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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

May 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 - 28 May 2003
Tri-Nations - France, Australia and New Zealand
Wines were tasted blind and 'star' ratings out of 5 have been awarded.

Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc 2002 - Australia
Pale straw, almost watery in colour with light pear-like aromas, this is a fruity sauvignon with lots of fresh lemon acidity, tropical fruit, green melon, passionfruit and estery juicy fruit gum flavours. Easy drinking, carefree wine.
11% alc. $9.95 special. **˝

Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc 2000 - Chavignol, Loire Valley
Straw gold with an oily appearance, there's an oiliness to the juicy kiwano (horned melon) and smoky aromas. It's a full-bodied, grainy textured, smokily pungent wine with overriding flinty steeliness, fresh melon and banana passionfruit, well-integrated acidity and an herbaceousness to the hot finish that lingers with warm lemon.
12% alc. $23.95. ***˝

Mahi Byrne Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2002 - Marlborough
A powerful wine with a rich aroma of banana, stonefruit, tropical fruit and smoke paving the way for the strong burst of gooseberry and passionfruit flavours that fill the mouth. It's rich and mealy, well-balanced, juicy and long with sweet underlying tropical fruits and just the merest suggestion of development from a momentary peasy character. A touch of oak fleshes out the long, rich, pungent lemon leesy finish.
13.5% alc. $24.95. ****˝

Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay 1999 - France
Light yellow in colour with smoky, oily, flinty, burning sappy wood aromas, an oxidative character when first tasted gives way to leesy, flinty, mealy, creamy and buttery characters with a melon and lemon fruitiness. A rich, long, smooth, toasty full-bodied chardonnay with good acidity that lengthens the spicy oak finish.
13% alc. $31.95. ***˝

Mount Riley Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
Straw gold with a fruity, citrus, tropical fruit and passionfruit aroma. This is a fresh, fruity and easy to drink style with a good balance of creamy oak and ginger spices.
14% alc. $17.95 special. ***˝

Serafino McLaren Vale Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2001 - South Australia
Yellow gold with vibrant pineapple and burnt match on the nose, there's good acidity in this oily textured wine with toffee and caramel flavours. Dry, spicy and hot with creamy oak, vanilla custard and toasty pineapple, this big, bold buxom chardonnay is full on and lingering. Aussie chardonnay through and through.
13.5% alc. $16.95 special. ****

Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002
Grape garnet colour. Smoky, musky Dawson cherries and spices on the nose, ripe cherry, smoky bacon and spicy oak in the mouth, this is juicy, succulent, clean and silky textured with a spicy cherry smoky finish, the wine gains more and more complexity as it develops in the glass. Even better drinking the second day but why wait? Absolutely fantastic value.
13.5% alc. $20.95 special. ****

Salitage Pinot Noir 2000 - Pemberton, Western Australia
Pale red onion skin colour, fading. Seems a little simplistic when tasted straight after the youthful and vibrant Mt Riley. Farmyard, earth, fungi, molasses, cherry nougat, nuts and tongue-numbing spices lead into a hot finish that points to its origin with just the merest hint of mint. This particular bottle lacks complexity with the alcohol overpowering the pinot delicacy. Most people thought it was French.
14% alc. $47.95. **˝

Vincent Girardin Gevrey Chambertin 'Vieilles Vignes' Pinot Noir 2000
Medium red in colour with good brightness, there's red fruits, cherry and a touch of chocolate, the subtle fruit flavours beautifully integrated into the textural components of this smooth, harmonious wine with firm but not excessive tannins. Great balance and length with a savoury richness.
13% alc. $75.95. ****˝

Babich Irongate Cabernet Merlot 2000
A rich and warm looking full-bodied red with merlot-dominant aromas of cedar, plums and leather and just the slightest suggestion of mint. It's dry with spicy smoky oak, firm tannins, a touch of leather, boot polish and tar before succulent cassis, plums and currants emerge with a hint of marzipan. The long creamy finish is spicy, dry and savoury. A rich concentrated wine that gets better and better as you sip it. Drinking well now and a good cellaring proposition.
13% alc. $33.95. ****˝

Clos Rene Pomerol 1999 - Bordeaux, France
Developed blackish/brown red. Oily, tarry and stinky farmyard aromas with little fruit definition, the oil and tar carry through to the palate where leather, farmyard, energy chocolate, earth, marmite and toast flavours dominate, overpowering the curranty fruit. Smooth. Dark, tarry, savoury, cedary flavours linger. Exactly what you would expect but it is really hard to justify French pricing against Australasian examples.
13% alc. $83.95. ***

Voyager Estate Cabernet Merlot 2000 - Western Australia
Immensely appealing with its deep, robust red colour and big grunty aromas of ripe berry fruit, oak and spice, succulent cassis, plum, red berries, oak and spice combine in the mouth with fine tannins, vanilla and pepper. Just a hint of leather and tar adds complexity without intruding. A powerful and spectacular wine from the excellent 1999 vintage in Margaret River.
13% alc. $46.95. ****˝

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 21 May 2003
Wines mostly never tasted before at a Fine Wine Wednesday
Wines were tasted blind and 'star' ratings out of 5 have been awarded.

McWilliams Eden Valley Riesling 2002
Straw gold with lime glints. Fruity, spicy, floral and talc aromas. Zesty lemon and lime flavours. Refreshing and dry with good acidity, length and weight. Excellent cellaring potential with no worries as it is in a screwcap. 12.5% alc. $19.95. ****

Fiddlers Green Riesling 2002 - Waipara
Pale straw. It's a little sweeter, riper and with more viscosity in the texture than the previous wine with spice, ginger, limes, mandarins, juicy fresh orange and a squeeze of honey on the finish. Good balance and length. Lingering citrus. A lovely wine for drinking now with excellent medium term cellaring potential. 12.5% alc. $20.95 ****˝

McGuigan Genus 4 Chardonnay 2002 - Hunter Valley
Light gold. Dry and Burgundian style with baking biscuit aromas, spicy oak and hot leesy, nutty flavours. Melon and stonefruit evolve and quince-like flavours linger on the buttery finish. Needs time to integrate and definitely begs for food. 13% alc. $23.95. ***

Chard Farm Judge and Jury Chardonnay 2001 - Central Otago
Fruity aromas and lemon leesy flavours this has good stonefruit weight with apricot, nectarines and their nectar-like juices. Tropical fruit and passionfruit emerge together with lots and lots of peppery spice. Well-integrated oak provides a solid structure without dominating the flavour and the ripe, fruity, creamy finish lingers well. 13.5% alc. $34.95. ***˝

Framingham Pinot Gris 2002 - Marlborough
Straw gold. A myriad of aromas on the nose, full of lightly fruited scents such as pears, apricots, passionfruit and citrus with a nutty mealy and slightly musky (rose-like) influence. The attractive aromas of this off-dry wine carry through to the palate with pear nectar-like richness joining the creamed nut and leesy, spicy and slightly citrus flavours. It's a juicy wine, nicely balanced, very long in flavour and subtle in its power. Screwcap closure. 13.5% alc. $22.95. *****

Di Majo Norante Sangiovese 2001 - Terra deglis Osci, Tuscany Italy
Deep blackish red. Rich mocha, tar, woodsmoke and stewed berry aromas. A dry, fruity, rustic Euro style with stewed plums, spice, tar, farmyard, smoke, blood, firm tannins, good length and weight all combining to make an interesting yet easy drinking wine. I like it! 13% alc. $17.95. ***˝

Daniel Schuster Twin Vineyards Pinot Noir 2002 - Canterbury
Medium weight garnet colour with developed brickish hues. Light strawberry, cherry and slightly smoky scents, strawberry, musk, marzipan and cherry fruitcake flavours. A light style of pinot with little oak influence apparent. Vinous complexity strengthens on the finish. 13% alc. $22.95 special. **˝

Chard Farm Finla Mor Pinot Noir 2001 - Central Otago
Good depth of youthful pinky red colour and an attractive aroma of smoke, violets, cherries and herbs, this is like most of us want pinot to be like. This is a well-balanced wine with a reasonable tannin structure and a savoury gamey flavour with cherries, rosemary and a hint of licorice. The flavours linger well with well-integrated French oak, an earthy rural richness and a squeeze of sweet fruit to lift it. 13.5% alc. $39.95. ****

Te Awa Farm Longlands Cabernet Merlot 2000 - Hawkes Bay
A deep blackish red coloured wine with a savoury, iodine-like, leathery aroma that whisks me off to France. It's tannic and dusty at first, quite textural and complex with its thick masculine tannins and earthy, rural, spicy, leathery savoury flavours. It needs decanting or lots of swirling to let the blackberry and plum flavours come out over the dark tarry, winemaking influences. The finish is long, biscuity and berryish. Quite an intriguing wine but one I wouldn't want to get served in Wine Options. 12.5% alc. $16.95 special. ***˝

Browns of Padthaway T-Trellis Shiraz 2001
Blackish red. Fresh, clean, minty, vanillin and sweet red berry aromas and good berry fruit flavours with spice, chocolate, mocha, good tannins, good balance and good length. And it is affordable. 24 months in French and American oak. An excellent example of why we love Aussie Shiraz. 13.5% alc. $17.95 special. **** ˝

Pepperjack Barossa Shiraz 2001
Deep purple-black-red, impenetrable in its depth, this wine is terrifically integrated from the outset. Plums, mocha, spice, violets, purple fruit bursts, tar, leather, licorice, huge ripe tannins and a fruity biscuity finish. Good acidity. Very seamless throughout. Aged in French and American oak this is a very good wine for drinking now if you like the big style or an affordable cellaring proposition to let the wine evolve further to develop secondary Shiraz characters. 14% alc. $18.95 special. ****˝

Te Mata Coleraine 2001 - Hawkes Bay
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc.
A black red colour of medium to deep opacity there's smoky French oak with a whiff of exotic spices, tar and sweet leather on the nose. This is a tight, earthy wine with cigar box, tobacco, pencil shavings dominating the flavours at first however vigorous swirling will let the wine open up in the glass. It is a very finely structured wine with silky tannins, concentrated cassis and plum, rosemary, nutmeg, liquorice and spicy French oak that is beautifully integrated throughout. It begs to be drink out of a big glass if you want to drink right now. This is a wine with a deserved super-star image and will definitely reward cellaring. 13.5% alc. $56.95 special. *****

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 14 May 2003
No notes from me - I had the 'flu.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 7 May 2003
Spain, Syrah and Sexy Sweeties
Wines were tasted blind

Brown Brothers Spatlese Lexia 2002
Sweet, grapey, fairly viscous, a little creamy, Riesling or Muscat-like with spicy acidity, good balance, lemons, apples, apricots and ginger. A fresh and fruity palate awakener which makes it a great aperitif style and wine tasting mood-setter. 11% alc. $16.95/750ml.

Borja Borsao 2001 - Campo de Borja, Spain
(Garnacha, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon )
Good medium red with some brilliance to the colour. Fruity aromas of wild raspberries and bitumen. It's fruity, spicy and peppery with firm savoury tannins and good length. Unencumbered by oak this is an easy drinking style. 13.5% alc. $16.95.

Castano Dominio Espinal Selection 2000 - Yecla, Spain
(Monastrell Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon)
Red black colour, juicy ripe black tarry fruits, spice and musk on the reasonably complex nose but tastes quite savoury with firm tannins and little oak influence. Would be just great with tomato-based pastas. 13.5% alc. $13.95 special.

Abadia Retuerta Rivola 2000 - Sardon de Duero, Spain
(Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon)
Dense blackish red, creamy oak, ripe plum and mulberry fruit, tar, red meats, spice. A powerful wine that is ripe, rich and creamy with integrated tannins and smoky tobacco on the spicy oak finish. Good length. Quite succulent and moreish. Hints of chocolate and malt. 13% alc. $26.95.

Te Mata Bullnose Syrah 2001
Deep red, dark and dusky smelling with leather, smoke, bacon, tar, savoury and spice. White pepper influence in the palate with glimpses of blackberry and black cherry, European in style, quite savoury and leathery with a little barnyard. Quite tight at this stage with firm dry tannins though the fruit is there and lingers on the finish with a peppery and savoury herb influence. Good length. As the wine lingers the bursts of juicy purple fruits become more succulent. 13.5% alc. $36.95.

Atardi Rioja Vinas de Gain - Rioja, Spain
(Tempranillo grapes)
Purple red. Sweetish raspberry and spice on the nose together with leather, barnyard, tar and a hint of musky floral (rose) fragrance. Tar and tannins dominate the mouth - lots of tar, lots of tannins, it's tight, meaty and leathery, but musky and floral at the same time. Sweet fruit emerges that lingers with raspberry liquorice and spice. 13% alc. $36.95.

Condado de Haza 2000 - Ribero del Duero, Spain
Blackish red. Cedary oak aromas with ripe black fruits, pepper and the blood of rare meats. Fabulously structured wine with huge tannins that quickly integrate to the fruit and oak. There's a touch of menthol, marmite, perhaps even some toffee on the smoky oak finish. Very long , full-bodied and rich. 13% alc. $33.95.

Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape 2000 - France
(Predominantly Grenache)
Garnet red. Smells brighter than the dark mysterious wines from Spain with its scents of strawberries, cherries, pepper, tar and smoky French oak. This is quite succulent, soft and silky with its smooth silky texture, sweet ripe red berry fruits, tobacco and savoury meats. There's a lovely lift of dry fruitcake cherry together with some musky, savoury, slightly barnyard flavours, then some tar and leather that emerges on the finish. Perhaps some caramel too. A well balanced wine that is drinking well now, though its good acidity and structure will preserve it well in the cellar. 14.5% alc. $59.95.

Lawsons Padthaway Shiraz 1996 - South Australia
Dark red with brilliant crimson hues, there's a pungent minty eucalypt character on nose together with American oak, vanilla, strawberry jam and coconut oil. It's hot and spicy in the mouth with lots of menthol, redcurrants, cherries, plums, spice, black pepper and liquorice all intertwined into the vanillin oak and rich, smooth tannins. This seems a very youthful wine with heaps of primary fruit characters. Hard to believe it is 7 years old.  Bottle no. 26498. 13.5% alc. $59.95.

Heggies Vineyard Eden Valley Botrytis Riesling 2001 - South Australia
Pale golden yellow with a fruity citrus and light honey aroma. Fresh and sweetish - but not overly sweet - with spicy acidity, honey, apricot, bananas and citrus. I would love to soak my dried apricots in this to plump them up then serve over ice cream and accompany the wine with it. Dominic would soak figs in the wine. It would go also well with creamy cheeses. It's a sexy wine but of the Kate Moss mould. 10.5% alc. $19.95/375 mls.

Brown Brothers Family Reserve Noble Riesling 1999 - King Valley, Victoria
Burnished gold in colour, this is intense through and through. It's rich and ripe with honey, beeswax and apricot aromas, and honey, beeswax, apricot, lanolin and Eccles cake flavours. This is a powerful, thick viscous wine.  Sip it slowly the flavour last for ages. Definitely a sexy wine, Rubenesque in its voluptuousness, more like Elle McPherson.   10% alc. $25.95/375 mls.

Lustau Moscatel Superior Emilín Sherry - Spain
Clear toffee brown in colour with golden copper hues. A rich powerful salty, briny aroma at first gives way to prunes, muscatels and salted honey-roasted almonds. It's hot, spicy, thick and viscous in the mouth with flavours of dried prunes, figs, candied peel and caramel toffee. This is a powerful, alcoholic wine that has definitely has the length and there is no doubt that, with 195 grams per litre of sugar, it is sweet. 17% alc. $39.95.

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.

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February 2003 tasting notes.
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