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

July 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 www.first-glass.co.nz for current availability and pricing and New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 30 July 2003
Riesling and Grenache from around the World
Wines were tasted blind

Jacobs Creek Reserve Riesling 2001
Pale gold with a floral blossomy, limey, talcy slightly oily fragrance, this a dry earthy, lemony Riesling with a nice touch of spicy fruit sweetness on the finish. Limey citrus and wet river stone flavours linger. Absolutely typical Aussie Riesling to a T. 12.5% alc. $19.95. ****

Lake Chalice Marlborough Riesling 2003
Pale straw with honeysuckle and citrus aromas, this is zingy, lively and slightly oily-textured with candied lemon and lime peel, a little honey, talc and mandarins. It's juicy and fresh with good fruit ripeness and has terrific persistence of length. With 8 grams of residual sugar making it just off-dry, it's very user-friendly. An excellent introduction to the new vintage. Good now. Will get better. 12.5% alc. $18.95. ****.

Schoffit Harth Riesling 2001 - Alsace, France
Light gold in colour, this is a little oily-smelling on the nose together with flowers, toast, lemon biscuits, honeycomb and a little bit of spirit. Pretty shy and delicate in the mouth, it's dry but it has lots of alcohol to fatten it out and the flavours develop to become quite fruit rich and concentrated - like the richness of dates but not the flavour. Apricot and baked citrus flavours linger. 13% alc. $35.95. ***1/2

Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg QBa Riesling 1999 - MSR, Germany
Pale straw, watery looking, this smells of earthy, dank, wet underground caves. It's a little salty too and there's a touch of wet wool but it slowly opens up to reveal it a warm floral style with lots of raisins and a touch of citrus, it is just off-dry and lanolin-like flavours linger. 10.5% alc. $24.95. **1/2

Frederich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese 2001 - MSR, Germany
A pale straw wine that smells so flinty and sulphury with 'struck match' flavours almost burning the nostrils. Sulphur carries through to the flannel-textured palate to joins the salty sweet white raisin, lemon and ripe apple flavours that slowly emerge to redeem it. A wine that's is made for the long haul from one of the best-ever German vintages and should be cellared for 5 years before even thinking about pulling the cork. It will last for much, much longer, however - the sulphur - that is purposely added to preserve the wine (??) - will make sure of that. 8% alc. $39.95. ***1/2

Pegasus Bay Waipara Riesling 2002
Quite pungent grapefruit peel on the nose and distinctive grapefruit juice and honey flavours in the palate, it's a medium sweet style with a ginger marmalade and wet river stone finish that gives the impression of dryness. This wine is just so impeccably balanced and tastes so delicious, if it didn't have alcohol you'd want to drink it for breakfast. Here's a tip for those people who like grapefruit but can't eat it because they are on one of those grapefruit-free-zone tablets, have Pegasus Bay Riesling as your substitute. A perennial favourite with First Glass customers. 11.5% alc. $22.95. *****

Moculta Barossa Grenache 1999
Fading brick to orangey-red, I smell strawberry jam, white pepper and liquorice in this slightly sweetish, slightly unbalanced wine that has little oak influence and lots of alcohol. With its salted raisin and chocolate nut finish, I recommend this for after-work drinks at one of those large company do's where no-one cares what's in their glass as long as it has alcohol. Accompany it with bowls of nuts and raisins. A quaffing wine, and not a very good one at that, it was definitely better when we tasted it last year. 14% alc. $20.95. **

Coto de Hayas Crianza 1998 - Campo de Borjia, Spain
Bright raspberry red with a black centre, this is earthy, tarry and savoury with liqueur-soaked cherries, raspberries, chocolate and spicy oak. Showing lots of structure and complexity, there's a heap of tannins but they are ripe and juicy and there's acidity to balance the fruit sweetness. It's jammy on the finish with just the slightest suggestion of mint and spiced boysenberry flavours linger. Definitely a star buy, with bang for your buck. A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Tempranillo. ***1/2
13% alc. $13.95.

Coto de Hayas Reserva 1998 - Campo de Borjia, Spain
A dark red smoky wine made from 100% Grenache, this is sweet-fruited, dry and more nutty than its little brother and there's none of that dominant earthy character. It's deliciously juicy with plums, loganberries, vanillin oak, liquorice, mocha, rose pepper and spices, terrifically structured and smooth with plenty of oomph. The vanilla chocolate flavours linger magnificently. I thought the 'Crianza' was excellent value for money, but this more 'sophisticated' wine is just so much better. 13.5% alc. $19.95. ****

Domaine de L'Oratoire St Martin Haut-Coustias 2000 - Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone Villages, France
A very dense red black, this smells savoury, spicy, dry and meaty with a touch of earth and barnyard. It's an enormously tannic wine with tar, leather, anise, chocolate, plum and blackberry fruit and a gorgeously long finish that is sweet and smoky with a juicy, tarry, cigar-like opulence. Parker says this wine is accessible and it would be with the right food. Lamb Shanks perhaps? 13.5% alc. $38.95. ****

La Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2000 - France
There's a touch of sulphur at first on the nose of this bricky red wine but that blows off to reveal tar, smoke, cigar ash, cow-pats and burning flesh. But despite this rather obnoxious sounding description, it's altogether rather opulent with its warm velvety tannins and sweet tarry, spicy, strawberry and cherry fruit, rare meat, pepper, liquorice and a savoury salty rosemary herb-like character. The cow-pat character comes back to linger on the finish. Accompany with lamb on a spit cooked with rosemary - it could be ideal. 13.5% alc. $54.95. ****

Yalumba Tricentenary Vines Barossa Grenache 2001
A deep dark inky red wine that smells sweet and tastes sweet straight after the Chateauneuf, it doesn't finish sweet however. There's violets on the nose of this wine that has creamy vanillin oak, berry biscuits, spice, smoke, a touch of mint and savoury herbs that tone down the lush fruit sweetness and balances it well. It's a well-structured wine with firm long tannins and a soft juiciness that lingers with boysenberries and toasty oak on the meaty finish. Very good indeed. 14.5% alc. $37.95. ****

Turkey Flat Barossa Grenache 2001
Ninety year-old vines provide the fruit for this powerful, concentrated Grenache that smells of raspberry liquorice, tea, roses, lavender and cherries. It's a fruity wine with fruit jubes and cherries galore at first and it seems too sweet on the finish but there's a touch of tobacco and spice to bring in the savoury factor. The smoky creamy, slightly minty finish is long, rich and lush. The more you try it, the more seductive it becomes. Perhaps it's the alcohol? Made by Peter Schulz of Willows fame. 15% alc. $33.95. ***1/2

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 23 July 2003
Sale Night
Wines were not tasted blind

Not the normal style of Wednesday night tasting, I went along with the other customers to suss out the best bargains and gossip about people, wine and other things one gossips about at a wine-tasting where there are bottles on various tables around the room in a pour-it-yourself format, where you can take a glass of wine to taste and browse the shelves to work out what 15% off your favourite wine equates to. However I did make notes on some of the wines that impressed me most. Please note - prices below are the sale prices these wines were being offered for. Prices may and quite probably will differ now.

Greenhough Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2002
One of my Top 10 Sauvignon Blancs of the 2002 vintage, it was great to taste this wine again to see that my earlier summation was right on target. A mouth filling juicy Sauvignon Blanc with grass, gooseberry, passionfruit and citrus on a gorgeous, ever-so-slightly oily texture. Intense pungent classic Sauvignon Blanc flavours linger well. $14.95 in the sale.

Cockfighter's Ghost Chardonnay 2001- Hunter Valley, NSW
At first the oak overwhelmed in this big golden Aussie Chardonnay but then the sweet fruit and the rich caramel flavour took over. I just loved the way the creamy caramel flavours stayed in the mouth for ages. A big style of Chardonnay that oak lovers will want to get their hands on. $15.95 in the sale.

Brookland Valley Verse 1 Margaret River Chardonnay 2001- Western Australia
Melon and lemon oak on the nose, rich, creamy and toasty with spicy, savoury nutty oak leading into a long, persistent toasty vanillin stonefruit finish.  A classy wine. $16.95 in the sale.

Jacobs Creek Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2000 - South Australia
Is this the red wine buy of the year? At $13.95 a bottle in the sale, quite possibly! With plums, blackberries, chocolatey oak and a smattering of spicy white pepper this soft, dark and juicy red is simply delicious to drink right now yet has the structure to develop more complexity with cellaring. Recommended with bells on.

Eppalock Ridge Shiraz 2000 - Heathcote, Victoria
One of the most popular wines of the night - everyone was telling everyone else, 'Wow, just have to taste this'. A strong peppermint fragrance leads into spicy juicy brambly fruit and a savoury tobacco, barnyard finish. I likened it to running through a paddock of mint and brambles only to find that I'd stepped in a cowpat somewhere along the way. $24.95 in the sale

Ebenezer Barossa Cabernet Merlot 2000 - South Australia
Depends where you tasted this in the line-up how this fared. I'd previously had a bottle of this with food and so thoroughly recommend it. Dark chocolatey oak and fine rich tannins combine with mint, cassis, blackcurrants, tobacco and spices in this wine that smells so Australian with its eucalypt and sweet berry scents. $29.95 in the sale

Ebenezer Barossa Valley Shiraz 1999 - South Australia
The benefit of bottle age shows in this beautifully structured classic Barossa red. Inky black with amazingly voluptuous gorgeous aromas of vanilla, spice and shiraz. Sweet, succulent, juicy dark plums and mulberries with layers and layers of gorgeous flavours - fruit cake spices and cherries, liquid chocolate and just a touch of mint. A very powerful wine and not one to quaff without food. $29.95 in the sale

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 16 July 2003
Yalumba - with Jane Ferrari
Wines were not tasted blind

Yalumba 'Y' Eden Valley Riesling 2002
Limes and lemon peel on the nose. Refreshing steely acidity in the palate. Good texture and weight. Lots of spicy limey citrus flavours lingering - for ages. A soft and generous wine that is dry, crisp, refreshing, clean. 3g/l rs. 12.5% alc. $15.95. ****
A good start to the evening.

Yalumba Y Hand Picked Riesling 2002
Pale lemon with a slight oily appearance. Floral nuances on nose. Dry and lemony with hints of tropical fruit and just a hint of just-ripe apricot on a minerally/talcy backbone. Richly textured, just a little grainy, this is a definite step-up from the Y. Made from 70 y. old vines and sealed with a screwcap, it will last for just about ever. One that dry riesling fans should fall over themselves to procure.
1g/l r.s. 12.5% alc. $33.95. *****

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2001
Lemon gold. Very subtle nut and stonefruit aromas with just a hint of musk. Rich, weighty, nutty and leesy in the palate with a creamy, chardonnay-like texture. Lots of stonefruit, a touch of ginger and a blossomy finish that lingers with a seam of orange and a touch of musk. Soft, slippery and very drinkable. I actually bought some of this so I totally recommend it. It's also something to try if you want something different but do not put in the fridge - you'll lose the delicacy of the wine. Drinking beautifully right now.
14.5% alc. $27.95. *****
(This was one of my top wines on my visit to Aussie last year - I'm glad I felt the same about it tonight).
Jane recommends Moreton Bay bugs on skewer served with a lemon cream sauce.

Yalumba The Virgilius Viognier 2001
Pale lemon gold. Very shy on the nose, hints of apricots emerge. It's dry, nutty and leesy, with citrus and apricot and has that apricot kernel thing that people often refer to in Viognier. Hints of smoke in the background from the barrel fermentation but oak is not at all overt. It's rich, full-bodied and reasonably hot with citrus and stonefruits, a slippery texture and a very long warm leesy length. This is Yalumba's top Viognier and the 22-year experience with this grape variety shows.
14.5% alc. $49.95. *****

Yalumba Y Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
A blackish red, medium weight wine with berries and just a hint of mint on the nose. Spice, plums and blackberry cordial in this soft and simple wine with a hint of mint and a vanillin oak backbone. There's a touch of tobacco greenness that adds rusticity. One for quaffing, basically a BBQ red.
13.5% alc. $15.95 **1/2

Yalumba Barossa Shiraz 2000
Inky purple red with an attractive typical sweet oak Barossa Shiraz nose and lots of peppery spice, plums, prune, tar, mint and tobacco in this grainy textured wine that's been matured in a combo French and American oak. Jane's favourite dish with this juicy lush softy is eye fillet steak cooked with bacon, mushrooms and garlic served with caramelised sweet potatoes and yams. It's one I'd be happy to pull the cork on when the neighbours call round - they'll love it.
13.5% alc. $18.95 ***1/2

Yalumba The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Black red showing a little development on the rims, this is a tight, leathery smelling wine with cigar, tar and barnyard on the nose. It's so very tight and dense it tastes dry and tannic at first but vigorous swirling and warming with the hands coaxes out the underlying mint and cassis that is classic Coonawarra. There's cedary oak, some ripe fruit sweetness and even a hint of dark chocolate. It's a bit lean and mean right now so if you are going to buy this to drink, I recommend decanting to help it evolve. But heed the saying 'Patience will reward'. ***1/2
14% alc. $40.95

Yalumba The Signature Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 1999
Aromatic, spicy, black cherry aromas, it smells so fruity after the previous wine. Rich and tarry with concentrated cherry and blackberry fruit, lots of spice, coffee, mocha, aniseed, liquorice, dark toasty oak and a sweet, succulent spicy, fruity finish that is dry and long. Classic Barossa 'claret' of old, it's drinking well now but will cellar and evolve some lovely secondary flavours. Jane recommends drinking it with a big juicy T-Bone steak. She also says it is one of the best drinks to have in summer - just add lemonade and ice-blocks. ****1/2
14% alc. $40.95

Yalumba Shiraz Viognier 2001
Deep black-red with garnet rims, the smell of this wine reminds me of standing outside a barrel room next to a horse paddock. It smells of warm, yeasty, biscuit and berry aromas, chocolate, tar, then manure when deeply inhaled. Spicy, peppery and immediately lifted in the palate, it is velvety and slightly grainy textured with creamy vanillin oak, prunes, blueberries, mocha and liquorice. Concentrated fruit flavours linger on the long, smoky, tarry, spicy finish that has some intrigue.
There's 8% Viognier in this wine and the two grape varieties were fermented together.
13.5% alc. $38.95 ****

Yalumba The Octavius Barossa Shiraz 1999
This inky black-red wine smells of class - classy American oak, vanilla, cedar and violets. It's very finely structured with blueberry, plum, prunes, black cherries and berry fruit, creamy cedar, chocolate and beautifully fine-grained tannins that drop in and build up the power and complexity of the wine. Sweet fruit lingers with leathery nuances on the immense finish.
This is the top wine in the Yalumba Portfolio and has been matured in 90-litre barrels that are made at the Yalumba Coopery. The barrels have eight sides - octaves - hence the name, Octavius, and there are a few French barrels in this mostly American oak blend. The crazy pricing of top flight Aussie reds hasn't caught up with Octavius yet so it's a relative bargain compared to some of the others on the market right now.
13.5% alc. $126. *****

Yalumba Museum Muscat - Rutherglen
A true Australian style. Rich, hot and spirituous on the nose with muscatel raisin, orange peel and liquorice scents. Even though there is 16-17 (or was this 60-70) years of wine blended in this bottle it smells so fresh. A beautifully warm and viscous, toffee-like wine with honey, nuts, treacle, mulled wine spices, raisins, apricots and orange peel and a rich, sweet, lingering finish. You only need to sip it but you'll want to sip it all night.
18% alc. $26.95 / 375ml. ****1/2

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 9 July 2003
Totally Screwed - Wines with screwcap closures
As I was co-presenting this tasting, the wines were not tasted blind

"A good cork will never beat a good screw!" - Jim Lester, wine taster at First Glass.

Framingham Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Quite pale in the glass. Pungent ripe gooseberry, cut grass, herbaceous aromas, lots of zippy acidity with lemons, limes and gooseberries and a good concentration of flavour on the pungent lingering finish. A wine from the "cats pee on a gooseberry bush" mould.
13% alc. $19.95/$16.95 special

Lake Chalice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003
Pale lemon in colour, fairly shy nutty and pear drop aromas, this is soft in the palate with ripe flavours - tropical fruits, dried banana, pineapple chunks, custard apples and a hint of lime. Seems a bit light on the finish but the pungency of the Sauvignon Blanc comes through and lingers well. Totally non-aggressive and very popular on the night.
13% alc. $18.95

Taylors Clare Valley Riesling 2002
Straw coloured with greenish hues. Lemon pith on the nose. Avery dry wine with zingy acidy from the vibrant grapefruit and limes. A spritzy soda-like, sherbet-like wine with a touch of spice. Good weight and viscosity but a little too dry and acidic for most people except a few stalwart dry-Riesling aficionados. Don't put lemon on your fish, try this instead.
13% alc. $15.95 special.

Leasingham Bastion Riesling 2002 - Clare Valley
Straw coloured. Dry and zingy, more minerally, more stony, more earthy than the Taylors but the acidity is softer making it more palatable to most of the tasters tonight. Lots of lemons and limes again but a hint of mandarin adds sweetness and ginger spice lingers with the citrus flavours. Fabulous value.
13% alc. $13.95 special

Felton Road Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2002 - Bannockburn, Central Otago
With its yeasty, freshly baked bread aromas, it's like putting your nose into a good Champagne. It's leesy with lots of citrus and grapefruit flavours indicating cool climate. It's ripe though, ripe and rich with terrific palate weight and a smooth creamy texture. Flavours of caramel, fresh crusty bread, buttered toast and creamy nuts wax and wane with the fruit. The acidic backbone gives structure. The finish is dry and makes you want more. Just like you do with Champagne!
14% alc. $35.95

Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2002
Shy biscuity aromas. Dry, mealy, leesy, spicy and nutty with honeyed oak married to the citrus, peach and ripe apricot fruit, this wine is just so in balance. The oak and lees do not overpower the fruit in any way and the creamy cashew finish just carries the wine. Good weight and length and a lovely lingering finish.
14% alc. $27.95

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002
A well-balanced wine with oily lemony oak, good acidity and full rich peachy fruit supported by tropical fruits. It's a big, round toasty wine that's ready to drink now. With no overt malo or buttery characters and with its soft acidity, it's the sort of wine to serve as Wine by the Glass because it will handle chilling.
14% alc. $18.95 special

Kumeu River MatÚs Vineyard Chardonnay 2002 - Auckland
Clear and brilliant in the glass, this lemony-coloured wine has lots of leesy, yeasty, malo and grapefruit skin characters on the nose. In the palate there's pears, melons, lemons, hints of grapefruit, brioche and nuts. A multi-layered wine with a smooth creamy texture and an elegance that flows. Spicy oak lingers. A serious wine and a true superstar!
13% alc. $48.95

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002
A dense purple-colour pinot with smoky tamarillos, violets, wild thyme and sweet jammy berries on the nose, this is sweet and savoury in the palate with wild herbs, smoky oak and spicy acidity. It's a rich chewy grunty pinot with mixed berry jam flavours and a spicy finish in which aniseed emerges to linger with boysenberries. The finish is long and more-ish.
14% alc. $35.95

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2002 - Central Otago
'Even nicer' was the first comment I heard of this rich deep purple wine with pinky crimson rims. It's a ripe smelling pinot with plums, cherry, liquid chocolate and herbal oak on the nose, black plums, black cherries and other black fruits in the palate. It's smooth and creamy with a velvety texture. There's a nice touch of savouriness, a little white mushroom and a flash of fennel on the finish. Difficult to describe, it's a wine you just have to try for yourself. Already drinking well - be quick.
14% alc. $47.95

Squawking Magpie Gimblett Gravels 'The Cabernets' 2002 - Hawkes Bay
Deep black-red, there's iodine and cassis on the nose together with smoky, earthy, herbal notes. It's a densely concentrated, richly tannic, oaky wine with leather and tar, the leathery, earthy, plummy Merlot characters seem quite dominant at first before the blackcurrant fruit comes forth. There's a touch of burnt tobacco on the smoky leathery finish. A good wine that needs to evolve, but is it value for money?
13.8% alc. $41.95

Vidal Estate Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - Hawkes Bay
A deep red-black with macerated blackberries, cedar and smoky menthol on the nose, this smooth, soft and juicy red has ripe plum and blackberry fruit, subtle earth and leather, a touch of sweet menthol and sweet vanillin oak. An approachable, easy going, easy to drink red and very popular on the night. No-one knew what the wine was or what the price was, so when this was revealed it was a big surprise that it was so affordable. Definitely value for money and a Star Buy. This must just be "the" outstanding value in N.Z. red wine.
13.5% alc. $18.95 special

Check out the First Glass online store for current availability and pricing

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 2 July 2003
Marlborough - the Region
All wines were tasted blind

Johanneshof Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Quite pale in colour with fresh, racy, gooseberry and apple aromas. Lots of lively acidity in the palate with gooseberry, lemon, apples and just ripe apricots. It's slightly oily with a rich, weighty peachy palate, lots of extract and tons of length. Last time we tasted this, it was canned by most of the tasters. This time it came up trumps.
13% alc. $20.95 .

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.

Tohu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Pale straw in colour with apples, pears and gooseberry on the nose, this is not an aggressive sauvignon blanc. It's spicy, mealy and dry with balanced acidity, a grainy texture and a spicy gooseberry finish, so soft, juicy and easy to drink. Even Kingsley likes it!
13% alc. $15.95 special.

Squawking Magpie Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2002
A richer, fatter Sauvignon Blanc on the nose with just a hint of toffee, it seems much riper than the other two. Mostly melon and lemon in the flavour it takes a while for the savvie pungency to come thru. A soft sauvignon blanc that is starting to develop some peasy flavours. "A shy retiring Sauvignon Blanc" is how one taster aptly described it.
13.6% alc. $21.95.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2002
Pale lemon in colour, when tried immediately after the Sauvignon Blanc all I got on the nose was oak, oak and even more oak. But tasting it later, after the pinots, the oak was not so apparent - it showed more grapefruity, mealy, barrel fermented characters. This is a smooth, buttery, spicy, mealy wine with smoky grapefruit, citrus, figs and pineapple, a wine with immense weight and length. Smoky tropical fruits linger on the dry finish. A superstar wine in the making, it is just so youthful, it needs a little more time to unfold. Terrific new packaging too. Grab some before it goes gold.
14% alc. $30.95.

Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2001
Pale gold in colour with grapefruit, honey, caramel and toasty oak on the nose, this is a very leesy, mealy, toasty chardonnay with a grippy texture, lots of juicy stonefruits and citrus to give a firm acid backbone. There's good development in this rich, full-bodied wine. Toffee caramel flavours linger. It seems a little hot, however. I think it would be better with food.
13.5% alc. $26.95

Framingham Classic Marlborough Riesling 2002
There are lemons, limes and just a touch of honey on the nose of this pale gold wine that has an aroma that reminds me of home-made hokey-pokey and reminds someone else of a baby's bottom that has been rubbed with petroleum jelly. There's lots of spicy juicy citrus in the palate - limes, lemons and mandarins galore. It seems off dry at first but finishes quite dry, there's just so much acidity. It is, perhaps, a little astringent. It would make a terrific match to pan-fried white fish fillets.
11% alc. $19.95.

Astrolabe Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2002
There's musk, spice and orange honey on nose of this pungently perfumed gewurztraminer, that reminds one of the tasters of the Cussan's Hand Lotion that her mother used. It's hot and spicy with green ginger, rosewater and orange juice flavours, a sweetish wine but perhaps just a little but flabby. "Acceptable for the price" said Kingsley.
13.5% alc. $18.95.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002
A medium coloured garnet-red with smoky bacon & sweet cherries on nose, it's charry, spicy, a little savoury and gamey with a hint of white mushroom and lots and lots of fruit in the strawberry, cherry and tamarillo spectrum. It’s a soft silky-textured medium-weight pinot that is just a little jammy and lingers with fruit-cake spices on the reasonably hot finish. A good wine.
14% alc. $32.95.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2000
Deep red with good colour density, this is a much more savoury pinot on the nose. It's slightly feral with funky, gamey, tarry, salty, pruney aromas and deli meat, gamey flavours - and just a touch of Brett to give it that barnyard character found in so many French pinots. It's a rich powerful wine with liquid chocolate flavours emerging to join concentrated black cherry and plummy fruits. Wonderfully structured with very fine silky tannins, it's a wine that gets better and better with every mouthful as it starts to open up. It actually becomes quite seductive. I wanted more! What would be a good food match? Venison sausage.
14% alc. $52.95.

Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Merlot 2001
This has an amazingly deep red-black colour right to the rims, 'drink it with your eyes'. It's quite closed at first, taking a while to open up on both the nose and the palate. But when it does you find a smoky, dark wine that is soft and juicy. Moderately tannic with chocolate, cigarbox, leather, prunes and plums, this a lovely wine to stand around and drink on a cold winters night, or to enjoy with lamb shanks. The more I try, the more it grows on me.
13.5% alc. $26.95.

Forrest Estate Botrytised Riesling 2002
Golden yellow. A bright palate cleanser, lots of unctuous, lush honey and dried apricot flavours, a very balanced, delicious wine with good acidity. Drink it before, during and after. Yum!
11% alc., 10 grams/litre residual sugar, picked at 37 brix.
$36.95 / 375ml.

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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