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A moment of cream

The wines of Selaks

by Thor Iverson

[logo]A brief tasting of the wines of Selaks, conducted with Darryl Woolley over lunch at LTK Bar & Kitchen. Since 1998, Selaks has been part of the moderately vast Nobilo empire. Woolley came to New Zealand for (then-)giant Corbans, and moved to Selaks in 1985, where he manages the winemaking team.

Selaks “Premium Selection” 2006 Riesling (Marlborough) – Dry, dusty, and extremely austere on the nose. The palate, however, is a lot more interesting, showing a moment of cream followed by the sharp bite of sour orange acidity, grapefruit rind bitterness, and walnut skin. There’s good length, and while the wine “feels” mostly dry, a bit of residual sugar is there if you look hard enough…a grace note of softening sweetness at the end. A fair effort, though probably not with the complexity or stuffing to age more than a few years. (5/07)

Selaks “Premium Selection” 2005 Chardonnay (Marlborough) – Clove, nutmeg, and browned butter with Mandarin orange. Sultry brown apple joins the spicy fruit basket on the finish, which is a bit sticky. Before that, however, the wine seems in fair balance. Drink soon. (5/07)

Selaks “Premium Selection” 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) – Lots of minerality, dry, and restrained, showing good balance and a papery, leafy residue of apple skin. Austere to the point that it resembles the old style of Isabel (which is still marvelously ungenerous, but does it at a slightly higher volume than in the past). (5/07)

Woolley is working to get his sauvignon’s midpalate weight up by, counter to prevailing critical wisdom, increasing crop load; he says that lowering yields too much leads to excessively quick ripening (and the vogue for tropical fruit salad sauvignons, after the underripe chile-fest of years past), while he would prefer higher loads with a longer hangtime.

Selaks “Premium Selection” 2005 “Ice Wine” (East Coast) – 50% gewürztraminer from Gisborne & Hawke’s Bay, 50% riesling from Marlborough. Mild, showing peach, apricot skins, and a shortish finish. This is pretty simple, and I seem to remember it being a little more appealing in the past. (5/07)

Disclosures: wines provided by and lunch paid for by the producer.


Copyright © Thor Iverson.