"The Nelson wine community has welcomed Sea Level into its ranks, as it adds a very experienced and professional element to the region. The Smail family has son Sam, winemaker at the Whitehaven operation in Marlborough making the wines from the 8 ha of grapes from the 14 ha property at Mariri, on the coastal highway between Tasman and Motueka, opposite the Kina peninsula. Dan Manuge, the on-site vineyard manager tends the Pinot Gris, which accounts for around half of the plantings, Gewurztraminer, clone 95 Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir. Sam makes the wines at the Whitehaven facility, except for the Pinot Gris, which is made at the nearby Anchorage winery to minimise skin contact for the machine harvest fruit. I visited Sea Level just over a year ago, and everything looked immaculate at this exciting venture." Raymond Chan
What The Critics Say
93/100 Wine Orbit, Sam Kim
"Grapes were hand picked from their home vineyard for this delectable chardonnay. The inviting bouquet shows mango, mandarin, rockmelon and vanilla characters with a subtle infusion of cedary oak. It is generous and expansive on the palate, and delivers layers of appealing flavours and texture, brilliantly framed by juicy acidity. At its best: now to 2019. $25.00. www.sealevelwines.co.nz. March 2016." Drink 2016 - 2019
18/20 Raymond Chan
"Bright, light straw-yellow colour, pale edged. This has an elegantly proportioned nose, quite tightly bound and refined in presentation, showing clear citrus and stonefruit aromas along with nutty oak and flinty detail, unfolding to reveal creamy barrel-ferment and lemon-curd MLF interest. Medium-bodied and fine on palate, tightly bound flavours of citrus fruits show with soft mealy and nutty notes and spicy oak. The mouthfeel is bright and lively with underlying lacy acidity, and the wine flows along a very fine-textured line, balanced by creamy barrel-fermentation. Lemon-curd MLF and nutty elements show on the lingering finish. Match with poultry and pork over the next 4 years. Clone 95 Chardonnay from the ‘Home Block’, hand-picked, WBP and fermented in French oak puncheons to 12.5% alc. and 4.1 g/L RS, the wine aged 10 months in 20% new oak with batonnage and MLF. 18.0/20 Mar 2016 RRP $24.95."
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