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 July 2005
Champions versus the Pretenders.
Classic wine styles versus contenders for their titles.
All wines were tasted blind.
Mansion House Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2004 - Marlborough
Crisp, green and grassy with capsicum, zesty grapefruit and citrus, and a rich, sweetly pungent finish. The export label of Whitehaven, made by Simon Waghorn.
Gold medal Royal Easter Wine Show.
13% alc. $16.95.
Ladoucette Comte Lafond Sancerre 2002 - Loire Valley, France
Smoky, cut grass aromas and oily-textured, steely grassy flavours with a hint of asparagus and a touch of lanolin. Warm and toasty yet crisp and fresh with a fumé note to the long, full-bodied finish. 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
12.5% alc. $59.95.
Joseph Drouhin Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru 2002 - Burgundy, France
Light yellow gold with smoky stonefruit and mellow nutty aromas and crisp, fresh, nutty-influenced grainy-textured flavours with melon and apricot fruit and abundant up-front acidity which melds into the wine nicely to produce a long, well-balanced, mealy finish with a creamy, lactic aftertaste. Very youthful right now but will be fantastic with a little more time. 100% Chardonnay.
13.5% alc. $104.00.
Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2003 - Waipara
Deep yellow gold with leesy, mealy citrussy aromas and flavours initially dominated by grapefruit and nutty oak. A full-bodied, barrel-fermented style with all the bells and whistles resulting in a smooth, seamless wine with beautifully proportioned oak and perfectly ripe stonefruit with a hint of pineapple lingering on the long spicy finish. Made in the Burgundian mould but with more obvious fruit.
14% alc. $34.95.
Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2004 - Clare Valley, Australia
Very pale straw in colour with delicately pure citrus aromas and crisp, fresh lemon and lime flavours with a splash of grapefruit and a sprinkling of gingery spices. Silky textured with an earthy richness, excellent length and the merest suggestion of honeysuckle on the tingling finish.
13% alc. $46.95. Screwcap.
Palandri Mt Barker Riesling 2001 - Western Australia
Smelling dry and rich with abundant lime aromas and a hint or three of petrol, it is an earthy, funky wine with a warm smooth texture, lime pith, green apples, spices and a long flavoursome full-bodied finish. With all the petrol connotations, it is a love-it or hate-it wine. I love it.
13.5% alc. $11.95. Screwcap.
Schloss Vollrads Spatlese Riesling 2002 - Rheingau, Germany
Very pale in colour. Sherbet, fizzy-fruit lollies and flowers on the nose and sweet grapey flavours with mandarin and fruit salad and just a touch of honey. Juicy, fresh and palate cleansing with a light, luscious aftertaste.
7.5% alc. $47.95.
Te Kairanga Martinborough Riesling 2004
Fragrant honeysuckle and citrus aromas and grapey, slightly nutty, pear-like flavours at first with grapefruit and mandarin emerging to make a strong statement with honey lingering on the full-bodied, almost toasty finish. A tasty, medium-sweet style with 28 grams of residual sugar. Screwcap.
12.5% alc. $17.95.
Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanée Villages 2002 - Burgundy, France
Garnet-red, typically pinot. Smoky, slightly floral, cherry-infused aromas and dry, velvety-textured, earthy, gamey flavours with good acidity, strawberry and cherry fruit, woody spices and a smoky finish with grippy tannins and just a nuance of chocolate and rose petal as it lingers. A very good example of Burgundy in a modern style. 100% Pinot Noir.
13% alc. $73.95.
Terrace Heights Estate Pinot Noir 2003
Deep red-black colour, inky in comparison to the Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanée. Smoky vanillin oak and cherries on the nose and lush ripe flavours of cherries and plums with fruit cake spices and an earthy richness. A weighty, fruity wine with good grip on the finish. At the Merlot end of the Pinot Noir spectrum. Gold medal Royal Easter Wine Show.
13% alc. $25.95.
Montrose Mudgee Black Shiraz 2002
Inky black-red in colour with sweet vanillin oak, chocolate, plums and succulent, spicy, juicy, full-bodied flavours with a meaty, earthy depth. Fantastic drinking and a bargain at the price.
14.5% alc. $17.95.
Heathcote Estate Heathcote Shiraz 2003
Purple-black of impenetrable depth with vivid violet-purple rims. Black pepper, purple plums and creamy oak on the nose lead into a massively structured mouthful of exquisite Australian Shiraz crammed with spices, blackberries, plums, sweet oak and finely structured grippy tannins with a meaty savouriness to the long succulent finish. Impressive to the eye and more impressive to the taste. Blockbuster stuff.
14.5% alc. $35.95.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 20th July 2005
Classic Wines, Classic Regions.
All wines were tasted blind.
Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Crisp apple, hints of stonefruit and tropical fruit on the nose lead into oily textured, fruity, slightly grassy flavours with sweetish herbs reminiscent of angelica and lemon grass and a pungent, grassy finish.
13.4% alc. $15.95 Srewcap.
Bouvet Brut NV - Saumur, Loire Valley
Lemon-gold coloured bubbles made from Chenin Blanc. Spritzy on the tongue with fresh, steely acidity and a dry, warm, freshly baked, white bread flavour with a nuance of violets emerging on the quincey finish.
13% alc. $22.95/$19.95.
Rosemount Roxburgh Chardonnay 2002 - Hunter Valley
Light yellow gold with mellow, slightly oily, cheesy, nutty aromas and initially dry, nutty steely, yeasty flavours but then the nutty vanillin oak kicks in with a peachy mid-palate and a creamy butterscotch richness takes over the rounded, full-bodied, dry finish. 14% alc. $29.95.
Trimbach Gewurztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre 1998 - Alsace, France
Yellow gold in colour with classically aromatic Gewurztraminer aromas of Turkish Delight, rose petals, lychees and spices leading into a full-bodied, rounded palate which is much drier than the luscious aromas suggest. Exquisitely balanced with a sensuous oily texture, a layer of orange zest amongst the spicy, musky flavours and a warming mellow aftertaste. A beautiful wine with terrific length.
13.5% alc. $47.95.
Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Reserve Speciale Moelleux 2003 - Loire Valley, France
Straw gold in colour with floral, fresh cut apple aromas and oily textured, apple strudel flavours, a luscious sweetness that softens the acidity, honey and candied fruits on the finish and a deliciously poised aftertaste with a strudel-like spicy richness. Made from 100% Chenin Blanc with 40-60 grams per litre of residual sugar, this is a terrific example of sweet Vouvray at an excellent price.
12.5% alc. $39.95.
Main Divide Canterbury Pinot Noir 2004
A classic youthful pinot noir colour of pinky cherry-red leads into classic New Zealand pinot noir aromas of cherries and smoky oak. Savoury to the taste with well balanced strawberry and cherry fruit, a hint of chocolate, velvety tannins and a slightly spicy finish, good acidity carries the length and there's a hint of chocolate raisins on the finish. Soft, round and very tasty.
13.5% alc. $19.95.
Domaine Charvin Côtes du Rhône 2003 - Rhône Valley, France
Fading red. Smoky aromas and slightly tarry, savoury, herb infused smoked meat flavours with firm dry tannins, sweet strawberry and plum fruit, vanillin oak and liquorice coming through to linger on the ripe-fruited, spicy finish. Good length with just a suggestion of chocolate raisin on the aftertaste. A blend of 85% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 5% Carignan.
14% alc. $27.95.
Selaks Founders Reserve Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2002 - Hawkes Bay
Dark dense red with smoky dusky oak on the nose and sweet cherry and strawberry fruit in the palate with spicy vanillin oak, liquorice, just a touch of orange zest on the finish and a long savoury aftertaste. It has quite grunty tannins with a nice touch of rusticity but its overall juicy succulence puts it right up there in the drinkability stakes.
13.5% alc. $16.95.
Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2001
Dark dense red. Savoury oak aromas with a little earth, barnyard and leather lead into a rich mouthful of cedary oak intermingling with ripe fruit flavours covering a spectrum of strawberry, cherry, blueberry and blackberry with a minty herbal nuance and a twist of pepper. A well-structured dry red with grainy tannins that become velvety on the finish and a lifted, spicy aftertaste.
14.5% alc. $32.95.
Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2001
Inky black-red with just starting-to-fade rims. Eucalypt aromas over voluptuous chocolatey oak and spicy, eucalypt-influenced flavours with sweet cedary vanillin oak, lush grainy tannins, juicy berry fruits, chocolate and liquorice on the smoky finish. Made in the classic Bin 28 style, this is a juicy wine and despite the big tannins, is deliciously drinkable already.
14% alc. $29.95.
Coto de Hayas Fagus 2002 - Campo de Borja, Spain
Inky red-black. Sweet chocolate-coated berry, slightly porty aromas and rich, sweet chocolatey flavours reminiscent of 'drinking chocolate' and mochaccino with boysenberries, cherries, liquorice and fruit cake held together beautifully by the big, velvety-textured tannins and wrapping up with a long, spicy, creamy finish. A deliciously, rich, opulent, succulent wine, totally unexpected from the region.
100% Garnacha. 13.5% alc. $45.95.
Noval 10 Year Old Tawny Port - Douro Valley, Portugal
Translucent, tawny, light brownish-red. Spicy, raisiny, spiritous scents and seemingly dry, salty, rancio, spicy raisin flavours with a terrific balance of tannins to sweet fruit, plenty of alcoholic heat and sweet raisin and fruit cake cherries coming through to linger on the powerful, smooth, concentrated nutty finish.
20% alc. $58.95.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 13th July 2005
Citrus and or Spice.
These wines had citrus, or spice, or both.
All wines were tasted blind.
Drylands Marlborough Dry Riesling 2003
A very dry, steely, citrussy wine with a bright golden hue, a spicy mid palate and a zesty, citrus peel finish. Slightly oily with a long and full finish and a touch of lime curd as it lingers.
13% alc. $19.95/$15.95.
Nobilo Icon Chardonnay 2004 - Gisborne
Schoffit Riesling Cuvée Caroline 2001 - Alsace, France
Deep gold with buttery aromas and satin-textured creamy, mealy flavours influenced by malolactic with just a touch of citrus joining tropical fruit, caramel and spicy toasty oak on the finish.
13.5% alc. $23.95/$15.95.
Rich bright gold with honeysuckle and citrus aromas and toffee-apple flavours propped up by botrytis making it seem quite luscious upfront. It's oily textured with a spicy richness and plenty of tart citrus acidity that gives apparent dryness to the long, mouthfilling finish.
12.5% alc. $36.95/$32.95.
Albert Mann Pinot Gris 2004 - Alsace, France
Pale in colour with clean, crisp, lime citrus aromas that are a contrast to the soft, oily-textured, slightly sweetish, neutral pear-like flavours with white pepper and just a hint of ginger on the citrussy finish. Textural with palate weight and length.
13.5% alc. $33.95/$29.95 Screwcap.
Mills Reef Reserve Gewurztraminer 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Light gold with a floral perfume infused with lychee and spices, and dryish to the taste with strong grape, apple and musk flavours and a spicy aftertaste that builds in power and lingers for ages.
12.5% alc. $22.95/$19.95 Screwcap.
Albert Mann Gewurztraminer 2004 - Alsace, France
Pale and delicately scented for a gewurz but utterly varietal with musk and rose petal leading into a more powerfully flavoured, bright, lifted, lush, oily palate. There's a lovely seam of citrus peel and a warm spicy stonefruit finish with lingering musk, Turkish Delight and ginger. Pleasing in texture and not too overpowering at this stage.
Tasted a drop of this again on Friday from a leftover bottle - just gorgeous with more power on the finish now.
14% alc. $36.95/$32.95 Screwcap.
Brunton Road Reserve Gewurztraminer 2004 - Gisborne
Pale-coloured with floral, honeysuckle and citrus flower aromas overlain with honey and spicy, musky flavours infused with lemon honey, baked apple and toffee-butter with just a touch of citrus peel coming through to linger on the warm, sweetish, slightly oily, finish.
13% alc. $21.95/$18.95.
Domaine Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2003 - Rhône Valley, France
Black-red with crimson-purple rims, big fruit aromas of plums, prunes and strawberry and rich, succulent flavours with peppery spices, earthy tannins, tar and a savoury, smoky finish. A clean, modern Rhône with good balance and length, best with food. 100% Syrah.
13.5% alc. $36.95/$32.95.
Wirra Wirra McLaren Vale Grenache 2002 - McLaren Vale
Cherry red in colour, quite dense but not inky. Black pepper and strawberry / plum aromas and finely structured tannins with pepper, anise, chocolate and berries building to a succulent, finish with a long, sweetish aftertaste and eucalypt as it lingers. Blue Gold, Sydney Top 100.
14.5% alc. $31.95/$27.95.
d'Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz/Viognier 2003 - McLaren Vale
Inky black red in colour with youthful, cedary aromas infused with black cherries, blackberries and just a hint of mint. A rich, full-bodied wine in the mouth with fine velvety tannins, pepper, spice, crushed berries, chocolate, mocha, liquorice, tar and cedary oak with a succulent finish and a hot spicy aftertaste. Long in flavour, delicious to savour. Gold, International Wine Challenge.
14.5% alc. $34.95/$30.95.
Saltram Mamre Brook Shiraz 2003 - Barossa Valley
Inky black-purple, very youthful in appearance. Opulent, creamy, spiced oak aromas lead into a tight, youthful mouthful of Shiraz with muscular, meaty tannins, ripe red and black fruits, cedar, vanilla, spice, mocha and liquorice with all-spice on the smoky finish. Juicy and succulent as lingers with a spicy savouriness balancing the fruit sweetness. A good follow-on to the outstanding 2002.
15% alc. $22.95/$19.95.
Step Rd Shiraz 2002 - Langhorne Creek
Inky black-red. Smoky aromas with ripe berry fruit, tar and liquorice lead into a seemingly soft, ripe, round wine with liquorice, pepper, mulberries, blackberries, sweet creamy oak, a touch of mint and definitely some chocolate. Big, rich, grunty tannins come forth on the finish but they are beautifully tamed by the overall juicy succulence. Very appealing for lovers of this style.
14.5% alc. $22.95/$18.95.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 6th July 2005
Brand Spanking New.
These were wines that were new to the market or new to First Glass.
All wines were tasted blind.
Shingle Peak Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Water pale in colour with exuberant leap-out-of-the-glass aromas and crisp, fresh flavours of apples, gooseberries, lime and basil on a satin soft texture with a powerful, fruity finish. Exciting stuff.
13.5% alc. $15.95. Screwcap.
Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuissé 1999 - Burgundy, France
Bright citrine with toasty mellow oak aromas and mouthfilling, toasty, mealy, nutty
flavours with a hint of lanolin then apricot nougat and honeyed oak on the finish. Quite an intense wine, clean and seamless with good acidity. Sensational value and quality.
13% alc. $29.95. Limited stocks.
Vavasour Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
Creamy textured with youthful citrus acidity and concentrated yellow plum and peach-like fruit beautifully balanced to the spicy oak and the leesy, mealy, buttery barrel-ferment flavours and a warm toasty finish. Still very young but definitely classy.
14.5% alc. $20.95. Screwcap.
Bay of Fire Pinot Noir 2002 - Tasmania
Dense garnet red in colour with an earthy, barnyard aroma and dry savoury, earthy
flavours, sweet plum and cranberry fruit, smooth tannins, good acidity and a vinous
richness to the smoky finish. Good concentration.
15% alc. $35.95.
Tenuta Albrizzi 2002 - Puglia Italy
Inky black red with crimson rims and intensely ripe fruity aromas with sweet oak and rich berry fruit flavours full of wild blackberries and plums with warm grainy tannins, mocha, tar and pepper, a dry savoury finish and a bright, juicy aftertaste. A tasty, flavoursome blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Primitivo that doesn't need food to be enjoyed as the fruit is so rich and full.
13.5% alc. $14.95.
Chivite Gran Fuedo Reserva 2000 - Navara, Spain
Black garnet colour with faded red on the rims. Jammy smelling with a hint of barnyard and an earthy savoury flavour with dry tannins, sweet spicy oak, coconut and citrus then cherries lingering with vanillin oak on the finish. A medium-weight wine, very reminiscent of a Rioja but for followers of this brand a leaner style than the '96 and '98. Made from a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet and Merlot.
12.5% alc. $18.95.
Borsao Crianza 2001 - Campo de Borja, Spain
Black garnet in colour with youthful hues. Chocolate oak and peppery aromas meld into the mouthfilling creamy oak, sweet plum and wild berry fruit flavours with liquorice, tar, firm grainy tannins and a savoury richness to the finish. Lots of flavour, spice and ooomph. More of a food wine than a quaffer, with plenty of power. Made from a blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Cabernet.
14% alc. $23.95.
Domaine Charvin Côtes du Rhône 2003
Light fading transparent red colour. Ripe fruit aromas of prunes and raisins. Earthy in
the palate with dry, grippy tannins, liquorice, peppery spice, sweet oak, a hint of
strawberry and lots of pepper on the savoury, spicy finish. Made from 80% Grenache, this is another food wine.
14% alc. $27.95.
Ornellaia Le Volte 2003 - Tuscany, Italy
Inky crimson red with smoky, cigar-box aromas and spice-filled flavours with sweet oak, juicy plum and cherry fruit, fine silky tannins and a dry, smoky, savoury, slightly tarry finish. A rich, juicy wine made from a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot and very appealing with its 'new world' style.
13.5% alc. $39.95.
Red Knot McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004
Inky purple-black in colour with sweet jammy aromas and fruit-filled, spicy flavours with soft, juicy tannins and a peppery bite to the finish. A cruisy wine with lots of user appeal - especially at the price.
14% alc. $12.95. Zork closure.
Henry Lawson Mudgee Shiraz 2002
Inky red-black. Smoky and tarry smelling with blackberry pie aromas and slightly minty flavours with good grippy tannins, sweet oak, plums and wild berry fruit and a spicy savoury finish with lots of pepper and just a nuance of herbs. Juicy and succulent, mouthfilling and tasty.
14% alc. $17.95.
D'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2003
A voluptuous smelling inky blackberry coloured wine with concentrated ripe black fruits, sweet cedary oak, pepper and spice, finely structured tannins and a powerfully long finish. A fantastic wine with layers of delicious Shiraz flavours with mint, bitter
chocolate, pepper, tar and savoury oak joining the mix. One of Australia's legendary
15% 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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