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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

October 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 - 27 Oct 2010
An Australian Theme
Wines were tasted blind.

Yellowglen Perle Pinot/Chardonnay Methode 2006
Light lemon gold, clear and bright with a steely, bready aroma and rich, full flavours. Classy bubbles with Champagne-like yeast autolysis flavours to the fore. Dry yet quenching with apple, vanilla, underlying creamy citrus and a rich toasty finish. Very good.
12.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Yalumba Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2007 – Eden Valley
A powerful toasty Chardonnay with a golden colour, savoury oak and citrus/grilled peach perfume and lots of rich toasty oak and pineapple flavours with nutty nuances coming through on the finish and butterscotch as it lingers. A distinctive Australian Chardonnay with an overt 'hot climate' feel.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Xanadu Margaret River Reserve Chardonnay 2008
There's a distinctive salty tang to the scent along of this light gold-coloured wine with creamy oak, which is much more powerful in the palate than on the bouquet. Silky textured with salted peach, hints of pineapple, chewy apricot and a smoky flinty backbone. Drinking well now, but will evolve in the cellar.
14% alc. Screwcap. $88.99.

Beresford Highwood Langhorne Creek Merlot 2008
A dark red colour with a sweet biscuity scent that's infused with mint, and fruity and spicy flavours. There's strawberry, cherry and a touch of chocolate in this easy-going sipper with a well-balanced sweetness to the smoky finish. Trophy for Champion Merlot at Liquorland 2010.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Rocland Duck Duck Goose Shiraz Barossa Valley 2008
Deep dark red in colour, the scent of this wine says 'dry red wine' but the flavours are rather more luscious. It's spicy and savoury with blackcurrant jubes, chocolate, pepper and liquorice, and an easy-going feel to the creamy finish.
14.8% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Grant Burge Barossa Shiraz 2008
Deep dark red in colour with a port-like nuance to the concentrated red and black berry and liquorice scents, this vibrant, spicy red has lots of pepper and anise, a well-structured backbone, firm tannins, spicy oak and plenty of savouriness to balance the supple flavours that hint of cherry and finish with chocolate. From one of Barossa's great wine families, this is very good.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. Sold Out.

Basilisk Shiraz Mourvedre Central Victoria 2008
Deep rich pinkish red, youthful in appearance. Spicy chocolate biscuit scents and firm tannins characterise this wine with smoky oak, concentrated raisin and dark berry fruit, fruitcake spices, hints of bacon, leather and mint. The touch of Mourvedre adds to the meaty disposition of the wine and probably accounts for the suggestion of tea roses too. Made by McPherson Wines.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Wyndham Black Cluster Hunter Valley Shiraz 2005
Dark red with a hint of bricking to the colour to 'hint' of some age, this sweet-oaked wine is spicy and fruity with a savoury backbone and some mint coming through on the finish. A classy, serious wine with silky tannins and flavours of cherry, chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and spice with leather and dried herbs in the background, it has a comforting familiarity that will appeal to lovers of serious Australian Shiraz.
13.5% alc. Cork. $70.99.

Yalumba Hand Picked Single Site Barossa Grenache 2005
The colour of this wine is really is quite bricking and the age comes through in the aroma and taste. But age imparts a really smooth silky impression in the mouth and the flavours suggest macerated cherry and hints of strawberry with lovely sweet vanillin oak with a smokiness to the finish that lingers with hints of anise.
14.5% alc. Cork. $57.99.

d'Arenberg The High Trellis McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Black red in colour with perfumed Black Forrest chocolate and raspberry scents, but surprisingly quite savoury and earthy to taste with dark berry fruits, fine silky tannins and a deep finish. A concentrated powerful wine with a seam of acidity underpinning the wine right now, indicating longevity, and a fruitcake richness to the lingering full-bodied aftertaste.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

De Bortoli Show Liqueur Rutherglen Muscat NV
Dark caramel amber in colour, this luscious sweet wine has a heady, spiritous, raisin and sticky date pudding scent and delicious toffee and caramel flavours with muscatel raisins, nuts and spice. The characteristic 'rancio' character imparts savouriness and the warming alcohol leaves behind a satisfying afterglow.
18% alc. Cork. $46.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 20 Oct 2010
And Now for Something Different
Wines were tasted blind.

Gustave Lorentz Cremant D'Alsace NV
Made entirely from Pinot Noir, this clear, salmon pink coloured bubbles has a bouquet of raspberry but is strongly strawberryish in the palate with plenty of lively fizz and a creamy finish. Dry, light, fresh and very enjoyable - a delightful summer afternoon sipper or a pre-dinner aperitif.
12.5% alc. Cork. $36.99.

Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil Godello 2009 - Valdorras, Spain
Made from an ancient and almost forgotten Spanish grape variety, this is very pale in colour with a sweet nutty aroma infused with honeysuckle. Smooth and moderately full in the palate with a creamy, nutty richness, hints of apricot, alcohol warmth and underlying citrus, it is slightly reminiscent of Viognier. br> 13.5% alc. Cork. $21.99.

Pierre Andre Rully Blanc Chardonnay 2006 - Bourgnone, France
This golden coloured wines hails from the Rully in the Côte Chalonnaise district of Burgundy. While the nutty, savoury scents are a little restrained, it is full-bodied and oily to the taste with fruit reminiscent of golden raisins and a rich, browned butter (buerre noisette) finish. This is the style of Chardonnay that begs for food, such as crayfish swimming in a buerre blanc sauce, or moules marinieres cooked with white wine, butter, onions and herbs.
13% alc. Cork. $46.99.

Mount Riley Marlborough/Nelson Riesling 2007
Abundantly aromatic with scents of grapes, lime, oil and hay, this high-toned Riesling seems quite dry with flavours of limes, a toasty character that has accrued with age and a long, juicy finish to balance the acidity beautifully. Can take lots of chilling, A beaut summer wine. Silver Medal NZIWS 2010.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $9.99 special.

Loosen Dr L Riesling 2009 - Mosel, Germany
A tantalising floral bouquet of apple blossoms and honeysuckle is followed by light fresh flavours of sweet juicy fruit with an underpinning of mandarin. A refreshing low alcohol style with just a tickle of spritz and an earthiness coming through on the finish. Very appealing.
8.5% alc. Screwcap, $22.99.

Santa Ema Reserve Barrel Selection Carmenere - Cachopoal Valley, Chile
Vivid purple black with dried herbs and jammy red and black fruits filling the bouquet and concentrated, savoury and slightly tarry flavours with a fruit cake richness, blackcurrant and spices. Very juicy and fruity yet also quite meaty with a smoky nuance to the lasting finish.
14% alc. Cork. $20.99.

Miopasso Nero d'Avola - Sicily, Italy
Dark red in colour with a sweet smelling scent of vanilla and cherry, and flavours that fill the full-bodied palate with juicy red fruits, tobacco and spice. The tannins are smooth and velvety, there's a hint of pepper and a touch of liquorice that adds complexity and the finish is long and savoury. Good wine.
14% alc. Cork. $19.99.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005 - Tuscany, Italy
Dark and savoury with barnyard characters abounding on the nose, this rich, meaty wine made from Sangiovese grapes is super serious with silky tannins and a fine backboned structure. Full-bodied and dry with wonderful vinous complexity and a fruitcake richness to the lasting finish, it's drinking beautifully now and very complete.
13.5% alc. Cork. $45.99.

d'Arenberg The Custodian McLaren Vale Grenache 2006
Dark red with some bricking to the hue. With old fruitcake on the nose with a hint of almond and cherry, this is surprisingly juicy in the creamy, full-bodied palate with smooth tannins, raspberry and cherry fruit, a gamey savoury undercurrent and a hot spicy finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99.

Cuvée du Vatican Chateauneuf du Pape 2007
Dark red in colour, a little raisiny on the nose with hints of liquorice and very ripe to the taste with jammy blackcurrant fruit, chocolate and chilli. Made from predominantly Grenache, this serious dry red wine is rich, generous, full-bodied , thick, velvety and rounded. No need to cellar - it's delicious already.
15% alc. Cork. $59.99.

El Escoces Volante El Puno Garnacha 2007 - Calatayud, Spain
Dark red-black coloured with a rich chocolate scent infused with vanillin oak and hints of spice and cherry. Dark and savoury to the taste with purple and black fruit, tar, cigar box, tobacco and lots of pepper. A full-bodied savoury wine with beautifully balanced fruit richness and a long powerful finish. Made by a Scottish MW who now lives in Spain, this is rated by his peers as one of the world's greatest Grenaches.
15% alc. Cork. $51.99.

Beach House Noble Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Light lemony gold in colour with an aromatic punchy bouquet that hints of Sauvignon Blanc but doesn't hint at all of the delicious, juicy, honey sweet flavours that simply seduce the palate. Light and fresh with botrytis adding complexity and viscosity to the grass and sweet pea flavours with a lingering taste of toffee apple. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $27.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 13 Oct 2010
Gold Medals and New Releases
Wines were tasted blind.

Tohu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Powerfully aromatic and deliciously juicy with a lightly oily texture, a zesty vivaciousness and increasing palate richness. The flavours are full of passionfruit and grassy summer herbs and there's a peachy nuance to the finish. Gold & Trophy Bragato Wine Awards.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Saint Clair Pioneer Series Block 18 Snap Block Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Surprisingly, especially for a Saint Clair wine, this is a little more restrained on the nose with hints of capsicum and sweet pea but there is nothing restrained about the delicious flavour. There's passionfruit, lime, a hint of tangelo zest and summer herbs with a nervy edge to the flinty undercurrent and a long juicy finish that compounds in flavour, richness and mouthfeel. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Jacobs Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2008 – South Australia
Light yellow gold coloured with an inviting scent of smoky oak, nuts and hints of caramel and big, bold, toasty flavours with hints of pineapple and a touch of spice. A full-bodied wine with a flinty, lean undercurrent that adds to its sophistication. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2007 – Hawkes Bay
Straw gold coloured with a ripe stonefruit infusion to the mealy, leesy aroma that suggests lots of classy barrel work. There's a lovely mellow feel to this beautiful creamy wine with toasty nutty flavours, spicy oak, peach, melon and hints of grapefruit, and a malty finish. It's really quite superb right now. Umpteen Golds & Trophies.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling 2009 – Waipara
Yellow gold coloured with a vibrancy to the floral perfume that's infused with candied grapefruit peel. Slightly oily in texture with kumquat, aromatic spices and some spritzy notes coming through. Refreshing and crisp, and although labelled 'dry', there's some botrytis influence that adds an extra dimension of honeyed sweetness. A complex, full-bodied Riesling with a lasting finish. New release.
14% alc. Screwcap. $30.99 special.

Bird Old Schoolhouse Marlborough Vineyard Riesling 2010
Straw in colour with a delicate sense of sweetness to the floral bouquet. Clean, crisp and refreshing with terrific acid tension to balance the delicious juicy fruit sweetness with an undercurrent of honeysuckle and ginger. A lovely summer wine that's just off-dry in style. Gold NZIWS.
12% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Fairmont Estate Block One Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2009
Dark Burgundy red with chocolate and cherry scents that lead into a ripe, luscious palate that full of juicy cherry and tamarillo fruit supported by plush velvety tannins with a deep gamey, savoury richness and a spicy kick to finish. Offers stunning value at the price point. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Hawkshead Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008
A lovely savoury Pinot with a youthful purple red colour, a smoky, savoury aroma and a smooth, silky texture. Getting richer and rounder with every sip, there's bittersweet cherry fruit, a slight hint of strawberry, forest floor nuances, hints of spice and a long, savoury finish. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $46.99.

Kingston Estate Shiraz 2009 – Mt Lofty/Limestone Coast
Deep purple red with a concentrated blackcurrant aroma, perhaps a hint of mint and red earth. An easy going, medium-bodied, dry red with plum, vanilla, blackcurrant jubes, lots of chocolate and pepper on the finish. New release.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Bird in Hand Mt Lofty Shiraz 2008 – South Australia
A rich juicy red with a shiny purple black colour, vanillin oak and vibrant plum and cherry fruit with liquorice and pepper, hints of chocolate, moderately firm tannins and a delicious and succulent finish. There's a well-balanced savouriness that adds to the all-round appeal of this creamy, spicy wine. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Pauletts Polish Hill River Shiraz 2007 – Clare Valley
Inky red in colour with inviting smoky vanillin oak, hints of mint and red berries filling the bouquet, this delicious Shiraz has savoury oak balancing the juicy succulent red and purple fruit, dried herbs and lots of pepper. A beautiful wine with a fine tannin structure and a long lasting finish. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Grant Burge 10 Year Old Tawny Port – Barossa Valley
Orange-tinged amber in colour with heady Muscat-like aromas and lots of dry rancio character in the palate with nuts, old fruit cake, candied peel and a modicum of saltiness to balance the lusciousness and warmth, and a tangy finish that lasts and lasts. Gold NZIWS.
19% alc. Cork. $40.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 6 Oct 2010
More Gold Medals and some surprises
Wines were tasted blind.

Nautilus Estate Cuvee Marlborough Brut NV
Creamy and yeasty on the nose and rich, nutty and savoury in the crisp, dry palate with a bright seam of zest and a long foamy finish. Very Champagne-like with a hint of strawberry coming through. Predominantly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Gold Medal NZIWS.
12% alc. $28.99 special.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 21 Bell Block Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Cor! The bright zingy aroma and the mouthwatering refreshing taste says it all. When chilled there's a lovely oiliness to the texture with grapefruit, passionfruit, green apple, gooseberry and loads of summer herbs having a raucous party in the mouth. Gold Medal NZIWS. Trophy for Champion Sauvignon Blanc.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2008
Light gold in colour with lovely mealy, smoky French oak and hazelnut scents, this is a caramel creme Chardonnay that's fat and toasty with grilled peach and a savoury richness to the finish. Tight yet expressive and can take substantial chilling. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Martinborough Vineyard Chardonnay 2008
Moderate gold in colour, this rich, sophisticated Chardonnay is mealy and creamy with a touch of caramel corn, hints of nectarine, juicy melon and a very long finish. The smooth, seamless, mouthcoating texture is sublime, the oak is smoky and integrated and the whole package emanates total class. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Kahurangi Estate Dry Nelson Riesling 2007
Aromatic and floral with lime, honeysuckle and a touch of flint to the scent, this searingly dry Riesling is steely and slatey with green apples, lemon and honey and lovely richness and weight from the toasty characters that have accrued with age. The finish lingers with a tantalising salty tang. Gold Medal NZIWS.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Triplebank Awatere Valley Pinot Gris 2009
Perfumed and floral with juicy apple and fruit salad scents and a touch of vanilla that adds to the spiced apple and pear dominant flavours. It's fairly dry in style with a pleasing texture and hints of peach, melon and pineapple sage on the long savoury finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Gibbston Central Otago Valley Pinot Gris 2009
Pale in colour with delicate spice and just a hint of flower musk on the nose, this well-chilled wine is rich, weighty and oily with a smooth, seamless texture, a nutty almost bready richness Nashi pear and stonefruit flavours and some lovely spice. Then on the lingering finish there's a lovely thread of tangelo zest.
5% oak adds complexity to texture and mouthfeel. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Da Vinci Collezione Special Chianti 2008 – Italy
Dark red in colour, perfumed with marzipan and cherry fruitcake, and savoury and earthy to the taste with barnyard, leather, dried herbs, cherry and hints of chocolate. Made from 100% Sangiovese and names after the town where Leonardo da Vinci was born. Gold Medal Liquorland Top 100.
13% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Farnese Piano del Cerro Aglianico del Vulture Riserva 2004 - Italy
Deep dark inky red, shiny in appearance and deceptive of its six years of age. This is a huge wine with a powerful aromas of dusty American oak, wild berries, mint and chocolate and full-bodied flavours with lashing of oak, chocolate, dried herbs and a whole range of red and black berries with a spicy nuance and a rustic charm. It's juicy, luscious, succulent and just downright delicious. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Cork. $38.99.

Elderton Barossa Command Shiraz 2004
Dark red with fading brick red rims, the age indicated by its appearance transports to the aroma and taste. There's mint, red berry, medicinal notes, fine dry tannins, vanillin oak, hints of coconut and mocha, black pepper and spice and while some lovely secondary characters are coming through the fruit is still quite primary. A wine to slowly savour.
14.5% alc. Cork. $99.00 special.

Taylor's Clare Valley Merlot 2008
A fruity wine with cherry, mint and hints of liquorice on the nose carrying through to the fine textured palate that’s quite savoury and spicy with hints of chicory, tarragon, tar, liquorice, hints of chocolate, a fruitcake cherry fruitiness, and a finish that's long and dry. French and American oak. Great value. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Browns of Padthaway T-Trellis Shiraz 2008
Rich red in colour with a bouquet than hints of the rich voluptuousness within the glass that is beckoning you to become part of it and then continues the seduction with sweet oak, spice, chicory, chocolate and blackberry and plum fruit that align with the long fine velvety tannins. The lingering finish leaves a warm afterglow. Very good.
15% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 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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