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 www.first-glass.co.nz for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 27th October 2004
Glorious Rich Reds, mostly from the Liquorland Top 100.
All wines were tasted blind.
Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz 2002
A richly coloured soft juicy red with cedary oak, spices, a touch of mint and lingering cherries and liquorice. A good start to the evening.
13.5% alc. $14.95 special.
McGuigan Earth's Portrait Shiraz 2002 – Limestone Coast
Black red, leathery smelling with cherries and smoke, a rustic style with a touch of strawberry, hints of aniseed and a bright, lively, lingering finish. Silver Medal.
14% alc. $17.95/$15.95.
Red Rock The Underarm Hawkes Bay Syrah 2003
With wonderfully fragrant creamy oak and crisp black peppery scents over well defined fruit, this alluring shining black red wine with its bright crimson edges is full of plums, blackberries, spicy oak, hints of tar and firm tannins. There's a fresh feel to the bright fruity finish and it looks very impressive tonight. Silver medal.
14% alc. $22.95/$19.95.
Tapestry McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Blackish red with chocolate and cherries, savoury oak, meaty tannins and hints of cigar, this well-balanced wine has lovely palate weight and is juicy and drinkable with a long smoky finish. Gold medal.
13.5% alc. $23.95/$21.50.
Kirrihill Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Blackish red with some development to the colour, smelling of fragrant oak with floral and minty scents, it is smoky and savoury to the taste with sweet red fruit, well-integrated tannins, good acidity, spicy oak, a touch of liquorice and a lingering savoury finish. Juicy blackcurrants flavours emerge on the aftertaste. Gold Medal.
14% alc. $21.95/$18.95.
Newton Forrest Cornerstone Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2002
Shining red black with rich scents of smoky bacon and red berries, this voluptuously flavoured, super ripe wine has considerable depth and flavour. Biscuity savoury creamy oak, chocolate and mocha, juicy plums, blueberries and currants, huge tannins, lots of spice, good acidity, liquorice on the finish and lingering red fruits, it is fantastically balanced throughout. Gold medal.
14% alc. $39.95/$35.95.
Shadowfax McLaren Vale Shiraz 2001
Rich meaty, tarry scents with creamy chocolatey oak, this big, rich dense meaty wine is also soft and sweet. Silky smooth with chocolate, cherries, cigar box, spice and a touch of eucalypt it is a wine of harmony, beautifully integrated throughout. Already three years old but showing lots of youth, it is delicious now but can be confidently cellared for a while. Gold medal.
15% alc. $31.95/$28.50.
Penfolds RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz 2001
We've suddenly stepped up a notch or two, judging by the super fine tannin structure of this wine. Bright red black in colour with creamy vanillin oak, red berries, chocolate, liquorice, tar and cigar, a complex wine with the Penfold's hallmark of typically rich sweet fruit, wonderfully fine tannins, beautifully integrated oak and just a smidgen of mint. Made with 100% French oak, the finish is long and savoury.
14% alc. $155.00/$139.50.
Tapestry Fifteen Barrels Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Showing some development to the red black colour, this is more of a savoury wine from the start with tobacco, tar and grippy tannins but there is juicy mulberry fruit that adds the succulent factor. Good acidity and beautifully integrated savoury oak with a very long aftertaste, this wine has lovely palate weight and shows very well after the RWT. Gold medal.
14% alc. $39.95/$35.95.
Taltarni Heathcote Shiraz 2003
Shining black with crimson purple edges, this wine reeks of juicy plums and smoky oak. A huge creamy wine packed with juicy berry and plum fruits, mint, lots of spices and sweet youthful tannins, there is a bittersweet smoky, tobacco, cigar character that pushes through. Think of chocolate covered coffee beans - bite through the sweet chocolate and you get the bitterness of the bean. The juicy sweet fruit balances the powerful structure and the finish is smoky and long. Gold medal.
14.5% alc. $43.95/$39.50.
Elderton Ashmead Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Showing a little development to the colour, this wine smells like it has headed into a secondary phase. There's leather and olive on the nose, lovely fine integrated tannins, sweet upfront fruit and a savoury finish with a smoky tobacco character joining the spicy fruitcake flavours. Like chocolate-covered raisins, the firmness of the tannins balances the voluptuousness and the finish is immensely long and satisfying. Gold medal.
14.5% alc. $79.95/$69.95.
Maglieri Vintage Shiraz Port 1997
Dense browny red with orange tinges, this smells spicy and spirituous with cedary oak, spicy, salty, macerated raisins and currants, dusky tannins and liquorice. The alcohol is sweet and heady but the finish is dry. Dangerously drinkable.
18.5% alc. $23.95/$19.95.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 20th October 2004
Chardonnays from the Liquorland Top 100.
All wines were tasted blind.
Esk Valley Black Label Chardonnay 2002
Creamy with mellow toasty oak, stonefruit and hints of pineapple on a leesy, bready backbone. A soft wine with a lovely savoury complexity and a lifted lingering finish, drinking very well now.
14% alc. $20.95/$15.95. Screwcap.
Palandri Margaret River Great Southern Chardonnay 2003
Toasty with well-integrated spicy oak and a buttery creamy texture packed with wonderful fruit flavours characterised by citrus and melon and a well-balanced rounded finish with a warm kick as it lingers.
Gold medal. 14% alc. $22.95/$18.95. Screwcap.
Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2003
Classy, fragrant, French oak driven aromatics lead into stonefruit, nectarine and citrus driven flavours with lots of leesy, mealy barrel-ferment influences that build on the creamy, caramel backbone. A big creamy, oaky style with a wonderful balance of deliciously rich fruit and a long lingering finish.
13.5% alc. $27.95/$23.95.
Sileni Estate The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002
With lemon-scented oak on the nose and sweet creamy oak in the palate, this lovely smooth wine has all the bells and whistles - lots of lees-stirred, barrel ferment characters, plenty of stonefruit flavour, a powerful long spicy oak finish and a deliciously rounded aftertaste.
14% alc. $34.95/$29.95.
Rosemount Show Reserve Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2002
Smoky on the nose with well integrated savoury oak and subtle fruit flavours of citrus and yellow plum, even slightly salty (minerally) in some respects, it builds nicely to a lingering rounded and fairly powerful creamy aftertaste.
This is such a different style to the full blown Sileni and tastes completely different to the wine we tasted 3 weeks ago.
14% alc. $25.95/$22.95.
Nobilo Icon Chardonnay 2002
Fruit-driven with luscious tropical and stonefruits, spicy oak and a long creamy, slightly smoky finish, this blend of Gisborne and Hawkes Bay is drinking beautifully now and could be the value wine of the night.
14% alc. $21.95/$17.95.
Forrest Estate Vineyard Select Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
Appealing from the outset with juicy, creamy, toasty, yum-pronouncing aromatics, the taste is not a let down. Toasty oak, smoke, powerful sweet ripe fruit, good acidity and behind this all a beautifully balanced mouthfilling richness brought about by barrel-fermentation, malolactic and lees-stirring. Very classy without overpowering.
14% alc. $28.95/$26.40. Screwcap.
Mount Riley Seventeen Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
Lovely rounded creamy scents with hints of stonefruit lead into a smooth textured, quite savoury flavour with citrus and melons, a touch of tobacco and a spiciness to the finish. A beautifully made wine that is seamless in its balance but is perhaps not as forward as some of the other wines tasted tonight. "Less can be more" and in this case it is. Kingsley says this will be absolutely delicious to drink in a couple of years time.
14% alc. $32.95/$28.00.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
A big full barrel-ferment style with lots of toasty new oak and luscious stonefruits laced with citrus; ripe, round and impeccably balanced, very smooth and appealing with a lingering creamy finish, thoroughly enjoyable right now.
Gold Medal and Trophy for Champion Chardonnay.
14.5% alc. $34.95/$29.70. Screwcap.
Spencer Hill Coastal Ridge Nelson Chardonnay 2002
Spicy, savoury and smoky with a creamy textured juicy backbone, a beautifully sophisticated wine with stonefruit and apricot lingering on the spicy, almost peppery finish and a very long fruit driven aftertaste.
13.5% alc. $34.95/$29.70.
Hungerford Hill Tumbarumba Snowy Mountains Chardonnay 2002
Lots of colour and lots of big toasty oak in this broad fruity wine with smoke, spice and pineapple-influenced tropical fruit. Lots of mouthfilling flavour but perhaps a little more brazen than the superstar wines we've become accustomed to from Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. "Rubber on the nose" says Dave, a true pointer to its Aussie origin.
13% alc. $26.95/$23.95.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waldron Chardonnay 2002
There are lovely aromatics in this rich mealy wine that has a leesy, almost lanolin-like influence to the rich luscious flavours. Lovely fruit weight with delicious stonefruit flavours reminiscent of Hawkes Bay in style. Long, mouthfilling and creamy, a beautifully crafted wine with beautifully integrated oak and a long savoury finish, this wine just shone tonight.
14% alc. $36.95/$31.40. Screwcap.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 6th October 2004
Trophy wines from the Liquorland Top 100.
All wines were tasted blind.
Kirrihill Companions Chardonnay 2003
Yellow gold. Toasty and creamy with full juicy flavours of figs, tropical fruit and pineapple on a rich, rounded, spicy buttery finish. Not a trophy winner but a popular lead-in to a night of spectacular wines.
13.9% alc. $15.95/$13.95. Screwcap.
Sacred Hill Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Just ever so slightly sweaty on the nose, but also exuberantly fruity and fresh. Rich, full and grassy with limes, tropical fruit, a juicy fleshiness and a long pungent finish. Lovely balance. Great drinking. Terrific wine.
Trophy for Champion Sauvignon Blanc.
13% alc. $18.95/$15.95. Screwcap.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
A full barrel ferment, lees-stirred style with a slightly grapefruit aroma, tropical fruit and ripe citrus, a biscuity backbone and a beautifully balanced savoury oak finish. Long and tasty. Two years on from vintage, it is just starting to open up and show its straps.
Trophy for Champion Chardonnay.
14.5% alc. $34.95/$30.95. Screwcap.
Johanneshof Marlborough Pinot Gris 2004
Ripe, pungent, musky, aromas, almost reminiscent of gewurztraminer at first but the apples and pears come through with abundance. With a touch of honey and a fruit nectar-like texture it is sweetish but beautifully balanced with a seam of citrussy tartness, ripe apples and just a touch of musky spice. A powerful wine, very much in the Alsace mould.
Trophy for Champion Pinot Gris.
13% alc. $27.95/$24.95.
Grant Burge Thorne Riesling 2002 - Eden Valley
A dry Aussie style with a lovely fragrance of flowers, limes and talc. Dry and spicy to the taste with limes and apples on a slightly grainy texture and a full-bodied, slightly oily palate. Zingy acidity makes a bright lemony finish and the aftertaste is long and full.
Trophy for Champion Riesling.
12.5% alc. $20.95/$18.95.
Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2004
Light gold in colour with an abundant bouquet of rose petals, violets and lychees and showing excellence balance and finesse in the palate. A dryish wine with spiced apple and stonefruit flavour and a long flavoursome spicy finish, not too overpowering which will make it a good accompaniment to food. The lovely musky floral traits expected in good gewurztraminer, linger.
Trophy for Champion Gewurztraminer.
14% alc. $21.95/$19.75.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003
Rich colour and intensely aromatic with a cherry and chocolate aroma. Bright fruit flavours of cherry and plum balance the savoury, slightly herbal oak and the earthy tarry backbone. Beautifully balanced with wonderfully fine tannins, aromatic spices and a long creamy aftertaste. A big wine but still retaining the pinot noir delicacy. Without a doubt, a superstar.
Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir.
14% alc. $52.95/$47.50.
Esk Valley Reserve Merlot Malbec 2002
Deep, inky blackberry red in colour and smelling of creamy Cedary oak full of vanilla and red berries. A huge wine in the palate with rich fruit tannins and intensely concentrated plum and cassis fruit, a nuance of violets, a hint of bitter chocolate and a dark savoury finish. There's a lovely juicy undercurrent. Still very young with tannins to soften, it has years of life ahead.
Trophy for Champion Merlot predominant.
14.5% alc. $52.95/$47.50
Rosemount Traditional 2002
Blackberry red with a vitreous glow. Sweet fruit aromas with just a hint of eucalypt over leather and cedar. Another intensely concentrated wine with cassis, plum and boysenberry fruit, spicy oak, a creamy leathery backbone and plenty of tannin grip. Vanilla and big juicy blue plums linger. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot aged for 18 month in French and American oak.
Trophy for Champion Cabernet.
14.5% alc. $34.95/$29.95.
Mitchelton Preece Shiraz 2002
Wonderful crimson red colour, lots of juicy flavours, ripe and creamy, smooth and spicy, good tannins, spice, a touch of chocolate and lingering vanilla. A delicious, easy drinking, Shiraz.
Trophy for Champion Commercial Red Wine.
14% alc. $15.95/$12.95.
Johanneshof Noble Riesling 2004
A wonderfully clean and beautifully balanced sweet wine, bright yellow gold in colour with deliciously sweet flavours of apricot, orange honey, flower nectar and toffee and a lovely creamy, viscously textured backbone. Sensational stuff. If this was a German wine it would be a Trockenbeerenauslese.
Trophy for Champion Sweet Wine.
10.5% alc. $34.95/$30.95.
Lauriston Show Reserve Muscat NV
Golden amber with a greenish tinge. Smelling of Christmas cake in a glass with toffee, mocha, nuts and raisins floating on the spiritous infused scents. Rich and thick, hot, raisiny, a little smoky. Simply sensational, as great Aussie Muscats always are.
Trophy for Champion Fortified.
19.5% alc. $37.95/$33.95.
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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