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Wednesday Round-up - the 2009 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

February 2009
[ 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 - 25 Feb 2009
Sam's Last Stand
Wines were tasted blind.

Mondillo Central Otago Riesling 2007
Palest straw colour. Delicate scent hinting of honeysuckle. Profuse lemon, lime and apple flavours with a zesty spicy tang. Crisp and racy with a lightly oily texture, it is quite dry, "searingly dry" some would say, although there's enough sweetness there to balance the shimmery acidity and a rich mouthfeel to the finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99.

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2008
Light gold. Richly scented with lime and talc, this is lemony and tangy to the taste with good palate weight and while it seems extremely dry it has a juicy, tropical, fruitiness. One person described it as having 'pencil lead' and having sucked a lot of pencils, I can relate to that. A worthy candidate for long term cellaring.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Waipara Hills Waipara Riesling 2007
Pale straw. Floral and a little honeyed with tropical fruit and lemon pith scents. With its slightly sweet attack, this is soft and gentle compared to the previous two. Grapefruit, cherimoya, honeysuckle and lime fill the palate and linger with a gentle sweetness. Gold Medal – Air New Zealand Wine Awards.
11.7% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special. Free magnum with every case purchase.

West Brook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2006
Light gold. Lovely oak on the nose - spicy creamy oak and fleshy stonefruit carry through to the palate to be joined with wheat, toast, rich fruit and butterscotch. With its gorgeous smooth texture it simply flows. It seems so seamless, the flavours intensify and linger on the finish and it definitely can be well chilled too. A 'First Glass' style.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special or $15.99 p.b. on case buys.

TW "Tietjen Witters"Gisborne Chardonnay 2006
A big, rich, fat toasty wine with a rich yellow gold colour, malt biscuits aromas and reasonably acidity in the palate that imparts a tangy brightness to the thick, creamy, savoury, toasted wheat flavours with luscious tropical fruit and a glimmer of grapefruit.
13% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Selaks Founders Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2007
Light gold coloured with a seam of citrus amongst the fine, toasty French oak aromas and a tight, citrus-infused palate - similar to the 2006 in this respect and perhaps a 'house style'. A serious wine with mealy, barrel ferment flavours - all the winemaking bells and whistles. Melon, peach and tropical fruit emerging from behind the citrus to lingering on the expansive, mouthfilling finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Rimu Grove Bronte Nelson Pinot Noir 2006
A transparent garnet colour, savoury, smoky, dried herb and cherry fruit aromas and slightly developed / stewed red fruit flavours with a savoury, spicy infusion. It has a smooth, gentle attack to the medium bodied palate and a long finish where an earthy character gives a deep pinot sense and the dried herb and the sweetness of the fruit lingers nicely.
13.9% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2006
A deep, dense dark cherry colour with a youthful vibrancy to the hue. Perfumed, even marginally floral, with savoury oak and cherry scents. Rich and dense in the mouth with firm ripe tannins, an earthy savoury deepness, a spicy flourish to the black cherry and plum-like fruit and a chocolatey richness. Acidity underpins this full-bodied wine and it is very fresh for its age.
14% alc. Screwcap. $47.99.

Lowburn Ferry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Deep dense black red. Spicy oak, hints of chocolate, cherry and blackberry on the nose and juicy, succulent flavours of plum and blueberry fruit with sweet spicy oak, underlying herbs and a smoky bacon-like finish. A young wine with a firm backbone and an intrinsic earthy, gamey Pinot savouriness. From an outstanding Otago vintage. Gold Medal – NZ International Wine Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $38.99 special.

Gabriel Liogier "Les Gravieres" Vins de Pays Syrah 2006
Black red in colour. A little dull and herbal on the nose for what we think of as Syrah/Shiraz. Quite an earthy wine with savoury, herbal flavours parting to reveal creamy oak, cherry fruit, pepper and spice. Not a blockbuster fruity style but soft, juicy and approachable with some biscuity notes (Cameo Creams) and a hint of mint and tobacco on the finish.
12.5% alc. Cork. $12.99 special.

Mills Reef Reserve Syrah 2007
Deeply coloured with a floral note to the peppery, tarry perfume and spicy, savoury flavours with a red fruit brightness. A meaty wine with French oak, cigar box, dry tannins, a good smattering of white pepper and lots of juicy fruit succulence. Excellent value.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Richmond Grove Limited Release Barossa Shiraz 2005
Dense black red. Spicy, creamy oak, vanilla and concentrated mulberry fruit scents. Deep, rich, dark, juicy and succulent with mouthfilling, thick textured tannins, spicy oak, red and black fruits and chocolate. Smooth and long. Shiraz as we know it.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 18 Feb 2009
Sorry - no notes. I wasn't at the tasting.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 11 Feb 2009
Not So Common
Wines were tasted blind.

La Multa Old Vine Macabeo 2006 - Catalayud, Spain
Light yellow gold. A little steely on the nose with floral notes and a hint of nuts. Quite crisp on entry to the palate yet with a smooth, nutty, oily texture, a touch of lanolin and a hint of apricot on the lifted finish. It has no oak and with its yeast lees aging it could quite easily masquerade as a steely Chablis. This variety goes into White Rioja.
14.5% alc. Artificial cork. $16.99.

Dog Point Section 94 2007 - Marlborough
Light gold with a green glint. A little sauvignon-like on the nose, like an older sauvignon with dried grass clippings after rain on a hot day together with cape gooseberry, guava and honeyed tropical fruit. Gentle in its attack with a smooth texture, it's full of sauvignon flavour with barrel aging and wild yeast leesy connotations and richness to the full-bodied lingering finish. An excellent example - perhaps the best - of NZ's 'alternative' Sauvignon style.
13.5% alc. Cork. $37.99.

TW 'Growers Selection' Gisborne Viognier 2007
Pale gold. Perfumed with apple blossom and a hint of rose petal, it has soft acidity and fullness to the texture. A very pretty wine, delicately spicy and quite fruity with apples and a touch of apricot and creamed nut on the finish. Full-bodied yet has a light touch. A smart wine and an excellent example of its variety.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99.

Rolly Gassmann Gewurztraminer Stegreben de Rorschwihr 2004 - Alsace
Rich yellow gold. Deep apricot, rose petal, honey and Turkish Delight scent. Magnificent mouthfeel - smooth, oily, full but gentle in its attack, the gentleness pinpricked with gorgeous exotic spices and all building to a powerful heady, pungent finish. Quite honeyed with beautiful savoury notes to balance the sweetness. A treat.
13% alc. Cork. $56.99.

Concha y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Bright citrine yellow. Sweet scents of passionfruit and honey. Light to medium-bodied, very sweet, a little high-toned perhaps and quite leesy with passionfruit, gooseberry, tropical, honey and a touch of zesty citrus too. Add a little spritz and it would be like a sparkling Muscat. Great Value. Served very chilled.
12% alc. Cork. $14.99 / 375 mls.

Torea Oystercatcher Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008
Deep garnet ruby. Perfumed, cherryish, a little Gamay-like. Bright fruit flavours of strawberry and raspberry with a smoky herbal backbone and a roundness to the finish. Young and fresh. Very drinkable. Brancott Valley fruit.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Hospices Catalans Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2006
Deep inky purple red. Sweet fruited yet savoury and spicy on the nose, it's ripe and juicy to the taste with an earthy, savoury backbone that adds a rugged, weather beaten rusticity. Dark fruit, fruitcake, liquorice, creamy oak and firm but succulent tannins all add to its mouthfilling intrigue. A blend of Grenache and Shiraz.
14.5% alc. $Cork. $26.99 special.

Pikes Luccio Sangiovese Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - Clare Valley
A lighter red with some bricking to the colour, it seems older and a little dried out at first but the juicy, succulent fruit comes forth. Medium-bodied with cherry fruit, a hint of citrus, a touch of liquorice, a suggestion of mint, tobacco and dusty tannins, the lighter attack of this wine makes it very approachable in this hot weather. 84% Sangiovese.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99.

Primo Estate Merlesco Merlot 2006 - McLaren Vale
A light coloured brick red, medium-bodied in style, not distinctly Australian, yet juicy and succulent with cherry, plum and a touch of chocolate. Soft, easy going and full of flavour. Hits the right spots.
13% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Torres Celeste Crianza 2005 - Ribera del Duero, Spain.
Inky black red with purple crimson edges. Big fruit on the nose laced with pepper. Ripe and sweet fruited in the palate with juicy fruit reminiscent of purple plums and black boy peaches. Big, boisterous and spicy yet with supple tannins and a creamy oak finish. Add tar, leather, liquorice and chocolate box to complete the package. Made from 100% Tempranillo but in a very modern style.
14.5% alc. Cork. $32.99.

Pirramimma Tannat 2004 - McLaren Vale
Deep in colour, inky black red with only slightly fading rims. A huge nose of cedar, linseed, cigar box, vanilla leads into an equally huge palate. Very oaky, full-bodied, hot, spicy, rich and luscious with abundant juicy berries, wild game and dried herbs and a hint tobacco too. Despite Tannat being known for its grunty tannins, this is surprising smooth in its tannin structure. It's a little rustic too.
14% alc. Cork. $29.99.

Sacred Hill Wine Thief Syrah 2006 - Hawke's Bay
Deep blackberry red with crimson edges. Savoury and spicy with lots of pepper on the nose, the savoury spiciness carries through to the palate to be joined with juicy, ripe cherry and blackberry fruit. It is developing a mellow character, tannins are firm and meaty and the finish is dry. Gold Medal – NZ International Wine Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 4 Feb 2009
Absolutely Positively South Island
Wines were tasted blind.

Neudorf Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Light gold. Slightly nutty aroma with a hint of oak. Lightly oily texture, quite peachy with a crisp apple backbone that softens on the rich full finish with juicy fresh nectarine and a hint of lime. A medley of fruity flavour and hard to pinpoint the variety in this barrel fermented, lees aged style.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99.

Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2007
Light gold with a brilliant lustre. Perfumed vanillin oak and lime honey aroma. Toasty, creamy textured palate with soft to moderate acidity, a touch of spice and savoury mealy nuances to the dry spiced oak and citrus-infused finish with those honey nuances emerging again to linger on the aftertaste.
14% alc. Screwcap. $27.99 special.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2006
Light yellow gold. Creamed nuts and grapefruit on the nose. A ton of nutty oak and butterscotch in the palate with a clean, crisp, citrussy backbone. Full, rich, spicy and creamy - very opulent in every way. The oak is there but it is beautifully integrated and savoury. A classy wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Thornbury Waipara Pinot Gris 2008
Pale straw lemon. Distinctive Pinot Gris aroma of pear and citrus. Soft, lightly spicy and just off dry with an oily texture to the apple, pear and sweet citrus flavours and plenty of ginger-like spice. Easy going with good length. Gold Medal – Liquorland Top 100.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Gris 2008
Pale lemon. A little fuller on the nose than the Thornbury, this is perfumed, floral and slightly musky. Lightly creamy in texture with citrus, subtle stone fruit, plenty of ripe pear and a hint of pineapple sage, it is on the medium edge of dry.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Carrick Josephine Central Otago Riesling 2007
Straw gold with a lime glint. Gentle floral, honeysuckle and lemon aromas. A lovely sweetish Germanic type Riesling with a lightly viscous honeyed texture and beautifully clean apple and lime fruit that provides the supporting acidity.
8% alc. 47 g/l RS. Screwcap. $27.99.

Saint Clair Block 9 Riesling 2006 - Marlborough
Lemon gold coloured. It smells like a dry Riesling style with its lime biscuit aromas and although it seems dry, spicy and zesty on the first taste, it's actually quite sweet but the acidity balances the sweetness beautifully. Garnering richness and complexity from that little bit of bottle age, it's lightly viscous in texture with flavours of stonefruit, tropical fruit, honey and lime peel. For Riesling lovers, this is simply delicious.
10% alc. 45 g/l RS. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Taylors Eighty Acres Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2005 - Clare Valley
Blackish red, deep and dense. Savoury and earthy with plummy fruit together with cedar, mint and leather and spicy vanillin oak pushing through the folds with underlying acidity and a hint of barnyard on the finish. Easy to enjoy. This ring in wine was the “blind” options wine for the night.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Neudorf Tom’s Block Nelson Pinot Noir 2007
Dark garnet with a fading edge. Smoky, savoury and spicy on the nose and quite sweet in the palate with the abundant cherry and strawberry fruit. Medium-bodied in style, it has a spicy backbone with a silky smooth texture and a savoury finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Northrow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005
Still a good deep colour for its age. Perfumed and floral on the nose with earth and smoke. Savoury in its disposition with game, earth and herbal nuances together with dark cherry fruit and underlying spice. Rich and dry with firm acidity and slightly grippy tannins, it has a luscious complexity and a long full savoury finish. Over three years old and still developing beautifully with life ahead of it for a long time yet. Gold Medal – NZ International Wine Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Sileni Grand Central Pinot Noir 2007 - Bendigo, Central Otago
Bright coloured with a cherry, crimson glow. Very ripe bottled cherry and kirsh-like aromas with a hint of marzipan too. Purple fruit, violets, sweet oak and fruitcake nuances in the palate with a slightly earthy, mushroom character, a velvet texture and spicy, vanillin oak emerging on the savoury finish that helps to offset the sweetness.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 super special price as the label is being discontinued.

Main Divide Pinot Noir 2008 - Canterbury
Purple tinged cherry red. Perfumed with rose petal, musk, spice and cherry, it's quite dry and savoury in the palate with a rusticity to the dark cherry and plum fruit and plenty of herbal intrigue. Smoky, savoury, juicy and ready to drink.
14% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir 2007 - Bannockburn, Central Otago
Dark cherry red with a hint of garnet. Smoky and savoury on the nose with hints of dried thyme. Creamy, savoury and smoky with a lovely smooth texture from the soft silky tannins. It has a hint of game meat and a violet infusion to the spiced cherry fruit and hints of dried herbs. Quite dry on the finish then a burst of vinous sweetness as the wine lingers in the mouth. Seems a little more developed than other 2007's but nice drinking nevertheless.
14% alc. Screwcap. $44.99.

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
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Index to all Wednesday tastings notes.

2009 Tastings
Jan 2009 tasting notes.
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Mar 2009 tasting notes.
Apr 2009 tasting notes.
May 2009 tasting notes.
Jun 2009 tasting notes.
Jul 2009 tasting notes.
Aug 2009 tasting notes.
Sep 2009 tasting notes.
Oct 2009 tasting notes.
Nov 2009 tasting notes.
Dec 2009 tasting notes.

Dec 2008 tasting notes.


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