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edited by Sue Courtney

Wednesday Round-up - the 2008 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

June / July 2008
[ 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 - 16 Jul 2008
Moet Hennessy Evening.
Wines were not tasted blind.

Chandon Brut Sparkling NV - Yarra Valley, Australia
Pale straw lemon coloured with Champagne-like yeasty scents, this Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend is crisp and steely on entry with the upfront acidity of the youthful lemony flavours balanced by a complex yeasty backbone and a sweeter peachy finish.
12.5% alc. Cork. $25.99 special.

Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV
Straw gold. Rich, savoury and yeasty on the nose and fabulous broad yeasty flavours in the dry, crisp palate with a full-bodied, honeyed richness, a well-rounded creamy backbone and a touch of butterscotch on the nutty toasty finish with the tingle of the fine bubbles lasting long after the wine is swallowed. A blend of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier. Excellent on the night.
12% alc. Cork. $64.99 special.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2006
There's a deep gold tinge to the light gold hue and enticing biscuity, mealy, nutty and wild yeast-imbued scents. Rich and full-bodied to the taste with a nutty, mealy complexity, bright acidity, mellow toasty oak, grilled peach and a touch of grapefruit. A classy wine, beautifully balanced throughout with toasty oak underpinning the lasting aftertaste and a touch of caramel and butterscotch too.
14% alc. Screwcap. $35.99 special.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Pinot Gris 2007
Very pale straw. Quite classical pear drop scents with a touch of musky perfume and pear flavours that are rich in the palate together with apple and peach and a bright, spicy mid-palate with some viscosity. It finishes dry with banana and tropical fruit on the long, lingering aftertaste that re-emphasises the initial gentle sweetness.
13% alc. $Screwcap. $30.99 special.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2006
Light gold with well-proportioned Gewurztraminer scents, not too restrained, not too overt, this sweeter style is brimming with canned lychees, rose musk, coriander flowers and a sweet touch to the finish. Beautiful balance and screaming for a Pad Thai.
14% alc. Screwcap. $30.99 special.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006
Translucent black cherry red in colour, delicately scented with cherry and spicy savoury oak on the nose and a lovely silky textured mouthfeel with a touch of a grainy thread. The see-through colour belies the rich presence and taste of the smoky, savoury, earthy flavours with smoky bacon-like toasted oak, black cherry, dried herb and a delicate touch of spice. A beautiful rounded expression with that elusive 'pinosity' and a Burgundian-like allure, it shows great potential and flare.
14% alc. Screwcap. $45.99.

Cape Mentelle Margaret River Shiraz 2005
Deep bright red black. Spicy vanillin-scented cedar and mint on the nose. Bright acidity in the palate from the cherry and blackberry fruit with toasty sweet oak, an array of exotic spices, pepper and that hallmark Western Australian mint. Tannins are firm and dry and complement the mid-palate succulence while floral nuances add brightness to the lasting finish. A big wine but more 'Rhône' in style that we expect from the typical Australian Shiraz.
15% alc. Screwcap. $34.99.

Green Point Reserve Shiraz 2004 - Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia.
A medium dark red, very restrained on the nose when first poured but you can sense the ripe fruit and with vigorous swirling, minty notes come through with some leather, saddle and olive. Ripe and rich with sweet oak, pepper, spice, red and black fruits and an abundance of mint, it is juicy and smooth with fine supple tannins and though it seems quite youthful, there are some interesting bottle aged characters coming through too. Again a tasty departure from what we think as typical Australian Shiraz.
13.7% alc. Screwcap. $34.99 special.

Terragas de los Andes Reserva Malbec 2006 - Argentina
A deep shiny blackberry red - or perhaps simply 'black', this is a huge wine, full of juicy fruit with a savoury spiciness, liquorice, fruitcake and a deep earthy backbone of toasty charred oak with a hint of violet and faded rose petals to the voluptuous finish. It seems to be all fruit, fruit, fruit but it has a firm, gusty backbone with chewy tannins and a dry finish. Matured in 80% French and 20% American oak for 12 months it is best consumed, as the Argentine's do, with a huge plate of juicy meat.
13.5% alc. Cork. $25.99.

Newton Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 - Napa Valley, California
A deep dense colour, black in the core with brick red edges. On the nose it has earthy, leathery aromas with some vanillin oak, cedary spice and a winey sweetness. In the mouth it is a savoury, silky, earthy, graphite-laden wine with mellow oak and fruit cake spice, not really any obvious primary fruit, perhaps some remnants of blackcurrant/cassis together with dried herbs and a lift from the sun-baked, dried earth finish. Tannins are big and grippy and there are gamey nuances -it will be superb with rare backstrap of lamb.
14.6% alc. Cork. $62.99.

Veuve Clicquot Champagne Yellow Label NV
Very pale straw. Savoury lemon bread and toasted nut scents. Lovely rounded balanced presence in the mouth; rich and yeasty yet so soft and cleansing when tasted immediately after the big reds. It is delicately fruity with creamy apple and a slight salinity and finishes crisp, dry and just a little astringent, leaving you wanting more - and more, and more. Predominantly Pinot Noir (60%) with about 1/3 Chardonnay and a touch of Pinot Meunier.
12% alc. Cork. $79.99 special.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Nectar Imperial NV
Light yellow gold in appearance with a sense the sweetness on the nose from the honey and nougat wafting out of the glass alongside the savoury yeasty scent. Rich and mouthfilling with great presence in the mouth and plenty of fizz, it is a seductive wine through and through with honey, nougat, delicate butterscotch or perhaps brulée and a creamy, nutty mid-palate richness. But all the time the underlying acidity keeps the taste balanced and the dry finish prepares the mouth for another mouthful.
12% alc. Cork. $74.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 16 Jul 2008
Europe, South America and Mumm Champagne.
Wines were tasted blind.

Concha y Toro Explorer Chardonnay 2007 - Casablanca Valley, Chile
Light gold. Quite crisp, quite citrussy, buttery and creamy with warmth to the peach and melon fruit. At first it seems there is little influence of oak but it becomes more smoky, nutty and toasty on the bright zesty finish.
13.5% alc. Cork. $14.99 special.

Champagne Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut NV
Pale creamy gold. Complex yeast and salted citrus scents with the most delicate hint of rose petal and sweet straw. Vibrant attack of yeasty fizz, citrus and nut bread flavours in the palate, quite savoury and mellow with a full rich mouthfeel yet also beautifully bright and fresh because of the acidity and the lively bubbles. A beautiful Champagne with great length.
12% alc. Cork. $69.99 special.

Champagne Mumm Rose Brut
Very pale strawberry-pink hue and there are hints of strawberry in the delicate scent too. Creamy mousse fills the mouth with bubbles that dissipate to reveal an unusual dryness for Rosé with well balanced fruit sweetness from cherry and strawberry fruit with an earthy richness to the long luscious finish. Pinot Noir is added to the wine to give colour and hence this is an ideal food match is soft goat's cheese with cherry jam.
12% alc. Cork. $85.99 special.

Bischofliche Eitelsbacher Marienholz Riesling 2006 - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Light gold with a green gold tint to the hue. A moderately sweet style of Riesling with oily and slightly kero scents, a slippery texture and flavours of earthy honey and exotic tropical fruit with underlying sweet juicy tangelo that adds lift and balancing acidity to the light pretty finish. A lovely aperitif style to get the taste buds working. Qualitatswein level.
10.5% alc. Cork. $23.99 special.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 2006 - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Light yellow gold. Quite floral zesty scents infused with lime and a deliciously crisp and refreshing flavour with juicy apples, lemon biscuits and zesty verve with plenty of tangy acidity dancing on the tongue and balancing the earthy honeyed sweetness. From the Saar region, this is a step up in quality and quite enticingly delicious. 8% alc. Cork. $42.99.

Hauth Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenhur Riesling Spatlese 2005 - Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
With a little more colour to the light gold hue, this has an flinty, pithy, lemon scented aroma and richness and ripeness to the fresh, mouthfilling palate with a nice touch of sweetness to balance the lime and more delicate grapefruit notes and finishing with a touch of honey. A wine with fantastic length, it is from the middle of the Mosel region and is Kingsley’s favourite. 7.5% alc. Cork. $34.99.

Coto de Hayas Reserva 2003 - Spain
Made from 100% Garnacha, this deep pinot noir coloured look-alike is pure cherry on the nose and even more so in the slightly salty, sappy, medium-bodied palate which is filled with cherry and strawberry fruit, hints of mocha, a touch of chocolate, fruit cake spices and a savoury sweet richness. Loads of juiciness and plenty of smooth, drink-now appeal, it is also an excellent accompaniment to the First Glass bread and cheese.
13.5% alc. Cork. $22.99.

Valle Reale Vigne Nuove Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2007 - Italy
Vivid saturated blackberry red with purple tints on the edges. Powerful blackberry, cassis and spicy oak scents and amazingly rich and concentrated sweet red and purple fruit with hints of violets over a savoury, spicy, earthy backbone with fine acidity, firm tannins and charry French oak that adds a creaminess to the lifted finish. Very smart drinking.
13.5% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Papa Luna 2005 - Calatayud, Spain
Deep dark saturated red. Perfumed with spicy blackberry fruit and vanillin oak, it's and full of spice, pepper, chocolate, anise, dried herbs and tar with supple tannins, loads of juicy fruit and even a suggestion of musk. Made from a blend of 70% Garnacha, 25% Shiraz and 5% Mazuela and Monastrell, this powerful and quite oaky wine is ultra appealing.
14.5% alc. Cork. $24.99.

Cono Sur Reserva Carmenere 2006 - Colchagua, Chile
Dark pinky red/black with quite intriguing scents of polished oak embellished with bitumen, tar and blackberry jam, it is quite oily and tarry in the medium to full palate too with biscuity oak, cherries, violets, dried herbs and a savoury spicy finish yet quite creamy finish.
14% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Viu Manent Secreto Syrah 2006 - Colchagua, Chile
There's something familiar about this vividly coloured purple black wine. It is fragrantly scented with sweet oak, cherry and chocolate and the mouth-filling flavours are sweet oaked and juicy with 'cherry ripe', vanilla, chocolate and cassis with soft easy tannins, a peppery infusion and a luscious note to the more savoury finish. It is familiar because it is bordering on Aussie Shiraz. Gold medal – NZ International Wine Show.
14.5% alc. Cork. $23.99.

Chanarmuyo Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Argentina
. Deep black red with some bricking to the rims. Savoury scents with smoke and a hint of liquorice and savoury, tarry, earthy flavours with rich jammy fruit, cedar, liquorice and spice. A big wine in every way with succulent mouth coating tannins and plenty of oak building to a rounded finish, it could even be considered a little 'porty'.
14.5% alc. Cork. $24.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 9 Jul 2008
Six NZ Pinot Noirs, six Aussie reds.
Wines were tasted blind.

Delta Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
Garnet red with ruby hues, deeply translucent, not opaque. Quite fruity yet savoury with cherry and strawberry fruit, 'Throaties lolly' flavours, savoury oak, herbs and just a touch of spice. Medium-bodied with silky tannins, quite good length and a generous and lightly creamy aftertaste that fills out and linger beautifully. Shows excellent potential to blossom out beautifully with just a little more time.
13% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Deep almost black red, opaque in the core of the glass, with a crimson brightness to the hue. Brightly aromatic and just a little funky with lifted florals and creamy oak. Immediately full-bodied and just a little sweet with red berry fruit over a savoury earthy backbone with hints of thyme, firm tannins and a spicy juicy finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Domain Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006
Garnet red with pinky edges and a black depth to the deeply translucent core. On the nose there's perfumed oak, vanilla, cream and spice and in the palate there are concentrated red fruits with nuances of fruit cake cherries, slightly grippy firm tannins and a touch of tingly acidity. Quite funky, savoury and earthy with forest floor connotations, it fills out with succulent fruit and creamy savoury oak for a full rounded finish.
13.6% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006
A deep translucent dark garnet red with pinky-red edges. With its complex, savoury, funky, yet sweet fruited aroma with smoke, dried herbs, bitter cherry and plum and its smooth silky tannins and bright, spicy savoury flavours, it's a profound step up in quality. Add sweet red fruit, a meaty undercurrent, a touch of spice, hints of dried herbs, a touch of citrus and a long sensual finish, it is very classy and satisfying. Gold Medal – Air New Zealand Wine Awards.
14% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Deep dark red, very dense and almost opaque with ruby garnet and crimson tints to the edges, this big, bold perfumed pinot is full of ripe black cherry scents with a hint of musk, smoky oak, spice and tar and is full-bodied and ultra juicy to the taste. There's a fascinating array of flavours with the fruit beautifully balancing the earthy depth with musk, liquorice, aromatic herbs and spices adding to the allure and although there is plenty of underlying acidity at this stage of its life, it is this acidity that gives the splendid “peacock tail” flare.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $37.99.

Felton Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Quite vivid pinky red with a black hue to the core. Perfumed with herbs dominant over the sweet-fruited scents. In the palate it's sweet but not jammy with mouthfilling red fruits, a hint of blackberry, gently gripping finely structured tannins, spicy savoury oak, forest floor, thyme and excellent length. It seems a little unresolved and slightly yeasty on first tasting but evolves beautifully in the glass to reveal all sorts of intricate nuances. It really needs more time but could be coaxed out of its shroud by decanting for immediate drinking. 14% alc. Screwcap. $54.99.

Browns of Padthaway T-Trellis Shiraz 2005
Opaque black red with a touch of brick to the edges. Sweet vanillin oak and chocolate on the nose, quite savoury yet invitingly fruit sweet. Rounded and succulent to the taste with upfront red and black fruits, hints of dried herbs, a touch of mint, tar, leather, peppery spice and creamy oak. Soft and smooth with absolute immediate appeal for a pre-dinner drink, no wonder the official First Glass description is, "Juicy and succulent and easy to drink”.
15% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Beresford Highwood Shiraz 2006
There’s a slightly floral nuance to the spicy scent and it tastes juicy, soft and fruit sweet yet has a simplicity to the spicy flavour that is supported by savoury oak, dried herbs, hints of tobacco, meat and tar. Easy going and easy to drink.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Ingoldby McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Deep purple-red black, vivid and bright. Quite tarry and savoury on the nose and although the blackcurrant fruit shows the Cabernet signature it is quite disappointing and dull to the taste with medicinal overtones, chunky tannins and a bitter finish. It's noted this wine had a cork and the sample tasted may not be representative of the wine.
14.5% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Ingoldby McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005
Shiny red black. Bright clean aromas of sweet American oak, Shiraz spices and chocolate cameo cream biscuits. With its powerful, sweet fruited, thick textured, spicy flavours, this is rich but a surprisingly easy-drinking seductive chocolatey mouthful with spiced blackberry fruit and Shiraz’s pepper signature on the long, lasting finish. 15% alc. Cork. $19.99/$15.99.

Pepperjack Barossa Shiraz 2006
A step up in quality - but perhaps not in immediate drinkability as it needs to evolve in the glass. There's cherry, boysenberry, chocolate, tar and spice with a touch of vanilla, a fine smooth texture and plenty of savouriness to balance the juicy fruit as well as a decent grinding of pepper and red liquorice on the full-bodied, concentrated and vinously rich finish.
15% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Grant Burge Miamba Barossa Shiraz 2006
Deep shiny purple black with boysenberry/blackberry hues. Perfumed Shiraz aromatics of sweet vanillin oak, spice and a hint of chocolate. A very fine textured, silky smooth, concentrated, spicy and succulent expression of Shiraz with plenty of chocolate and mouthfilling red and black fruit in the palate. It is the little sibling to Filsell and has lots of the same beautiful flavour that we find in that champion wine. Outstanding value. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 2 Jul 2008
Cuisine Magazine's Top Shiraz / Syrah.
Wines were tasted blind.

Fairmont Block One Chardonnay 2007 - Gladstone Terraces, Wairarapa
Light yellow gold coloured and immediately recognisable as Chardonnay with creamy, lightly buttery, vanilla oak scents and loads of fat youthful toasty oak in the palate. Rich and flavoursome with apricot-rich stonefruit, grilled pineapple and a warm bright citrussy finish, it fills out with a soft leesy richness as the aftertaste lasts and lasts.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Taylors Eighty Acres Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2005 - Clare Valley, South Australia
A deep black red with a plummy coloured edge. Blackberries and raspberries fill the sweet-fruited aroma with the slightest hint of mint. The spicy flavour is underpinned by chocolate and mocha with quite thick velvety tannins that coat the mouth like a cloak and a deep meaty finish with again that hint of mint adding brightness to the blackberry fruit. Loads of flavour throughout.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Vidal Hawke's Bay Syrah 2006 - Hawkes Bay
Vivid purple blackberry red. Abundant black and red pepper on the nose - lifted and floral with classy oak. Quite dry at first to the taste becoming rich, rounded and intense with juicy black cherry and blueberry, a complex array of exotic spices with liquorice and fruitcake nuances. Tannins are dry and finely structured yet still quite grippy and there is a lashing of leather on the finish with abundant pepper on the lingering red fruit aftertaste. 4 Stars & No 4 of NZ Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Serafino McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005 - South Australia
Dark black-red with plummy red rims. Sweet-fruited, mellow scents with biscuity creamy vanillin oak and soft and juicy to the taste - approachable and easy, but not a blockbuster in any sense. Mint, chocolate, plum, spice and fragrant dried herb overtones with a raspberry/cherry lift to the lingering finish. Some bottle development has subdued the fruit in this particular sample, which is surely not reflective of its high rating.
Kingsley comments: “This wine has been tasted on 3 occasions and is yet to impress as in earlier vintages”. 5 Stars & No 4 of Australian Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine
14.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Syrah 2006 - Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay
A deep shiny purple/ blackberry red. Fragrantly scented and peppery with a hint of chocolate and meaty spices – yes it smells quite meaty. Ripe and juicy to the taste with milk chocolate and black pepper combining in the most interesting way and red and blue fruits filling the palate and lingering on the lifted finish. It is complex in its spice and oak regime and like the Vidal, it is finely structured with firm dry tannins and a lashing of leather. 5 Stars & No 2 of NZ Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine
14% alc. Screwcap. $34.99.

Newton Forrest Syrah 2006 - Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay
Deep black-red with a purple hue, shiny in appearance. Oak driven nose of fragrant cedar and tar and a touch of pretty florals. Gorgeous velvety tannin structure - so sensuous and smooth as the wine coats the mouth and a beautiful spice regime of pepper, anise, liquorice and just a hint of tar. Elegant and clean with juicy purple fruit, dark smoky French oak and a long smooth succulent, spicy finish - this particular sample of full-bodied deliciousness totally reflects 5-star quality. 4 Stars & No 4 of NZ Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine
14% alc. Screwcap. $45.99.

Yalumba Patchwork Barossa Shiraz 2006 - South Australia
Lustrous red-black, sweet oaked on the nose with spice, chocolate and plenty of inviting drinkability. This beautiful wine is rounded, lifted and beautifully balanced with spice, vanilla, mocha, chocolate, juicy blackberry fruit and big chewy tannins. A different vintage to the wine tasted with Jane Ferrari last month. Absolutely delicious drinking for the price. 5 Stars & No 3 of Australian Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine.
14.5% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Trentham Estate Heathcote Shiraz 2005 - Victoria, Australia
Deep red black, shiny in appearance. Deep and savoury scented with mellow oak on the nose, the savouriness carries through to the palate which is spicy, meaty and tarry with beautifully integrated tannins, sweet juicy fruit, chocolate, vanillin oak and a gorgeous array of Shiraz spices. There is also a lifted apricot/floral note to the finish as if it had a touch of Viognier, although there is no mention on this on the label. A crowd favourite tonight. 5 Stars & No 5 of Australian Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine
14.5% alc. $23.99 special. Screwcap.

Trinity Hill Homage Syrah 2006 - Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Very youthful blackberry red with a hint of violet and minuscule crimson edges. Deep complex aroma, floral, fragrant, Rhonish. Beautifully fine tannin structure with a chocolate/pepper/spice backbone to the complex spicy flavour with sumptuous red and black fruit, a touch of earthiness and the fragrant aromatics coming forth again to lift and filling the spicy savoury finish. A beautiful wine with finesse and character and great length. 5 Stars & No 3 of NZ Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine. Champion Wine – Air New Zealand Wine Awards.
14% alc. Cork. $122.00.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2006
Vivid purple red - a little deeper and blacker than the Homage. Peppery lifted fragrance - complex and seductive with hints of rose petals and dried herbs. Rich and chocolatey to the taste with a silky texture, big juicy spicy blackberry fruit and a leathery, meaty undercurrent while bright but well-balanced acidity foretells its magnificent potential to age. When tasted alongside the Homage, there are many similarities, but this is the bigger, richer and more chocolatey of the two wines. 5 Stars & No 1 of NZ Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine
13.5% alc. Cork. $30.99 special.

Wolf Blass Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005 - South Australia
Intensely coloured black-red with an indigo-blue shimmer to the core. Sweet smelling in comparison to the New Zealand Syrahs, with spicy biscuity vanillin oak and juicy fruit on the nose and sumptuous Shiraz flavours in the rich, powerful palate. Savoury French oak and sweeter American oak combine beautifully with chocolate, blackberry fruit, a touch of tar, peppery spices and a beautifully bright finish with plenty of mouthfilling vinous complexity. 5 Stars & No 2 of Australian Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine
15% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz 2005 - Barossa Valley, South Australia
Deep black red, it has lost some of the purple of youth but still has vividness to the colour with crimson hues. Spicy aromatics and complex vinous flavours with amazing brightness in the mouth, it is full of spicy savoury oak, fine-grained mouth-coating tannins, juicy cherry fruit, chocolate, a hint of mint and utter deliciousness. A stunning wine, the Champion Shiraz at the New Zealand International Wine Show and now 5 Stars & No 1 of Australian Top 5 in Cuisine Magazine, it could well represent the best value in Australian Shiraz of all time.
15% alc. Cork. $28.99 special

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 18 Jun 2008
Neudorf Wines with Tim Finn.
Wines were not tasted blind.

The Pretaster - Willm Gewurztraminer 2006 - Vin d’Alsace, France
Bright deep gold. Oily scented perfume, like a delicately scented boudoir. Lovely rounded soft mouthfeel with a brightness of lychee juice, orange blossom, exotic spices and a long lasting finish with just a hint of honey. Beautifully balanced, gorgeous flow, starts sweeter than it finishes, which is just off dry. Nice. A very fitting pre-taster to start the evening on a classy note.
13% alc. $24.99. Cork.

Neudorf Brightwater Sauvignon Blanc 2007 - Nelson, NZ
There's a softly herbaceous and red apple scent to this light straw coloured wine. Bright acidity at first in the palate with herbs and sweet pea notes, apple and just a touch of subtle honeyed oak adding roundness and softening the finish, which has a spicy, citrus zest infusion and a touch of tropical fruit with SB's typical pungency to the aftertaste. A portion was wild fermented in old oak with aging on yeast lees to add texture and complexity.
13.5% alc. $21.99 special. Screwcap.

Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2007 - Nelson, NZ
Light gold peachy scents - like peach on a tree, together with a hint of citrus. Wild yeast ferment adds a funky character to the wine, which seems sophisticated already with integrated oak, a honeyed richness and a gorgeous embellishment of tangelo and orange with hints of tropical fruit. Beautifully proportioned acidity adds a bright refreshing nuance to the complex barrel ferment and winemaking flavours. Classy wine.
14% alc. $27.99 special. Screwcap.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2006 - Nelson, NZ
Medium gold with a perfumed nutty oak scent - like cashews and hazelnuts - it is very fragrant and lifted with interesting mealy nuances too. So youthful but you can see the potential of this beautifully mouthfilling wine with its nutty, malty flavours and funky, mealy influences with a nougat-like sweetness, lovely stonefruit complexities and sweet orange and lime zest acidity coming through too. Lifted, complex and long lasting in the mouth with beautifully integrated French oak strumming along in the background and a hint of butterscotch coming through, it's made to hits it straps in 2011 and be drinking beautifully in 2016, yet it's already amazingly mesmerising now. My favourite of the two Moutere chardonnays.
14.5% alc. $72.99. Screwcap.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2005 - Nelson, NZ
Medium gold, just a little more 'carat' than the 2006. Perfumed with smoky, savoury French oak, hints of nuts and cornmeal, it is softer and rounded in the mouth with a brooding sweet fruit character. Spicy, mealy and savoury in its profile, hinting of citrus with a zesty flare of brightness and a butterscotch richness coming forth and coating the mouth on the finish, the aftertaste lasts and lasts. This wine totally rocked the socks off some people (but the bottle Kingsley and I tasted from, unfortunately seemed just a little flat).
14.5% alc. $NA. Screwcap.

Neudorf Brightwater Riesling 2006 - Nelson, NZ
Pale straw. Bright, pithy, steely citrussy scents and even brighter to the taste with a slight earthy undercurrent, a myriad of lime and lemon citrus, apples, fresh Riesling purity and a dry racy, flinty and even slightly bracing finish with just a touch of sweetness to keep everything in balance. Great tautness and focus. 8.9 g/l residual sugar. 7.3g/l total acidity.
12% alc. $21.99 special. Screwcap.

Neudorf Moutere Riesling 2007 - Nelson, NZ
Pale straw gold. Amazingly captivating perfume - like crushed lemon verberna leaves, honeysuckle and exotic tropical fruit. Sweet to the taste, honeyed, earthy - Germanic in some respects - and an array of juicy citrus and tropical fruits that emerge and linger on the finish where the racy acidity adds a drying note to keep the sugar / acid balance perfect. Clean, light, bright and delicious with little glimpses of how it will improve with age - and improve it most definitely will.
39 g/l residual sugar on back label. 8.7g/l total acidity.
10% alc. $35.99. Screwcap.

Neudorf Moutere Riesling 2005 - Nelson, NZ
Heavenly scented Germanic style riesling with a little bit of age to take the edge off the racy acidity. Spicy, zesty and voluminous for the style - clean and viscous with perhaps just a hint of botrytis adding to the complexity together with baked apple, honey, lemon and lime. Fusel-like Germanic notes are to the fore and a typically slippery, wet potter's clay earthiness adds complexity throughout. Words other than delicious, amazing and spectacular simply escape me. It is absolute Riesling-heaven. My 'Wine of the Night'.
30g/l residual sugar, 8.9g/l total acidity.
11% alc. $35.99. Screwcap.

Neudorf Tom’s Block Pinot Noir 2006 - Nelson, NZ
A deep translucent garnet / tamarillo colour, almost opaque in the core of the glass. Brooding on the nose with a savoury, smoky and delicately spicy French oak scent. Bright to the taste with subtle red fruits over a savoury gamey backbone with a silky texture and a forest floor depth of flavour that needs to be unlocked. It builds in the palate and coats the mouth with its pretty pinot flavour and the lingering aftertaste is spicy and dry.
13.5% alc. $29.99 special. Screwcap.

Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2006 - Nelson, NZ
A little deeper coloured with more ruby to the hue and a touch more opacity in the core of the glass. Brooding on the nose from a newly opened botte, it needs coaxing to let the savoury, tart red fruit aromas emerge. A generous wine in the mouth, it has great body and texture, red and black fruits, wild herb nuances and a touch of chocolate that adds immensely to its appeal. Silky textured with a slightly grain edge and a savoury, beautifully integrated oak backbone, I just dream what it would be like in a big glass with a little more aeration. Even so, it is stunning and captivating Pinot Noir.
13.5% alc. $63.99. Screwcap.

The Finale - Grant Burge 10 Year Old Tawny - South Australia
Deep translucent orange amber with a touch of greeny yellow on the edge. Spiritous brandy scent with a smoky cedar-like richness. Sweet, rancio, woody flavours supported by heady alcohol with a viscous textural mouthfeel, raisined fruit, rose petal florals, citrus, stonefruit and spice. Made from a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro, this is a powerful wine, yet 'medium-bodied' for Port.
19.5% alc. $39.99. Cork.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 11 Jun 2008
Jane Ferrari - The Legend - returns. A night of Yalumba wines.
Wines were not tasted blind.

Yalumba Wild Ferment Eden Valley Chardonnay 2007
Lemon gold in colour. Quite malty and mealy scented, as expected from a 'wild ferment' wine, with an estery 'pink bubblegum' perfume too. Very youthful, zesty and citrussy to the taste with plenty of spicy oak, a lemon brulee and caramel finish, and an amazingly long aftertaste with smoky bacon-like oak and a touch of grilled peach. This should blossom beautifully.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2007
Straw gold. Fragrant, perfumed lemon grass and tree-ripened apricot scents. Lifted, spicy, perfumed and textural in the mouth with a delicately nutty, spicy flavour and fruit in the fresh pear and apricot spectrum. There's moderate acidity and a light viscosity and a spicy, zesty almost salty note to the lingering aftertaste. It is not as oaky as I remember the Eden Valley Viognier being in the past and Jane explains that is because of a change of strategy. What we see here is a clean, focussed wine that beautifully displays its varietal character.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba Virgilius Viognier 2007
A little deeper gold in colour with a suggestion of green to the hue. Delicate oak, chalk, nuts, florals, apricot, fig and later lime and lemongrass on the complex and changing nose. Even more viscosity and mouthfilling textural richness than the Eden Valley wine, with what Jane describes a 'slippery' texture. Flavours of exotic spices, creamed nuts, honey and rich dried pear and apricot fruit supported by subtle French oak and a herbal lemony lift to the lingering finish. Already fabulous and seems like it can only get better.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $49.99.

Yalumba Barossa Bush Vine Grenache 2007
A surprisingly light, 'see-through' garnet colour and light fruity aromas that hint of raspberry and strawberry with a touch of herbal stalkiness and no suggestion of oak. Yet this juicy-tasting wine has mouth-coating vinosity and loads of drinkability finishing with quite dry tannins and a cigar box nuance to the finish. Lots of easy going appeal and perfect for lighter meals, even salmon or tuna as well as pasta or pizza.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Yalumba Single Site Vine Vale Grenache 2005
Showing much more depth to the colour yet still quite 'see through' on the edges. Smoky and jammy with hints of vanilla and spice on the nose and immediately ripe and sweet to the taste with generous raspberry, strawberry and cherry/plum fruit supported by savoury and smoky vanillin oak with a flourish of winter herbs and a hint of tobacco on the finish. It's nicely proportioned and with its spiciness, you could be forgiven if you momentarily think Shiraz. Matured for 18 months in French hogsheads.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $49.99 special.

Yalumba Barossa Patchwork Shiraz 2005
Deep red black, almost totally opaque. Sumptuous and deep Shiraz scents with sweet oak, earth, mint and concentrated fruit wafting out of the glass. Sweet-fruited to the taste with blackberry, cherry, spice, liquorice, pepper and smoky oak. There are lots of red and blue fruit connotations and the velvety tannins have plenty of grunt. It seems upfront and ready to drink yet shows its power in its length.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Yalumba Barossa Shiraz Viognier 2005
Deep red black, slightly finer in appearance with a hint of purple to the hue. Aromatic and fragrant with lifted berry fruit and even a suggestion of perfumed florals. Fine in its tannin structure, fine yet complex with a lovely rich and slippery texture that is a result of the 5% Viognier that was fermented together with the Shiraz. Full of mouthfilling flavours of liquorice, pepper, fruitcake and smoky oak, the perfumed florals emerge again on the lingering finish, together with a charry, earthy depth.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Yalumba Single Site Hahn Farm Vineyard Light Pass Shiraz 2005
Aromatically spicy with bright florals and a hint of mint. The spicy brightness carries through to the deep sumptuous palate which has succulent fruitcake-like juicy berry favours, hints of mint and aromatic eastern spices reminiscent of ground toasted fennel seeds and anise. Showing its youth by its firm tannin structure, it has tobacco / herbals nuances to the finish and a sweet fruit richness to the aftertaste. Matured for 18 months in French oak.
14.5% alc. Cork. $56.99 special.

Yalumba Single Site Swingbridge Vineyard Craneford Shiraz 2005
Very deep opaque colour with hints of purple-crimson. Very upfront minty scents but underlying the mint is a deep, earthy, smoky savoury depth. Even more profoundly minty to the taste, making one think it is a cool climate style yet it is still incredibly juicy and super succulent, full of red berry fruits with a peppery profile and a touch of black liquorice. Grainy textured with brightness to the finish, this has been matured for 20 months in French oak, 30% new.
14.5% alc. Cork. $56.99 special.

Yalumba Single Site Fromm Vineyard Lyndoch Shiraz 2005
This is a brooding number in comparison to the other two single site Shirazes. It is earthy and deep with complexity-plus, while the oak regime adds an extra dimension of sophistication. Opening up beautifully in the glass with oak sweetness, opulent berry and cherry fruit, well-proportioned pepper and oak spice, and firm solid tannins, it has an aura of elegance with a sumptuous juicy finish and amazing length. Matured for 20 months in 60% new French oak and 40% older Hungarian oak.
14.5% alc. Cork. $56.99 special.

Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz 2003
A more developed wine than the preceding 2005 vintage wines the development evident in the colour, aroma and taste. Deep dark red with just a tinge of brown-edged garnet. Savoury scented and sweet oaked flavours with smooth tannins, pepper, allspice a touch of fruitcake, eucalypt with pepper tingling the tongue on the finish. Quite complex and savoury with plenty of power and beautiful integration of the once prominent blackcurrant fruit. Subtle in its power with excellent length.
14.5% alc. Cork. $40.99 special.

Yalumba The Octavius Old Vine Barossa Shiraz 2003
Impressively deep, youthful black red, - no sign of aging at all. Deep, dark, savoury and funky yet still sweet oaked on the nose with hints of tobacco. Ripe and succulent to the taste with a delicious savouriness and intriguing spiciness, smoky oak, underlying herbs and bitter/sweet chocolate. Fine-tannined in its structure yet far more brooding than I would have expected - it really needs a big glass to let it reveal its full glory but starts to open up magnificently with a bit of cradling.
14.5% alc. Cork. $119 special.

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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