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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

November 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 - 30 Nov 2011
South Island, Waiheke Island and Tuscany
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Felton Road Elms Central Otago Chardonnay 2009
Light gold coloured with a tangy citrus aroma. Served well chilled, grapefruit nuances are to the fore. It's fresh and bright with a warm savoury yeast lees accent and a long spicy creamy finish with lots of zing.
14% alc. Screwcap. $30.99.

Waipara Springs Premo Waipara Chardonnay 2010
Light yellow gold coloured with a tropical fruit aroma infused with nutty oak. Mouthfilling and savoury with a wild yeast barrel-aged influence, there's a strong peachy thread and subtle butterscotch sweetness. Complex and rich with a long satisfying finish. Very smart. Gold AirNZ 2011
14% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Antinori Guado Al Tasso Vermentino 2009 Bolgheri DOC, Central Italy
Pale lemon coloured with a fairly neutral aroma that hints of green apple, but exciting and tasty in the palate. It's crisp and flinty with racy acidity, a rippling lime undercurrent and apple sweetness pervading the lingering finish. Increasing in richness with an oily texture, this is a very smart dry Italian white. The 'stand-up options' wine.
12.5% alc. Cork. $32.99.

Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago Riesling 2011
Pale straw with a hint of rose petal to the perfume, the aroma doesn't hint at all of the juicy sweetness within. There's a rose petal (musky) nuance to the honeysuckle and freshly squeezed lime and tangelo flavours that taste like fizzy fruit sherbet lollies as it deliciously lingers.
9.5% alc. Screwcap. $33.99. Limited stocks.

Kurow Village Waipara Riesling 2008
Citrine gold with a gem-like glow, this rich mouthfilling Riesling has an attractive perfume of honeysuckle and candied peel while grapefruit is to the fore in the slightly spritzy palate. Concentrated with complexities from bottle age and just the right amount of sweetness to keep the refreshing acidity in check. It states 'wild ferment' and is rather impressive.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Waimea Nelson Gewurztraminer 2010
Pale lemon with typical Turkish Delight, lychee and exotic spice scents, served chilled it's spicy and zesty with an unctuous texture but not overly sweet. Turkish Delight and violets fill the palate with a hint of rose water and a clean finish. Perfect with Thai. Trophy Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2010.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Pegasus Bay Aria Waipara Late Pick Riesling 2008
Intensely green-gold in hue with an inviting lemon curd and honeycomb scent, this is deliciously sweet yet not cloying at all. Crammed with honey and botrytis, the cleansing acidity imparts a light fresh touch to the orange marmalade finish. Simply divine.
11% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Main Divide Canterbury Pinot Noir 2008
Plummy red with a full aroma reminiscent of forest floor, spice, guava and cherry. Soft and creamy in the palate, lovely touch of spice, an infusion of bacon with maraschino cherry, it has a long savoury finish and is drinking beautifully now.
14% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Youthful purple/ruby with a concentrated savoury aroma of spiced plums and cedar, and an intensely savoury palate and very, very dry. With Black Boy peaches, spice, smoky oak and cedar, this shows potential to age just needs some time.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $42.99.

Felton Road Calvert Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Purple/boysenberry hued with a very refined bouquet that emanates forest floor, wild strawberry, orange pomander and Christmas spice. Ripe and juicy to the taste with fine textured silky tannins, fruits of the forest, spice and just a touch of thyme. While the oak is reasonably forward the underlying fruit sweetness lingers beautifully and underlying acidity gives the peacock tail's flare.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $68.99.

Muddy Water Waipara Pinotage 2009
Ruby garnet, a little fading on the edges but deep in the bowl of the glass. The ripe, creamy aroma gives an impression of sweetness and that comes through in the palate with ripe cherry and plum fruit, creamy oak, underlying tobacco and game. A heady wine, it's a little like pinot noir like, but richer and fuller and drinking well now.
15.5% alc. Screwcap. N/A.

Passage Rock Reserve Waiheke Island Cabernet Merlot 2010
Glossy blackberry red coloured with a concentrated aroma of nutty oak with a hint of chocolate, tar, spice and leather. Even more concentrated in the palate, this sumptuous red is full of juicy cassis, plums and chocolatey oak with fine-textured firmly structured tannins. A substantial wine in the context of the tasting and and we think it's very nice. Gold Medal 2011 NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $38.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 23 Nov 2011
Gustave Lorentz from Alsace with Pascal Schiele
This was not a blind tasting.

Auka Mendoza Chardonnay 2008 - Argentina
Golden coloured with aromas that whisk you to a sunny, hot climate landscape, reminiscent a little of some Australian Chardonnays but is in fact Argentina. Rich, ripe, sweet and spicy with a full-bodied viscosity and alcoholic heat, there's a hint of Angostura Bitters, lemon, and apricot stone on the bone dry finish. A big wine, full of flavour, hard to believe it is unoaked.
13.5% alc. Cork. $17.99 special.

Gustave Lorentz Cremant D'Alsace Rose NV
A pale salmon pink hue with fine bubbles and a lacy edge of foam, this has a delicate strawberry & cream aroma and the fine bubbles are soft in the mouth. The taste is the delicate cherry of Pinot Noir with a pleasing touch of strawberry to finish and the lingering taste is dry with an intriguing salty tang. A great alternative to Rose champagne, it's made from 100% Pinot Noir with 15-20 months on lees.
12% alc. Cork. $36.99.

Gustave Lorentz Reserve Pinot Blanc 2009
There's a reminiscent to Chardonnay in this classy dry white with the full-bodied richness, the creaminess and the white peach fruit. An unoaked wine, yet rich and textural with a fresh tangy finish, Pascal says it from a fantastic vintage it delivers more in fruit weight than most people expect.
12% alc. Screwcap. $32.99.

Gustave Lorentz Reserve Riesling 2008
Shy on the nose with just a hint of stewed apple but brimming with lively acidity in the full-bodied palate. It's mouthwatering and juicy with apple and lime and a dry salivating finish with a lingering salty tang.
12.5% alc. Cork. $32.99.

Gustave Lorentz Reserve Riesling 2010
Honeysuckle is the first impression of the fragrant aromatics and green apples waft around too. Full-bodied and intense with concentration and power, the ripe citrus fruit balances the acidity and the finish is flinty and dry. A tangy palate awakener with nuances of anisey herbs and again that salinity comes through.
12.5% alc. Cork. $20.99. 375-ml bottle.

Gustave Lorentz Reserve Muscat 2010
This is so like freshly picked Muscat grapes (the long green ones) and exotic guava, firstly on the nose but even more so in the palate where a hint of gooseberry edginess comes through. A pure expression of the grapey taste with the fruit fermented to dryness and a fresh, clean finish, you can see why Pascal (who pronounces Muscat as 'moose-car') recommends it to accompany asparagus. A refreshing summer-styled wine.
12% alc. Cork. $32.99.

Gustave Lorentz Reserve Pinot Gris 2009
Lovely full aroma of peach and pear with a pastry-like decadence from the yeast lees, this is a fragrant tasting wine, moderately dry, a little spicy, with underlying sweet citrus, fleshy apple strudel, peaches and pear. Flavourful, with delicate musky florals infusing the creamy finish, it's bright and fresh, dry with a well-balanced savouriness and very nice.
13.5% alc. Cork. $32.99.

Gustave Lorentz Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim Pinot Gris 2005
Showing more depth to the moderate gold hue, there's baked apple, apricot and honey aromas infused with pips and spice and a honeyed sweetness to the taste together with some lovely complexities have been introduced with bottle age. A heady wine with a fine-grained texture, it seems rich and unctuous but finishes dry and intriguingly it has that savouriness we have seen in the other wines this must be the 'terroir'. Outstanding expression of Pinot Gris.
14.5% alc. Cork. $74.99.

Gustave Lorentz Reserve Gewurztraminer 2010
Distinctively variety with aromas of orange water, tropical fruit and Turkish Delight and powerful in the palate with a smooth unctuous texture and liveliness from the sweet orange peel, exotic spices, cloves and rose musk. Off dry with a fine texture and a savoury earthiness, perhaps a hint of mushroom, and a fresh finish that lingers deliciously with hints of lemon honey.
13% alc. Cork. $33.99.

Gustave Lorentz Reserve Gewurztraminer 2007
Wow, this smells amazing and it also looks amazing as the light gold colour doesn't hint of its age. Rich and concentrated, full of pear and strudel spices but only the slightest suggestion of the usually characteristic Turkish Delight and rose petal. A sweeter wine, it seems quite heady but underlying acidity adds elegance and then the exotic spiciness of Gewurztraminer comes though and hints of rose oil lingers pleasingly on the finish. Complex and satisfying, this was served from a magnum, but the price here reflects a 750-ml bottle.
13.5% alc. Cork. $33.99.

Moss Wood 'Moss Wood Vineyard' Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Deep black red with violet edges. The aroma beguiles with the fragrance of savoury vanillin oak, violets, blackberries and raspberry and the taste delivers intensity and concentration. There's ripe brambly berry fruit with hints of vanilla, leather, mint and a touch of creamy nut chocolate. The tannins are remarkably integrated. Yet it's an immense wine of structure and power and the long, fine finish is lasting.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $129.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 16 Nov 2011
Gold Medals from the Air NZ Wine Awards
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Jules Taylor Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Pale straw coloured with a bright, punchy aroma full of passionfruit and lime and fresh, juicy, flavours of gooseberry, tropical fruit, grapefruit and summer herbs. Oily textured with a tangy, refreshing finish. Vibrant and long. Gold ANZWA.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009
Pale yellow gold with a toasty bouquet and lovely warm, rich, fine textured malty flavours. Beautifully balanced and harmonious with mouth-coating flavours of fig, peach, smoky French oak and a nougat-like nutty sweetness to the finish, it's long and seamless and drinking beautifully now. Multiple gold medal winner.
13% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Mud House South Island Pinot Gris 2010
Light gold coloured and fragrant smelling with a hint of flower musk and a suggestion of spiced pear. Ripe and juicy tasting with richness and texture to the unctuous pear flavours, it has lovely almost creamy undercurrent from aging on yeast lees and tangy lemon cream biscuits on the finish. A value-packed blend of Marlborough, Waipara and Nelson fruit. Gold @ ANZWA & NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011
Straw gold, perfumed with quince and honeysuckle and full of juicy fresh apple and pear, there's a tickle of zest and it tastes just off dry with an oily apple richness. As it builds in the palate it takes on nuances of flower musk and exotic spices. Gold & Trophy ANZWA.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Sherwood Estate Waipara Riesling 2008
Straw gold with an inviting toasty aroma layered with lime, talc and honeysuckle, this tastes moderately dry with vibrantly fresh acidity that shimmers with steeliness yet it's perfectly balanced with honey and the lingering taste in the mouth is simply salivating. Drinking beautifully now, it's a perfect summer party wine and a well-liked ring-in on the night.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $9.99 special.

Distant Land Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010
Very pale gold with a distinctly soapy, musky, rose petal aroma and powerful mouth-coating flavours. Quite spicy and sherbetty with pink smoker lolly flavours and deliciously balanced sweetness, it could almost be described as luscious. Gold & Trophy NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. $22.99/$19.99.

Corbans Private Bin Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2008
A light gold colour with aromas that smell developed and toasty, it tastes intense and concentrated with richness of flavour of succulent musk melon, Turkish Delight, tingles of spice and a savouriness coming through too. A powerful wine, it destroys the myth that Gewurztraminer cannot age. Gold Medal & Trophy ANZWA.
14% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Pencarrow Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010
A deeply translucent black cherry red, the wine has a lovely smoky savoury aroma with spicy accents. Rich and sweet-fruited with a cherry guava or crab-apple jelly intrigue and a spicy, earthy, savoury undercurrent, it's beautifully balanced and harmonious with a cosy velvety texture and a kick of acidity on the end. Still evolving, it has a fantastically long finish. Outstanding value. Gold & 2 Trophies @ ANZWA.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Folding Hill Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Dark plummy red coloured, this full-bodied, concentrated style initially tastes quite jammy (cf to Pencarrow), but opens up beautifully in the glass to display all its glorious flavour. Perfumed with savoury oak, spice and luscious black fruit, there is an edgy savoury undercurrent to bring everything into balance. With its firm tannins, it's still evolving. Gold ANZWA.
14.5% alc. Diam. $39.99.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
This is a glorious wine that gets better every time I taste it. Dark ruby red, perfumed, meaty, spicy and savoury with thyme and tarragon and perfectly poised underlying acidity that gives that much searched for peacock's tail end. A beautiful wine with a gorgeous flow, the fruit sits in harmony with the structure and the fine silky texture is striking. Gold NZIWS. Gold ANZWA. Gold IWC.
14% alc. Screwcap. $37.99 special.

Bilancia Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010
Black purple red with a beautifully soft boysenberry cream, leather, old spice aroma, it tastes concentrated yet not overpowering, just harmonious and complete with ripe berry fruit, creamy oak, velvety tannins, rose spice nuances and a long, dry finish. The signature pepper of Syrah gently infuses the wine without intruding. Gold & Trophy ANZWA.
14% alc. Screwcap. $30.99 special.

Seifried Winemakers Collection "Sweet Agnes" Nelson Riesling 2011
Light gold coloured with a honeysuckle perfume, this seems more of a late harvest wine than a fully botrytised Riesling. Freshly squeezed lemon is balanced by juicy tropical fruit and honey , intensely sweet heading almost towards toffee, but with the acidity to balance it, one of the most highly awarded sweeties this year. Gold @ NZIWS, ANZWA, Bragato and IWC.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99. 375-ml bottle.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 9 Nov 2011
Spot the Differnce - 12 different varieties from around the world
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Grandin Grande Reserve Brut NV Loire Valley, France
Light lemon gold-coloured with a fine steady bead, a lovely brioche aroma with a clean citrussy tang and a dry, full-bodied taste with soft bubbles, a lovely savoury influence and a delicate fruity floral sweetness on the lingering finish. Cremant made from predominantly Pinot Noir with a touch of Gamay.
12% alc. Cork. $23.99 special.

Domaine du Vieux Preche Sancerre 2009 Loire Valley, France
Shy on the nose and palate, it's oily textured with a guava-like nuance to the flavour and plenty of apple too. It's dry with a flinty finish, a flourish of acidity and a salty tang. Sauvignon Blanc is not described as an aromatic variety in France and this demonstrates why.
13% alc. Cork. $34.99.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Auckland Chardonnay 2010
Light green-tinged straw gold with a bold toasty aroma infused with grilled peach. Chilled just a couple of hours, this is juicy and quenching with abundant oatmeal, smoky French oak, fig, peach, melon and a citrus kicker on the long, creamy finish. Mouthfilling, beautifully balanced and quite simply delicious. Gold Medal Air NZ Wine Awards.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Mondillo Central Otago Riesling 2009
Straw gold coloured, hinting of citrus blossom and honeysuckle on the nose. Served chilled it tastes, young, fresh, crisp and zesty with a dry steely undercurrent and fruit in the lime, lemon and apple spectrum. There's a succulent factor to the lasting finish. Has excellent potential to age.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

Wines of ARA Single Estate Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011
Apples abound on the nose and in the palate of this fresh young, pale gold coloured wine. The texture is soft and lightly oily and the off-dry finish is all citrus and spiced pears. Very easy to like and drink.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Tsantali Retsina NV Halkidiki, Greece
The sunshine-like golden colour is the best feature of this wine. It has a unique and unusual aroma reminiscent of pine disinfectant and a very strong flavour if you can actually bring yourself to taste it. With wines like this, it's no wonder Greece is in trouble.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99.

Lawson's Dry Hills Pioneer Series Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010
Light gold coloured with a beguiling, exotically scented perfume and lovely balanced sweetness to the flavour that's infused with rose water, orange spices, Turkish Delight, ginger and carnation-like nuances. Rich and intense without being overpowering, it has a lovely mouthfeel and a lasting finish. Gold Medal Air New Zealand Wine Awards.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Caldora Sangiovese 2010 - Ortona Italy
Dark red, moderately dense, with a juicy, plummy, spicy aroma that follows through to the soft rounded palate. Juicy and cherryish with just the right touch of cake spice, it has supple but well-structured tannins and a finish that's driving and long. From the Terre di Chieti IGT, it showed well immediately after Gewurztraminer.
12.5% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Domaine Gachot-Monot Cote De Nuits Villages 2009 Burgundy, France
Ruby garnet. Quite smoky and savoury smelling and earthy and savoury in the palate with floral nuances and hints of cherry. It seems linear to start but expands and evolves nicely with a long expansive, silky tannin finish that is mouthfilling and expressive. Amazing value for Burgundy of this quality 2009 was an excellent year.
12.5% alc. Cork. $41.99.

Vieux Chateau Valentin Cotes De Blaye 2007 - Bordeaux , France
Translucent with a garnet hue, this is perfumed with cherries, nuts and a touch of spice while the taste has a lovely savouriness and spiciness in a medium-bodied package. This blend of predominantly Merlot with the remainder Malbec has fine tannins, vinous complexity and an earthy finish. It expands in mouthfeel and richness and lingers pleasantly. Ready to drink now. Gold Medal Bordeaux Wine Challenge.
12.5% alc. Cork. $22.99.

La Ronciere Mousai Shiraz 2009 Colchagua, Chile
Rich black red with considerable density. There's blackberry and tar on the nose and it tastes spicy, rich and savoury with tobacco, cigar box and just a modicum of pepper. Juicy blackberry fruit fills the mouth, the tannins are pleasingly supple and while quite a dry wine that would go well with meat, fruit sweetness lingers at the end.
13.5% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Thorn Clarke Shotfire Quartage Barossa Valley 2007
A deliciously concentrated wine with an impenetrable black red colour, a rich berry aroma and a full-bodied flavour with deep fruit intensity, it has supple yet well-structured tannins, blackcurrant, spice, smoky oak and a vanillin edge to the lasting finish. Sumptuous throughout with a deep winey presence, the four grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

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.

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