edited by Sue Courtney
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Wine Reviews - Bubblies
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 20 Apr 2016
Although some of these tasting notes may be found elsewhere on this site, this page brings together most of my Sparkling Wine tasting notes, listed alphabetically by Producer. Click here for rating systems and abbreviations.
Akarua Central Otago Rose Brut NV Methode Traditionelle (c) The colour has a slight strawberry tint to the pale pink hue with tiny bubbles rising incessantly from the bottom of the glass. Strawberry features also on the nose and in the palate – even more obvious when you taste a fresh strawberry with the wine. The taste is so creamy, yet at the same time zingy and crisp with a dry 'sucking on a cherry stone' finish that is so refreshing. What kind of cherries – wild cherries that developed from my mothers bush cherry plant (in Auckland) when she didn’t pick all the blossoms for flowers arrangements. This is such a sensational and seductive aperitif wine. A hint of that quintessential Pinot Noir earthiness come through too. 13% alc. $36.90. 29Nov2013.
Allan Scott Brut Blanc de Blancs Made from 100% Chardonnay, this is yeasty smelling with excellent fizz factor in the mouth and a crispness to the lemon bread flavours with a fullness to the creamy finish and a long yeast aftertaste. Refreshing while retaining complexity. 12.5% alc. 19Sep2005.
Allan Scott Marlborough Methode Traditionelle
Allan Scott Methode Traditionelle NV 60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay. Put down in 1997 and disgorged in 2001. Rich yeasty aromas, rich and yeasty in the palate too. Full-bodied and rich with peach and strawberry flavours over a long dry mealy finish. 9Sep2001.
Amisfield Arcadia Central Otago Brut NV (c) There's a tinge of pink to the light gold hue of this fine-beaded bubbles that has a slightly sweetish nutty aroma, cashew perhaps, and a hint of shortcake. It's very dry to the taste with bright acidity, plenty of zest and spritz and a rounded bready finish. 12.5% alc. $19.99. 4Aug2010.
Arcadia Central Otago Methode Traditionelle NV (c) Bright, yeasty, biscuity, quite mellow and creamy yet fresh and crisp with a dry toasty finish. Ready now. 'Nice' was the compliment from the tasters tonight. 12.5% alc. $25.95. 1Dec2004.
Ascension Methode Traditionelle NV Made from Marlborough fruit. Plenty of mousse when poured. Nice and foamy in the mouth with bready, lemon flavours, creaming soda and citrus. Good weight. Dry finish. Has developed well since tasting this time last year. $19. 26Oct2001.
Brancott Reserve Sparkling Pinot Gris NV (c) Light lemon coloured with a fine bead, the creamy, sweet-fruited aroma smells like a bowl of pears. Fizzy and foamy in the mouth with classic baked apple, pears and strudel spices, it has a gentle touch of sweetness and is what it is meant to be. Made from Waipara fruit and highly recommended to Pinot Gris lovers for casual summer drinking. 12% alc. $25.95. 11Dec2011.
Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV Rich, toasty, leesy, lemony, lifted, full and long. 16.5/20. Nov 2000
Cloudy Bay Pelorus Methode Traditionelle NV (c) Light gold with very fine mousse. Honey on toast aromas but contrastingly very savoury and yeasty in the palate with a fresh saline edge. It's dry in style with zingy acidity, a hint of white peach and leaves a creamy mouthfeel as the after-flavours linger. Sophisticated classy style. 12.5% alc. $29.99. 29Jan2014
Cloudy Bay Pelorus Brut Methode NV – Marlborough (c) Gemmy lemon-hued in the glass. The bouquet is savoury with toasty yeast autolysis notes and the most subtle nuance of bacon. Then in the mouth it is crisp, dry, zesty and full of energetic bubbles that dance across the tongue and a mouthfilling bready savouriness not only from the time on yeast lees but also from the use of oak in the cuvee. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with at least two years bottle ageing, it finishes with the zing of apple and citrus and leaves an exceptionally long aftertaste with malty leesy flavours lingering. 12.5% alc. $32.99. 10Feb2016.
Corbans Verde NV Baked bread yeasty scents and soft lemon acidity. Clean, zesty and refreshing. A nice bubbles at a nice price. $17. 12Aug2001
Cuvee No. 1 Marlborough Methode Traditionelle A rich, yeasty bouquet leads into a strong, yeasty flavoured, foaming textured mouthful with an initial oxidative character and hints of marmite on toast that give way to the lemon and rich stonefruit that come to the fore and linger on the creamy, full-bodied aftertaste. The finish is ultra-dry and makes you want more. Blancs de Blanc - 100% Chardonnay. 12.5% alc. $29.95 . 22Jun2005.
Cuvée Number Eight Marlborough Methode Traditionelle Straw gold. Biscuity, yeasty smelling with a crisp, spritzy texture, ripe stonefruit and a long, fresh, toasty finish. Made from predominantly Pinot Noir, this is quite mellow and very tasty. 12.5% alc. $25.95. 9Nov2005.
Daniel Le Brun Marlborough Methode Traditionelle NV Straw yellow with fine persistent mousse. Yeasty baked bread aromas. Lively citrus in the palate, then an earthy full-bodied depth. Creamy with concentrated lemon and a subtle hint of sweet strawberry with spicy zest before the long yeasty lingering finish. Excellent start to the evening. I just wish I'd had some strawberries to accompany the wine. $27. 2May2002.
Daniel No. 1 Methode Traditionelle - Blanc de blancs Gold and bubbly with lots of creamy mousse, this is yeasty and bready on the nose with lots of spritzy acidity in the mouth. A rich, toasty, full-bodied bubbly with a creamy texture, good palate weight and length and a lovely seam of lemon and mandarin citrus throughout. There's a lively, sweetish lift on the finish that's a bit reminiscent of the fizzy fruit sherbet lollies I loved when I was a kid. Terrific wine. Fantastic presentation. 12.5% alc. $37.95. 2Jul2003.
Daniel No. 8 Methode Traditionelle NV Sweet lemon flavour, creamy texture with a hint of toastiness, hint of steely oxidation and leesy richness.There's a nice delicacy to this wine on the lingering finish. 70% pinot 30% chard. On yeast lees for 3 years. $31. 17Jul2002.
Deutz Marlborough Cuvée (c) Very pale gold with a tiny bead of bubbles. Like freshly baked lemon bread on the nose, this is a rich toasty style of bottle fermented bubbles. It's quite bready with a steely backbone, a citrussy brightness and plenty of bubbly zest to the finish. Now predominantly Chardonnay with Pinot Noir, the correct pronunciation is 'dirtz'. 12% alc. $26.99. 12Aug2009.Deutz Marlborough Cuvee Methode Traditionelle Blanc de Blanc NV (c) Made from 100% Chardonnay, this is light citrine gold with a constant stream of tiny bubbles from the bottom of the glass. Crisp, fresh, dry, nutty and savoury with nectarine sizzled in lemon butter, the tang of orange zest and the richness of toasted white raisin bread. Warm and mouth-coating with a salivating, almost salty finish. 12% alc. $36.99. 15May2013.
Deutz Marlborough Cuvee Methode Traditionelle Rosé NV (c) This instantly hits all the right spots. It’s not overly aromatic but rounded and creamy tasting with nuances of strawberry, bitter cherry and a savoury, tasted brioche complexity. A touch of sweetness, but just enough because the finish is refreshingly crisp and dry. 12% alc. $39.99. 18th Dec 2012.
Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Rosé NV (c) Very pale orange-pink with a creamy, bready bouquet that hints of rosehips and wild strawberries and a rich bubbly mousse that foams in the mouth, a refreshingly crisp acid spine balanced by an enticing savouriness and delicate fruit that finishes with a whisper of strawberry sweetness. Delicious. 5 stars. 12% alc. $23.99. 29Oct2014.
Hunters MiruMiru Marlborough Methode Traditionelle NV (c) Foamy mousse tops this straw gold wine when it is poured and a layer of bubbles persists. The bouquet is freshly baked lemon bread and the taste is yeasty and fresh. There's a foamy mouthfeel and apple / apple blossom / mineral salt characters come to mind, then a touch of sweetness on the finish that is very appealing. 12.5% alc. $22.99. 6Nov2013.
Le Brun Family Estate Methode Traditionelle Brut A blend of 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay. Lovely sweetish ripe yeasty fizz with underlying flavours of strawberry and leesy characters from the 3 years on lees. Dry, very elegant, classy wine with a ripe, lifted, citrus, peach and strawberry finish.. 17Sep2001.
Le Brun Family Estate No 1 Cuvée In the glass the wine shows lots of froth and a tiny, everlasting bead and in the mouth the foam is ethereal. It's a creamy, dryish bubbly with a touch of tingling spice in the front of the palate and nutty, leesy flavours in the back. Hints of peach blossom and citrus combine with nutty, stony hints (like sucking on a 'peach stone'). Lovely mouthfeel and texture as the flavours intensify to become rich and full, almost honeyed and butterscotch-like. Clean and crisply balanced, it's an elegant style that is full and long while the lifted finish has a delicate sweetness emerging and lingering. Made from 100% Marlborough chardonnay, the wine was held on yeast lees for 20 months before disgorgement. It has 12.5% alcohol and 5grams / litre residual sugar.. The review was the second disgorgement of this wine. $35. WOTW 8Oct2000.
Leveret IQ Brut Methode Traditionelle NV (c) Light yellow gold with tiny bubbles rising incessantly from the bottom of the glass. The bouquet is rich, toasty and yeasty and it's full and foamy in the mouth with a steely lemon sherbet brightness, a cream-centred biscuity richness and a deliciously long toasty finish. From the previous owners of Morton Estate, the value for money quality of this Brut style continues.. 12% alc. $16.99. 8Oct2014.
Lindauer Brut NV Straw gold in colour, lot of foaming fizz fills the mouth, it's earthy and savoury, a drier style with an earthy yeasty influence, a citrus blossom and honeysuckle nuance and a crisp, fresh, dry finish. This is remarkable wine for the price - but make sure you buy it when it's on special. Bottle fermented, predominantly Chardonnay. 25th Anniversary bottling. 12% alc. $10 to $14. 11Dec2006.
Lindauer Sparkling Sauvignon NV Light, bright, fresh and crisp with soft textured bubbles and distinctive sauvignon piquancy that blends in nicely with the bready flavours that come from the 25% Pinot Noir/Chardonnay base. Takes Sauvignon Blanc to another level - perhaps the best innovation this year and perfect for summer soirees. 12.5% alc. $11.99. 14Oct2009.
Lindauer Special Reserve Blanc de Blancs NV (c) Light gold, slightly sweetish creamy tasting fizz with ripe peachy fruit and golden bready flavours leading into a fresh dry finish. Stylish and definitely drinkable. 12% alc. $17.95. 5Jan2005.
Family Le Brun No. 1 This is the 3rd disgorgement of the No. 1, though you cannot tell that from looking at the bottle. Wow, the acid hits on a fresh palate then softens with the biscuity, creamy leesy flavours. Stonefruits emerge and lemon lingers. A great drop of fizz with a terrific palate weight. I'd like to drink a big glass of this. 19Aug2002.
Montana Deutz Marlborough Brut Cuvée Light gold with a fine mousse, a toasty lemon aroma, a rich full-bodied, yeasty, creamy, lemon beurre blanc flavour and a lovely long dry finish with a suggestion of a stone fruit liqueur on the finish. It's clean, fresh and tasty with excellent length. Very moreish and very Champagne-like but made in Marlborough. $29.95. 2Apr2003.
Montana Lindauer Brut NV Fairly simple but good quaffing style. Full body, gold hues, creamy palate, peachy notes but a touch hard on finish. 12Dec2001.
Montana Lindauer Fraise (pronounced 'frez'), Montana's new pink bubbly made from Lindauer Brut infused with strawberry essence. As the sweet strawberry flavoured fizz filled the mouth I thought "perfect". A zing of citrus makes it so refreshing and the creamy fullness of the sweet fruity flavour lingers in the mouth for ages. It's available in a standard 750ml bottle (rrp $13.95) and also in a single-serve 200ml bottle (rrp $3.95), which seems such a great idea to me. Jan2003.
Montana Lindauer Grandeur A blend of 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay with 90% of the grapes sourced from Marlborough, the rest from Hawkes Bay, the wine looks good from the moment it is poured. White froth erupts then subsides as the tiny bubbles race each other to the surface and escape or gravitate to the edge of the glass, revealing an 'onion skin' skin coloured liquid with just the slightest tinge of pink. The wine smells inviting with its creamy yeasty scents, like those emitting from a freshly baked lemon fruitcake decorated with nuts and candied peel. Then in the mouth it is rich and full with a very fine creamy texture and flavours at first of bread and toast then citrus and nectarine. A touch of lively but subtle spice (nutmeg comes to mind) lingering on the sweetish finish, the flavours dancing on the palate for an exceptionally long time. 12% alcohol by volume, 7.6 g/l total acidity and 10 g/l residual sugar. $35. WOTW 26Dec2000.
Montana Reserve Chardonnay Pinot Noir Rose NV Very pretty pale pink with a tiny bead of bubbles. Floral and delicately yeasty on the nose with a hint of strawberry. In the palate, when the fizz attack subsides, it's quite creamy and toasty with rose petal, peach, lively acidity and vinous sweetness to the finish. A very approachable and cheerful bubbles. 12% alc. $19.99. 18Mar2009.
Montana Brut Reserve Cuvee Methode Traditionelle Light gold in colour with a good head of mousse when poured, the fizz attacks the mouth with gusto. It's lightly toasty on the nose and creamy and yeasty to the taste with a toasty richness, refreshing citrus and a crisp, dry, steely finish. 12.5% alc. $17.99. 4Apr2007.
Morton Estate Premium Brut Methode Traditionelle NV A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. Zingy, lemon and lifted, then the yeast kicks in. Heaps of acid. Buttery texture that congeals a bit on the palate. An echelon above the Lindauer tasted just before. Nice lemon biscuit flavour on finish. Silver medal standard. $22. 12Dec2001.
Morton Premium Brut NV - Marlborough Pale lemon in colour, mouthfillingly rich, bready and toasty with a citrus and marmite backbone, a dry, steely finish and a touch of rose petal. It’s got terrific mouthfeel from the fizz and terrific length with earthy bready flavours lingering. 12% alc. $18.95. AirNZ Gold Medal tasting. 26Nov2003.
Morton Premium Brut Methode Traditional NV A complex style with nutty flavours and a foaming creamy texture, it's delicate in its attack yet has lots of body and is persistent in it lingering flavour. Nutty, creamy, lightly floral with a hint of strawberry adding subtle sweetness to the finish, this offers sophisticated drinking for under $20. Made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier from Marlborough and Hawkes Bay fruit. 12% alc. $18.95. 11Dec2006.
Morton Estate IQ3 Methode Traditionelle NV (c) This has an enticing baking bread aroma with a hint of malt and lemon and it's complex and savoury in the palate where the bubbles are lively and refreshing. Age becomes this lovely methode that is made from predominantly Chardonnay with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and aged on lees for at least three years – it radiates elegance and finesse. 12% alc. Screwcap. $19.99. 30Oct2013.
Morton Estate IQ7 Methode Traditionelle NV Deep straw gold, clear and bright. Creamy aromas - like creme brulee, sweetish with a hint of caramel, perhaps the merest hint of honey suckle. No- it's more like the aroma of the 'creaming soda' flavour of milkshake. Mmmm - it smells rather tempting. It tastes like an older wine, a developed wine, with savoury bready flavours and a toasty richness and a hint of caramel corn on the aftertaste. Very powerful. Very creamy. Very rich. But the bubbles fade rather quickly and it seems a little flat. For me it's so rich that it's a one glass wine, but others might like this opulent style. Made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier from Marlborough and Hawkes Bay fruit, it spent seven years on yeast lees. IQ means 'improving quality'. 12% alc. 10Dec2006.
Morton Estate Methode Traditionelle Rose NV (c) Made from 100% Pinot Noir with over four years on yeast lees, this is the colour of macerated strawberry juice and smells vaguely of strawberry too. And yes, strawberries and raspberries fill the palate. Bubbles are effervescent and bright, edgy acidity balances the sweetness and the lingering finish has a lovely yeasty complexity and a savoury intrigue. Fabulous summer drinking, served well chilled it is sure to please. 12% alc. $19.99. 19Oct2011.
Nautilus Marlborough Cuvee Methode Traditionelle NV based primarily on 1996 fruit, this wine has 75% pinot noir. There's a muscat-like character that comes through when the lovely foaming mousse subsides in the mouth. Then there's lemon and biscuits on the finish. $30. 24Sep2001.
No 1 Family Estate Assemble NV (c) A blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from Marlborough. This is straw gold in the flute with a lacy mousse necklace and strings of tiny bubble beads. The lemon-scented bouquet is quite simply gorgeous – it’s delicately floral and honeyed with nuances of mealy yeast lees. Silky and creamy in the mouth with lovely savoury yeasty autolysis notes and a full, almost luscious palate yet finishing crisp and fresh from the bubbles with the creamy nuances still in vogue. Clean, elegant and fulfilling with the subtle hint of peach that imparts a sweetness to balance out the fresh lemon and savoury yeast notes. Fantastic with Linsey’s White Bean Hummus with lemon just, lemon zest and lemon oil. Also with the Macedonian sun-dried olives, the saltiness of the olives and the crispness of the bubbles just amazing. 12.5% alc. $36.00. 19Dec2015.
No 1 Family Estate Cuvée No.1 NV - Marlborough (c) Quite smoky toasty on the nose, this straw coloured bubbles is fresh and ctirussy with a savoury yeasty undercurrent heading towards marmite. There's a steely nuance coming through at the end and the lasting finish had a rich nutty sense. Made from 100% Chardonnay and very dry in style. 12% alc. $33.99. 11Nov2009.
No 1 Family Estate Cuvée No.1 Rosé Made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes, this beautiful light pink-colured wine hints of strawberries and cherries yet has that nutty yeast complexity from the time the wine has spent en tirage. A hum of acidity balances the swetness and the wine has to be served well chilled. Extreme chilling is also needed for successful sabrage. 12.5% alc. $45. 20Oct2009.
No 1 Family Estate Cuvee No 8 Marlborough NV (c) Light lemon gold with unrelenting bubbles and a foamy mousse. Sophisticated tasting bubbles with a tantalising brioche aroma, it's full-bodied, creamy and malty with a lovely yeasty savouriness and a fresh, dry, lingering finish. 13% alc. $26.99. 5Oct2011.
No 1 Family Reserve Cuvée 10 Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV Deep straw, tending to pale gold. A sweetish aroma, just the merest floral fragrance, citrus perhaps and toast. Toasted brioche. Vanilla. Beautifully expressive. An aroma that will appeal to Chardonnay drinkers. Fresh and bright to the taste with a good burst of bubbles in the mouth while the backbone is creamy and toasty with a butterscotch richness. A mouth-filling, full-bodied style with a bright, zesty, honeysuckle and stonefruit finish. Very moreish. A limited edition bubbles made from 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay with 4 years on lees to allow full yeast autolysis. 12.5% alc. 10Dec2006.
No 1 Family Estate No 1 Reserve Cuvée Marlborough Methode Traditionelle NV (c) A lovely rich Blanc de blancs (= 100% Chardonnay) sporting the new Methode Marlborough logo. The light golden colour with tiny bubbles in the glass and the rich toasty aroma gives the impression of extensive ageing on yeast less. And the taste is deeply savoury with a lovely toasty intensity and the most subtle hint of grilled peach with an exciting citrus freshness adding brightness and zest to the concentrated and complex finish.. Accompanied with a smoked salmon and cream cheese dip that accentuated the citrus characters of the wine. Just a delight. 12.5% alc. $89.95. 31Dec2015.
Quartz Reef Central Otago Methode Traditionelle Brut NV (c) This bubbles emanates sophistication and style. It has an inviting creamy, yeasty, toasted brioche bouquet and tastes bright and tangy with a malty savoury undercurrent, a touch of bitter lemon and a long full creamy finish. It has richness and presence with a vibrant bubbly dressing and while it is not Champagne but you could be fooled. 12.5% alc. $26.99. 27Aug2014.
Quartz Reef Bendigo Central Otago Methode Traditionelle Rose NV (sc) The most evocative pale pink sapphire hue with foamy mousse, nuances of rising bread dough, hints of strawberry and a savoury backbone with long, fresh, mouth-watering dry crisp finish - this Central Otago methode traditionelle brings to mind everything you expect in top class Champagne. 11% alc. $34.99. 3Oct2012.
Quartz Reef Chauvet Brut
Quartz Reef Chauvet Methode Traditionelle A blend of 64% pinot noir and 36% chardonnay with 13% Central Otago fruit, remainder Marlborough. Bottled fermented and aged. 24 months on lees. 9g/l residual sugar. Toasty, Creamy, yeasty, lovely mousse feel in the mouth. Lovely balance. Yummy! $25.95. 7Feb2001.
Quartz Reef Chauvet NV - Central Otago There's a bottle age character on the nose but swirling allows a floral, honeysuckle and herb flower fragrance to emerge. A slightly sweeter bubbles with good acidity to balance it and yeasty-influenced creamed nut flavours that give a lovely roundness to the crisp spritzy finish. 12.5% alc. $30.95/$26.95. 26Oct2005.
Quartz Reef PN/Chard Methode Traditionelle NV Lemon leesy biscuity wine. Lifted and elegant style and quite classy. Long and complex, quite Champagne in style. Lovely grapefruit and orange zest flavours. 31Jul2002.
Quartz Reef Methode Traditionelle NV (c) There's a suggestion of sweetness to the yeasty scent and a toasty richness to the slightly salty lemon brioche flavour with tantalising nuances of pineapple and mouthwatering freshness. Very dry, classy bubbles, crying out for an oyster to wash down. 12.5% alc. $24.99. 21Nov2012.
Seresin Moana Sparkling NV Made from predominantly 1997 fruit, this is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier with 3 years on yeast lees, disgorged in 2003. Quite developed in its onion skin colour, with rich, full-on, yeasty, bready aromas and savoury flavours. A mouth-filling style very much in the Champagne mould. $39.90. 19Sep2005.
Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Bubbles 2011 (z) Pale creamy yellow with a fine bead of bubbles. Strong scent of passionfruit and sugar snap peas and crisp, fresh, savvy flavours of passionfruit, citrus and tangy summer herbs all the way though and a long creamy finish. If you want bubblised Sauvignon Blanc, this is the one for you. 13% alc. $19.50. Zork. 11Dec2011.
Shooting Star Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Methode Traditionelle NV (c) Creamy light gold in the glass with plenty of foam rising up as the wine is poured, the foam subsiding to let the tiny bubbles do their never-ending rising from the bottom of the glass thing. The aroma is mildly yeasty, like spiced lemon bread, and the texture is soft and creamy and surprisingly not too tingly. Likewise the flavours are not too pungent or bracing. There's apple, lime curd, a hint of bean and yes, a pointer to sauvignon blanc with a suggestion of summer herbs on the finish that has a touch of sweetness, like caramelised orange zest. But overall the wine gives an impression of being dry. 13.5% alc. $22.00. 17Jan2011.
Soljans Fusion Sparkling Muscat NV - Gisborne Aromatic and fresh with apple and fresh Muscat grape aromas and flavours in this sweet, spritzy, foamy, creamy, fruity wine that has just a little savouriness to balance the finish. At the right place and time this is an absolutely delightful and delicious drink, think of that chilled bottle in the fridge after driving home from work in the February sun. A glass of this will quickly quench the thirst and get you into making dinner mode. 9% alc. $13.95. 22Sep2004.
Soljans Fusion Sparkling Rosé NV (c) Strawberry colour, clear in appearance to let the bead of bubbles show through. The colour starts the strawberry theme that carries through on the nose and in the palate. It's slightly sweetish but there's an underlying savouriness and served chilled straight from the fridge on a stinking hot humid day, it really hits the spot. A blend of Muscat and Pinotage from Gisborne. 11% alc. $17.90. 10Dec2009.
St Aubyns Black Label Dry Sparkling Wine Quite dry, steely, a little bitter, not as appealing as the medium-styled St Aubyns Gold Label but with a sweeter, muscatty finish. A blend of Muscat, Muller Thurgau and Riesling. Gisborne. 12% alc. $7.95. 6Sep2005.
St Aubyns Gold Label Medium Sparkling Wine Sweetish, refreshing and light, full of Muscat grape flavours with nice fizzy mousse effect in the mouth. As well as Muscat, there is Muller Thurgau and Riesling in the blend. Serve chilled for summer. Gisborne. 12% alc. $7.95. 6Sep2005.
Te Hana Methode Traditionelle NV (c) Light crystalline gold with tiny bubbles. Very appealing and delicately floral, malty, nutty, yeasty bouquet. Deliciously savoury and yeasty to the taste with a fine tingle of fizz and flavours of roasted hazelnuts and toasted brioche. This elegant, complex, mouthfilling cuvée of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with lingering hints of butterscotch is absolutely unbelievable quality for the price! Champion Sparkling at the Royal Easter Show 2016. 12% alc. $13.99. 9Mar2016.
Te Hana Sparkling Rosé Cuvée (c) Light salmon pink with masses of tiny bubbles. Inviting bouquet of strawberries and wild flowers with hints of orange zest. Savoury and earthy in the palate with strawberry, cherries and touches of rose hips and a fresh clean spritzy vibrancy to the long, rich, creamy, mouthfilling finish. A value-packed methode traditionelle. Champion NZ Sparkling. 12% alc. $13.99. 1Oct2014.
Terrace Road Classic Brut NV - Marlborough Pale straw gold with a shy nutty, citrus rind aroma and very dry, steely flavours that become quite creamy as the well-integrated flavours develop - there's lemon bread, apples, citrus, hints of stonefruit and a dry nutty leesy finish with tingling acidity. 12% alc. $20.95/$17.95. 26Oct2005.
Terrace Road Classic Brut - Marlborough Straw gold with a good head of foamy mousse, rich bready aromas and ripe zesty flavours that have lots of zing from the bubbles. Full bodied and creamy in texture with a cashew-like backbone and subtle flavours of stonefruit. Long and tasty with a lingering savouriness. Very smart. 12% alc. $20.99. 22Nov2006.
Toi Toi Prosecco NV (z) The name is strictly Italian but this Kiwi wine is made from Riesling, Muller Thurgau and Pinot Gris grapes. Semantics aside, this fresh wine has crisp apple flavours and while it seems initially quite dry, it’s nicely balanced with sweetness pushing through the finish. Served chilled, it was not my favourite but was popular with other tasters. 11.5% alc. $16.95. Zork. 11Dec2011.
Trinity Hill 'H' Blanc de Blancs Traditionelle NV (D) Made from 100% Hawkes Bay Chardonnay grapes, it's a white lemon colour, brilliantly clear except for the interference from the persistent bead of minuscule bubbles. It's crisp and fresh to the taste, rounded from the outset, and although the initial impression is there's a pleasing stonefruit and dried apple sweetness to the finish. It has that sought after bready character, a toasty mouthfilling richness, sophistication and verve. Great on its own and also as an accompaniment to a light food, perhaps with a touch of spice. 13% alc. $29.90. 4Jan2010.
Twin Islands Pinot Chardonnay NV Brut Plenty of bubbles and a zesty citrus zing. $17. 24Sep2001.
Verde Methode Traditionelle NV (c) Light yellow gold with tiny bubbles and a fine rim of bead. The toasty, yeasty bouquet is reminiscent of Champagne and it is vibrantly fresh, bright and effervescent in the mouth with lemon mousse and delectable nutty savoury yeasty notes. A mouthfilling style made from a blend of Gisborne Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with 18 months on yeast lees, it has a deliciously satisfying creamy finish and lingering nuances of stonefruit, marmite and toasted brioche. 12.5% alc. $17.99. 20Apr2016.
Waipara Hills Southern Cuvee NV (c) Made from Riesling grapes grown in Waipara, this light yellow gold coloured bubbles smells a little toasty with a hot climate peaches and cream character. Tasting dry, rich, creamy and sophisticated it has a citrus finish, a touch of sweetness and a pretty floral aftertaste. Delicious and quenching when chilled. 12% alc. $18.90. 11Dec2011.2012 Vintage
Tohu 'Rewa' Reserve Methode Traditionelle Marlborough Blanc de Blanc 2012 (c) Lemon gold in hue with gazillions of tiny bubbles rising incessantly. Very dry and crisp with a delicate lemon-infused yeasty nuance, touches of vanilla and myriads of lime, lemonade and juicy orange tingles. Sophisticated and elegant - perfect for the occasion on Christmas Eve. 12% alc. $33.95. 24Dec2015.
Tohu 'Rewa' Reserve Methode Traditionelle Marlborough Blanc de Noir 2012 (c) Made from 100% Pinot Noir, this is light lemon gold in hue with a gorgeous, yeasty, brioche-like aroma and soft and creamy in the palate with fine bubbles and a savoury, nutty, yeasty richness. Very sophisticated and Champagne like. Loved it. Divine. 12.5% alc. $38.95. 22Jul2015.2011 Vintage [top] [index]
Nautilus Estate Vintage Marlborough Vintage Rose 2011 (c) Delightful candyfloss pink hue with tiny bubbles. Fantastic yeasty nose infused with delicate strawberry scents, and the taste is dry and scintillating with fresh, juicy, ripe strawberries – like strawberry shortcake without any overpowering sweetness. Crisp and refreshing with a dried strawberry/cherry sherbet zing, a bready finish and a subtle hint of tangelo zest, it's rich, dry and savoury with elegance and finesse. 12% alc. $49.00. 24Nov2013.2010 Vintage [top] [index]
Clayridge Pinot Rose Brut 2010 (Z) Frothy when poured with a surge of white foam above the delicate strawberry hue. An appealing bouquet of strawberry with a hint of cherry and just off dry to the taste, but not cloying and definitely not too sweet. Light and refreshing yet with body and substance, it has an intriguing, savoury, almost earthy element, underlying acidity with a tingle of sweet citrus and juicy strawberry, pear and watermelon too. A blend of 60% free-run Pinot Noir, 30% wild ferment Pinot Gris and 10% wild ferment Pinot Blanc. I like it. 4 stars. 13.5% alc. $24. 4Dec2010.2009 Vintage [top] [index]
Cloudy Bay Pelorus 2009 (c) There is a touch of yellow gold to the brilliantly clear hue and the rich, leesy, slightly oxidative bouquet adds to the suggestion it is moderately mature. In fact it smells very much like Champagne but the foamy, fizzy attack in the mouth leads you elsewhere – and that happens to be Marlborough. A rich, full-bodied creamy, yeast-rich style with a fresh, flinty undercurrent and a ripe, fleshy, stone fruit sweetness. A classic Pinot Noir Chardonnay blend with a long, full tasty finish that lingers with a zesty citrus brightness and touch of rose petal. Seriously stunning proposition wine. 12% alc. $39.99. 11Mar2015.
Tohu Rewa Marlborough Methode Traditionelle Blanc de Blanc 2009 (c) Light gold coloured, redolent of strong yeast autolysis with its bready, toasty aromas, this is a full-bodied, leesy bubbles with rich butterscotch, oak, stonefruit and bready flavours with a hint of toffee on the finish. Powerful wine made from 100% Chardonnay with malolactic and 9 months in barrel before secondary fermentation. 12% alc. $30. 11Dec2011.
West Brook Methode Traditionelle Blanc 2009 (c) Made from a blend of Waimauku Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc, the latter imparting copper tints to the hue, this creamy bubbles has a strong apple scent and apples are to fore in the palate with lemon and a touch of honey. It starts off crisp, fresh and fruity and finishes with a touch of sweetness. Barrel fermented prior to secondary fermentation. 12.5% alc. $38.90. 11Dec2011.
West Brook Methode Traditionelle Rouge 2009 (c) Made from Malbec grapes grown in West Brook's Waimauku Vineyard in Auckland, the deep purple garnet hue tells you this is a wine of substance. On the nose the fruit is intense and is joined by an aroma of wine gums and fruitcake cherries, yet in contrast the taste is quite meaty and savoury with a succulent plum and blackberry depth. A powerful, full-bodied red with a flourish of acidity on the end. 12.5 % alc. $38.90. 11Dec2011.2008 Vintage [top] [index]
Boom Sparkling Marlborough Pinot Gris 2008 (c) This carbonated bubbles has a clear, light straw gold hue and bubbles thunder along beside each from the bottom of the glass to the top. There are hints of vanilla poached pear on the nose and crisp fresh flavours in the palate. It's dry, but not bracing as the low acidity of the Pinot Gris grapes add a fruit sweetness. Then that vanilla poached pear from the bouquet lingers on the finish. The bubbles are fine, imitating a Methode, and gives the wine get-up-and-go. It's fresh, it's clean and it has lots of vinosity and there's plenty of mouthfilling length. Excellent as an aperitif. 13.5% alc. $20. 7Jan2010.2007 Vintage [top] [index]
Kaimira Estate 'June' Methode Traditionelle 2007 (c) A strongly fizzy drop with streams on bubbles rather than just a single stream erupting from the bottom of the glass to fuel the small head of foam that lasts for minutes. There's a slight suggestion of pink to the creamy lemon hue; the toasty aromas are typical of bottle fermented styles and there's a hint of earthiness tempered by an ever so delicate stonefruit sweetness with racy lemon-like acidity in the background. Very dry on first tasting but is creamy and moreish on the finish. A blend of 23% Pinot Noir and 77% Chardonnay. 13% alc. $28.00. 14Jan2010.
Spy Valley Echelon Marlborough Methode 2007 (c) The lightest tinge of pink to the hue topped with a head of white foam when the wine is poured. It's got that freshly baked bread aroma and has lots of fizz to tickle the insides of the mouth with hints of wild strawberry, a savoury earthy character, a citrussy tang to the finish and exceptional length. While it seemed a little sharp to start - it was the first wine of the evening - it becomes rather moreish. Then, by the time you are ready for more, the wine has enthused everyone and suddenly the bottle is finished. 59% Pinot Noir and 41% Chardonnay. 12.5% alc. $28.90. 31Dec2009.2006 Vintage [top] [index]
Dolbel Estate Hawkes Bay Methode Traditionelle 2006 (D) A sunshine yellow colour with a flurry of bubbles that rise incessantly from the bottom of the glass. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and aged on yeast lees in the bottle for two years, this has toasted fruit bread scents while yeast lees flavours are dominant to the taste with a marmite-like nuance coming through and a slightly oxidative character that is acceptable in wines of this style - you wouldn't complain if it were Champagne. A full-bodied, dry, serious sophisticated bubbles, it was an excellent season in Hawkes Bay and that shows in this powerful 50:50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 13% alc. $30. 5Jan2010.
No. 1 Family Estate Marlborough Cuvee Virginie 2006 A rich, savoury, yeasty wine with a delicate aroma and lemon verbena in the palate combining beautifully with the spicy, nutty, creamy bready flavours. Very fine bubbles create a smooth springy texture and coat all the nooks and crannies of the mouth leaving behind a delicate marmite savouriness and toastiness. A blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir matured on lees for 4 years, this adds to the textural finesse and flavour and everything is in balance. Like the No 1, the packaging excels on this wine too. 5 stars all round. 12.5% alc. $64.99. 1Dec2010.2005 Vintage [top] [index]
Morton Estate Blanc de Noir Methode Traditionelle 2005 (c) An intriguing blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Pinot Meunier, this 'white' bubbles made from 'black' grapes has a straw gold hue, a slightly earthy aroma and citrus and strawberry tones to the palate with a malty bready richness and a dried rose character to the lingering finish. Three years on yeast lees prior to bottling, it has a point of difference. 12% alc. $19.99. 26Oct2011.
Nobilo Methode Traditionelle 2005 (c) Lustrous light gold with a fine bead of bubbles, this is very Champagne-like with mouthfilling creamy mousse and a nutty depth to the bready flavours with just a hint of peach-like sweetness to the finish. This approachable bubbles, made from a blend of 46% Pinot Noir, 43% Chardonnay and 11% Pinot Meunier, is even a little reminiscent of Champagne Lanvin. 12.5% alc. $17.99. 9Dec2009.
Morton Estate Black Label Methode Traditionelle 2004 (c) Pretty lemon gold colour with tiny bubbles rise persistently from the bottom of the glass. It has a soft baguette-like bouquet and is vibrantly foamy in the palate where the taste is savoury with a delicious toasty richness; a hint of freeze-dried strawberry and a long creamy finish with lots of tang. A Pinot Meunier predominant blend and delicious it is too. 12% alc. $23.99. 16Oct2013.
Soljans Legacy Methode Traditionelle 2004 Light gold. Toasted nut and lemon bread on the nose and rich, deep and toasty in the palate. Crafted from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, it has complex lees-aged characters, refreshing bubbly zest and a rich, savoury finish. Judged at the NZ International amongst the Champagnes it was the only NZ bubbles to receive a gold medal in that company. 11.5% alc. $33.99. 4Nov2009.2003 Vintage [top] [index]
Palliser Martinborough Methode Traditionelle 2003 Straw gold with lifted leesy, savoury aromas with just a hint of vitamin B, which undoubtably comes from the yeast. It's a dry style with bright, zesty, foaming mousse, lemon bread flavours and lingering citrus blossom. Smooth and creamy, delicate in its attack, with a hint of strawberry and the merest suggestion of an earthy character, which is of course the pinot noir showing through. I love the delicate rose petal finish of this wine as it lingers with a delicate sweetness. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 12.5% alc. $32. 10Dec2006.2002 Vintage [top] [index]
Deutz Blanc de Blancs 2002 - Marlborough Bright light gold, smelling of toasted lemon and nut bread with a hint of marmite, this tastes rich and yeasty with a steeliness to the backbone and a very dry, savoury, full-bodied finish. Peach and quince-like fruit flavours linger and the spritziness of the bubbles leaves a tingle. 12% alc. $35.95. 14Jun2006.
Hunters Miru Miru Sparkling 2002 Yeasty, fresh baked bread yeasty aromas lead into a full-bodied, oxidative style with good lemon acidity over a slightly herbal backbone with nougat filling out the palate. Delicately textured with a crisp fresh finish. A blend of 64% Chardonnay and 36% Pinot Noir from Marlborough. 12% alc. 9.5g/l rs. $26.50. 9Nov2005.
Hunters Miru Miru Reserve 2002 Pale straw gold. Soft citrussy aroma, hints of lemon bread, with a steeliness behind it. It's quite yeasty with a slight oxidative note. It smells dry and could masquerade as Champagne. In the palate the bubbles attack the mouth with zest. It's broad and leesy with complex yeast autolysis characters to the fore, a leesy, toastiness and a nutty creaminess. It's delicate as it radiates throughout the mouth but the finish is long and powerful and the flavour lingers for ages. A very smart wine made from a blend of 48% Pinot Noir, 47% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier, it was stored on its yeast lees for over three years. 12.5% alc. $29. 10Dec2006.Morton Estate Black Label Methode Traditionelle 2002 (c) Golden coloured with a toasty bouquet and a full rich toasty flavour with effervescence and brightness. Full and long with a nutty finish, it's drinking fabulously for bubbles of this age. Predominantly Pinot Meunier (62%) with Pinot Noir (33%) and Chardonnay with at least three years on yeast lees. 11.5% alc. $35.99. 12Oct2011.
Morton Estate Blanc de Blanc Methode Traditionelle 2002 (c) (sc)
Palliser Estate Martinborough Methode Traditionelle 2001 A savoury smelling bubbles with earthy, oily, nutty influences and nice mouthfeel with good mouse effect. Dry and sophisticated with stonefruit, citrus, honeyed oak and a floral note to the lifted, leesy, savoury finish. 13% alc. $34.95. 26Oct2005.
Herons Flight Brut Blanc de Blanc Matakana Cuvée 2000 Made from 100% Chardonnay from designated rows in the vineyard that were pruned to encourage the vines for methode traditionelle fruit. The result is a dry, yeasty, slightly lemony, fresh, crisp wine with a slightly muscat-like flavour, though it's dry, not sweet. Great lunchtime wine to drink in the Heron Flight café. Be quick. The vines have now been pulled out to make way for Italian varieties.
Huia Marlborough Brut 2000 Light mid-gold. Yeasty, full, bready scents with hints of rose petal lead into a soft, full, leesy, bready palate with oak adding complexity. The finish is lifted and toasty with lingering strawberry and peach giving a long, full and sweetly lingering aftertaste with a lovely bready richness. Drinking well now. 23% Pinot Meunier, 29% Pinot Noir, 48% Chardonnay fermented in old French oak with full malolactic fermentation. 40 months on yeast lees before bottling. 12.1% alc. 6g/l rs. 7.2g/L TA. 3.13 pH. $36. 30Nov2004.
Palliser Methode Traditional 2000 Bready and toasty to the nose. Fine mousse and good mouthfeel. Very soft, well-balanced wine with a lingering bready flavour. 8Dec2003.
Vic Williams Methode Champenoise 2000 Pale straw coloured with a fine mousse. Rich and complex smelling with lemon bread scents and and a toasty nuance. Rich, creamy and bready in the mouth, a nice light fizzing sensation across the tongue and across the roof, yeasty, hints of marmite and a dry toasty finish with sweet winey flavours lingering. 12.5% alc. $34.95. 19Apr2005.1999 Vintage [top] [index]
Arcadia Brut Central Otago Cuvée 1999 Made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes this delightful sparkling wine is the perfect aperitif. Pale colour, whiffs of marmite of toasted brioche, tiny persistent bubbles, a wine with good acidity and mouth filling richness with lemon bread flavours on a steely, lemony, creamed nut finish. A dry sparkling wine with plenty of finesse. 12.5% alc. $29.95. 18Jul2004.
Cloudy Bay Pelorus 1999 Classic Methode on the rich, yeasty nose, there's lots of marmite yeasty influences in the rich full-bodied palate that has a sweet finish and a lingering toffee-like character. 21Aug2003.
Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs 1999 A creamy, toasty wine with a grapey, baking bread aroma and rich, yeasty flavours that could convince you it is good Champagne but it is actually from Marlborough. It's very dry with hints of stonefruit and good acidity that introduces a lemon bread character to the finish and the pandoro aftertaste is rich and lasting. Made from 100% Chardonnay. Excellent!. 12% alc. $34.95. 26Oct2005.
Huia Marlborough Brut 1999 Well-coloured onion skin hues with good mousse. Toasty brioche on the nose. There's a floral, delicate rose-like connotation in the palate before it fills out with citrus and rich bready flavours. A full-bodied rich, dry bubbly with excellent length. Lovely acidity zings the mouth and the dryish finish is delicious and more-ish. I rate this as Excellent. ***** 21Aug2003.
Kim Crawford 'Rory' Brut Marlborough 1999 A rich, toasty creamy-textured fizz with a lemony leesy backbone and lingering caramel créme. This full-bodied and stylish wine that finishes dry is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that has been matured in older oak. $29.95. 24Jul2003.
Odyssey Blanc de Blanc Methode Traditionelle 1999 Lots of fizz, full bodied and lively in the mouth with peachy fruit and a touch of citrus. Nicely balanced. A great celebration wine for no reason at all. 17Sep2001.
Morton Estate Blanc de Blanc 1999 - Marlborough Pale straw with bready aromas and a dry, fresh palate with good acidity. Marmite on bread and hints of stonefruit come through the slightly oxidative, strong yeast lees characters, which are simply fine for a wine of this style, and the finish is long, creamy and toasty with a dry yeast savoury finish. An excellent New Zealand sparking wine that makes an affordable Champagne substitute. 12% alc. $32.95. 26Jan2005.
Cloudy Bay Pelorus Vintage 1998 - Marlborough Gold in colour. Very leesy, lemony, woody flavours. It seems an older wine than the terrific wine that preceeded it. Oily with lemon thyme flavours at first, the rich mouthfilling flavours fill out well. Complex and earthy with a long full, rich finish, this is an interesting wine to try but tasted alongside Taittinger Brut Premier, the Champagne is the one I'd prefer to drink. $41.95. 5Mar2003.
Huia Brut 1998 (disgorged July 2001, a blend of 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir). Pale gold colour. Lovely yeasty, biscuity aromas. Plenty of mousse, lemon acidity and a rich marmite character on the finish. Rich and powerful. $36. 24Sep2001.
Woodbourne Estate Marlborough Blanc de Noir 1998 Full nose which offers a lot of pleasing aromas. A rich, yeasty wine with a full rich finish that has a lingering nutty character. 100% pinot noir from the light pressings of a hand-harvested block of pinot. Aug2000.Older Vintages [top] [index]
Cellier Le Brun Marlborough Blanc de Blanc 1997 This bright gold bubbly smells fresh and clean and is probably more to the Kiwi palate. Lemon gold in colour, toasty with lots of bready yeast lees influence up front, full-bodied with good palate weight and richness, crisp acidity from the limey citrus fruit and terrific length with fresh 'just ripe' apricot flavours lingering on the long toasty finish. 12.5% alc. $37.95. 24Mar2004.
Corbans Amadeus 1991 Straw gold with a hint of bronze. Baked apple aromas and strong apple and bread flavours dominate in the palate with a richness as though the apple had been baked with a date in the middle.. Dry finish with some zingy acidity. A touch oxidative. Not startling but cool and refreshing with a very long and dry apple finish. Not too bad for a 10yo NZ bubbly. 3.5 stars Home. 6Jan2001.
Cloudy Bay Pelorus 1996 Even richer and toastier. A full-bodied classy wine with heaps of flavour. White peaches at first, then lemon citrus on the finish. A great wine. 18.5/20. Nov 2000
Daniel Le Brun Blanc de Blanc 1997 The yellow gold colour indicates some age and the powerfully rich flavours do too. Huge, creamy, full-bodied, dry and toasty with spicy, peach flavours, just a touch of honey and good acidity that gives a tingling aftertaste to the marmite-like savoury finish. If you like aged bubbles, you'll love this French look-alike from Marlborough. Gold medal Liquorland Top 100 2004. 12.5% alc. $41.95. 1Dec2004.
Deutz Pinot Noir Cuvée Methode Traditionelle 1994
Family Le Brun Virginie 1997 A richer wine showing some aged character and lots of finesse. It has a delightfully pretty aroma with very subtle floral and rose scents and hey, is that some chocolate too? There is strawberry too, the flavour of which shows more in the mouth. An interesting bubbly with lemon peel zest lifting the finish. Just imagine drinking this with chocolate dipped fresh strawberries. Mmmmm. 19Aug2002.
Matariki Blanc de Blanc 1997 ($29.95) There's a lovely mouuse on this straw-lemon coloured wine. Strong yeasty, bready, marmite aromas that carry through to the palate. Well balanced with a flavour of subtle lemon, marmite and butterscotch. A strong full-bodied wine with a long rich finish that lingers with lemon sherbet. 18.5. 7 Mar 2001
Mills Reef Traditional Methode 1994 Made from Hawkes Bay fruit, a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, it has lots of yeasty, biscuity flavours with sherbety apple and lemon fruit with a mellow, creamy lingering finish, reminiscent of wonderfully fresh bread, lightly toasted and coated with sweet butter. Very stylish. WOTW w/e 27Dec1998.
Palliser Methode Champenoise 1997. A blend of 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir. Lifted, lemony, yeasty with full earthy characters and a touch of marmite. A good mouthfeel with lots of frothy mousse. Rich and full with some ripe peach flavours emerging on the finish. 18/20. Nov 2000.
Pol Roger 1993 Chardonnay Champagne Shy aromas with a touch of citrus and a very light suggestion of nail polish. In the palate at first oxidative then it opens right up to be full and rich with a hint of oak. Very full, ripe, intense, mouth filling flavours with citrus and cream on the finish. Very elegant, delicate and fine - like smoothly silken flax. A champagne I would like to drink more of. 14/2/2000
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