5 Stars from Raymond Chan!
Wooing Tree New Releases from 2017 to 2012
Wooing Tree is a significant Cromwell-based vineyard and producer established in 2002 to make Pinot Noir-based wines. There are 17 ha of Pinot Noir planted in clones 5, 6, 115, 667 and 777 with 1 ha of clone 95 Chardonnay, and an inventive approach has led to a strong portfolio, with Pinot Noir expressed in various styles, and only a minimal usage of contract fruit to make other wines for the range. The owners, the Farquharson and Bews families have Peter Bartle of VinPro as their winemaker, and the wines are of very high quality, winning many awards at wine shows.
At the end of last year, the Farquharsons and Bews announced plans announced intentions to create a ‘vineyard village’ based on their existing site. Zone changes would allow the development of boutique residential and commercial space to complement the existing vineyard and its facilities. It is seen by many as adding to the possible future development of Cromwell wine tourism. Plans have been mooted to link in with the current developments of Cromwell growth, making it a “community asset”. The area where Wooing Tree is sited is certainly one of the best for tourism development, with new wine tasting rooms and growth already happening. At present, the Farquharsons and Bews are involved in the process of zoning changes. If things are positive for them, they will eventually lose some vines in the new development. As they already obtain some contract fruit, it is seen as an opportunity to further broaden their fruit sourcing.
In the meantime, Wooing Tree continues to produce its diverse range of wines. Here, I review the latest releases, from the 2017 rosé and blush wines, the 2016 whites, and Pinot Noirs from the secondary 2015 ‘Beetle Juice’, premium 2015 and super-premium 2014 ‘Sandstorm’. The Pinot Noirs share a family resemblance, different to the many fruit-focussed Central Otago bottlings, possessing a little more savoury interest and structure. www.wooingtree.co.nz
Wooing Tree Central Otago Rosé 2017 – 4 Stars
Bright, light strawberry pink with some depth, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is fresh and lively with fragrant aromas of strawberries and cream with nuances of pomegranate, red florals, a touch of fermentation esters, with hints of herbs and minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate possesses sweet and aromatic flavours of strawberries and cream, lifted red florals, fresh fermentation esters and slight confectionary notes. The mouthfeel is fresh with lacy acidity, and the wine flows along a light, mouthwatering, textured line, leading to a lingering finish with a little grip, showing strawberries, florals and confectionary. This is a bright, aromatic dry rosé with strawberries and cream, florals and confectionary nuances, on a light-textured, mouthwatering palate. Serve as an aperitif, with canapes and antipasto over the next 2 years. 100% Pinot Noir from the ‘Wooing Tree’ vineyard, WBP and given overnight skin contact and cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 2.9 g/L RS. 17.5/20 Aug 2017 RRP $27.00
Wooing Tree ‘Blondie’ Central Otago 2017 – 4 Stars
Bright, very pale straw colour with the slightest hint of blush. The nose is softly full with good weight and vinous presence of white and yellow stonefruits, along with white floral fragrances and subtle notes of red fruits, entwined with fresh, lifted fermentation esters. Medium-dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has aromatic flavours of white stonefruits and white florals, with subtle red fruit suggestions and some lifted esters. The fruit forms a moderately concentrated core and heart, and the mouthfeel is well-balanced, showing roundness and richness along with fine phenolic textures. This has good line and drive, and carries to an elegant, lingering finish of stonefruits and florals. This is an aromatic medium-dry blanc de noir wine with white stonefruits, florals and delicate red fruit notes on a rounded palate with good drive. Match with Asian cuisine over the next 2+ years. A blanc de noir wine, 100% Pinot Noir from the ‘Wooing Tree’ vineyard given minimal skin contact , WBP and fermented in stainless-steel to 13.5% alc. and 6.18 g/L RS. 17.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $28.00
Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Gris 2016 – 4 Stars
Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour, paler on the rim. The nose is elegant in proportion with a taut and concentrated core of white stonefruits along with nutty notes, some lees-like mineral elements, unfolding white florals with aeration. Medium-dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has an elegantly proportioned, tight heart and line with subtly concentrated flavours of white stonefruits and lifted florals, and hints of honeysuckle, revealing nutty oak and lees elements. The wine flows along a fine line with integrated acidity leading to a light-textured, honied finish. This is an elegant and taut medium-dry Pinot Gris with white stonefruit flavours and hints of minerals. Match with poultry and pork over the next 2-3 years. Hand-picked fruit from Alexandra, 70% fermented in seasoned French oak, the remainder in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 10.7 g/L RS. 17.0/20 Aug 2017 RRP $32.00
Wooing Tree Central Otago Chardonnay 2016 – 4 Stars
Brilliant straw-yellow colour with pale gold hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is moderately full and well-concentrated with aromas of white peaches and citrus fruits entwined with nutty, flinty and mineral notes, along with creamy barrel-ferment and MLF nuances. Marzipan and toasty oak elements unfold in the glass. Medium-bodied, the palate is rich and lively with a concentrated core of white peaches and citrus fruits, melded with nutty oak and creamy barrel-ferment and MLF layers, unfolding some toastiness. The mouthfeel features fresh acidity and the wine flows along a light-textured line, carrying a little grip, leading to a lingering nutty and toasty finish. This is a moderately concentrated and well-flavoured Chardonnay with peachy fruit, creamy and butty notes and toasty oak on a palate with light grip. Match with roasted poultry and pork over the next 4 years. Hand-picked clone 95 fruit from the ‘Wooing Tree; vineyard, full barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 8 months in 30% new oak, undergoing batonnage and MLF. 17.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $38.00
Wooing Tree ‘Beetle Juice’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 – 4 Stars
Even ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the im. The nose is elegant in expression with a core of dark-red cherry fruit and red florals along with nuances of dark and dried herbs, a little earthiness and nutty oak, revealing a slight resinous hint. Medium-full bodied, the palate has stylishly restrained flavours if dark-red cherries and red florals entwined with dark and dried herbs. Some spice and earthy elements add detail, and the palate unfolds a little nutty oak. The fruit has sweetness and is supported by moderate tannin extraction and grip, with integrated acidity lending some drive. The wine flows positively to a savoury red cherry finish. This is an elegant red cherry fruited Pinot Noir with sweet fruit and notes of herbs, earth, spice and nutty oak on a grainy-textured palate. Serve with game meats and casseroles over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit, clones 115, 6, 667, 777 and Abel from the ‘Wooing Tree’ vineyard, fermented with minimal (1%) whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 25% new French oak. 17.5/20 Aug 2017 RRP $28.00
Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 – 5 Stars
Even, dark ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is elegantly concentrated with a firm heart of dark-red cherry fruit entwined with subtle notes of dark and dried herbs, unveiling red florals, earth and nutty oak. The oak is aromatic Adding to the lift. Medium-full bodied the palate has sweetly luscious and bright dark-red cherry and berry fruit along with fragrant red florals, dark and fresh herbs. The fruit is complexed by subtle earthy detail and nutty oak, and supported by fine, grainy tannin extraction and structure. The acidity is poised and adds tension and energy, and the wine flows to an elegant, but firm and lingering finish of cherries, herbs and nutty oak. This is a sweet-fruited red cherry and berry flavoured Pinot Noir with complexing herb, earthy and nutty detail, on a grainy-textured, lively palate. Match with pork, lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-7+ years. Hand-picked fruit, clones 115, 777 and Abel, fermented with 5% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 29% new French oak. 18.5-/20 Aug 2017 RRP $48.00
Wooing Tree ‘Sandstorm Reserve’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 – 5 Stars
Even, dark ruby-red colour with garnet hues, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is full and deeply concentrated with well-packed complex aromas of savoury dark-red berry fruit harmoniously melded with secondary spicy and earthy notes, dark and dried herbs, along with sweet, nutty, cedary oak. This is beginning to show development interest. Full-bodied, the palate is rich and lush with sweet and savoury fruit flavours of dark-red berry fruit interwoven with herb, earth and spicy layers, unfolding lifted, nutty and cedary oak. The fruit richness is enhanced by fresh acidity, and supported by considerable fine-gained tannin structure. This has weight and presence, and the wine flows with good grip to a long, lingering rich and sweet finish. This is a rich, lusciously sweet, complex-flavoured Pinot Noir with dark-red cherry, herb, earth and spicy notes, nutty oak and plenty of structure forming a fulsome palate. Match with game ,eat dishes and semi-hard cheeses over the next 7-9 years. Hand-picked clone 115 fruit from the ‘Wooing Tree; vineyard, fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 13 months in 30% new French oak. 240 dozen made. 18.5+/20 Aug 2017 RRP $85.00
Wooing Tree ‘Tickled Pink’ Central Otago 2017 – 4 Stars
Bright strawberry-pink colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. This has a softly fresh nose with aromas of ripe strawberries and subtle notes of honey, fragrant red florals and hints of confectionary, unfolding a delicate herbal nuance. Very sweet to taste and light-bodied, the palate is lusciously rich with stylishly decadent flavours of strawberries and cream, and aromatic notes of florals and honey, along with a little confectionary. The mouthfeel is bright and lively with the sweetness balanced by refreshing acidity providing a degree of cut. Some phenolic textures lend an edge of dryness to the palate, but the richness prevails and carries to a lingering, honied finish with red fruits. This is a rich and lusciously sweet late-harvest Pinot Noir rosé with accessible strawberry and honied flavours with good freshness. Serve as a liqueur or with light fruity desserts over the next 3 years. Hand-picked, late-harvested Pinot Noir fruit from the ‘Wooing Tree’ vineyard, fermented in stainless-steel to 10.5% alc. and 125 g/L RS, the wine undergoing batonnage. (375 ml) 17.5-/20 Aug 2017 RRP $38.00