Puriri Hills Reserve 2002 (review)

86 points

From Clevedon, New Zealand.

I bought two bottles of this wine after reading a good review partly because I was born in Ness Valley, Clevedon, New Zealand. There are now a number of wineries there, some of real quality.

This is a Merlot dominant bordeaux blend.

Quite stylish, very nice savoury oak. Not a syrupy alcoholic wine as many top NZ reds from 2002 are. A very impressive early start for this winery, as the critics have said. Elegant fine wine, though lacking in serious backbone and depth. Certainly none of the fruit cake ripeness of a St.Emilion or Pomerol. Good acid, matches well to food, will drink best in a couple of years, not for long term cellaring.

Young vines show.

What really disappoints me about this wine is the pricing. NZ$50 from the winery, and nearby village shops. This is no way to build a brand and gain serious attention. This is MBA pricing (the owner has an MBA). And their other lesser wines are at $32 – even less appealing. Wineries with no track record can’t justify these prices. I disagree with Bob Cambell who argues that this is worth buying while you can, ie suggesting this will soon be an unobtainable superstar wine (and at higher prices still). A safer bet is that this is probably as good a wine as they will ever make. Many well run, well funded wineries make great starts but ultimately it’s the vineyard that decides their potential and most probably it will be modest.

I note that Arahura a nearby neighbour in Ness Valley Clevedon started with some impressive young vine bordeaux blends. 5+ years on they have failed to beat this start.


2 thoughts on “Puriri Hills Reserve 2002 (review)

  1. Went to the winery in the weekend. Agree re pricing they are pretty steep. I thought $35 for the reserve would be fair intead of the $50 the want. I bought 1 bottle just in the interest of something different but could think of many wines that price which would have the jump on it

    Disageee re best ever though. It is clear that they are getting better and better (tried 2000 – 2003 incl) The 05 vintage is something pretty special. They are releasing a super cuvee from that vintage called ‘the pope’ or something – above the reserve which hopefully I can organise to review. From the sounds of it it could be priced anywhere up to $200pb

    Also interesting that they have just discovered the 45% odd franc is not actually franc but some other ancient red grape. All their Franc plantings aint Franc at all!

    Arahura has new owners who dont know much about wine – I think they changed the name of the vineyard too.


  2. Tried the 04 and 05 vintages. In short they are sensational, so your “A better bet is that this is probably as good a wine as they will ever make. ” was a bit premature

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