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edited by Sue Courtney

Wednesday Round-up - the 2005 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

December 2005
[ 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 - 28th December 2005
Holiday Wines
All wines were tasted blind.

Orlando Trilogy Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Viognier 2004
Apple, gooseberry, lime and tropical fruit aromas and fruity, juicy, oily-textured, pungent grass and crisp tropical fruit flavours with the acidity becoming softer as the wine flows across the palate and dried banana on the soft finish with the apricot of Viognier coming through as it lingers. An unusual mish-mash of flavours.
11.5% alc. $17.95/$12.95. Screwcap.

Greenhough Nelson Chardonnay 2002
A medium to full-bodied chardonnay with hints of nectarine on the oaky nose and lightly buttery flavours with spicy fresh oak, a savoury, mealy backbone, stonefruit, melons, citrus and a creamy, toasty finish. Developing well with some bottle age now under its belt.
13.5% alc. $22.95/$17.95. Screwcap.

Selaks Founders Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2004
Full-bodied, rich, mealy and spicy, this oaky, creamy malolactic style has mouthfilling stonefruit, tropical fruits and butterscotch developing on the warm, spicy finish. A classy, seamless wine that suffers from "small glass syndrome", i.e. drink in a big glass for utmost enjoyment. "In a big glass it is incomparable," says Kingsley.
Gold Liquorland Top 100.
4% alc. $28.95/$25.95. Screwcap.

Stonehaven Padthaway Viognier 2004
Distinctively Viognier with its extremely aromatic, floral, musky apricot scents leading into a warm, rounded, creamy, mealy full-bodied texture with apricots, nectarine, apples and tropical fruit, and a long, lifted, spicy finish.
Gold New Zealand International Wine Show, 13.5% alc. $26.95/$21.95.

Mt. Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Gris 2005
Floral smelling with pear drops, hints of violet and a touch of musk, and fruity to the taste with limes, apples, stonefruits and passionfruit. Lots of bright, juicy, well-balanced acidity with good palate weight and a fresh, dry finish with a lingering aftertaste.
14% alc. $26.95/$21.55. Screwcap.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Pinot Gris 2005
Not overly fragrant with faint hints of oak, this is a dry, oily-textured, nutty wine with crisp acidity, citrus, pear and ripe apple fruit with a vanillin note coming through on the medium-bodied finish and just a touch of botrytis sweetness as it lingers.
13.5% alc. $29.95/$23.95. Screwcap.

Palliser Estate Martinborough Riesling 2005
A fresh, young, fairly dry Riesling with lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice, bracing apple acidity and just a touch of earthy honey, the finish is long and lingering. A wine that will develop well in the bottle.
12% alc. $20.95/$16.75. Screwcap.

Te Mata Awatea 2003 - Hawkes Bay
Youthful coloured, reasonably opaque burgundy red (like a young pinot), with slightly smoky, earthy, berry aromas and black plum and berry flavours, savoury French oak, tight grippy tannins, a hint of pepper, some tobacco leafy characters and a long, vinous finish. Another wine suffering from the "small glass syndrome" tonight.
A blend of 47% Merlot, 37% Cab Sauv, 11% Cab Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.
13.5% alc. $33.95/27.15.

Yellowtail Shiraz 2004 - Riverina
Inky black-red with spicy aromas and juicy berry and black cherry flavours with smoky vanillin oak, chocolate, liquorice, smooth tannins and a fruitcake sweetness to the spicy finish. Easy to see why it has taken the world by storm.
13.5% alc. $12.95/$9.95. Plastic cork.

Fox Creek Shadow's Run Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - McLaren Vale
Bright black-red with a smoky, spicy, winey, American oak aroma and concentrated, juicy blackberry, mulberry and boysenberry fruits with peppery spices, tar, smooth sound tannins and good length with cabernet adding structure to the creamy finish. 14.5% alc. $19.95/$15.95. Screwcap.

Morris Rutherglen Durif 2001
An intensely concentrated wine with ripe plum, juicy black peach and black cherry fruit, cigar, vanillin oak, liquorice, eucalypt, big furry tannins that are well-balanced to the opulent fruit, and a spicy, peppery, sweet oak finish. Very youthful for its age and plenty of life ahead of it.
14% alc. $22.95/$18.35.

Jacob's Creek Centenary Hill Shiraz 1998 - Barossa Valley
Deep colour with a black-red core and fading Burgundy rims, intense, concentrated and very youthful for its age. Aromas of smoky biscuity oak and chocolate and rich creamy oak flavours with a lovely savoury spicy backbone and a rich vinous complexity with beautifully integrated tannins and suggestions of chocolate, liquorice and red fruits. Drinking beautifully now with years and years ahead of it.
Multiple Golds & Trophies, 14% alc. $59.95/$47.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 21st December 2005
Some of our favourites from 2005
All wines were tasted blind.

Shingle Peak Pinot Gris 2005
Soft-textured with an apple pungency and ripe stone-fruit building to a powerful, slightly herbal, almost sauvignon blanc-like finish.
13% alc. $16.95. Screwcap.

THE Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Crisp, punchy and vivacious with bright summer herb aromas and crisp green apple, lemon grass, lime, gooseberry and pineapple flavours, a touch of sweat and an incredibly powerful finish.
13.5% alc. $16.95. Screwcap.

Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005 - Marlborough
Perfumed tropical fruit, herbs and that distinctive sweaty armpit on the nose and mouthfilling flavours of gooseberry, tropical fruit, pungent herbs and limey citrus. Lovely balance of sweet and sour, with a silky texture and a ton of armpit on the powerful finish. A fantastic example of the distinctive Marlborough style.
13% alc. $29.95. Screwcap.

Zilzie Viognier 2004 - Australia
Light gold coloured, rich and powerful smelling with hints of musk and vanilla, this is a fat, oily-textured, slightly developed wine with lashings of apricot-infused flavours, hints of melon, tropical fruit and honey, soft acidity and a touch of butterscotch on the finish.
13.5% alc. $15.95. Screwcap.

Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2003 - Waipara
Bright yellow gold, aromatic and cedary with smoky, fresh sawn, resinous wood and funky, wild yeast scents and mouthfilling, rich, oaky flavours with apricot, white peach and ripe apple fruit and lots of creamy, mealy characters. Developed for its age and quite controversial on the night - but Kingsley loved it.
14% alc. $34.95.

Cottage Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004
Light gold coloured with soft, mealy aromas, peach and melon fruit, hints of butterscotch and citrus, well-balanced, toasty and creamy with a spicy oak finish. Delicate to start but with a powerful finish and a lingering aftertaste. Drink in a big glass and donít over chill.
14% alc. $32.95.

THE Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004
Deep, youthful, pink-tinged burgundy red, cherry and plum aromas and ripe, tasty, full-bodied flavours of fruits of the forest with fine tannins, pinot spice and a long savoury finish. Excellent length and very good. Gold medal Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2005.
14.5% alc. $25.95. Screwcap.

Elderton Barossa Merlot 2002
Opaque black-red with brick-red coloured rims, looking a little older than the vintage on the bottle would suggest. Stewed plums and creamy vanillin oak aromas and big, rich, juicy, full-bodied, smooth-textured flavours with concentrated plum fruit, peppery spice, fine tannins and a touch of dark chocolate lingering with tobacco on the long, savoury finish. Ready now.
14.5% alc. $32.95.

Scarpantoni 'The Brothers Block' McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Dense and opaque with a black-red core and youthful burgundy-red rims. Powerful aromas of concentrated berry fruit with hints of leather and sweet-oaked flavours, big, furry, grippy tannins and an earthy, dense, meaty richness to the long, succulent finish. Lovely balance of fruit, oak and tannin. Drink now or cellar.
14% alc. $18.95. Screwcap.

Shingleback McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003
Deep inky red with biscuity oak, mocha and black forest chocolate on the nose and creamy vanillin oak, peppery spice, black liquorice and ripe plummy fruit in the palate, rich, dense and juicy with meaty tannins and a dark, savoury, smoky finish - delicious.
14.5% alc. $19.95.

The Gate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002
Dense mulberry-red coloured with spicy oak aromas and smooth, creamy flavours packed with ripe blackberry fruit, chocolate, a touch of mint, a hint of leather, firm fine tannins and a rich, powerful finish.
14.5% alc. $34.95.

Yellowtail Premium Shiraz 2003
A big opulent style with an inky black-red colour, sweet oak, chocolate, firm tannins, pepper, a touch of liquorice, hints of tobacco, boysenberry, vanilla and beautifully integrated creamy oak. Classy stuff. Winner of the Stoddart Trophy at the Queensland Wine Show, 2005.
13.5% alc. $48.95.

De Bortoli Show Liqueur Muscat NV
Translucent tawny gold with yellow, green rims, rich fruit cake aromas and intense muscatel flavours with a thick, toffee-like texture, hints of orange rind and a warm, spiritous finish with a spicy kick.
18% alc. $28.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 14th December 2005
Chardonnay, Chardonnay and Chardonnay
All wines were tasted blind and all wines were chilled, as is appropriate for the season.

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2004 - Martinborough
Light gold with a greenish glint, oily, nutty oak aromas and rich, broad flavours with a soft, creamy palate, a ton of stonefruit and tropical fruit, a touch of muesli and a nutty, full-bodied finish with lactic flavours, from the malolactic fermentation, lingering. Ready now. 13% alc. $27.95.

Mount Riley Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc)
A fruity smelling wine with juicy fruit gum esters on the nose and ripe grapefruit, sweet lemon and tangerine flavours, with just a hint of oak, a creamy texture and a toasty, mealy, lees-influenced finish. A quite quaffable medium-bodied style. 14% alc. $16.95.

Howard Park Chardonnay 2003 - Western Australia
Toasty, butter-coated oak aromas and toasty, mealy, lightly honeyed flavours with youthful oak, nectarine, citrus, hints of pineapple and a long, lifted mealy, spicy finish with a full-bodied aftertaste. Still on its uphill climb. 13.5% alc. $43.95.

Spy Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc)
Light gold. Rich creamy stonefruit aromas and savoury oak flavours with spice, toasted nuts, apricot and citrus. An opulent. full-bodied. barrel-fermented style with good viscosity, well-integrated oak and a juicy finish. Impressive. 14% alc. $18.95.

Coopers Creek Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc)
Smoky aromas and smooth, creamy, toasty, oaky flavours. A big savoury style with a funky earthy character, citrus, stonefruit and a mellow, fading finish. 14% alc. $16.95.

Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2004 (sc)
A big, leesy, citrussy, full-malo style. Toasty smelling with freshly squeezed grapefruit aromas and creamy, barrel-fermented flavours with peach and melon joining the citrus and butterscotch coming forth on the finish. Quite tight and doesnít really suit chilling. 14% alc. $25.95.

Montana Ormond Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc)
A big, full-bodied, ripe fruity style. Lots of tropical fruit and toasty oak with a spicy, mealy finish and a long, powerful aftertaste. Well-balanced and definitely approachable. 14% alc. $26.95.

Shepherds Ridge Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
Yellow gold with a leesy, developed-smelling, smoky aroma. Ripe and full-boded with toasty oak, citrus, tropical fruit and a rich, spicy finish with a long, smoky, toasty oak aftertaste. Bottle age adds additional complexity. 14% alc. $15.95.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc)
Light gold and fruity smelling with juicy, fruit-focused flavours of stonefruit, melon and red apples on a mealy backbone with well-integrated smoky oak and a long toasty finish. A very easy-to-drink style that doesnít need food. 14% alc. $17.95.

Mud House White Swan Reserve Chardonnay 2004 - Marlborough (sc)
Light gold coloured, rich and powerful, mealy and toasty, a big, barrel-fermented, style with full malo, loads of nutty, leesy characters, citrus and spicy oak. Perfect for crayfish. 13.7% alc. $25.95.

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc)
Deep lemon gold with citrussy oak aromas and bold, slightly developed, mealy, buttered lemon flavours with toasty oak, spice, citrus, nougat and caramel building to a long, flavoursome finish with a touch of stonefruit. 13.5% alc. $22.95.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc)
Yellow gold with aromatic, smoky, slightly buttery aromas. Developing beautifully in the bottle and starting to mellow yet still spicy with a smooth, creamy texture, lots of toasty oak, citrus, stonefruit, caramel and butterscotch and a long, tasty finish. 14.5% alc. $34.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 7th December 2005
Gold Medal and Trophies from the Air New Zealand Wine Awards
All wines were tasted blind.

Astrolabe Wines Ltd Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Fresh and bracing with pungent herbaceous aromas and mouthfilling flavours of green bean and capsicum over gooseberry with a slightly oily texture and plenty of limey citrus on the rich, vibrant finish with melon and tropical fruit lingering for ages. Screwcap.
13% alc. $18.95 special.

Matua Valley Paretai Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Crisp, fresh and quite herbaceous smelling with an oily, almost honeyed texture and racy, vivacious flavours with vibrant fruit, lots of Marlborough greens (apples, gooseberry, limes, grass and herbs) and a pungent, spicy, zesty finish with cherimoya joining tropical fruit on the aftertaste. Screwcap.
13.5% alc. $28.95.

Montana Terroir Stuart Block Gisborne Chardonnay 2004
Lovely toasty, mealy aromatics with ripe stonefruit and a hint of butterscotch leading into a rich, mouthfilling palate with an earthy, mealy backbone, mellow tropical fruit and a spicy, toasty oak finish. Stylish and long. Screwcap.
14% alc. $26.95.

Kemblefield The Distinction Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004
Rich and buttery smelling with lots of savoury, spicy oak flavours, a ton of concentrated stonefruit, a smooth, creamy texture, soft acidity and butterscotch lingering on the long toasty finish. A big expressive Chardonnay that can be well chilled. Cork.
14.5% alc. $19.95 special.

Forrest Estate Dry Marlborough Riesling 2002
Showing its age with a straw gold colour, slightly kero aromas and rich, toasty flavours yet it still has vibrant acidity. It's dry and spicy with mellow tropical fruit, an earthy (talc-like) backbone, well-balanced alcohol and a long, dry, spicy, lightly floral, lemony finish. Drinking beautifully now. Screwcap.
12.8% alc. 6.5g/l rs. $18.95.

Grove Mill Marlborough Riesling 2004
Pale straw gold, delicate honeysuckle and citrus aromas and crisp, fresh, zesty, lemon, lime and apple flavours with warm spice, a smooth silky texture and a long clean, juicy finish with lots of acidity to balance the sweetness. Delightful drinking. Screwcap.
12% alc. 14g/l rs. $13.95 special.

Allan Scott Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2005
Fragrantly aromatic with Turkish Delight and rose petal scents and sweeter flavours of musk, rose water and citrus with soft acidity, and a long, spicy, powerful finish. Wonderful varietal definition. Screwcap. Trophy for Champion Gewurztraminer.
13.5% alc. $15.95 special.

Corbans Private Bin Hawke's Bay Gewurztraminer 2004
Light gold coloured with sweet orange, lychee and Turkish Delight scents, an oily, honeyed texture and good phenolic weight that adds a lemony nuance. An off-dry wine with good varietal definition and lingering spice and musk. Screwcap.
13.5%. $18.95 special.

Capricorn Wines Struggler's Flat Pinot Noir 2004
Ruby garnet, savoury and earthy smelling with black cherries, stewed plum, red guava, earthy spices, hints of leather, warm savoury oak, plush velvety tannins and a long savoury finish with a warm, rich aftertaste. Screwcap. Fantastic value for Martinborough.
13.5% alc. $19.95 special.

Villa Maria Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2004
A deeply coloured wine with an opaque black-red core and ruby garnet rims. Rich and savoury with captivating black cherry and spiced plum aromas and concentrated ripe cherry and plum fruit, a beautifully structured palate with silky tannins, creamy savoury oak, an earthy richness and a juiciness to the spicy, savoury finish. Screwcap. Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir.
14% alc. $48.95 special.

Capricorn Wines Red Rock Gravel Pit Red 2004
A blend of Merlot and Malbec from the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay, this warm, juicy, inky coloured, full-bodied red is ripe and rounded with spicy oak, concentrated plummy fruit, hints of leather and a long lifted savoury finish with a touch of chocolate. A young wine with big tannins and plenty of life ahead of it. Screwcap. Trophy for Champion Merlot Predominant Blend and Trophy for Champion Open Red.
14% alc. $19.95.

Villa Maria Estate Reserve Merlot 2002
Inky blackberry coloured with bright black cherry coloured rims - it looks like it should be a couple of years younger than it is. Fragrant biscuity oak and concentrated fruit aromas with hints of leather and spice, and succulent, powerful flavours of plums, blackberry and cherry fruit, cedary oak, hints of liquorice and plush velvety tannins with a long, powerful, creamy finish. Screwcap. Trophy for Champion Merlot.
14.5% alc. $38.95 special.

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 2005 tasting notes.
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April 2005 tasting notes.
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June 2005 tasting notes.
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