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Larose Tasting Notes


2021 was a fantastic growing season on Waiheke, with good fruit set, followed by a settled dry summer, but also well above average temperatures lead to the earliest ever veraison and subsequent picking across all varieties.

Wow! This wine is inky! Visually and organoleptically. Massive amplitude on the nose, with dark brooding aromas of black currant, blackberry compote, and dark plum, followed by cocoa, cedar, and a hint of savoury spice. At this young age it’s already very forward and open on the nose, and is a wine you can swirl and sniff for an eternity before finally putting it in your mouth. When you do, the sweetness of the fruit across the mid-palate is what first strikes you, then the massive concentration and ripe, firm structure frame the fruit explosion beautifully, so the wine is at once voluptuous but also poised. The 2021 is a wine that has massive cellaring potential despite its forward nature at this stage, and I would confidently say that it has at least 20 years in a prime drinking window.

The Spring/early Summer was warm and settled after flowering, and drought conditions started early.  As a result of the incredibly dry summer, the berry size remained small. Sunny, settled and endless Bluebird days were the hallmarks of the 2020 vintage. The fruit condition was perfect, and we were able to harvest fruit at the optimal time for each and every parcel. Tonnages were low, mainly due to tiny berry size, but the crop was even and open, ensuring great exposure to the sun.

The resultant wine is rich, concentrated, and deep, with fresh, pretty aromatics of lavender and powerful aromas of dark black fruits underpinning. On the palate, it is a wine of power and extraction, with massive chewy tannin at this point in its evolution. This is classic, great vintage Bordeaux, but in a more modern and
clean style, with great purity and complexity of flavour. Drink from 2025-205 if you can resist the temptation. Sealed with NDTech T.C.A. free corks.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 51%, Merlot 24%, Petit Verdot 14%, Cabernet Franc 7%, Malbec 3.5%, Carménère 0.5%

Alcohol: 14.5%

pH: 3.62

T.A.: 5.6gL

Dry Extract: 3

One stand out of ‘19 was the Malbec, used in both our Luna Negra and Larose, producing the darkest pigment we have seen from a wine. Once again it was the Cabernet which showed its world class, producing some of finest to date from this property. With our major clones of Cabernet ripening identically, our small team of
pickers achieved the recognition of hand harvesting the most fruit during a single day at Stonyridge.

The ’19 Larose really shows the continuing improvement we are making in the vineyard, with the replanting of superior clonal selections, careful viticulture and accurate harvesting decisions, the weather helped a fair amount as well.

Striking concentration of colour with a deep purple and ruby core leading to a bright ruby almost pink rim. The bouquet is focused and deeply concentrated with aromas of dark berries, Doris plum and layered between toasty wood spices of clove and vanilla. On the palate an equally concentrated and detailed wine with flavours that reflect the nose as well as iron shaving and pencil lead. Firm, bold, ripe tannins with contrasting and balancing acid line. Complex, youthful, detailed and long. A fantastic wine. Decant for early drinking (if you must) with an ideal window from around 2025 through 2035. 96 Points.

On the nose the 2018 Larose displays the brightness and purity of the vintage with intense blue and black fruits, and perfumed florals. High quality French oak gives cedar, cigar box and mocha to the complex concentrated nose. On the palate the Larose 2018 has opulence and flesh, framed by a youthful taut tannin structure, and magnificent length.

Winemaking: Picked from the 6-15th of April, 100% crushed and destemmed prior to inoculation for fermentation. 20 days of post ferment maceration before pressing to barrel for completion of malolactic fermentation. Racked every 3 months before final rack and bottling in March 2019.

Encépagement: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% Petit Verdot, 11% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc, Carmenere 0.5%
950 cases made

Oak: Aged in tight grained French oak, 60% new.
13.3% Alcohol
pH 3.68
T.A. 5.4 gL
Dry extract 30.9 gL

Petit Verdot was first introduced into New Zealand in 1994 by Stephen White and Dr Tony Molloy QC. Fortuitously, it has become one of the great varieties in our vineyard at Stonyridge, with the small berry size and thick skins giving structure and intensity in every vintage. The wines produced from these grapes are known for their florality and earthiness along with a tightly structured palate with dark fruit in the mid-palate.

The Coeur de Lion is a deep, concentrated, powerful Bordeaux blend that we are exceptionally proud of. On the nose, dark forest fruits and lifted floral aromas of crushed violet and rose, with some deeper earthier notes from the Petit Verdot, while in the mouth, youthful, grainy tannin, beautiful rich fruit, and fantastic length.

Winemaking: Picked during the first 2 weeks of April 2017. 100% crushed and destemmed prior to inoculation for fermentation. 20 days of post ferment maceration before pressing to barrel for completion of malolactic fermentation. Racked every 3 months before final rack and bottling in March 2018.

600 cases made

Encépagement: 36% Petit Verdot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Malbec, 16% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Carménère

Oak: 100% fine grained French oak, 60% new
13.1% Alcohol
pH: 3.72
T.A. 5.5 gL
Dry extract: 30.3 gL

Larose 2016 is a wine defined by its fragrance and
freshness. On the nose wild black and blue fruits mingle with warm cinnamon and
clove spices. The oak is well integrated and gives good cedar and dark coffee
notes to the complex nose. In the mouth the palate is fine and long with fresh
acidity and firm tannin providing the framework for the generous fleshy fruit.

Winemaking: Picked during the first 3 weeks of April 2016.
100% crushed and destemmed prior to inoculation for fermentation. 20 days of
post ferment maceration before pressing to barrel for completion of malolactic
fermentation. Racked every 3 months before final rack before bottling in March

Oak: 100% French, 60% new.

Encépagement: 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Petit Verdot, 19%
Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec, 1% Carménère 

1040 cases produced

13.2 Alcohol

pH 3.77

T.A. 5.5 gL

Dry extract 31.6 gL

2015 was possibly (time will tell) the most harmonious of all vintages. Fruit set was average and very even across all varieties, and disease pressure early, was low. While the ripening period wasn’t as dry as 2010, or as hot as 2013, it was a perfect combination of the two, giving fruit of exceptional balance and complexity.

While beautifully ripe, the fruit hasn’t gone past the point of sur maturité, layered, dense and concentrated; the nose has bright cassis, blackberry and espresso over quality oak aromas of pencil shavings, cedar and toast. The bouquet continues to evolve in the glass over a long period, revealing more layers and depth.

For such a bright, fresh, floral nose, the structure is very youthful and firm, with finely tuned acid. The alcohol, is present but not over the top, and
rounds out the fruit on the mid-palate wonderfully. The persistence is incredible, finishing long after the last sip.

Varieties: 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petit Verdot, 14% Malbec, 13% Merlot,
5% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carmenere.

Hand-harvested, Hand plunged, 30 days on skin fermentation and maceration

French barrel, 65% New barre

12 months barrel maturation

pH - 3.68

Total acidity as tartaric 5.3

Alcohol - 14.3

Residual Sugar - Less than 1gL

2014 Larose shows a dense deep purple, with the colour running all the way to the rim of the glass, vibrant and with brilliant clarity. The nose shows great depth and complexity of black berry fruits well-integrated cedary oak and dried Mediterranean dried herbs, plush and inviting. Strapping in structure, with rugged, bristling tannin at this early stage of the evolution, the sweetness from the higher alcohol helping with the balance and volume on the palate. 201 Larose finishes with great length and focus.

This Larose is definitely one of the vintages to put away for your kids/grandkids, they’ll thank you for it!

Encepagemant: Cabernet Sauvignon 52%, Petit Verdot 18%, Malbec 16%, Merlot 12%, Cabernet Franc 1%, Carmenere 1%

1600 Cases produced

Larose 2013 is an absolute monster, and although the density and richness on the nose is wonderful, the bright aromas of violets and blackcurrant still sing on top of these powerful base notes. The typical freshness and purity of Larose is supported by the secondary bouquet of pipe tobacco, liquorice and espresso, making for a complex, constantly evolving nose full of intrigue. Once you tear yourself away from the perfume and finally get to imbibe, the initial impression is of massive, ripe tannin structure with huge concentration. The freshness of the acid keeps the
focus, and the palate, while massive, still feels very precise.

Encepagemant: Cabernet Sauvignon 52%, Petit Verdot 19%, Malbec 12%, Merlot 12%, Cabernet Franc 4%, Carmenere 1%

1240 Cases produced

2012 was a very long ripening season. We started later and finished later than ever
before in the history of winemaking at Stonyridge. This gave the fruit good hang-time to develop maximum flavour potential. Extensive vendange verte (green harvest), especially on our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, post fruit set gave us great concentration and dry extract in the resulting wine. During the harvest period, the
weather was ideal, allowing us to pick fruit at optimal ripeness and balance.

The 2012 Larose shows great intensity and purity. Dark, wild, brambly berry fruit with freshly ground cinnamon and cardamon underpinned with cedar, pencil shavings and vanilla from the 55% new oak component make for a complex and intriguing nose. On the palate, 2012 Larose at this tender age is taut and firm with wonderful length, an underlying generosity of sweet fruit promises excellent cellaring potential. This wine matches well with steak and other red meats.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 35%, Merlot 21%, Malbec 21%, Petit Verdot
16%, Cabernet Franc 6%, Carménère1%

1150 Cases produced

The 2011 Larose is a real triumph for Stonyridge. The team had survived the wettest summer combined with one of the hottest vintages on record to have an above average amount of wine in barrel. As a result of the difficult vintage, a significant amount of normal Larose quality fruit was declassified to Airfield. Despite some higher crop levels in the vineyard, a relatively small amount of Larose was produced.

Visually, the wine is a deep ruby with a brightness through
the rim of the glass. On the nose, the concentrated cassis and plum characters combine with the lifted violets to give more of a right bank style Bordeaux blend, an indication of the significant Merlot proportion in this particular Larose. The oak integrates to provide pencil shavings and mocha notes, and supports the fruit weight harmoniously. The wine is has a firm structure and is quite tight at present from the natural acidity. This balances and accentuates the ripe tannins as well as giving length to the sweet fruit
through the mid-palate.

Encépagement: 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot, 20% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carmenere
980 Cases produced

2010 will go down in history as the greatest vintage ever on Waiheke Island. A gentle spring with ample rain and little wind produced a full, healthy canopy with good fruit set. Then came January, February, March and April; non-stop, sun drenched, dry gentle south-westerlies. Only 12mL of rain fell during these four months, the lowest ever recorded. With extensive green harvest, the big crop still garnered huge concentration. The hardest thing we did this year was trying to find wine to declassify to Airfield and Faithful.

The 2010 Larose is purple red with a density and brightness that goes all the way to the rim of the glass. Initially the bouquet reveals lifted florals of crushed violets and lavender, followed by the primary fruit characters of dark forest berries, black plums and cassis. The secondary spice characters, clove and thyme are layered with leather and a hint of freshly roasted dark coffee. The tannins are firm and well structured. There is massive fruit weight, which balances the natural acidity perfectly. The persistence on the palate is massive this wine goes forever.

The 2010 Larose has a beautiful density that is fused with elegance. The nose is packed with dark berries, bracken, leaves, plums and licorice, and cedary oak adds sweet spicy allure- this is looking super-fresh and composed. The palate has the sort of tannin texture that all Cabernet winemakers dream of: sturdy, chalkyfine tannins that draw sweet, ripe dark berry flavour long and deep, composed and full of elegantly stated authority. A real triumph!

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Petit Verdot 21%, Malbec 17%, Merlot
8%, Cabernet Franc 3%, Carmenere 1%


The 2009 is characterised by its elegance, power and
ripeness with a focus on balance, length and texture. It is deeply coloured and the nose is dense and complex with magnificently lifted aromatics, a mix of lifted violet florals, sweet dried herbs, cassis and black plum with blackberry and spiced truffle. The palate has power, great extraction and depth, yet is elegant. The fruit is layered beautifully with a bounty of flavours: cassis, black plum, spiced bramble, chocolate and coffee. The firm, yet ripe, tannins give a lovely supple texture and the finish has great length and finesse.

The 2009 Larose is still so youthful, but with massive potential. The bouquet is reminiscent of wildflowers and wild berries with some savoury roast meat characters starting to develop. On the palate the structure is still firm and tightly wound. Luscious fruit through the mid-palate, promises great potential for the coming years, wonderful length!

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 52%, Malbec 18%, Petit Verdot 15%, Merlot
10%, Cabernet Franc 5%

The fruit came in between March 17th and April 12th, the earliest start and finish to a Stonyridge vintage ever. Crop levels, while high, were balanced with a strong healthy canopy, leading to the largest amount of Larose ever produced in a single year.

Our flagship wine is dark and dense with great fruit expression from the five Bordeaux varieties. Cassis, plum, berries, our customary talclike fragrance with sumptuous chocolate, tobacco and earth on the nose and fine spices, cedar and pencil shavings derived from the oak. A big mouth filling wine, matured in
70% new French oak this wine is engulfed by the huge ripe fruit. Richly flavoured and beautifully complex, with immaculate tannin and structure, the aromas flow through to the palate which is flooded with ripe dark fruits and well-integrated French oak. This wine is greatly concentrated with a finish that lasts and lasts.

Smoky, toasty, cassis and fine gravel, burnt rose, pronounced oak. The palate in contrast is gentle with elegance. Grammy-awardwinning tannins, a wine yet to release its full potential - in fact it reminds me of a Chateau Lafite I once had – just outstanding!

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 37%, Malbec 29%, Merlot 16%, Petit Verdot
16%, Cabernet Franc 2%

The wine looks dark and dense, with quite a generous nose
for this stage, exhibiting ripe berry fruit, cassis and cedar oak with hints of sweet mint, chocolate and earthy notes. There is a brooding complexity lurking beneath the bright primary fruit. The aromas lead faithfully on to the palate which is flooded with rich fruit. The customary ripe tannins are well balanced by fine acidity and the judicious use of oak adds to the structure of the wine.

The nose reminds me of Xmas pudding packed with berries, raisins and supported by violets and a subtle hint of lavender. The palate is gamey, rich and complex and layered only showing you tiny glimpses of the full picture of a full flavoured mouth filling wine. Even after decanting the wine for more than 2 ½ hours - this wine is packed with detail that can’t be completely appreciated this young in its life, though please be clear the wine is no less enjoyable - though it is clear there is still so much to learn and explore.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 55%, Malbec 21%, Merlot 11%, Petit Verdot
11%, Cabernet Franc 2%
790 cases produced

The wine has a crimson purple hue. Sweet cassis, mint and plum envelope the nose supported by classy French oak. The wine carries an incredible freshness and liveliness on the palate from the well balanced acidity, and very fine
grained velvet tannins.

Hints of black liquorice, tobacco smoke, mocha-coffee and sautéed blueberries in a pan with a dash of sugar and alcohol. On the palate you have spice, and Tuscan aged ham all balanced with confident tannin and oak. It is a delicate, yet empowering wine to savour for many years to come.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 48%, Malbec 17%, Petit Verdot 17%, Merlot
13%, Cabernet Franc 5%.

Impressively concentrated with ample, firm yet supple tannins and great fruit weight giving the wine excellent texture and structure. Plenty of rich ripe fruit on the palate balanced with cedar and cigar box notes from the oak.

Big, rich, succulent style yet powerful, concentrated, meaty, savoury, sweet-spicy oak. Beautiful fine tannin structure from the outset - tannins still have grip, yet have a great deal of finesse.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 44%, Malbec 21%, Petit Verdot 15%, Merlot
15%, Cabernet Franc 5%.

Huge and intense with notes of plum and ripe black cherry. Full bodied, sinewy, lots of concentration this will surely open out with time. Muscular, brutish, this is one impressive wine…

Dark hard lollies, berries and a subtle aroma of liquorice allsorts note on the nose. The oak character surrounds the sweetness, integration at its finest. As the wine hits your palate you are greeted and overwhelmed with power and length of flavour, you find yourself putting your wine glass down and drawing in breath.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 54%, Malbec 19%, Petit Verdot 15%, Merlot
8%, Cabernet Franc 4%

The wine has a deep purple-red hue. Big earthy leathery aroma becoming quite jammy sweet with vanillin oak, cherry and cassis. Remarkably soft and gentle in the palate. Succulent with plum and juicy blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, and cedar with cigar box and spice.

I’m immediately drawn to the dramatic colours. The nose instantly reminds Brandy-Snaps filled will chocolate cream, mocha-coffee and the odd blackberry on the side. The palate is firm, but the tannins have softened out over the past decade. I would advise careful cellaring and enjoy this ever-changing vintage.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 44%, Malbec 22%, Petit Verdot 21%, Merlot
11%, Cabernet Franc 2%

Full, youthful hue. Fleshy and vibrant, with fresh, ripe, sweet-fruit flavours of plums and spice. Crammed with fruit and has a very firm structure at this young stage, promising long cellar potential.

Dark fruits, tobacco and mocha notes on the nose with some leathery complexity underneath. The palate is full round and generous with well integrated fine tannins supporting the sweet fruit perfectly. Plenty of length and persistence on the finish.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 49%, Malbec 30%, Petit Verdot 9%, Merlot 7%,
Cabernet Franc 5%

1550 cases produced

Ripe fruit with notes of chocolate and black olives supported
by a well-balanced oak influence giving a cedar lift on the nose. Ripe fine tannins support the multi-layered fruit-driven palate and the finish is very long.

Aromas are clean and fragrant with darker fruits to the fore and secondary notes of chocolate and leather. On the palate the wine has good attack with excellent structure, balance and freshness. There is great purity to the fruit and the finish is long.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 56%, Petit Verdot 15%, Merlot 11%, Malbec
9%, Cabernet Franc 9%

660 cases produced

Full youthful hue. It is very classy and concentrated. Classic claret style, with deep cassis and spice flavours, very dense, savoury and complex. Firm finish. Hugely fragrant, a star vintage.

Crushed violet and wild mushroom over rich black and red fruits, supported by fine oak. Rich and full on the palate with excellent length and weight.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 55%, Merlot 23%, Malbec 10%, Cabernet Franc
8%, Petit Verdot 4%

1225 cases produced


Dense, youthful colour. Very rich, dark berry flavours to the fore, with mint and leather characters adding complexity. Excellent weight and

Aromas are intense and pure dark fruits dominate. There are layers of coffee and game. On the palate the wine has wonderful structure, balance and freshness.There is great richness to the fruit and excellent length still.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 72%, Merlot 14%, Cabernet Franc 7%, Malbec
5%, Petit Verdot 2%.

1150 cases produced

Notes of violets and lavender are subtly integrated with tobacco and dark berries - with a hint of liquorice and silky tannins guiding you like a well-experienced tour guide - giving you the confidence to take the next step and explore more into the darkness of the cave.

Beautiful upfront florals and lifted fruit, bright and pure on the nose. Dances on the palate and has exceptional balance and freshness to the fruit and tannin with a long finish.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 71%, Merlot 14.5%, Cabernet Franc 7%, Malbec
4.5%, Petit Verdot 3%.

450 cases produced

Rich youthful colour. A lovely, fresh and vibrantly fruity wine with intense flavours of cassis and plums and a rich spiciness. Very concentrated, mouth filling and long.

On the nose the “97 displays ripe black and red fruits with star anise and smoky oak in the background. There is great sense of purity and fragrance. On the palate vibrant acidity and robust tannin structure frame the fleshy core of fruit perfectly

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 64%, Merlot 20%, Malbec 7.3%, Cabernet Franc
6.8%, Petit Verdot 1.9%.

600 cases produced

Dense, purplish hue. Scented bouquet of cassis and mint.
Very youthful and fresh, with concentrated blackcurrant, red berry and mint flavours framed by firm chewy tannins. Should be very long lived.

Rich, concentrated and very complex. Plummy fruit, chocolate caramel and coffee on the nose. The structure is finely detailed and the wine has impeccable balance, poise and massive length.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 66%, Merlot17%, Malbec 10%, Cabernet Franc
6%, Petit Verdot 1%.

950 cases produced.

An amazing wine of deep colour, flavours saturated with ripe plums, berry fruit and vanilla with layers of soft textured tannins.

Round, plump fruit with some secondary leather and game characters. Generous and complex. Palate is soft and yielding with beautiful balance and finesse.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Malbec 17.5%, Merlot 15.5%, Cabernet
Franc 6%, Petit Verdot 1%

800 cases produced

The ’94 Larose is another dark, dense purple and tannic
monster, in fact it is the most tannic Larose to date. At a recent tasting by the Stonyridge team, we were surprised and delighted by the incredibly intense spicy floral/fruit bouquet. On the palate of this dark and concentrated heavily oaked beast, we picked up vanilla, blackberries, chocolate and mint. This is the ‘Larose’ that has boldly gone beyond simple varietal fruit and oak qualities, nosing where no wine has gone before.... the final frontier, “Life Jim, but not as we know it”

A brooding dark and complex wine. The nose shows great concentration with rich dusky fruit, moist earth and smoky oak. The firm tannin is still youthful, with sweet plummy fruit generous in support. Wonderful length, a truly great vintage of Larose.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 65.7%, Merlot 23.3%, Malbec 6.4, Cabernet Franc 4.4%, Petit Verdot 0.2%.

425 cases produced

The ’93 Larose is dark, dense purple and tannic, it has huge fruit and is heavily oaked. When young, it is a wine that will grip you by the neck and give you a good shake. The cellar staff liken it to bungy jumping into a swimming pool filled with blackberries, boysenberries and vanilla pods....although none of us have tried doing that.

Cassis Blackberry and red gravel dust on the nose with a strong toasty oak presence. The tannins are still firm but well integrated, the palate is long and even with good persistence.

Encépagement: Cabernet Sauvignon 57%, Merlot 27.4%, Malbec 9.7%, Cabernet Franc 5.8%.

725 cases produced