooper,  2001:  This consistently impressive Canterbury red … is deep; the bouquet spicy; the plate is sturdy, with firm tannins underpinning its strong plum/spice flavours. It’s a serious, complex, structured style with warmth and length, ****½ ;  weight bottle,  no closure 576 g;  no website ]
Ruby and garnet,  below midway in depth.  Like the Martinborough wine,  the bouquet on this wine had an aromatic component,  wine-maker Larry McKenna instantly nailing it as:  ‘has to be the Kaituna Valley wine’.  That assessment referred to the eucalyptus which formerly edged the vineyard,  which Grant Whelan cut down not long after taking over.  For most tasters however,  this character was not apparent – it is very subtle – and the wine seemed to have the exciting aromatic lifted quality of bouquet one associates with the Cote de Nuits,  rather than the Cote de Beaune.  Palate is particularly attractive,  supple pinot fruit blending red and black cherries,  and an attractive fruit / oak balance.  Still comfortably on its plateau of maturity,  with several years in hand.  Three first places,  but two least,  while 16 thought it New Zealand,  and two France.  GK 09/19

Bannockburn,  Central Otago,  New Zealand:  14%;  $116   [ cork 45mm,  ullage 16mm;  original price c.$47;  winemaker Blair Walter;  winemaking,  see Table;  HS@WS,  2000:  Ripe and generous, plump with black currant and plum flavors on a lithe, polished frame, showing a note of black pepper on the finish. Drink now through 2006. 40 cases imported,  88; Cooper,  2001:  … this is a majestic wine, rivalling Gibbston Valley Reserve at the top of the Otago Pinot Noir hierarchy … The 1999  … is darker than the standard bottling, with splendid intensity and complexity. Showing great overall power, it has concentrated, spicy, cherryish flavours and firm tannins. Its sweet fruit characters give early approachability, but the wine’s arresting depth suggest it will richly repay cellaring, *****; weight bottle,  no closure 589 g;  www.feltonroad.com ]
Ruby and garnet,  in the middle for depth.  In one sense this was the most fragrant and varietal of the wines,  markedly floral / buddleia as well as pink roses but also slightly leafy,  raising the worry,  would it be stalky ?  Palate shows supple red more than black fruits,  the flavour not stalky but slightly tanniny.  One winemaker thought the wine lacking in body,  which would correlate with the given cropping rate (NB:  Blair advises “almost double of today’s yields”),  but it is pretty supple and very varietal.  That was reflected in the voting:  one first place,  four second,  while 10 thought it France,  and eight New Zealand.  Still holding well,  near the end of its plateau of maturity.  GK 09/19

Cote de Beaune,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $ –    [ cork 49mm,  ullage 7mm;  original New Zealand price c.$55;  the producer and winery do not exist now,  Jasper Morris recording that the business was sold and the vineyards divided in 2009,  but saying no more;  wine-searcher does not know of it;  the Hachette Guide advises that production of this wine was a little over 200 cases.  The 1999 was (paraphrased) ... quite rich in aromatic background ... concentrated and a little wild, later evoking the apple and blackberry, with tannins to resolve. Patience.  Wine Spectator,  2001:  Inky-dark in color and thick in texture, this extracted Pinot manages to remain balanced and not dwell too much on the oak, focusing instead on black and red fruit. Some spice on the finish. Best from 2003 through 2008, 87;  weight bottle,  no closure 578 g;  no website ]
Ruby more than garnet,  a good colour,  a little above midway in depth.  Bouquet is clean straight red fruits pinot noir,  browning a little now naturally,  fragrant but not exactly floral,  but even on bouquet,  more supple than the Corton,  markedly less stern.  Palate follows perfectly,  just a lovely red-fruits Cote de Beaune gently oaked,  at full maturity – a little tannin to the finish indicating decline is near.  One person had this as their second-favourite wine,  but again two their least.  One of the hard-to-identify wines,  France 10,  New Zealand eight.  GK 09/19

Martinborough Terrace,  Martinborough,  Wairarapa,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $201   [ cork 49mm,  ullage 16mm;  original price c.$95;  grapes from the original Martinborough Vineyard plantings,  Cleland's Vineyard (now used in Escarpment Kiwa),  and the MacCreanor Vineyard (now used in Escarpment Pahi),  all on the defined Martinborough High Terrace;  winemaker Larry McKenna;  winemaking,  see Table;  Jamie Goode,  2001:  This is a much 'bigger', more structured wine than the standard Pinot Noir. The nose is quite intense, with complex meaty, medicinal notes, cherry fruit and toasty oak. The lovely complex palate shows ripe fruit, some tannin and very savoury spicy oak notes. Quite intense. Very good/excellent;  Cooper 2002:  … a warm smoky, spicy and complex bouquet. Mouthfilling, with a strong oak influence and a firm tannin backbone, it’s a very serious wine with concentrated, sweet fruit characters and notable complexity. It’s still developing and needs time to mellow, *****;  Raymond Chan.  2013:  Dark coloured, but with maturity showing, this has richness, intensity, ripeness and lovely harmony. A little VA lift, quite positive for it, the palate with fruit-cake, cedar, secondary and tertiary dried herb and stalk complexities, plus definite oak, all underlined by soft tannins and some alcoholic power. In great condition and at its peak, 19;  weight bottle,  no closure 913 g;  www.martinborough-vineyard.co.nz ]
Ruby and garnet,  a lovely rosy colour,  the third lightest.  There is much more bouquet on this wine than the Volnay or the Wither Hills,  both near-floral pinot noir qualities but also the pennyroyal nearly-mint quality I find in Martinborough wines surprisingly often,  on red fruits showing some age now,  plus noticeable cedary oak aromatics.  Palate has the lift and aromatics of the Cote de Nuits,  but relative to the fruit weight,  more oak than is optimal.  Greater dry extract is needed to carry this much new oak.  The nett impression is clearly varietal but oaky wine,  the wine showing a measure of excitement.  One person had this as their top wine,  but five as their least.  On the country of origin,  New Zealand 15,  France three.  Harking back to the 2011 Pasadena taste-off to a degree copying the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting (for bordeaux),  the 1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache then included is today valued by wine-searcher at $NZ11,547.  At this distance one can venture the view that the outcome of any such 'judging' depends on the judges,  and that in any line-up of as many as 20 wines,  for less-skilled judges,  more oaky wines tend to stand out ... for the wrong reasons.  The wine will hold,  but is on the brink of drying,  I suspect.  GK 09/19

Cote de Beaune,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $136   [ cork 49mm,  ullage 15mm;  original price c.$105;  Jasper Morris (2010) is of the view that the white Corton-Charlemagne from this winery eclipses the red Corton;  P. Rovani @ Parker,  2001:  [ an early harvest, cropped at 3.8 t/ha = 1.5 t/ac ] The 1999 Corton has demure blackberry and plum aromas. Medium-bodied and filled with brambleberry, white pepper, mineral, metal, and blackberry flavors, this is a firm effort with a flavorful, and long finish. It is fresh, zesty, and loaded with structured yet ripe tannin. Projected maturity: 2005-2012, 87 – 89;  Wine Spectator,  2002:  Superb focus, with a beam of clean fruit. Very sweet and ripe, rich and thick. Full-bodied, it shows real grip and lots of wonderful black fruit. The tannins are chewy but well-integrated. Seductive finish. Drink now through 2006. 400 cases made, 90;  weight bottle,  no closure 563 g;  www.bonneaudumartray.com ]
Ruby and garnet,  the second-deepest wine.  Bouquet is interesting:  the wine fragrant in one sense,  but not exactly floral,  showing big fruit and quite stern oak.  One winemaker found trace brett:  that would correlate with my nutmeg aromatics.  Palate is distinctly big,  rich very dry now-older plummy fruit,  but almost sturdy rather than the suppleness one seeks in pinot noir.  In terms of palate weight meaning dry extract,  this wine highlighted how dry extract does carry oak.  Alongside the Martinborough Reserve,  there is much to be learnt.  An interesting and contentious wine,  first or second for two,  but least for four.  On country of origin,  New Zealand 12,  France six.  Will hold a few years yet.  GK 09/19

Wairau Valley,  Marlborough,  New Zealand:  14%;  $56   [ cork 46mm,  ullage 17mm;  original price c.$45;  multiple Gold Medal winner in its day,  this one also as I recall,  Air NZ Trophy winner;  winemaker Brent Marris;  winemaking,  see Table;  Cooper,  2001:  The powerful,  complex 1999 vintage … is spicy, smoky and fragrant; the palate is very substantial and packed with ripe cherry, plum and spice flavours, enriched with nutty oak. It’s already drinking well, but worth cellaring to at least 2002, *****;  weight bottle,  no closure 699 g;  https://witherhills.co.nz ]
Garnet and ruby,  lighter and older than the Volnay,  below midway in depth.  Bouquet is a little more ‘juicy’ than the Volnay,  but not explicitly varietal,  a kind of sweet fruit character reminding slightly of moist sultanas,  some browning plum,  some maturity.  Palate is more clearly varietal in the fruit and tannin balance,  good fruit sweetness,  again a little ‘juicy’ in mouth-feel,  with good dry extract.  This will hold a few years yet.  Three rated it their second-favourite wine,  but two their least.  With food,  it would be a delight.  Country of origin more apparent here,  New Zealand 13 to France four.  GK 09/19

Cote de Beaune,  Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $81   [ cork 49mm,  ullage 12mm;   Nicolas Potel is a well-respected name,  more as a negociant,  but you need to be close to Burgundy to know what is what,  and where,  today.  The reputation of our wine was created by his father Gerard Potel,  but he died in 1997.  Later the winery became Domaine de Bellene.  Stephen Brook (of Bordeaux fame) says in Decanter:  "Volnay is the Chambolle-Musigny of the Côte de Beaune, it is marked by elegance rather than power ... the best will age effortlessly, developing a wonderful aromatic complexity.".  Jasper Morris speaks of Taille Pieds and Clos des Chenes in almost the same breath:  “two of the most revered vineyards of Volnay today.”  There is limestone in the subsoil.  Clive Coates,  2008:  “Medium-full colour. Rich, full, almost jammy, almost over-ripe nose. Fullish body. Some tannin. Good fruit and grip. Slightly adolescent but good depth here, and the finish is promising. Very good plus, 2009 – 2022”;  Stephen Tanzer:  Precise aromas of cherry, dark chocolate, minerals and smoke. Juicy, intensely flavored and quite tightly wrapped; not fat but classy and stony. Finishes very long, with terrific finesse. I like this, 90 – 92;  weight bottle,  no closure 607 g;  website today not then,  not informative;  www.nicolas-potel.fr ]
Ruby and garnet,  an appropriate colour for age,  above midway in depth.  Bouquet is neat,  relatively small-scale,  red fruits well-browning now,  fragrant but not floral,  straightforward.  Palate is very much pinot noir at full maturity,  just starting to dry,  but fruit dominant over older oak (it seems),  clean.  I placed this wine as the sighter for the tasting – very much how you expect a Volnay to be.  A little past its prime,  but still enjoyable.  No votes at all,  just in the middle.  But total confusion as to whether France or New Zealand,   nine all.  GK 09/19