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Wednesday Round-up - the 2018 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

April 2018
[ Click here for index to other months ]

Some of the prices are 'special' prices. Check the First Glass website for current pricing.

Sue Courtney's Fine Wine Wednesday tasting notes were recorded for First Glass Wines and Spirits in Takapuna for publication on their website. These notes are archival and may have been deleted from their site by now.
Some of the prices may be 'specials', but were correct at the date noted for the tasting. Check out www.firstglass.co.nz for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 4 Apr 2018
Happy 19th Birthday First Glass
Wines (except the Champagne) were tasted blind.

Champagne Charles de Cazanove Stradivarius 2007 – Riems, France
This has a 24 carat gold colour, the bouquet oozes the gorgeous malty and slightly oxidative characters of bottle aged vintage Champagne and the taste is lemony, leesy, malty and savoury with tantalising salinity and brightness to the long, extra dry finish while a fine effervescence radiates all the way through.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $85.99.

Mount Riley 17 Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
This is a rich, oaky, grilled peach style of Chardonnay. It's golden coloured with an opulent toasty bouquet and a juicy taste where polished oak, gunsmoke, malty mealy notes, fig and stonefruit are all in harmony. Developing beautifully in the bottle. Gold NZIWS 2017.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
This light lemon-gold hued chardonnay is a full-on leesy, flinty, reductive style with nuances of gunsmoke, lemon, fig and cedar filling the bouquet and upfront youthful acidity in the palate with full, fat, leesy, gunflint, funky wild yeast notes taking over. Mouthfilling and increasingly complex with fruit in the lemon/melon spectrum and masterful use of oak. Still evolving so one for the cellar right now.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.

Lawson Dry Hills ‘The Pioneer’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2015
This lustrous light gold wine has honeyed poached pear aromatics that are delicate and enchanting. A sweeter, lightly viscous style with a nod to Alsace, it flows beautifully across the palate and teases with it’s powerful and almost gewurztraminer-like flavours that hint of violets and ginger infused spices. Impressive.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses 2017 – Languedoc, France
The most attractively bottled and romantic of any rosé on the market today, this blend of grenache, syrah and cinsault is a pale pink sapphire hue with a lightly floral / rose hip / pink candy floss aroma and tastes like it is just on the cusp of off dry. It's deliciously quenching with delicate wild strawberry, ‘rose de mai’, hints of violet and a whisper of tarragon on the refreshing finish. 13% alc. Vinolok Stopper. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014
There's a pink tinge to the garnet hue of this ripe, mouthfilling pinot with fruit sweetness infiltrating the slightly herbaceous scent and a nice touch of savouriness to the taste that brims with black cherry, plums and spice with a suggestion of woodsmoke and chocolate velvet tannins. Nicely aged expression.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Dona Paul Estate Valle de Uco Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina
This deeply coloured wine smells quite earthy and savoury with a depth of red berry fruit, and it's sappy and juicy in the medium to full-bodied palate that has a smoky, leathery, meaty, tobacco-like character, touches of plum skin, fairly firm but nevertheless approachable tannins and a long, bright lingering finish.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Chalk Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
This is an impenetrable deep dark red with an opulent bouquet suggestive of chocolate and mulberry with a haunting floral allure and a subtle suggestion of mint. It's irresistibly smooth with concentrated plum and blackberry fruit laced with mocha and chocolate, smoky oak and tingles of pepper and a mouthfilling succulent finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Grant Burge Filsell Barossa Old Vine Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
This is a bright black red with luminosity to the hue. The bouquet is close to mesmerising with hints of dried roses, touches of chocolate, succulent berry fruit and wafts of oak and it's velvety smooth in the palate with vanillin oak, chocolate, dark berry fruit and a lovey savoury underpinning of spice that’s judiciously laced with pepper. Firm on the finish with an x-factor-like vinous sweetness that wells up and lingers.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Two Hands Fields of Joy Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
This is a vibrant saturated crimson red in the glass. The bouquet is smoky with hints of cigar box and tobacco and the taste is juicy, succulent, silky and smooth yet with a profound berry fruit concentration with underlying youthful vibrancy, touches of pepper, herbaceous notes, hints of chocolate and an earthy, savoury finish that is dry and salivating. Lots going on. Will last for years. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.

* * * * * * * * *

I like the Fine Fine Wednesday Tastings held at First Glass Wines and Spirits in Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore. All the wines are served blind and unlike the blind tasting assessments I conduct at home (which are usually from producer's samples or, more rarely, wines I have purchased myself), I usually have no idea in advance of what wines are being included in the Fine Wine Wednesday tasting line-up. Exceptions have been the Cuisine Top 10 tastings, 'Super Tastings', or producer-hosted tastings where the line-up of wines is advertised to attract the tasters. All I know is that with Kingsley Wood choosing the wines, anything goes and the wines being tasted may cost from under $10 to over $110 a bottle, though they usually average somewhere in the $15 to $55 price range.

I have continued to attend the tastings over the years as I feel it gives me a good insight to wines currently available in the market place and the general reaction compared to my own. Not everyone likes the searingly dry rieslings that I love, I've found.

It also provides an opportunity to taste some wines I otherwise wouldn't get to see and to retaste those that I have.

Footnote: Prices listed are the retail and or special prices at First Glass Wines and Spirits at the time of tasting (date is at the top of each week's section). Check out www.firstglass.co.nz for current availability and pricing and New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.
Sue Courtney's recent Fine Wine Wednesday tasting notes can also be found on the First Glass website.

Wednesday Wines index
2018 Tastings
January 2018 tasting notes.
February 2018 tasting notes.
March 2018 tasting notes.
April 2018 tasting notes.

2017 Tastings
January 2017 tasting notes.
February 2017 tasting notes.
March 2017 tasting notes.
April 2017 tasting notes.
May 2017 tasting notes.
June 2017 tasting notes.
July / August 2017 tasting notes.
September / October 2017 tasting notes.
November / December 2017 tasting notes.

2016 Tastings
January 2016 tasting notes.
February 2016 tasting notes.
March 2016 tasting notes.
April 2016 tasting notes.
May/Jun 2016 tasting notes.
July 2016 tasting notes.
August 2016 tasting notes.
September / October 2016 tasting notes.
November / December 2016 tasting notes.

2015 Tastings
January 2015 tasting notes.
February 2015 tasting notes.
March 2015 tasting notes.
April 2015 tasting notes.
May 2015 tasting notes.
Jun / Jul / Aug 2015 tasting notes.
Sep / Oct 2015 tasting notes.
Nov / Dec 2015 tasting notes.

2014 Tastings
January 2014 tasting notes.
February 2014 tasting notes.
March 2014 tasting notes.
April 2014 tasting notes.
May 2014 tasting notes.
June 2014 tasting notes.
July 2014 tasting notes.
August 2014 tasting notes.
September 2014 tasting notes.
October 2014 tasting notes.
November / December 2014 tasting notes.

2013 Tastings
January 2013 tasting notes.
February 2013 tasting notes.
March 2013 tasting notes.
April 2013 tasting notes.
May 2013 tasting notes.
July 2013 tasting notes.
July / Aug 2013 tasting notes.
September 2013 tasting notes.
October 2013 tasting notes.
November/ December 2013 tasting notes.

2012 Tastings
January 2012 tasting notes.
February 2012 tasting notes.
March 2012 tasting notes.
April 2012 tasting notes.
May 2012 tasting notes.
July 2012 tasting notes.
July 2012 tasting notes.
August 2012 tasting notes.
September 2012 tasting notes.
October 2012 tasting notes.
November/December 2012 tasting notes.

2011 Tastings
January 2011 tasting notes.
February 2011 tasting notes.
March 2011 tasting notes.
April 2011 tasting notes.
May 2011 tasting notes.
July 2011 tasting notes.
July 2011 tasting notes.
August 2011 tasting notes.
September 2011 tasting notes.
October 2011 tasting notes.
November 2011 tasting notes.
December 2011 tasting notes.

2010 Tastings
January 2010 tasting notes.
February 2010 tasting notes.
March / April 2010 tasting notes.
May 2010 tasting notes.
July 2010 tasting notes.
July 2010 tasting notes.
August 2010 tasting notes.
September 2010 tasting notes.
October 2010 tasting notes.
November 2010 tasting notes.
December 2010 tasting notes.

2009 Tastings
January 2009 tasting notes.
February 2009 tasting notes.
March 2009 tasting notes.
April 2009 tasting notes.
May 2009 tasting notes.
July 2009 tasting notes.
July 2009 tasting notes.
August 2009 tasting notes.
September 2009 tasting notes.
October 2009 tasting notes.
November 2009 tasting notes.
December 2009 tasting notes.

2008 Tastings
January 2008 tasting notes.
February 2008 tasting notes.
March 2008 tasting notes.
Apr / May 2008 tasting notes.
Jun / Jul 2008 tasting notes.
Aug / Sep 2008 tasting notes.
October 2008 tasting notes.
November 2008 tasting notes.
December 2008 tasting notes.

2007 Tastings
January 2007 tasting notes.
February 2007 tasting notes.
March 2007 tasting notes.
April 2007 tasting notes.
May 2007 tasting notes.
July 2007 tasting notes.
July 2007 tasting notes.
August 2007 tasting notes.
September 2007 tasting notes.
October 2007 tasting notes.
November 2007 tasting notes.
December 2007 tasting notes.

2006 Tastings
January 2006 tasting notes.
February 2006 tasting notes.
March/April 2006 tasting notes.
May 2006 tasting notes.
July 2006 tasting notes.
July 2006 tasting notes.
August 2006 tasting notes.
September 2006 tasting notes.
October 2006 tasting notes.
November 2006 tasting notes.
December 2006 tasting notes.

2005 Tastings
January 2005 tasting notes.
February 2005 tasting notes.
March 2005 tasting notes.
April 2005 tasting notes.
May 2005 tasting notes.
July 2005 tasting notes.
July 2005 tasting notes.
August 2005 tasting notes.
September 2005 tasting notes.
October 2005 tasting notes.
November 2005 tasting notes.
December 2005 tasting notes.

2004 Tastings
Jan-Feb 2004 tasting notes.
Mar-Apr 2004 tasting notes.
May 2004 tasting notes.
July 2004 tasting notes.
July 2004 tasting notes.
August 2004 tasting notes.
September 2004 tasting notes.
October 2004 tasting notes.
November/December 2004 tasting notes.

2003 Tastings
January 2003 tasting notes.
February 2003 tasting notes.
March 2003 tasting notes.
April 2003 tasting notes.
May 2003 tasting notes.
July 2003 tasting notes.
July 2003 tasting notes.
August 2003 tasting notes.
September 2003 tasting notes.
October 2003 tasting notes.
November 2003 tasting notes.
December 2003 tasting notes.

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