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

July 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 for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 29 Jul 2009
Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Spain
Wines were tasted blind.

Sea Level Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Light gold. Bright aromatics of lime and passionfruit. Crisp and fresh, like biting into a crunchy piece of melon with passionfruit and pineapple with underlying herbaceousness and a nice twist of citrus. A vibrant, tasty, well-made wine with a long flavoursome finish. Made by Sam Smail with Awatere fruit, this could become one of the stars of the vintage.
13% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

West Brook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2007
A rich, ripe, creamy style with a bright gold colour, smoky, toasty, mealy lemon aromas and mouthfilling flavours crammed with melon and stonefruit with toasty spicy oak and citrus. Reasonably full-bodied in style with a touch of butterscotch on the finish this is an approachable style for 5 o'clock drinks or for dinner.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Lake Chalice 'Platinum' Marlborough Chardonnay 2007
Pale gold in colour, this is such a different style to the West Brook - it's starts out quite lean with a savoury mealy undercurrent with funky wild yeast flavours and vanillin oak adding gentle complexity. The texture is smooth and creamy with a smatter of oak spice and hints of peach come through on the rich long finish. Matt Thomson's name is behind this wine that gets better and better as it opens up in the glass. The bargain price is because the 'Platinum' label is being replaced.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Hans Herzog Marlborough Pinot Gris 2007
Pinky-tinged gold in colour with green grape and ripe apple scents that carry through to the palate that's lightly oily in texture. A very dry wine with a little bit of underlying spice and a warm finish, perhaps a touch of oak and lees stirring to add richness. Made in a European style to go with food- Herzog recommends seafood and antipasto.
14% alc. Diam. $42.99.

Coto de Hayas 'Roble' Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Saturated blackberry red. A little floral on the nose with BBQ smoke, cherry, Radox bath salts and American oak and robust juicy flavours. A medium-bodied wine, smooth in its attack yet still quite gutsy with broad fruit flavours of plum and strawberry, cured meats and a tarry undercurrent with chocolate box, florals and pepper on the bright fruity finish.
13.8% alc. Cork. $17.99 special.

Sierra Cantabria Rioja 2006
A translucent deep garnet red in appearance, this is perfumed with a hint of chocolate and a salty herbaceousness. In the mouth it's gentle, mellow and a little earthy with sweet American oak, a hint of orange citrus and some tannin grip to the savoury finish. You get the impression this wine has some age but with persistence to the aftertaste and a tingle from the underlying acidity, there is potential for this quite drinkable wine to further age. Made from Rioja's famed Tempranillo grape.
13.5% alc. Cork. $25.99.

Chateau de Francs Bordeaux 2005
This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon is a faded dark red in colour with a barnyard aroma infused with hints of cherry liqueur. On the first taste it seems quite grippy in texture and the flavour is meaty rather than fruity with a sprinkle of pepper and dried herbs. There's an underpinning of mellow oak with vinous sweetness to the finish. This is affordable Bordeaux from the AOC Bordeaux with 7-8 years cellaring ahead of it. Gold Medal at the Paris 2006 Agricultural Show.
14% alc. Cork. $32.99 special.

Mission Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot 2007
This is a medium-to-full bodied wine with a moderately deep red colour, hints of cassis on the nose and concentrated flavours of juicy red fruits and bottled plums with a firm tannin underlay and creamy oak completing the package. A splash of Cabernet Franc adds perfume. A very smart wine with very good length.
14% alc. Diam. $17.99 special.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2005
Deep dark red in colour - the abundant pepper and rose petal on the nose immediately points to NZ Syrah. There's a hint of bottle-aged funk, tar and earthy notes to the aroma too. Quite savoury and peppery to the taste with the oak now quite harmonised and mellow and the juicy berry fruits quite luscious - it's a very dry wine yet vinously sweet with a hint of liquorice on the finish and shows how well the Cellar Selection Syrah can age.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $NA.

Papa Luna Grenache Shiraz Monastrell 2006
A blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Shiraz and 5% Monastrell, this is a deep, dark red berry colour with smoky aromas and big, bold, spicy flavours. A juicy wine with lusciously ripe berry fruit, it has a tarry, portobello mushroom undercurrent and lots of pepper and spice. Tannins are firm and meaty, American oak adds a hint of coconut and the wine finishes with a chocolatey fascination. Well rounded, full-bodied and very appealing.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $30.99.

Crossroads Talisman 2007
A blend of six 'unnamed' varieties, this is purple-black-red in colour, saturated and deep. The aroma of vanillin oak, cassis, cherry, tamarillo, tar and coal fires is fascinating. A big wine in the mouth - full-bodied and grunty with a firm tannin structure that is melted by the succulent red and black fruits resulting in a warm, rounded mouthfeel. There's a savoury undercurrent with hints of dried rosemary and thyme and fine textured smoky French oak coming through to linger on the finish with hints of chocolate and liquorice too. A wine from an excellent vintage, it offers medium to long term cellaring potential, this has won trophies at the TriNations Wine Challenge in Australia and at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
14% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Morris of Rutherglen Premium Liqueur Tokay
One of the world’s great wines, this is the colour of espresso coffee in a glass with a thick texture and amber gold edges. It seduces from the outset with a heady spiritous scent of salted muscatel raisins and brandy soaked Xmas cake fruit and the smooth, thick, syruppy flavours are full of coffee, raisins, dry rancio and Christmas cake with a long, nutty finish. This is outstandingly sweet Muscat with 15 trophies and 45 gold medals since 2005. It's less than half price because it is being discontinued in NZ by the importer.
18% alc. Twin Top. $29.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 22 Jul 2009
Pinot Noir, Central Otago and South Australia
Wines were tasted blind.

Richmond Grove Limited Release Chardonnay Padthaway 2005
Bright lemon gold. Grilled pineapple and toasty oak scents. Rich, toasty, nutty and spicy to the taste with underlying fresh citrus and pineapple bread nuances and a hint of butterscotch. Big, bold and buxom with smooth rounded flavours and a bright long finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $12.99 special.

Felton Road Central Otago Chardonnay 2008
Light yellow gold. A little soapy, floral on the nose with a nutty infusion to the subtle French oak. Flinty and nutty to start with citrus and apple, a hint of lemon blossom and honeysuckle - an unusually floral style with a touch of sweetness and some mineral salts too - perhaps a flicker of Chablis before fleshing out to a creamy finish with a touch of French polish. A wine for the cellar right now.
14% alc. Screwcap. $36.99.

Yalumba Wrattonbully Late Harvest Viognier 2005 and Botrytis Viognier 2006
Burnished glossy gold. Intensely honeyed, almost smoky with burnt toffee joining candied fruit and apricot-flushed marmalade on the nose. In the palate it's sweet yet dry with flavours initially like spiced oranges soaked in liqueur and lingering like old apricot jam - headily rich but with plenty of acidity to balance the luscious sweetness. A first Glass special blend of the two vintages of wine.
12% alc. Cork. $NA.

Wild Rock Cupids Arrow Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Tamarillo red. Intensely aromatic and brightly scented with hints of thyme, savoury oak and a touch of chocolate too. A fine textured pinot, medium-bodied in style yet with vinous concentration, it's full of bottled cherry fruit with just a little spice and a sweet touch to the savoury finish. Impressive at the price point.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Kiritea Martinborough Pinot Noir 2008
Some purple to the deep red garnet hue. Plummy, perfumed, a little hint of musk, very ripe - almost overripe to my nose. Dry with quite thick dense tannins typical of the region yet approachable and juicy and full of plummy fruit, smoky oak and a hint of bacon. The second label of Te Hera Estate with vineyards in the Te Muna district of Martinborough and made following biodynamic protocols.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Felton Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008
Deep purple garnet - almost opaque. The bouquet is perfumed and floral with dried herbs and gorgeous fragrant spices and smoky toasty oak that hints of mocha. Concentrated (dense) in the palate with a smooth gentle attack that fills out with aplomb. It emanates a sense of purple with violets and morello cherry fruit, the tannins are silky and fine and texturally divine, the finish is long and spicy but the oak regime seems a little dominant right now. Will settle with a little more time - these wines cellar magnificently after all.
14% alc. Screwcap. $57.99.

Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2008
Dark red in colour, this aromas are savoury, meaty, earthy and just a little funky while the rounded, gentle flavours are ultra savoury with bittersweet cherry and plum and a spicy flourish to the floral-infused finish while smoky oak plays a well balanced supporting role in the background. Excellent value and drinking well right now.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 138 Grenache Mourvedre Shiraz Barossa 2007
Purple red, quite dense. From the bouquet it seems a fruit forward style with a hint of ribena and then strawberry. The strawberry carries through to the juicy palate to be joined with raspberry, blueberry, liquorice, peppery spice, a hint of chocolate and just a suggestion of mint with an earthy savoury undercurrent and violets coming through on the vanillin oak finish. To me the Grenache was the dominant character at this tasting.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Fox Creek Shadows Run McLaren Vale Shiraz Cabernet 2007
Dense black red. Some struck match on the nose adds fascination(?) to the smoky, meaty, savoury, cedary oak scent. Soon red berry fruit too. This is a soft, easy going wine with juicy red fruit, bacon, herbs, mushrooms and sweet meaty vanillin oak, some underlying acidity and just a hint of mint. A little metallic on the finish on its own (meracptans, perhaps) but would be divine with something like Coq au Vin - or in the Coq au Vin.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2007
Massive purple black. Perfumed aromatics full of chocolate, mocha, chicory and cherry - this is so youthful yet so profound with plenty of fruit, well-balanced creamy oak and Shiraz's trademark pepper in the background. Perhaps the Buy of the Night.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Intense, shiny blackberry red. Perfumed with cassis, violet, hints of mint and vanilla infused cedary oak that follow through to the palate - with its concentration and dry tannin structure, you know immediately this is a very serious style. Add earth, chocolate, a backing of dried herb and perhaps even a suggestion of pepper - it is profound, intense, spicy and full with a vinous sweetness to the meaty finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $64.99.

Rockbare McLaren Vale Shiraz 2006
Glossy black red. Biscuit, earth, tar, strawberry and chocolate aromas and a dense, thick-texture that supports the rich full flavours - a blockbuster in every way with mocha, tar, anise and blackberry - finishing just a little high-toned on its own, it really needs food.
15.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 15 Jul 2009
Not So Common
Wines were tasted blind.

Man O' War Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2007
Light yellow gold. Buttered toast, stonefruit and citrus aromas. Rounded and rich with full-bodied, toasty, spicy oak flavours nicely supporting grilled pineapple and butterscotch. A very tasty first-up wine that prepares the palate nicely for the tasting to follow.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Man O' War 'Valhalla' Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2007
Yellow gold. At first it seems like a tight linear Chardonnay with a nutty aroma and a creamy, buttery backbone to the fresh, ripe tropical fruit and fleshy peach flavours with a touch of zesty lime. But with plenty of stylish spicy French oak and well-worked barrel fermentation mealiness, it builds in the mouth to a rich full finish that is mouthfilling, tasty, nutty and long.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $40.99.

Ossian Verdejo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León 2007 - Spain
Light gold in colour. Quite nutty - almond-like on nose - a hint of marzipan perhaps - and delicately floral. Very dry and lean to start with a lightly oily texture, bitter lemon, apple, a sprinkle of white pepper and salt-infused zest then builds in vinosity and textural complexity to become quite rich on the long penetrating finish where a suggestion of tarragon-like herb lingers and adds intrigue. One of Spain's great white wines inspired by Montrachet, this is made from 180-year old ungrafted organic grapes and had 9 months in oak. Verdejo is a native Spanish grape and no relation to Verdelho.
13.5% alc. Cork. $64.99.

Salomon Undhoff Hochterrassen Gruner Veltliner 2007 - Austria
Pale straw with a slightly oily appearance. Dry, tight, lemon-infused wine with lime and hints of honeysuckle. Quite phenolic - like sucking river worn pebbles that leave your mouth dry. Neutral in flavour with apple the dominant character on the finish and some vinous warmth rounding it out. A wine that would serve well as an aperitif - prepare the palate for the courses to follow.
12% alc. Cork. $24.99.

Rose Tree Cottage Late Harvest Semillon 2007 - Marlborough
Deep bright yellow. Botrytis affected nose with a hint of toffee and green tea. Sweet, honey-rich flavours - quite high-toned with apricot and orange toffee - not too thick - but with lovely acidity that pierces through the sweetness and leaves the mouth feeling clean.
11% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Brown Brothers Dolcetto & Syrah 2008 - Victoria, Australia
Vivid ruby pink with some denseness to the appearance. Perfumed, lollyish aromas and in the mouth, slightly spritzy - or more correctly 'frizzante'. Sweet and frivolous - full of strawberry and blueberry fruit - needs to be well chilled and consumed on a hot afternoon with chocolate-coated strawberries injected with Cointreau. Alternatively would make an interesting dessert wine served with self-saucing chocolate pud. It's a wine for a particular time and place. But be careful because the kids will love it.
11% alc. Cork. $17.99.

Coto De Hayas Crianza Garnacha Tempranillo 2006 - Campo de Borja, Spain
Deeply translucent black cherry red. With strawberry and cassis aromas and just a hint of blueberry, it smells like a baked berry pie. A lighter-styled fruit-driven wine with ultra-ripe flavours and a spicy savoury backbone to balance the sweetness, hints of earth, pepper, mocha and anise with underlying tannins to add a little bit of grip.
13.5% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Coto De Hayas Reserva Garnacha 2004 - Campo de Borja, Spain
Medium red. Ripe smelling with hints of chocolate on the nose, it's quite concentrated and just a little liquerish to the taste with dry velvety tannins, succulent strawberry and cake spices. A youthful wine despite its five years of age - it has the acidity to preserve it in the cellar for a long, long time.
13.5% alc. Cork. $25.99.

Felline Primitivo Di Manduria 2006 - Italy
Deep inky red. Ripe berry fruits, vanilla and violets on the nose. Quite savoury to the taste with underlying leafiness and a dry finish with a sprinkle of pepper and mulled wine spices, especially cloves. A full-bodied concentrated wine with creamy oak adding richness and cherry, blue fruits and liquorice lingering on the finish.
14% alc. Cork. $29.99.

Cat Amongst The Pigeons 'Alley Cat' Barossa Shiraz Grenache 2007
Purple red. Spicy smelling with pepper, nutmeg and allspice scents. A little high-toned in the palate with sweet oak, boysenberries, hints of chocolate and smooth silky tannins with green peppercorns and just a hint of mint on the finish. Easy going style with the soft juicy Grenache adding a point of difference.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2006
Black red, dense. Chocolate box aromas and ripe juicy red fruit flavours. Velvety textured, spicy and peppery with structure from the Cabernet and a powerful dry finish. Lots of spice and a hint of mint.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Wolf Blass Red Label Tawny Port
Tawny coloured and clear - like dark amber. Aromatic bitters and muscatel raisin aromas with quite heady spirit fumes. Very spiritous also in mouth - then the spirit burns off to leave flavours of salted raisin, nuts, honey and caramelised figs. About as far away as you can get from the rich red vintage port styles, it is made from Shiraz, Grenache and Touriga grapes from South East Australia.
17.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 8 Jul 2009
Nelson, Gisborne, Waipara & Clare
Wines were tasted blind.

Waimea Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Green apple, lime sherbet and freshly squeezed OJ with a touch of honey - this light straw coloured savvie is fresh, fruity and juicy with a slightly oily texture, underlying herbaceousness and soft pungency on the lingering finish. Awarded gold medals at Air New Zealand and Sydney International.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Cognoscenti Gisborne Chardonnay 2008
”Oaky, smoky, hokey pokey” is the new slogan for First Glass style Chardonnays and yes, this is oaky and smoky with lots of hokey pokey. It's also smooth and creamy with spicy oak, grilled pineapple and stonefruit and simply oozing ripeness and drinkability. Made by Waimata Wines, it was one of only 11 gold medal winners at the Gisborne International Chardonnay Challenge this year.
14.2% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

TW Growers Selection Gisborne Chardonnay 2007
Bright yellow with creamed nut, spicy oak and grilled peach aromas - this is nougat style -creamy, nutty and fruity with underlying caramel and citrussy zest. Very smooth, harmonious, juicy and simply delicious with an aura of class and sophistication.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Pegasus Bay Virtuoso Waipara Chardonnay 2006
Lemon gold coloured with powerful aromas of citrus-infused oak and abundant yeast lees influences. Big in flavour too - malty and mealy with marmite and citrus, spicy oak and loads of smoky, savoury nuances with a characteristic Pegasus Bay spritzy tingle on the lasting finish. This must be one of most meaty full-bodied Chardonnays that you will find in New Zealand.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $54.99.

Coopers Creek Gisborne Viognier 2007
A delicate floral bouquet with a touch of lemon candy. Just off dry to the taste with a delicate hint of flower musk and while quite neutral in the fruit department there is plenty of vinous weight. Apricot emerges on the finish and lingers with a creamed nut and vanilla spice overlay. Delicate but clean and ethereal with a persistent finish. Gold Medal Air NZ Wine Awards 2007
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Palliser Estate Martinborough Riesling 2007
Light yellow gold. Lime and honey aromas and zesty lime and lemon flavours with a hint of tropical fruit. Weighty and full, initially seems dry but it has a gentle sweetness, a lightly oily texture, a vibrant finish and just a tickle of spritz. Gold Medal Easter 2009. Outstanding value at the price.
12% alc. Screwcap. $13.99.

Waipara Springs Premo Waipara Riesling 2006
One of those low alcohol Germanic styles - many thought so in the stand-up options as a number of people sat down on the region question going for something other than NZ or Aus. Made in a 'spatlese' style, this has earthy, subtle kero, honeysuckle and lime scents. Gentle in the mouth with lovely balance of sweetness and citrus acidity, delicate honeysuckle, a touch of botrytis and an earthy finish that lasts for ages. 8.8 g/l total acidity. 29 g/l residual sugar.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99.

Main Divide Te Hau Waipara Pinot Noir 2006
Pale garnet colour, still with plenty of red but starting to fade. Perfumed with dried herbs, mushroom, earth and smoke then in the palate there's well balanced fruit sweetness and smoky savouriness. Add spicy oak, dry tannins, bottled cherries, hints of bacon, savoury funk and orange peel with a dried cherry character coming through on the lingering finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $34.99.

Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2004 - Nelson
A wine that seems to have considerable age with the translucent orange-hued garnet colour giving that clue. Perfumed, savoury, just a little viscerally funky. Mellow in the palate with fruit a distant memory - a hint of dried strawberries, perhaps, and subtle chocolate. Tannins are silky and the gentle oak is savoury. Interesting, Burgundian-like, but this bottle indicates it is past its prime. Probably worth drinking now if you have in your cellar.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $59.99.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Pinot Noir 2007
Bright youthful ruby with deep black flashes. Perfumed and floral with dried herb, smoke and briar rose. Juicy palate, quite floral and full of chocolate and cherry - for Pegasus Bay, this full-bodied style seems immensely approachable already - a testament of the super 2007 vintage. Mouthfilling and long with beautifully balanced fruit, spice, earth and an underlying smoky bacon savouriness.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $52.99.

Tisdall The Cutting Shiraz 2006 - Victoria, Australia
Purple black. Ripe, jammy scent of cherry, mulberry and wineberry. Sweet and almost spritzy the palate - initially seems a little simple and one-dimensional - a cooler climate style - peppery spice and chocolate emerges with just a touch of mint. Builds to a savoury finish that balances the sweetness of the ripe juicy fruit. Medium bodied in style, this was a tricky wine for stand-up options players.
14% alc. Screwcap. $11.99 special.

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Clare Valley Shiraz 2007
Black red coloured, dense and deep with cosily familiar mint/eucalypt, chocolate, spice and vanillin oak scents. Full-bodied, ripe, rounded, juicy and spicy with chocolate, a hint of mint and cigar, luscious purple fruit, voluptuous tannins and a dry finish with power and length. Packed with flavour and value, this little brother to 'Armagh' is a steal at the sub $20 price.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Leasingham Bin 61 Clare Valley Shiraz 2006
Inky purple black-red. This is a chocolate-laden monster with firmly structured tannins and tastes like it is made to last. Mint, liquorice, blueberry, cassis, pepper, tar, cedar and leather combine in vinous harmony and the finish is deliciously succulent and long. Worth stocking up on as this label has been deleted from NZ.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 1 Jul 2009
Burgundian, Bordeaux and Italian Varieties
Wines were tasted blind.

Duca Di Castelmonte Pinot Prosecco Vino Spumante Brut - Italy
Pale straw with a bead of tiny bubbles. Steely, yeasty, apple bread aromas. Quite neutral in flavour - just hints of apple and delicate lime. Terrifically steely and very dry. Bubbles add brightness and there’s a touch of rose petal on the refreshing finish.
10% alc. Cork. $24.99.

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2009 - Marlborough
Very pale lemon, oily in appearance. Grape aroma to start with a hand cream-like scent then apple, lime and passionfruit becoming more toasty with time. Bright flavours - lots of lime and mandarin zest and a rich powerful almost spicy finish with classic varietal herbaceous and passionfruit pungency. The label states 'First bottling May 2009'.
13% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Morton Estate Private Reserve Chardonnay 2006 - Hawkes Bay
Lustrous lemon gold. Nutty, polished oak aroma. Dry, nutty and initially quite steely to the taste with bright tropical fruit, melon and pineapple, it becomes rounded and creamy with a mellow harmoniousness that has come with that little bit of age. Plenty of spicy oak and a lovely citrussy tang to the rich fruity finish. Hints of butterscotch too.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special or $15.99 p.b. on case buys

Sileni The Lodge Chardonnay 2006 - Hawkes Bay
Moderate gold. Smoky with toasty spicy vanillin oak and juicy stonefruit adding to the aromatic appeal. Juicy flavours of stonefruit, pineapple and melon with nutty oak over a malty backbone. A very good mouthfilling wine, full-bodied in style, layers of flavour, very long finish - a steal at the discounted price.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2006 - Kumeu, Auckland
Light gold. Mealy lemony leesy scents with some wild yeast funk - a complex and very appealing bouquet. High-toned, nutty, leesy flavours with obvious malolactic influence, pineapple and yellow peach - like sucking on a fleshy peach stone with spicy French oak and a suggestion of honey. Oak has a lovely polish and sheen and the whole experience is juicy and long. Shows its class from the outset.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Waipara Hills Pinot Noir 2008 - Waipara
A translucent light coloured garnet. Perfumed herb and briar rose scent with a savoury overlay. Light to medium bodied soft attack with subtle bittersweet cherry, strawberry and red apple fruit, a delicate savoury earthy backbone and fruit sweetness on the finish.
13% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Earth's End Pinot Noir 2008 - Central Otago
A moderate to deep pinky garnet. Smoky, savoury, cherry 'fruit paste' scent. Earthy, funky, savoury flavours with palate richness, silky tannins, chocolate, smoke, herbs and a depth of cherry fruit. Tasty wine with a fun label that illustrates how to do the All Black haka. Made by Mt Edward.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Farnese Sangiovese 2006 - Terre di Chieti DOC, Italy
Deep black red with some bricking to the edges. Quite a jammy aroma that becomes more rose perfumed with time - a little porty with some liquorice too - intriguing. Sweet and fruity, ripe and raisiny with succulent tannins and spicy vanillin oak. Smart for the price.
13% alc. Plastic cork. $16.99.

Cecchi Riserva di Famiglia Chianti Classico 2004 - Italy
Brownish red. Quite a savoury bouquet than conjures up burnt rubber, barnyard and sheep dags that mingle with bottled cherries and liquorice. The intriguing savouriness carries through to the mellow palate - lots of juicy vinosity but very little primary fruit - just tangy, herbal, earthy and a little feral with some underlying acidity and moderately firm tannins. A very tasty and alluring wine with a lasting savoury succulence. Gold Medal NZ International Wine Show.
13% alc. $52.99.

Pepperjack Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - South Australia
Bright black red. A big ripe juicy red with classic varietal definition - it has smoky cedar, cassis and mint on the nose and is full with of creamy oak, cassis, chocolate and mint flavours with a backing of soft, smooth tannins. Made in that deliciously drinkable Barossa style.
14% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Newton Forrest Cornerstone Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2004 - Hawkes Bay
Red black with pinky red edges hinting of some age. Vanilla and chocolate on the nose with cedar, cigar box and some leafy notes too. Medium to full-bodied in palate weight with spicy savoury oak and an earthy depth to the plum and cherry fruit with chocolate coming forth on the smoky finish. Well structured with silky tannins and lovely integration of components, this is an immensely drinkable smooth succulent wine. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc with maturation in both French and American oak.
14% alc. Screwcap. $40.99.

Craggy Range Sophia Merlot Cabernet Franc 2007 - Hawkes Bay
Intense dark purple black. Perfumed with French oak, hints of leather, plum and violet-like florals. Concentrated and powerful with a violet-like intensity to the juicy plum, blackberry and cassis fruit with an undercurrent of cedar, chocolate and liquorice. A sumptuous wine with a classic leafy character and mouth coating tannins - already stunning but some more time to integrate will take it to another level.
14.5% alc. Cork. $49.99 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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