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edited by Sue Courtney

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

May 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 – 23 May 2018
Ten Reds
Wines were tasted blind.

Clearview White Caps Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Yellow diamonds sparkle in the glass, the enticing bouquet is suggestive of manuka woodsmoke in the distance together with sizzled butter and bacon and there is a toasty veneer to the mouthfilling flavour crammed full of butterscotch and grilled peach with brightness to the chewy finish and a smooth seamless flow. First wine of the night and pretty hard to resist.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Esk Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016
Translucent pinky red. A touch of smoke and a waft of roasted rhubarb infuse the cranberry cordial-like scent and there's a light touch to the savoury, gamey, earthy flavours with spiced bittersweet red berries, silky tannins and a lingering finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Ant McKenzie Wines Tono Hawkes Bay Tempranillo 2016
There's richness and vibrancy to the shiny magenta hue and a creamy note to the sappy spicy bouquet with a lovely array of anise-like spices and a touch of salinity. Dry at first in the palate with a dark tarry savoury note, more of those lovely spices, a touch of rose hip and increasing summer berry juiciness to the long bright finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.

La Consulta Reserva Malbec 2014 – Mendoza, Argentina
The deeply translucent hue is a tamarillo skin colour, there’s a hint of fruit cake to the scent with almonds and cherries and increasing sweetness in the silky palate with a touch of woodsmoke emerging on the ripe juicy finish where the tannins seem a little more assertive, then lingering hints of violet. Not as dark in colour as some Malbecs can be but very tasty.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Quarisa Caravan Petite Sirah 2016 – South Eastern Australia
Deep dark crimson red, intense aromas of musk and boysenberry, and ripe juicy flavours crammed with opulent berry fruit, firm tannins, underlying leather and tar, a touch of spice and strawberry chocolate on the lingering finish. Youthful but expressive.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Te Mata Awatea 2016 – Hawkes Bay
Bordeaux character is the first aromatic sense of this bright crimson-tinged red with cigar box, leather, earth, herb, polished French oak and harmonious berry fruit scents. Dry at first in the fine-tannined palate with all those lovely savoury, cigar box, leather and spice characters to the fore then a mouthfilling burst of succulent berry fruit and a slight herbal note to the sappy finish where the tannins are a little more assertive. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, it’s long and persistent.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 – Sonoma, California, USA
Dark red in hue with a hint of liquorice infusing the bright berry fruit scent that leads into a succulent, juicy, flavoursome palate. It’s soft and creamy with velvety tannins and tingles of peppery spices and lingering touches of musk, nut chocolate and currants. Despite the alcohol it doesn’t seem heavy. Nice wine.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Sons of Eden Kennedy Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2016 – Barossa, South Australia
Bright youthful red black in the glass with aromas of spiced cherry, vanilla and soft cedar. Juicy and bright in the palate with succulent red fruits, a peppery tingle, fine silky tannins, underlying savoury notes and touches of mocha. Rich and chewy yet beautifully poised without overpowering.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Chalk Hill Blue Lotus McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Dark pinky red. A little smoky and savoury on the nose with red berries and vanillin oak emerging. Seemingly medium-bodied in the initially dark savoury palate with a medicine-masking fruitiness that becomes more obviously plummy, it’s fine and silky smooth in its flow, spicy and chocolate biscuit chocolatey, with increasing vinosity and richness that builds to a very fulfilling finish with smoky vanillin oak and a lifted floral allure.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Chalk Hill Alpha Cruxis Titan McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Deep crimson red black with a generous and expressive aroma of mulberries, mint, chocolate, vanilla and cedar. Full-bodied and meaty to the taste with firm tannins, spicy vibes, jammy red fruit, mocha, chocolate and vanilla with harmonious savoury oak and leather and a lingering suggestion of mint. Rich, smooth, succulent and mouthfilling. In a word, delicious.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Cape Barren Old Vine Reserve Release McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Dark purple red, fine in appearance. There’s purity of red fruit on the nose while a very appealing smoky oak regime introduces the taste that quickly bursts with magnificent red and purple fruit together with touches of sumac, touches of mint, touches of chocolate and touches of ironstone. Fine and silky in its flow with a sense of vinous sweetness to the lingering finish.
14.7% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $44.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 16 May 2018
Italian and Spanish Festival
Wines were not tasted blind.

Astoria Treviso Butterly Prosecco 2017 - Treviso, Italy
Pale straw with a lacy mousse. Ripe orchard apple scents fill the bouquet and it’s vivaciously fizzy in the mouth with a myriad of apple flavours and hints of musk. Fairly dry with a long creamy finish.
11% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Vilarnau Cava Brut Reserva NV - d’Espiells, Penedes, Spain
A dry, creamy cuvee of Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada grapes with secondary fermentation in the bottle that introduces complex yeast aromas and flavours to the fresh grapey taste. Served in a painted bottle that would look fabulous at any occasion.
11.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Tenuta Ulisse Pecorino 2016 - Terre di Chieti, Italy
Luminous gold in the glass, aromatic, and rich and oily to the taste with a hint of apricot. A mouthfilling, textural white that’s a little reminiscent of Viognier with fresh acidity pushing through on the long, full, satisfying finish.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Castello Del Poggio Moscato - Provinca de Pavia, Italy
Grapey, musky, floral aromas and a sweet, light and frothy taste full of muscat grape flavours with a green apple bite to balance the flirty sweetness. To be served very chilled as an aperitif or at the end of a feast.
7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

I Muri Puglia Primitivo 2016 - Salento, Italy
A rich garnet red (cherry juice) hue with light, savoury aromas with hints of raspberry jam adding brightness, and medium-bodied to the spicy taste with firm tannins, hints of nut chocolate and cherry with a juicy fruit sweetness to the finish and lingering touches of anise.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Gran Sasso Colline Teramane Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2012 - Abruzzo, Italy
Deep black red in hue with a leathery overtone to the concentrated red and black jammy fruit aromas then in the mouth a profound vinosity frames the black cherry and plum fruit with a hint of liquorice and vanilla and beautifully integrated tannins. Svelte yet with understated power. Outstanding on the night.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $30.99.

Fantini Edizione 2014 - Puglia & Abruzzo, Italy
A sumptuous, smooth, mouthfilling blend of Montepulciano, Primitivo, Sangiovese, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera with a youthful saturated black-red colour, a fragrant aroma reminiscent of chocolate-coated violets and a big, rich, ripe, almost sweet taste with loads of fruit, spice, vanilla, musk, chocolate and mocha.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $57.99.

Banfi Bolgheri Aska 2013 - Italy
There’s a little browning to the red garnet hue, the aroma evokes a mellow old world style with subtle barnyard and woody herb notes and the taste is initially dry, sappy, savoury and herbal with increasing vinosity that imparts a juiciness to the finish. A bit like leftover fruit cake with dried cakey bits and sweetness from the fruit. Very much a food wine.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Rocce delle Macie Chianti Classico 2015 - Italy
Deep ruby red with a dark centre. The aroma is savoury with barnyard and leather then sweet herbs and glace cherries. Medium-bodied, dry and spicy with juicy cherry, plum and cranberry fruit, well-balanced underlying savouriness, freshness and lingering anise vibes. Accompany with antipasto nibbles or BBQ.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Castelforte Valpolicella Superiore 2014 - Italy
Rich garnet red with the slightest suggestion of browning. Savoury aromatics with the blood of fresh game and hints of liquorice and anise, then touches of ironstone, bottled plums and green herb tones to the taste. An interesting wine in a rustic, old world style with pleasing vinosity and texture and rounded tannins.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Castello Tricheri Brunello Di Montalcino 2012 - Italy
Dark orange garnet. Lifted fine, mellow aromatics with a hint of orange cordial / orange pomander. Silky in the palate with old world savoury gamey notes, fine dry tannins and mellow dried orange tones. A little understated/delicate to start but builds in complexity and vinosity with an almost floral lift to the bright and extra long finish and just a touch of salinity. A thinking wine to savour with food.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $69.99.

Muja Rioja Reserva 2012 - Rioja, Spain
Dark red, browning on edges. The bouquet is a little dusty with hints of baked chocolate plum tart - the scent becoming more and more intriguing over the course of the tasting. Lovely concentration to the taste with fine tannins, sweetness to the mulberry and cherry fruit, touches of anise and an aura of complexity that comes with bottle age while the dusty oak is an alluring feature to the finish.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $35.99

Torres Celeste Crianza Tempranillo 2014 - Ribero del Duero, Spain
Bright deep red. Concentrated fruit and fine oak aromas with a hint of cigar box. Smooth and flowing in the mouth with red fruit, nicely framed vanillin oak, pillowy tannins and plumpness to the long, creamy finish. A youthful wine with brightness to its astral aura.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99

Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserve 2010 - Rioja, Spain
Dark red black with orange tones to the edges. Aromatic, a little dusty with sweet oak and baked fruit pie. Firm in the mouth with tannins still quite pronounced. Savoury, gamey and just a little meaty with a softness/mellowness coming through and while it is still unfolding the vinosity/fruit sweetness that emerges shows the promise of the future.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Castillo Amado Tempranillo Reserva 2009 - Valdepenas, Spain
Dark garnet red. The bouquet is of drying / baking red fruit with a touch of herb and spice. Flowing seamlessly across the palate it is medium-bodied with mellow plum fruit and a sprinkle of spice, perhaps a hint of oxidation but it is nine years old - or maybe it is rusticity. A comfortable wine like a favourite old slipper.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Carlos Ceres Rioja Reserva 2011 - Rioja, Spain
Dark burnished red with a black core. Aromatic scents of plum and mulberry pie with sweet spices and perhaps even a suggestion of mint. Savoury, dusty and earthy to the taste with touches of red berry, vanilla and mint with smooth silky tannins and a long mellow finish with a brightness as it lingers. Rioja’s acidity is holding this wine nicely.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Costers Del Priorat Petit Pissares 2015 - Priorat, Spain
Bright black red. Aromas of brambles bushes (juicy berries, sappy leaves and stems) on the side of a dusty road. A big wine. A full-bodied wine. An earthy, savoury, spicy, gamey wine with powerful yet rounded tannins, juicy drupelets of blackberry that pop in the mouth, a touch of pepper and a dark chocolatey oak finish. Fulfilling, modern and memorable. A crowd favourite on the night.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Gran Familia Rioja Reserva 2012 - Rioja, Spain
Fading black red garnet. Fragrant aromas of cherry jam with a touch of rosehip and sweet spices. Lifted in the medium-bodied palate with moderately firm tannins to start, juicy red fruits, a touch of vanilla creaminess, a rose petal muskiness and subtle anise spices finishing smooth with the tannins dissolving to leave behind a pleasing roundness and well-balanced sweetness and savouriness. Star buy.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

* * * * * * * * *

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.
May 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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