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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

May 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 - 26 May 2010
Peter Lehmann Wines with Malcolm Stopp
Wines were tasted blind.

Shinas Estate The Innocent Victoria Viognier 2008
Light yellow gold in colour, this powerful mouthful of wine has a heady perfume of apricot and honeysuckle and a nutty, apricot, lemongrass-infused flavour. It's smooth and oily in texture with steely lime, a distinctive Aussie dried meadow character, a hint of toast and the finish is dry. Zesty, characterful, interesting.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Blonde 2009
Light lemon gold. Perfumed with apple and lime skin, this is a clean fruity wine - a tropical fruit salad wine with Royal Gala apples, pears, lime and even a suggestion of the red cherry on top. A blend of 36% Riesling, 30% Chenin Blanc, 20% Semillon and 14% Sauvignon Blanc, served lightly chilled it is fresh and refreshing and the finish is long.
11% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Semillon 2008
Light greeny gold and perfumed with talc and lime, at first this seems similar to the previous wine but is grassier and greener with green apple the most dominant character. The texture is lightly oily and the dry finish is crisp and zesty. Australia's most popular Semillon but really quite sharp and neutral for our palates.
11% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Peter Lehmann Margaret Barossa Semillon 2004
Citrine gold. Warm, heady, toasted nut bread aromas with a lemon oil and almost lanolin-like character that hints of some age. Lively acidity is the king pin of this wine keeping it youthful and fresh yet it has those lovely, rich, creamy, bottle-aged Semillon characters and a long, dry, smooth mouthfilling finish where the oily lemon/lime and pollen-like characters come forth in abundance. A classic wine with many trophies to its name. Only a few bottles available.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $37.99.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Deep dark red with some bricking on the rims. Cedar, herbs, nugget and currants on the nose and savoury, cedary oak flavours with a gamey complexity and a leafy disposition inherent to the variety. Tannins are fine and supple and the fruit is plummy. 2007 was not a great vintage in the Barossa and this wine is best enjoyed now rather than being cellared.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Peter Lehmann The Mentor Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Deep yet fine black red with maroon tinges to the rims. This is an opulent wine with a rich, deep aroma of chocolate, cedar, nutmeg, smoke, cassis and just a hint of mint. Concentrated and full of flavour with lovely ripe blackcurrant and boysenberry fruit, smoke, leather, cigar box, mint, anise and a deep savoury meaty backbone with firm yet fine tannins. Still evolving, this is a meditative mouthful that emanates class! Drink or continue to cellar.
14% alc. Screwcap. $44.99 special.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 2008
Blackberry red, deep yet fine. After 'The Mentor', this seems quite 'light' yet is medium to full-bodied in its own right. The aromas are earthy and savoury and peppery spice dominates the flavour that has slightly confectionery, raspberryish fruit and a cedary savoury backbone. Rounded with smooth tannins and a long full juicy finish, it is made to a 'style' and will evolve over several years with cellaring.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Peter Lehmann The Futures Barossa Shiraz 2007
Black red, deep, youthful looking, especially compared to 2007 Cabernet. The aromas are of warm inviting toasty oak, berry pie, chocolate and aromatic spices - even a suggestion of Cameo Creams. A lovely warm, rich, spicy wine with soft creamy chocolatey oak and ripe rounded tannins with some meaty, savoury and slightly herbal characters to balance the ripe plum and blackberry fruit. This is more of a cooler climate style and it is a good wine that offers beautiful drinking now. 'Futures' is the parcel that doesn't make it to the Stonewell.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Peter Lehmann Eight Songs Barossa Shiraz 2004
Deep black-red wine, looking youthful for its age with just the slightest of bricking on the edges. Mellow, slightly tarry aromatics lifted with vanillin oak and liquorice. In the mouth this is a wine that shows some evolution - the once primary fruit now integrated and disappearing into the background. A mouthfilling wine, textural, rich and warm with grainy tannins, leather, dried herbs, cedar, anise and dark chocolate and a long spicy savoury finish with a mellow vinosity. Ready. I don't think it will get much better..
14.5% alc. Cork. $44.99 special.

Peter Lehmann Stonewell Barossa Shiraz 2005
Dense black core with dark red edges. A dark, savoury, smoky wine with hints of earth, mushroom, leather, green pepper, vanilla, rich fruit cake and tar - interesting. The aromas promise much and the flavours do not disappoint. This is a gamey, savoury, meaty style brightened with pepper, anise and nutmeg spices. There's sweet oak, fine tannins, chocolate, bay leaf and mocha with concentrated black fruit a distant memory. A big wine, a wine that needs decanting, the little glasses don't do this, the best Shiraz that the company produces, any justice. Released as a 5-year old wine and made to be cellared, it now comes with a screwcap closure so won't let you down.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $92.99.

Peter Lehmann Botrytis Barossa Semillon 2008
Light crystalline citrine. Beautiful clean, fresh aromatics of lemon, citrus peel, orange blossom and jubes. Spicy, zesty, sweet and juicy with beautiful crisp acidity to cut through the sweetness, the slightest suggestion of fruit tea and a delicate smoky tinge. Not a thick viscous Sauternes-like style, but a clean, lighter style that encourages a second glass. Would be perfect as a pre-dinner tipple with pate or foie gras, or after dinner with a blue.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 19 May 2010
Wines with a loosely geographic theme
Wines were tasted blind.

Waimea Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Pale straw coloured with a bright tropical fruit and passionfruit aroma and a vivaciously fresh grassy taste with an increasing pungency. Snow pea, pineapple, grapefruit, herbs and passionfruit surge in waves of flavour cresting with some of that exciting 'BO' (it can only be exciting in Sauv Blanc) and the finish is long and juicy. Elite Gold Medal – Air New Zealand Wine Show.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $11.99 special.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2007
Light yellow gold. Grapefruit, nougat, toasty oak and a hint of butterscotch tantalise the nose and the flavours are spicy and fruity with a well-balanced savoury backbone. A rich, creamy style with loads of caramel, toasty oak and the grapefruit detected on the nose lingering on the finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $42.99.

Craggy Range Single Vineyard Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2008 - Hawkes Bay
Light gold with nutty, citrussy scents that have a mealy nuance. After the Cloudy Bay this is such a lean, flinty wine with focussed acidity and a creamy lactic undercurrent, filling out to a rounded, spicy nutty finish. Seems a little similar to the 'Pania' tasted last month in the Cuisine Top 10 Chardonnays - if you liked that wine, you will love this.
14% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Mt Beautiful Cheviot Hills Riesling 2008
Light gold. Citrus, honeysuckle and just a hint of kero on the nose. A moderately full-bodied dry Riesling with racy acidity surging through with just a touch of sweetness to keep it on an even keel and a finish that’s spiked with spicy tangelo zest that leaves a fresh tingly aftertaste. Crisp and tasty.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Mt Difficulty Target Gully Riesling Medium 2009 - Central Otago
Pale lemon with enticing floral, mandarin and tropical fruit scents and juicy, lightly sweetish, apple and citrus with an enchanting hint of flower musk and just a tickle of spritz on the finish. Medium sweet with just the right amount of acidity to add a racy edge. Gold Medal Easter Show.
11% alc. Screwcap. $26.99.

Kiritea Martinborough Pinot Noir 2008
Deep ruby/burgundy coloured hue. Succulent aromatics of chocolate, cherry and nuts. A generous wine brimming with chocolate coated cherries, plums and violets, a deep savoury backbone endowed with spice and underlying grip adding structure while the finish has the characteristic earthiness of the variety. Value plus.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Bald Hills Single Vineyard Central Otago. Pinot Noir 2007
Dark Burgundy red. Smoky, savoury, forest walk aromas and savoury, earthy, dark cherry fruit flavours with a subtle suggestion of tamarillo and a distinctly herbal backbone but all the while that lovely savouriness and a silky tannin structure to add to the pleasing mouthfeel and effect. A good wine from the great vintage and beautiful drinking now. Gold Medal Sydney International.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $39.99 special.

Da Vinci Collezione Special Chianti 2008 - Italy
Deep, dark densely coloured purply-red. Perfumed, concentrated and vinous with baked berry pie and earthy scents. Tarry, earthy and savoury to the taste with dried winter herbs, tea-like tannins, cigar box and black berry fruit. Made from 100% Sangiovese and names after the town where Leonardo da Vinci was born. Gold Medal Liquorland Top 100.
13% alc. Cork. $17.99 special.

Valle Reale Vigne Nuove Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2008 - Italy
Vivid purple black. The aromas whisk you to the rural country side and dairy farms. On first tasting the flavours are dark and mysterious but as the wine opens up, cherry and blackcurrant fruit comes through with firm tannins, tar, cured meats and a hint of mint. Named for 'Real Valley'.
13% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Cape Mentelle Margaret River Zinfandel 2005
Dense dark red. On the nose there's vanilla, chocolate and juicy dark berries that are followed up by full-bodied succulent flavours reminiscent of mint, vanilla, chocolate, spice, currants and cherries bound together by moderate tannins with a punchy finish infused with pepper. Juicy and succulent with a savoury meaty undercurrent, this is a powerful wine, illusive in its alcohol content, and for something different it has lots of appeal.
15.5% alc. Screwcap. $NA.

Sandalford Estate Reserve Shiraz 2005 - Margaret River, WA
Dark, shiny red black. On the nose there's red fruit with abundant vanillin oak and wood shavings and the full-bodied flavours are lifted and spicy with loads of creamy American oak, jelly baby fruit, hints of chocolate, dried herbs and just a hint of mint on the finish. All bound together with a smooth velvety tannins, this is succulent drinking in a blockbuster style and is deceptive in its power.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Jacobs Creek St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - South Australia
Deep in colour, this is a dense, deep, luxurious-smelling wine with classy oak, black fruits, hints of mint and vanilla. Showing a classic touch of herbaceousness, this blockbuster Cabernet has fine firm tannins, dark oak, cigar box, black fruit and hallmark Coonawarra mint. Drinking beautifully now yet cellarworthy too.
14% alc. Screwcap. $50.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 12 May 2010
Wines with a person's name on the label
Wines were tasted blind.

Lamont Classic Central Otago Riesling 2008
Light straw coloured. Aromas of honeysuckle and lime and tantalising citrus flavours with crisp juicy apple, a steely undercurrent and a dry salivating finish. The vineyard is in Bendigo on the southern side of Lake Dunstan. 5 stars and No. 6 in Cuisine's Top Ten Rieslings - 2009.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99.

CJ Pask Hawkes Bay Viognier 2009
Lemon gold. Fragrant apricot and pear drop aromas with apricot sweetness brimming through the palate together with vanilla and port wine magnolia-like florals and a lifted finish. A smooth, powerful, weighty wine with a spicy kick. Slightly controversial in the tasting - some people found it too overpowering.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Kim Crawford Doc's Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007
Light honey gold. Oaky aromas with leesy mealy scents and a touch of stonefruit. A sweet caramel style with toasty oak, stonefruit, nougat and a smooth, seamless, long, creamy finish. A real crowd pleaser and a definite "Kingsley" style.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Allan Scott Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2008
Pale gold. Enticing aromas of rose petal and gingery spices. A ripe fruity style, like biting into a bunch of perfectly ripe Gewurztraminer grapes with the juicy sweetness is offset by the long, dry, finish. Flavoursome, powerful, spicy. Well-liked in the tasting. 5 stars Cuisine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $21.99.

Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009
Youthful looking purple Burgundy red. A hint of mulled wine spice on the nose with cherries, plums and a savoury accent. First impression in the mouth of this pretty, floral wine is of crisp cherry fruit with a savoury richness and a dry finish. It has a meaty depth and a lasting finish with the ripe cherry fruit surging at the end. A young, tight wine but ultra impressive already.
14% alc. Screwcap. $27.99 special.

Browns of Padthaway T-Trellis Padthaway Shiraz 2007
Shiny black red. Aromas of vanillin oak, chocolate and jammy red fruits and fruity, spicy, savoury flavours with plums, liquorice, spice and vanilla. Ripe and flavoursome with fine firm tannins, this is a popular wine that Andrew aptly described as having a 'rich taste'.
15% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Wolf Blass Presidents Selection Shiraz 2006 – South Australia
Deep dark red. The aromas indicate immediately this is a big wine with chocolate, vanilla, biscuity spices and just a hint of boy racer's tyres. In the mouth this is high-toned with red fruits and underlying brambly acidity to the chocolatey oak. Full-bodied and super smooth with pepper, spice and liquorice on the succulent finish. Gold Medal London.
15% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Quarisa Johnny Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – South Australia
Dense red black. Fruity aroma of plum, cherry, savoury vanillin oak and just a hint of mint. Savoury to the taste with a dark, tarry undercurrent to the ripe berry fruit flavours with firm meaty tannins and biscuity oak. With its long soft finish it is instantly appealing. Gold Medal Liquorland Top 100.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Jim Barry The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – South Australia
Deep dark red, perhaps the slightest of bricking emerging on the edges. Slightly mellow scents as well with smoky oak and concentrated berry fruit. Bright red fruits well through the palate. Smooth and seamless with fine yet powerful tannins, concentrated fruit and oak. Made from a blend of Coonawarra and Clare Valley fruit, this is a big wine with a dry finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

St Hallett Blackwell Shiraz 2007 – Barossa Valley
Shiny purple red. Vanilla, biscuity oak, hints of liquorice and cake spices on the nose. In the mouth this tastes youthful with a firm tannin structure and powerful flavours. Concentrated and dark, peppery and spicy with juicy black fruits, underlying acidity and a long, full vanillin oak finish with liquorice, chocolate mocha and pepper lingering for ages." A monumental wine," said Kingsley. For many people this was their 'Wine of the Night'.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Grant Burge Filsell Old Vine Shiraz 2008 – Barossa Valley
Vivid purple black. On the nose this is tight and wrapped up. There's a depth to the savoury winey concentration that after a while reveals vanilla and red berries. A tarry wine with a massive but ultra-fine tannin structure and a meaty savoury depth with liquorice, tobacco, dried herbs and dark fruit. For those who follow this label, this is a no-brainer buy because while it needs time, with a little cellaring it will be absolutely glorious. A long term proposition.
14.5% alc. Cork. $39.99 special.

Wolf Blass Red Label Reserve Tawny Port NV
Translucent tawny orange-red. Salted muscatel raisins and spirit fumes on the nose and high-toned and spiritous in the mouth with a fine silky texture, orange peel and a salty tang. It seems dry to start but has well balanced sweetness on the finish and after the spirit dies down it has an expansive mouthcoating, lingering aftertaste. Made from a blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Touriga grapes from South East Australia, this is a late night sipper.
17.5% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 5 May 2010
Wines with a Religious Theme Name
Wines were tasted blind.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 6 Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – Marlborough
Straw gold coloured. Lively, inviting tropical fruit and summer herb aromas and rounded fruity, citrussy-toned flavours with tangy zest, grapefruit, feijoa and underlying herbaceousness. A powerful wine with a smooth mouthfeel. Trophy at Royal Easter Show Wine Awards.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

Mission Reserve Chardonnay 2008 – Hawke's Bay
Light gold. Hints of butterscotch on the nose and creamy flavours with a touch of caramel underpinned with citrus and a rounded toasty finish. Very nice right now. Gold Medal NZ International Wine Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Church Road Cuve Series Chardonnay 2008 – Hawke's Bay
Light yellow gold in colour, this has a tight, malt-infused aroma and powerful flavours. It's rich, creamy, spicy and harmonious with fruit in the stonefruit spectrum, a flinty undercurrent and a long dry finish. Beautiful wine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Ascension "The Ascent" Reserve Chardonnay 2007 – Matakana
Light gold. Citrus, smoke and butter caramel scents. Slightly Burgundian/Chablis characters, with a nutty backbone, citrus and melon fruit and a butterscotch nuance to the finish. A harmonious wine and looking very good right now. A classy Auckland Chardonnay.
13% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Palliser Estate Riesling 2009 – Martinborough
Pale lemon in colour, this fresh, young Riesling has honeysuckle, lime and apple aromas and a tickle of spritz on the palate. A weighty wine with a delicate touch, it has tangy citrus and a hint of tropical fruit. A versatile Riesling that's just off dry in style, this was included as a stand-up options wine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2008 – Central Otago
Purple red of moderate depth. Earthy, savoury aromas with a fruitcake, ripe-fruited sweetness follow through to the palate with cherry and spice and a savoury gamey undercurrent. It's medium-bodied in style with firm, svelte tannins and a fullness to the lingering finish - where it really shows it class. Slow to unfold but it has incredible length - the lovely cherry-infused savoury flavours lasting for minutes. Another stand up options wine. 5 stars Decanter Magazine.
14.2% alc. Screwcap. $31.99 special.

Mission Reserve Syrah 2008 – Hawke's Bay
Dark red, fine in appearance with crimson edges and a tarry, savoury aroma a little reminiscent of the Rhone. A dry wine on first tasting with savoury, earthy flavours then plum and cherry fruit add juiciness to the finish. Probably best with food to cut through the dry and slightly grippy tannins.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Chapel Hill "The Parson’s Nose" Shiraz 2008 – McLaren Vale
A deep, dark pool of shiny purple-black liquid in the glass - vanilla, cherry, smoke and spice tantalise the nose and full-bodied flavours sate the palate. A rich, ripe, fruit-sweet style with creamy vanillin oak, juicy berries, spice and chocolate and a distinctly pepper finish. Simply delicious.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Papa Luna Garnacha Shiraz Monastrell 2007 – Calatuyad, Spain
Dark red hued. On the nose it is savoury, a little tarry, earthy and peppery - the pepper quite distinctive in the palate and supported by ripe fruit and a dried herb character. It has a lovely balance of smoky savouriness and creamy vanilla with a mellow fruitiness and a dry, moderately tannic finish with a long, mouthfilling aftertaste that leaves a soft, rounded impression. Named after Pedro Cardinal de Luna, hence its inclusion in this tasting.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Grant Burge "The Holy Trinity" Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2003 – Barossa Valley
The colour is bricking and looks developed in hue. The aroma is concentrated with complex wood, nut and old fruitcake scents. Mellow and smooth to the taste, not showing any fruit forwardness yet it has vinous sweetness and rounded tannins with a touch of salted liquorice coming through and peppery spice on the long lasting finish. Divided reactions from around the room, if you like older wines, give this a go.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $42.99.

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2006 – Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Robe
Dense red black in colour, this has hints of fruitcake on the nose. The palate is where it is all at - it has a lovely fine tannin structure and concentrated flavours of juicy blackberries, cherry and chocolate with savoury tones and tobacco adding to its allure. A legendary wine from a great, great year in South Australia.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $79.99 special.

Saints Vineyard Selection Noble Semillon 2004 – Gisborne
Deep gold with honey, orange peel and marmalade aromas, those characters carrying through to the sweet, ripe palate. A heady wine with a delicious zesty brightness, it's not too cloying and still seems very fresh.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 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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