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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews
The Wines of Regency Imports

© Sue Courtney, 10th December 2001

I was recently introduced to the wines of Regency Imports in New Zealand who bring in an interesting portfolio of French wines.

Outstanding was the Champagne Philippe Morizet Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru. Label of Philippe Morizet with Anne Batley on the label Pale lemon in colour, this is a rich yeasty toasty wine that has exquisite delicacy on the palate. While fat at first with a broad leesy peachy flavour, the delicacy of blossoms takes over (I had just visited the rose gardens en route to the tasting - November is peak rose season in NZ). The wine had an excellent, full, lingering finish. It was divine accompaniment with salmon gravalax, made by Monsieur Morizet himself, who was present at the NZ launch of this wine. He has adorned the product with a picture of the importer, Anne Batley, on the special label for the NZ market. I can quite honestly say this is one of the most gratifying Champagnes I've had for a long time, although after 3 glasses it was becoming decidedly heady. Or did I have 4?
Oh and the price - an unbelievable NZ$55!!

Also available at the launch were a number of other products open for tasting and after asking for a spittoon, which took sometime to find, I set about tasting. The wines that took my fancy were -

Morey St Denis Rouge Domain Beaumont 1993 - had the right flavours with a touch of earthy feral notes. I'll be remembering this one for my wine class next year. NZ$28.50.

Domaine de Alysses AOC Coteaux varois rouge Prestige 1993 - a 'biologique' wine. Well coloured, big and tannic with a floral tarry lift. Very flavoursome. NZ$17.50.

Cotes du Luberon Chateau de Mille 1996 I found this extremely fragrant and quite delicious with a creamy earthiness and a feral finish. NZ$22.50.

Jean-Luc Colombo Cotes du Rhone "Les Abeilles" 1998 Deep purple in colour, this is a hugely concentrated wine with tar, plums and earthy coals. Very good indeed and a fabulous price at NZ$19.50.

Jean-Luc Colombo "La Chance de Saint Luc" 1998 Cotes du Roussillon Domaine Saint Luc A smoky, meaty wine with hints of vanilla, big and rich in the palate with a hint of bretty character often found in Rhone reds. This kind of added an intrigue to the wine. Very ripe and very good indeed. A steal for a wine of this depth at N$22.50.

Chateauneuf du Pape Domaine Pontifical 1997 I think this was the most drinkable wine (if I hadn't been spitting at this stage). Rich, ripe and meaty with cherry and licorice flavours, soft tannins and a very ripe and elegant finish. Possibly my favourite of the evening (after the bubbles, of course) NZ$34.50.

And lastly a fun wine, which was the Chateau Saint Roseline Cru Classe (red) Cotes de Provence 1995. This was a bright, light and refreshing wine with concentrated black cherry flavours. I would imagine this perfect for a downunder Christmas Day (or summer celebration) lunch, served with a freshly baked leg of ham that has been sugared glazed with cherries. The interesting bottle shape, with its flare at the bottom, would make a good talking point too. NZ$18.

For further enquires, contact Anne Batley at this e-mail -

Thanks to Regency Imports, Anne Batley and Jeff Robinson for inviting me to this tasting.

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