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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

January - February 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 - 25 February 2004
Totally International
All wines, except the Port, were tasted blind

Banfi Ruinite Lambrusca Emilia
A well-coloured purple red, sweet, spritzy, light, fruity, loads of plum, cherry, strawberry, a touch of tar and an earthiness that gives it a bit of structure. It's basically summer pudding in a glass to drink well chilled on a hot afternoon. With the right time and place this could be dangerously drinkable, just don't let the kiddies get hold of it.
8% alc. $12.95/$10.95. Screwcap.

Louis Latour Chablis Chardonnay 2002
Pale lemon. Slightly nutty with pears on the nose. Good acidity in palate, lees influenced nutty texture, lemon, pear, fresh and a little steely with a biscuity finish. Good weight and length.
13% alc. $32.95/28.95.

Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich 2002 QbA Riesling - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Water pale Spatlese (medium-sweet) style. Honeysuckle flowers and raisins on the nose. Typical sweet citrus flavours in palate with some botrytis influence. Spicy, zesty citrus and that 'sucking on a stone' dryness from the ton of acid that is balanced by the sweetness. Fantastic length with orange zest lingering.
9% alc. $25.95/22.95.

Woodstock Botrytis Semillon 2002
Bright gold, waxy in appearance. Burnt toffee, honey, beeswax, lanolin and apricot on the nose, all that plus marmalade, biscuits and glycerine in the palate. A lovely little sweetie, as viscous as they come. Just a little coarse on the ultra long finish. Apricot lingers.  Stunning value.
10.5% alc.$11.95/10.75.

Banfi Chianti Classico Montalcino 2001
Medium red, fading on rims. Cherry, spice, pepper, tar, leather, dry and earthy with brambly tannins, not a huge amount of fruit, made to go with food. Acidity lifts the finish.
13% alc. $29.95/$26.95.

Coto de Hayas Crianza 2000 - Campo de Borja, Spain
Deep red. Perfumed, with musky concentrated fruit on the nose, spicy in the palate with cinnamon, nutmeg, ripe cherries, plums, boysenberry and vanilla, a dry wine that is juicy and succulent with firm tannins and sweet oak. Lively, with a great finish. A definite crowd pleaser.
13% alc. $14.95/$12.95.

Campos Reales Canforrales Tempranillo Joven Roble 2002 - Spain
Very deep red. Sweet nutty oak, tar and leather on the nose. Good fruit structure in palate, nicely integrated oak, firm chalky tannins, tar, bitumen and a dry savoury meaty finish. Lingers well.  Excellent value.
13% alc. $15.95/$13.95.

Coto de Hayas Reserva 1998 - Campo de Borja, Spain
Deep red almost opaque, this is a big creamy monster of a wine. Prunes, chocolate, cherry, spice and liquorice on the nose, vanilla, coffee and musk join in on the palate. Big tannins, though well balanced to the fruit. Long and succulent with a spicy lifted finish. An outstanding Spanish wine.  100% Garnacha/Grenache.
13.5% alc. $19.95/17.95

Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec 2002 - Argentina
Blackish red purple, dense and opaque. Plums, blackcurrants, brambles, liquorice and spice on a smooth creamy texture, well-integrated ripe fruit tannins, a touch of citrus and some mocha on the earthy finish. Great value with the sophistication and class of a wine 3-times the price, the Argentinians do Malbec so well.
13.5% alc. $15.95/13.95.

Fuedo Principi di Butera Nero d'Avola, Sicily
Deep dark red. it's enormously fragrant with meaty spices, anise, liquorice, tar, dried herbs, leather, prune and orange citrus. The texture is velvety though there's a roughness to the edge and an acidic bite to the finish. Spices linger.  Five stars Cuisine.
13% alc. $37.95/33.95.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Adelaide Hills 2001
Black red. The smell of this wine whisks you to straight to Australia where eucalypt leaves on a wet gravel path lead into to juicy, rich, plummy, wine with loads of flavour and plenty of length. Bright and lively with heaps of menthol and big tannins that are just a little furry. No food needed. Simply yum.
13% alc. $23.95/19.95. Screwcap.

Taylors Vintage Port 1977
Decanted only shortly before consuming, this is tawny with a pinkish red tinge and headily spirituous on nose, behind this raisins and cedar. Very smooth in the palate with lovely viscosity, there's liquorice, spice, cardamon, orange and old cedar, the alcohol kicks in and a delicious liquorice and orange flavour emerges to linger on the finish. This is one of the great Ports of the 20th century, a 75-year wine with an easy 40 years still ahead of it. Read more about this Port in my article How to get the Best out of your vintage Port. 21% alc. $175.00/$149.00.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 18 February 2004
Tasting Negociants with Sam Kim and Peter Cordes
Wine were tasted blind

Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc 2003 - Marlborough
Pale in colour, crisp, grassy and pungent with capsicum, gooseberries, lime, apples & tropical fruit, creamy texture and a dry, nutty, herbaceous finish. Lively, mouth awakening and long in flavour. Very good.
12.5% alc. $23.95/$17.95

Yalumba Y Series Riesling 2002 - South Australia
Citrus, a touch of lime, talc, fairly dry though oily in texture with the taste of Roses lime cordial. Fresh, youthful, slightly nutty, well balanced with citrus, green apples and the refreshing lift of fresh pineapple on the finish.
12.5% alc. $15.95/$12.95

Palliser Estate Riesling 2002 - Martinborough
Aromatic, far more so than the 'Y', with scents of honeysuckle and lots of ripe citrus. Off dry in the palate (7gL/rs), it is full of flavour with the taste of grapefruit marmalade and juicy tropical fruit. Good fruit weight throughout, a bit of talc dries the finish, making you want another yummy mouthful.
12.5% alc. $20.95/$18.50

Ngatarawa Glazebrook Chardonnay 2002 - Hawkes Bay
Creamy toasty oak on the nose, mealy with lots of caramel, poached nectarine, pear, peach pie, soft acidity, a touch of pink bubblegum and a long spicy oak-filled finish. Mouthfilling and long. A good rich HB Chardonnay at a reasonable price.
13.5% alc. $22.95/$17.95

Marc Bredif Vouvray 2001 - France
Almonds and lemon oil on the nose, and just a whiff of straw. Oily in the palate with apples, lemon and a touch of honey. A savoury wine, even a little salty, quite warming with well balanced acidity that enlivens the mouth and warm spiced apple flavours that linger on the slightly earthy finish. There's a touch of residual sugar to balance out the acidity, making this a most harmonious wine. Quite an intriguing flavour and excellent to taste. Match to slow roasted pork and salty crackling with a spiced baked apple sauce. It also works well with beef carpaccio.
12.5% alc. $37.95/$27.95

Braccesca Sabazio Rosso di Montalcino 2002 - Italy
Liquorice, fruitcake and nutty oak on nose, dry & tarry in palate at first then juicy berries take over to fill the palate together with liquorice and spice. Savoury with a slightly salty aftertaste, this is an easy drinking old world red made in a new world style. Made to go with food, try with rich pastas, pizzas or traditional KFC.
13% alc. $26.95/$19.95

Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2000 - France
There's good depth and flavour in this blend of Syrah (50%) , Grenache (25%), Mourvedre (25% ). Concentrated fruit, spicy oak, juicy tannins, ripe red berries and a touch of citrus, it's fresh and lively with low acidity, soft tannins and a savoury, smoky finish. It has lots of interest and I like it a lot.
Sam likes to accompany this with a steak he has massaged with olive oil, pepper and slivers of garlic the night before. Cover with clingwrap until cooking to your liking.
13% alc. $26.95/$19.95

Rymill MC2 Merlot Cabernets 2000 - Coonawarra
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc. The minty fragrance makes it smell so fresh & clean after the CdR. Aromatic, pencil shavings, rose petals, a touch of eucalypt, blackcurrants, blackberries, leather and spice. Grainy tannins, spicy oak, good acidity and length, not too heavy, an easy drinking wine to enjoy with or without food.
13.5% alc. $21.95/$16.95

Chateau Mangot St Emilion Grand Cru 2000 - Bordeaux
Lovely bright colour, an inky, youthful looking pink-tinged red. Dark, toasty oak, concentrated currant & cassis fruit, classy oak, firm ripe tannins, really, really, good length. Clean, restrained wine with lovely harmony in the palate. I've had this wine before and the small tasting glasses did not do it justice tonight. Pour into a big glass and give it time to open up or pop into the cellar and reap the rewards in 10 years time. Simon Nunns from Coopers Creek worked the 2000 vintage at Chateau Mangot. This was one of the best Bordeaux vintages of all time and this wine offers incredible value compared to the classed growths.
12.8% alc. $44.95/$36.95

Yalumba Signature Shiraz Cabernet 1999 - Barossa
Aussie wine as we love it, reeking of eucalypt and coconut-like American oak on the nose and rich and robust in the palate. A 'grunter' of a wine with brawny tannins, plentiful oak that's still slightly raspy, sweet ripe fruit, tar and spice. It's developing nicely since last tasted (July 03) and picking up some nice savoury complexities of aged Shiraz.
14% alc. $40.95/$31.95

Yalumba Museum Muscat NV
A clear orange brown, smelling like a bowl of muscatels on nose, it's salty and spicy, rich and unctuous, with concentrated, plumped up, dried muscatel raisin flavours and citrus spices. Quite spirituous and just a little smoky, voluptuous, full and rich, Sam says this is one of his 'meditation' wines. Chill to lessen the sweetness, pour over icecream or cake or enjoy as it or on the rocks.
18% alc. $26.95/$23.95

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 11 February 2004
Solid Gold
Wine were tasted blind
(The two prices indicate normal retail and the 'special' price on the night).

Waipara Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003
A fruity wine with good varietal pungency, slightly oily and just a little sweaty with grass, capsicum and lots of citrus. Passionfruit comes to play on the long lingering finish. Fresh and lovely. Gold medal Liquorland Top 100 & ANZWA.
13% alc. $19.95/$16.95

Matua Valley Paretai Sauvignon Blanc 2003
A vivid contrast in style, lots of sweat on the nose, dry & herbaceous in the palate with apples and citrus on a creamy texture. A much broader, fatter wine that is very mouthfilling, long & delicious. Classy stuff. Gold medal ANZWA.
12.5% alc. $25.95/$22.95

Mount Riley Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
Straw gold, warm, leesy, slightly lanolin-like French oak and a malolactic influence that eventually lets the stonefruit flavours emerge. Creamy in the palate with spicy oak, honeydew melon and a butterscotch finish. Slightly hot on the end, it lingers well. Gold medal Home and Entertaining magazine.
14% alc. $19.95/$17.95

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002
Buttery gold in colour and buttery gold in smell, there's plenty of upfront oak in this 'old fashioned style' as Home and Entertaining magazine described it. A big smoky oaky wine with a big bold mouthfilling texture - mouthfeel plus - grilled stonefruit and a savoury finish. Very good length, it goes on and on. Gold medal ANZWA.
13.5% alc. $21.95/$17.95.

Matua Valley Judd Estate Chardonnay 2002
Creamy wine with good fruit and oak balance, baked buttered apples, stonefruit and a touch of the tropics, malolactic influence gives a creaminess while spicy oak plays subtly in the background A stylish wine with everything in the right place. 'Drop dead gorgeous' was how one person described it. Gold medal ANZWA.
13.5% alc. $27.95/$24.95

Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2003
Perfumed on nose, rich and unctuous in the palate. Good weight, lovely texture, Ripe peaches, honey, rose petal and musk. Developing some oiliness. Still growing in power, a lovely, lovely wine. Gold medal & trophy Liquorland Top 100.
13% alc. $24.95/$21.95

Vidal Estate Merlot Cabernet 2002 - Hawkes Bay
Inky purple in colour with leather, tar, dense nuggetty oak, spicy tobacco, lots of black fruits and bountiful tannins. Quite youthful, should be good drinking this winter. Gold medal ANZWA
14% alc. $20.95/$17.95

Wolf Blass Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2000 - Barossa
Smells typically Australian with its sweet oak, opulent plum & blackcurrant fruit, mint and spice all melded together by the creamy texture, good tannins and lots of grunt. Not too sweet in the palate, with great structure and length. Absolutely stunning value. Gold medal Liquorland Top 100.
12.5% alc. $22.95/$19.95

Craggy Range Block 14 Syrah 2002 - Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Inkily opaque purple black. Chocolate raisins on the smoky nose, a brooding dark bitter chocolate, plums, cherry and lots of sweet oak. There's good acidity that lifts the finish and the wine lingers well. Would not have picked it as NZ syrah at first though finally the pepper comes out to play. Fans of big blockbuster wines are really going to love this.
14.5% alc. $29.95/$26.95

Vidal Soler Syrah 2002 - Hawkes Bay
Inky red-black. Aromatic, slightly minty with creamy oak and cocoa powder on nose and lots of spices in the palate, it's clean to the taste with cherry, tar, savoury herbs and terrific balance of everything. A beautiful wine with lovely tannin structure and fruit lift on the lingering chocolatey finish. Gold medal ANZWA.
14.8% alc. $33.95/$29.95

Mamre Brook Barossa Shiraz 2001
Sweet minty oak leads into a much riper, deep black-red wine with lots of alcohol and good depth. Typically Aussie Shiraz with, spice, mint, mocha, chocolate, ripe plum and cherry fruit , leather and tar and lots of sweet creamy American oak, Gold medal Liquorland Top 100.
14% alc. $22.95/$19.95

Wirra Wirra McLaren Vale Shiraz 2001
Dense black in colour with mint, pepper, rich fruit, grunty tannins, unmistakably Aus Shiraz. Tannins are evolving nicely since last tasted. A big jammy wine, seems slightly porty tonight. Gold medal Liquorland Top 100.
14.5% alc. $30.95/$27.50

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 4 February 2004
Four Methodes, Four Rieslings and Four French Reds
Wine were tasted blind
(The two prices indicate normal retail and the 'special' price on the night).

Grant Burge Pinot Chardonnay Methode Traditionelle NV
Slightly pinkish in its hue with a slight yeasty, lemon aroma that leads into a yeasty, creamy wine with lots of acidity and a toasty, slightly nutty, sweet fruit finish.
12% alc. $26.95/$23.95

Nautilus Marlborough Cuvee Methode Traditionelle NV
There's plenty of fizz in this more yeasty, drier full, rich style with biscuits, nuts and a toasty backbone. Though it is definitely influenced by French winemaking techniques, there's a fruitiness on the finish that leads one back to NZ.
12% alc. $32.95/$28.95

Daniel Le Brun Marlborough Methode Traditionelle NV
A very yeasty wine made in a lightly oxidative style with a marmite-influenced creamy aroma, fine mousse that explodes in the mouth and a lemony finish. Very dry and very sophisticated with very good length. French in style, French in name, but NZ in origin.
12.5% alc. $29.95/$26.95

Abel Lepitre 'Idéal Cuvée' Champagne NV
Marmite yeastiness on nose together with a floral note, a mellow yeastiness in the rich and creamy palate, slightly minerally and just a little sweetness to round it out nicely. Terrific length too. Gold medal LLTop100.
12% alc. $50.95/$44.95

Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock Heathcote Riesling 2002
Slightly oily in its bright gold appearance, it's dry to the palate at first with an oily texture and fruit sweetness rounding it out nicely. There's toasted lime, salt and a spicy finish, a little alcoholic heat warms the mouth and there's plenty of lingering earthy citrus.
13.5% alc. $38.95/$34.95

Seresin Marlborough Riesling 2003
Lemon on the nose with a bitter lemon flavour in palate, this was just a little reductive when first poured. Bone dry to the taste but well balanced to the soft acidity. Steely, apple flavours linger and the finish is long and powerful. Made to evolve in the cellar. With over half the room liking this one, it is one of the most favoured 'dry' styles ever served at First Glass.
12.5% alc. $22.95/$19.95

Schloss Vollrads Riesling Qualitatswein 2002 – Rheingau, QBA
Pale in colour with a limey hue, this is a sweeter wine with a hint of apricot on nose and a touch of spritz in the palate, a pleasant wine with a touch of marmalade, tropical fruit and limes. It is fruitier than I usually associate with Germany, perhaps reflective of the Rheingau wines, which we haven’t really seen for many years and the terrific 2002 vintage. It's a delicate wine with lovely balance and good citrus flavours that linger.
10.5% $32.95/$28.95

Giesen Reserve Canterbury Riesling 2001
An oily wine in looks and smell with beeswax, apricot, honey, a rich weighty palate and terrific length. It's golden yellow and as heavy as any NZ Riesling you are going to buy, very much in the Alsace mould. Blue cheese and dried fruits would go very well indeed and perhaps a chicken and blue Brie pizza.
14% alc. $23.95/$21.50

Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone 2001
Lightly oaked, fruity, medium weight red with cherry, smoke, leather, tar, liquorice, a sprinkle of spice and slightly dry tannins. Good value, easy drinking French red and very much in the Chapoutier style but a little lighter than the previous three vintages of this wine.
14% alc. $20.95/$17.95

Charvin Cotes du Rhone 2001
Slightly stinky, tarry smelling medium weight red with beetroot and slightly cooked berries; this is a savoury, meaty wine with good mouthfeel and a spicy fruit finish. It has more structure and tannins than the Belleruche and definitely needs food.
14% alc. $26.95/$23.95

Les Allees de Cantermerle Bordeaux 2000 – Haut-Medoc
Inky, almost black in colour, it's slightly barnyard on the nose with spice, leather and nut chocolate. It's a very good ripe-flavoured wine with structure and power, smooth rich tannins, dark berry fruit, marmite and a musky sweetness to the finish where there's a slightly herbal undertone. If this is one of the ordinary wines from the vintage, the classed growths must be out of this world. The second label of Chateau Cantemerle.
13% alc. $40.95/$36.85

Chateau Pontensac 2000 - Medoc
Inky red-black in colour with chocolatey oak, violets, leather and spice, it's a subtle but attractive vinous scent. In the palate it's full of concentrated purple fruits and spice with smooth velvety tannins and liquorice with good fruit, good oak and good acidity, and a creaminess to the lingering palate where flavours of blackcurrants and plums linger. A
It reminds me a little of the gold and trophy winning Villa Maria Reserve Merlot 2001.
13% alc. $59.95/$53.95

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 21 January 2004
Richmond Grove Padthaway Chardonnay 2001
A full-bodied, smooth and creamy wine, bright gold in colour with glints of lime, nutty oak aromas, creamy oak in the palate and bright pineapple, citrus and tropical fruits. Good body, plenty of flavour and length and with that little bit of age it is drinking very nicely now.
13% alc. $19.95/$11.95.

Felton Road Unoaked Chardonnay 2002 (screwcap)
Pale gold in colour with creamy cashews on the nose, it's packed with citrus, apricot and juicy nectarine with just a smidgen of butterscotch creaminess to soften the lingering zesty finish. It's bright and breezy with a slightly nutty, yeastiness throughout and absolutely no oak.

Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (screwcap)
Water pale in colour, exuberant fruit on the nose, laden with tropical fruit and passionfruit in the palate, bright and refreshing with a lovely grainy texture and fantastic length, it's got everything you want in Sauvignon Blanc. There's just so much going on, think about your favourite descriptor - sweat, gooseberry, herbs or cats pee - and you will find it in here. It's Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc as the world wants to know it.
"A corpse reviver", say Peter.
13% alc. $19.95/$17.95.

Zilzie Viognier 2003 - Victoria, Australia
Light yellow gold, fairly neutral on the nose at first, delicate apricot as it starts to open up, the palate surprises with its more abundant flavour. It's fragrant, soft and creamy with a slightly oily texture, stonefruits and melon jam, subtle musk and spice and a lengthy finish. Such a great price for this once rare variety that is now being planted in many countries - albeit in tiny quantities..
Gold and Trophy, Liquorland Top 100 2003.
14% alc. $18.95/$15.95.

Egon Müller Scharzhof Riesling 2002 QBA – MSR, Germany
This straw-coloured wine smells so youthfully fruity, like soft fruit jubes. It's sweet but there's lots of apple and citrus acidity in the palate to balance it and give the impression it is drier than it is. Delicate but powerful, a little nutty, perhaps a touch of marshmallow and lingering grapefruit. No kero, no sulphur, just a lovely pure expression of young German Riesling and a classic example of what it is meant to be. Riesling fanatics will just love this. AP 3567142403.
10.5% alc. $32.95/$28.95.

Albert Mann Gewurztraminer 2002
Yellow gold with limey hues, an abundant bouquet of freshly cut orange grapefruit on the nose, rich and unctuous to the taste. It's spicy and hot and laden with flavour - Turkish delight, honey, delicate spices and lingering macerated, spiced citrus. A heady wine. A wine to drink and enjoy on its own or try matching to Flammenkueche (tarte flambée), the Alsatian onion tart pizza-style dish.
14% alc. $36.95/$32.95.

Cotos de Hayas Tinto Red 2002, Campo de Borja, Spain
Medium weight cherry red, it smells lightly oaked with boiled fruit lollies and a slightly iodine, salty, sea smell (e.g. kina, oysters). It's a savoury, salty wine with raspberry, strawberry and cherry, a hint of vanillin oak and soft juicy tannins. A light, fresh, slightly spicy, sweetish red made from a blend of Garnacha, Cabernet sauvignon and Tempranillo.
A 13% alc. $11.95/$9.95.

Cotos de Hayas Crianza Red 2000, Campo de Borja, Spain
Light plum red in colour, vibrantly fruity on the nose with definite chocolate, lots of sappy, smoky oak, smooth tannins, chocolate, mocha, spices and sweet fruits, perhaps some guava, a little citrus, and a juicy finish. Quite delicious, sure to appeal and simply outstanding at the price.
A blend of Garnacha (60%), Tempranillo (30%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%)
13% alc. $13.95/$12.50.

Pipers Brook Pinot Noir – Tasmania, Australia
Ruby red, slightly translucent in colour, smelling of cherry and mulberry fruits, it's clean and vibrant to the taste with soft tannins, a hint of mint and smoky oak, pepper and anise, it has good acidity and smoky cherries linger. A good example of Australian Pinot Noir.
13.5% alc. $36.95/$32.95.

Cotos de Hayas Fagus 'Seleccion Especial' Garnacha 2001, Campo de Borja, Spain
Dense plummy red in colour with bright berry fruit and smoke on the nose, this is a super-ripe, rich, creamy full-bodied wine that's soft and smooth in the mouth with plenty of flavour. Ripe raspberries, cherry fruitcake, almonds, spice and a firm savoury, slightly salty finish. A powerful wine, not for the faint hearted.
13% alc. $49.95/$44.95.

Kurtz Family Boundary Row Barossa Shiraz 2001
A big inky red black Aussie Shiraz with a slightly stinky, smoky delicatessen meat nose and a touch of eucalypt, ripe spicy fruit, pepper, tar and a savoury (salty) finish. The smokiness of this wine made me think it would be ideal for smoky BBQ'd meats at this time of the year. Aged in French and American oak for 20 months.
14% alc. $44.95/$39.95.

Henry Lawson Mudgee Shiraz 1998
Burgundy black, showing some development, smoky bacon and cherry on the nose leads into a big dark, smooth savoury wine with the benefit of age. It's a beautifully structured wine with Christmas cake macerated fruits, nutmeg and smoke, plenty of spice, just a hint of eucalypt and lingering sweet fruit. From the great vintage, just a treat to try and drinking terrifically now.
14% alc. $21.95/$18.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 7 January 2004
Mad Fish Chardonnay 2002 - Western Australia (screwcap)
As I poured this wine, pineapple wafted up from the glasses and that character stayed throughout. It's a pale gold wine, a totally fruit-driven wine with a good spine of honey oak and lingering fruit salad with just a hint of citrus. It will take chilling which makes it perfect for the sort of weather we're getting right now.
13.5% alc. $23.95 / $18.95 special.

Mills Reef Reserve Chardonnay 2002 - Hawkes Bay
A golden coloured wine with rather appealing aromatics, a big full-bodied leesy wine with lots of toasty pineapple, spicy oak and buttery vanillin oak. Slight chilling subdues some of the flavours but as it warms up, which it will quickly do in this weather, the stonefruit richness comes through. Gold Medal AirNZ Wine Awards 2003.
13.5% alc. $19.95 $17.95 special.

Shadowfax Pinot Gris 2003 – Adelaide Hills (screwcap)
Straw lemon in colour, reeking of pear on the nose along with a suggestion that you are in a manicurist's salon. It's an oily textured wine with pear, citrus, lime and beeswax but with a sharp dry finish.
13% alc. $26.95.

Quartz Reef Pinot Gris 2003 - Central Otago (screwcap)
This is richer with more body, it’s a little sweeter too. Juicy tinned pears, honey, flowers, spice and sweet citrus. Michael said apple strudel, which was right on the button. Rich and oily with lovely acidity on the finish, it endeared itself to more tasters than the Shadowfax did but was still not outrageously popular on the night. Try it with food such as an oily piece of salmon and you'll be surprised the difference that food makes to these blander style of wines.
14% alc. $28.95 .

Palliser Sauvignon Blanc 2003 - Martinborough (screwcap)
You can smell this wine across the room.. "The green green grass of Marlborough" said David, but he was wrong because this wine's from Martinborough. He's forgiven though because it's classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Passionfruit, apples, hints of lychee, a touch of sweat, and lots and lots of juicy citrus, dry but very ripe with a talcy, grainy texture, just a little nutty too. Good weight, good length, a far more popular style than the Pinot Gris wines that preceded it.
13% alc. $23.95.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling 2002 - Eden Valley / Clare Valley (screwcap)
This smells of limes, talc, flowers, a hint of kero, it's dry, rich and textural with toasted limes and sherbet filling the palate. Great finish and terrific length, the flavour goes on and on. A wine to drink now or confidently cellar.
11.5% alc. $23.95.

Giesen Riesling 2003 - Canterbury / Marlborough (screwcap)
In contrast to the Aussie, this smells of sweet citrus and honey. It's spritzy and spicy with marmalade and honey in the palate. It's so delicious served chilled and makes a sweet refreshing afternoon or aperitif wine.
11.5% alc. $16.95/$14.95 special.

Lamborghini Trescone 2001 - Umbria, Italy
A blend of 50% Sangiovese, 30% Ciliegiolo and 20% Merlot, this blackish-red medium weight wine smells of charred vanillin oak with cherries, raspberries and loganberries adding to the sensory appeal. It's dry, savoury, just a little salty and interesting to the palate with its myriad of flavours. The descriptors kept coming – tar, tobacco, liquorice, old leather, chicken coop, stables, bread and butter pudding, strawberry jam and raspberry. Soft, with good acidity on the finish, it's a great wine to take along to a BBQ as you can drink it on its on or match it to all sorts of meats.
12.5% alc. $24.95.

Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2002 - Marlborough
Purple red, medium weight, gamey scents with smoky bacon and cherry hiding behind it. A big full-bodied wine with sweetish ripe fruit, a touch of herbs, lots of spice, abundant cherry and a savoury gamey, spicy finish. Smoky oak lingers with just a hint of mushroom. Quite savoury for Marlborough and absolutely no chocolate at all. Gold Medals from LLTop100 & AirNZ Wine Awards 2003.
14% alc. $29.95 / $26.95 special.

D'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2000 - South Australia
Such a big rich powerful wine after the classy pinot, this flavoursome wine is laden with American oak and strawberry jam, leather, spice, leather and hints of pepper with eucalypt and camphor lingering on the finish. It's fairly developed in colour for a 2000 but simply great for this summer's BBQ's.
14.5% alc. $22.95.

Matariki Aspire Syrah 2002 - Hawkes Bay (screwcap)
Amazingly youthful purple black with crimson rims, this reeks of black and white pepper, spices, tobacco and vanillin oak. It's oily in the palate with spiced black plums and more earthy savoury notes and asphalt. The texture is creamy and there's lots of oak, it's smooth with a flare of acidity on the finish. Not bad for the price, that's for sure.
13.5% alc. $19.95.

D'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2000 - South Australia
Inky red black with lots of youth and depth, this smells so opulent with its mint chocolate and cedary oak nose. It's a huge wine, an exuberant wine, rich, creamy and savoury, full of exotic spice and cedar with a lovely fruit structure that's reminiscent of blackberries and plums. The well-integrate tannins carry the wine and good balanced acidity lifts the finish, playing a tune on the back palate singing of its capacity to age. Simply outstanding, it has five gold medals and a trophy to prove it.
14.5% alc. $65.95.

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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