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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

October 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 - 29 Oct 2008
Cuisine Magazine's Top Pinot Noirs and others
Wines were tasted blind.

West Brook Blue Ridge Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
Deep translucent Burgundy red colour, bright and youthful hued. Luscious chocolate and cherry scents moderated by a lovely savoury accent. Generously flavoured with a warm cosy alcohol wrap, bittersweet red fruit, spicy oak, grainy tannins and underlying acidity to keep the wine focussed. There's a tingle to the lingering aftertaste with chocolate and cherry winning on the day. Very appealing. 5 stars & No 2= in Cuisine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99 special.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
A deep dark berry red with a denseness in the core of the glass. Savoury yet generously fragrantly scented. Finely textured tannins with spice and a hint of liquorice over a deep earthy backbone with some textural viscosity, loads of savouriness, nugget and tar. Brooding and concentrated but opens up beautifully in the glass with acidity adding the much sought after peacock's tail flare. 5 stars & No 5 in Cuisine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $33.99 special.

Craggy Range Zebra Vineyard Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Deep purple red. Quite restrained nose - savoury, gamey, herbal, some florals. Juicy upfront sweetness of blue/black fruit with a tart red fruit undercurrent, mouth-enveloping tannins and a salty savouriness from the rosemary and thyme-like herbs. Brooding and savoury with dried mushrooms, spice and liquorice. Structured, intense, sensual and mouthfilling with a lingering finish but for many the tannins were too grippy on the night. Just decant or let it evolve in the glass. 5 stars & No 4 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $43.99 special.

Vidal Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006
A lighter, transparent Burgundy red colour, this is abundantly spicy and still remarkably fresh. Fine-textured with easy tannins and savoury flavours of earth, mushroom and game together with dried herbs, it has that almost essential touch of Marlborough chocolate and a cherry-filled finish. 5 stars and No. 10 in Cuisine last year.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Domain Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Rich inviting dense purple-red colour, smoky savoury aromatics and an upfront assault of juicy deliciousness in the mouth. Spiced cherries, plum, blueberry, smoky herbs, bitter chocolate, savoury oak and Christmas cake add to this sultry wine's gorgeous allure. Totally seductive with loads of underlying savouriness, this is very hard not to like. A deserving result. 5 stars & No 2= in Cuisine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Purple crimson, dense and deep. Rich and ripe from the outset with succulent sweet cherry fruit and subtle, sensual finely textured well-structured, rounded tannins. Very dry despite the opulent fruit with an earthy finish, a bright spiciness, creamy oak and just a touch of those Central Otago herbs. Let the delicious aftertaste linger in the mouth because the flavours go on and on. 5 stars & No 8 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $37.99 special.

Wooing Tree Beetle Juice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
A deep translucent Burgundy red, light in colour and medium-bodied in flavour compared to the other Central Otago wines. Quite savoury and herbal with a zesty tang, raspberry and strawberry fruit, cake spices and wood smoke becoming quite earthy on the finish. Nice on its own but pales a little in the company at this tasting. 5 stars & No 7 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Montana T Terraces Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
Lovely deep pinky purple colour. Cosy inviting fragrant pinot scents and savoury, spicy, dense, chocolatey flavours. Deep and complex, rich and creamy with harmony and balance to the smoky, earthy savouriness. Cherry and plum fruit chugs away in the background and the finish is spicy and bright. 5 stars & No 6 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $37.99 special.

Waipara Hills Southern Cross Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Vivaciously coloured nearing opaque in the core of the glass. Bright fruit joins savoury notes on the nose and it's even brighter in palate where the lifted red fruits and upfront spiciness meld into creamy oak. Beautifully focussed fruit - raspberry, cherry and fruits of forest on a sensual chocolatey backbone with a gamey, savoury aftertaste. It delivers much more than expected for the price. 5 stars & No 9 in Cuisine. This has to be the 'best buy'.
14% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Waitiri Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Rich dark red. Perfumed, funky and savoury with an intriguing pinot sensuality to the scent. A big wine - rich, mouthfilling and succulent with juicy black cherry, plum and blackberry fruit, succulent velvety tannins, a characteristic savouriness and a bright, spice-infused dark smoky oak finish. Still brooding in some respects but the bright fruit profile makes it delicious now. Gold Medal NZIWS 2008.
14% alc. Screwcap. $42.99 special.

Villa Maria Seddon Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006
A deep Burgundy red. Perfumed and beautifully structured, quite gamey and savoury with the initial fine silky entry to the palate expanding with a mouth-coating blanket of sultry grainy tannins. The flavour is enhanced with aromatic spices, brooding red fruits, bitter chocolate, smoked deli meats and underlying acidity - but the most outstanding traits are the amazing richness, mouthfeel and length and the layers of finesse. 5 stars & No 1 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $52.99 special.

Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Black-red velvet in colour, this has bright, lifted aromatics with anise-like spices and dried Central Otago herbs that carry through to the full-bodied, succulent, sensual palate. Red and black fruits, Christmas cake, liquorice, savoury oak and chocolate-covered violets add to the delicious experience with smooth silky tannins adding a caressing comforting mouthfeel. Gold Medal NZIWS 2008.
14% alc. Screwcap. $34.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 22 Oct 2008
Michelle Richardson and International Reds
All but Michelle's wines were tasted blind.

Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2006
Deep gold. Rich toasty, mellow oak and full-bodied, powerful, creamy flavours with ripe grilled peaches, a nice touch of buttery, biscuity spice, lots and lots of oak and underlying acidity keeping the wine fresh and bright. Butterscotch lingers on the finish. A definite 'First Glass' style.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Richardson Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Very pale. Steely scents with ripe apple and dried hay. Clean, crisp, focussed, gooseberry and melon flavours with capsicum and tomato fleshing out to a luscious stonefruit finish with apple shimmering through the aftertaste. A touch of natural yeast and older barrel aging adds a creamy richness
13% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

Richardson Central Otago Pinot Gris 2007
Light straw gold with a warm nutty aroma infused with pear drop and quince and a bright fresh attack on the palate with strudel spices, an earthy undercurrent, apple and pear fruit and rose petals. There's a crisp steely backbone but the 10% natural ferment in old barriques adds richness and mouthfeel to the just off-dry aftertaste. First crop fruit from a lakeside vineyard.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Richardson Waipara Riesling 2008
Very pale with just a hint of lime to the hue. Perfumed and floral with delicate citrus blossom and honey suckle. Fresh and fruity to the taste with some sweetness and gentle spritz cut by a crisp limey Riesling purity with a ripply, gravelly, undercurrent. Intense for such a young wine. Technically dry with a light fresh touch and a zesty, spicy brightness. 6 g/l rs. 7 g/l TA.
11% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Richardson Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006
Dark red with flashes of black. Opulently scented with lush black fruits, chocolate and a wild earth scent. So silky smooth, creamy and complete in the palate, the awesome texture is accompanied with black cherry fruit, chocolate, vibrant spices, a touch of anise and liquorice and an intense savoury element. Made from several clones in small batches, this has 100% wild winery yeast this has firm succulent tannins, underlying acidity and a bright finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $51.99.

Rojo Granrojo Garnacha 2006 - Spain
Black purple with crimson rims. Smoky, milky, cherry and cassis scents lead into a big savoury palate with a load of sweet jammy plum and strawberry fruit, creamy spices, bitter chocolate and dried herbs. A textural wine with plenty of structure, perhaps only let down by its bounteous sweetness. However, it's uttterly drinkable at the price and could take light chilling for summer quaffing.
13% alc. Artificial cork. $15.99.

Armantes Old Bush Vine Garnacha 2006 - Spain
Dense black red. Earthy, savoury and smoky on the nose with a stewed berry sweetness. Again, that Garnacha fruit sweetness on entry to the palate with a milk chocolate layer, dried mint, currants, ribena and fine firm tannins. There's a dry, savoury leathery undercurrent and a touch of barnyard but altogether quite rich and weighty with a succulent finish.
14.5% alc. Artificial cork. $17.99.

Coto de Hayas Reserva Garnacha 2004 - Spain
Deep red with flashes of black. A departure from previous vintages of Coto de Hayas Reservas that have been quite New World in style with abundant cherry fruit, this has a nuggety, boot polish aroma and a profoundly savoury palate. There's a lolly-like sweetness (someone said aniseed jellybeans), mocha, red fruits, fine dry grippy tannins and an aftertaste that reminds you of the summer in the shearing shed. Opens up in the glass to reveal more fruity layers.
13.5% alc. Artificial cork. $21.99 special.

Arrogant Frog Ribit Red 2007 - France
Made from 100% Shiraz, this is inky purple black and opaque right to the edges. There's something almost Australian-like about the smoky, charry oak scents and full-bodied, juicy creamy flavours but that Aussie inclination is only momentary and perhaps also because of its order in the tasting. Rich, full-bodied, savoury and creamy with meaty tannins, smoky oak, salty dried rosemary/thyme-like herbs, tar, chicory and leather, it is bright and juicy with anise-like spices and becomes quite floral on the finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Avanti Malbec 2007 - Argentina.
This wine is graced with a really groovy label that will look good at a barbecue or dinner party. But in the glass this deep pinky red is not as inky as Malbec usually is and the flavours are a little simple for Argentina's famous red grape with raspberry leading the red fruit brigade together with leather, peppery spices and floral notes offset by fulsome oak and firm tannins. Its medium-bodied personality will make it good with food.
13.5% alc. Cork. $17.99.

Montes Purple Angel 2005 - Colchagua Valley, Chile
Mostly Carmenere with the addition of a little Petit Verdot, this intensely coloured, inky, purple-black red is so deserving of its gold medal award. On the nose there are vibrant sweet spices, purple black fruits and toasty vanillin oak while in the palate it is upfront, juicy and spicy with chocolate, cherry and blackberry fruit, tobacco, earth and even a hint of mint. A voluptuous, mouthfilling wine with a tarry, savoury undercurrent, succulent tannins and beautiful balance of all the components - it's absolutely outstanding and really is the complete package.
14.5% alc. Cork. $72.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 15 Oct 2008
More Gold Medal Winners
Wine were tasted blind.

Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Very pale coloured but bright and juicy flavoured with tropical fruit, pineapple and summer herb aromas and a grassy herbaceous touch to the stonefruit and tropical fruit flavours with the juicy fruit sweetness balanced by a crisp, tangy, acid spine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Goldwater Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Served quite chilled, this is crisp and juicy with a lovely juicy backbone of zesty, freshly squeezed citrus, loads of tropical fruit, passionfruit, herbs and a sweet tangy finish. Has extra richness and textural complexity.
13% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Thornbury Gisborne Chardonnay 2007
Appealing and flavoursome with a light yellow gold colour, toasty, toffee-oak aromas and a bright, creamy, rounded, sweet-oaked palate with peaches, cream and a touch of pineapple on the butterscotch finish. Utterly approachable, fantastically priced and can take serious chilling too.
14% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Coopers Creek Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2007
Light gold coloured with nutty smoky French oak scents that are infused with butterscotch and caramel cream and a nutty, creamy textured palate with juicy tropical fruit, butterscotch and a long, clean, spicy oak finish. Fruit comes from an organic hillside vineyard.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Black Barn Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2007
A tight-grained, full-bodied Chardonnay showing winemaking complexities together with melon, tropical fruit and lovely integrated toasty oak. It's quite nutty with fig-like elegance and hints of butterscotch too. A beautiful Chardonnay, following the mould of the trophy winning 2004.
14% alc. Screwcap. $32.99 special.

Spy Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2008
Lemon yellow in colour and opulently fragrant with scents of white pepper, ginger, lemon honey, violets and rose petals that lead into an off-dry, rich, weighty palate with a ginger zest infusion to the rose petal muskiness and sweet orange and lychee-like fruit.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
A deep pinky red introduces this gutsy Pinot Noir. Full of smoky oak, wild red berries, earth and hints of liquorice, it's juicy and sweet with a spicy lift and a dried herb savouriness while a touch of chocolate embellishes the plush red fruit finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Grant Burge Barossa Vines Cabernet Merlot 2006
Deep dark red. Peppermint joins smoky oak on the nose then in the palate it is savoury and plummy with brooding earthy tarry sweet oak and a minty flourish to the long, juicy finish. With its smooth, easy tannins it is drinking beautifully now.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Haselgrove HRS Coonawarra Reserve Cabernet 2005
There's a brick edge to this deep dark red. Smoky and savoury with tobacco, cigar box, dried herbs, earth and leather with firm tannins, the savoury elements part to reveal cassis-like fruit, mint, sweet oak and just a touch of bitter chocolate.
14% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Xabregas Show Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Deep shiny red-black with a crimson hue, this big bold wine has blackcurrant, liquorice, cedar and mint on the nose and enveloping plush velvety tannins in the creamy-oaked palate with a red fruit brightness and a smoky cigar box finish. Long, lifted, meaty and rich.
14.6% alc. Screwcap. $31.99 special.

Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
A youth black red colour, intense for its age. Fragrantly scented with a lovely infusion of creamy oak, cedar, mint, chocolate and a sumptuous mouthfilling palate with juicy red and black berries, menthol, tobacco, spice and a brooding, earthy, savoury undercurrent. Concentrated and rich with powerful leathery tannins. Made to last.
14% alc. Cork. $49.99.

Trentham Heathcote Shiraz 2005
Deep black red, youthful in appearance, this has peppery, spicy and jammy sweet aromas and plush, juicy, spicy plum flavours with toasty vanillin oak, smooth tannins, chocolate, tar and biscuits - like chocolate cameo creams filled with raspberry cream. Full-bodied, spicy long, and luscious - loads of flavour and a hint of liquorice too.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 8 Oct 2008
Gold Medal Winners from the 2008 NZ International Wine Show
Wine were tasted blind.

Tinpot Hut Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Citrus on the nose and juicy lime/gooseberry/crushed salad greens/summer herbs balancing the abundant passionfruit flavours. Steely at first becoming soft and textural with a rich, sweet fruited, racy finish. Fiona Turner (ex Waipara Hills) and Matt Thompson (Saint Clair) are behind this label with fruit from the coastal end of the Awatere Valley.
13% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Seifried Winemakers Collection Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2008
More of a classical style, it has soft herbaceous aromas with juicy gooseberry, melon and a touch of armpit too and a bright, textural, full-bodied palate crammed with citrus, tropical fruit, lime and apple. Fresh and racy, slightly spritzy, intense.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Elephant Hill Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2007
Toasty oak and caramel on the nose and full-bodied creamy flavours of stonefruit, melon, butterscotch and well-integrated smoky oak with an underlying mealy savouriness to the warm, rich spicy finish. Soft, smooth and seamless.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Sacred Hill Wine The Thief Series Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2007
A tighter wine, delicately smoky on the nose and gorgeous, sophisticated, mouthfilling flavours full of toasty French oak, ripe juicy stonefruit, nuts, nougat and figs with a long creamy finish and underlying savoury winemaking complexities. Like a baby Rifleman's at half the price - it's smooth, rounded and simply excellent.
14% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2007
Warm, fragrant, spicy and nutty with a musky/floral note to the slightly sweetish aromas, the musky notes carry through to the dry, warm, clean, lightly oily-textured palate with delicate hints of apricot and spice and a touch of lemon meringue and biscotti on the lasting, juicy finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Askerne Hawke's Bay Gewurztraminer 2007
Powerfully aromatic, so typical of Gewurztraminer, with lemon verbena, rose petal, Turkish Delight and lychee scents and a rich, almost oily palate with a concentrated flavour reminiscent of Moroccan spices, violets and orange water. Dry in style with a gently viscous honeyed sweetness.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Terrace Heights Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
Purple-flushed, almost black in colour. Rich, savoury, berry scents with an earthy, leathery overtone and concentrated plum, cherry and cake spice flavours with an underlying savouriness and chocolatey oak. A gutsy, bold style with a fine tannin structure and a long, juicy finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $34.99 special.

Lowburn Ferry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Intensely deep in colour, this is a powerful, savoury, funky style. It's earthy and gamey with wild thyme, wild mushrooms, concentrated fruits of the forest, a hint of tamarillo, aromatic spices, rich chocolatey oak, firm tannins and a fantastically long finish. One of Kingsley's top picks from his Otago trip earlier in the year.
14% alc. Screwcap. $38.99 special.

Trentham Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2006
An inky red black colour, introduces this more medium-bodied style of Aussie red with a cassis/maraschino cherry aroma and juicy blackberry, cherry and redcurrant fruit flavours with sweet American oak, mint and a tarry savoury depth. Soft, smooth and easy going. Ready now.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2006
Deep purple black. Mint leaps out of the glass together with smoky oak, liquorice and fruit cake cherries. A huge wine in the palate, it's quite smoky with cigar box nuances over sweet, cedary American oak together with mint, pepper, nutmeg, mocha, juicy raspberry and plum fruit and a touch of chocolate. Smooth and velvety with noticeable alcohol warmth, it's a grunter in every way. 15% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Wyndham Estate George Wyndham Founder’s Shiraz 2005
Shiny purple black. A little earthy and subdued on the nose (after the previous wine), but slightly minty nevertheless, this is a lovely refined drop with a velvet chocolate smoothness, peppery spices, juicy red fruit and beautifully integrated creamy French and American oak. There's a brooding, savoury, nuggetty undercurrent and a lifted spicy finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Heartland Director’s Cut Shiraz 2005
Deep purple black. Full of chocolate, cherry and spicy oak on the nose, this seems tight and grainy at first but shows it fabulous potential in its super concentration. Lifted and spicy in the palate with cherry and blackberry fruit, meaty tannins, a powerful chocolatey richness and a delicious, long lasting, savoury, spicy finish. A super-charged expression of Langhorne Creek and Limestone Coast fruit.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $37.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 1 Oct 2008
Trophy Winning Wines from the 2008 NZ International Wine Show
Wine were not tasted blind.

Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling 2004
A gorgeous talc/lime aroma with tropical nuances typical of a Clare Valley Riesling that is garnering some age. Tangy and dry to the taste with a juicy mid-palate richness and a long crisp clean finish. With multiple gold medals, including gold at NZIWS 2006 and NZIWS 2008, this is highly recommended.
12% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Morton Estate Private Reserve Hawkes Bay Viognier 2007
A dry wine with a fragrant apricot, nut bread and lemon grass scent and lovely ripe apricot and spicy lemon grass flavours with a touch of oak adding palate richness and fullness, and a lingering lifted finish that is musky and long. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Viognier.
14% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Mud House Swan Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008
An intense, juicy textural wine where slightly sweaty armpit (in the nicest possible way) joins the intense passionfruit aromas and the crisp, juicy, tropical fruit flavours have a shimmery, racy, citrussy edge and a long pungent sweet pea finish. There's a touch of oiliness to the texture. Simply stunning. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Sauvignon Blanc.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006
Smoky and savoury with a hint of salty bacon and wild yeast scents and a full-bodied, sweet / savoury palate with toasted hazelnuts and succulent, juicy peach. The smokiness is profound and fascinating and adds an extra dimension to this already complex wine. Mouthfilling, delicious, tantalising, moreish. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Chardonnay and Champion Wine of the Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $28.99 special.

Blackenbrook Nelson Reserve Pinot Gris 2008
A rich, powerful, full-bodied style with a touch of sweetness, there are pears to the fore on the nose and the palate is filled with apple strudel, spices and cream with a touch of vanilla and stonefruit. Made in an Alsace style, it has textural richness and mouthfilling lusciousness. 15 g/l residual sugar. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Pinot Gris.
15% alc. Diam. $31.99.

Kemblefield Hawkes Bay Gewürztraminer 2007
Richly aromatic with Moroccan spices, lychee and attar of rose scents; this is an intense expression of a drier style with violet, ground coriander and exotic Asian fruit flavours and a lovely varietal sweetness to the lingering spicy finish. Concentrated yet lively. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Gewurztraminer.
4% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Mud House Waipara Riesling 2008
A medium style in the sweetness stakes, this pretty, floral wine has a spicy infusion to the zesty lime, lemon and apple fruit flavours and a deft touch of honeysuckle on the lingering finish. Chilling accentuates the upfront racy acidity but the sweetness lingers on the finish. A perfect wine for summer because it can be well chilled and is still delicious. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Riesling.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Lone Goat Botrytis Selection 2007 - Canterbury
With intense botrytis, apricot, spiced orange, honeysuckle and lime marmalade, this gorgeous, decadent 24-carat gold-coloured sweetie has a mouth-coating nectar-like texture and bright piercing orange and juicy lime to balance the luscious flavours. It finishes with candied tropical fruits, a hint of toffee and a lingering, apricot-rich honeyed finish. 254g/l residual sugar. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Sweet Wine.
8% alc. Screwcap. $28.99 special.

Martinborough Vineyard Te Tera Pinot Noir 2007
A rich juicy pinot with a saturated colour, earthy nuggetty savoury aromas and deep intense savoury flavours with sweet smoky chocolatey oak, a spicy depth and Martinborough's typical tarter red fruits in the cherry-guava spectrum together with riper blackberry and plum. Fruit forward, earthy, savoury and supple with a fascinating touch of 'dirt'. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir. Outstanding value.
14% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Thorn-Clarke Sandpiper Barossa Shiraz 2007
Inky red black with a touch of mint to the fragrant plum and blackberry scent and juicy, spicy peppery flavours with smooth easy tannins, a touch of dried herb, mocha, chocolate, fruitcake spices and creamy toasted oak. Long, succulent and medium-bodied in style for Australian Shiraz, it is universally approachable. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Commercial Red.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Sessantani Primitivo di Manduria 2005
Juicy and full of wild fruit and currants with delectably creamy oak, a deep earthy savouriness and anise-like and peppery spices. It has an impenetrable purple-black colour and a rich lavish texture and despite an aura of rusticity, it is luxurious and utterly irresistible. Only complaint is the 1.2kg bottle, which feels like its full when it is actually empty. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion International Red.
14.5% alc. Cork. $49.99.

Thorn-Clarke William Randell Barossa Shiraz 2005
Super rich and creamy with purple fruit, aromatic spices, a touch of mint and mouth-enveloping succulent tannins this opulent Shiraz is matured in French and American oak and has a smoky, savoury element with layers of chocolate and oak on the beautiful finish. An almighty, compelling wine. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Shiraz.
15% alc. Cork. $45.99 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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