Translation of article by Stephan Reinhardt that appeared in Weinwisser magazine, 25th June 2012
“Lorenc Dudas from the ‘Weinresidenz’ in Düsseldorf sent me recently a small parcel with wine for tasting and asked for my opinion.”
Of the three wines from the Puriri Estate one was overwhelming for me: Pope 2008, one of the finest Clarets I was able to taste and not originating from the Bordeaux region. Puriri Estate, established in 1997, the name comes from the Puriri trees, which grow on this 38-hectare property and grace the labels on the wine bottles. The estate is located in the Puriri Hills, the green hills south-east of Auckland.
The scenery is spectacular. To the East you see the Wairoa River Valley and the Hunua Ranges. But the wines produced on the estate get their inspiration from the Grands Crus of Pomėrol and Saint Ėmilion, but have their very own, now and then, highly delicate character. Judy Fowler is the responsible winemaker and her European-inspired wines are very successful and highly praised in her homeland.
1999 was the first Puriri vintage and already the 2005 Reserve was chosen by the ‘Gourmet Traveller Wine’ magazine, perhaps the most important wine magazine in Oceania, as the ‘Best Wine of New Zealand’. Many five star awards were to follow. The region of Puriri Hills – Clevedon – has it’s own micro climate and soil profile, similar to Waiheke Island, where for quite some time excellent wines have been produced.
The vines are cared for by hand, are hand harvested and the cultivation in the vineyard is as much as possible biodynamic-organic. The fermentation takes place in wooden fermentation vats. The extraction is manual as well, and then the young wines are cared for in French oak barrels (60 – 80 % new) for a period of 18 – 22 months and then for another half year in the bottle.
2008 Puriri Hills Pope, Clevedon, New Zealand
52 % Cabernet-Franc, 32 % Merlot and 16 % Carmenere.
What magnificent, elegant, full-bodied, intensive, silky-fine and fresh Claret. Initially calls to mind the red wine from Saumur (because of the Cabernet Franc), but then one moves away from the Loire and is approaching the Gironde, but to place oneself on the right bank, rather in Saint Emilion than in Pomerol. Splendidly clear and precise, sweet bouquet of ripe black berries, liquorice, cherries and graphite. On the palate, dense, meaty-intensive, perfectly ripe, with dark cherry and berry aroma, silky tannins. Perfectly ripe material, but the wine is fresh and rich in finesse, silky like a Pinot, peppery and tangy like a Cabernet-Franc, juicy (lush) like a Carmenėre. Perfectly balanced. Animated and long-lasting Cassis–finale with chilly tanginess. A great concentrated wine of remarkable finesse and elegance, but also a remarkably deep fun-wine of the very highest level. One should put it to the test among the finest St. Emilion wines, amongst which one wine should not be missing: ‘Cheval Blanc’. Unfortunately the challenger does not come cheap, but is worth the money: via www.wein-residenz.de.
19/20, drink – 2025
2008 Puriri Hills Reserve Clevedon, New Zealand
51% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc , 13% Carmenėre , 9% Cabernet Sauvignon , 7% Malbec.
Distinctively fruit intense, mature and sweet in the nose, nevertheless lucid and fresh, with peppery notes, ripe cherries, roast-juice, Cassis. Tender on the palate, supple, distinctively full-bodied and powerfull, but with velvety texture, terrific freshness and liquorish spice (seasoning). Appears easier and smoother, through it’s generous fruity dominance (black cherries, mulberries, Cassis), also less distinguished and with less finesse than the Pope, is more clearly defined in the tannins. Peppery seasoning, Liquorice and clove aromas, dark berries, fine slightly dry tannin, fresh from the backdrop here also, despite it’s intensity, no fat. Distinct Cassis character. Round. Intense reverberation. Very fruit dominant.
17/20, drink -2020
Original German article: Weinwisser Magazine Review (866)