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 Aug 2010
Mostly Cuisine magazine's reds
Wines were tasted blind.
Morton Estate Private Reserve Chardonnay 2008 Hawkes Bay
A new release, this smooth and seamless wine is golden coloured with citrus, tropical fruit and savoury, barrel fermented flavours with a lovely nutty oak sweetness and a rounded finish and just a touch of tingly spice.
14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.
Estuary Kingsview Estate Chardonnay 2009 Mangawhai
This light gold coloured wine is seriously rich, toasty, creamy and spicy with fruits that pulse with melon and pineapple, a citrussy backbone with a long juicy finish. The wine is made by Rod McIvor at Marsden Estate.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.
Wild Rock Gravel Pit Red Merlot Malbec 2008 Hawkes Bay
Inky purple red, quite shiny in hue. Leather and plum aromas lead into savoury flavours with concentrated plum and cake spices, an undercurrent of smoke, leather and tar, and chicory and anise on the long juicy finish. Full-bodied and rich with smooth velvety tannins, a year after release it's still very youthful. Gold Medal & Trophy NZ International Wine Show 2009. 5 stars, No 2 Cuisine Magazine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.
Couper's Shed Merlot Cabernet 2009 Hawkes Bay
Youthful purple red, dense and deep, this wine has aromas in the currant spectrum. It's concentrated and juicy with supple tannins, savoury oak, hints of liquorice, plum, blackberry, tar and a hint of rose petal that comes from about 8% Cabernet Franc and adds to the fragrance too. 5 stars and No 3 Cuisine Magazine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special
Vidal Estate Merlot Cabernet 2008 Hawkes Bay
A deep purple red coloured wine with a seam of peppery spice that sits in well with the voluptuous fruit while the tannins are fine and smooth and there's a touch of Black Forest chocolate on the juicy finish. Malbec adds to the overall appeal. Gold Medal Royal Easter Show. 5 stars and No 1 Merlot blend Cuisine Magazine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.
Villa Maria Reserve Merlot 2008 - Hawkes Bay
Deep black red with a seductive aroma of concentrated berries, oak spice, dried herbs and a hint of coconut and juicy succulent flavours with creamy oak, biscuity spice, concentrated brambly fruit, hints of liquorice and fine and beautifully balanced tannins. A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Gimblett Gravels, it really is a 5 star wine. Cuisine rated this 4.5 stars and placed it at No 4.
14% alc. Screwcap. $44.99 special.
Church Road Cuve Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Hawkes Bay
Inky black purple, shiny in appearance. Fragrant, almost floral aromas with blackcurrant fruit and classy oak and flavours that do not disappoint. Sweet fruit balances the savoury backbone with a touch of spice and a long succulent finish. A great vintage from a hot summer. this full-bodied wine spent 22 months in oak but it is beautifully balanced by the opulent blackcurrant and boysenberry fruit. Rated 5 stars and No. 1 Cabernet in Cuisine Magazine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.
Mission Jewelstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Hawkes Bay
This is a dense, deep, concentrated, fine textured wine with a violet, blackcurrant character, earth, dried herb, cedary oak, hints of cigar leaf and a firm dry finish. A little restrained at this stage, it's a wine to evolve in the cellar and reward in 2-3 years time. A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc, it was rated 5 stars and No 3 Cabernet in Cuisine Magazine.
13.5% alc. Cork. $34.99.
Babich "The Patriarch" Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Hawkes Bay
Purple red in colour, this is concentrated, juicy and succulent with a deep earthy richness and a leafy finish. Quite fragrant, a little herbal and a little floral with pencil shavings and oak spice, of all the wines so far tonight this is most Bordeaux-like. A blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Malbec and 22% Cabernet Franc. 4.5 stars and No 3 Cabernet in Cuisine Magazine.
14% alc. Diam. $49.99.
Church Road "Tom" Merlot Cabernet 2005 Hawkes Bay
A concentrated, shiny purple black, quite fine in appearance. Although quite restrained on the nose, the scents have ample vinosity and follow through in the mouth with powdery tannins, powerful cedary oak, opulent blackcurrant and plum fruit, earth and graphite. Now this definitely has Bordeaux character with its leafy, herbal notes but has wonderful structure and concentration and fine-grained tannins that need to evolve. It's a wine that despite being five years old already will still benefit from cellaring. The flagship wine from Church Road, it's a wine that's definitely made to last.
13.5% alc. Cork. $99.00.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 18 Aug 2010
Wines were tasted blind.
36 Bottles Central Otago Pinot Gris 2009
Perfumed and floral, smelling brightly aromatic but with flavours that are soft and acidity that is gentle. With pears, ripe apple, textural richness and a nice edge of sweetness to balance the phenolics, this is enjoyable Pinot Gris.
14.1% alc. Screwcap. $26.99.
Te Mata Zara Hawkes Bay Viognier 2009
Delicate perfumed with hints of nougat, this seems a very young wine with pink bubblegum esters, a peach and tropical fruit freshness and a nutty richness. Texturally pleasing with low acidity and a touch of spice on the bright fruit finish.
14% alc. Diam. $25.99 special.
Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2009
A wildly aromatic bouquet with scents of toast and limes, this is very dry with concentrated fruit that coats the mouth and tempers the nervy acidity. A powerful wine with lime sherbet, pollen and flowers, Riesling aficionados will be able to see the quality this baby exudes, a wine to nurture in the cellar because the awkwardness will go and it will be simply amazing in five years time. Potential cellaring of 20 years or more. One of the world's great Rieslings.
13% alc. Screwcap. $47.99.
Toi Toi Marlborough Riesling 2009
Zesty aromatics radiate juicy citrus and honeysuckle and the concentrated flavours deliver orange peel, lime and hints of tropical fruit. A medium dry Riesling with just enough sweetness to make it a deliciously juicy quaffer. Gold Medal & Trophy 2009 NZ International Wine Show.
13% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.
Martin Codax Rias Biaxas Albarino 2008 Spain
A floral perfumed wine with nuances of peach, musk and mineral salts. It initially seems medium in style with moderate acidity, flavours of stonefruit and melon joining apple and citrus, a touch of honeysuckle, a hint of musk and a more crisp finish that is long and dry.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $31.99.
Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2009
Subtlety is the driver of this pretty, floral, soft, juicy wine. The bouquet has delicate scents of violet while there's a touch of pepper complementing the Nashi pear flavours. Off dry in style and can be well chilled too. Gold Medal Liquorland International Wine Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.
Schoffit Alsace Pinot Gris Tradition 2008
A rich, sweet, deep gold coloured wine perfumed with citrus blossom and zest and heading towards toffee in the palate with hints of musk, honeysuckle and spice, lovely fruit weight and concentration, and a pleasing touch of viscosity that really seals the deal. Beautiful wine.
13.3% alc. Cork. $40.99.
Vinoptima Ormond Gisborne Gewurztraminer 2004
Golden in colour and oily in appearance, there's some lanolin notes to the bouquet and even a suggestion of oak together with honey and botrytis. Spicy and creamy with a savoury backbone, yet unctuous and sweet. The lingering flavours leave a lasting memory. Incredibly European-like, yet it's from Gisborne. If you have this in your cellar it is ready to drink now.
14.5% alc. Cork. $58.99.
d'Arenberg d'Arry's Original McLaren Vale Shiraz Grenache 2006
Garnet red in colour with initial sweetish confectionary cherry and raspberry flavours, then it seems dry and spicy with vanillin oak, milk chocolate and a savoury dried herb undercurrent. A juicy, easy going, medium-bodied quaffer with fine tannins, ready to drink now.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.
Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Red Label Zinfandel 2008 - California
Deep dark pinkish red in colour, this proved to be the most intriguing, controversial and comment-inspiring wine of the evening. The aromas are complex and deep, earthy and smoky and conjure up delicatessen scents of salami and smoky bacon (some people even thought smoked fish!) Leather and paintbox join the scents that eventually become rich and fruity. The palate is full-bodied with thick, plush tannins, spiced prunes, pepper, boot leather, tar, cigar and a meaty savoury finish. The aftertaste is long with fruit taking over at the end.
13.5% alc. Cork. $40.99.
Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Ivory Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - California
Deep purple-red colour, a bouquet of herbs, leather, smoked mushroom and cherry, and sweet cherry fruit flavours make this not Cabernet Sauvignon as we know it. With liquorice, chocolate, prunes, spice, leather, earth, dried herbs, smoky oak, meaty notes and florals coming through on the finish, this is fascinating and mouthfilling but nowhere as profound as the Zin.
13.5% alc. Cork. $43.99.
Saints Vineyards Selection Gisborne Noble Semillon 2009
Golden yellow in colour, the high-toned aroma is of toasted oak and candied grapefruit peel. Sweet and honeyish with loads of viscosity and a marmalade finish, there's some funky acid action going on too but this is characteristic of young sweet wines and will settle with time.
12% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.
Special Monday Tasting - 16 Aug 2010
Jansz Methode Traditionelle NV Tasmania
Jane Ferrari and Yalumba Wines
Wines were tasted blind.
Perfumed with hints of fizzy fruit sherbet on the nose. Crisp and steely with a warm bready backbone and a lovely delicate stonefruit sweetness coming through to temper the profoundly salty character of the wine. Very refreshing.
12.5% alc. Cork. $21.99 special.
Yalumba Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2007 Eden Valley
Citrine in hue, this has a buttery toasty aroma and a dry, nutty palate with green melon, apple and grapefruit characters, plenty of acidity in fact and a buttery coating to round off the finish which is long with lingering nutty savoury oak and butterscotch persisting.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.
Yalumba Viognier 2007 Eden Valley
Golden in colour, becoming quite interesting and perfumed with age. A little salty, a little nutty, a little floral, a little musky with savouriness from the oak and a lovely slipperiness to the texture and of course the quintessential apricot character that lingers beautifully on the high-toned finish. Long and persistent.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.
Yalumba "The Virgilius" Viognier 2008 South Australia
Perfumed and floral with scents of musk combining with apricot and nut. Lovely bright, ethereal, aromatic palate with delicate spice and honeysuckle. Ginger characters become more pronounced filling the mouth with tingling zest. A dry wine with a silkiness to the oily texture.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $42.99 special.
Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache 2008 Barossa Valley
Ruby garnet, translucent. Raspberry jelly fruits, like blackberry and raspberry jubes, cherries too over a savoury backbone with pepper, tar and dried herbs. A medium bodied, fruit-driven style with vinous complexity and a lovely dry finish.. Gold Medal & Trophy Royal Queensland Wine Show.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.
Yalumba Shiraz Viognier 2008 Eden Valley
Dense shiny purple-red with a perfumed of aromatic spices, cherry and dried roses. Dry, savoury, peppery and spicy to the taste with hints of liquorice, a suggestion of rose petal and plums. Full-bodied and powerful, but in an elegant way with a biscuity mid-palate and lifted, long and very peppery finish. More Rhτne-like than traditional Barossa in style.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.
Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz 2008 Barossa Valley
Purple black with red berry scents. A dry savoury wine with a tarry, earthy, dried herb character, peppery spice and currant-like fruit. Jane says it's a straight up and down fashioned style with Christmas pudding character, cloves and cinnamon.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.
Yalumba "The Scribbler" Cabernet Shiraz 2008 Barossa Valley
A deep pinkish red presents this rather more fruit driven, juicy wine with dried cherry, plum and blueberry fruit supported by cedar, allspice, fine tannins and a meaty richness. With a hint of cacao adding to the attractive scent, this blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Shiraz is a stylish wine with a creamy richness. The best 'Scribbler' we have tasted to date - in fact it was delicious.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.
Yalumba "The Signature" Cabernet Shiraz 2005 Barossa Valley
Dark red, black in the core, still pinky on the edges. A lovely fine tannined wine with a concentrated blackcurrant, plum, blueberry, cedar and spice character, underpinned with meat and tar. Stylish French oak and a hint of chocolate adds to the pleasure. Rich, meaty, powerful and long.
14% alc. Cork. $42.99 special.
Yalumba "The Menzies" Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Coonawarra
This is a huge, rich, meaty wine with a deep rich red-black colour and a massive tannin structure. Among the flavour profile are dried herbs, leather, mint, chocolate, cedar and cassis. Matured in 100% French oak it is long and focussed with a lasting finish. Gold Medal & Trophy NZ International Wine Show.
14% alc. Cork. $42.99 special.
Yalumba "The Octavius" Old Vine Shiraz 2005 Barossa Valley
Intense purple red in colour this has a concentrated red fruit sweetness brimming through the wine both on the bouquet and in the palate. The lovely bittersweet red and black fruit is reminiscent of cherry and blackberry with vanilla, pepper, liquorice allspice and some floral notes as well. A wine with great depth of flavour, matured in American oak 90-litre 'octaves' with some French oak now in the mix as well, and sumptuous tannins that are starting to develop a silky edge.
14% alc. Cork. $99.00.
Yalumba Museum Muscat NV South Australia
Dark amber with a greenish tinge. Powerful, tantalising, raisin and muscatel aromas and with dried apricot and Muscatel raisin fruit, with caramel, honey and golden syrup. It's delightfully, tongue coating, viscous in texture with a spirity richness and a long rich, sweet, finish.
18% alc. Cork. $34.99.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 11 Aug 2010
All North Island
Wines were tasted blind.
Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Hawke's Bay
Clear bright golden hue. Perfumed, mealy, barrel fermented scents with hints of apricot and rich, powerful creamy flavours with a bright tropical fruit infusion to the stonefruit and intriguing smoky bacon and nutty yeast flavours. Smooth, seamless, powerful and long with hints of butterscotch too. A stunning example of a barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc with a smidgen of Semillon and Sauvignon Gris. Good.
13% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.
Vidal Estate East Coast Viognier 2009
Light yellow gold with hints of nougat, nuts and apricot on the bouquet, this is a bright high-toned, moderately oily wine with textural richness, smoky almost musky character, abundant apricot and peach fruit flavours and a long soft finish. Lovely example of a V wine. Gold and Trophy Liquorland International Wine Show.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.
Goldridge Estate Premium Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009
Light yellow gold coloured with a spicy, perfumed, almost floral woody aroma and broad mealy flavours of butter and malolactic characters - a smooth, soft, easy drinking wine with enough spicy oak to make it interesting, juicy stonefruit and a creamed nut finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.
Church Road Reserve Chardonnay 2008
Moderately deep gold colour. A rich, fat, oily Chardonnay with an alluring smoky oak and ripe stonefruit bouquet, the flavours brim with spicy French oak, peaches, apricot and cream, and build to an intensely rich and long mouthfilling finish with a savoury complexity from a stylish winemaking regime. Gold Medal Royal Easter Show Wine Awards.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.
Morton Estate White Label Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2009
Light in colour with perfumed, floral, rose petal, violet and musk aromas and a pleasing oily texture and although quite dry the heady alcohol gives a ripe, sweetish, luscious impression. White pepper and ginger add to the complexity and the finish is hot but served chilled its quite refreshing. Cuisine Five stars & Top 10.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.
Dry River Martinborough Pinot Gris 2009
Delicately floral on the nose this is full and rich in the palate with a white flower delicacy. A honeyed sweetness comes through with a spicy richness, hints of apple and orange zest, and the finish is nutty and long. A wine to nurture in the cellar where it will blossom and be at its best in 5-7 years time. NZs greatest Pinot Gris.
14% alc. Cork. $57.99.
Russian Jack Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009
Translucent garnet/Burgundy red with hints of smoky beetroot, almond and stewed plum on the nose, this is deliciously savoury tasting with fine silky tannins, an earthy depth to the wild strawberry and dried herb flavours and becomes more and more complex with every sip.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.
Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Pinot Noir 2009 Martinborough
Deep ruby with a black core, this is smoky and savoury smelling with black cherry flavours enhanced by integrated spicy oak, a meaty richness and forest floor complexity. With its beautifully fine tannin structure it has lots going on for it and could be another gold medal winner for this label.
14% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.
Chateau De Fontenille 2005 - Bordeaux
Medium red in colour, hinting of a little age, the earthy, barnyard scent carries through to the meaty palate that has grippy tannins, juicy plum and currant fruit, pencil shavings and dried herb characters. Made from a blend of 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is an affordable introduction to Bordeaux. (Included as a 'stand up options' wine).
13% alc. Cork. $24.99.
Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2008 Hawkes Bay
Inky black purple-red. Rich nuggety oak and hints of chocolate on the nose and ripe blackcurrant and cherry fruit flavours. A clean, bright, ripe, juicy, mouthfilling wine with harmonious oak, firm velvet-edged tannins, hints of chocolate, underlying leather and a good long finish. Quality exudes in every direction.
14% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.
Church Road Reserve Hawke's Bay Cabernet Merlot 2007
Inky purple-black, very shiny. Aromas of cedar, vanilla, and cherry and flavours that brim with vanilla, cassis, cherry and plum. Dry, meaty and spicy with hints of chicory on a rose petal strewn velvet-covered bed. A big, big wine with a rounded, luscious, mouthfilling finish and quite outstanding on the night. Gold Medal NZ International Wine Show.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.
Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2008 Hawkes Bay
Inky maroon red. Purples abound in the rich, deep savoury wine with hint of chocolate on the bouquet and earthy savoury complexities to the flavour with a spicy richness, a bright pepper infusion and delicious cherry fruit sweetness. A touch of Viognier makes the tannins supple and smooth and there are hints of rose petals and chocolate on the finish. Cuisine Five stars & Top 10.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 4 Aug 2010
South Island Stars
Wines were tasted blind.
Amisfield Arcadia Brut NV Central Otago
There's a tinge of pink to the light gold hue of this fine-beaded bubbles that has a slightly sweetish nutty aroma, cashew perhaps, and a hint of shortcake. It's very dry to the taste with bright acidity, plenty of zest and spritz and a rounded bready finish.
12.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.
Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Marlborough
Light golden yellow in colour, this aroma of this wine initially makes you think, "What is it?" until you realise it is oak aged, alternative, style Sauvignon Blanc. Wild yeast influences the floral aroma and the flavours are full of creamy oak, passionfruit and dried pineapple. Theres a funky kind of sewing machine oil character and the finish is pungent and long.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $49.99.
Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay 2008 Central Otago
This fresh young wine is light gold in colour with a nutty aroma reminiscent of the sparkling wine but the flavours are rich and mouthfilling with citrus and stone fruit and a thread of tropical fruit too. There's spicy oak and lemony, leesy, almost bready flavours and loads of caramelised pineapple on the rounded finish. A very stylish wine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $47.99.
Carrick Cairnmuir Terraces EBM Chardonnay 2007 Central Otago
Yellow gold in colour with mealy aromatics and broad mealy flavours, this has an earthy, flinty seam running through the wine. It's grainy in texture with apricot and citrus the dominant fruit, while malolactic characters add a hint of a buttery richness to the finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $34.99.
West Brook Blue Ridge Chardonnay 2007 Marlborough
A ripe, juicy wine with a citrine gold colour, an appealing barrel ferment aroma and lots of rounded caramel flavours with tropical fruit, hints of grapefruit, a flinty undercurrent and a smooth luscious finish that lasts and lasts. Still looks incredibly good. Gold Medal NZ International Wine Show.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.
Mondillo Riesling 2007 Central Otago
Light in colour with a pure lemon aroma and lemon pith and honeysuckle flavours. A very fine expression of a moderately dry Riesling that shows the purity that can be achieved from this classic grape, especially in the climate of Central Otago. Bendigo fruit.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99.
Felton Road Riesling 2009 Central Otago
A medium sweet Riesling that's so reminiscent of a manuka honey and freshly squeezed lemon drink with just a hint of ginger. Shows lovely fresh acid-driven purity to balance the honey-like sweetness with an earthy bee pollen character running through it and zingy finish. Best served well chilled to further pronounce the nervy acidity.
10%alc. Screwcap. $NA.
Muddy Water Growers Series Lough Vineyard Riesling 2008 Waipara
Yum! This is gorgeous and is quite sweet but impeccable acid sugar balance too. Beautiful drinking right now with a seamless texture and flavours of juicy mandarin, tangelo and honeysuckle and can be well chilled.
13% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.
Kim Crawford "Rise and Shine" Pinot Noir 2007 Central Otago
Deep maroon in colour with a bright, youthful, plummy aroma and a creamy palate that's quite rich in oak expression, there's an earthy undercurrent, lovely soft supple tannins, hints of anise and dark concentrated plum and cherry fruit. From the great vintage, it is still amazingly youthful and offers satisfying drinking.
14% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.
Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2007 Waipara
Bright purple maroon with an exciting savoury aroma and concentrated savoury flavours - distinctly earthy, "dirty" (in a nice sense) and definitely "funky". An evocative wine with spice, liquorice, juicy purple fruits, leather and forest floor and underlying all this, a firm meaty tannin structure. A superb wine that you can drink now or cellar a while.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $49.99.
Akarua Cadence Pinot Noir 2007 Central Otago
Deep purple red in colour this is a bright spicy wine with a velvety tannin structure, juicy red and black cherry fruit, a lovely earthy savouriness and hints of thyme. A wine of balance and harmony, it has a surprisingly light step as it dances and twirls across the palate and a lasting finish. Bannockburn fruit.
14.3% alc. Screwcap. $35.99 special.
Charles Wiffen Late Harvest Riesling 2007 Marlborough
This burnished gold coloured wine is luscious smelling with a suggestion of candied citrus and is developing a lime ginger marmalade character. There's lovely viscosity to the texture with honeysuckle and dried apricot flavours with a hint of ginger-like spice on the decadent finish.
10% alc. Cork. $34.99. 500ml bottle.
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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