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 - 30th November 2005
New to First Glass
All wines, except the Armagh, were tasted blind.
Tatachilla McLaren Vale Chardonnay 2001
Bright yellow gold with nutty, savoury, toasty aromas and full-bodied flavours of melon and tropical fruit with a touch of citrus. It's showing its age with the nutty oak becoming quite mellow and the rounded finish is rich, smooth, warm and savoury.
13% alc. $13.95.
Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Palest straw coloured, sweet pea and herb aromas and tropical fruit flavours with a good dollop of kiwifruit and lime, a hint of capsicum and a lingering, sweet pea finish. Fresh, ripe, juicy and long.
13.0% alc. $23.95. Screwcap.
Trentham Viognier 2004 - NSW
Light gold coloured and fairly neutral, oily, slightly nutty, delicate floral scents that do not prepare for the mouthful of fruity flavours. It's packed with ripe white peach, apricot, oily tropical fruits and hints of musk with a warm, full bodied, rounded finish and a touch of peppery spice lingering on the nutty aftertaste.
14% alc. $17.95. Screwcap.
d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2004 - McLaren Vale
Slightly smoky citrussy aromas and warm, rich, mealy flavours make you think this smooth, full-bodied, rounded drop is chardonnay at first but it's much more aromatic and intriguing with an oily texture, stonefruit, citrus and caramelised apple fruit and a slight saltiness to the warm, nutty finish.
14.5% alc. $17.95. Screwcap.
d'Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne 2004 - McLaren Vale
Bright straw gold, with a honeyed, tropical fruit aroma and rich fruity apricot and white currant flavours intermingling with orange peel, nougat and spice. Full-bodied, with warming alcohol and a lovely purity of fruit that lingers with apricots to the fore on the warm nutty finish. Very flavoursome and an excellent example of Roussanne.
14.5% alc. $17.95. Screwcap.
Seifried Estate Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2004 - Nelson
Straw gold and richly aromatic with a hint of violet amongst the mealy, nutty, caramel-infused oak, and fruit forward flavours of apricot, tropical fruit and toasted pineapple with caramel coming through on the fruit-sweet finish.
14% alc. $26.95. Screwcap.
Clayridge Marlborough Pinot Gris 2005
Pale in colour with nutty, slightly floral aromas and a delicate overlay of musk to the leesy flavours with citrus, red apples and pears in abundance. Spicy, slightly gewurz-like flavours hover in and out, while a touch of oak adds complexity to the soft, smooth finish and apples and pears linger strongly on the aftertaste.
13.5% alc. $19.95. Screwcap.
Richardson Riesling 2005 - Waipara
Spicy and aromatic with apple, lime and sweet orange aromas and fresh, crisp flavours packed with deliciously proportioned, high acid, citrus and tropical fruit with a talc-like texture and a lingering, citrus and spice finish. A fairly dry style with just 4.5g/l residual sugar.
13% alc. $25.95. Screwcap.
Lindis River Pinot Noir 2004 - Central Otago
Well-coloured, typically youthful burgundy/cherry red with spicy, smoky oak on the nose and in the palate and mouthfilling flavours of musk, red and black cherry, earth, red liquorice and tar with velvety tannins and a full-bodied rounded finish with a touch of rosemary as it lingers. A very good effort for a first vintage.
13% alc. $35.95.
Villa Maria Private Bin Syrah 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Dense cherry red with smoky, sweet vanillin oak, cherry and red berry fruit, chocolate, soft juicy tannins and an underlying savouriness that adds a tarry note to the spicy peppery finish. Very smart for the price.
13.5% alc. $19.95. Screwcap.
Tatachilla Keystone Shiraz Viognier 2003 - McLaren Vale
Inky black-red in colour, this is a highly perfumed wine with creamy vanillin oak and chocolate leading into a gutsy, full-bodied, spicy palate with gorgeous smooth, slippery tannins, tar, plum, cherries, spiced blackberries, chocolate, a touch of musk and stonefruit coming through on the fragrant, lifted finish. Gold Medal - NZ International Wine Show.
15% alc. $14.95. Screwcap.
Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz 2002 - Clare Valley
Shiny inky black, opaque right to the crimson red rims. Alluring sweet oak aromas with layers of vanilla, spice and tar and a rich, opulent, finely structured palate with a lovely infusion of smoky vanillin oak, juicy mulberry fruit, nutmeg, black pepper, tar, liquorice and long, dark, dusky finish. A complex wine with layers of flavours, beautifully fine tannins and length plus.
15.5% alc. $161.00.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 23rd November 2005
Gold Medals from the Air NZ Wine Awards
Wine were tasted blind.
Waipara Hills Wine Estates Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Pale in colour with slightly sweaty herb and gooseberry aromas leading into a rich, oily mouthfilling palate crammed with herb, gooseberry and tropical fruit with racy lime coming through on the finish. Fruity, powerful and deliciously vibrant. 3 gold medals.
13% alc. $17.95. Screwcap.
Saint Clair Estate Wines Pioneer Block 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Straw gold coloured with pungent herbaceous aromas and bracing herbaceous flavours that morph into a warm, rich, toasty mouthful of herbs, capsicum, grapefruit and gooseberry with a gorgeous silky texture and a luscious, ripe fruited finish. A powerful wine with loads of flavour.
13.5% alc. $22.95. Screwcap.
Cape Campbell Reserve Limited Edition Chardonnay 2004
Chardonnay as we like it …. golden coloured with alluring butterscotch aromas and smooth butter-caramel flavours, ripe peach, melon and just a touch of citrus. There's lots of spicy vanillin oak but it's beautifully balanced to the fruit and the finish is rich and mealy. This wine gets better every time we taste it.
14% alc. $18.95. Screwcap.
Villa Maria Estate Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2003
Leesy grapefruit-like aromas lead into a rich, full-bodied, toasty palate that is rich, creamy and sophisticated with lots of winemaking influence from barrels and lees stirring, peach, citrus and melon fruit and a deliciously long, toasty, concentrated finish. Bottle age adds to the savoury complexity while the acidity keeps a fresh edge. Trophy for Champion Chardonnay at Air New Zealand 2005 and Liquorland Top 100 2004.
14% alc. $34.95. Screwcap.
Triplebank Awatere Valley Pinot Gris 2005
Aromatic and inviting for pinot gris with red apple and pears on the nose and fleshy stonefruit joining pears, green apples, grapes and tropical fruit in the palate. Juicy and tasty with a dry, well-balanced finish.
13.5% alc. $18.95. Screwcap.
Coopers Creek Vineyard Marlborough Riesling 2005
Floral, fragrant and slightly spritzy with lots of fresh acidity in the form of limes and green apples with a crisp, medium-dry finish and a touch of sweetness adding a luscious edge. Trophy for Champion Riesling
12.5% alc. $15.95. Screwcap.
Allan Scott Wines & Estates Ltd Gewurztraminer 2004
A ripe gewurz with apricot on the nose and apricot in the palate together with citrus, spice and musk. It takes a while to reveal its true varietal character; delicate and light-textured with medium-dry sweetness. (The 2004 was mistakenly poured instead of the 2005 vintage, which won the Trophy for Champion Gewurztraminer).
13% alc. $15.95. Screwcap.
Northrow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003
Deep guava red with pinky-crimson rims, aromatic, appealing black cherry aromas with just a nuance of herb and smoky, savoury flavours with nicely weighted red fruits and velvety tannins building to a long succulent spicy finish with an earthiness emerging as it lingers.
13.5% alc. $29.95. Screwcap.
Villa Maria Estate Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2004
A medium translucent, pinky red with hints of chocolate and cherry adding to the savoury aroma, cranberry and red plum fruit in the palate with a touch of mushroom, spicy savoury oak and an earthy finish. There's a fair dollop of acidity in the wine too, giving a 'peacock tail' flare to the finish.
14% alc. $29.95. Screwcap.
Capricorn Wines Red Rock The Underarm Syrah 2003
Inky purple/black with vibrantly coloured purple rims. Rich, spicy aromas with plum, leather and creamy oak, and lots of black pepper flavours with a lovely integration of oak, blueberry fruit and liquorice with dry tannins and a hint of musk adding to the floral nuances on the warm, rich, juicy finish..
14% alc. $19.95. Screwcap.
Unison Vineyard Ltd Syrah 2004 - Gimblett Gravels
Inky black red with purple rims, fragrant, biscuity cedar aromas and a rich weighty palate with a fine tannin structure, blackberry, black plum and black cherry fruit, white and black pepper, liquorice, dark chocolate and smoky vanillin oak. A rose pepper muskiness comes to linger on the fantastically long, supple finish. Trophy for Champion Syrah
14% alc. $38.95. Cork.
Newton Forrest Cornerstone Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec 2002
This is still so youthful looking with its inky red black colour and purple-red rims. It’s a super ripe wine with alluring sweet oak aromas and voluptuous flavours of creamy oak, blackcurrants, blackberries, liquorice and leather with an earthy richness coming from the Malbec component. The tannins are stull huge but they have integrated beautifully since last tasted and the wine flows seamlessly across the mouth. Trophy for Champion Cabernet Predominant
14% alc. $39.95. Screwcap.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 9th November 2005
Most wines were tasted blind - except the two bubblies as Daniel Le Brun himself presented his wines.
Northrow Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
Sweet oak aromas lead into a smooth, creamy palate with butter caramel, juicy stonefruit, citrus and a long, savoury oak, finish. Two gold medals. 14% alc. $21.95. Screwcap.
Selaks Founders Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2004
Full of toasty oak and caramel, this is rich and creamy with delicious citrus and tropical fruit and lots of mealy intensity. Drinking absolutely beautifully. Two gold medals. 14% alc. $24.95 Screwcap.
Black Barn Barrel Fermented Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004
Rich and mouthfilling with deliciously concentrated stonefruits, butterscotch, spicy oak and a long creamy finish. Very classy. Gold and Trophy, NZIWS. 14% alc. $29.95.
Cuvée Number Eight Marlborough Methode Traditionelle
Straw gold. Biscuity, yeasty smelling with a crisp, spritzy texture, ripe stonefruit and a long, fresh, toasty finish. Made from predominantly Pinot Noir, this is quite mellow and very tasty. 12.5% alc. $25.95.
Cuvée No 1 Marlborough Methode Traditionelle
Light yellow gold with heaps of tiny bubbles and rich bready flavours. Toasty, yeasty, rounded, full-bodied and beautifully balanced with a lovely delicacy to the dancing texture and a long lasting bready finish. 100% Chardonnay, 80% 2003 vintage and 20% 2002 vintage with two years in cellar. Recently disgorged.
12.5% alc. $29.95.
Camshorn Classic Riesling 2005 - Waipara
Water pale with lots of flavour, a ripe fruited creamy texture and lime, lemon, pears, stonefruit and tropical fruit. Off dry but beautifully balanced with a firm citrussy backbone. 13% alc. $21.95. Screwcap.
Schoffit Gewurztraminer Cuvée Caroline 2003 - Alsace, France
Deep gold and oily smelling, like rose hand cream and orange blossoms with bright tangelo fruit, exotic spices and that rich, honeyed oily texture - a big, luscious, toasty style with fantastic length. 13% alc. $36.95.
Villa Maria Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot 2004
Deep plummy red with fragrant oak aromas and spicy, red fruit flavours with soft meaty tannins, a touch of chocolate and spice. A juicy, succulent, easy drinking wine with plenty of structure for the price. Gold Medal Air NZ Wine Awards. 14% alc. $13.95. Screwcap.
Coto de Hayas Reserva 2001 - Campo de Borja, Spain
Deep black-red coloured with mocha, red fruit and raisin aromas and jammy fruit flavours with hints of strawberry, chocolate, toffee, tar, liquorice and anise-like spices and a sweet vanilla oak finish. Made from Garnacha (Grenache). 13.5% alc. $18.95
Tapestry McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002
Inky black-red with voluptuous aromas of smoky oak, chocolate and mint and powerful flavours of juicy red and black fruits with smooth succulent tannins, creamy oak and a smoky, full-bodied, peppery finish. Gold -Medal. 14% alc. $20.95
Mitolo Savitar McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004
Inky black-black-purple-red with a rich, deep aroma and concentrated ripe fruit flavours packed with dark black plum, blackberry and black cherry with a rich spicy backbone, lovely fine tannins and powerful oak. A huge, huge wine. A blockbuster.
15% alc. $67.95.
Tosti Asti - Piedmont, Italy
Crisp, fresh and mouth freshening with a creamy foaming texture, pure muscatty fruit and sugar plums, and a touch of spice. Very fresh, very clean, very good. Perfect for lunchtime, afternoons on the deck or dessert. Silver Medal. 7.5% alc. $15.95.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 2nd November 2005
Hawkes Bay Vs. South Australia
All white wines were served chilled - as is appropriate for the season.
Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling 2004 - Clare Valley, South Australia
Golden coloured, rich and powerful with citrus blossom oil aromas to the fore. Mouthfilling and intense with an oily texture, bright acidity, lime and tangelo fruit, an earthy, steely nuance and a long ripe, fresh, dry finish. A very good example of the dry style that can take serious chilling.
11.5% alc. $23.95. Screwcap.
Mills Reef Riesling 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Pale in colour with floral (perfumed soap) aromas leading into a delicately textured wine with vibrant acidity, juicy green apple and citrus fruit, a dry earthy backbone and just a touch of honeysuckle to sweeten the finish. Serve chilled, it seems much drier than it actually is. Very refreshing.
12% alc. $14.95 special. Screwcap.
Wynns Coonawarra Chardonnay 2004 - South Australia
Not very expressive on the nose with subtle savoury oak and rather neutral flavours with pronounced acidity from the chilling. Stonefruit and creamy oak flavours emerge as the wine warms up with citrus and spicy oak on the finish. If you liked the big buttery Wynns Coonawarra Chardonnay style of a few years ago, you will find this a major disappointment - but if you like the leaner style of chardonnay, this will be right up your alley.
13.5% alc. $14.95 special. Screwcap.
Gunn Estate Skeetfield Chardonnay 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Yellow gold in colour, rich and buttery smelling - immediately identifiable as chardonnay - and packed with concentrated peach, nectarines, hints of pineapple, creamy oak and a beautifully balanced mealy finish. Powerful and mouthfilling and yes, it can take serious chilling. 4 Gold Medals, 2 Trophies.
14% alc. $22.95 special. Screwcap.
Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Viognier 2005 - Hawkes Bay
Creamy yellow in colour with perfumed, slightly musky, lemon and vanilla aromas leading into a beautifully expressive palate with apricot, lemon bread and an earthiness to the spicy oak backbone. It is full-bodied, rich and weighty with lime zest coming through to linger on the mealy finish and apricots on the aftertaste. This can be well chilled. Gold Medal & Trophy.
14.5% alc. $29.95. Screwcap.
Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2005 - Eden Valley, South Australia
At first it is a little earthy smelling with faint scents of citrus and pollen, and apricot scents fighting their way through but as this chilled wine warms up the flavours express themselves more. It is spicy, honeyed and warm textured with sweet honeysuckle and lemon grass lingering on the clean, lifted, nutty finish.
14.5% alc. $14.95 special. Screwcap.
Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2003 - Hawkes Bay
Deep plummy red with ripe berry and currant scents leading into a very dry, richly tannic palate with plum, tobacco and cigar box flavours, quite high acidity and a smoky touch to the leathery finish.
13% alc. $23.95 special.
Serafino McLaren Vale Merlot 2003 - South Australia
Deep plummy red. Mint and chocolatey oak on the nose and a juicy richness to the ripe plum and berry fruit with succulent tannins, spice and creamy oak. Big, soft, juicy and very drinkable.
13.5% $18.95 special.
Te Mata Woodthorpe Cabernet Merlot 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Deep red in colour with a leather and violet nuance to the biscuity aroma and ripe, juicy blackcurrant, blueberry and black cherry fruit, a touch of dark milk chocolate, velvety tannins and a long, savoury, smoky slightly tarry finish with the fruit lingering beautifully on the aftertaste. This is a very smart wine.
14% alc. $17.95 special. Screwcap.
Wolf Blass President's Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - South Australia
Blackberry hued, deep and inky. Berry fruit aromas with mint, chocolate, cigar box, blackcurrant and plum fruit, sweet cedary oak and savoury spices. A big gutsy grunter of a wine with meaty tannins, a mouthfilling finish and a lingering, rich, tarry, spicy aftertaste.
14.5% alc. $29.95. Screwcap.
Te Mata Woodthorpe Syrah Viognier 2003 - Hawkes Bay
Deep translucent red. Fragrant crushed pepper and vanilla aromas, smooth silky (slippery) tannins, plum and cherry fruit, creamy vanillin oak and sweet spices. A cool climate, medium-bodied Shiraz with a musky character to the spiced deli meats and pepper finish and a lingering, almost floral, aftertaste.
13% alc. $18.95 special. Screwcap.
Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 - South Australia
Inky blackberry coloured. Mint and chocolate on the nose and everything you want in Shiraz in the palate - mint, sweet oak, exotic spices, concentrated blackberry, cherry and blackcurrant fruit and liquorice. Juicy and spicy with a lovely tannin structure, some heat on the finish and mouthfilling length. Simply yum.
13.5% alc. $19.95 special. Screwcap.
Charles Melton Barossa Shiraz 2002
Deep red in colour with quite serious wine-soaked oak and mocha on the nose, mocha, pepper, chocolate, cherry and red fruit flavours, smoky oak and silky tannins. A powerful wine, very smooth, classy, seamless and long with concentrated fruit lingering on the savoury oak finish.
14.5% alc. $50.95.
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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