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edited by Sue Courtney

Wednesday Round-up - the 2011 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

December 2011
[ 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 - 21 Dec 2011
Our Favourite Wines with Xmas in Mind
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Sherwood Estate Waipara Riesling 2009
This deliciously refreshing aperitif style is coloured citrine and crammed with tropical fruit and honeysuckle with scintillating lime-like acidity bringing the sweetness into balance. For those who loved the 2008 tasted recently, this is quite a different style. Be sure to served chilled for utmost enjoyment this summer.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $9.99 special.

Astrolabe Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
Light gold with a smoky, nutty, savoury scent and a creamy savoury flavour with grapefruit, oatmeal nuances, hints of apricot, a tickle of spice and a long fruit-sweet finish, the oak sit harmoniously in the background without intruding and there's an intriguing salty tang.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Taylors St Andrews Clare Valley Chardonnay 2008
A seriously dry Chardonnay, a figs and nuts style of Chardonnay with winemaking influences to the fore. Spicy and zesty with hints of lime and a long creamed nut finish and plenty of oak as it lingers.
13% alc. Screwcap. $35.99 special.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009
Creamy smelling with a tantalising smoky oak nuance, and smooth and seamless to the taste with sweet nutty oak, ripe stonefruit, juicy tropical fruit, oatmeal and warm spices. Rich, creamy and powerful, this gets better every time we taste it. A serious choice for Xmas Day.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $32.99 special.

Clos St William Waipara Pinot Gris 2009
A luscious, concentrated and powerful expression of medium styled Pinot Gris with nuance of rose petals, musk, and spice and baked pears. Harmonious in delivery, it mimics the wines we have tasted from Alsace.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

D'Arenberg Noble Botrytinia F**kliana Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Deep citrine gold with a viscous texture, the botrytis exudes through the aroma and flavour together with apricot, passionfruit and orange honey. A super syruppy wine with refreshing acidity cutting through the toffee-like sweetness, it's a decadent treat for Christmas Day. Gold Medal NZIWS.
8% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
Ruby garnet coloured with a moderately intense smoky, savoury aroma, it tastes of juicy black cherries, dried herbs and cakes spices. The tannins are smooth and velvety and the long finish is spicy and tangy.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz 2009
Vivid purple red with aromas of cedary oak, blueberries and cream that continue into the mouthfilling palate. It's soft textured with a savoury, leathery undercurrent, spice, black pepper and a sumptuous chocolate plum finish. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Rocland Ass Kisser Barossa Shiraz 2009
Deep boysenberry red with a smoky aroma and rich, spicy flavours with chocolate and red berries. Smooth textured, juicy and long with lots of appeal – both in the taste and the fun factor of the label. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Two Hands Angel's Share McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010
A deep rich blueberry coloured blockbuster with fine tannins and spectacular purity and concentration of mulberry fruit balanced by dry extract and infused with allspice and chocolate cream biscuit. Bright-fruited, delicious and long.
14.6% alc. Screwcap. $34.99 special.

St Hallett Blackwell Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008
Impenetrably coloured and statuesque in structure, the juicy plum and blackcurrant fruit is tempered by cedary American oak and firm tannins that creep up on you. With vanilla, liquorice and black forest chocolate and fine acidity that flourishes at the end, this classy wine has definite cellaring potential.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $36.99 special.

Delgado Zuleta Pedro Ximinez – Jerez, Spain
Kingsley amusingly calls this 'sump oil' because of its colour. Heady macerated raisin and golden syrup aromas infuse the thick, syruppy flavours with classic 'rancio' and a hokey pokey sweetness on the sumptuous finish. Christmas Pudding wine.
17.5% alc. Screwcap. $30.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 14 Dec 2011
Wines for Summer
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Sileni Estate 'The Straits' Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Pale lemon coloured with a punchy tropical fruit and herb aroma and a soft, creamy palate. Radiating freshness with citrus, tropical fruit, herbs and a hint of honey adding a smidgen of sweetness to the end, it's everything you expect in Sauv and more. No. 2 Cuisine Magazine Top 10.
13% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Isabel Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2007
Glassy greeny gold with a tropical fruit aroma, this is warm textured with grilled peach, hints of butterscotch, savoury oak and a hazelnut finish. Starting to mellow but still looking good at 4 years of age and takes chilling well. There's a 'hot climate' nuance to the scent that made me think Australia, initially.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Black Barn Barrique Fermented Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Pale yellow gold with a bouquet of citrus-infused, savoury nutty oak carrying through to the smooth creamy palate with crème brulee and tropical fruit. Becoming more and more creamy as it lingers there's lots of potential for this wine to develop, just don't over chill at this stage.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Gris 2011
Straw gold coloured and aromatically scented with musk, tropical guava and apple enrichening to pear with a touch of strudel spice. With a pleasing touch of sweetness well balanced to the crisp dry finish, it's smooth, textural and deliciously fruity. Gold Medal & Trophy New Zealand International Wine Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Coopers Creek Gisborne Viognier 2010
Light gold coloured, fragrant, spicy and textural with apricot, nuts and a hint of rose petal, a rounded, almost oily mouthfeel and a long, full finish. Slowing lovely purity of the Viognier grape. Gold Medal & Trophy New Zealand International Wine Show.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Pasquale Waitaki Riesling 16 2010
Straw gold with a tarragon infused citrussy scent, this fresh, racy Riesling is juicy and thirst quenching with a long lingering finish. Shows exquisite balance of acidity to the delicate sweetness, which doesn't seem as sweet as the 16 grams on the label would suggest. Silver Medal New Zealand International Wine Show.
11% alc. Screwcap. $27.99.

Coopers Creek Gisborne Gewurztraminer 2010
Light yellow gold with a fragrant violet and wild rose scent and powerful yet harmonious flavours of ginger, smoker lollies and crushed coriander seed. Smooth almost oily in texture with moderate sweetness. Gold Medal New Zealand International Wine Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Rose 2011
Clear ruby violet with a black cherry aroma, this is dry, crisp, fresh and savoury. A serious and moderately weighty Rosé with cassis, leather, spice, an earthy undercurrentg and a tangy finish, it's predominantly Cabernet Franc with lesser proportions of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Metro Top 100 wine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Dense ruby purple with a complex aroma of cherries, spice, woody herbs and oak, it's spicy, savoury and oaky to the taste with the thyme and earth flavours we search for in Pinot Noir and the brightness of cherry and strawberry fruit on the dry, crisp finish. Smooth and long, ready to enjoy now.
14% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010
A deep dense black cherry red with a floral, peppery, cooked fruit perfume, it's earthy and savoury with smooth tannins, a touch of vanilla, juicy cherries and jammy plums. The signature black pepper sits in harmony and the wine opens up beautifully in the glass.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Mamre Brook Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
This impenetrable blackberry red coloured, sumptuous full-bodied number immediately exudes intensity of aroma and richness of flavour. With sweet berries, chocolate, earth, leather, vanilla, oak spice, a thick cosy texture and a long, juicy finish, it's an outstanding Barossa Cab. Gold & Trophy.
15.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Thorn Clarke William Randell Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008
Shiny purple red coloured with chocolate biscuit and blackberry/plum aroma, the taste is full-bodied and succulent with fine tannins and lashings of flavour. Full, rich, long and expansive with chocolate biscuits, nut chocolate, juicy black fruit and pepper, it's a top example of what the Barossa can achieve. Justifiably the Wine of the Night.
15.5% alc. Screwcap. $58.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 7 Dec 2011
First Glass Signature Tasting - Chardonnay and Shiraz
All of the wines were tasted blind.

River Farm Godfrey Creek Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
Moderate gold coloured with a smoky, toasty aroma that's a little nutty and spicy too. Even more spice in the palate with toasty oak, citrus, green melon and a hint of peachy caramel. Middle of the road Chardonnay that's not too oaky and not too buttery either.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Vidal Reserve Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Light gold with inviting caramel, citrus and leesy malty, barrique-ferment scents. A lovely smooth, creamy, mealy wine with grilled peach and a citrussy tang to balance the butterscotch-infused oak, some funky nuances of wild ferment and a spicy flourish to the lasting finish. Elite Gold Air NZ 2011.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Green-tinged gold in hue with a tantalising aroma of peaches and cream and flavours of nectarine, lemon, spice, caramel, butter and cream. Smooth in its delivery with vanillin oak well balanced to the juicy fruit, it finishes with a zesty kick.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Auckland Chardonnay 2008
Light gold coloured with a creamy aroma that hints of butterscotch and bready yeast lees. Oak is definitely to the fore in this toasty little number, which is developing beautifully in the bottle. While more about Burgundian-influenced winemaking rather than fruit, it's rounded and creamy with an expansive, satisfying finish. Multiple gold medal winner.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Saint Clair Pioneer Series Block 4 Sawcut Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
Light gold in hue with a tropical fruit aroma and juicy fruit flavours with delicate spices, melon, peaches and cream. With beautifully integrated vanillin oak, underlying citrus acidity and a long, smooth creamy finish, it just flows. A youthful wine that Kingsley believes will turn out like the legendary 2007 Block 11.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Morton Estate Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007
Green-tinged gold with a smoky oak and grilled peach aroma, this big, rich, malty, nougat, caramel cream style has a flourish of spicy zest, a pencil-like oakiness and all round juicy mouthfeel. A seamless top-of-the-line wine that's made to age, is aged and will still continue to develop. Cuisine Magazine Top 10, Gold Medal Air NZ.
14% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Gemtree Tatty Road South Australia Shiraz 2010
Mulberry red coloured with an aroma of sweet chocolatey oak and ripe red and black berries. Pepper is to the fore in the supple-tannined palate, with juicy berry fruit and cake spices on the finish. Pretty much a straight up and down Shiraz with a long, lifted finish. Gold Medal New World Wine Awards.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Chapel Hill Parson's Nose McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010
Blackberry red with a purple edge, this dry, fine-tannined wine, has a deep sensuous aroma and currant, plum and blackberry with an underpinning of pepper and cloves. Seriously impressive with a long savoury finish, Rhonish nuances that some to mind.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Wirra Wirra Catapult McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009
Blackberry red, purple edge. Aromas of sweet chocolatey oak and a hint of eucalypt carry through to the succulent blackberry-fruited palate. Impressively smooth and refined with vanillin oak well balanced to the dry extract, black pepper, spice, hints of leather, some tobacco in the background and a touch of liquorice.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Pepperjack Barossa Valley Shiraz 2009
Shiny blackberry red with a sumptuous bouquet of vanillin oak, cherry, blackberry and cream and a juicy, fruity, spicy, savoury taste that simply seduces the palate. Seems easy to drink but this is quite serious with blackberry and currant-like fruit, firm tannins and a hot spicy finish. New vintage of an old favourite and right back to First Glass form.
15% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Thorn Clarke Sandpiper Barossa Valley Shiraz 2009
Deep ruby purple with a tarry aroma, this savoury and initially leathery wine seems completely different unil the juicy red and black fruits take over the fine-tannined palate. With plums and blackberries amalgamating with sweet spicy oak, it's juicy and drinkable, but just lacks excitiment for me. Top 5 Winestate wines of the year.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Gemtree Uncut McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009
This vivid black red beauty is opulent from the outset with an enticing aroma of vanillin oak, mint and blackberries, and a fine-textured palate. A huge step up in quality, it seems, with a firm tannin structure, succulent fruit, beautifully balanced meaty savouriness and a long, spicy finish. This is more for me!
14% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Bullers Fine Old Muscat
Orange tawny like a cairngorm gemstone, this has a Muscat raisin perfume and with its nectar-like texture tastes thick, rich and raisiny with orange peel, honey, toffee and caramel and a high-spirited buzz to the finish. Pure decadence a little goes a long way and even better, a partially consumed bottle will last for weeks and weeks and weeks. Multiple Trophies and gold medals.
18% alc. Screwcap. $32.99.

Note: The New Zealand wines listed on this page should have been cross-catalogued to my wine reviews by grape variety - check out my Wine Review Index.

Wednesday Wines index
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Index to all Wednesday tastings notes.

2011 Tastings
Jan 2011 tasting notes.
Feb 2011 tasting notes.
Mar 2011 tasting notes.
Apr 2011 tasting notes.
May 2011 tasting notes.
Jun 2011 tasting notes.
Jul 2011 tasting notes.
Aug 2011 tasting notes.
Sep 2011 tasting notes.
Oct 2011 tasting notes.
Nov 2011 tasting notes.
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