Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Ōhau Wines tasting

Set against a backdrop of the Tararua Ranges not far from Levin is the small town of Ōhau [pronounced Or-hoe (not owe-how)]. Now, this may seem an unlikely location for a vineyard but apparently the quality of what gravels at the Ōhau river leave behind and the same number of sunshine hours as sunny Nelson makes it an ideal place to grow grapes and establish a winery. Who knew?

Last night's wine tasting session featured Ōhau Wines. Our host for the evening was Chris, a rather animated storyteller and loquacious spin doctor. I imagine he could sell ice cream to proverbial penguins and have them believe it was the best thing since sliced bread. He certainly kept us entertained.

Onto the wines. Ōhau Wines is know for two main varietals across five ranges: sauvignon blanc and pinot gris (which suits us just fine). We sampled three vintages of each and a pinot noir to finish. The sauvignon blancs had a different quality to the up front Marlborough styles. Chris tried to tell us that a good enough 2011 sauvignon blanc is still ok to drink in 2016. The samples we tried didn't convince me of this at all, but at least I now know this for certain.

Here are my picks:
  • 2015 Woven Stone sauvignon blanc. A dry finish with just two grams of residual sugar. This sav was a clear winner for us and we ordered two bottles.
Maybe (not too bad)
  • 2014 Woven Stone pinot gris. Smooth to drink with full bodied flavours but I didn't like the acidic aftertaste.
  • 2014 Ōhau Gravels pinot gris. Sweeter than the Woven Stone pinot gris and with a slightly oily finish. 5% oaked - interesting for pinot gris.
  • 2014 Ōhau Gravels sauvignon blanc. Very strong with 5% oak - also unusual for sauvignon blanc. May contain traces of cat's pee.
  • 2011 Ōhau Gravels sauvignon blanc. Definitely contains traces of cat's pee.
  • 2011 Ōhau pinot gris. As above.
  • 2014 Woven Stone pinot noir. I liked the dusky red colour, but that was about it.

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