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Wednesday Round-up - the 2007 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

September 2007
[ 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 www.first-glass.co.nz for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 26th Sep 2007
Gold Medals from the New Zealand International Wine Show
Wines were tasted blind.

Champagne Henriot Brut Soverain NV
A lovely rich, powerful creamy style of bubbles - yeasty and savoury with marmite on toast in the rich mid palate and sweetness to the finish. A wine of incredible depth and simply delicious.

Sugar Loaf Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Gooseberry, lime, capsicum and tomato stem greens leap out of the glass of this water pale wine. It's ripe, soft, oily, vibrantly fruity, juicy and spicy with a crisp, grainy undercurrent, racy acidity, banana passionfruit and a hint of tobacco emerging on the tangy finish. $16.99 special.

Whitehaven "Greg" Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Powerful, rich and pungent with passionfruit, lime, a citrussy sweetness and a garden of fragrant summer herbs, this bright, expressive, punchy sauvignon blanc is a blend of Rapaura, Brancott and Kekerengu fruit - the latter location being halfway between Blenheim and Kaikoura. It's dedicated to Whitehaven's founder, Greg White. 13% alc. $18.99 special.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2006
Light gold in colour, it's rich, creamy, powerful and nutty with toasty oak, hints of toffee, ripe stonefruit and a touch of sweeter citrus. Tonight it is served slightly chilled which doesn’t harm it at all. It enhances the oak and the acidity in a most delightful way. 14% alc. $19.99 special.

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2005
Golden coloured with apricots galore to the savoury, mealy aromas and flavour, this juicy fruit driven style that has a nectar-like feel to the slippery texture with underlying oak and spicy yeast lees adding flamboyance. It's long, rich, toasty and utterly decadent and drinking beautifully right now and best of all, it's perfect for chilling - it tones down the apricot fruit and enhances the rich, toasty butterscotch finish. 14.5% alc. $19.99 special.

Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Pinot Gris 2007
Water pale, this deliciously varietal, just off dry Pinot Gris exudes classical pear drop aromas and lightly spicy, juicy apple and poached pear flavours. It’s subtle to start but builds in the lightly oily-texture palate to fill the mouth with flavour and softness and the finish is long and juicy with a touch of flower musk and a tinge of sweetness. The bargain buy in Pinot Gris this year. 14% alc. $14.99 special.

Johanneshof ' Medium' Marlborough Pinot Gris 2007
Opulently scented and richly flavoured, this sweeter of the two Johanneshof Pinot Gris wines is perfectly balanced and focussed. It's vibrant and fruity with a lightly oily texture, passionfruit, honey, apricot and the lasting baked apple and musky spiced flavour has elegance and power. Chill it down to subdue the opulent sweetness and enhance the classically varietal pear-like fruit. Total class. 13% alc. $25.99 special.

Forrest "The Doctor’s" Marlborough Riesling 2006
This Riesling is just what 'The Doctor' ordered because of its low, 8.5% alcohol content. Light, sweetish and beautifully refreshing when served chilled to accentuate the racy acidity of the lime and green apple flavours, hints of orange honey and zesty spices emerge on the crisp, clean, vitalising finish. 8.5% alc. $19.99.

Strugglers Flat Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006
Deep maroon red, this dense, meaty, savoury wine has with hints of chocolate and leather on the nose and the complexity carries through to the juicy, firm-textured palate where succulent ripe cherry fruit emerges with a flourish of sweet oak and spice. Long and juicy, rich and creamy with chocolate and spiced black cherries and a funky, savoury undercurrent, it's deliciously approachable and outstanding value for the quality it delivers. 13.5% alc. $21.99 special.

Bannock Brae Barrel Selection Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006
Deep purple red with hints of chocolate to the creamy oak and sweet fruit aromas and powerful, savoury, meaty flavours with ripe red and black fruits, a dried herb complexity, musky spice, mocha, sweet oak, plush velvety tannins and an earthy, gamey, savoury depth. Powerful and grunty with immediate oomph and appeal, it's a terrific expression of Bannockburn Pinot Noir. 14.5% alc. $45.99.

Manara Rock Barossa Shiraz 2005
The colour of mulberry jelly, this fruity medium-bodied Shiraz smells sweet, spicy, smoky and peppery and flows across the palate with its smooth tannins and juicy raspberry, blackberry and dark plum fruit. There are hints of chocolate and liquorice with a glimmer of underlying acidity and the sweet, spicy finish has just a hint of mint. Made by Corey Ryan at Villa Maria, it's simply amazing value. 14% alc. $11.99 special or $10.99 per bottle by the case.

Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Ridge Quartage 2005
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot this vividly coloured red is smoky and fragrant with layers of delicious flavour. Juicy red and black fruits combine with smoky savoury oak, hints of liquorice, dried herbs, leather and spice wrapped in a bold cloak of succulent tannins. Sweet-fruit and long with just a hint of mint on the spicy finish. A wine with a huge pedigree of show success – on the label it shows 5 Trophy medals. 14% alc. $22.99 special.

Tapestry "The Vincent" McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004
A multi-layered expression of classy McLaren Vale Shiraz, it smells ripe, creamy, spicy and peppery with a tight earthy depth to the powerful, yet elegant flavours. With fine textured tannins, incredibly juicy blue and black fruit, succulent sweet oak, mint, chocolate and a spicy aftertaste, this huge wine will benefit further from cellaring but tastes delicious already. 12 months in new American and French oak followed by 5 months in seasoned French oak. 14.5% alc. $41.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 19th Sep 2007
New Arrivals
Wines were tasted blind.

Astrolabe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Pale straw with a fruity aroma of passionfruit, gooseberry and bright summer herbs, deliciously juicy with a soft oily texture, powerful gooseberry flavours, a touch of lime and apple adding raciness to the long pungent nettley finish. A blend of Wairau and Awatere fruit. 13% alc. $19.99 special.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waikahu Chardonnay 2006 - Hawkes Bay
Toasty butterscotch aromas with hints of malt caramel and full-bodied, soft, creamy flavours crammed with peach, tropical fruit, caramel and butterscotch with an spicy tang to the mealy, nutty underlay. Beautifully harmonious, long and luscious. Gold Medal NZIWS 2007. 14% alc. $37.99.

Kim Crawford SP Dolly Chardonnay 2006 - Gisborne
Rich, mealy and malty, this powerful Chardonnay is a little bit funky and full of savoury oak with stonefruit, hints of pineapple and underlying acidity adding brightness. Long, savoury, harmonious and spicy. Gold Medal NZIWS 2007. 13% alc. $29.99.

Johanneshof Marlborough Trocken/Dry Pinot Gris 2007
Light lemon gold with pears and stewed apple on the nose and a bright spicy palate with juicy apple flavours, a hint of rose musk and orange zest. Full-bodied with a gorgeous slippery texture and a mouth warming finish, it's fragrantly spiced - a little like Gewurztraminer on the finish - and the aftertaste is lasting and long. Gold Medal NZIWS 2007. 13.5% alc. $28.99.

Koura Bay Sharkstooth Marlborough Pinot Gris 2007
A beautifully fresh and vibrant wine with tantalising floral aromas and a light touch to the palate with juicy pear and subtle spice. Served chilled, stewed apples and pears are to the fore, the texture is lightly oily and tangelo lingers on the finish. Awatere Valley fruit. Gold Medal NZIWS 2007. 13% alc. $23.99.

Seifried Winemaker’s Collection Nelson Gewurztraminer 2007
Exotic and pungently perfumed with rose petal, hand cream and ginger flower scents, this powerful Gewurztraminer is spicy and spritzy with a rich oily texture, Turkish Delight flavours and a long mouthfilling finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2007. 13.5% alc. $22.99 special.

Thornbury Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006
Deep in the core with a ruby edge, this smoky, savoury wine has a black cherry richness to the scent and the flavour is beautifully balanced with biscuity oak, cherry, chocolate and spice. Silky in texture with underlying acidity adds brightness to the long seamless finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2007. 14% alc. $29.99 special

Northrow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005
Similar in colour to the Thornbury, but richer and more powerful in flavour. Smoky bacon joins bright, spicy, cherry and plum fruit with an underlying, earthy, savoury richness. A fleshy pinot with silky tannins, a touch of chocolate and a little more complexity from the extra year of age. Gold Medal NZIWS 2007. 13.5% alc. $29.99 special.

Mt. Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006
Bright in colour, it's a little more floral but not as intensely perfumed as the preceding two wines. Cherry and violet scents and light fruity flavours with an earthy, savoury, herbal undercurrent, grippy tannins and a citrussy bite. A tough wine to appreciate at this stage – perhaps it just need times to develop in the bottle. 14.5% alc. $37.99 special.

Saltram Mamre Brook Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Big rich, inky red with smoky menthol infusing the strong berry aroma and big, juicy, powerful flavours with a touch of oak spice, a hint of leather, firm tannins and red fruits exploding on the long, creamy finish. Gold and Trophy – Royal Brisbane Show. 14% alc. $19.99 special.

Beresford Highwood Shiraz 2005 – McLaren Vale
Deep red coloured, soft, juicy and spicy with a comforting cloak of velvety tannins, a touch of cherry, a hint of chocolate and creamy vanillin oak – medium bodied and priced to drink. 14.5% alc. $14.99 special.

Thorn-Clarke Sandpiper Shiraz 2005
Chocolate, spicy plums, red berries, pepper, nutmeg and toasty oak fill the mouth with delicious flavour in an extremely unfussy way. Deep in colour with well-integrated tannins, underlying savouriness and excellent length, this Barossa Valley wine is drinking beautifully now. Gold Medal NZIWS 2007. 14% alc. $17.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 5th Sep 2007
Chardonnay, Shiraz and a couple of Spanish Reds
Wines were tasted blind.

Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice Chardonnay 2006
Light straw with a fruity aroma, its all toffee, caramel, peach and fruit salad to the ripe, juicy taste. Medium-bodied in style with little influence of oak, it is deliciously approachable with plenty of all round immediate appeal. 13% alc. $14.99. Screwcap.

Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay 2006
Light gold with a little more oomph to the nose and the taste - no wonder when the label is revealed. Spicy, mealy, citrus and toast aromas and mouthfilling, broad, oatmeal flavours with lime and hints of pineapple among the peach and tropical fruit on a smooth and seamless creamy texture. With beautifully proportioned spicy oak and a lusciousness to the warm, lingering finish, this impressive New Zealand Chardonnay is just starting to hit its straps. 12 months French oak. 14% alc. $51.99. Screwcap.

Seifried Nelson Chardonnay 2006
With a golden tinge to the straw yellow hue, this wine exudes a rich, butter caramel aroma and while it seems tight grained in the spicy, leesy palate at first, it opens up beautifully with juicy stonefruit, melon, hints of pineapple. It has a richness, complexity and length of flavour that is almost unbelievable for a wine of this price. 14% alc. $16.99. Screwcap.

Vavasour Anna’s Vineyard Chardonnay 2004 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough
Yellow gold with nutty, leesy, Burgundian on the nose with a milky malolactic influence, it immediately tastes a little older with a peach oil infusion to the leesy, savoury, nutty, mouth-filling flavours and a rich, toasty complexity gained with age. Grapefruit emerges on the tangy, savoury finish with a cheek-flushing heat to the persistent mouthfilling finish. 75% French oak with wild yeast ferment, malolactic fermentation and 10 months on lees. 14.5% alc. $39.99.

Marsden Black Rocks Chardonnay 2006 - Kerikeri, Northland
Tantalising aroma of spice, oatmeal, tropical fruit and orange peel and full-bodied, creamy, nutty, flavours infused with stonefruit, tropical fruit, melon and citrus playing in harmony to the strum of stylish oak. Sophisticated and decadent with a long, complex mouthfilling finish and a hint of butterscotch as it lingers. French and American oak with malolactic fermentation and extended lees contact. 13.5% alc. $30.99.

Infinitus Cabernet Sauvignon Tempranillo 2005 - Castilla, Spain
Deep red black with smoky, blackberry jam on the nose, the jammy character carries through to the sweet, earthy, palate with a flourish of slightly peppery spice. It's got richness and depth with structure from the cabernet sauvignon and juiciness from the tempranillo and it's all fruitcake and liquorice on the long juicy finish. Six months in American oak. 13.5% alc. $17.99.

La Multa Syrah 2005 - Calatayud, Spain
Deep black red with a purple/crimson rim, it smells sweet, soft and juicy with a touch of cherry and it's sweet, soft, juicy and tarry to the taste. Quite floral in its vinous expression with hints of lavender, dried herbs and spice, there's cigar box and wood smoke on the earthy, slightly bitter finish and as the wine lingers the black fruits and the peppery signature of Syrah comes through. 14.5% alc. $17.99.

Grant Burge Barossa Vines Shiraz 2005
Deep red with fragrant spicy oak, fruitcake, cherry and a hint of tar on the nose, this jammy sweet expression of Shiraz is a complete polarisation of the previous wine. Pepper, vanillin oak, cherry, chocolate and downright juiciness with a lingering smoky, spicy finish. 14.5% alc. $15.99. Screwcap.

Wyndham Estate Black Cluster Shiraz 2003 – Hunter Valley
Deep purple red, youthful and fine in appearance. There's a touch of vanillin sweetness to the deep complex aroma and it's savoury to the taste with abundant oak, fine meaty tannins, fragrant spices, blackberry fruit, a hint of mint and an earthy savoury depth. A serious red with balance and style, it conveys cooler climate characters. This single vineyard wine has been matured in American oak for 18 months. 13.5% alc. $64.99.

Grant Burge Filsell Old Vines Shiraz 2005 – Barossa Valley
Deep purple black with a crimson brightness, this wine radiates fragrant, perfumed aromas with chocolate, cherry, mint, spice and hints of apricot, it is so expressive, I am convinced it has Viognier - but does it?. It's immediately seductive to the taste with a sweet, rich, chocolatey spiciness but there's enough savoury to balance the sweetness, it's smooth and creamy with powerful but beautifully integrated oak and fine grained tannins with chocolate and cherry coming forth again to sate the palate on the finish. 15% alc. $26.99.

Kalleske Barossa Shiraz 2005
Purple black and inky, the nose is quite subdued with hints of dried out red roses. Savoury and just a little salty to the taste with dried herbs the initial dominant flavour, finally the juicy sweetness of the fruit comes forth. A stylish 'grunter' with silky tannins, spicy creamy oak, white pepper, liquorice, chocolate and incredible length, it evolves so magnificently in the palate with all the indications of an incredible life ahead of it. Matured in American and French oak for 18 months. 15.5% alc. $55.99.

Mr. Riggs McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005
Inky purple black in colour, this is a rich, powerful and ultra seductive Shiraz with beautifully integrated biscuity spices, pepper and savoury oak, blackberry fruit and firm tannins. It's earthy, deep and even a little leathery with a salty nuance to the powerful, dried herb and floral finish. Big and bold with 15 months in new plus 1 year old French and American oak. 15% alc. $49.99.

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.

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

2007 Tastings
Jan 2007 tasting notes.
Feb 2007 tasting notes.
March 2007 tasting notes.
April 2007 tasting notes.
May 2007 tasting notes.
Jun 2007 tasting notes.
Jul 2007 tasting notes.
Aug 2007 tasting notes.
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Oct 2007 tasting notes.
Nov 2007 tasting notes.
Dec 2007 tasting notes.

Dec 2006 tasting notes.

Jan 2008 tasting notes.


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