Wednesday, 24 October 2012
A tasting of Paritua Wines at Cambridge University Wine Society, presented by its winemaker Jason Stent. This relatively new winery was established in 2001, with their first vine plantings arriving in 2003 focusing on the noble grape varieties of the world. The name ‘Paritua’ comes from the local name of the stream that runs through this Hawkes Bay property. Its current winemaker, Jason Stent, was keen to stress that while at Paritua he generally tries to practice minimal intervention in the vineyard, there are some rather nifty high tech gadgetry including a heated water sprinkler system for frost prevention that covers most of his vineyards. While based in Hawkes Bay, two of Paritua’s wines (their Pinot Noir and Riesling) are sourced from Central Otago. In addition, they also incorporate another label within their stable, called Stone Paddock.
The wines are presented below in the order they were tasted. I have included their RRP (according to Paritua), but a quick google search soon reveals that most of these wines can be had for slightly less from Imbibros or Hennings Wines.
2008 Paritua Riesling, Central Otago
£18.99 | B+
Lime rind and peel on the nose, with grapefruit and hints of kerosene; whilst pleasant and attractive enough, it lacks a certain zestiness for me. The citrus fruit is gentle on the palate, generous acidity but lacking in flavour concentration; its correct but feels a touch flabby / dilute, lacks focus. Cant help thinking it could be more precise and nervy.
2009 Paritua Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay
£18.99 | B+
Attractive peachy nose, with overripe stone fruits, tending towards passionfruits and mangoes, quite sweet; significant oak treatment here, but the buttery creamy notes integrate well with the other aromas. Fat acidity, fruit is ripe and generous if a tad simple / one-dimensional, slight savoury hints too; rather short finish. I like this, its well made and quite attractive, but I feel it’s a but too pricy for what it is.
2008 Paritua Pinot Noir, Central Otago
£21.50 | B
Bright cranberry and red cherry fruit, with warming mulled spices, earthy notes and a lick of sweet oak – pretty, polished and attractive nose, great start. Sweet red fruit on the palate, medium acidity, but feels somewhat tired and flat, just isn’t bright and its lacking in concentration. The palate such a disappointment after the nose, could be a dodgy bottle?
2008 Stone Paddock Syrah, Hawkes Bay
£14.99 | B+
Red plums and blackcurrant cordial, quite sweet on the nose, with a hint of sweet spice. Bright red fruit on the palate (red berries and plums), a lighter, easier drinking style; smooth and polished. A little too commercial for me, correct but unexciting.
2008 Paritua Syrah, Hawkes Bay
£21.50 | B+
Jammy red & dark fruit, stewed fruit / compote nose; theres fruit liquers and cassis, almost tending towards being too sweet and confected – heady stuff, slightly over the top for me. Blackcurrant fruit on the palate, theres concentration and nice texture here, medium low acidity, hint of spice and savoury touches, some sweet oak too. Correct, but again, unexciting.
2007 Paritua Red, Hawkes Bay
£21.50 | A-
This is their Bordeaux lookalike, with a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon / 32% Merlot / 9% Cabernet Franc / 5% Malbec; significant new French oak used, approx. 2500 cases made.
Dark fruit, cassis and brambles, with a hint of leafiness, fragrant spice and sweet oak; brooding, attractive nose. Plenty of ripe fruit on the palate, nice extraction and concentration; black plums and brambles, medium acidity with decent tannins. Structured and ageworthy, drink now – 2018+
2007 Paritua 21.12, Hawkes Bay
£37.50 | A-(+)
Paritua’s flagship red, a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon / 28% Merlot / 21% Cabernet Franc; significant new French oak used, approx. 700 cases made.
Dark fruit compote, cassis and bramble notes, with hints of coffee and dusted cocoa, bit of sweet oak too; more brooding, less open and overtly fruity than its ‘Red’. On the palate, dark plums and blackberries, feels extracted; quite a large mouthfeel and heavy texture; a big wine, carries the sweet oak well. Medium acidity, plenty of fine tannins; big boned, quite muscular at the moment, certainly ageworthy; drink now – 2020+
2009 Stone Paddock ‘Isabella’ Late Harvest Semillon, Hawkes Bay
£13.99 (37.5cl) | A-
Golden amber in colour. Sweet, honeyed nose of tinned peaches and ripe mangoes; quite thick, full on, aromas. Tastes of tinned fruits again, quite intensely sweet (I’m guessing 150-200 g/l residual sugar); texture is quite thick and hefty, but with a nice streak of acidity, alleviating the cloying feel – makes it all taste like tinned pineapples. Not shy.