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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

March / April 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 - 28 Apr 2010
Cuisine Top 10 Chardonnays
Wines were tasted blind.

Moana Park Vineyard Selection Dartmoor Valley Viognier 2009
Light gold. Warm, inviting apricot and bready scents. Lovely rich, ripe, warm flavours infused with florals, apricot and just a hint of honey. Rich, flavoursome, stylish, with a toasty full-bodied richness and a touch of spice as it lingers. Excellent. 5 stars Cuisine.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Saint Clair Marlborough Chardonnay 2008
Light yellow gold with a toasty aura to the bouquet and ripe, creamy, stonefruit and spice flavours with an accent of sweet citrus and butterscotch on the toasty finish. Surprisingly good with several gold medals to it’s name. 5 stars and No. 3 in Cuisine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Wild Rock Pania Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2008
Light gold, with a hint of butterscotch on the nose, this is a creamy, lactic style with a warm presence in the mouth, plenty of spicy oak and a flinty undercurrent to the stonefruit flavours. A little grainy in texture with a long, sweet, ripe fruited smoky finish, perhaps even creme brulee. 4½ stars and No. 8 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Moana Park Vineyard Selection Grange Block Chardonnay 2009 - Hawkes Bay
There is a freshness to the cedary oak scent of this light gold coloured toasty babe. A fruity wine with oak playing a minor background role, it has a smooth creamy texture and a long fresh finish with malolactic during the winemaking process adding a modicum of butteriness. 5 stars and No. 7 in Cuisine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

West Brook Waimauku Estate Chardonnay 2008
Brilliant gold. Full, rich, fruity aromatics with hints of pineapple and a suggestion of butterscotch, this impression carries through to the full-bodied spicy palate. Texturally complex, it coats the tongue and leaves a rich bready flavour with a fruit bread complexity and spicy grilled peach. Bright. Lively. Very good. Gold Medal Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

Soho Carter Chardonnay 2008 - Waiheke Island
Medium gold. On the nose it's quite smoky and just a little savoury with a hint of a salty tang to the scent. This is a strange wine, a nutty wine with hints of marzipan and raisins, a lean finish and a slightly rancid butter aftertaste. This wine polarised the Cuisine panel and polarised the First Glass tasters too - there was talk of bottle variation in the room. Named for Maximus Carter, the vineyard dog. 4½ stars and No. 10 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $35.99 special.

Man O War Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2008
Golden in colour with a hint of zest to the toasty aroma, this big, rich, powerful wine is totally in the flamboyant style that First Glass tasters love. Creamy and buttery with a mealy undercurrent and concentrated ripe peach taming the spicy oak then an exotic citrussy brightness to the toasty finish and a long, creamy, caramelised stonefruit aftertaste. Beautifully rounded with gorgeous mouthfeel. Excellent. 5 stars and No. 4 in Cuisine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Vavasour Awatere Chardonnay 2008
Golden yellow with creamy, mealy, barrel ferment scents - inviting from the outset. A change of tack with this wine, it is savoury and nutty with a salty tang and the allure of the romantic fig. It’s a lean style as it crosses the palate but the flavours are rich, full and lasting. 4½ stars and No. 9 in Cuisine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

West Brook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2008
Light gold in colour, this wine seems deceptively light at first, possibly because of its order in the tasting, but it soon shows its power as it builds in the palate. A creamy wine with a citrussy tone, it has juicy stonefruit enhanced by caramel overtones, creamy oak and a bright, spicy finish. 5 stars and No. 2 in Cuisine.
13.4% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2008
Bright gold coloured with smoky, savoury, classy oak scents, this is a rich wine with a clean citrus infusion, a savoury intonation, nuts and figs and a malty richness to the finish. There's concentrated stonefruit brooding in the background and while the creamy oak is strong and forward, it integrates nicely with lots of swirling. 5 stars and No. 6 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2008
Gold in colour with strong cedary oak flavours, spice and nectarine, the fruit explodes in the palate with a seam of citrus and there's a bready richness to the savoury finish.5 stars and No. 5 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Sacred Hill Rifleman's Chardonnay 2007 - Hawkes Bay
Bright light gold in colour, this rich, powerful, full-bodied, showstopper has evolved beautifully to come of age since last tasted at First Glass, 15 months ago. The toasty aromas are tantalising and the rounded flavours are quite broad, fat and creamy with ripe stonefruit, a meanly undercurrent, nicely integrated spicy oak accented with zest and butterscotch lingering on the rounded finish. 5 stars and No. 1 Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $50.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 21 Apr 2010
International Flavour
Wines were tasted blind.

Menhir Novementi Bianco 2006 – Salento, IGT Italy
This bright yellow gold coloured, unoaked wine is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and a Southern Italy regional grape call Verdeca, which is usually used in Vermouth. It has a slightly oily, honeyed, lemon balm aroma and an oxidised, raisiny, mellow, honeyed flavour with a tangy almost salty character to the finish with the oily character detected on the nose coating the mouth as the flavours linger. Quite different to what we are used to with love it / hate it reactions around the room.
12% alc. Cork. $18.99.

Albert Mann Gewurztraminer 2008 – Alsace, France
Light gold in colour with a bright tangy aroma of lime zest and ginger carrying through to the bright, fresh, crisp, zesty palate with a sweet fruit base, an oiliness to the texture and grapefruit characterising the long lasting finish that is pricked with white pepper. A new vintage and while not quite as luscious as the 2007 was when tasted in May last year, it holds its head high. Most people picked it as Alsace immediately.
14% alc. Screwcap. $40.99.

Loosen Bros Dr L Riesling 2008 – Mosel, Germany
Pale in colour with softly perfumed aromatics that hint of honeysuckle. Fresh, juicy and sweetish with a light spritz to the texture and apple to the fore, this is a very enjoyable low alcohol, earthy style of Riesling with a fresh tangy finish. Fantastic aperitif wine. 8.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 2006 – Mosel, Germany
Concentrated limey aromatics lead into a fuller, richer style of Riesling with some gold to the colour, a lovely almost toasty mouthfeel and a delicious sweetness humming through the wine and lingering on the finish where a concentrated citrus flavour comes through. Hints of apple too. Verging on a Spatlese, this is gorgeous already although can be cellared confidently too. 8% alc. Cork. $42.99.

Granrojo Rojo 2009 Garnacha – Tierra de Castilla, Spain
Light blackberry red with a tarry influence to the fruity aromatics, it's light to medium-bodied in palate weight with a spicy, savoury infusion to the red fruit flavours, a smooth mouthfeel and a firmness to the tannins on the finish where sweet fruit wells through the earthy depth.
13% alc. Cork. $11.99 special.

Umani Ronchi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008 – Italy
Bright deep dark pinky red with Ribena on the nose, it's dry and savoury to the taste with smooth tannins and ripe red fruits over an earthy spicy backbone and a rusticity to the finish. Uncomplicated and enjoyable. 13% alc. Cork. $15.99 special

Rocca Del Macie Rubizzo Chianti Colli Senesi 2007 - Tuscany, Italy
Made from Sangiovese with a small addition of Merlot, the aromas suggest earth and red fruits with a hint of menthol, earth and forest floor. Dark and savoury to the taste, it has moderate tannins, red fruits, olives and earth with a hint of liquorice and a juicy red fruit sweetness on the long, deep finish.
13% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Santa Ema Reserve Carmenere 2007 – Cachapoal Valley, Chile
Bright dark crimson red in colour with cherries, herb, leather and a hint of chocolate on the nose and bright, tasty flavours with savoury oak and hints of marmite. Filled with pepper and spice and luscious cherry fruit, it has moderately firm, fine tannins and an earthy finish. An impressive wine, it is a barrel selection with 8 months in French and American oak.
14% alc. Cork. $17.99 special.

Artero Tempranillo 2008 – La Mancha, Spain
Dark crimson black in colour, this has an intriguing aroma with a hint of menthol, red fruit, bath salts, cedar and tar. Ripe cherry, plum and cassis fruit brim through the palate with fine yet full tannins and a tingle of spice. It seems to have a light touch but finishes full and long. Very impressive tonight. Trophy and Gold Medal, NZ International Wine Show.
14% alc. Cork. $16.99 special.

Legado Munoz Garnacha Cinque Autoctoni 2007 – Tierra de Castilla, Spain
Deep red in colour with smoky, new wood, sappy aromas together with a freshly baked blueberry pie character and hints of vanilla. It tastes big, rich, ripe, sweet and juicy with raisined fruit, a smoky, savoury, spicy backbone and an opulence to the finish. Incredible value at the special price.
14% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Farnese Edizone NV – Italy
A big, rich, deep, black coloured wine with a ripe fruit cake and liquorice aroma and concentrated juicy red and black fruit flavours with fine textured tannins and a smoky, savoury, spicy finish. This luscious blockbuster is a blend of Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Primitivo, Negroamaro and Malvasia from Southern Italy (Puglia and Abruzzo) and while it has no vintage, the label on the big, heavy bottle indicates it was produced in 2006. Gold Medal NZ International Wine Show.
14% alc. Cork. $54.99.

Pertaringa Undercover Shiraz 2007 – McLaren Vale, South Australia
Deep, impenetrable red. Chocolate and nuts on the nose carry thought to the smooth, rich, full-bodied palate that has a comforting mouthfeel and mint, vanilla, red berries, chocolate and spice combining in the most harmonious way.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 14 Apr 2010
Everyday versus Premium
Wines were tasted blind.

Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009
A vivacious wine with bright, tangy aromas and deliciously fresh juicy flavours. There's passionfruit, apple and pineapple with a nervy herbaceous undercurrent. A fantastic example of Marlborough Sauv and my personal favourite. Simply excellent. Gold Medal Easter Show.
13% alc. Screwcap. $32.99.

Starborough Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009
A little more subdued on the nose but refreshingly fruity to the taste. Tropical guava, passionfruit, babaco and tangelo abound and the finish is zesty and dry. This silver medal winning wine won the popular vote.
13% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Giesen 'The Brothers' Marlborough Chardonnay 2007
A big, creamy, toasty style with a smidgen of butterscotch, it's rounded and smooth with savoury oak nicely balancing the full, rich, malt and stonefruit flavours and a long, full finish with even a hint of caramel. This is a 'reserve' status wine in the Geisen hierarchy.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2008
A more savoury, winemaker-influenced style, it's a little tight to start with a hint of grapefruit, among the distinctive citrussy flavours with peach and tropical fruit pushing through and a rich, tangy finish with excellent length. Powerful and flavourful, this gets better and better in the glass and of the two it won the popular vote.
14% alc. Screwcap. $27.99 special.

Waipara Hills Soul of the South Waipara Riesling 2008
Nicely chilled, this fresh, juicy, just 'off-dry' Riesling imparts flavours of freshly squeezed lemon and mandarin with a tropical fruit infusion and a suggestion of honeysuckle. An excellent aperitif style and the most preferred by a narrow margin. Gold New World Wine Awards
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Olssen's Annieburn Central Otago Riesling 2009
A rich, concentrated style of Riesling with lime and juicy apple to the fore, it has lowish alcohol with enough residual sugar to put it in the medium sweet category, but high acidity gives an impression of dryness. Young and tight at this stage of its life, it is destined to develop beautifully with a little more time. Gold Air NZ Wine Awards and Champion Sustainable Wine.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. $27.99.

Duque de Sevilla Tinto Joven Garnacha Tempranillo 2009 - Campo de Borja, Spain
Dark red with a youthful pinky tinge, this has savoury, leathery, jammy aromatics. It's a dry red yet quite juicy with sweet berry fruit and an earthy, savoury, almost salty finish. Despite the fact it has no oak, this medium-bodied wine is well structured and very easy to like.
3% alc. Cork. $11.99.

Coto de Hayas Reserva Garnacha 2004 - Campo de Borja, Spain
Dark red with slight bricking hinting of a little age. Smoky, savoury aromatics are followed by chocolate and spice and juicy red fruit. The tannins are fine and there's an earthy, savoury undercurrent with bottle aging adding to its character. Aged in American oak. Drinking beautifully now.
13.5% alc. Cork. $25.99.

Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008
Shiny inky purple red, this full-bodied blockbuster smells of biscuity oak with hints of strawberry and tastes rich, opulent and juicy with raspberries and spiced blackberries, white pepper, firm tannins, an underlying herbal character and a smoky oak finish. Still developing at this stage of its life.
15% alc. Screwcap. $34.00.

Thorn Clarke Sandpiper Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008
Inky black red in colour with chocolate, berry and smoky oak aromas and bright spicy berry flavours with a hint of chicory, fine tannins and a long smooth finish. A big wine, easy to like and excellent value. The most preferred of the two.
15% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Ingoldby McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Deep dark red in colour, this is a rich, full-bodied, voluptuous red with thick, ripe tannins, juicy red fruit, lots of vanillin oak, a hint of chocolate and a spicy finish. Over delivers for the price.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Mills Reef Elspeth Trust Vineyard Hawke's Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Deep, inky black red. A touch of barnyard meets creamy oak on the nose then in the palate the intensely concentrated red and black fruit balances those lovely savoury gamey characters with a hint of vanilla humming through the fine supporting oak and a very long finish that is full and dry. Gold Medal Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $41.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 17 Mar 2010
Te Mata Vintage Release with Nicholas Buck
Wines were not tasted blind.

Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2008 - Hawkes Bay
There's a lovely smoky savoury bready perfume infused with pineapple and other tropical fruit and the taste is full of melon and tropical fruit flavours with the complexity of barrel ferment and exotic yeast flavours and a finish that is like spiced, buttery peach. This is a soft style yet still fresh with excellent length. Made from 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Semillon and 4% Sauvignon Gris, I imagine this would be a lovely accompaniment to smoked white fish.
13% alc. Diam. $24.99 special.

Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2009 - Hawkes Bay
A youthful expression of the 2008, this even has a suggestion of grass on the nose along with bread and fruit salad scents. Quite juicy with a citrussy zing when served lightly chilled, it has a characteristic softness to the texture with fleshy stonefruit, tropical fruit and rich, mealy, buttery, woody, barrel ferment flavours. A blend of 86% Sauvignon Blanc, 9% Semillon, and 5% Sauvignon Gris. Nick points out that Te Mata were the pioneers of Sauvignon Gris in New Zealand and they have used it in the Cape Crest since the early noughties.
13.5% alc. Diam. $24.99 special.

Te Mata Zara Viognier 2009 - Hawkes Bay
Served very lightly chilled, the aromas and flavours are perfect. The fragrance is subtle but tempts with apricot, pear, nut, nougat and a hint of smoke and the texture is lightly creamy with a spicy allure to the flavour that has a fine seam of lemon verbena and a depth of apricot fruit. There's an exciting complexity and a lingering salty tang. Made from NZ's oldest Viognier vines, 85% of the wine was fermented in seasoned oak, the remainder in tank.  Impressive.
14% alc. Diam. $25.99 special.

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2008 - Hawkes Bay
Lightly chilled, as the wine was served on the night, is exactly the right temperature to enjoy this iconic wine. On first tasting it's big, rich and creamy with beautifully proportioned oak creating a harmonious layer with the other complex flavours. There's nougat and a hint of peach supported by a savoury, mealy undercurrent with a zing of citrus on the long, bright finish where a creamy peach and tropical fruit sweetness lingers - even a suggestion of pineapple chiffon. This 2008 spent 13 months in barrel, an extra 3 months over recent previous vintages.
13.5% alc. Diam. $28.99 special.

Te Mata Bullnose Syrah 2005 - Hawkes Bay
Dark red still with purple on the edges. A floral smelling wine with chocolate biscuits, earth, dried herbs perhaps even some mint adding to its sensory appeal. The taste is concentrated and meaty with a Moroccan market of spices and depth to the black cherry and jammy blackcurrant fruit. Silky smooth with chocolatey oak lingering on the dry, lifted finish. Drinking beautifully right now.
13.5% alc. Cork. $NA.

Te Mata Bullnose Syrah 2008 - Hawkes Bay
Deep purple red, bright and vivid. Youthful, firm, cracked pepper, red pepper, rose spice and rustic red fruit scents - similar in the palate, it's bright and creamy with vanillin oak, plenty of spice, leather, purple fruit, violets, cocoa and underlying tar. Despite the initially forward oak and underlying acidity driving through the wine, it softens for a lingering, red fruit, warm mellow finish with hints of cocoa. Both the aromas and the flavours get better and better as the wine opens up in the glass. Exciting Syrah.
13.5% alc. Cork. $39.99 special.

Te Mata Awatea Cabernet Merlot 2005 - Hawkes Bay
Very intense Cabernet Sauvignon / cassis character on the nose with a fine silky texture in the palate with just a little bit of grip at the end. The bright fruit flavours have a cherry infusion with smoke, tobacco, dried herbs, nutmeg, bay leaf, a touch of spice and some nice secondary characters coming through. There's a cedary complexity to the finish and a long, sultry, lingering aftertaste with a hint of liquorice. A blend of 43% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot.
13.5% alc. Cork. $NA.

Te Mata Awatea Cabernets Merlot 2008 - Hawkes Bay
Deep crimson red. Youthful, intense, bright fruit aromas with plum, blackberry, cassis and warm spicy oak scents. The palate is tight and firm with grainy tannins, underlying acidity, herbal characters from the dominant Cabernet Sauvignon and a big dollop of lushness from the Petit Verdot with cake spice, cedar, fruit sweetness (blackboy peach, blackberry), winemaking savouriness and a good long finish. It softens and expands in the mouth and although recommended for cellaring now(and I;ve seen redcently the 1991, the 1998 and not the 2005), it will be approachable earlier than the Coleraine. A blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot.
13.5% alc. Cork. $29.99 special.

Te Mata Coleraine 2005 - Hawkes Bay
Deep dark red in colour. Smoky cedar, red berries and florals on the nose and so smooth and silky textured in the palate with cake spice, hints of liquorice, concentrated plum and blackcurrant fruit, finishing dry with a graphite/cedar complexity and an opulently long aftertaste. From the beguiling fragrance to the beautifully harmonious flavours, this is a magnificent example of this highly rated icon wine - perhaps the best bottle of the 2005 I've ever tried. A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc.
13.5% alc. Cork. $NA

Te Mata Coleraine 2008 - Hawkes Bay
Dark red black with crimson rims. Tight yet rich, concentrated, vinous berry scents. It looks young, smells young and tastes young with firm tannins, a dry savoury undercurrent, bramble-like fruit, hints of red and black liquorice, a herbal streak and a creamy underlay. A meaty wine, a beefy savoury wine, with hints of tobacco in the distance and concentrated plum and bramble fruit surging through the finish. A blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, and 19% Cabernet Franc, this is a wine that can be enjoyed now but Coleraine fans know that this will cellar well along with it predecessors.
13.5% alc. Cork. $59.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 10 Mar 2010
Gold Medals from the Easter Show
Wines were tasted blind.

Wooing Tree Blondie Central Otago Blanc de Noir 2009
Blondie is the very palest of pink with a bouquet a little like a neutral Pinot Gris infused with glace cherries, and subtle strawberry and cherry flavours. Made from 100% Pinot Noir, it has a pleasing viscosity to the texture with a soft mid palate richness and a fresh zing of acidity to the savoury finish. Judged in the Rosé class, it won a gold medal at the Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $26.99.

Saint Clair Premium Series Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Pungent aromatics of tropical fruit, green bean and capsicum and crisp, fresh, vibrant flavours of green apple, bean, pea shoots and summer herbs that give way to tropical fruit with hints of pineapple and orange zest and a pleasing touch of oiliness to the texture. A world class wine at give away price. Gold Medal Easter Show.
13% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special .

Saint Clair Premium Series Marlborough Chardonnay 2008
A very appealing Chardonnay with a toasty caramel aroma and smooth, creamy, rounded, savoury flavours studded with oak spice and delicious citrus, melon and tropical fruit. There's a youthful vibrancy to the wine and a lingering impression of butterscotch. Very easy to enjoy. Gold Medal Easter Show.
13% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Church Road Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2008
A more restrained yet more sophisticated style when tasted immediately after the Saint Clair. This fine-textured wine has aromas of smoky French oak, nuts, fig and citrus and a mealy undercurrent to the harmonious stonefruit flavours with richness and roundness to the long savoury finish where a nougat-like sweetness lingers. A classy wine with good palate weight. Gold Medal Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $34.99 special.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2008
Lovely barrel-ferment aromas with nuances of grapefruit, nougat and stone fruit carry through to the fine textured palate. Spicy and savoury with excellent fruit weight, layers of malty richness, creamy oak and a long dry finish, it is still evolving yet already revealing great potential. Gold Medal Easter Show.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Greystone Waipara Pinot Gris 2009
A very appealing wine with ripe pear, stonefruit and pineapple sage aromatics and luscious full-bodied fruity flavours with textural complexity and a hint of musk. Gold Medal Easter Show. Trophy NZ International Wine Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Coopers Creek Late Harvest Marlborough Riesling 2009
A toffee-laden, botrytis affected wine with fine citrus acidity to balance the luscious sweetness and lashings of orange honey. Gold Medal Easter Show - and the only gold medal winner in the sweet wine class.
8.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99.

Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008
A medium red in colour with maraschino cherry, earth and smoky vanillin oak scents, this soft medium-bodied style is dry and savoury to the taste with classic Central Otago herbs and plummy fruit padding out the finish that's sweeter than the start. Gold Medal Easter Show.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008
Deep purple ruby in colour with smoky, plummy, savoury, spicy aromatics and a hearty richness to the flavour. It's savoury, smoky and earthy with a plush softness to the mouthfeel, a deep sense of fruit, a suggestion of spice and a long, seamless finish. The fruit comes from the Bendigo subregion and Rudi Bauer is the winemaker. Gold Medal Easter Show.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $38.99 special.

Alexandra Wine Central Otago "Davishon" Pinot Noir 2007 – Central Otago
Dark Burgundy red with a touch of that elusive Pinot 'funk' and bright red fruit filtrating through the earthy, savoury bouquet. Rich, savoury and juicy to the taste with a hint of raspberry joining sweet cherry fruit, a meaty mid palate and a flourish of cake spices on the finish. The oak has integrated nicely since September. Gold Medal NZ International Wine Show. Gold Medal Bragato, Gold Medal Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $37.99.

Selaks Winemakers Favourite Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2008
Dense, bright purple red. On the nose there's smoke, cedar, cassis, leather and herbs while the flavours are smooth and creamy with raspberry, plum and cassis fruit, savoury oak, hints of leather and cigarbox, and supple tannins. Gold Medal NZ International Wine Show. Gold Medal Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2006
Deep crimson purple colour. On the nose there is cracked red pepper, black cherry and chocolate with hints of earth, vanillin oak and spice while pepper penetrates the smooth, mouthfilling, full-bodied palate that's rich with outstanding depth of fruit. A stunning wine that doesn't look or taste 4 years old, although the seamlessness to the texture may just be a clue. Gold Medal Easter Show - second year in a row.
14% alc. Screwcap. $56.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 3 Mar 2010
Cuisine Gewurztraminer and New Arrivals
Wines were tasted blind and all the whites were served chilled.

Shinas Estate "The Innocent" Viognier 2008 - Victoria
This is a gorgeous example of the Rhone's forgotten grape. A toasty style of unoaked Viognier, it's quite dry and hot in the palate with an oily deliciousness to the texture. Served chilled it seems quite linear to start but fattens up in the palate with apricot, a hint of honey and a steely touch of lime. A wine for all palates.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

West Brook Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2008 - Marlborough
Served chilled, this is oaky, toasty, buttery and creamy with a crisp, citrussy freshness. It is fruity yet savoury with juicy stonefruit, lots of creamy French oak and a long, spicy oak finish.
13.4% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Morton Estate "Coniglio" Chardonnay 2004 - Hawkes Bay
A mellow, seemingly older Chardonnay, rich in colour with hints of toasty oak spice to the perfume and nutty scents too when the chilled wine warms up. It's tight, rich, creamy and buttery with an oily texture, nectarine and citrus fruit and a touch of butter caramel. Smooth, seamless and mouth coating, this 'current vintage' is drinking to perfection right now. A great experience.
14.5% alc. Cork. $84.99.

Morton Estate White Label Gewurztraminer 2009 - Hawkes Bay
Aromatic and evocatively perfumed with musk, 'Queen of the Night' and violet scents and an intensely flavoured, lightly oily textured palate that seems on the medium side of dry. There's Turkish delight, rose water, ginger, lime and hints of apricot and linearity to the long, hot, spicy finish. A heady wine with alcohol stated as 15.2% on the Morton Estate website. The bottle states 14.5%. Five stars and No. 4 in Cuisine. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Spy Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2009
A richer, fatter, more buttery smelling Gewurztraminer with a rich, full-bodied mouthfeel. It's spicy and musky with opulent Asian fruits and well-balanced low acidity and the refrigerator is one of its best friends. A portion of this excellent wine was aged in oak. Five stars and No. 2 in Cuisine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Lawson’s Dry Hills Pioneer Gewurztraminer 2009 - Marlborough
A texturally sublime Gewurztraminer that is aromatic and richly flavoured. It's a full, fat, smooth, creamy, spicy, musky, medium sweet wine with spiced orange peel, rose water and honey with a touch of botrytis that adds a caramel / crème brulee character. This wine had a portion of barrel fermentation with some of that oak portion naturally fermented by the action of wild yeasts. An outstanding wine that raises the Marlborough benchmark.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $32.99.

TWR (Te Whare Ra) Gewurztraminer 2009 - Marlborough
This medium sweet style is warm and focussed with a spicy, musky floral scent. It's a heady wine yet there is a delicacy to the powerful flavours and it doesn't seem to over power. Lightly oily with spiced orange peel, rose water and honey, this was awarded five stars and the No. 1 rating wine in Cuisine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99 special.

Wild Rock "Cupid’s Arrow" Pinot Noir 2008 - Central Otago
Light maroon red. Deep, sweet pinot scents - spicy, earthy, savoury, fruity. Great persistence in the palate with firm svelte tannins, bittersweet fruit, chocolate and earth. Rounded and easy to drink.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz 2008 - Coonawarra, South Australia
Dense purple red. A little closed on the nose and with herbal nuances that suggest Cabernet Sauvignon more than Shiraz. A tight restrained red at this stage of its life, it is spicy and savoury to the taste with pepper, jammy red fruits, grippy tannins, leather and dried herbs. A distinctly cool climate style.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Chakana Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - Mendoza, Argentina
Deep, intense, impenetrable purple black colour. This smells of rich, deep, ripe blackcurrant and cedary oak suggest Cabernet Sauvignon again, and this time it is. The flavours are deep, ripe, juicy and creamy with blackcurrant and plum fruit, smoky oak, smooth meaty tannins, hints of chocolate and liquorice, dried herbs and floral nuances to the succulent finish. A blockbuster from the foothills of the Andes. Gold NZ International Wine Show.
14% alc. Cork. $17.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2007 - South Australia
Deep red black in colour with dried herbs, mint and chocolatey oak aromas. Seriously minty in the palate with bright red blackcurrant and cherry fruit, a deep undercurrent of blackberry, cedar and sweet vanillin oak and a sweet, spicy succulent finish. A serious style with upfront Cabernet flavours and a soft succulent spicy Shiraz finish. With fine but firm tannins, this is a wine made to age - and history says it will.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $42.99 special.

Wolf Blass "Grey Label" Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - Langhorne Creek, South Australia
Shiny purple black. On the nose there are evocative aromas of chocolate, mint and cedar. A full-bodied succulent blockbuster that's concentrated, juicy, fruity and savoury with firmly structured, grainy tannins, sweet succulent fruit, and a long full opulent finish. Outstanding. 15% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 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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