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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

December 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.

Prices were the retail at the time of the tasting. Check the First Glass website for current pricing.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 17 December
Kingsley and Margaret's Best of Year
All wines, except the first, were tasted blind. Prices are recommended retail.

West Brook Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 'Second Selection' 2002
Smooth and buttery with creamy oak, peach and pineapple and a full-bodied toasty finish. Great party wine.
14% alc. $35.00 in a 1-litre magnum.

Selaks Founders Reserve Chardonnay 2002
A little more sophisticated. Creamy and toasty with fig and melon, very classy, stylish, full-bodied and delicious with terrifically integrated oak and a butterscotch finish. Absolutely ready to go.
Champion Wine of the Show, Liquorland Top100, 2003.

Villa Maria Fletcher Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2000
Dry, mealy, spicy and buttery, laden with apricot and tropical fruits and a deliciously creamy caramel finish. Lovely development. Ready to drink and enjoy now. We drank the last bottles in the shop.
14.5% alc. $41.95. (N/A)

Saint Clair Marlborough Riesling 2002 (screwcap)
Yum. Clean and fresh with apples, citrus, honeysuckle, limes, dried mangos and pineapple. A medium, fruity style with terrific acidity and spicy citrus lingering on the finish. Serve chilled and everyone will love you.
12.5% alc. $18.95.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Riesling 2002
Like freshly squeezed grapefruit juice mixed with a little sugar and served in a sugar frosted glass, this is so incredibly fresh and juicy you could even have it for breakfast! It was served chilled to perfection and I just loved it. "You just don’t drink it, you experience it", said the e-bulley-ent Peter. Serve straight from the fridge almost anytime of day.
11.5% alc. $22.95.

Taylors Estate Clare Valley Merlot 2002
The ring-in. Heaps of colour, loads of plummy spicy flavours with creamy oak, chocolate, cherry, smooth tannins, a suggestion of liquorice, perhaps some mint and just a touch of leathery tar, this is a definite crowd pleaser. The perfect BBQ Merlot for the summer.
14.5% alc. $18.95.

Woodstock Shiraz 2000 – McLaren Vale, Limestone Coast.
Aussie wine, as we know it. Sweet vanillin oak and eucalypt on the nose, spicy fruit and sweet minty eucalypt in the palate, big black and bold with lots of juicy succulent berries, liquorice, creamy oak and subtle leather but absolutely no chocolate. Lovely development. Another terrific wine for the summer BBQ's.
14% alc. $18.95.

Taylors Estate Clare Valley Shiraz 2002
Inky red black with redcurrants, plums, blackberries and pepper galore, a touch of creamy chocolate, lots of leather and a lovely savoury, spicy oak influence on the full-bodied, tasty finish. The terrifically fine tannins take this wine to another level.
3 gold medals and trophy. Outstanding value.
14.5% alc. $18.95.

Thorne Clarke Shotfire Ridge Shiraz 2001
Inky black-red, very rich and full-bodied, it's almost like liquid chocolate with a sprinkling of drinking chocolate powder on top. Plums, spice, mocha, mochaccino and lots and lots of spicy creamy oak, it’s absolutely delicious with a great long finish. "Like chocolate covered raspberry caramel, it's the most delicious by farr", said Sharon. Easy to understand why Margaret picked it as her 'Wine of the Year'.
14.5% alc. $25.95. (N/A)

The Shotfire lingered for so long it was almost hard to go on to the next wine …. but look what was served next….. another glorious wine.

Elderton Barossa Shiraz 2001
Deep black red, finely textured, a little more savoury to balance the juicy ripe fruit so terrifically. Beautifully structured with a French oak influence (some American too), plums, raspberries, leather, pepper, a hint of tar, wonderful fruit balance and of course, chocolate. Simply scrumptious with fantastic length, it's easy to see why wine judges rate this one of the best. "Unbelievably delicious", said Kingsley, who rates this as his 'Wine of the Year'. Incredible price for such a great wine.
Champion Shiraz. Liquorland Top 100 2003.
14% alc. $29.95.

Pegasus Bay 'Aria' Riesling 2002
Wonderful citrus and honey on the nose, full of sweet citrus beautifully balanced to the honey flavours, just a little spritzy in the palate – or so it seems. Sweet, fresh and delicious with lovely clean acidity and just a touch of ginger on the end. Rave, rave.
Kingsley served two Pegasus Bay wines tonight and says that the winemaking duo of Lynnette Hudson and Matthew Donaldson are unquestionably New Zealand's leading producers of Riesling.
9% alc. $31.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 10 December
Wines for Christmas Day
Wines were tasted blind. Prices are recommended retail.

Trilogy Cuvee Brut
A lovely creamy fizz made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Yeasty and toasty with sweet stonefruit and lemon it's fresh, crisp and tasty with lingering bready flavours. An easy style, value packed for the price.
12.5% alc. $16.95.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2003
Water pale and pungently aromatic, the fresh grassy classic Marlborough flavours of lemon, capsicum and gooseberry meld on the soft creamy palate. I love the way passionfruit explodes in the mouth and takes over to linger with summer herbs, long after the wine is swallowed. Benchmark style.
13.5% alc. $27.95.

Forrest Estate Marlborough Riesling 2003
Pale lemon, smelling of flowers and lemon drops it's a medium style with lemon, lime, apple and honeysuckle, just a little earthy with a lightly perfumed, floral and tropical fruit finish. This wine has lovely balance and the sweetness of the wine would be perfect with glazed ham on Christmas Day.
Gold medal.
12.5% alc. $15.95.

Te Mata Estate Woodthorpe Chardonnay 2002
Lemon gold, smelling of toasty oak and white peaches, it's a juicy, fruit driven wine with a creamy texture, a mealy, malo backbone, spicy oak, melons, stonefruit and lingering spiced pineapple. Medium to full-bodied in style, the name indicates quality and quality is what you get.
13.5% alc. $22.95.

Esk Valley Reserve Chardonnay 2002
A creamy yellow gold with a creamy oak nose, the oak in this wine is so well integrated that it adds power and class without overpowering. A very dry, mealy wine with grapefruit, melon, poached peach and a savoury finish, all the bells and whistles. Already delicious but will evolve in the cellar if you want to wait.
Gold medal. 14.5% alc. $36.95.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Pinot Noir 2001
Ruby garnet in colour, smelling of red berries and rose petals with an underlying creaminess, it's laden with ripe cherries and plums with a hint of pepper and a touch of forest floor. A lighter style than we've become accustomed to with the 2002 Central pinots, it is nevertheless beautifully balanced with a long savoury finish and sweet fruit lingering. Packed in a distinctive 'Central Otago' bottle adorned with an Air New Zealand 2003 gold medal.
14% alc. $29.95.

Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2002
There's much more grunt in this wine in this smooth, delicious wine. Purple red, inky in its depth. Red berry, plum, cherry, chocolate, spice, lots of savoury herbs, full-bodied and rich with terrific balance and terrific length, lovely use of oak and velvety tannins. Drinking so beautifully already, everyone loved this. So did I. 2002 was such a great vintage and this is my pick of the Central pinots to date.
14% alc. $43.95.

Zilzie Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
What a sad contrast. The stinky nose and pongy oil, tar and vitamin B mar the more positive Ribena and cameo cream biscuit flavours. Tannins are furry and there's an underlying leafy character though the finish is juicy and sweet. It has great colour and great packaging with its extra tall black bottle and elegant gold script lettering. Despite my concerns, half the room liked it! "Wine for the rellies", said Kingsley. I think BBQ rather than Christmas Day.
13.5% alc. $17.95.

Maglieri McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Dark red, starting to develop some tawny hues, this reeks of vanilla, berries and spicy American oak. It's soft and juicy with stewed plum, earth, chocolate raisins and smooth firm tannins and drinking well now but it seems it could be starting its downhill slide. So buy heaps for your Boxing Day and to drink at this summer's BBQ's and drink up your other 2000 vintage Aussies around this price point, as well.
13% alc. $19.95.

Rosemount Estate Mountain Blue Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
This is more like it. Dense blackish red with sweet ripe blackberry, plum and dark savoury oak aromas, Dark and savoury in the palate with solid plum and cassis fruit, chocolate, beautifully fine tannins, menthol, a discreet hint of boot leather and a terrifically long succulent, spicy finish. A big serious wine that needs a big juicy steak. Drinking beautifully now with years of life ahead of it.
14.5% alc. $61.95.

Woodstock Botrytis Semillon 2002
Yellow gold. Sweet, luscious and intense, laden with honey, toffee, orange peel and lingering candied pineapple. Perfect to accompany the pav. "You are irresponsible if you do not serve a sweet wine like this on Christmas day", said Kingsley. At this price, why not?
10.5% alc. $11.95/375 ml.

Lauriston Show Reserve Muscat NV
Coffee toffee colour, thick but translucent with yellow green rims. Heavenly rich muscat scents, rich and unctuous, thick and syrupy, hot and spirituous, raisins, orange peel, honey and molasses, it has won so many medals you can almost taste the gold. This is the wine to sip on with your slice of Christmas cake after dinner.
19.5% alc. $33.95/500ml.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 3 December
Racy Riesling, Magic Merlot and Classy Cabernet Sauvignon
Wines were tasted blind

Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2002
A pale gold coloured wine with a tropical fruit aroma and a clean fresh fruity flavour. It's fleshy and bright with citrus, stonefruit, melon, pineapple and just a little honey, a lovely start to the evening. Gold Medal Air NZ Wine Awards 2003.
12.5% alc. $13.95 special.

Fiddlers Green Waipara Riesling 2003
Lime yellow, fruity and aromatic, perfumed and floral with pears, sugared feijoas and citrus on a fruit juice texture, it's a little spicy with talc, flowers and rose petals on the finish. A lovely pure Riesling in the off-dry style than Waipara does so well. A Riesling heading towards gewurz with an air of pear-like Pinot Gris. Star potential.
12.5% alc. $19.95.

Dr Loosen Riesling 2002 – Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Lots of lime on nose, a little viscous and spritzy in the mouth, lemon and sweet buttered apple, a sweetish wine with an earthy, stone sucking dryness and an intense persistent lemon, lime and mandarin finish. A well-priced example of good German Riesling.
AP 2 907 805 0303 8.5% alc. $20.95.

Felton Road Block One Riesling 2003
Very pale lemon, intensely aromatic, alluring with its apple and honey scents, it's got tons and tons of acidity like a lemon and honey drink, like a grapefruit breakfast drink, it's rich, sweet, honeyed and refreshing with lingering spiced baked apples. Terrifically balanced, sweetish but not too sweet, it's so refreshing. Every time you taste it you'll find something different. If you like this style of unadulterated, low alcohol, sweetish Riesling, this is one of the best.
9% alc. $30.95.

Ashwood Grove Merlot 2002 – South Australia
Deep red and smoky with sweet vanillin oak, earth, plums, leather, tar and spice, a big soft juicy, easy to drink, carefree, medium-bodied red with a lingering smoky, minty character.
14.5% alc. $13.95 special.

Irvine 'Springhill' Merlot 2001 – South Australia
A well-coloured dark soft, juicy red smelling of wood smoke and tar with chocolatey oak, toffee, raspberry, cherries, plums, spice and lingering eucalypt. Decent tannins but it's not too heavy and will be perfect this summer.
13.5% alc. $19.95.

Esk Valley Black Label Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2002
There's just so much more going on in this inky, blackish purple wine that’s laden with juicy berries together with cigar, tobacco, leather, plums, chocolate, mocha, liquorice and spice. It’s serious stuff with firm furry tannins and a savoury richness, built to last yet drinkable now if you dare. Gold medal Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2003. Liquorland Top 100.
14% alc. $20.95 special.

Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Merlot 2001
Wow colour, deep purple red. A little pongy, it smells and tastes Bordeaux-like. Spicy cedar, cigarbox, bright plummy fruit, firm tannins, leather and tar. But it's a lighter and more acidic wine than the Esk and should have been served before it rather than after it.
13.5%. $26.95.

Serafino McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Black red. Wild berry, cherry, spice, fruitcake, liquid chocolate, mocha, sweet ripe fruit and velvety tannins, it's a big juicy wine with lots of flavour and length, a delicious Aussie Cab Sauv that everyone loves. Gold Medal Liquorland Top 100.
13.5%. $22.95.

McGuigan Genus V Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
An intense wine, densely coloured and grainy textured, sweet currants and creamy spicy oak on the nose, cassis, vanilla, biscuits, tobacco and tar in the juicy palate with good firm tannins and a lovely influence of French oak. Coming along nicely.
13.5%. $26.95.

Rosemount Traditional 2001 – South Australia
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot from McLaren Vale, Fleurieu and Langhorne Creek. Hints of eucalypt with creamy cassis, liquorice and spice on the nose and full of chocolate in the palate together with cassis, juicy berries, spice and mint. A big black wine with lots of life ahead of it and just outstanding tonight. 2002 Jimmy Watson Trophy Winner for Best 1-year-old red.
14.5% alc. $34.95.

Henry's Drive Padthaway Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 – South Australia
Dense, dark and inky with brownish-red hues, raspberry jubes, currants, tar, leather, saddle, cedary oak and savoury herbs, it's stylish and smooth. Most of the room opted for 1996 as it tasted so developed, but it's a 2002! So it's a drink now or over the next winter rather than a cellaring proposition. Try it with leg of lamb cooked with redcurrant jelly and rosemary.
14.5% alc. $44.95.

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.

Wednesday Wines index
Current month's tasting notes.
Index to all Wednesday tastings notes.

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