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edited by Sue Courtney

Wednesday Round-up - the 2010 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

February 2010
[ 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 - 24 Feb 2010
Pinot Gris and Riesling from Cuisine magazine's Aromatics tasting
All of the wines were tasted blind and all of the whhites were well chilled.

Omaka Springs Estate Marlborough Pinot Gris 2009
Juicy aromas of Wattie's fruit salad. Creamy and textural with fresh orchard fruit, a little bit of spice, hints of vanilla and just a touch of sweetness. A very clean, and appealing, style. 4 stars Cuisine and 'Best Buy'.
14% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2009
When chilled this seems quite dry and steely at first, with an oily texture, plenty of apple and a touch of ginger. Becomes quite rich and textural with honey adding a sweet impression to the finish and an abundance of pear. Oak and partial malolactic fermentation has added extra complexity. Some people likened it to flat beer, perhaps because of its wheaty yeast lees character. 4 stars Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Ti Point Marlborough Pinot Gris 2009
A dry, spicy style with juicy apple and pear fruit, vanilla and spice over a nutty backbone with a rounded mouthfeel all the way through. Chilling introduces a steely character that is quite refreshing on a steaming hot day. 5 stars and No. 1 rated Pinot Gris in Cuisine.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Lamont Central Otago Pinot Gris 2009
Juicy, fruity, aromatics with flower blossoms and vanilla. Dry yet has a richness to the creamy texture with juicy pears, spice, citrus zest and honeycomb and a persistence to the lasting finish. Full of flavour, even when chilled to the bone. 5 stars and No. 2 rated Pinot Gris in Cuisine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Domain Road Central Otago Riesling 2009
Aromatic, fragrant, floral scents introduce this crisp, dry, juicy style with lemon curd, tropical fruit and lavender nuances and a touch of honey on the finish. Really suits being chilled. Technically an 'off dry' style. 5 stars and No. 3 rated Riesling in Cuisine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Bouldevines Marlborough Riesling 2009
Now this is definitely dry, tight, linear and bracing with lime and green apple flavour building in the palate that has mid palate richness and texture. Natural fruit sweetness nicely balances the acidity. A very good example of the dry Marlborough style. 5 stars and No. 1 rated Riesling in Cuisine.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

West Brook Marlborough Riesling 2009
Laced with citrus and honey, this just loves being chilled, the chilling adding verve to the delicious juicy mandarin and tropical fruit flavours. Off dry in style, it seems a little sweet on first tasting but the high acidity quickly brings that notion into check. Has developed beautifully since it was last tasted. Very good wine. 4 stars Cuisine.
12% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Mt Difficulty Target Gully Central Otago Riesling 2009
Gorgeous tropical fruit aromas hinting of passionfruit with a tantalising aura of lime. A medium sweet style (35 to 40 grams per litre of residual sugar) with racy acidity to balance the sweetness, a light viscosity to the texture and an overlay of nectar. With its pineapple FruJu iceblock flavours it's easy to imagine this being frozen into iceblocks - imagine sucking on the Target Gully iceblocks to quench the thirst on a hot, humid February day. Absolutely yum. My rating 5 stars. Cuisine's rating 4 stars.
9.5% alc. Screwcap. $26.99.

Forrest The Doctors Marlborough Riesling 2009
Quite honeyish and medium sweet with a lovely tug of sweet citrus acidity, juicy tropical fruit and honeysuckle. A delicate style of Riesling - light bodied with light alcohol, yet persistent, and long. 40 grams per litres of residual sugar. 5 stars and No. 2 rated Riesling in Cuisine.
8.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

El Gordito Grenache Shiraz Tempranillo 2005 - Calatayud, Spain
Dense black red with a browny appearance. So chocolatey on the nose, chocolate with a sprinkle of pepper. The first taste is a little porty and those chocolate flavours come through too. It is deep and rich with supple tannins, juicy red and black berries, raisins, liquorice, tar, leather, hints of spice and a firm finish. An amazing wine despite the minimalist label.
14% alc. Cork. $28.99.

Shinas Estate 'The Guilty' Shiraz 2007 - Mildura, Victoria
Deep and dense in colour. Lashings of coconut-laced American oak scents characterise this bold, grunty wine. It's rich, ripe, smooth, creamy and juicy with chocolate, mocha, pepper, tar, masses of black berry fruits and a terrific label to boot. Everyone loved it. 14.9% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Shinas Estate 'The Verdict' Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - Mildura, Victoria
Deep, dark, dense and shiny in appearance, this is fine yet firm textured and full of juicy fruitcake cherry and currants with an earthy depth to the well integrated, vanillin-edged American oak. Underlying acidity preserves its youthfulness and the finish is full of red fruits, liquorice and spice. Another big, bold wine, about as big as they get.
15.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 17 Feb 2010
Australian Whites and NZ Pinot Noirs
All of the wines, except the Eileen Hardy, were tasted blind.

Leasingham Magnus Chardonnay 2005 - Clare Valley, Australia
A light yellow gold colour, quite youthful in appearance, but the aromas hints that it has a little age. It’s bold flavoured with toasty oak, spiced peach, hints of pineapple and a mealy savouriness with a smooth creamy texture and long full zesty finish. Very nice and can take chilling. Brilliant value.
13% alc. Screwcap. $9.99 special.

Richmond Grove Limited Release Chardonnay 2005 - Padthaway, South Australia
Golden yellow with savoury oak scents that hint of a little age. Its smooth, creamy and buttery with lovely grilled peach and melon, a salty savouriness and a bright toasty, full-bodied finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $12.99 special.

Hardy's Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2006 - Australia
Light gold in colour with a complex savoury aroma and spicy flavours with hints of grapefruit joining smoky oak. There's a lactic, almost turned cream character to the full-bodied, mouth filling, mealy savoury flavours with spicy toasty oak and delicious grilled peach flavours coming through on the lasting finish. This blend of Tasmania, Yarra and Tumbarumba fruit really shows its class.
13% alc. Screwcap. $89.99.

Taylors Jarraman Riesling 2005 - South Australia
Straw gold. Aromatic, floral, citrus (lime) aromas cannot be restrained by chilling - this wine was served well chilled and chilling really suits the silky textured, delicate and slightly honeyed zesty flavours. A very dry wine with a juicy fruitiness, it has blossomed with age and has a rich full finish with a toasty nuance coming through. A blend of Clare Valley and Eden Valley fruit.
13% alc. Screwcap. $30.99.

Yalumba The Virgilius Viognier 2007 - Eden Valley, South Australia
Light lemon gold. Delicate stone fruit aromatics with faint hints of honeycomb. A soft wine and although dry, there's a touch of sweetness that adds appeal to the slightly oily textured savoury flavours. The aromas evolve as the wine warms up introducing a bready richness and a hint of smoke, and the lingering flavours of apricots and nutbread are full and long.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $49.99.

Rocland Chocolate Box Shiraz 2007 - Barossa Valley
Medium red. Strawberry, plum and liquorice on the nose then juicy flavours of red fruits, vanillin oak and sweet spices fill the palate and, true to label, milk chocolate too. A medium-bodied, easy drinking style with soft fine tannins, from the makers of "Kilroy was Here" and other popular reds. The 'stand up' options wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Kiritea Te Muna Pinot Noir 2008 - Martinborough
A rich, deep smoky Pinot Noir with a light purple red colour; chocolate, black cherry and herb aromas and a silky smooth texture to the smoky, meaty, earthy flavours with underlying acidity to balance the very ripe plummy fruit. An uncomplicated wine that has evolved well since tasting several months ago. The second label of Te Hera Estate, made to biodynamic protocols.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Peregrine Pinot Noir 2008 - Central Otago
Moderately dense purple/ruby. Deep, rich, sensuous pinotesque aromatics of fruits of the forest and savoury oak. Full-bodied to the taste with a fine, silk-edged velvety texture, spicy oak, fruits of the forest and a touch of chocolate to the long smooth savoury finish. Very good.
14% alc. Screwcap. $33.99 special.

Wooing Tree Pinot Noir 2007 - Central Otago
Dark red, youthful in appearance. Savoury aromas and spicy flavours with well balanced underlying acidity underpinning the black cherry and plum fruit, perhaps a hint of tamarillo too. Full-bodied and persistent with a creamy texture, this is a vintage that produced intense wines - drink now or confidently cellar. NZ's most awarded Pinot Noir with 8 gold medals.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $36.99 special.

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2006 - Central Otago
Garnet red, a little murky in appearance. Smoky, hints of age, stewed fruit, yet bright fruit aroma. There are still a fair amount of tannins in this wine and though it doesn't have the intensity of the 2007's, it has a savoury gamey character and a soft but firm impression.
13.9% alc. Screwcap. $43.99.

TerraVin Hillside Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 - Marlborough
Garnet in hue, dense in appearance but showing a little age. Fruit cake, maraschino aromas and deep, intense, savoury, gamey flavours with nuances of woody herbs, mushrooms and a touch of spice. It is the sensual texture and layers of flavour that set this wine on a pedestal. Great mouthfeel, excellent length with juicy red fruits and additional complexity from bottle age. Made from Omaka fruit and crafted by Mike Weersing.
14% alc. Screwcap. $58.99.

Felton Road Pinot Noir 2008 - Central Otago
Deep, dense purple / ruby, youthful in appearance. Deep aromas of black cherry, chocolate, spice and herb flowers. Spicy and savoury to the taste with black cherry and plum fruit, dark fruit, a hint of anise, underlying well balanced acidity, fine velvety tannins and an earthy richness. Deep and long.
14% alc. Screwcap. $57.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 10 Feb 2010
State of Origin
All of the wines, except the Puligny-Montrachet, were tasted blind.

Loosen Dr L Riesling Trocken 2007 - Mosel, Germany
Light gold with a bright lustre. Smoky, struck match on the nose slightly marring the citrussy scent, it's crisp, austere and steely to the taste with plenty of tingling acidity under a soft apple veneer with a nutty, lemon richness that builds to a long, flinty finish. Unusual as it is not the Loosen style of Riesling we expect.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Riverby Estate Chardonnay 2008 - Marlborough
Light gold coloured. Toasted hazelnut aromas and soft creamy flavours with a touch of butterscotch coating the stone fruit and tropical fruit. It’s very dry with well balanced underlying acidity and toasty nuances to the savoury finish. Very tasty wine. Michael Cooper rated it 5 stars.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Folatieres Premier Cru 2007 - Burgundy, France
Light lemon gold. Smooth, creamy, buttery scents with a hint of citrus and a hint of nuts. A fine textured wine, focused in its delivery across as it glides across the palate with flavours suggesting toasted baguette, hints of tropical fruit and savoury oak with underlying acidity and just a hint of a creamy lactic character on the rich, spicy finish. Great mouthfeel, persistent length and lingering butterscotch, toffee and honey. This smells and tastes like a 5 star wine. Delicious. A real treat.
13.5% alc. Cork. $139.99.

Estuary Kingsview Estate Viognier 2009 - Mangawhai, Northland
Delicately scented with ripe juicy flavours of tropical fruit, yellow guava, melon and musky grapes with soft acidity and loads of fresh juicy richness. Perhaps a hint of smoke coming through on the well-balanced finish. Delicious summer drinking. Impressive. (This was a 'Stand Up Options' wine).
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Les Princes Abbes 2006 - Alsace, France
Moderate lemon gold with a rich perfume reminiscent of candied violets and rose petals, and full-bodied flavours with a soft, oily texture and flavours of musk, honey, orange peel and spice with a distinctive ginger-like zing. Soft acidity adds to it appeal and the finish is long and powerful. This wine displays its state of origin well.
13% alc. Cork. $39.99.

Johanneshof Noble Late Harvest Riesling 2007 - Marlborough
This powerfully concentrated nectar is burnished gold in colour with heady aromas of toffee-coated apricots. Thick and viscous in texture, it is honeyed, waxy and toffee-like with ripe stonefruit flavours, a lovely seam of fresh acidity cutting through the sweetness and lingering notes of butter caramel. NZ makes as good sweet wines as anywhere in the world and this is one of the best. Gold & Trophy NZ International Wine Show 2009.
9% alc. Diam. $39.99.

Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva Chianti Rufina 2005 - Italy
Dark red. A hint of chocolate on the nose together with dark berries, smoke and spice, this savoury wine whisks you to a rural setting with its grippy tannins and earthy, savoury, herb, game and barnyard flavours offset by an underlying berry sweetness with a touch of spice and acidic brightness brimming through the finish.
13% alc. Cork. $41.99.

Guigal Cotes du Rhone 2005 - Rhône, France
Dark orange-red with an earthy savoury tarry aroma, at first it seems a little herbal and dry to the taste but the underlying vinous sweetness expands well on the palate becoming full-bodied and creamy with cherry and plum fruit and a savouriness to the lingering spicy, slightly peppery finish. The finish is much better than the start and makes you want another mouthful. A blend of blend of 55% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 8% Mourvedre and 2% other varieties.
13.5% alc. Cork. $21.99 special.

Sierra Cantabria Cosecha 2007 - Rioja, Spain
This dark red coloured wine is creamy smelling with an abundance of berries, even more so in the plump generous palate that has soft tannins, dark cherry fruit, blackcurrant, a hint of tobacco and a savoury finish with a hint of liquorice. The finish is persistent and leaves a velvety mouthfeel. Made from 100% Tempranillo.
13.5% alc. Cork. $26.99.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Shiraz 2007 - Barossa Valley, Australia
Dark purple red with a smoky savoury oak, spice and deep black fruit aromas, this full-bodied red is characterised by juicy ripe fruit and a suggestion of American oak sweetness. It's spicy, savoury, warm and peppery with a creamy texture, velvety tannins and a long succulent finish that's full of chocolate with just a hint of mint. A big wine that gets better and better in the glass. Both French and American oak have been used. Great drinking now or over the next five years.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

St Hallett Blackwell Shiraz 2007 - Barossa Valley, Australia
Deep dense purple red. With powerful American oak aromas and flavours, this is a young wine that's made for the moderately long haul. It's ripe, sweet, juicy and peppery with meaty tannins, blueberry and blackberry fruit and liquorice. Although it has excellent cellaring potential it is very seductive right now if you can temper that oak with a little bit of food.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Campbells Rutherglen Muscat - Victoria, Australia
Deep orange amber colour. Woody, cedar-infused Muscat raisin aromas and thick, mouthcoating, syruppy flavours of honey, caramel, raisins, spice and brandy-macerated Muscatels. Sensuously smooth, wonderfully balanced, heady, rich and long.
17.5% alc. Cork. $25.99. 375ml.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 3 Feb 2010
New Arrivals
Wines were tasted blind and all the whites were served chilled - perfect for a hot, humid midsummer evening.

Omaka Springs Falveys Vineyard Chardonnay 2007 - Marlborough
Yellow gold colour. Toasty aromas with stonefruit and delicate tropical fruit scents and fresh, fruity flavours with a lightly creamy texture, a nutty mealy backbone, a zing of citrus and a spicy oak toastiness to the tingly finish. Can be served well chilled, as this is how we tasted it.
14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Howard Park West Australia Chardonnay 2006
Light gold with a lustrous hue. Smoky and a little savoury on the nose, it's smooth and creamy to the taste with a mealy richness, hints of butterscotch with a touch of juicy stonefruit and a distinctive almost savouriness saltiness to the lightly toasty finish. Salivating and moreish. Classy wine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $56.99.

Petaluma Hanlin Hill Vineyard Riesling 2008 - Clare Valley
Straw gold. Tangy honeysuckle and citrus scents. A moderately weighty style of dry Riesling, it's fresh and citrussy with lime and mandarin peel and a delicate hint of honeysuckle on the finish. Really suits being chilled and nice to drink right now, on its own, as an aperitif but will develop a toasty richness with age.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $27.99.

Waipara Hills Riesling 2008 - Waipara
The pale lemon coloured wine is a deliciously fresh juicy, light-bodied, thirst quenching style. When chilled it has delicate floral scents and tastes off-dry with flavours of tangelo, lime, fresh fruit salad and pear undercut by crisp acidity that adds a decisive and piquant tang.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Waimea Pinot Gris 2008 - Nelson
Rich citrine yellow. Hints of apricot on the nose suggest botrytis, even more so in the palate. A medium sweet wine with honey, citrus and spice filling the palate and a touch of mandarin juice-like acidity to balance the juicy pear sweetness. When chilled it seems remarkably Alsace in style.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Seifried Würzer 2007 - Nelson
Pale straw coloured, this exotically scented wine has enticing aromas of tropical fruit and a slight waxy nuance suggesting light botrytis. In the mouth it's lightly oily in texture with flavours of fruit salad, ginger and musk and a touch of sweetness that adds to the mid palate weight while acidity comes through on the finish making it seem drier. A grape variety created by crossing Muller Thurgau and Gewurztraminer and first grown in Germany in 1932 and the result, an interesting tasty wine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Cantine Due Palme Primitivo Salento 2007 - Apulia, Italy
Deep dark pinky red with a smoky savoury aroma and juicy flavours of red berries, fruit cake and liquorice with a touch of chocolate and tar, underlying acidity and spice. Soft yet savoury, smooth yet jammy with creamy oak to make it an easy going medium to full-bodied style.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Cantine Due Palme Tenuta Albruzzi Salento 2007 - Apulia, Italy
Deep dark black red. A dark juicy savoury wine, a little more concentrated and gutsy than the previous one, it has flavours of plum and black fruit, currants, tar, earth, and spice with fine smooth tannins and vanillin oak. A 50/50 blend of Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon, this goes really well with bread and cheese.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Luzon Organic Monastrell 2008 - Jumilla, Spain
Dark translucent red. Pure fruit, cassis-like aromas with no indication of oak, it tastes spicy, peppery and a little savoury with red jelly baby lollies and blackberry jam with spice adding lift and brightness to the earthy savoury finish. Texture is smooth but interestingly chunky at the same time. Certified organic and also an oak-free wine.
14.5% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Sandalford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - Margaret River, West Australia This bright dense black red-coloured wine is 'instant Australia' on the nose with a bouquet of blackcurrant, eucalyptus, mint and dried red earth. A big grunty wine, it has loads of dried herb/minty characters underpinning the blackcurrant fruit with sweet American oak, firm yet velvet-smooth tannins and a chocolate finish with underlying earthiness and plenty of bright acidity all the way through. The style we would all quite happily drink.
14% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Jim Barry The McRae Wood Shiraz 2005 - Clare Valley, Australia
This deep dark red coloured wine smells rich and ripe with a touch of chocolate joining smoky vanillin oak and juicy berry scents. All those traits carry through to the smooth, velvety, seamless palate with spicy oak, black fruits, earth, tar and leather. Very youthful for its age both in colour and taste with the high alcohol adding to its heady opulence.
15.5% alc. Cork. $53.99.

Valdespino El Candado Pedro Ximenez Sherry - Jerez, de la Frentero, Spain
Dark golden amber / toffee colour with green/yellow edges. Luscious and sweet with honeyed raisin and liquorice scents, the wine in the mouth is rich and luscious with a full-bodied, mouthcoating, syrup-like texture and flavours of muscatel raisins and orange toffee with a rounded, lingering, warm heady finish that lasts and last.
18% alc. Cork. $26.99 special. 375ml.

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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