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edited by Sue Courtney

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

June 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 - 21st June
Not So Common
Wines were tasted blind

La Gioiosa Pinot Grigio 2004 - Venito, Italy
Water pale with neutral, slightly oily, grapey aromas and fresh, clean grapey flavours with shades of bubblegum and fizzy fruit lollies with a dryish, slightly earthy finish and a perfumed, floral, nectarine note to the aftertaste. 11.5% alc. $17.95.

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 2004 - Burgundy, France
Thereís a creaminess to the citrussy, slightly smoky aroma while it's dry and steely to the taste with a nicely rounded slightly buttery texture and lime and stonefruit pushing through to linger on the finish. Crisp, steely and fresh. 12.5% alc. $29.95.

Freiherr Langwerth Riesling 2004 - Rheingau, Germany
Straw gold with citrussy aromas full of mandarins and tangelo zest and sweetish, citrussy, honeyed flavours with hints of tropical fruit. There's a slight gingery spritziness which makes it taste light, fresh and zingy while the juicy finish is lively and long. 11% alc. $22.95.

Albert Mann Gewurztraminer 2004 - Alsace, France
Delicate perfume of musk and spices lead into a beautifully balanced, low acid palate with a lovely oily texture that coats the tongue, flavours of rose petals, dried crushed coriander and gingery spices and a rich, powerful, lemon-scented finish. Very classy. 14% alc. $33.95.

Finca Manzanos Rioja Joven 2004 - Rioja, Spain
Burgundy red with an oily, tarry, smoked mushroom aroma and plummy fruit flavours with sweet oak, dry meaty tannins and an earthy, savoury finish. Good length. 13% alc. $14.95.

Saint Cosme Chateauneuf du Pape 2003 - Rhone Valley, France
Deep garnet red with a blackish core. Smoky sweet oak, spiced cherry and herbs de Provence on the nose then sweet oak, cherry, plum and currant fruit, spice, tar and liquorice flavours with thick chewy tannins. Big, fat, juicy and meaty with lovely mouthfeel and length. Very satisfying and very appealing. 14.5% alc. $77.95.

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2003 - California, USA
Medium-weight red/black colour, not opaque, with a charred oak aroma that is slightly salty smelling, like dried rosemary, and sweet, juicy flavours with a touch liquorice, spiced orange peel, fruit cake cherry and blackcurrant supported by creamy oak and finely textured tannins. Not a big whopping style, but tasty and mouthfilling with an underlying savouriness to balance the sweetness. Great buying at the price. 13.5% alc. $19.95.

Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2002 - Sonoma County, California, USA
Deep black-red with fading rims, the rich colour is supported by enticing aromas and succulent juicy flavours of vanillin oak with cherry, plum and blackberry fruits, lots of peppery spice, hints of liquorice, firm tannins and a dry savoury finish with excellent length. It is perhaps a little porty, but that's Zin for you. 15.2% alc.

Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2001 - Tuscany, Italy
An older looking wine with an orange-red colour, hints of liquorice on the nose and savoury, cedary oak flavours with a lovely winey vinosity, hints of leather and tar, big but well-integrated tannins, mellow fruit cake spice and a touch of liquorice. There is no real dominant fruit character, except, perhaps for macerated currants. A lovely savoury, mellow mouthful. 13.5% alc. $41.95.

Rose Tree Cottage Late Harvest Semillon 2004 - Marlborough
Bright lemon yellow with a fragrant but unusual aroma for sweet wine. Full of frangipani, coconut and glace pineapple, it's like a vinous pinot colada with a sweet but not too heavy, runny honey finish. Delicious. 11% alc. Screwcap. $24.95 / 375ml bottle.

Williams & Humbert Walnut Brown Oloroso Sherry - Jerez, Spain
Like the colour of black coffee with an olive green edge, this smells rich and enticing, almost floral, with spiced orange peel and lots of spiritous fumes that convert to heat in the palate. It is lusciously sweet with a thick texture, a full-on rancio (old, oxidised) character, aromatic fragrant "bitters", hints of mulled spices, molasses and sweet raisins. Made from a blend of Palomino, Pedro Ximinez and Muscatel grapes, this is a deliciously powerful drop. 19.5% alc. $40.95.

Dows Fine Tawny Port - Douro Valley, Portugal
Clear, light, sandpaper garnet colour, slightly oxidised aroma (but without the distinctive rancio character), lots of alcohol, roasted nut and raisin flavours, a fine, thin (for Port) texture and a touch of caramel on the finish. 19% alc. $36.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 14th June
Seresin Wines plus others
Clive Dougal, the new winemaker for Seresin Wines in Marlborough, was at the tasting to present his wines. Thus the Seresin wines and the pre-taster bubbly were not tasted blind. The remainder were.

Deutz Blanc de Blancs 2002 - Marlborough
Bright light gold, smelling of toasted lemon and nut bread with a hint of marmite, this tastes rich and yeasty with a steeliness to the backbone and a very dry, savoury, full-bodied finish. Peach and quince-like fruit flavours linger and the spritziness of the bubbles leaves a tingle. 12% alc. $35.95.

Seresin Marlborough Riesling 2004
Pale gold with freshly squeezed limes and blossoms on the nose, this has a lovely crisp, dry grainy texture and although mouth-puckering dry to start with, after two or three sips you feel the weight coming through. A very pure Riesling with excellent length, this is full of acid but is starting to take on a honeyed character - and will garner more honey and other complexities with a little more age. A great cellaring proposition. 12% alc. Screwcap. $24.95.

Seresin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Bright clear straw gold with a hint of oak on the nose adding complexity and softness to the otherwise zingy aroma, itís spicy/spritzy on the front of the tongue from the punchy lime and apple fruit, toned down by the creamy texture of fleshier stone fruit and mellow oak. Add a hint of capsicum, a slightly sweetish, grassy, gooseberry finish and a hint of sauvignonís peasiness as it lingers, this has concentration, weight and excellent length. With 8% Semillon, 5% barrel-ferment and partial wild yeast fermentation, this is not your typical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.95 .

Seresin Marlborough Chardonnay 2005
Light yellow gold with hints of grapefruit underlying the creamy butterscotch aroma while grapefruit-like citrus fills the palate together with nutty oak and a weighty richness. Spicy, savoury, full-bodied and creamy with a long nutty finish, it is delicious now but according to Clive, it will be at its peak in 2008. 14% alc. Screwcap. $21.95.

Seresin Momo Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004
Light in colour, itís quite faded for a 2004 but the colour befits its medium weight. With smoky bacon, savoury herbs, stewed plum and tamarillo fruit, mulled wine spices, pepper, vanilla and a touch of sweetness to make it more commercially appealing, it's rather succulent and drinking well now. 14% alc. Screwcap. $20.95.

Seresin Leah Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004
Good depth of deep garnet red colour with a pinky-red rim. Fragrant smelling with hints of violet, spiced bitter cherries and savoury oak on the nose, it's full-bodied and succulent to the taste with velvety tannins, plenty of robust, earthy, spiced mushroom and woody herb flavours, plum, cherry and tamarillo fruit and chocolate emerging on the strong finish. Very moreish. 14% alc. Screwcap. $31.95.

Hungerford Hill Fishcage Shiraz Viognier 2004
Black red, with a bright red rim, there's little indication of oak on the nose, just lots of cherry and purple fruit that lead into a sweetish, soft palate full of juicy berries and pepper. Lacking a little structure and seeming a little one-dimensional, it is perfect as a winter quaffer and very warming at the price. Gold New World Wine Awards. 13% alc. Screwcap. $14.95/$13.95 p.b. on case buys.

Hardyís Oomoo McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004
Deep, shining black red with crimson violet rims, spicy, chocolatey aromas and savoury, spicy, peppery flavours with blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, dark chocolatey oak, and smooth succulent tannins, this gorgeous wine has plenty of structure and flavour and absolutely hits the spot. 5 stars Cuisine Magazine. 14% alc. $15.95.

Yalumba Barossa Bush Vines Grenache 2002
Dark red, starting to brick around the edges, this is slightly herbal, almost salty, with the scent of dried rosemary joining spiced plums. It's soft and savoury/sweet in the palate with velvety tannins, strawberry and cherry fruit, vanillin oak, a touch of spice and a woody aftertaste. A medium-bodied style with nice bottle development. Drinking well now. 4Ĺ stars Cuisine Magazine 14.5% alc. $16.95.

Pertaringa Undercover Shiraz 2004 - McLaren Vale
Shiny, dark purple black. Concentrated, smoky, cherry biscuit and blackberry jam aromas lead into a sumptuous palate full of pepper, leather and earth, making it seem almost Rhonish in style. Add deliciously concentrated, juicy blackberry fruit, nutmeg and fruit cake spices, liquorice and charcoal, and a long, bitter chocolate finish. Very smart indeed. Trophy Decanter Magazine. 15% alc. Screwcap. $20.95.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 7th June
Chardonnay and More
Wines were tasted blind.

Vidal Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2005
Light gold, bright, clear. Smooth and rounded with toasty aromas and peachy flavours, nutty oak, caramel and plenty of balanced acidity behind it. Very much a crowd pleaser with a finish that goes on and on. 14% alc. Screwcap. $13.95.

Cape Campbell Reserve Chardonnay 2005 - Marlborough
Light gold, clear and bright with a wheaty, yeasty aroma and spritzy, bitey, slightly burnt butter flavour at first that quickly fills out with melon, stonefruit and nutty oak on an oily texture to build to a long, rich, full-bodied finish. Very smart with lots of leesy, barrel-ferment influence. A wine that will evolve beautifully, I'm sure. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.95.

Gunn Estate Windburn Chardonnay 2005 - Hawkes Bay
Straw gold with lemon biscuit on the nose and plenty of upfront acidity in the palate, it is tight with grainy textured nutty oak but like the previous wine, it opens up to reveal its rich peachy fruit that builds to a fleshy, full-bodied finish with spicy oak lingering. With more time, or with less of the winter chilling, it will become rather moreish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.95.

Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2005
Light gold in colour, this wine seems very tight at first. There's a nutty aroma with a hint of lime and grapefruit in the distance and although tight in the palate it is beautifully structured with apricot fruit pushing through the spicy leesy backbone, beautifully proportioned nutty oak and a long rich savoury finish. Very classy and top Chardonnay so far. 14% alc. Screwcap. $32.95.

Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2004 - Waipara
Yellow gold with a lime glint, this has a very powerful wheaty, yeast lees aroma with hints of grapefruit peel and smoke. It is reminiscent of wheat beer in many respects, or a marmalade that has been left in the jar too long and started to ferment. Savoury to the taste, it is full-bodied and rich with very mellow spicy oak, Macintosh's soft 'Harrogate' toffees adding fullness to the mid-palate and peach and vanilla custard nuances to the finish. With good acidity and balance throughout, and lots of subtle, smoky barrel influence, this is a wine that is a bit left field to the norm that New Zealand produces, but followers of this label will not be disappointed. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. $35.95.

Odyssey Reserve Iliad Chardonnay 2005 - Gisborne
Yellow gold in colour, a deeper yellow than expected for the vintage, it smells slightly oxidised and I suspect it might be. So I check a smidgen of wine left from another bottle poured to tasters on the other side of the room. This is lighter in colour and although it still has rather expansive aromas, they seem to be derived more from the yeast lees and barrel ferment wine making processes. It's a powerful wine with lots of acidity. Flavours of apricot juices and nutty oak come to the fore with hints of underlying tropical fruit. The texture is tight and grainy, and malty flavours linger on the savoury finish. It needs to integrate further at this stage of its life. 13.5% $36.95.

Chard Farm Judge & Jury Chardonnay 2003 - Central Otago
Straw gold in colour, bright and clear. Citrussy aromas with hints of grapefruit lead into a palate full of tangelo and stonefruit with classy oak and a sweet fruit finish. It's still very tight and nutty, but the fruit weight is excellent and the finish is long. A beautiful chardonnay with a sophisticated edge. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. $35.95.

Maven Reserve Chardonnay 2005 - Marlborough
Pale gold coloured with fragrant, nutty aromas and ripe, juicy tropical fruit on a dry oaky backbone with juicy fruit chewing gum flavours lingering on the long, ripe, mealy finish. Good acidity throughout. You need to buy eight bottles of this wine to see the whole range of labels, as they have eight different labels on the chardonnay alone. Now that will be a talking point for your next wine geek dinner party. Serve this early in the meal with a lighter course. 13% alc. Screwcap. $23.95.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2004 - Marlborough
Pale straw in colour, this is quite restrained on the nose at first, but as it warms up in the glass toasty, citrussy aromas arise, however it is immediately mouthfilling with powerful flavours of sweet nutty oak and caramel toffee with hints of tropical fruit over a rich, melon backbone. With lots of body, good fruit, good oak and a lingering sweet toasty oak finish, this is a big, fat, rich, delicious style. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.95.

Leasingham Bastion Riesling 2002 - Clare Valley, South Australia
Light yellow-gold with a gemstone appearance like a yellow topaz, this Riesling has a classical aroma for its style and age with toasted lime, a hint of honey and a suggestion of pollen. Crisp and fresh on the first mouthful, especially straight after a Chardonnay, it becomes quite toasty with honeyed lemon and lime filling out the finish and a touch of kumquat tartness as it lingers. A typically dry Aussie style, to match to white fleshed fish (but never to salmon). 13% alc. Screwcap. $13.95.

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Deep, dense, boysenberry-red in colour with a fragrant leather and mocha/spice aroma that leads into a massive palate with seriously big tannins, biscuity oak, boysenberry, cherry and plum fruit, leather, liquorice and a powerful spice-influenced, almost peppery finish. With excellent cellaring potential, it needs a rare juicy steak or a creamy cheese to cut through the tannins right now. 14% alc. $23.95.

Scarpantoni School Block Shiraz 2004 - McLaren Vale, South Australia
Inky black-red with a violet/purple garnet rim, smoky oak, tar and concentrated red berry aromas lead into a creamy oak palate with ripe, voluptuous cherry and juicy berry fruit, chocolate, liquorice, anise and pepper to the fore on the long succulent finish. The tannins are fine and rounded giving structure while not overpowering, making this little beauty ready to drink right now though it can be confidently cellared for a while. It was Wine of the Night for many. 14.5% alc. $19.95.

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.

2006 Tastings
Jan 2006 tasting notes.
Feb 2006 tasting notes.
March / April 2006 tasting notes.
May 2006 tasting notes.
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Jul 2006 tasting notes.
Aug 2006 tasting notes.
Sep 2006 tasting notes.
Oct 2006 tasting notes.
Nov 2006 tasting notes.
Dec 2006 tasting notes.

Dec 2005 tasting notes.
Jan 2007 tasting notes.

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