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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

September 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 - 29 Sep 2010
Simply Delicious
Wines were tasted blind.

Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010
This wine is delicious when served very chilled. There's a lovely, almost floral fragrance to the bouquet and a flinty nuance to the flavour with powerful passionfruit and citrus, loads of juicy apple and tangy summer herbs. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Karikari Estate Calypso Chardonnay 2008
Made from fruit grown on the Karikari Estate Vineyard in Northland, this is moderate gold in colour with creamed nut, butter caramel and stonefruit aromas that carry through to the smooth, harmonious palate. A full-bodied, powerful, bold, buttery, toasty oak style with a savoury richness to the delicious peach and tropical fruit flavours - and it can be well chilled too. Outstanding buy. Gold Medal NZIWS.
12.8% alc. Cork. $14.99 special.

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
Light gold in colour, this is much more Burgundian in style. On the nose there's smoky French oak with a sweet seam of nougat and citrus and nougats fill the creamy, nutty palate with integrated French oak, hints of stonefruit and a zesty infusion to the long creamy finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Waimea Nelson Classic Riesling 2009
Aromatic, citrus scents lead into a concentrated, weighty palate that, when chilled, is reminiscent of lemon and honey with a lovely orange zest brightness. Off dry in style with mouthwatering acidity to keep everything in balance. Gold Medal NZIWS.
12% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Two Rivers 'Juliet' Marlborough Riesling 2010
Fresh and juicy and noticeably sweeter with an inviting bouquet of honeysuckle and sweet citrus and exciting tangy flavours with hints of ginger joining honey, tangelo and lime. Gold Medal NZIWS.
12% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Gris 2009
Juicy, a little spicy, quite floral and delicately fruity but it is the texture that gives this dry Gris the x-factor. Fruit is in the apple and pear spectrum with peach coming through while subtle oak adds complexity to the long rich finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Kuehn Lieu-Dit Sonnenberg Gewurztraminer 2007 - Alsace
Show richness to the golden colour, this gorgeous Gewurztraminer has powerful aromas and luscious, rich, oily, concentrated flavours with exotic spices, hints of lemon grass, white pepper and orange peel. The texture is seamless and the wine finishes dry with sugar coated violets adding to its appeal. Gold Medal NZIWS.
12% alc. Cork. $30.99.

Fairmont Estate Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2009
Deep maroon red in colour with spicy, savoury aromas and juicy blackberry, cranberry and cherry fruit with a hint of chocolate adding to its allure. Tannins are fine and velvety and a gamey character permeates the finish giving it a real sense of Pinot Noir. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Caldora Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2009 – Ortona, Italy
Deep purple black, vivid and inky. A delicious, juicy, succulent wine with smoky, savoury aromas, a gorgeous svelte tannin structure, plums, prune and currant fruit, hints of liquorice and a long savoury finish. A wine with lots of flavour and plenty of appeal. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Couper’s Shed Hawkes Bay Syrah 2008
This black cherry coloured wine radiates smoke, cedar and crushed red and black pepper scents that carry through to the earthy savoury palate that has delicious cherry and redcurrant fruit, cake spices and vanilla welling up from within. With fine silky tannins and a creamy, savoury oak finish, it's long in flavour and very satisfying, especially at the price. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Vidal Reserve Syrah Hawkes Bay 2007
A voluptuous, juicy, sweet-fruited wine with a purple-black colour, vanillin oak, chocolate biscuit, black pepper and cherry scents and a deep sumptuous, savoury undercurrent to the red and black fruit flavours. It's juicy and lush and the fruit is complemented with hints of fruitcake, chocolate, well-balanced black pepper spice and a floral nuance to the lasting finish. Champion Shiraz/Syrah and Champion Wine and Tri-Nations 2010.
14% alc. Screwcap. $46.99 special.

Taylor's Clare Valley Shiraz 2008
This beautiful, big, rich, easy-going wine has a deep purple colour, lashings of vanillin oak and juicy cherry and blackberry fruit with a savoury, peppery undercurrent and a hint of mint adding brightness. Tannins are firm yet succulent and there's a chocolate/mocha richness to the lasting finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 22 Sep 2010
Simply Delicious
Wines were not tasted blind.

Waimea Nelson Viognier 2009
Light to medium gold in colour, this is a fragrant wine with tantalising scents of nougat, fig and apricot and a wonderful luscious, lightly oily texture. A hint of oak underpins the savoury, leesy, nutty flavours with apricot emerging to linger gracefully. Texturally intense with a tingle of spice and a touch of sweetness to the finish. Delicious. Trophy for Champion Commercial White Wine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Tyrrell's Single Vineyard Belford Hunter Semillon 2004
This light green gold coloured wine has a refined steely perfume that's a little nutty and has a suggestion of lemon grass too. Searingly dry yet mouthwateringly juicy with lime, green melon and honey on toast, this emphatically tangy wine has concentration and power with wonderful mouthfeel, great tension and excellent length. Trophy for Champion 'Other White'. $37.99 special.
11% alc. Screwcap.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2008
Light creamy gold in colour, this beautiful Chardonnay has rich, mealy barrel-ferment aromas when served chilled with a wild yeast richness to the scent and caramelised peaches too. A seamless wine in the mouth, it is full-bodied, concentrated and delicious with spicy savoury French oak, toasted baguette, malt, nuts, fig and citrus and hints of caramel as the lasting flavours linger. Total class.Trophy for Champion Chardonnay. Champion Wine of the Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Vavasour Awatere Valley Pinot Gris 2009
Straw gold in hue, this wonderfully fragrant wine is perfumed with spiced apple and hints of vanilla. It's just off dry in style with lovely texture and weight and incredibly juicy flavours of pear, peach and pineapple with an appealing touch of spice. Trophy for Champion Pinot Gris.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Riesling 2008
Light straw gold with aromas of lime and warmed honey and loads of purity and nerve to the gorgeous tangy flavour. Lemon and honeysuckle abound and though it seems quite dry with its nervy acidity it has a juicy tropical fruit richness and a very long finish. Stunning.Trophy for Champion Riesling.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Lowburn Ferry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Aromatic with wild berries and smoky oak the alluring perfume of this rich, juicy, deep ruby purple coloured wine leads into a velvety textured, gamey, savoury palate with herbs and spice, plum and cherries and even a suggestion of cranberry. The savoury flavours are underpinned with mushroom, forest floor and wild thyme, the tannins are supple and a lovely seam of acidity adds brightness and flare to the finish. Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir.
14% alc. Screwcap. $47.99.

Farnese Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2009
This lovely medium to full bodied, bright purple-red coloured wine has a lovely savoury aroma and a rich savoury palate with plush velvety tannins and a juicy red fruit sweetness supported by liquorice, smoke, violets, dried herbs and tobacco. Succulence is the hallmark of the finish. Trophy for Champion International Red.
12.5% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot 2008 – Omahu Gravels
Deep dark red-black in colour, this full-bodied, concentrated wine has a bouquet of plum, prune, cassis, pencil shavings, violets and fragrant herbs carrying through to the palate where lovely integrated cedary oak, leather, chocolate and chicory penetrate the flavour. With its beautiful tannin structure this seamless wine totally delivers. Trophy for Champion Merlot Predominant.
14% alc. Screwcap. $44.99 special.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Barossa Shiraz 2008
This inky coloured wine smells gorgeous and opulent. The bouquet is filled with chocolatey oak, cherries, pepper and cake spice and the palate is full-bodied and rich with juicy red and black fruits, pepper, liquorice, mocha, vanilla and fine velvety tannins that impart a lovely supple texture. It has great depth of flavour and a long juicy finish. Trophy for Champion Shiraz. Trophy for Champion Commercial Red Wine.
15% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Pillar Box Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – Padthaway/Mt Benson
Black red, dense in appearance with creamy oak, cherry and concentrated blackcurrant scents and flavours of blackcurrant and cherry with loads of chocolate and savoury oak. This delicious juicy red is deep and rich and with its gorgeous silky tannin structure, it simply flows. Trophy for Champion Cabernet Sauvignon Predominant.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. Not available for two weeks.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Noble Viognier 2009
This luscious sweetie is light gold in colour with concentrated aromas of apricot, flower musk and orange blossom. It has a nectar-like texture with concentrated baked apricot fruit, a subtle smoky nuance from partial aging in French oak and a spicy kick to the finish. Trophy for Champion Sweet Wine.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $34.99.

Gonzales Byass Pedro Ximinez Dulce ‘Nectar’
Deep coffee coloured with olive green edges, this heady wine has a nutty spiritous aroma with a toffee caramel richness. Mouthcoating and rich, it is like liquid toffee infused with flavours of muscat raisins, nuts and Xmas cake and the flavours lasting for minutes. Gold Medal NZIWS. 15.5% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 15 Sep 2010
Simply Delicious
Wines were tasted blind.

Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Vibrantly aromatic and full of punchy flavours of passionfruit, sweet pea, summer herbs and tangelo but is the concentration, power and richness and the smooth seductive mouthfeel that gives this wine the x-factor. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

The People's Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
A lovely oak driven wine but so deftly done. With grapefruit, stonefruit, butterscotch and lime, it is creamy and toasty with a seamlessness to the texture and a touch of spice on the lasting finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2009
Full of tantalising buttery aromas and spicy French oak flavours, this gorgeous toasty Chardonnay has a rich mealy undercurrent and hints of citrus, peaches and cream. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Coopers Creek Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2009
A lovely savoury Chardonnay with toasty French oak and a malty richness with a zesty citrus infusion and a tropical fruit layer adding juiciness to the spicy finish. A sophisticated, serious wine. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Lonestone Marlborough Pinot Gris 2009
This delicious, soft fruity wine has fragrant aromas of peaches and pears, a rich creamy texture, delicate hints of honeysuckle, ginger and citrus and a long rich finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Lucien Albrecht Reserve Gewurztraminer 2009 - Alsace
Light gold in colour with beguiling orange water, exotic spice and rose petal scents, this is dry in style with a lightly oily texture and flavours of smoker lollies, musk, Turkish Delight and violets with port wine magnolia on the lasting, delicately spicy finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009
With smoky bacon, mushrooms and black cherry on the nose, this succulent juicy wine is gamey and savoury with delicious cracked berry fruit, hints of spice and a sweet smoky oak finish. Very, very good and outstanding for the price. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $27.99 special.

Caldora Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2009 - Ortona Italy
Medium-bodied, earthy and savoury with a violet-like freshness, purple plum fruit, hints of cherry and tobacco. Dry in style with smoky French oak and firm yet supple tannins. Lovely food wine. Gold Medal NZIWS.
12.5% alc. Cork. $17.99 special.

Bird in Hand "Two in the Bush" Mt Lofty Ranges Shiraz 2008
The savoury aromas of this rich coloured red are infused with liquorice, hints of mocha and pepper and the liquorice/anise tones carry through to the smooth velvety palate that's crammed with red fruits over a creamy spicy savoury backbone with a long dry finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Wolf Blass Presidents Selection Shiraz 2008 - South Australia
Deep in colour, almost black, French oak carries the aroma of the blockbuster savoury wine with plush yet firm tannins, succulent blackcurrant and blackberry fruit and a long toasty finish which is ripe and luscious with lots of pepper. A gorgeous mouthful of delicious Shiraz. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Thorn-Clarke Barossa Shotfire Shiraz 2008
Dark purple black in colour with vanilla, cherry, chocolate and mocha on the nose, this rich, succulent creamy wine has a ripe cherry and blackberry fruit sweetness that integrates beautifully with the toasty vanillin oak backbone and plush velvety tannins with peppery spice and a mouthfilling chocolatey finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Grant Burge Cameron Vale Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Purple red in colour with cherry, blackcurrants and vanillin oak on the nose and a crisp Shrewsbury biscuit bite to the savoury palate where concentrated redcurrant and berry fruit are supported by fine textured tannins and spicy vanillin oak with hints of mint and a chocolatey richness to the full-bodied, succulent and deliciously long finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $31.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 1 Sep 2010
Simply Delicious
Wines were tasted blind.

Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2008
Peach and nectarine fill the bouquet - a touch of butterscotch too and even more butterscotch in the delicious savoury, toasty palate. With lots of polished oak and stonefruit with a hint of nutmeg on the finish it fits the theme well, just do not over chill.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Marisco The Kings Bastard Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
Woodsmoke on the nose and citrus, apricot and loads of toasty spicy oak in the palate. Quite smooth and seamless - it just flows - and the finish is long and mealy.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Cypress Terraces Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2008
Fig, nougat, nuts and grilled stonefruit scents introduce this mouthfilling rendition of delicious full-boded Chardonnay. With great mouthfeel and richness, flavours of toasty stonefruit and stonefruit and a funky allure, this wine is still drinking beautifully a year after its gold medal win. Gold NZIWS 2009.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $30.99.

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Gisborne Chenin Blanc
Not expressing too much on the nose - some oily nuances with delicate florals and zest, but delicious and luscious in the powerful, full-bodied palate, this is spicy to the max with wonderful acidity in the form of orange and tangelo zest and a lasting expression of Granny Smith apple. The oiliness detected on the nose comes through in the texture and there's a hint of gunflint on the finish. An excellent New World example of this famous Loire Valley grape.
14.5% alc. $29.99.

TWR Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2009
The bouquet expresses candied violets, musk and kumquat and the powerful flavours are reminiscent of Moroccan spices, musk, sweet apple and orange water. Wonderful texture and mouthfeel and a finish that lasts for minutes complete this delicious package and though it seems sweet first up, the finish is dry.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $NA

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2008 - Chile
Intense in colour with concentrated blackcurrant and woodsmoke aromas and soft, juicy flavours that brim with plum and bramble fruit, savoury oak, hints of violets and a meaty richness. With its fine tannins and youthful freshness, this is deliciously drinkable and one of the stars of the night.
14.5% alc. Cork. $19.99.

30 Mile South East Australian Shiraz 2008
A 'big" smelling wine, it radiates aromas of toasted vanillin oak, hints of eucalypt, blackberries and spice. It has a deep black red reflective appearance and in the palate it has a velvety texture with flavours of blackberries, dark chocolate, spice and leather and downright juicy drinkability. Made by Johnny Quarisa.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $12.99 special.

Sessantani Primitivo du Manduria 2006 - Southern Italy
Inky dark plum in colour, this is a massive wine with a bottle to match. Concentrated savoury aromas of rich fruitcake and smoke and big thick juicy flavours of purple plums, currants, chocolate and a touch of spice all held together by its firm tannins and savoury oak. It seems to be improving in the bottle and "opulence" describes this wine right through to the intense long finish. Stunning wine.
14.5% alc. Cork. $49.99.

Penfolds Thomas Hyland Shiraz 2007 - South Australia
Chocolate on the nose motors into the palate with a minty nuance adding to its allure. A smooth, creamy Shiraz with vanillin oak, spice, leather, plush velvety tannins and a red fruit brightness to the dry peppery finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Scarpantoni Block 3 McLaren Vale Shiraz 2007
Perfumed with vanilla and smoky bacon, this is a dark deep wine with plenty of toasty oak, plums, mulberries, liquorice, leather and vanilla with fine tannins and a long, sweet /savoury finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Farnese Edizione NV (Bottled 2007) - Southern Italy
An enigma of a wine, it's made from Montepulciano, Primitivo, Sangiovese, Negroamaro and Malvasia Rossa from several regions and a blend of vintages - and perhaps this is the reason why it's so incredibly delicious. It's shiny black red in colour with a savoury aroma abetted by currant and liquorice and opulent flavours of juicy blackberry and raspberry, exotic spices, salami, leather and earth while grunty tannins are tempered by the overall succulence of this amazing blockbuster wine.
14.5% alc. Cork. $49.99.

Seppetsfield Cellar No. 9 Muscat - Rutherglen, Australia
Very dark amber with a spirity nuance to the scent while dry 'rancio' characters pulsate through the luscious, almost syrupy palate. It's raisiny and nutty with honey, orange peel and a beguiling spiciness to the muscatty flavours last for ages. A lovely after dinner sipper.
16.5% alc. Screwcap. $35.99.

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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