Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sileni Estates wine tasting

Sileni Estates is a vineyard and winery in Hawkes Bay. Founded in 1997, Sileni is named for Greek demi-god Selinus, companion and tutor to wine god Dionysus. We were in good hands with chief winemaker Grant Edmonds as our host for the evening. It made me realise that the best wine tastings are hosted by experienced winemakers who are both knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. Grant also shared with us two samples from his private vineyard, Redmetal Vineyards.

Sileni's success story sees them exporting approximately 95% of their total production each year. This is quite common in the New Zealand wine industry, where most of the wine produced by around 700 wineries is exported and not destined for the domestic market. A point of difference that sounds great to me is the sweetness scale of 1-5 printed on Sileni wine labels. Being a fan of dry wines (usually less than 5% residual sugar), this is something I'd really like to see on all bottles.

The yes and no list was very clear cut; all the white wines (apart from the sticky) got a yes vote from me and all the reds were nos.

Yes list
  • Sileni The Straits (Marlborough) 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. I'm biased but I really did like this reserve Marlborough sav. It sits in the tank for a further 3 months after fermentation, giving it a creamy, smooth finish. This wine makes up 2/3 of Sileni's total production and gives them a foot in the door in overseas markets. 
  • Sileni Cellar Selection 2014 Pinot Gris. Apparently pinot gris is Sileni's second largest varietal. (I say apparently because the winemaker also said that pinot noir was their second largest varietal, so who knows?) This dry pinot gris has just 4 grams of residual sugar. The sweetness comes directly from the fruit, leaving a low level of acidity and a smooth finish.
  • Sileni The Lodge 2014 Chardonnay. A big surprise here for me: an oaked chardonnay that I like! 100% barrel fermented in 20-25% new oak, this award winning chardonnay was pleasant and smooth.
No list (remember - I'm not much of a red wine drinker or a sticky fan, so this is just for my reference)
  • Sileni The Plateau 2013 Pinot Noir
  • Sileni The Peak 2013 Syrah
  • Sileni Cellar Selection 2013 Cabernet Franc
  • Redmetal Merlot 2014 Cabernet Franc
  • Redmetal Basket Press 2013 Merlot Cabernet Franc
  • Sileni Exceptional Vintage 2014 Pourriture Noble

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