Raymond Chan Wine Reviews
The Askerne Vineyard on the Hawke’s Bay coast near Havelock North was established by John and Kathryn Loughlin in 1993. Initially planting 11 ha of white varieties, they expanded with 9 ha of reds in 2000. A steady flow of good wine has resulted since, but I see the Askene label has gone up a notch in quality over the past couple of years. This is due to improvements in the vineyard and winery and the arrival of Ant Mackenzie as winemaker in 2013, as well as Hayden Penny and Ash Hallum coming on board from 2015. The Loughlins, and the vineyard and winemaking team aim to make wine styles that suit what the vineyard provides, and this empathy can be seen in the resulting wines. Here, I review the 2016 Rosé and Pinot Gris, and 2015 Viognier and Cabernet Franc. www.askerne.co.nz
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Reserve Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc Malbec 5 Stars
Dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim, youthful in appearance. The nose is softly full and voluminous with well-packed, fragrant aromas of ripe dark-red and black plum fruit, entwined with a harmonious amalgam of blackberries, cassis and spices, unveiling a suggestion of funky game nuances adding to the interest. Medium-full bodied, the palate has sweetly rich and ripe flavours of black plums, blackberries and spices, with liquorice elements. The flavours ae mouthfilling and form a concentrated heart with fine-grained tannin structure. The wine has good energy and linearity, with balanced acidity. The wine carries to a long, fine-textured finish with sweet and spicy black fruit. This is a sweetly rich and ripe Merlot/Cabernet-based blend with flavours of black plums, blackberries, liquorice and spices on a mouthfilling, fine-structured palate. Match with roasted and grilled game meat dishes over the next 7-10 years. A blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12.5% each of Cabernet Franc and Malbec from the lower terrace of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 14 months in 50% new French oak barriques. 18.5/20 Jul 2017 RRP $30.00
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Viognier 4 Stars
Bright, light golden-hued yellow colour, a little lighter on the edge. This has a gently rich and full nose of ripe apricot fruit along with subtle exotic yellow stonefruit notes, entwined with savoury creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes. Dryish to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is up-front with sweetly ripe apricot and savoury yellow stonefruit flavours, along with creamy barrel-ferment richness and nutty oak elements. The fruit flavours form a rounded, but concentrated core, underlined by some alcoholic power. The acidity is integrated and the wine carries with freshness and linearity to a long, rich, luscious apricotty and nutty finish. This is an up-front, dryish Viognier with ripe and savoury apricot, stonefruit and creamy, nutty flavours on a rounded core with some alcoholic drive. Match with Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 3+ years. Fruit from the lower terraces of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, hand-picked, WBP and fully barrel-fermented, partially by indigenous yeasts to 14.0% alc. and 5 g/L RS, the wine aged 10 months in 20% new French oak, the majority going through MLF. 17.5+/20 Jul 2017 RRP $22.00
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2016 4 Stars
Bright, red cherry-pink colour with some depth, lighter on the rim with some purple hues. The nose is fresh and bright with finely concentrated aromas of redcurrants and cranberries along with subtle notes of red floral and nuances of lifted confectionary elements. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate features gently rich and luscious flavours of redcurrants, cranberries and pomegranate, along with red floral ad raspberry confectionary notes. The mouthfeel is juicy with building mouth-watering acidity. The wine flows with good energy along a very soft, fine-textured line, leading to a moderately fruity and lush, thirst-quenching finish. This is a gently rich-fruited, mouth-watering dry rosé with redcurrant and cranberry flavours. Serve as an aperitif, with antipasto and tapas over the next 2 years. A blend of 73% Syrah and 27% Pinot Noir from the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, the fruit hand-picked and 40% fermented with indigenous yeasts in seasoned oak to 13.0% alc. and 5 g/L RS. 18.0+/20 Jan 2017 RRP $20.00
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2016 4 Stars
Bright, even, straw-yellow colour with pale golden hues. The nose is elegantly concentrated with subtly entwined aromas of white and yellow stonefruits, along with exotic yellow florals, nuances of honey and suggestions of mouthwatering minerals. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is well proportioned and finely presented with stylishly restrained flavours of white and yellow stonefruit intermingling with florals and honeysuckle. The fruit is gently rich but concentrated and unfolds layers of floral detail. The palate has balancing, ripe acidity and the wine carries along a smooth-textured line leading to a lingering finish of stonefruits, florals and honeysuckle. This is a stylish and finely proportioned dry Pinot Gris with subtly rich flavours of stonefruits and honeysuckle, and a smooth flowing palate. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 4 years. Fruit from the lower terraces of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, hand-picked and WBP, fermented primarily in tank to 14.0% alc. and 4 g/L RS. 18.0+/20 Jan 2017 RRP $22.00
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Viognier 2015 5 Stars
Brilliant straw-yellow colour with pale lemon-gold hues, lighter on the rim. The bouquet is full and broad with rich, ripe and deep aromas of apricots, exotic yellow stonefruits and tropical fruits, melded with apricot kernels, and a creamy, nutty barrel-ferment underlay. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is soft and fulsome with mouthfilling flavours of ripe apricots, yellow stonefruits and tropical fruit, entwined with musk, honey and creamy, nutty oak. Soft acidity adds to the rounded mouthfeel and palate presence, and the softly concentrated core carries seamlessly driven by a little alcohol drive to a long, full finish. This is a rich, mouthfilling Viognier with ripe apricot and exotic fruit flavours melded with creamy barrel ferment notes and textures. Match with Middle Eastern and Asian fare over the next 3-4 years. Low-yield fruit from the ‘Askerne’ lower terraces, hand-picked and WBP, fully barrel-fermented by indigenous yeasts to 14.0% alc. and <1.0 g/L RS, the wine spending 12 months in 20% new French oak. 18.5/20 Jan 2017 RRP $22.00
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Franc 2015 4 Stars
Dark ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues. This has a very firm and tightly bound, well-concentrated nose with penetrating aromas of ripe blackcurrant and blackberry fruit entwined with notes of redcurrants, fresh dark herbs a hints of leaf. Medium-full bodied, the palate features a firmly concentrated core of sweet and vibrantly bright blackcurrant and blackberry fruit, along with an amalgam of fresh dark herbs and redcurrants, and leaf elements. The fruit is carried by youthfully firm, but fine-grained tannin extraction and structure, with fresh, lacy, underlying acidity lends energy and drive. The palate has very good linearity, carrying the flavours to a sustained, sweet and aromatic fruit finish with herb nuances emerging. This is a fresh, vibrant, fine and firmly concentrated and structured Cabernet Franc with blackcurrant, blackberry, redcurrant and herb flavours. Match with herb-marinated lamb and beef dishes over the next 6-8 years. 100% Cabernet Franc from the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 14 months in 15% new French oak. 8 barrels made. 18.0/20 Jan 2017 RRP $22.00
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2014 4 Stars
Bright straw-yellow colour with lemon-gold hues. This has a fresh and elegant nose featuring yellow stonefruit and citrus fruit aromas, expressed with a steely edge. Subtle layers of complexity unfold, revealing creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes, harmoniously melded with flinty reduction and butterscotch MLF. Medium-full bodied, the citrus and stonefruit flavours are restrained, but build in richness forming a concentrated core. The mouthfeel is fresh and lively with crisp, steely acidity balancing the creamy oak and buttery MLF flavours and textures. The palate is underlined by good alcohol drive, carrying the flavours to a fine, dry-textured finish with gunflint, oak and butterscotch nuances. This is a refreshing, stylish Chardonnay with complexing flint and buttery flavours. Serve with poultry and pork dishes over the next 4+ years. A blend of Mendoza and clones 15 and 95 fruit from the lower terrace of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, hand-picked and barrel-fermented to 14.0% alc. and 3.34 g/L RS., the wine aged 9 months in 1-3 y.o. French and Hungarian oak, the wine undergoing batonnage and 100% MLF. 18.0/20 Jan 2015 RRP $22.00
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Gewurztraminer 2013 4 Stars
Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues on rim. This has a gentle nose that builds in volume showing harmoniously entwined, detailed aromas of rose-petal florals, musk, herbs and honeysuckle. The depth, density and concentration grows with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate features a deep and softly concentrated core of rose-petals, Turkish Delight, musk and honey. Soft acidity enhances the rounded mouthfeel and presence. Some phenolics are evident, combining with the alcohol to provide good drive, carrying the wine to a strong, near-oily and unctuous finish. This is a full, concentrated dry Gewurztraminer with some power and drive. Match with paté and rillettes, and Mediterranean fare over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit, 5 clones from the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, given partial skin contact and tank-fermented with 15% in seasoned French oak barriques to 14.5% alc. and 5 g/L RS. 18.0+/20 Dec 2014 RRP $22.00
Askerne ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2013 4 Stars
Fruit from the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, 52% Mendoza, 26% clone 15 and 22% clone 95, hand-picked, WBP and barrel-fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 50% new French oak barriques, undergoing batonnage and 70% MLF. Brilliant straw-yellow colour with lemon-green hues. The nose is tightly bound with intense and concentrated aromas of citrus and yellow stonefruit infused with lemon-curd like MLF notes. The aromatics are fresh and steely, showing powerful creamy barrel-ferment and toasty oak layers. Medium-bodied, tightly concentrated flavours of citrus fruit are melded with butterscotch and lemon-curd MLF and strong, positive toasty oak. The fruit is supported by lacy and lively acidity lending tension, resulting in a slippery flow. The wine follows a creamy-textured line that leads to a dry finish with citrus and toasty notes. This is a tightly concentrated, lively Chardonnay with citrussy fruit, buttery elements and toasty oak. Serve with grilled seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4+ years. 17.5/20 Dec 2014 RRP $30.00
Askerne ‘Reserve’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2013 4 Stars
Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 14 months in 50% new French oak barriques. Dark, purple-hued black-red colour, youthful in appearance. The nose is harmonious with integrated and evenly presented aromas of ripe dark red and black berry fruits melded with black pepper, subtle Asian spice notes and violetty florals, unfolding nuances of game meat and toasty oak. Medium-bodied and elegant on palate, this has a core of ripe black fruits with spice, herb and meaty detail, the fruit showing richness and sweetness. Fine, ripe acidity enlivens and lifts the fruit aromatics and the palate is balanced by soft, supple tannins. The wine is well-proportioned, carrying to a soft, dry finish. This is an elegant, fresh Syrah with sweetly integrated flavours and supple mouthfeel. Match with wild duck and pork, and with casseroles over the next 5-6 years. 17.5/20 Dec 2014 RRP $30.00
Askerne ‘Reserve’ Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Malbec 2013 4 Stars
44% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec from the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, hand-picked and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 14 months in French oak barriques. Dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour. The nose is elegant and softly concentrated with vibrant aromas of black berried fruits, earthy plums and redcurrants, along with subtle herb notes and lifted oak elements. Medium-full bodied and well-proportioned, sweet, juicy and lively flavours of blackcurrants, redcurrants and plums are complexed by hints of florals, spices and herbs. The fruit is supported by very fine-grained tannins, and the vitality of the mouthfeel is enlivened by lacy acidity, which carries the wine to an elegant, long-lingering finish with oak spice. This is an elegant, vibrant and sweet-fruited Bordeaux-varietal blend with supple tannins. Match with roast lamb and beef, and with semi-hard cheeses over the next 5-6+ years. 18.0+/20 Dec 2014 RRP $30.00
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2013 4 Stars
Full, near impenetrable black-red colour with youthful purple hues. This has a very fresh nose with concentrated and intense aromas of black berried fruits intermixed with a herbal thread along with pepper, sweet oak and spice elements, the fruit in the cooler spectrum. Medium-bodied and elegant in proportion, concentrated flavours of black fruits, pepper, herbs, florals and spices form a good core. The palate is fresh and lively with plenty of acid tension and the wine flows along a fine-grained line of tannin. The acidity drives the wine, carrying the flavours to a light, lingering finish of pepper and spices. This is an elegant, peppery Syrah with fine textures, carried by lively acidity. Serve with lamb and Middle Eastern fare over the next 4 years. Fruit from the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 15 months in 15% new French oak barriques. 17.0+/20 Dec 2014 RRP $25.00
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Viognier 2014 5 stars
Brilliant, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, lighter straw on edge. The nose is elegantly proportioned and well-concentrated with rich aromas of ripe exotic tropical fruits and apricots melded with complexing layers of creamy, nutty barrel ferment, reductive solids and flinty lees and smoky, toasty oak. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate is packed with soft and rich flavours of ripe apricots and tropical fruits, infused with gunflint reduction, nuts and toasty oak. The mouthfeel is creamy in texture and the wine is fulsome in presence, power and structure. Layers of complexing detail unfold and carry through to a long, soft and densely concentrated finish. This is a rich, ripe Viognier with considerable winemaker complexity that blossoms in the glass. Match with pasta, risotto and most white meat dishes over the next 3-4 years. Hand-picked fruit from the lower terraces of the ‘Askerne’ vineyard, fully barrel-fermented in 10% new American oak and 90% French, American and Hungarian oak, 1-3 y.o. to 14.0% alc. and <1 g/L RS 18.5/20 Jan 2015 RRP $22.00
Cameron Douglas Master Sommelier Wine And Beverage Reviews
Askerne Gewürztraminer 2013 Hawke’s Bay 5 Stars
Very fragrant and rich with a bouquet filled with pear, rose, quince, apple and apricotfruit suggestions. On the palate – dry, warm, rich and crisp. A wine loaded with personality and texture, lots of spice and weight and a long finish. Delicious!
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Reserve Chardonnay 2013 4 Stars
A quiet and unassuming bouquet at first then a burst of fruit and oak energy as the wine opens up; a mix of citrus and stone fruit suggestions wrapped in a blanket of youthful oak and wine making complexity. On the palate – dry, spicy and very firmly youthful with oak and fruit fighting for attention. A wine that needs decanting or at least another 12 months in cellar.
Askerne Hawke’s Bay ‘Reserve’ Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc Malbec 2013 4.5 Stars
Youthful and vibrant bouquet of red and black berry fruits including blackcurrant with a chocolate dried herb quality from the Franc; toasty oak and medium+ complexity overall. On the palate – dry, firm and fruity with all the fruits described above bright, fresh and vibrant on the palate. Medium+ acidity and tannins add to a bold structure.
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2013 5 Stars
Bold, rich, peppery and masculine bouquet: black and red fruits sit firmly alongsidesome big toasty vanilla oak, black pepper and very mild dried herbs and meat. Asbold and rich as the nose suggests on the palate with lots of flavour, oak, tannin,acidity and pepper laced black fruit. A lovely wine with a long finish; decant forservice ahead of time.
Wine Orbit Reviews
Askerne Hawke’s Bay 2016 Pinot Gris 5 Stars 93/100
This delectable pinot gris is beautifully ripe and fragrant on the nose showing peach, mango, poached pear and floral characters with a hint of spice complexity. The palate is concentrated and succulent, and offers rounded mouthfeel and silky texture, wonderfully enhanced by refreshing acidity. Generous and flavoursome, and hugely appealing. At its best: now to 2019. $22.00. www.askerne.co.nz. Jan 2017.
Askerne Hawke’s Bay 2016 Rose 4.5 Stars 91/100
It is immediately appealing on the nose showing nectarine, rockmelon, citrus and watermelon characters. The palate delivers lovely fruit intensity and vibrancy, together with juicy mouthfeel and refreshing acidity, finishing long and comforting. At its best: now to 2018. $20.00. www.askerne.co.nz. Jan 2017
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Franc 4 Stars 88/100
Youthful and beautifully lifted, the fragrant bouquet shows dark plum, blueberry, tobacco, cedar and vanilla characters. The palate offers bright fruit intensity and silky texture with rounded mouthfeel and fine tannins. The wine delivers pristine fruit flavours together with elegant oak infusion. At its best: now to 2019. $22.00. www.askerne.co.nz. Jan 2017.
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Gewurztraminer 2013 4.5 Stars
Classic perfumed aromas of stone fruit, lychee, spice and floral lead to a full-bodied palate that delivers excellent fruit intensity and generosity. The wine is powerful and flavoursome while remaining beautifully balanced and structured. At its best: now to 2018. $22.00.
Askerne Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2013 $25
I love the super-pretty, dark magenta and crimson colour of this wine – it just looks glorious in the glass and – bonus, it tastes darn lovely too. With earthy, deliciously dusty, smoky, peppery plum and dark berry aromas, ripe fruit, warming spices and long, stretchy tannins – this is a new favourite for me.
Peachy, fleshy, full bodied and flavoursome, this wine is rich in taste and has a lusciousness and lingering finish, thanks the the Bay’s climate proving to be so suitable to the French Viognier grape.
Askerne Hawkes Bay Viognier 2014 $22
You don’t have to forgo whites in winter, just opt for more voluptuously textured varieties such as viognier, which with its weight and richness is something of a red wine drinker’s white. Askerne’s is a wonderfully mouth-filling example with ripe peach fruit and hints of honey, white pepper and florals, balanced by a fresh lift on its finish. From Primo Vino, Centre City Wines & Spirits, El Borracho Wine Shop, Glengarry Victoria, Matakana Liquor Centre.