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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

November 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 - 29th November 2006
Air NZ Gold Medals and More
Wines were were tasted blind.

Hunters Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
Light gold with delicately toasty aromas of spiced citrus leading into a creamy, savoury palate with nutty oak and delicious ripe, rich flavours of fleshy stonefruit with a nice sprinkling of spice on the lingering finish. Very tasty and deliciously drinkable. Gold Air NZ.
14% alc. $16.99. Screwcap.

Astrolabe Marlborough Chardonnay 2005
Light gold in colour, it's a little shy on nose but tastes full-bodied and complex with savoury, wheaty barrel-worked flavours, a touch of fig and hazelnut. It's very dry with a graininess to the texture, citrus is the dominant fruit and a butterscotch richness fills the toasty, finish. Gold Air NZ.
14% alc. $29.99. Screwcap.

Cullen Estate Margaret River Chardonnay 2004
Light golden in colour and not overly expressive on the nose though a milky creamy nuance emerges., this is a Burgundian style with a lanolin backbone, lemon drop flavours, nutty oak and a delicate flourish of nutmeg-like spices. But the best thing about this wine at this stage of its life is its rich full texture. It's dry with impeccable balance and you can taste the potential as it builds to an aftertaste that seems to go on and on.
14% alc. $65.

Matua Valley Paretai Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Full of juicy tropical fruit with an underpinning of pineapple, this is crisp, crunchy and beautifully refreshing. The gorgeous slippery texture has just a little bit of grip, there's a myriad of juicy green fruit, musky notes emerge on the long flavoursome finish and the aftertaste is long and pungent. Stunning wine. Gold Air NZ.
13.5% alc. $27.99. Screwcap.

Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2006
Light gold in colour with pear drop and strudel spice aromas, this is a fat fleshy wine with a creamy texture and apples and pear fruit to the fore. It's a full-bodied style with a spicy richness, a soft juicy finish and just a touch of savouriness to balance the sweetness. Well rewarded for its flavour. Gold Air NZ.
14% alc. $19.99. Screwcap.

Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2006
Straw gold coloured. Musk, lychees, Asian spice and rose petal aromas tantalise the nose and the palate delivers as it should. Sweet, but not overly sweet with a luscious oily texture and plenty of fruit, the spice that lingers on the pungent finish is definitive of the variety. Gold & Trophy Air NZ.
12.5% alc. $18.99. Screwcap.

Esk Valley Black Label Hawkes Bay Merlot Malbec Rose 2006
Clear light ruby, quite dark for rosé, with fragrant crushed strawberry aromas and crisp spicy flavours of concentrated strawberry and berry fruit and just a hint of liquorice. It has surprisingly good structure for Rose and finishes just off dry. A serious style and worth considering for a summer day occasion. Gold & Trophy Air NZ.
14% alc. $$17.99. Screwcap.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005
Big rich chocolatey style with fabulous extraction of purple crimson colour and ripe succulent flavours full of cherry with hints of rose petal. Velvety smooth with spices emerging, an earthy savouriness to the finish and a touch of spicy anise as it lingers. Delicious, young and vibrant with more complexity to emerge over the next year. Gold Air NZ.
14% alc. $29.99. Screwcap.

Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2005
Deep in colour with purple-edges, this is savoury and gamey from the outset with floral nuances as well as smoky bacon mushrooms, cherries and plums and a spicy lift to the finish. It's very dry with a firm tannin structure and a silky texture with lots going on in the layers of flavours that ripple across the palate leaving a creaminess in their wake. A beautiful wine, one to pour into a big glass and muse over at this stage of its life or just put away in the cellar for several years and let it evolve.
13.5% alc. $67.99. Screwcap.

Esk Valley Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot Malbec Cabernet 2004
Inky red with a red black core, bright with no hint of fading. Powerful aromas have a floral nuance and a hint of black nugget and it's full-bodied and spicy to the taste with creamy oak, liquorice, fruit cake spices, plums and juicy dark red and purple berries. Lots of oak, but harmonious and succulent, long and dry with a serious tannin structure but ample fruit to balance the tannins and oak beautifully. So young but oh so drinkable with excellent cellaring potential. Gold & Trophy Air NZ.
14.5% alc. $53.99. Screwcap.

Thorn Clarke William Randall Shiraz 2001
A deep dense coloured wine, black in its core but showing some brick red fading on the edges. It smells as it has some age and tastes older too with bottle-aged complexities of mellow oak, herb flowers, liquorice and wheat biscuits. Sweet vanillin oak emerges with hints of mint as the wine flows smoothly across the palate across the palate to culminate in a lingering aftertaste of creamy chocolate and subtle cherry. Showing how gorgeous Shiraz can become with a bit of bottle age, it is a treat to taste - but it would be even better to have a big glass to enjoy.
15.3% alc. $45.99.

Parsons Flat Shiraz Cabernet 2004 - Padthaway
Deep dark red black with an inky black core. Spicy, dark toasted oak aromas with a slight minty nuance and savoury, earthy flavours with creamy chocolate, dark dusty oak, blueberries, blackberries and beautifully poised wine-infused spices. Sultry and succulent with underlying sweetness and a long flavoursome finish. Silver NZIWS, Gold LL Top 100.
15.5% alc. $NA.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 22nd November 2006
Michael Cooper presents wines from his 2007 Buyers' Guide
Michael Cooper has published more wine books in NZ than anyone else. His Buyers' Guide is NZ's best selling wine book, selling in excess of 10,000 copies each year. The 2007 edition has 2740 wine reviews, all of which Michael personally tasted.
As it was a guest presenter tasting, none of the wines were were tasted blind, and a couple of overseas wines were added to finish off the evening.

Terrace Road Classic Brut - Marlborough
Straw gold with a good head of foamy mousse, rich bready aromas and ripe zesty flavours that have lots of zing from the bubbles. Full bodied and creamy in texture with a cashew-like backbone and subtle flavours of stonefruit. Long and tasty with a lingering savouriness. Very smart. Michael Cooper's Buyers' Guide 'Best Sparkling Wine Buy of the Year'.
12% alc. $20.99.

Corbans Private Bin Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004
There's a lime glint to the clear bright golden yellow colour, the aromas are rich and toasty and the mellow ripe fruited flavours of figs and stonefruit are creamy and buttery. With wild yeast fermentation in barrels, this is a big oaky, spicy, savoury style with terrific length. Short listed for Michael Cooper's Buyers' Guide 'Best White Wine of Year'.
14% alc. $18.99.

Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - Marlborough
Light straw, pungent and juicy, it smells tantalisingly delicious and tastes fresh and punchy with juicy ripe tropical fruit. It's crammed with passionfruit and pineapple with an underpinning of gooseberry and lime, it's slightly grainy in texture and not overly herbaceous, just long and tasty and finishes dry. Simply delicious drinking. Michael Cooper's Buyers' Guide 'Classic'. Multiple Golds & Trophy.
13% alc. $27.99. Screwcap.

Palliser Marlborough Riesling 2006
Pale in colour with a honeysuckle and citrus blossom aroma, lemons and lime flavours abound. Focused and pure, it's medium in style with racy acidity, a texture that feels slightly spritzy and a delicate marmalade character to the finish. Juicy and delicious now with excellent cellaring potential. Michael Cooper's Buyers' Guide 'Classic'. Gold AirNZ.
12.5% alc. $19.99. Screwcap.

Corbans Private Bin Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2004
Light yellow gold with delicately aromatic scents of rose petals and spice and ripe, sweet fruited, spice-imbued flavours. There's a touch of honey, hints of orange, musk and flower nectar while its smooth in texture and perfectly balanced without being overly sweet and the finish is full of delicately mouthfilling flavours. Michael Cooper's Buyers' Guide 'Best White Wine Buy of the Year'.
13.5% alc. $18.99.

Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2006
Very light gold with temptingly fragrant scents of flowers and spice, it's sweet to the taste with a honeyed richness, well defined flavours of musk and spice, lychee fruit, hints of raisin and an intense and opulent finish that is flushed with citrus zest and ginger-like spices. Once again the impeccable balance carries this wine. Gold AirNZ.
13% alc. $29.99. Diam closure.

Carrick Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004
A ripe luscious style, deep in colour, it's opulent to the smell and taste. Concentrated cherry fills the perfumed bouquet, it's smoky and spicy with sweet savoury oak, firm grainy tannins and mouthfilling flavours of cherry and stewed plums with a hint of chicory and chocolate. The firm acidity that underpins the wine emerges on the lingering savoury finish. Plenty of drink now charm.
14% alc. $35.99. Screwcap.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2005 - Marlborough
Deep ruby with crimson hues. There's a fragrance of sweet sappy oak infused with cherry and delicate spice and it flows across the palate with its smooth tannins. It tastes juicy and flavoursome, full of cherry and chocolate with underlying spice. There's an earthy richness and a flash of vanilla on the lingering finish. Immensely drinkable. Michael Cooper's Buyers' Guide 'Best Buy of the Year'.
14% alc. $29.99. Screwcap.

Chanarmuyo Malbec 2005 - Argentina
Inky coloured, an intense purple crimson colour that resembles boysenberry jam. Jammy aromas fill the nose and complex, earthy, savoury flavours with loads of fruit reminiscent of black plums and dust covered juicy wild blackberries that combine with dark dusky oak, liquorice, chocolate and earth, fill the palate. There's little intrusion of oak, just fruit, fruit, fruit, and it has fantastic length too.
14.5% alc. $17.99.

Pertaringa Over the Top Shiraz 2004
Inky black red, shiny and deep. It smells rich and opulent, spicy and creamy with vanillin oak and juicy berry fruit and it tastes seductively delicious with smooth, powerful tannins, fabulous spice and concentrated fruit. A rich complex wine with chocolate, pepper, liquorice, nutmeg, vanilla and toasty French and American oak. A gorgeous end to a night of fabulous wines. Gold NZIWS. 15% alc. $46.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 15th November 2006
Ten Top Pinot Noirs from Cuisine Magazine and Air NZ Wine Awards
All wines, except the Chardonnay, were tasted blind.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2005
Straw yellow. Creamy oak aromas and savoury, nutty, mealy flavours are underpinned by vibrant citrus and white peach with spicy barrel ferment oak flavours loitering softly in the background and building to a savoury finish. 13% alc. $16.99.

Taylors Clare Valley Chardonnay 2005
A bright fruity style with a spicy, bready backbone and lots of juicy tropical fruit with a hint of pineapple, sweet creamy oak and a long, flavoursome finish. Medium-bodied in style, delicious on its own and perfect for social drinks while it will suit seafood and chicken dishes too. 14.5% alc. $13.99.

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005
Translucent ruby, aromatic and smoky with succulent cherry and raspberry fruit, a touch of spice and silky tannins all packaged into a medium-bodied style. There are chocolate notes to the finish which is lifted by citrus and savoury herbs. 5 stars Cuisine Magazine. 14% alc. $19.99.

Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Pinot Noir 2005
Fragrant with rich, ruby red hues and soft, rounded, earthy, savoury flavours filled with spiced cherries and juicy plums with hints of tart red guava. The tannins are slightly grainy and there's a gamey richness mid-palate which gives way to hints of musk and succulent sweeter berries on the finish. Full-bodied and long. 4.5 stars Cuisine Magazine. Gold Air NZ Wine Awards. 13.5% alc. $27.99.

Lindis River Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004
A little lighter in colour with cranberry red hues. Fragrant, floral aromas have sweet cherry and delicate smoky vanillin oak while cherry, strawberry, raspberry and wild herbs deliver the upfront flavours that become quite earthy, gamey and complex. Silky tannins underpin the wine and smoky vanillin oak and cherry linger. 13% alc. $35.99.

Lindis River Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005
Deep ruby garnet with purple-red tints, the fragrant aromas are scented with smoky oak and ripe, spiced cherry fruit. Rich and ripe to the taste with black cherry and black fleshed stonefruit, this is a generous mouthfilling style with firm tannins and a long, rich savoury finish that hints of strawberry. 13% alc. Not yet released.

Triplebank Awatere Pinot Noir 2005
Deep ruby purple with ripe cherry and creamy oak aromas and hints of red guava amongst the succulent blackberry and plum flavours, there's a tarry savouriness that underpins the full-bodied, fleshy palate that has great mouthfeel from the velvety tannins, and good length. Gold Air NZ Wine Awards. 14% alc. $20.99.

Chard Farm Finla Mor Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004
A lighter Burgundy red in comparison to the dense 2005's, it's a soft mellow style with a cherry jam aroma and ripe red berry flavours supported by savoury oak with hints of liquorice and milk chocolate. The tannins are plush and velvety, and wild herbs and spiced orange peel linger on the zesty finish. 5 stars Cuisine Magazine. 14% alc. $38.99.

Mount Michael Bessie's Block Pinot Noir 2005
Deep purple violet, intense and vivid. Beautifully fragrant and floral with a herb infusion to the creamy oak and smoky bacon aromas, and smoky, earthy, savoury flavours full of ripe cherry and plum fruit with a touch of orange peel that lifts the lingering finish. It's a blockbuster style with a deep flavours and plenty of pinot charm. 5 stars Cuisine Magazine. Gold Air NZ Wine Awards. 14% alc. $35.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005
Bright ruby garnet. Perfumed and spicy with soft smooth, full-bodied flavours full of juicy, ripe cherry and plum fruit, chocolate and fruit cake spice with guava balancing the sweet fruit and an alluring, dark earthy undercurrent with hints of savoury herbs. Spicy cedar lingers on the bright zesty finish. Will appeal to Shiraz drinkers. 5 stars Cuisine Magazine. 14% alc. $29.99.

Bannock Brae Barrel Selection Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005
Deep purple red, the deepest colour of all the wines tonight, and the aromas and flavours live up to the intensity. It's rich, almost raisiny, with plums, black berries and mushroom flavours filling the firm tannin palate with hints of liquorice and a spicy, savoury oak finish. 5 stars Cuisine Magazine. Gold Air NZ Wine Awards. 14% alc. $45.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005
Deep rich ruby, intensely aromatic, concentrated, smooth and creamy with a silky texture and impeccable balance. Chocolate, cherry, herbs and savoury nuances fill out the palate which is lush, curvaceous and utterly enthralling. The pinnacle wine in a fantastic portfolio of stunning pinot noirs from Villa Maria, and made to last. 5 stars Cuisine Magazine. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. $54.99.

Grant Burge Miamba Barossa Shiraz 2004
Inky blackberry red. Juicy black cherry and spicy sweet oak with hints of chicory tantalise the nose and ripe cherry and juicy mulberry fill the palate that is crammed with spice, mocha, creamy vanillin oak and juicy succulent tannins with a savoury nuance and hint of bitter chocolate on the dark, dusky finish. A delicious, full-bodied, juicy succulent, Aussie Shiraz. Gold - Canberra Wine Show. 14% alc. $19.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 8th November 2006
Over $20 Wines and Air NZ Gold Medal Winners
All wines were tasted blind.

Ti Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Vibrant and punchy with fruity aromas and crisp, fresh flavours of bright summery herbs and juicy citrus, it's weighty and full with a slightly oily texture and a long tasty finish. Gold Medal Air NZ Wine Awards. Screwcap closure. 13.5% alc. $16.99 special.

Dog Point Section 94 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Medium gold in colour, this wild yeast, barrel fermented style has a full body and a rich creamy texture. Lemon peel underpins stonefruit with sweet pea, pawpaw, hints of pineapple and a caramel richness to the slightly spicy finish. A serious alternative style. 13% alc. $31.99.

Te Mania Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2004
Bright gold with glints of green, sweet toasty barrel ferment aromas tantalise the nose and caramel oak and mealy flavours fill the palate. A stylishly made, creamy textured, lees-influenced full-bodied style with a spicy stonefruit richness and citrus on the finish, which is long and tasty. Gold - Home and Entertaining Magazine. Diam closure.14% alc. $24.99 special.

Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
Toasty mellow oak on the nose and citrussy flavours that hint of grapefruit, with a spicy backbone and a mellow finish. A touch of malo adds a Burgundian nuance while stonefruit and pineapple linger on the dry finish. Integrating nicely. Four gold medals. Screwcap closure. 13.5% alc. $22.99 special.

Jaboulet Cote de Rhone Parallel 45 2003
Fading dark cherry red without much depth. Perfumed glace cherry on nose leads into a tight, tannic palate which is earthy and a little savoury with delicate cherry fruit and a vinous richness to the finish, which has a gentle spicy flourish. A medium bodied style. 13.5% alc. $20.99 special.

Nga Waka Three Paddles Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004
Fading browning red, translucent in its depth. Perfumed and a little soapy on the nose, it's has stewed cherry and plum fruit flavours with a sweet strawberry backbone, a savoury undercurrent and a vinous richness to the earthy spicy finish. Becomes quite complex wine as the flavours evolve in the mouth. Gold Air NZ Wine Awards. Screwcap closure. 13.5% alc. $19.99 special.

Three Miners Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005
Rich dark red, sweet berry scents fuse into earthy complex aromas and the dense, rich palate is spicy and savoury, smoky and herbal with concentrated ripe plum and tart cherry fruit. A big wine, reflective of the vintage. Screwcap closure. 13% alc. $33.99.

Mount Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005
Deep bright Burgundy red. It smells ripe and sweet with vanillin oak and plums, while ripe plum and berry fruit fill the palate with earthy, savoury herbal notes and a zesty, spicy finish. This is a big, bold style of pinot with a beautiful silky tannin structure and deliciously juicy fruit that melds into the long savoury, dry, spicy (anise -like) finish. Screwcap closure. 14% alc. $41.99.

Bridge Pa 'Louis' Hawkes Bay Syrah 2004
Deep inky red. Aromatic, wine soaked bread and spice box aromas infuse into vanillin cedar that pave the way for voluptuous, full-bodied flavours of cherry and ripe berry fruit with liquorice, cedar, chocolate and seductive velvety tannins that still have a little grip. A hint of musk emerges to linger on the subtle peppery finish. A meaty wine and a stunning example of NZ Syrah. A multiple gold medal winner. Diam closure.14% alc. $42.99.

Saint John's Road Julia Barossa Shiraz 2005
Deep black red, dark and savoury, concentrated and powerful, full of mouthfilling juicy berry fruit, red jelly baby lollies, crushed black pepper and liquorice spices with a tarry undercurrent, silky tannins and a creamy, luscious finish. Gold Medal NZIWS. Parker 92/100. Screwcap closure. 14.5% alc. $33.99.

Villa Maria Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2003
Orange gold, gemmy and bright. Full of botrytis, orange toffee and spiced honey aromas, it tastes sweet and luscious, like apricot stuffed baked apples with a honey and orange toffee topping. Thick and viscous in texture with a long, sweet, citrussy aftertaste. Gold NZIWS. 10.5% alc. $52.99.

Hardy's Whiskers Blake 8 year old Tawny Port
Translucent orange amber in colour, rancio characters abound on the nutty, spiritous nose and carry through to the palate, which is hot and spiritous and possibly drier than one would expect from port. Flannel-like tannins add grip and raisins and roasted salted almond-like nutty flavours linger on the lasting finish. A rather satisfying end to the evening. Gold NZIWS. 18% alc. $29.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 1st November 2006
Thinking of Christmas
All wines were tasted blind.

Vidal Natural Ferment Chardonnay 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Medium gold in colour with aromas of toasted nuts and grilled pineapple and a toasty mouthful of grilled stonefruit and tropical fruit with a yeasty richness, an oily texture, a spicy backbone and a touch of grapefruit on the lingering finish. Tasty and long with bottle complexity adding to its attraction. 14.5% alc. $13.99. Screwcap.

Saint Clair Marlborough Chardonnay 2005 - Marlborough
Light gold coloured with aromas and flavours of spicy oak with a leesy complexity, bright grapefruit-like citrus and a slightly grainy texture. It's medium bodied and fresh and can take a bit of chilling for refreshing summer drinking. 13.5% alc. $16.99. Screwcap.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2004 - Marlborough
Light gold, richly aromatic and full of flavour, full-bodied and creamy in style with an apricot and grilled stonefruit richness, honeyed oak and a powerfully long toasty finish with a limey citrus tang and a hint of crème caramel as it lingers. The oak has started to mellow but has not lost any of its smoky spice. 14.5% alc. $24.99. Screwcap.

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Gris 2006 - Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Auckland
Pale gold with pip fruit aromas and slightly spritzy, spiced apple flavours with a twist of orange peel and a hint of musk. It's on the sweeter side of dry, the texture is warm and oily and there's not even a whisper of oak. Chill well for refreshing summer drinking. 13.5% alc. $13.99. Screwcap.

Waimea Nelson Gewurztraminer 2006
Pale gold with a rich, rose oil aroma and a spicy, concentrated, full-bodied and richly textured mouthful of juicy, tasty flavour. It's full of lychees, stonefruit, spiced apple, orange blossom, cumin and crushed coriander. with an oily richness, a touch of sweetness and a pungent finish that goes on and on. Gold Medal NZIWS. 13% alc. $20.99. Screwcap.

Rose Tree Cottage Pinot Noir 2005 - Marlborough
Deep magenta red in colour with smoky, savoury red fruit aromas that hint of cherry and tart red fruits that combine well with the creamy richness of the savoury spicy oak and crushed velvet tannins that build in the palate to a lingering finish. There are hints of sweeter strawberry mid palate and cranberry surges on the finish. Lots of interest and drinkability for the price. Silver Medal NZIWS. 13.5% alc. $19.99. Screwcap.

Pozuela Crianza 2003 - Yecla, Spain
Deep dark purple red in colour, this tasty blend of Monastrell, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah has savoury, leathery, compost and charred coffee aromas and plush textured, full-bodied flavours with plum and mulberry fruit trying to claw out of the smoky, spicy, savoury, tarry black mire. The sweetness of purple wine gums emerges on the finish to be joined with hints of rose petal after the savoury notes fade. A gutsy wine that is easy to describe as 'different' because it is! 13.5% alc. $18.99.

Lou Lou Shiraz 2004 - Australia.
Plummy red of medium density, it seems light and fruity after the Spanish wine. It emits a menthol-infused smoky aroma and a taste of juicy red berries and spice over a minty backbone with soft sweet tannins and a lingering finish. A fun wine with the lady in the red dress on the label, it's made by Hungerford Hill with art work by Auckland artist, Louisa Hayward. Gold Medal New World Wine Awards. Screwcap. 13.5% alc. $13.99.

Elderton Barossa Shiraz 2003 - South Australia
Dense black red with no fading, this gutsy, robust wine doesn’t even hint of its age. The aroma is rich and chocolatey and the mouthfilling taste is full-bodied and creamy with integrated cedary oak, chocolate raisins and fleshy prunes that tame the big, grippy tannins that soften on the long smoky finish. It's a little porty and thoroughly spicy with lingering red fruits that hint of liquorice while underlying acidity indicates excellent cellaring potential. Brilliant value at this special price. 14.5% alc. $19.99.

Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - Clare Valley, South Australia
Bright shining blackberry red, the cabernet sauvignon fruit excels with it bright cassis signature underlined by hints of mint on the nose and in the palate where it is joined by dark chocolate and red jelly babies. It's a robust wine with succulent juicy tannins, well-balanced supporting acidity, a savoury oak backbone and plenty of cellar life ahead of it. A little heavy on its own but drinkable with the right food - BBQ will do. 15% alc. $18.99. Screwcap.

Serafino McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004 - South Australia
Bright shining blackberry red, smoky and savoury with juicy cracked berry and black plum fruit, slightly mellow vanillin oak, milk chocolate, peppery spices and a touch of tobacco. With its integrated flavours and smooth tannins it has already garnered some bottle developed characters and is ready to drink now. 14.5% alc. $19.99.

Gem Tree Uncut Shiraz 2005 - McLaren Vale, South Australia
Deep dense purple red, inky in its depth. The aromas wow with their spicy, floral, cherry and savoury oak nuances and the palate wows even more with its fabulous concentration of luscious red and black berry fruit, anise and opulent spices that build on the backbone of silky smooth tannins and creamy oak. A touch of cherry chocolate adds sweetness to the finish. A beautifully integrated mouthful. A totally class act. Gold Medal NZIWS. 14.5% alc. $23.99. Screwcap.

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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