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Wednesday Round-up - the 2006 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

August 2006
[ 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.
Some of the prices may be 'specials'. Check out for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 30th August 2006
The $20 Plus Challenge.
Wines were tasted blind.

Nautilus Marlborough Cuvée NV
Pale gold. Yeasty scents with a hint of honey. Crisp and steely to the taste with tickly, spritzy bubbles that dance on the tongue. It becomes quite complex and full with apples and stonefruit flavours fleshing out the finish that is rich, creamy and long. Made from predominantly Pinot Noir with 3 years maturation on yeast lees.
12% alc. $29.99 special.

Kumeu River Kumeu Chardonnay 2005
Bright light gold with a tantalising aroma of honeyed oak with a wheaty, mealy, barrel-ferment influence and a whiff of gunsmoke in the distance. Fleshy ripe peach and nectarine fruit fill the palate with a hint of grapefruit and a nuance of pineapple to add edge. With outstanding fruit concentration, integrated savoury oak and a creamy texture, it is very tempting and will be most enjoyable to drink now, though its tight-grained backbone and heritage says this is an outstanding cellaring prospect. Tasted blind, it's easy to rate this a gold medal quality wine.
13.5% alc. $37.99. Screwcap.

Cape Campbell Limited Edition Reserve Chardonnay 2005
A strong, wheaty, lightly honeyed malt aroma, a bit like wheaten biscuits, it smells almost good enough to eat. It's even more wheaty and biscuity in the mouth - in flavour, not in texture - though rich and chewy, very dry and concentrated with smoky savoury oak ever present. It's more vinous than fruity, a winemaker's toy, with grapefruit peel and lemon bread emerging on the warm spicy finish. It opens up beautifully over the course of the tasting and really need a big glass.
13.5% alc. $22.99. Screwcap.

Kumeu River Mate's Chardonnay 2005
Golden hued, brilliant and clear. A little closed on the nose at the nose at first, but it opens up to reveal a complex fragrance of corn meal, citrus blossom, nuts and delicately toasty oak. There's lively acidity in the palate with winemaking complexities balanced to the fine stream of fruit that is reminiscent of apricot and melon with a nuance of pineapple. With a creamy texture, this shows amazing richness, mouthfeel and length - all hallmarks of great chardonnay. A wine that will thrive in the cellar in the years to come.
13% alc. $49.99. Screwcap.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Gris 2006
Very pale with a youthful, estery, ripe stonefruit and bubble gum aroma, there's canned pear flavours with a touch of spice, a luscious texture that imparts a rich mouthfeel, a touch of vanilla and fruit sweetness lingering on the aftertaste. Fresh, tasty and very impressive.
14% alc. $25.99. Screwcap.

Waitiri Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004
A lighter coloured pinot noir with a savoury oak, macerated cherry and savoury herb fragrance and a savoury, gamey, lightly oily, tarry palate with a lovely balance of sweet plum and sharper cranberry fruit, a hint of liquorice, silky tannins and a flourishing sweetness to the long dry finish. If you are not obsessed with the colour of your pinot noir, try this.
13.5% alc. $34.99. Screwcap.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005
Vibrant and rich in colour with a purple/violet edge. Expressive, smoky, savoury aromas are flushed with liqueur cherry and chocolate and fleshy, concentrated, mouthfilling flavours are crammed with black and purple fruit with a touch of anise, a hint of earth, seductive velvety tannins and a long, savoury aftertaste. A very pleasing and satisfying drop. If you loved the multi-gold medal and trophy winning 2004 version of this wine, then you just have to get some of this - it's possibly even better. Time will tell.
14% alc. $34.99 special. Screwcap.

Newton Forrest Cornerstone Hawkes Bay Merlot 2002
Deep, dark black red with a slight bricking to the rim, the mellow spicy oak and cherry aromas also hint of a little age. It's a beautifully structured creamy wine with soft-edged tannins and sweet black cherry and plum fruit over a smoky, cedary backbone with hints of chocolate. There's even a hint of menthol, which could send you straying across the Tasman, if you were tasting the wine blind. The taste is still quite youthful, though it is garnering some pleasing mellow characters with age.
14.5% alc. $39.99. Screwcap.

Saltram Mamre Brook Shiraz 2004
Deep, youthful, shining black red with purple edges, rich, creamy, vanillin oak and black fruit on the nose and a blockbuster flavour attack in the mouth with everything you want in South Australian shiraz and more. There's liquorice, mocha, vanilla, allspice, blackberry, boysenberry, cherry, chocolate, toasty oak, warm alcohol, low acidity and ripe tannins. Add some grunt and a spicy, peppery finish, and you can't go wrong. Recommended retail is over $20.
14.5% alc. $18.99 special.

Charles Melton Nine Popes Barossa 2002
A slightly salty, almost herbal aroma, a little like baked rosemary on top of a roasting lamb, belies the warm, sweet, powerful, flavours that are full of spicy vanillin oak, red fruit, menthol, liquorice and tar with just a hint of orange peel studded with cinnamon and clove. A wine of superb depth with a vinous texture that coats all the nooks and crannies and leaves a very satisfying aftertaste that lasts for ages. It's deep dark red colour with a brick coloured rim hints that it has some maturity. Superb.
14.5% alc. $50.99.

The Gate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002
Dense in colour, but starting to brown on the edges. A slightly earthy, medicinal note makes it seem more Bordeaux-like to start with and masks some of the more intrinsic flavours, but emerging from behind it there's red cherries, liquorice, tar and cedar with oak sweetness providing for a balanced, full-bodied, spicy, shiraz-rich finish. Gold medal - New Zealand International & Royal Melbourne shows.
14.5% alc. $34.99 special.

Saltram No. 1 Shiraz 2001
Deep dark red, still bright but just starting to fade on the edges. Aromas of sweet spicy oak and chocolate liqueur lead into a finely textured palate with a flavour burst of blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, dark chocolate, allspice, nutmeg and cedar with hints of liquorice on the dark, deep, sweet oak finish. The tannins may be fine in texture but they are robust and powerful. A very refined wine, no botox needed yet as its youth is still intact, thus a fantastic cellaring proposition. Gold & Trophy for Champion Shiraz - NZ International Wine Show 2005.
14.5% alc. $71.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 23rd August 2006
All Brand New.
Wines were tasted blind.

Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
We talk about sauvignon blanc having leap-out-of-the-glass aromas, well this one has leap-out-of-the-store aromas. As the arrival wine, glasses were already poured and sitting on the counter, and the powerful winey aromas full of sweaty fruit and grassy things were wafting out the door. A delicious, bold style of savvy, full of juicy limes, greengage and passionfruit that flesh out to a powerful pungent finish that lasts just about all night. Dry in style and very tasty. Another winner for Saint Clair. 13% alc. $16.99 special. Screwcap.

Riverby Marlborough Chardonnay 2005
Bright medium gold. Appealing juicy fruit aromas full of peaches and creamy oak with tropical fruit, apricot and citrus on a smooth toasty backbone. Medium-bodied, smoky and tasty with lots of flavour on the rounded finish. 12.5% alc. $25.99. Screwcap.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
Straw gold, lighter in colour then the previous wine, which goes to show you can’t tell a wine's age by it colour. It may be lighter but it is richer and more complex all round with its smoky, mealy, barrel-ferment aroma and polished flavour full of oily French oak, muesli and dried pineapple with stonefruit and hints of citrus. Dry, smoky, spicy and powerful. 14.5% alc. $34.99. Screwcap.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Viognier 2006
Water pale in colour, it smells of red apples and honeysuckle, like you’d find in a sweeter Riesling, and finishes like a musky, floral, spicy Gewurztraminer but with its soft acids, weighty palate, honeyed tropical fruit, pears and apricot, it can’t really be either. It has the hallmarks of classic Viognier in a reasonably dry and incredibly fruity package, and seems awfully easy to quaff right now. 14% alc. $21.99. Screwcap.

Grove Mill Marlborough Pinot Gris 2005
There's an oily appearance to the lemon gold colour and the smoky, almost toasty, lime-infused aromas hint of honeysuckle. While it smells a little like Riesling, the taste is a world apart. It's soft, warm, oily, concentrated and just a little sweet, with dried pears, spiced citrus and a touch of honey on the rich, lingering finish. A gorgeous, full-bodied style of Pinot Gris that is reminiscent of an Alsace style. 14% alc. $27.99 special. Screwcap.

Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2005
A blend of Central Otago and Marlborough fruit, this light coloured wine has a smoky, wild 'woody herb' aroma and a light red fruits flavour with a savoury backbone, a smooth glycerol texture and a spicy flourish to the well-balanced finish. Lovely texture and very good length. 14.5% alc. $24.99 special. Screwcap.

Saddleback Pinot Noir 2005
A blend of Central Otago and Marlborough fruit, this second label of Peregrine has good extract of fleshy red plum colour and a smoky, floral, cherry jam aroma. It's a big, weighty, gamey, savoury style with slightly coarse tannins, quite pronounced berry acidity, smoky oak, a touch of tamarillo and the floral notes coming through again to linger on the finish. 13% alc. $23.99 special. Screwcap.

Castillo de Monseran Old Vine Garnacha 2004
This young, deeply hued bright red wine smells musky and floral but is still flushed with yeasty aromas, a little like a brewery and on the first two or three tastes, its seems like a light and fruity oak-free zone with little substance. But give it time and, wow, it morphs into a robust, hearty number with plums, savoury spices and hints of liquorice and is actually quite moreish. 13% alc. $16.99 special.

Sorrento McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot 2004
Inky black red with concentrated blackcurrant and a nuance of mint on the nose, it's rich, rounded and spicy with tarry, chocolatey oak, concentrated plum and cassis fruit, firm acidity, succulent tannins and a long juicy finish. From the Serafino stable, this is remarkable value. 14% alc. $14.99 special. Screwcap.

Barossa Valley Estate Epiphany Barossa Shiraz 2002
Showing a little age by the bricking of the dense red colour, this smells of chocolate wheaten biscuits, menthol and rosemary-like herbs. It's a tarry, savoury, slightly gamey style, with soft velvety tannins, a touch of liquorice and a sweet jubey fruit finish and a ton of peppery spice on the lingering aftertaste. 14% alc. $16.99 special.

Woop Woop South Australian Shiraz 2005
From the makers of Jip Jip Rocks, this deep black red coloured wine is inky in its depth. It's a big solid wine with rich, deep aromas full of black forest chocolate and oak spice, firm tannins, medium acidity, sweet plum and blackberry fruit and savoury oak. A concentrated, powerful, well-balanced, tasty, mouthfilling drop. 15% alc. $15.99 special. Zork Closure.

Shirvington McLaren Vale Cabernet Shiraz 2003
Deep dark red, opaque right to the bricky red rims. Even more concentrated and powerful than any of the previous wines, it's chock full of sweet vanillin oak, chocolate and cherry on the nose and is full of spicy oak flavour with richly concentrated dark berry and black cherry fruit, silky tannins and a savoury backbone. A grunter of a wine and top notch on the ladder of quality. Easily the red wine of the night, and so it should be at the price. 15% alc. $79.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 16th August 2006
NZ versus the Rest of the World.
Wines were tasted blind.

Orlando St Helga Riesling 2004 – Eden Valley
Light gold with a lemon glint, the bouquet is showing a hint of development with dried hay and citrus. There's crisp, fresh acidity in the rounded, honeyed palate with tropical, apple and citrus fruit and a long, bright finish.
12.5% alc. $21.99. Screwcap.

Seresin Riesling 2004 – Marlborough
A pale gold colour introduces this very dry, steely, bracingly acidic style. It's lighter (than the St Helga) and a little more delicate with citrus and apricot, a slightly grainy texture and a touch of honeysuckle on the finish.
12% alc. $24.99. Screwcap.

Australia won the vote for Best Riesling with the St Helga.

Taylors Jaraman Chardonnay 2003 – Clare Valley/Adelaide Hills
Bright gold with a oily, toasty oak aroma and a smooth, creamy texture with clarified butter, peach and apricot fruit, savoury oak and toffee caramel. The finish is smoky and savoury, and ever so slightly lean.
13.5% alc. $24.99. Screwcap.

Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
Light gold coloured with fragrant, toasty, nutty, mealy aromas that have a suggestion of grapefruit that carries through to the palate that is smooth and creamy textured with mouthfilling flavours of citrus and melon fruit and classy, sophisticated oak. A beautifully balanced wine with a touch of lushness to the finish.
13.5% alc. $22.99. Screwcap.

NZ won the vote for Best Chardsonnay with the Selaks Founders Reserve

Montana Riverpoint Gewurztraminer 2005 – Matawhero, Gisborne
Light gold with a fragrant, floral, sweet musky perfume and a medium sweet, luscious flavour full of white pepper and ginger spices that infuse into the fleshy, lychee and stonefruits while phenolics balance the sweetness and orange water lingers on the well-rounded finish. Very classy.
13% alc. $19.99. Screwcap.

Hugel Jubilee Gewurztraminer 2002 – Alsace, France
Delicately aromatic with oily lemon on the nose, it's rich to the taste, almost waxy in texture with soft acidity, fragrant floral characters that hint of rose petal, an infusion of five spice powder and subtle nuances of orange and stonefruit on the lasting finish.
14% alc. $65.99.

NZ won with the Montana Riverpoint, even allowing for the Alsace wine being 3 times the price.

Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanee 2002 – Burgundy, France
Light Burgundy red coloured, smoke and subtle cherry liqueur aromas, a medium-body with dry tannins, bitter cherry fruit, subtle oak, a meaty undercurrent and a savoury, smoky, slightly metallic finish. A wine so different to what we commonly produce in New Zealand, it really needs food.
13% alc. $73.99.

Carrick Pinot Noir 2003 – Central Otago
In comparison (to the Drouhin), this has a concentrated, deeply hued maroon colour, smoky, earthy, savoury aromas, a full body with velvety tannins, ripe cherry and cranberry fruit, spicy oak and musky herbal nuances to the rich, savoury, earthy finish. Full-flavoured, mouthfilling and long.
14% alc. $38.99. Screwcap.

NZ easily won the vote with the Carrick

Taylors Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 – Clare Valley/Coonawarra
Deep red, showing a little fading on the edges, there's mint, cassis and meaty oak on the nose while the palate is full of sweet spicy oak, mint and tobacco with chewy tannins, lifted redcurrant fruit, mocha and spice as it lingers. Gold – Royal Melbourne Show.
14.5% alc. $24.99. Screwcap.

Craggy Range The Quarry 2004 – Gimblett Gravels
Inky black red with purple red rims, great extraction of colour. Smoky oak and berry fruit aromas and rich, full-bodied flavours of plums and cedary oak with succulent but firm meaty tannins, this powerful, flavoursome blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, is a big, big wine crying out for more time.

Votes were pretty even between the Jaraman Cabernet and the Craggy Range

Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz 2005 – Limestone Coast, South Australia
Inky blackberry red. Mint, chocolate liqueur and stewed blackberries aromas and rich, succulent, powerful flavours with tar and peppery spices, a meaty, gamey backbone, big chewy tannins, and a long winey finish. A big wine, it's more for the main course than 5 o'clock drinks.
15% alc. $15.99. Screwcap.

Vidal Soler Syrah 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Deep rich black red. Fragrant, chocolate-infused, cedary oak aromas, and succulent juicy flavours with a ton of black pepper, velvety tannins, vanillin oak, red and black berried fruits and a hint of rose petal. A big, fleshy wine with impeccable balance of fruit to oak and a fragrant spicy finish. Champion wine of the Show – Royal Easter Wine Show.
14.5% alc. $43.99. Screwcap.

Vidal Soler Syrah won the vote, but plenty of the Jip Jip Rocks was sold.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 9th August 2006
Aromatic Whites and European Reds.
Wines were tasted blind.

Tasman Bay Pinot Gris 2006
Pale lemon. Pear drop and citrus drop on the nose with a touch of herbaceousness and a warm, textural, spicy palate with lemon/lime acidity adding freshness and vibrancy to the pip fruit and tropical fruits that linger on the finish. 13% alc. $16.99. Screwcap.

Astrolabe Pinot Gris 2006 - Marlborough
Pale lemon. Lightly floral on the nose with tropical fruit and juicy, fresh, slightly herbaceous aromas. Rounded and smooth in the palate and ever so slightly toasty with vibrant, fresh, juicy apple, lime and passionfruit, a touch of orange rind, a nuance of herb and soft, well-balanced acidity that balances the sweetness of the lingering finish. Wonderfully flavoursome Pinot Gris that those who usually shun this variety will probably like. 13% alc. $25.99. Screwcap.

Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - Marlborough
Very pale lemon with an appealing, full-on, ripe fruit aroma full of passionfruit and distinctive sauvignon fruit and a crisp, grassy flavour joined by juicy citrus, passionfruit and green bean with a slight graininess to the oily texture, a pungent lingering finish and just a touch of spicy heat. If this is what 2006 is offering - WOW! 13% alc. $19.99 or $18.99 p.b. on case buys. Screwcap.

Neudorf Brightwater Riesling 2005 - Nelson
Straw gold coloured. Lemon and limes abound on the nose with a subtle toastiness behind them then in the palate it's dry, oily and weighty with a green apple earthy, steely, austerity and a touch of stone fruit sweetness on the finish. "Young, pure and fresh," says Sam but it came over just a little aggressive straight after a pungent, new vintage, sauvignon blanc. 12.5% alc. $23.99.

Grove Mill Marlborough Riesling 2004
Light gold. Earthy limes on the nose and a touch of tropical guava that balances the lime and grapefruit in the palate with underlying spice to the long juicy finish. Beautifully balanced and very drinkable. "One of the best value Rieslings ever," says Kingsley. Gold - Air NZ Wine Awards. 12% alc. $14.99. Screwcap.

Friherr Langwerth von Simmern Riesling 2004 - Rheingau, Germany
Pale straw with a floral, musky, ripe apple aroma and a sweet taste, almost too sweet in fact, like baked apple with a toffee coating while a touch of botrytis adds a honeyed waxy character and apricot fruit abounds on the finish. A wine that will blossom in the cellar but just needs to settle right now. 11% alc. $25.99.

Von Hovel Oberemmerler Hutte Riesling Auslese 2003 - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Toasted apple on the nose with a hint of musk and spicy, well-balanced, red apple fruit in the palate with a lightly viscous texture, earthy nuances and an exquisitely balanced sweetness with a lemon sorbet crispness to the lingering finish. This is an outstanding example of Auslese and an awesome cellaring proposition because it will evolve beautifully over time and become rich and weighty without losing its finely poised acidity. 8% alc. $58.99.

Castaldo Chianti 2003 - Tuscany, Italy
Dark orange-garnet red with a jammy aroma and a cough syrup flavour, dry tannins and questionable oak - perhaps none. It's a medium-bodied style with strawberry and plum fruit, hints of liquorice and tar and reasonable acidity. Made to go with pasta rather than for drinking on its own, this delivers for that everyday Italian purpose. 13% alc. $21.99.

Torres Coronas 2003 - Catalunya, Spain
Dark red with an intriguing aroma that wafts up nuances of iron salts, flint and sweet musk. A ripe, sweetish tasting, juicy 'olde worlde' style with fine tannins, soft acidity, pepper, stewed berry fruits, a touch of vanillin oak and nuances of orange on the warm, generous, lingering finish, it is made from 86% Tempranillo and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon. 4 Stars Cuisine Magazine. 13% alc. $20.99.

Torres Celeste 2003 - Ribera del Duero, Spain
Deep dark red with a savoury, meaty, elevated winey aroma infused with vanillin oak, and full-bodied, spicy flavours with good acidity, fine-grained firm-textured meaty tannins, a iron-like earthiness and dark, succulent fruit with a touch of allspice on the juicy, savoury finish. Impressive. 13.5% alc. $32.99.

Codice Tempranillo 2004 - Manchuela, Spain
Deep dark red with purple red hues. With a vibrant spicy, cedary oak aroma, cedar plays a big part in the palate too with a rich malty character, a touch of chocolate, powerful raisined fruit, plenty of spice and just a suggestion of mint. A big gutsy wine with lots of the 'x' factor. And a bargain at the price. 13.5% alc. $18.99.

Leasingham Classic Clare Sparkling Shiraz 1996
Dark fading red with an earthy, olive-like, slightly barnyard aroma, this is complex and mature with soft tannins, ripe plummy fruit, a touch of Christmas cake, hints of liquorice, black pepper and sweet oak. And although a little medicinal on the finish, it has lots of flavour, it is not overly sweet and the aftertaste is long. Kingsley liked it! With 10 Gold Medals & 2 Trophies, it's easy to see why. 14% alc. $44.99.

Quinta de Santa Eufemia 10 Year Old Tawny Port
Clear, light orange-red. Powerful aromas of spirit and salted raisins with a hint of mellow oak and a rancio character. Thick and viscous, more than the appearance of the wine would have you believe, with lots of alcoholic heat, muscat-like fruit and a touch of spiced orange peel and toffee lingering on the warm, lengthy finish. 19.5% alc. $43.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 2nd August 2006
Kingsley's Choice.
Wines were tasted blind.

Mills Reef Reserve Chardonnay 2005 - Hawkes Bay
Golden hued, bright and clear with rich buttery oak aromas and ripe toasty flavours on a creamed almond backbone with toasty citrus and stonefruit and a long mouthfilling, savoury finish. Already delicious drinking. 14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2004 - Marlborough
Rich gold. Toasty, nutty aromas with a hint of citrus and a creamy butterscotch palate with polished spicy oak, juicy ripe stonefruit and a long toasty finish with a touch of lime and a hint of caramel. Full-bodied and mouthfilling with excellent length. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99.

Kahurangi Mt. Arthur Chardonnay 2005 - Moutere, Nelson
Bright light gold. Perfumed cashew and citrus on the nose and a crispness to the taste with figs, apricot and a touch of citrus on a nutty creamy backbone that builds to a lovely, rounded, toasty finish. Very exciting at the price. 14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Road Chardonnay 2004
Rich gold in colour with a rich, leesy, mealy full-on barrel-fermented aroma and a fat, rich, full-bodied flavour with lots of leesy, mealy nuances, nuts, figs and stonefruit, savoury oak and soft acidity. A hard-to-resist style for die-hard Chardonnay fans and drinking beautifully now. 14% alc. Screwcap. $26.99.

Selaks Founders Reserve Chardonnay 2004 - Gisborne
Rich gold with nutty oak aromas and nutbread flavours in a full malolactic style with stonefruit underpinned by citrus and a long, warm, sweet-fruited mouthfilling finish that fills out beautifully. A premium wine that would grace any occasion. 14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Chardonnay 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Light gold coloured with nutmeg on the nose and fat, juicy apricots in the palate that is smooth, clean and balanced with spicy oak, juicy fruit, good acidity, excellent palate weight and a long, rounded, savoury finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. $30.99.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Shiraz 2004 - Barossa Valley
Deep, intense, boysenberry red. Plummy chocolatey aromas and deep, dark, intense plums and cassis fruit flavours with sweet vanillin oak, fruit cake spices, a touch of cherry and hints of leather along with Irish Moss on the finish. Opens up beautifully for the sweet vanillin oak to soak up the sumptuous fruit. 15% alc. Screwcap. $19.99.

Morambro Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 - Padthaway
Showing a little age in its deep, dark red colour, this has spice and sweetish, mellow oak aromas and mouthfilling flavours of cassis with a touch of mint, plenty of chocolate and vanillin cedary oak. Tannins are supple and earthy and the finish is sweet and long. The back label says it will cellar for 6 to 8 years, but it is drinking well now. 14% alc. $19.99.

Morambro Creek Shiraz 2003 - Padthaway
Deep dark red with a boysenberry hue. Smoky, slightly leathery aromas carry through to the palate but dissipate to reveal warm, rich, plum and stewed berry fruit with a touch of mint, subtle vanillin oak, powerful grunty tannins and peppery spices. A polished wine with lots of earthy, leathery nuances to the full-bodied finish and a touch of fruit cake cherry sweetness as the taste lingers. 14.5% alc. $19.99.

Beresford Shiraz 2004 - McLaren Vale
Very deep, bright, blackberry red, this is packed with enticing spicy sweet oak and eucalypt aromas that carry through to the finely structured palate with deep, brooding plum and blackberry fruit, chocolate, liquorice, peppery spices and a fantastically long, mouthfilling finish. Outstanding. 14% alc. Screwcap. $20.99.

Two Hands Angels Share Shiraz 2005 - McLaren Vale
Big, shiny, intense purple red. Chocolate and cedar on the nose lead into a palate packed with spice, sweet red fruits with a veneer of chocolate and deceivingly accessible tannins for its age. But the might of this wine power-packs the finish so it really needs to be put away and cellared for a year or two. 15% alc. Screwcap. $26.99.

Bremerton Selkirk Shiraz 2003 - Langhorne Creek
Deep black-red with boysenberry red rims. Sweet vanillin oak and Shiraz spices on the nose and rich succulent flavours with velvety tannins, juicy cherry and plum fruit, loads of spices and a deliciously long mouthfilling finish. This has developed into the style of Shiraz that made so many of us love the variety and its going to continue developing into something special. For many, the wine of the night. 15% alc. $19.99.

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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