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edited by Sue Courtney

Wednesday Round-up - the 2004 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

August 2004
[ 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. These notes are archival and may have been deleted from their site by now.
Where two prices are listed they indicate normal retail and the 'special' price on the night. Check out for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 25th August 2004
The Teams Choice.
Margaret, Harvey, Duncan, Tony and Sue present the wines. As part of the team I knew what some of the wines were tonight, though not all of them, so some were blind tasted.

Wither Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 – Marlborough
Rich gold coloured with plenty of toasty oak, delicious juicy stonefruit flavours and a long savoury finish, as a pre-taster it seems quite easy going but has the power and body to accompany the main course. Gold medal Liquorland Top 100.
14.5% alc. $29.95/$22.95.

Ata Rangi Petrie Vineyard Chardonnay 2002 – Martinborough
A gold coloured mealy, barrel fermented chardonnay, it builds on the palate with stonefruits, figs and savoury oak to a warm mouthfilling finish. Long and sophisticated.
14% alc. $29.95/$26.95.

Rockford Hand Picked Riesling 2001 – Eden Valley
Pale gold with delicate floral and lime sherbet on the nose, it is just starting to develop some fusel notes, a dry Riesling that smells sweeter than it tastes. Lovely satin smooth creamy mouthfeel, a little earthiness with a lime richness and lingering citrus blossom, a powerful wine with great length, this is Riesling to age.
11.5% alc. $32.95/$29.50. My Choice.

Millton Opou Riesling 2003 – Gisborne
Deep golden, honey beeswax aromas, sweet to the taste with apricots, ripe tangelo, mandarin and passionfruit, some viscosity to the texture, lemon and white honey flavours linger. Beautifully balanced it can only become more honeyed with age. Made from some of the oldest Riesling vines in NZ, planted in 1969.
12% alc. $22.95/$19.95.

Marc Bredif Vouvray 1985 – Loire Valley, France
Made from Chenin Blanc, this youthful looking wine belies it age. Smoky with lanolin and wet wool hinting to its European origin, the apple-rich, spiced apple, apple jam flavours hint to the variety together with apricots and a toastiness that comes with age. Lovely texture and fantastic length. Already 19 years old, this could easily last 100 years.
12% alc. $37.95/$33.95.

Albert Mann Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Steingrubler 2002 – Alsace, France
Turkish delight and mandarin zest on the nose, there's more lemon zest in the palate of this soft wine with a buttery, vanilla toastiness and a warm lightly oily texture. The musky flavours of the variety evolve and the finish is long and spicy with cloves and cardamon spices lingering. A beautiful wine that has restored our faith in Albert Mann after the disappointing 2003 vintage tasted a couple of weeks earlier.
13.9% alc. $35.95. N/A.

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 – Central Otago
Translucent crimson ruby, aromatically appealing, youthful, juicy and ripe to the taste, laden with cherries and a touch of smoky herb, intense in flavour with good acidity and a spicy musky finish, excellent potential for aging. It has a lovely elegance when compared to the higher alcohol 2002 Akarua, which was one of the biggest blackest NZ Pinot Noirs ever made.
14% alc. $38.95/$34.95. Screwcap

Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir 2002 – Central Otago
Good ruby colour with a denseness to the bowl, a richer, more savoury wine with earthy, gamey, mushroom and woody herbs with a good acidic backbone, chocolatey oak and a cherry fruit tartness to the spicy finish. This has a tannin structure and savouriness that is not often seen from the region. A wine with a long future ahead of it.
13.5% alc. $46.95/$41.95. Screwcap.

Newton Forrest Cornerstone Gimblett Road Syrah 2002 – Hawkes Bay
Inky crimson black, exuding aromas of violets, cherries, creamy oak and exotic spices, this delicious, velvety tannined wine is packed with succulent fruit, vanilla, tar, pepper, liquorice, anise and fruitcake spices. Dark and savoury, almost meaty in its complexity with a muskiness to the finish, it is ripe, round and very complete, an outstanding wine with great length, drinking well now it will continue to evolve with cellaring. Gold medal San Francisco Wine Competition 2004, 2nd in the Tri-Nations Challenge 2004.
14.5% alc. $39.95/$35.95. My Choice.

Hartz Barn General Store Shiraz 2001 - Barossa
Savoury in a dusty European style, with a touch of flavour development that enhances the spicy plums, mocha and creamy oak that is tending towards Barossa chocolate with pepper and currants on the dusty finish and just a tad of tobacco. Fine tannins and a powerful finish. Limited edition wine, just 324 cases made.
13.5% alc. $35.95.

Ingoldby Shiraz 2002 – McLaren Vale
Youthful inky red black, smoky blackcurrant and mulberry aromas interlayered with eucalypt and creamy oak, loads of liquorice, chocolate, mocha and pepper and sweet berry fruits, mouthfilling to the core with a dry creamy finish that balances the deliciously ripe fruit. 4 stars Cuisine.
14.5% alc. $20.95/$17.95.

Jacobs Creek Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - Barossa
Excellent colour, inky deep and youthful, hard to believe this is six years old. Rich and concentrated with beautifully integrated oak, blackcurrant, mint, tar and powerful earthy gravelly tannins, the voluptuous youthful primary fruit is just starting to meld into the secondary characters that the wine is starting to develop. Fruitcake cherries and currants linger on the long long finish. Made for the 25th anniversary of Jacobs Creek.
13.5% alc. $34.95/$29.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 18th August 2004
Cuisine Magazine Five Star Aussie Reds.
All wines were tasted blind.

Taylors Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 – Clare Valley
Deep red black with berry red rims, rich red berry and leather aromas, spicy vanillin oak and red berry flavours with a fruit cake richness, sweet cedary vanillin oak, tar and a hit of acidity on the full-bodied, succulent and persistent finish. An easy drinking wine with soft velvety tannins, it delivers far more than the special price would suggest.
14.5% alc. $18.95/$14.95.

Rymill mc2 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc 2000 - Coonawarra
Deep opaque red with slightly developed rims. It smells older with its fragrant, cedary earthy scents. Savoury and chewy in the mouth, some nice development coming through in the flavour with integrated cedary oak, aniseed and currants then the plums and leather of Merlot as it opens up. Good acidity, a touch of mintiness, firm velvety tannins and chocolate as it lingers. Ripe and easy with good weight and length. Omitted from the Aussie reds publication, the correction will be printed in the next issue. Exclusive to First Glass.
13.5% alc. $19.95/$16.95.

Pepperjack Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 – Barossa
A youthful inky black red with pinky red rims, perfumed blackcurrant and creamy oak aromas with just a hint of mint, the youthful primary fruit carries through to the palate. Silky tannins, bright red fruits, creamy oak, tar, violet jam and then liquid chocolate to top off the long, delicious finish. Outstanding Cabernet. Value plus!
13.5% alc. $21.95/$17.95.

Browns of Padthaway T-Trellis Shiraz 2001 – Padthaway
Dense black red with pink rims. Earthy smelling, no fruit on the nose at first, just continental meats but later sweet vanillin oak. A very savoury wine with grippy tannins, mocha, rosemary, peppery spice and liquorice building to a sweet succulent mouthfilling finish with the initial gripping tannins becoming quite velvety.
13.5% alc. $20.95/$17.95.

Pepperjack Shiraz 2002 – Barossa
Impenetrable purple black. Aromas of mocha, chocolate, mint and smoke make an attractive and appealing Shiraz-rich nose. Soft and ripe to the taste with blackberry, mint, tar, chocolate, sweet spicy oak and a sprinkle of pepper on the meaty finish. Lovely tannin structure, everything in balance with sweet vanillin oak and creamy berries lingering. Excellent.
14% alc. $21.95/$17.95.

Penfolds Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz 2001 – South Australia
Deep inky red black. Savoury, a little salty in the palate with firm grippy tannins, a hint of leather and a touch of mint that comes through with red berries and creamy oak on the finish. Seems a more developed style and quite different to when I last tasted it, in that it didn’t seduce me tonight. Maybe it was because it followed the striking Pepperjack or maybe it is bottle variation. Nevertheless, a very good wine, just not what I expected of Kalimna so a surprise when the name of the wine was revealed.
14% alc. $27.95/$23.95.

Orlando Jacaranda Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 - Coonawarra
Another inky deep red wine with sweet cedary, smoky oak laden with blueberry and boysenberry fruit. A darker, denser black fruited wine to the taste with plums, stewed prunes, chocolatey oak, mocha, fine firm tannins and a minty finish. A stylish wine with lovely vinosity, the colour is so youthful for its age and the integration is amazing. The tannins still have a youthful graininess and there is years of life ahead for this simply amazing wine.
14% alc. $59.95/$52.95.

Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002 – McLaren Vale
Dense purple-black, ripe spicy vanillin oak aromas, mouthfillingly rich and spicy with pepper, mocha, chocolate and currants, creamy vanilla oak and a warm glow to the long smooth mouthfilling finish. Another value packed wine.
15% alc. $23.95/$19.95.

Tapestry 'The Vincent' Shiraz 2001 – McLaren Vale
Deep youthful red black in colour. Red fruits and cedary vanillin oak on the nose. There is lovely ripeness and balance to this juicy luscious wine with chocolatey oak, mocha, red fruits that have just a hint of tartness and a slightly meaty character to the finish with just a touch of mint too. Beautifully structured with succulent velvety tannins and lingering chocolatey creamy oak. Lovely wine – my wine of the night.
14% alc. $40.95/$36.85.

Tim Gramp McLaren Vale Shiraz 2001 – McLaren Vale
Dense black red, youthful in appearance. A deeper, more savoury aroma with a jammy richness. Cedar, mocha, black fruits, pepper and a savoury meat finish characterise this mouthfilling full-bodied wine with a fine tannin structure, great length and a lingering finish.
13.5% alc. $49.95/$44.95.

Jacobs Creek Limited Release Shiraz Cabernet 1999 – Barossa & Coonawarra
Deeply coloured with savoury aromas it's quite rich and meaty with gripping tannins in the palate, concentrated fruit, liquorice, cigar, tobacco and a little mint. There's some development in the flavour though not in colour. An immense wine with a creamy cedary richness as it opens up, a more Bordeaux style of Australian wine.
13.5% alc. $59.95/$52.95.

Orlando Lawsons Padthaway Shiraz 1999 - Padthaway
So inky deep, dark and youthful, it still shows purple on the rims. Immensely aromatic, it reeks of mint chocolate and smoky oak. Rich and concentrated to the taste with a hint of Padthaway saltiness, chocolate, heaps of spice and a long succulent, powerful mouthfilling finish. I've tasted this wine several times, it has a distinctive mintiness and it never ever fails to impress.
13.5% alc. $59.95/$52.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 11th August 2004
The First Glass Olympics.
All wines were tasted blind.

Westbrook Barrique Ferment Chardonnay 2002 - Marlborough/Gisborne, New Zealand
Rich, toasty, full-bodied and creamy with ripe stonefruit and a long spicy, toasty oak finish. A very good wine that sets the standard for the night ahead.
14% alc. $18.95/$15.95.

Kerpen Trocken Riesling 2002 - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
Perfumed floral aroma, slightly spritzig with lemon rind, apple and feijoa skin. An oily textured, steely, dry Riesling with a long full-bodied finish. Nice on its own and will be good with food.
12% alc. $26.95/$23.95.

Botl-Geyl Gewurztraminer Cuvee Jules Geyl 2001 - Alsace, France
A medium style with apricots, Turkish delight and violets on the nose joining rose hand cream and musk in the palate. Beautifully balanced with nice weight and richness, a slightly viscous texture and a spicy full finish, it definitely has the luscious factor.
13.5% alc. $34.95/$30.95.

Tsantali Retsina - Halkidiki, Greece
While this wine looks quite acceptable, there is nothing at all appealing about the smell and taste of this wine. It smells like dirty bath water and tastes like disinfectant smells. It's dry with perhaps a touch of citrus zest on finish and there is no pine resin or turpentine. Kingsley says "Only mildly horrible. A poor example of what it is meant to be because it is not as bad as some can be". It is best served well chilled, according to the label.
11.5% alc. $15.95/$13.95.

Seppelts Original Sparkling Shiraz 1999 – Australia
Brick red in colour with bretty, barnyard, earthy flavours at first, giving way to cherry, strawberry and plum with a tinge of mint and a touch of soft citrus on the sweetish jammy, slightly peppery finish. A gutsy bubbles with good length.
14% alc. $20.95/$18.50..

Casillero del Diablo Merlot 2003 - Chile
Very deep red black colour, it smells European but tastes modern with its American oak flavour. Savoury and smoky with redcurrants, blackberries, boysenberries, tar, spice, this juicy wine has gripping ripe tannins and a smoky, earthy finish. Value drinking.
13.5% alc. $14.95/$12.95

Coto de Hayas Crianza 2001 - Spain
Deep red, ripe and fruity with plums and raspberry, sweet tarry oak, slightly drying tannins and a slightly musky character. A nicely balanced, simple wine offering easy drinking.
13.5% alc. $14.95/$12.95

Umanchi Ronchi Jorio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2001 - Italy
Deep pinky red with a black centre, there's a subtle berry fragrance but otherwise it is quite closed on the nose. There's plenty of flavour with cherry, earth, tar, pepper, firm gripping tannins and creamy mellow oak on the finish with a touch of liquorice as it lingers. Good Length. Good wine. Drink now with food or cellar.
13.5% alc. $23.95/$20.95

Trapiche Fond de Cave Malbec 2001 - Argentina
Big, rich, savoury and spicy, with plump purple fruit, dusty blackberries, old fashioned blackball lollies and earth on a pleasing grainy texture. There's a bit of a kick on the finish with sweet oak coming through. Chewy and long. Good value.
13.5% alc. $21.50/$18.95.

Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel 2002 – California, USA
Good ruby colour and depth. Ripe, plummy, spicy vanillin oak on the nose and creamy in the palate with liquorice chocolate, velvety tannins and purple fruits, it is rich, full-bodied, warm and savoury with a meaty, fruitcake finish and terrific mouthfilling length. One of California's legendary labels. 75% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane.
14.4% alc. $58.95/$52.95.

Rockford Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 – Barossa, Australia
Dark red in colour, minty with slightly barnyard aromas, rich and powerful in the palate with blackcurrants, stewed plums, cherries, leather, savoury oak, silky tannins and just a touch of lemon pepper on the finish. Easy drinking, symptomatic of the vintage.
13% alc. $54.95/$48.95.

Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 1993, 6 puttonyos –Tokaji, Hungary
Made from predominantly the Furmint grape, this amber gold wine tempts the senses with apricot, quince jam, lime, baked apple, dried fruits and savoury old oak on the nose. Sweet and viscous with apricot honey flavours filling the palate, the botrytis sweetness is beautifully balanced by the natural acidity. Silky textured rather than thick, this delicious wine has a delicate cedary note to the lingering finish.
12% alc. $93.00. 500 ml bottle.

I awarded the Botl-Geyl Gewurztraminer with the Gold medal, the Disnoko Tokaji with the Silver medal and the Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel with the Bronze medal.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 4th August 2004
Sugar and Spice.
All wines were tasted blind.

Spy Valley Marlborough Riesling 2003
Light bright gold in colour with aromas of lime, talc and just a little toast. Smells dry but a touch of residual sugar gives a lovely balance to the zesty lime and bitter grapefruit flavours with a sprinkling of powdered ginger and lingering baked apples. After the initial burst of flavour it goes on and on - the sign of a good wine.
12.5% alc. $19.95/$17.95.

Nobilo Icon Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2004
Pale gold in colour, and full of spicy aromatics with ginger, anise and five-spice powder scents, youthful tasting in the palate with mandarin and orange zest brightness, spiced stonefruit and a musky, lychee-flavoured finish that really fills out as it lingers.

Albert Mann Alsace Gewurztraminer 2003
More golden in colour with a rather unappealing aroma, perhaps of grapefruit that have been in the fruit bowl just a few days too long. It's an earthy Euro style, quite zesty in its backbone with a drying, smoky, sulphury finish. The more traditional rose petal, lychee characters appear once the wine is swallowed. Three bottles of this wine were opened and they were all the same.
14% alc. $35.95/$31.95.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2002
There are lime glints to the pale gold colour of this wine that smells sweeter and more luscious that the one before it. It is spicy in the plate with musky-flavoured pink smoker lollies, tropical fruit and just a hint of oak. It seems to lack a little in concentration but spend a few moments more on the wine and you will find lychee, Asian spices and poached white peaches emerging on the full, long finish. 8 g/l residual sugar.
14.5% alc. $29.95/$25.95.

Waipara Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2003
Rich & full on the nose, the potent aroma is the seductive foreplay for the powerful concentrated flavours ahead. It is rich and lush with five-spice, cloves, white pepper, musk, Turkish delight, sweet orange and ginger leading to an off dry finish with lovely balance, concentration & length. Drinking beautifully now. 15 g/l residual sugar.
13.5% alc. $21.95/$18.95. Screwcap.

Chateau Maree Josee 2002
A youthful pinky red colour characterises this lighter style of red with spicy, white pepper, tar and juicy raspberry flavours, smooth easy tannins and a savoury, slightly vanillin finish.
13.5% alc. $19.95/$17.95.

Rockbare McLaren Vale Shiraz 2000
Deep red with an opaque black core. Menthol, eucalypt, minty aromas with sweet vanillin oak, boot polish, mocha, black pepper, dark macerated berries and a rich almost chocolatey, smoky tarry finish. Lingering savoury oak and spice with plenty of oomph and mouthfilling length.
14% alc. $21.95/$18.95.

Rockford Basket Press Barossa Shiraz 2000
Showing surprising development to the colour and aroma, it is leathery and savoury with creamy oak, firm grainy tannins, herbs de Provence, pepper, liquorice and a winey chocolate sweetness to the tobacco oak finish. Reflective of the vintage this is an old fashioned style packaged for effect in an old fashioned bottle.
13.5% alc. $71.95/$63.95.

The Willows Barossa Bonesetter Shiraz 2001
Big in colour, big in flavour, spicy and peppery with just a touch of mint, milk chocolate, tar, tobacco, raisins and liquorice. Grainy tannins, lovely integrated oak, great flavour, power and length. Fantastic wine.
14.5% alc. $59.95/$53.95.

Chateau Monbazillac Blanche de Bosredon 1999
Deep gold, smelling of pastry, quince, cape gooseberry jam and honey comb with perhaps a hint of marzipan, it's a little salty/savoury in the palate, sweet but not overly sweet, slightly earthy and yeasty, it opens up well to reveal honey, apricot and marmalade on the finish. I could imagine this with either a mushroom or sweet onion soup or a pastry desert.
500mls. 13% alc. $45.95/$40.95.

de Bortoli Noble One Semillon 2002
Bright yellow gold in colour with a wonderful honey and floral fragrance and sweet botrytis flavours, it is definitely fresh new world in style. Lemon honey, apricot, candied orange and toffee all amalgamate together in a rich viscous texture with lovely mouthfeel and excellent length. A dreamy wine. Almost perfection.
375 mls. 11.5% alc. $32.95/$28.95.

Campbells Rutherglen Muscat
Clear dark amber in colour . Wonderful rich raisin aromas, warm, spiritous, nutty, dry aged Christmas cake flavours and spiced mandarin with a warmed runny honey mouthfeel and a subtle oak influence. Great length with wonderful sweetness. It glows.
375 mls. 17.5% alc. $27.95/$24.95.

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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Other 2004 Tastings
Jan-Feb 2004 tasting notes.
Mar-Apr 2004 tasting notes.
May 2004 tasting notes.
June 2004 tasting notes.
July 2004 tasting notes.
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September 2004 tasting notes.
October 2004 tasting notes.
Nov/December 2004 tasting notes.

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