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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

September 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 September 2005
Best Values from the New Zealand International Wine Show
Wines were tasted blind

Shingle Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2005 - Marlborough
Undoubtedly Sauvignon Blanc with its pungent, grassy, sweet pea aromas and crisp, juicy, herbaceous, sweet fruited flavours with capsicums, gooseberries, kiwifruit, citrus and tropical fruit lingering for ages on the gorgeously textured finish. Gold & Trophy for Champion Commercial White Wine, NZIWS 2005.
13.5% alc. $15.95. Screwcap.

Stonehaven Padthaway Viognier 2004 - South Australia
An aromatic wine that is initially steely to the taste but there's a warm richness to the texture with flavours of pear, citrus and delicate apricot, a warm nutty finish and a touch of vanilla on the spicy, zesty aftertaste. Gold Medal NZIWS
13.5% alc. $23.95.

Gunn Estate Skeetfield Chardonnay 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Rich and full-bodied with buttery oak aromas and concentrated flavours of stonefruit, citrus and butterscotch melding into the beautifully balanced mealy backbone with a longtoasty finish and a deliciously long, stonefruit and butterscotch aftertaste.  Gold Medal NZIWS
14% alc. $25.95. Screwcap.

Selaks Founders Reserve Chardonnay 2004 - Marlborough
With delicious toasty oak aromas, gorgeous oak and fruit flavours and obvious Burgundian winemaking influences of lees stirring and malolactic that adds complexity to the creamy texture, this is an ultra-classy wine with well-integrated spicy oak, citrus, tropical fruit and nougat lingering on the savoury, mealy aftertaste.  Gold Medal NZIWS
13.5% alc. $27.95. Screwcap.

Land of Fire Pinot Gris 2005 - Argentina
Clean, fresh and youthful with a floral aroma and Watties fruit salad flavours with a hint of vanilla and a dry, slightly musky, smoky finish. This is a juicy, flavoursome easy to drink wine with lots of flavour and a crisp, steeliness as it lingers. Gold Medal NZIWS.
12.5% alc. $14.95.Screwcap.

Lawson's Dry Hills Pinot Gris 2005 - Marlborough
Nutty, perfumed, lightly floral, slightly musky aromas and soft, full-bodied flavours with a smooth, oily texture and a hint of spicy oak that adds complexity, richness and a nuance of vanilla bean to the luscious ripe pear and lychee fruit. Just on the sweet edge of dryness, this will be delicious with or without food.
Gold & Trophy for Champion Pinot Gris at the NZIWS.
14.5% alc. $25.95. Screwcap.

Fairmont Estate Block One Pinot Noir 2004 - Wairarapa
Dense ruby-purple coloured with a just a nuance of chocolate coming through the savoury, cedary oak aroma, and beautifully structured, velvety-textured, succulent pinot flavours of plums, black cherries, spices and herbs with an earthy, savoury undercurrent throughout.  Gold Medal NZIWS,
14% alc.  $33.95. Screwcap.

Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2002 - California
Deep red in colour with violet and cherry aromas leading into a firm, savoury palate with dry, grainy tannins and wild berry fruit building to a rich, succulent finish with lashings of spice, tar, a touch of chocolate and a cedary French oak smokiness. Gold & Trophy for Champion International Red Variety, NZIWS.
14.5% alc. $35.95.

Ingoldby McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 - South Australia
Deep shining red black in colour with fragrant aromas of vanillin oak, chocolate and black cherries and a finely textured, slightly earthy palate with concentrated plum and berry fruit, leather, mocha, liquorice, peppery spices and a long, smoky finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. $17.95.

Tyrrell's Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz 2003 - Victoria
Deeply coloured and tightly structured with plums, tar, leather and smoky cigar box-like oak, a crescendo of spices and a rich, succulent finish with lots of black and red peppercorns on the spicy aftertaste with a violet like fragrance as it lingers. Silver Medal NZIWS.
15.2% alc. $21.95. Screwcap.

Charles Melton Nine Popes 2002 - Barossa, South Australia
Opulent American oak aromas and rich, full-bodied flavours with sweet cedary oak, juicy fruit, fine tannins, leather, tar, plum and wild berry fruit, a touch of chocolate, and a lovely savouriness to the long succulent finish. A huge wine made predominantly from Grenache.
14.5% alc. $50.95.

Trentham Estate Noble Taminga 2002 - New South Wales
This floral, fresh, light gold-coloured wine is lightly viscous in texture with citrus, honeysuckle and a myriad of dried tropical fruits lingering on the deliciously sweet, beautifully balanced finish. Taminga is a new white grape developed in Australia from Riesling, Farana (a Spanish variety) and Gewurztraminer. Gold Medal NZIWS
11% alc. $16.95. 375ml

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 21st September 2005
Trophy wines from the New Zealand International Wine Show
Trophy wines were not tasted blind

West Brook Blue Ridge Marlborough Chardonnay 2003
Light gold in colour with smoky oak, ripe citrus and stonefruit, a rich mealy backbone and a long toasty finish with a good whack of buttery citrus on the long mealy, mouthfilling finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. $23.95 special.

Black Barn Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Smelling of honeyed oak with a leesy, creamy overtone, the stylish Burgundian winemaking techniques are apparent from the outset while the concentrated fruit shines. It is utterly delectable with butterscotch, cedar, creamed nuts, ripe fig, stonefruits, beautifully integrated oak and fruit and a long, dry, seamless finish with just a hint of caramel. A full-bodied, stylish, tasteful wine totally deserving of its award - Champion Chardonnay and Champion Wine of the Show.
14% alc. $29.95 special.

Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaique NV
A tantalising bready aroma with a hint of lemon and vanilla and a complex, toasty flavour with a creamy richness and a floral sweetness to the long, dry, vivacious finish. Beautifully fresh with delicacy and power. Champion Sparkling Wine.
12.5% alc. $59.95 special.

Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005 - Marlborough
Vivaciously pungent, almost sweaty aromas and a myriad of concentrated classic sauvignon flavours - gooseberry, lime, grapefruit, apple, pea, capsicum, tobacco and juicy banana passionfruit - with a silky textured mouthfeel, a toasty richness and a deliciously long, pungent finish. Champion Sauvignon Blanc.
13% alc. Available October.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Viognier 2005 - Hawkes Bay
Honeysuckle aromas with hints of apricot and citrus lead into a soft, lush, fruity palate with a touch of vanilla bean and a delightful floral note to finish to the slightly honeyed, musky finish. Seemingly delicate at first, there is underlying power from barrel aging which gives a fabulous mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish. Champion Viognier.
14% alc. $29.95.

Kerpen Himmelreich Graacher Halbtrocken Kabinett Riesling 2002 - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
Light yellow gold with honeysuckle and bee pollen on nose and a rich, earthy, lime marmalade flavour with a slightly oily mouthfeel and a lifted lemony floral note to the finish. A sweeter style on the nose but dry in the palate with a touch of botrytis and lanolin, but so clean and beautifully refreshing. Champion Riesling.
9.5% alc. $29.95.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004
Rich, graceful and silky with alluring aromas and tantalising flavours of wild berries, guavas, sweet mushrooms, forest floor, exotic anise and nutmeg spices and just a hint of chocolate on the long, savoury finish. A delectable wine with a beautiful tannin structure, it takes New Zealand Pinot Noir to a new level of excellence. Champion Pinot Noir.
14% alc. $52.95.

Saltram Mamre Brook Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
A ripe, rich and succulent red with concentrated blackcurrant and blueberry fruits, beautifully fine tannins, liquorice, mocha, chocolate and a powerful creamy oak finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. $18.95 special.

Esk Valley Reserve Merlot Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 - Hawkes Bay
Deep black-red with fragrant berry aromas and rich concentrated flavours full of delicious berry fruit with svelte tannins and chocolatey cedary oak building to an earthy savoury finish with the Malbec making a statement as violets linger on the fragrant aftertaste. Exceptional. Champion Merlot.
14.5% alc. $52.95.

Saltram No. 1 Barossa Shiraz 2001
Intensity and finesse are the hallmarks of this rich sumptuous red with rich blackberry and black cherry fruit balanced to fine savoury oak with vanilla and liquorice on the impressively long finish. A big, bold, opulent wine with hints of mint, pepper, spice and all Shiraz things nice. Champion Shiraz.
14.5% alc. $71.95.

Waimea Estates Bolitho 2003 Noble Chardonnay - Nelson
Very delicately scented, honeysuckle, citrus and vanilla bean. Superbly sweet with fantastically clean acidity that balances it to perfection, and a warm, waxy, creamy finish with delicious flavours of dried apricots lingering. These grapes were fermented in French oak, which adds another layer of complexity. Champion Sweet Wine.
10% alc. $41.95.

Morris Liqueur Tokay - Rutherglen, Victoria
Light yellow-brown in colour, it smells like molasses and it tastes like butter toffee and spicy raisins with a gorgeously smooth, thick viscous texture and a long, powerful, heart warming finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
17.5% alc. $23.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 14th September 2005
Gold Medals from the New Zealand International Wine Show
Wines were tasted blind

Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Pungent, crisp and exuberant with vivacious grassy flavours paving the way for a tropical fruit fantasy tinged with kiwifruit and a splash of lime. Rich and mouthfilling, almost sweaty, with a hint of sweet pea on the long pungent finish. Classic New Zealand - heading towards exceptional.
13% alc. $19.95/$16.95. Screwcap.

Northrow Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
Very appealing buttery oak and barrel-ferment aromas and smooth mouthfilling flavours of spicy oak and crème caramel with juicy stonefruit, a mealy undercurrent and a long savoury oak finish. This is going to develop into a beautiful big rich chardonnay but is delicious already.
13.7% alc. $24.95/$19.95. Screwcap.

Mud House White Swan Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
A savoury, smoky, mealy chardonnay with nutty oak, malo influences, citrus and stonefruit building into a rich, subtle, full-bodied finish with a long, creamy finish. There's a definite Burgundian character to the wine.
13.7% alc. $25.95/$22.95. Screwcap.

Montana Reserve Marlborough Riesling 2002
Alluringly aromatic with limes, white flowers, talc and honeysuckle on the nose and terrific weight in the palate with apples, citrus and a zestiness to the flinty finish - an excellent example of New Zealand dry Riesling.
13% alc. $21.95/$16.95

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2004
Rich, intense, varietal with musk and smoker lolly aromas, a warm, oily texture, loads of ginger and white pepper spice and a long, dryish, pungently perfumed, rose petal finish. A year in the bottle has made the roses blossom.
14% alc. $21.95/$18.95. Screwcap.

Waipara Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2004
There's a touch of sweetness to this silky textured drop with honeyed spices, lychee, rose petals and a hot spicy finish with Turkish Delight lingering deliciously. Fantastic varietal definition, sweet without being sweet, it has the x-factor and is easy to drink and enjoy.
13.5% alc. $23.95/$20.95. Screwcap.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004
Fragrant, youthful, deep, crimson-hued ruby colour, smoke and black cherry aromas and silky-textured, rich savoury flavours with loads of sweet and tart cherry fruit, herbs and spicy oak with an earthy, savoury undercurrent and just a touch of chocolate on the lingering, succulent finish.
14.5% alc. $39.95/$35.95. Screwcap.

Ingoldby McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
An inky-red-black coloured wine with savoury, earthy, slightly herbal aromas overlain with sweet vanillin oak and a juicy, spicy flavour packed with cherry, cassis and currants wrapped up well in a medium weight package with smooth tannins a long, savoury finish.
14.5% alc. $20.95/$17.95.

Grant Burge Filsell Barossa Shiraz 2003
A rich, powerful, succulent wine with an impenetrable red-black colour, sweet smoky oak, super fine tannins, fragrant spices, juicy berry fruit and a long, more-ish chocolatey finish with just a nuance of mint. A wine of longevity that is already exquisite. True-blue Barossa Shiraz fans cannot ignore this.
14.5% alc. $30.95/$26.95

Shadowfax Shiraz 2002 - McLaren Vale and Barossa
A dry savoury style, what you would call 'elegant' compared to some of the sweet-fruited, upfront Aussies. Smoky aromas, concentrated raisiny fruit, peppery spices, leather and tar with slightly grippy meaty tannins and some chocolate and mocha emerging to linger on the long savoury finish. "A muscular wine," says Kingsley.
14% alc. $31.95/$27.95. Screwcap.

Morris Sparkling Shiraz Durif NV
A deep burgundy colour topped with pink-purple mousse when poured, this succulent-tasting bubbly is full of dark, juicy, slightly porty flavours with creamy oak, Christmas cake spices, chocolate and cherries with a savouriness to balance the fruit sweetness perfectly.
13.5% alc. $20.95/$17.95

De Bortoli Show Liqueur Muscat
Deep amber / coffee coloured with yellow-green rims and a thick, runny toffee texture, this captivates with its aromatic, honeyed muscatel and raisin aromas and rich, sweet, spicy, tangy flavours of salted nuts, raisins and sticky dates with a warm, fiery aftertaste and just a hint of chocolate. Delicious.
18% alc. $32.95/$28.95

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 7th September 2005
Chardonnay and Shiraz
Wines were tasted blind

Seifried Estate Nelson Chardonnay 2004
A golden coloured wine with mealy influenced buttery oak, luscious tropical fruit and a long, creamed nut finish. It's ripe and spicy with a good seam of zesty citrus throughout. Very easy to like. Gold Medal - Royal Easter Wine Show.
14% alc. $15.95. Screwcap.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2004
Fruity and juicy with good stonefruit concentration and bright spicy oak with a smoky savouriness to the citrus-infused, tropical fruit, finish. It is not too oaky but has lots of acidity so it doesn’t want to be over-chilled.
13.5% alc. $16.95. Screwcap.

Coopers Creek Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2004
A fruit-driven wine with smoke in the distance, spice, tropical fruit and a fullness to the ripe, weighty stonefruit finish where butterscotch comes forth in abundance. Fantastic length. Ready now. And it can be chilled!
14% alc. $16.95. Screwcap.

Cape Campbell Limited Edition Reserve Chardonnay 2004 - Marlborough
A sophisticated barrel-fermented, leesy, malolactic style with grapefruit, nectarine and tropical fruit - dry, savoury and seamless with a nutty burnt butter finish and a long crème caramel aftertaste. Fattening up nicely since last tasted and becoming quite yum.
14% alc. $19.95. Screwcap.

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Ripe and citrussy with a powerful yeasty influence and biscuity spicy oak that is quite subtle at first but becomes rich and toasty as the concentrated power of this rich, mealy wine becomes apparent. Smooth, seamless and savoury with some pineapple coming through on the finish but really needs a big glass to let it open up at this youthful stage of its life.
13.5% alc. $38.95.

Clearview Reserve Chardonnay 2004
Big, fat, oily and exotic with polished savoury oak, concentrated fruit and great mouthfeel with butterscotch coming through on the powerful spicy finish. Brilliant. Gold & Trophy, Bragato Wine Awards.
14.5% alc. $37.95.

Knappstein Clare Valley Shiraz 2002
A fruit-driven Shiraz with a not so deep colour, jammy aromas and plenty of spice but slightly tart cherry fruit, tar and tobacco making it more of a savoury style than one would expect. Probably best with food - pizza would be good.
14% alc. $19.95.

Kirrihill Clare Valley Shiraz 2002
This is more like it. Deeply coloured with chocolate, liquorice, black fruits, jubes, smoky vanillin oak, cedar and mint, dry yet succulent tannins and a green pepper spice to the tarry savoury finish. Fantastic drinking now. Four gold medals.
15% alc. $20.95.

d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz/Viognier 2003 - McLaren Vale
Inky coloured, almost black. Ripe and juicy with lifted aromatics, coconut oak, red fruits, dark chocolate, dusky tannins, cherries, plums, Asian spices, dry oak and a musky/rose petal savoury finish. Stylish. A beautifully structured wine with a point of difference that makes it appealing. Gold International Wine Challenge.
14.5% alc. $34.95.

Tapestry McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002
Inky black-red. Rather voluptuous aromas of smoky cedar with a hint of mint, liquid chocolate, juicy red and black fruits, spices, smooth creamy oak and a fantastically long, full-bodied, cedary, peppery finish. Gold - NZ International Wine Show 2005.
14% alc. $20.95.

Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003
Big, black and juicy with sweet oak, coconut, chocolate, cherry, mocha, tar, spice, pepper - everything you expect from great Aussie shiraz with succulent tannins a long, warm, smooth, creamy, Black Forest chocolate finish.
Gold - NZ International Wine Show 2005.
13.5% alc. $19.95.

Brown Brothers Patricia Shiraz 2002 - Victoria
The stunning black-purple colour and alluringly fragrant oaky aromas crammed with shiraz spice and mocha prepare for the sumptuous flavours of sweet cedary oak, blackberry and plum fruit and tarry spices. A rich, powerful thick-textured wine with succulent youthful tannins and incredible length. Multiple Golds.
14.5% alc. $48.95.

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.

Wednesday Wines index
Current month's tasting notes.
Index to all Wednesday tastings notes.

Other 2005 Tastings
January 2005 tasting notes.
February 2005 tasting notes.
March 2005 tasting notes.
April 2005 tasting notes.
May 2005 tasting notes.
June 2005 tasting notes.
July 2005 tasting notes.
August 2005 tasting notes.
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October 2005 tasting notes.
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December 2005 tasting notes.

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