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edited by Sue Courtney

Wednesday Round-up - the 2003 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

April 2003
[ Click here for index to other months ]

Sue Courtney's Fine Wine Wednesday tasting notes were recorded for First Glass Wines and Spirits in Takapuna for publication on their website.
Prices listed are the retail at First Glass Wines and Spirits at the time. Check out for current availability and pricing and New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 30th April 2003
Four by Three - Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon
Wines were tasted blind

Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling 2002
Pale gold with a nutty floral citrussy aroma. After a delicate start it explodes into a rich full-bodied flavoursome wine with lots of powerful lemon and grapefruit flavours and just the merest hint of honeysuckle. It's tart but juicy and scintillatingly intense with a salty citrus flavour lingering on the finish. Dry Riesling fans will love this wine. Screwcap closure will ensure longevity. 12.5% alc. $17.95.

Mission Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002
Pale gold. Creamy buttery mellow oak aromas with hints of spiced peach, this is an immediately approachable and drinkable wine with a smoky influence from the spicy savoury oak and just enough citrus to leave a tingling sensation in the mouth. 10 months in French oak. 14% alc. $22.95

Tasman Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
Straw gold in colour with butterscotch, tropical fruit and spicy oak aromas and fresh juicy fruit gum, oatmeal, buttery malo and well integrated spicy oak flavours. A soft and stylishly smooth medium-weight chardonnay with a hot spicy oak finish that lingers well. Drinking well now. 13.5% alc. $17.95.

Kim Crawford Tietjen-Briant Gisborne Chardonnay 2002
Light gold. Buttery tropical and stonefruit aromas. Well structured, smooth and creamy with juicy tropical and fleshy melon and peach fruit, popcorn, butter, smoke, spice and a polished oak finish. Lingers well with good acidity. Drink now or cellar confidently - it has a screwcap. 12.5% alc. $29.95.

Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2001 - Waipara
Bright gold with a green tinge. Emitting strong smoky, mealy aromas. This is a well-worked wine with a mellow yeasty influence, stonefruit and smoked savoury meat flavours with rich toasted grapefruit and spicy oak flavours lingering. The flavour is almost overpowering in a broad mellow way. It's quite tight knit right now and looks to have lots of life ahead of it and should unfold well. 14% alc. $31.95

Craggy Range Marlborough Rapaura Road Riesling 2002
Watery colour. Quite closed on the nose, some faintly floral aromas perhaps. Quite strong in flavour with first-up acid drop and mandarin flavours developing into full rich juicy lime and lemon. It's quite tight, fairly tart and just a little astringent and there's a cheesy (Brie) and slightly sulphury character on the finish. 13.5% alc. $21.95.

Dr Loosen 'L' Riesling 2001 QBA
Pale straw. Earthy, stony aromas, perhaps a hint of sulphur. Sweet and crisp with strong appley flavours together with lemon, lemon oil and sherbet and a long spicy apple strudel finish with just a suggestion of flinty sulphur again. 8.5% alc. $20.95

Kerpen Graacher Himmelreich Spatlese Riesling MSR 2001 (Art Label)
Pale lemon. Slightly toasty and sulphury on the nose. Baked apple, pineapple, mandarin, spicy and earthy with exquisite balance of sweetness to acid and a powerful, juicy, tingly finish. A good wine with a strikingly colourful modern label. AP# 2 5765620602. 8% alc. $33.95.

Woodstock Five Feet Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Dark red. This wakes up the nose with its invitingly aromatic sweet oak and eucalypt aromas. Mint/eucalypt flavours fill the mouth to be quickly joined with juicy berries, leather, licorice, chocolate, tar, smoke and oily spice. A soft, medium weight, everyday drinking blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Petit Verdot from the McLaren Vale. 13.5% alc. $14.95 special.

Robertson's Well Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Brownish red. Creamy mochaccino and cedary oak on the nose with leather, prunes, cassis, tight tannins and just a hint of a greenish herbaceous character in the mouth. It redeems itself on the finish with sweetish musky lingering smoky oak. An OK wine from a tough year. 18 months in new French & American oak. 13.5% alc. $22.95.

Serafino McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
A densely coloured deep red/black wine. Sweet vanillin oak, spice, cassis and jammy red fruits with creamy moccha, cinnamon, firm cuddly tannins and a long lingering slightly minty, chocolatey finish. 12 months in French & American oak. Totally drinkable. 13.5% alc. $21.95 special.

Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Deep red black in colour. Pure red fruits, violets, leather, cocoa powder, toffee and spicy creamy oak on the nose then in the mouth ripe sweet fruits, firm velvety tannins and a gripping leathery savoury finish. Lingers well. A good wine but overall this is disappointing on a price ratio compared to what is available in the market these days. It also lacked the 707 voluptuousness and x-factor. 13 months in American oak. Tasted from bottle number 29662. 13.5% alc. $119.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 23rd April 2003
Around the World in 90 Minutes
Wines were tasted blind

Ross Estate Barossa Riesling 2001
Pale lemon and lightly perfumed with scents of lemons, apples and floral hand cream, there's heaps of acidity in this crisp and refreshing, seriously dry, typical South Australian dry style. It has a slightly oily, talcy texture, flavours of crisp green apples and limes and nuances of honeysuckle that linger. A wine for fish lovers at a seriously affordable price. 11% alc. $8.95 special

Kim Crawford Doc's Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002
Shining bright lemon gold in the glass, this reeks of buttery oak and sweet stone fruits on the nose. It's a full-bodied, tasty, slightly oily textured juicy wine with lots of spicy oak, hazelnuts, butterscotch, caramel corn and ripe stone fruits that balance the bright youthful acidity. It gives an impression of sweetness but it is dry. Sealed with a screwcap, this is ready to drink now. 13.5% alc. $23.95.

Schlumberger Les Princes Abbés Gewurztraminer 2000 - Alsace
Pale coloured, with sweetly pungent aromatics of musk, spice, orange blossom and honeycomb this is a sweet taste sensation with a myriad of flavours including oranges, lychees, lanolin, ginger and rose petal. It's full, rich and delicately sweet with terrific balance and a slightly hot and spicy finish that lingers well. 13.5% alc. $31.95.

Montana 'P' Gewurztraminer 2002 - Gisborne
It was hard to pick the variety of this pale coloured wine when tasting it immediately after the Schlumberger. The Alsace wine had been so rich and pungent with its typical Gewurztraminer perfume but the 'P' seemed to have almost none of the hallmark traits. Kingsley asked who liked it before anyone knew what is was and it was almost unanimous approval. Could it be a vibrant, juicy, aromatic Pinot Gris, a Viognier (I certainly detected apricots), a sweetish fruity Riesling or perhaps some new-to-us variety from somewhere around the world. But it was indeed Gewurztraminer and NZ Gewurztraminer at that. It had a slightly musky tropical and stonefruit nose with just a hint of caramelising sugar and a full rich and fruity sweetish, sugary, juicy ripe apricot and tropical fruit flavour, but no Turkish Delight or lychees. It was, however, thoroughly delicious drinking and the flavours lingered for ages. Everyone loved it. 13.5% alc. $25.95.

Staatliche Weinbaudomane Trier Avelsbacher Hammerstein Spatlese Riesling 2001 - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
Pale straw with a sulphury flinty nose that mutes all other aromas, this is a spritzy off dry wine with a nice balance of flavours in the mouth. Apples, citrus, honey, tropical fruits, flowers, rich stonefruit and a limey citrus flavour that lingers on the finish. It's quite creamy in texture. A very good wine once the sulphur blows off. Just 8% alc., the sulphur is used to preserve the wine and make it an easy 20-30 year cellaring prospect. $31.95.

Promessa Rosso Salento 2001 - Puglia, Italy
This garnet coloured, rustic looking red smells of licorice, tar and burnt sugar. It's a mouthfilling creamy wine with juicy cherries, charry oak, firm furry tannins and licorice flavours lingering. A nice and easy, tasty medium bodied quaffer, ready to enjoy this winter. A blend of Negroamaro & Primitivo grapes. 13.5% alc. $19.95.

Domaine Charvin Cotes du Rhone 2001 - France
Medium red in colour, this wine doesn't give much way on the grapey, fruity nose. "Is it fortified?" asked someone and indeed there is a porty flavour of raisins and licorice in the mouth together with spicy berries and a robust meaty tannin structure. A gutsy full-bodied wine, built to last. 85% Grenache with Syrah and Carignan. 14% alc. $19.95.

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2000 - Tuscany, Italy
Brick red in colour, I smell chocolate and tar on the nose but no one else got the chocolate. "You're outvoted, Sue" said Kingsley, who actually mouthed 'Brett' to me. There's also aromas of bitumen, rubber on bitumen, manure, red berries, cherries and charry new oak. This is ripe and quite juicy with firm youthful tannins and smoky black fruits lingering on the spicy finish. A rich, full-bodied, serious Chianti. Very good. 13.5% alc. $43.95.

D'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie 2001 - McLaren Vale, South Australia
Black and dense in colour, this smells porty and tarry with heaps of spicy vanillin oak. It's sweet fruited with good acidity and tannins and flavours of dark mint chocolate, blackcurrant, molasses, cherries, plums, smoke, tar, spice and a peppery black fruit finish. A blend of Shiraz and Viognier. 14.5% alc. $34.95.

Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Ridge Shiraz 2001 - Barossa Valley
A huge densely coloured black wine with masses of chocolate on the nose - dark chocolate that is just melting. Juicy fruit with a good acid structure, plums, raisins, spice, mocha and vanilla, firm ripe tannins, spicy vanillin oak and a long juicy finish. All the hallmarks of Barossa in a good vintage. 14.5% alc. $25.95.

Forefathers Shiraz 2001 - McLaren Vale, South Australia
Brilliant dense colour with crimson hues, this wine sent quivers of excitement down my spine the first time I tasted it. I hadn't had a raft of reds beforehand that time, just a little Spanish quaffer. Now tasting again as part of the Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting, the voluptuous qualities that excited me were still there. Creamy oak, lots of shiraz spice, blackberries, plums, pepper, mocha, vanilla and a hint of mint chocolate. Fine tannins. Lots of persistence. Just ripe, round and delicious drinking. And they don't come much bigger than this, especially at the price. 14.5% alc. $27.95.

Sensi Vin Santo del Chianti 1993
Clear amber gold in colour, this smells quite spiritous and sherry-like. But although it is made in an oxidised style, it isn't Sherry. It's dry, nutty and honeyed with candied peel, this is rich in flavour with lots of oomph. Not really a sweet wine, this would make a good aperitif. 15/5% alc. $27.95 (500ml).

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 16th April 2003
Rosemount with Jane Skilton MW
No wines were tasted blind

We were treated to the subtle wit and humour of Master of Wine, Jane Skilton, a very entertaining and knowledgable presenter. Jane is from London and is living in New Zealand with her Kiwi husband and their two young children. If she likes it here she will stay, she said. She was presenting a selection from the Rosemount portfolio of wines, which ranged from the simple fruity drink now styles to massive wines of immense extraction and concentration that could be cellared for decades.

Rosemount V Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV
Yeasty oxidative style with lots of lemon acidity on the full-flavoured bready finish. A simple drink now style and a perfect aperitif to get the taste buds tingling. RRP $16.95.

Rosemount Diamond Label Chardonnay 2002
Pale lemon colour with pineapple and tropical scents over very subtle oak. Slightly spritzy in the mouth, ripe, fresh and fruity with a smooth dry finish. A multi-regional blend made in a drink now style. RRP $17.95.

Rosemount Roxburgh Chardonnay 1999 - Hunter Valley
Golden yellow. Mellow polished oak with hints of tropical fruit on the nose and a buttery texture in the mouth with flavours of dried figs, nuts, melon and a stonefruit sweetness. This is a rich complex chardonnay with a leesy influence, a dry toasty finish and very fine, savoury, French oak flavours lingering. RRP $61.95.

Rosemount Diamond Label Shiraz 2002
A purple red fruity smelling Shiraz with black pepper and little oak influence apparent on the nose. Perhaps just a hint of boiled lollies at first, there's fuller flavours of plums and blueberries that linger with a hint of tannin and spices on the dryish finish. A multi-regional blend made in a drink now style. RRP $17.95.

Rosemount Show Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Blackish brown in colour showing some development with spicy lifted aromas of cassis, eucalypt and vanillin oak that are quintessential Coonawarra Cabernet. It's full-bodied, spicy and vibrantly flavoured, rich and smooth with lots of ripe red and black currants, cassis, a hint of mint, a touch of leather, firm acidity, well integrated tannins and a long spicy mint and cassis finish. Good wine for wine options practise. RRP $33.95.

Rosemount Hill of Gold Mudgee Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Deep red and dense in colour with a biscuity, leathery, smoky, nose that is a bit closed, but hints of blackcurrant fruit. This is a thicker textured, less 'elegant' style than the finely textured Coonawarra tasted just before. Grunty tannins, plums, leather, chocolate and jammy fruit on the finish. RRP $23.95.

Rosemount 'GSM' Grenache Syrah Mourvedre McLaren Vale 1999
Showing some development in the browny red colour, chocolate raisins, mahogany and wood smoke dominate the attractive, American oak influenced aromas. This is immediately sweet fruited and juicy with redcurrants, plums, tobacco, licorice, spices and a terrific mouthfeel coming from the well-integrated, smooth tannins. There's a lovely balance of fruit, oak and tannin making this wine so easy to drink now though there's still plenty of primary fruit characters indicating its cellaring potential if you can restrain yourself. "Cuddly wine" said Jane. " A classic blend that Rosemount has perfected" said Kingsley. RRP $34.95. My favourite wine of the night.

Rosemount Show Reserve Shiraz 1998 - McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek
Blackish red, this is a big bold Shiraz showing some secondary development characters with its big biscuity eucalypt nose melded into the spicy oak. While it's lost it primary fruit, there's a lovely mouthfeel and flavour with well integrated firm dense tannins, sweet oak, spice, licorice, leather and tobacco. It's all melding together rather nicely. A bitey fruity twang to the finish comes forth as this rich full-flavoured wine lingers, indicating there's plenty of life ahead of it. RRP $33.95.

Rosemount Mountain Blue Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Blackish red, there's meat, leather and fine oak aromas on the nose. Huge dense tannins, ripe fruit, fine grained oak, vinous, youthful and super ripe with lovely brambly, blackberry and cassis fruit, this is powerful and creamy with gripping tannins on the finish. RRP $61.95.

Rosemount Balmoral Syrah 1998
They just keep getting better. This is super black in colour and it just smells great. It's savoury with hints of marmite, meat, black pepper, spice and cigars on the opulently scented nose. Super fine tannins give this wine an incredible texture while smoky French oak, black fruit, spices, tar, dark chocolate, vanilla, leather and blood are just some of the myriad of flavours. Still very youthful but so balanced and although made to keep it is drinking beautifully now. RRP $76.95.

Penfolds Reserve Club Port
Clear, bright, brown-orange coloured tawny port. The nutty, rancio, sweet spirituous nose reminds me a little of muscat. In the mouth it's sweet, hot and viscous with raisins galore and a lovely long dry, nutty and dried fruit - dried fig - finish. Very smooth though perhaps a little short. RRP $19.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 9th April 2003
Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and (mostly) Portugal
All wines were tasted blind except the Port

Zonin Pinot Grigio 2001 - Friuli, Italy
Sulphur dominates the nose wine to the extent that virtually all other flavours are indistinguishable, then in the mouth the flavours are at first quite sharp. But slowly the wine warms up and apple and nut flavours emerge. This has a good texture and warm mouth feel with full flavours of apples and pears balancing the hot spicy steely acidity. I suddenly realise where the wine comes from and think how well it would go with Italian foods such as Parmesan cheese and antipasto. The back label (in Italian) recommends Prosciutto, minestrone soup, vegetable risotto or fish. Classic Italian Pinot Grigio and quite a contrast to the fruity New Zealand style. 12.5% alc. $19.95.

Morton Estate White Label Pinot Gris 2002 - Hawkes Bay
Straw gold with appealing aromatics of violets and citrus peel then lots of citrus flavours with spicy oranges, mandarins and lemons as well as apples, hazelnuts and a hint of stonefruit. It's a full-bodied fruity mouthful, juicy and flavoursome with spicy acidity on the warm smoky finish. Well integrated French oak and lees contact adds complexity. Pear-like flavours linger. Recently rated 5 stars in Cuisine. 13.5% alc. $18.95.

Nautilus Pinot Gris 2002 - Marlborough
Straw gold with ripe apple & pear aromas and something that reminds a few of us of 'banana bike' (yellow banana caramel) toffees. This is a good wine with a lovely full body and luscious texture, it's off dry with good fruit weight, balanced acidity and a tropical fruit finish spiked with lemon that goes on and on. Lovely on its own it would be good with food too. Recently rated 5 stars in Cuisine. 14% alc. $24.95.

Schoffit Tokay Pinot Gris Cuvée Caroline 2001 - Alsace, France
Light gold and bright in colour with a delicate and inviting sweet floral honeysuckle-like perfume. Honey, orange rind and beeswax flavours fill the palate, it's lusciously textured and sweet fruited with a hint of musk and a hot spicy citrus finish. Lingers as if you were sucking a spiced orange honey toffee and the oily texture coats the mouth well. 12% alc. $36.95.

Daniel Schuster Twin Vineyards Pinot Noir 2002 - Canterbury
Light cranberry in colour, this has a lollyish, red fruit nose. Sweet cooked strawberry flavours carry through to the palate that is rather light in body with little influence of oak apparent. It has herbal overtones and tart acidity but fills out and lingers with warm savoury fruit, spice and gamey characters. A light, dilute style of pinot, not a blockbuster in any sense of the word. 14% alc. $25.95.

Bilancia Pinot Noir 2002 - Hawkes Bay
Light coloured with purple hues and a savoury, tarry, earthy aroma that smells like Pinot should to me. It's a little like Burg with its rural nose. A medium bodied pinot with a good depth of vibrant flavour, ripe cherry, tart cranberries, a hint of mushroom, smoky spicy oak and a long persistent finish. Approachable, affordable and very drinkable. At this price why wait? I like it. 13% alc. $22.95 special.

Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Pinot Noir 2000 - Marlborough
Good colour and good nose that is rather opulent with sweet ripe black cherry and hot chocolate aromas. It's savoury in the mouth with a good tannin structure and huge extraction of flavour with dried herbs over black fruits and a powerful spicy finish with a flair of acidity to finish it off. Citrus and mulled wine spices linger. Big, bold, serious stuff just starting to open up. 14% alc. $53.95.

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2001 - Martinborough
Well coloured though a little lighter in colour than the Fromm and rather more elegant as the power of this wine slowly develops rather than hitting you in the face. It's earthy and savoury with smoky bacon, dried herbs, mushrooms, cherries, pepper, spice, velvety tannins and well integrated brambly French oak. There's good acidity too and the persistence of this beautifully structured pinot is long. Excellent cellaring Prospect. 14% alc. $65.95.

Promessa Negroamaro 2001 - Puglia, Italy
Deep red. Sweet, jammy, dry, earthy, and rustic. 'Spicy manure' said one other taster. But seriously there are some red fruits, marinated spiced plums, raisins, currants, licorice, aniseed and tar flavours with thick tannins and spicy dried red fruit flavours lingering. 13.5% alc. $19.95.

Quinto do Crasto Douro Vinho Tinto / Red Wine 2000 - Portugal
This blend of Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional matured in American oak has produced a densely coloured blackish red wine with youthful purple hues. It smells smoky and tarry with succulent dark fruits and violets and the palate follows on well with sweet black cherry flavours. It's sweet, smooth and easy drinking with a flavour slightly reminiscent of burnt toast lingering on the finish. 13.5% alc. $19.95.

Quinto do Crasto Douro Reserva 2000 - Portugal
You immediately sense the step up in level of this wine with its oaky cassis aromas and good concentration of flavour. Lovely structure, lovely texture, terrific balance, it's smooth, a little oily and nutty with juicy black fruits, a touch of dried herbs, a hint of nuts, a hint of leather and a spike of acidity on the finish. Matured in French and American oak, this is a good wine with fine tannins though some slightly leathery, medicinal flavours linger. Would be terrific with food. 14% alc. $34.95.

Grahams Fine Tawny Port
Red brick colour, light to medium density, smells oxidised at first before classic Port aromas of nuts, licorice and aniseed emerge. A light style of port, smooth, not too over powering with plenty of spirit to last the ride home. 19% alc. $31.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - Wednesday 2nd April 2003
All wines except the sweet white were tasted blind.

Birthday Party
It was the 4th birthday of First Glass Wines and Spirits and in true birthday party fashion balloons adorned the entrance to First Glass Fine Wine store. People came from far and wide, some bearing gifts and flowers. I counted at least 70 people sitting and those who weren't even late or didn't have someone to save them a seat, had to stand.

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.

Champagne Mumm NV
Pale gold, perhaps a little more yellow than the Deutz. Yeasty aromas, a hint of sulphur but a clean, crisp, bready, leesy flavour, lots of lemon acidity, an oily texture and a lemon honey finish. Very yeasty, very dry, lots of length. $59.95 special.

D'Arenberg Hermit Crab Marsanne/Viognier 2002 - McLaren Vale
A pale coloured wine with delicate musky, oily, apricot and pear-like aromatics and a lovely mouthfeel and flavour. It's a little oily in texture but has good acidity, apricot flavours, a touch of butterscotch and a warm hit of alcohol. Sweet fruited with a crisp clean nutty finish, this is a lovely blend that brings out the best of both grapes. It is the ideal wine if you are looking for something different. $21.95.

Craggy Range Te Muna Estate. SB 2002 - Martinborough
Aromatic and crisp with juicy apple aromas, there's a slight metallic note but the palate fills out well with gooseberry, stonefruit, passionfruit and green capsicum. Quite broad, not overly aggressive with a creamy texture and a long toasty/grassy/asparagus finish, this would fit in well as a food wine. $18.95.

Black Barn Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2001 - Hawkes Bay
Golden colour with an immediately appealing buttery, oily, oaky aroma, this is a rich and powerful Chardonnay with a barrel fermented leesy influence, malo, juicy stonefruits and a deliciously long finish. The full-on fruit flavours balance the polished spicy oak that leaves a tingly feeling in the mouth. Lovely smooth mellow wine. $25.95.

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2002 - Hawkes Bay
At first this smells like a Burgundy but the attractive toasty stonefruit aromas hint of Hawkes Bay. A creamy textured wine with citrus and stone fruit, vanillin oak and strong leesy flavours, Burgundian in style, this is a beautiful Chardonnay with all components in balance The powerful finish lingers with spicy, earthy oak flavours. Terrific wine, built to last but drinking well now. $33.95 special.

Kerpen Riesling 1997 QBa - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
The earthy, oily, baked apple and lime aromas are unmistakably German and the sweet baked apple and lemon sorbet flavours endorse this thought. It's a spicy wine that is clean and refreshing. It has the benefit of bottle age and a toffee apple flavour lingers. 9.5% alc. $25.95.

Pegasus Bay Riesling 2002 - Waipara
The scintillating grapefruit and marmalade aroma carries through to palate to be joined by a myriad of peach, lime and tropical fruit topped with honeysuckle nectar and a smattering of talc. Toasty, sweet and juicy with terrific balance of acidity to fruit this is simply a delicious Riesling with a great length of flavour that goes on and on. One of the best this country produces and so full of flavour after the German wine, showing the deliciously fruity style that New Zealand does so well. 11.5% alc. $22.95.

St Hallet Faith Shiraz 2001 - Barossa, South Australia
Purple red in colour, this is hugely aromatic with appealing vanillin oak and creamy, fruity berries. There's heaps going on in this wine when you taste it. Lots of crisp blackcurrant, blackberry, Doris plums, mocha, pepper, milk chocolate and leather with tarry oak, blackberry jam and a hint of eucalypt on the finish. Soft ripe tannins make this wine very drinkable. 13% alc. $27.95.

Ross Estate Barossa Shiraz 2000 - South Australia
Dark red in colour, a vinous, leathery, earthy aroma with a distinct Bretty barnyard character but a clean flavour in the mouth that is not over encumbered by oak. With its earthy nuances, fine tannins and white pepper spice you could be forgiven for thinking this is from the Rhone until the tell-tale Aussie eucalypt appears. Chocolate, leather, earth, spice, fine tannins and well-integrated oak with a deliciously rich 'prune in brandy liqueur' note to the finish. RRP $28.95, $18.95 on special.

Tyrell's Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz 2000 - Victoria, Aus
Stepping up a class, this sweet and juicy Shiraz is very well balanced with classy French oak & spicy black fruits. Blackberries, plums, mint, tar, spice, pepper, smooth tannins, lovely texture, great finish. A beautifully structured wine, it holds its 14.9% alcohol well. $38.95.

Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraquey Sauternes Grand Cru 1995
A blend of Semillon with a little Sauvignon Blanc, brilliant gold in colour and attractive creamy barrel influenced aromas with toffee, beeswax and hints of apricots. It's rich and viscous, a heavy style of sweet wine with rich lanolin, orange and honey flavours that go on and on. Lovely wine. Even goes with chocolate and marshmallow Easter eggs. 14% alc. $94.95/ 750ml bottle.

Note: The New Zealand wines listed on this page have been cross-catalogued to my wine reviews by grape variety - check out my Wine Review Index.

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