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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

October 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 - 26 Oct 2011
A Selection of Cuisine Top 10 Pinots and others
All but the last wine were tasted blind.

Morton Estate Blanc de Noir Methode Traditionelle 2005
An intriguing blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Pinot Meunier, this 'white' bubbles made from 'black' grapes has a straw gold hue, a slightly earthy aroma and citrus and strawberry tones to the palate with a malty bready richness and a dried rose character to the lingering finish. It has a point of difference.
12% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

River Farm Godfrey Road Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
Moderate gold in hue with a sweet malty oak aroma with a honey nut overlay. Sliippery textured (glycerolic) with nutty oak, malt and citrus, it's not super toasty but pleasingly soft and creamy with a zesty flourish to the lingering finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
This is light yellow gold in hue and smells tantalising bright and rich with sweet oak and hints of grapefruit. A lovely expressive wine when just lightly chilled with flavours of smoky French oak, malt, honeyed wheat, stonefruit, melon and citrus and lingering notes of butterscotch caramel. Utterly irresistible tonight.
14.5% alc. Cork. $38.99.

Deep Cove Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Dark ruby/tamarillo hued. Sweet smelling with smoky oak, black cherry and spiced tamarillo scents. Ripe and rounded with a lovely savoury richness, bittersweet red fruits, moderately firm tannins for the variety but also in the context, quite light. There's cake spice on the lingering finish with acidity adding brightness and length. Made by Wild Earth. 5 Stars, #7 Cuisine. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.3% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Thornbury Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Black cherry red with a rich plummy aroma framed with savoury oak and vanilla. Full-bodied and warm textured with seductively supple tannins, juicy black cherry fruit, mulled wine spices, smoky oak and a lingering suggestion of rosehips. Lovely drinking. Will have great appeal. 5 Stars, #3 Cuisine. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $27.99 special.

Domain Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
A beguiling aroma with a floral allure and chocolatey oak adding to its scented charm. It's dark cherry in hue and initially tastes quite spicy with boiled red fruits, fruits of the forest and plum jam. With firm tannins, a deep savoury richness and lively acidity, it’s a food proposition right now with cellar potential ahead of it. 5 Stars, #4 Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $35.99 special.

Luccarelli Negroamaro 2009 – Puglia, Italy
Very dark black red with a jammy aroma that hints a little of strawberry. Ripe and juicy to the taste with a confectionary edge and an earthy savouriness to balance the fruity sweetness. Tannins are firm yet the wine is juicy and succulent and a hint of citrus peel adds a finishing brightness. The 'stand up' options wine.
13.5% alc. Plastic cork. $18.99 special.

Fairmont Estate Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2010
Dense cherry red in hue Perfumed and floral, yet savoury too – the bouquet is intriguing and complex with perhaps a hint of chocolate cherry coming through. Spicy, gamey and savoury, almost peppery to the taste with brightness to the red fruits, a fine citrussy nuance and a texture that has a silky finesse. Gold Medal NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
This deep plum/ruby red wine smells chocolatey from the outset and tastes rich, ripe and vibrant with a sensuous, seductive, velvety texture and juicy flavours of spiced cherries, chocolate, vanillin oak and a lovely savoury backbone infused with thyme. 5 Stars, #8 Cuisine. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $39.99 special.

Olssens Jackson Barry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Deep black cherry red, youthful in appearance. Another tantalising smelling wine with a bounty of chocolate and cherries on the nose and in the palate. It's ripe, smooth and creamy with a beautifully balanced savoury backbone and classic wild thyme. Concentrated and powerful yet showing its youth with its grainy edge and underlying acidity giving the peacocks tail flare! 5 Stars, #1 Cuisine. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. $43.99 special.

Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Youthful purple/garnet. Beautifully perfumed with florals, aromatic herbs and meaty oak, yet with refinement and elegance to the scent. In the palate the tannins are silky smooth and fine with concentrated black cherry, hints of chocolate and anise. Seems very easy yet it has structure and power, the finish goes on and on, and it could go in the cellar for a while. 5 stars Cuisine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $37.99 special.

Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Ruby/purple with moderate density. The ripe, spicy bouquet is perfumed with cherries and hints of chocolate and a savoury finesse. The savouriness on the nose carries through to the fine-tannined, seamless palate. Not particularly fruity – just lovely varietal earth, game and forest floor. Harmonious with beautiful flow but begging to be accompanied with rack of lamb.
14% alc. Screwcap. $57.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 19 Oct 2011
Value-Packed Wines
Wines were tasted blind.

Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2009
Citrine gold with a bold, smoky oak aroma infused with vanilla and butterscotch and rich, toasty, oaky flavours with a warm wheaty influence, a citrussy brightness and a creamy rounded finish. A 'Kingsley' wine – need we say more! Gold Medals AirNZ and NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Morton Estate Methode Traditionelle Rose NV
Made from 100% Pinot Noir with over four years on yeast lees, this is the colour of macerated strawberry juice and smells vaguely of strawberry too. And yes, strawberries and raspberries fill the palate. Bubbles are effervescent and bright, edgy acidity balances the sweetness and the lingering finish has a lovely yeasty complexity and a savoury intrigue. Fabulous summer drinking, served well-chilled it is sure to please.
12% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Waipara Hills Equinox Waipara Riesling 2007
Light gold coloured with a fairly restrained apple blossom bouquet a contrast to the rich, mature flavour. Almost unctuous with a lovely delicate seam of zest and toastiness that makes it rounded and complete. A gentle hint of sweetness and a juicy tropical fruit aftertaste has the mouth salivating for more. Riesling aficionados will love this.
11.1% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Invivo Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011
Straw gold-coloured, bright and fresh with a nashi pear and green apple perfume, strudel spice brightness to the flavour, richness to the mouthfeel and a lingering finish. There's a bready opulence that adds complexity and while there's a touch of sweetness, it's fashionably stylish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Lucien Albrecht Reserve Alsace Gewurztraminer 2009 - France
The scent of old fashioned roses, violets and carnations present this light gold coloured, sweet-natured wine. Orange zest brightness balances the sweetness and with equally well-balanced and well-structured phenolics, it finishes dry. Very smart wine. Gold & Trophy NZIWS 2010.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $31.99 special.

Coopers Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
Ruby purple-garnet, clear and bright. Aromas of musk and earth, and fine-textured flavours with a herbal edge before black cherry fruit fleshes out the palate. The finish is full with a spicy flourish and excellent length. Excellent value for an NZIWS gold medal wine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Chateau Pesquie Terrasses 2010 – Cote de Ventoux, Rhone
This dark red-coloured blend of Grenache and Syrah is seriously appealing. The savoury aroma is infused with smoke, herbs, cherries and florals and it's earthy and savoury tasting with a little bit of grip to the fine textured velvet-coated tannins, a fleshy nature to the juicy fruit and rose hips lingering. Medium-to-full bodied in palate weight and very nice drinking.
14% alc. Cork. $21.99 special.

Shot in the Dark Shiraz Petite Syrah 2008 - NSW, Australia
Black-red, moderately dense. Concentrated sweet nutty aromas with fruitcake cherry and a touch of chocolate and liquorice follow through to the medium-bodied palate. Super smooth with fine tannins. Excellent value. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Jip Jip Rocks Padthaway Shiraz 2010 – South Australia
Dark purple-red coloured, big, rich, toasty and tarry with masses of juicy red fruit, a touch of mint and loads

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 12 Oct 2011
Wines with Maturity
Wines were tasted blind.

Morton Estate Black Label Methode Traditionelle 2002
Golden coloured with a toasty bouquet and a full rich toasty flavour with effervescence and brightness. Full and long with a nutty finish, it's drinking fabulously for bubbles of this age. Predominantly Pinot Meunier (62%) with Pinot Noir (33%) and Chardonnay with at least three years on yeast lees.
11.5% alc. Cork. $35.99.

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay 2006
Golden coloured with a yellow glinty brightness. With aromas of nuts, caramel and cedar, this is a mature smelling chardonnay. There's a mellow oak infusion to the flavour that's also quite nutty with grilled peach, malt, caramel and a spicy flourish to the finish. Mouthfilling and rich with opulence everywhere.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $NA

Spy Valley Envoy Gewurztraminer 2007
Light yellow gold and very fragrantly scented yet there is an Alsace-like subtlety to the scent as well. It smells like Gewurztraminer and the taste confirms the initial impression. It has richness, sweetness and power to the flavour with lychees and sugar-coated violets, a zing of ginger and a lusciousness to the finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $NA.

d'Arenberg The Noble Botryotinia Fuckeliana 2010
This deep burnished gold nectar is a classical Bordeaux blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. It has an orange toffee and beeswax scent and tastes thick and syrupy sweet but is so beautifully balanced by refreshing acidity and a burst of tropical fruit with lovely citrus accents. Liquid gold in the bottle with a matching NZIWS gold for the label.
8% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special. 375ml.

Kim Crawford Rise & Shine Central Otago Bendigo Pinot Noir 2007
Impenetrable black red with a crimson edge and a sumptuous chocolate and cherry scent. A blockbuster of a Pinot Noir with plums, blueberries, spice, nicely resolved tannins, chocolatey oak and a smooth juicy finish. A big rich wine, in for the long haul, but oddly it reminded me of mature Shiraz.
14% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Ceres Bannockburn Central Otago Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2007
Purple garnet, not quite opaque, this is a finely structured Pinot with an earthy savoury aroma accented with black cherry, and classical savoury flavours that compound in richness and concentration, becoming quite chocolatey on the finish. The earthy savoury notes balance the opulence and the finish is long and succulent.
14% alc. Screwcap. $35.99.

Guigal Cotes du Rhone 2006
Dark red, hinting of some maturity and distinctly European after the fruity Pinot Noirs, this savoury, gamey, earthy wine has a tarry richness that adds character. There's spice, dried herbs, vanilla, strawberry and plum coming through. Grippy tannins indicate it's still developing as does the finishing hint of freshness too. Needs food.
13.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2005
Dark red with fading edges. The aroma is gamey and savoury with nugget, cowpats, and cigar. A firm, dry, Old World style with powerful tannins, savoury flavours and currant-like fruit that fleshes out nicely. Will be in the zone when accompanied with food – Italian preferably, salami will do.
13.5% alc. Cork. $37.99.

Browns of Padthaway Myra Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Mature dark red with sweet chocolate oak aromas and succulent, juicy flavours with a nice balance of nutty oak, spice and mint. There's a lovely maturity to the currant-like fruit with woody herbs, vinous depth and a chocolatey finish. Tannins are nicely resolved making this perfect to enjoy now rather than cellar.
14.5% alc. Cork. $19.99.

Newton Forrest Cornerstone Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2007
Youthful purple red colour, seemingly bright for its age but reflective of this outstanding vintage. The bouquet is perfumed with red fruits, tar and vanillin oak and the flavours offer up plenty. There's raspberry, blackcurrants, liquorice, nut chocolate. cake spice and creamy oak and while the tannins are tightly bound at this stage, this is a stupendous Hawke's Bay red with many years of life ahead of it.
14% alc. Screwcap. $55.99.

Morambro Creek Padthaway Shiraz 2006
Dark red coloured and opulently scented with nut chocolate, vanilla and cedar. A blockbuster wine, it's full-bodied and rich with classical pepper, red and black fruits, chocolate, fruitcake spices and a ripe juicy finish. While it's starting to garner a mellow character, it still has freshness and the tannins are firm. A lovely drink right now.
15% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

De Bortoli Old Boys 21 Year Old Tawny
Clear tawny with golden glints, the spicy aroma smells mature with a caramel/toffee sweetness and it's even more spicy in the palate with the rancio flavour of old barrels, nuts, orange peel and layers of runny toffee. Quite spirituous to start but a rounded smooth finish.
19% alc. Cork. $68.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 5 Oct 2011
Champenoise, Chardonnay and Shiraz
Wines were tasted blind.

No 1 Family Estate Cuvee No 8 Marlborough NV
Light lemon gold with unrelenting bubbles and a foamy mousse. Sophisticated tasting bubbles with a tantalising brioche aroma, it's full-bodied, creamy and malty with a lovely yeasty savouriness and a fresh, dry, lingering finish.
13% alc. Cork. $26.99 special.

Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur NV – Ay, France
Light yellow gold with a fine bead, this has a powerful savoury, malty, almost hop-like scent. The expressive savouriness fills the palate with an increasing fruity sweetness, toasted apple brioche and an intriguing, almost salty zest. A blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Gold Medal & Trophy New Zealand International Wine Show.
12% alc. Cork. $59.99 special.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Light gold coloured with a smoky nuance to the nutty, mealy scent, and plenty of toasty, cedary oak flavours. Fresh and young with a creamy texture and flavours of spiced peaches and nectarines and a rounded finish. Classy wine that will continue to develop.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Hunter's Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
Moderate gold coloured with citrus and tropical fruit to the fore, a zesty freshness with a savoury oak undercurrent and lovely nuances of peaches and caramel cream. This can take chilling without the acidity becoming too edgy. Drinking well now. Perfect for 5 o'clock drinks.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Maven Marlborough Chardonnay 2008
This light yellow coloured number is completely different in a mature kind of way. The aroma is fat and leesy with a spicy oak infusion and the flavour is malty with salted nuts and the sweetness of ripe stonefruit. Oak and acidity are well integrated and the finish is rounded. Kingsley says a very good wine to drink now.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Saint Clair Pioneer Series Block 10 Twin Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
This is seriously a First Glass charmer. It has a lovely light gold colour, it smells and tastes oaky and toasty with a flourish of spice, ripe melon and stonefruit, and there's a more-ish finish of caramel corn. Full-bodied and mouthfilling with a pleasing texture. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Matua Ararimu Gisborne Chardonnay 2009
Quite golden in colour yet surprisingly the aroma is initially quite neutral, becoming quite creamy with malolactic nuances filtering through. It starts off a little like Chablis but builds in flavour from the subtle start and the finish is rich with caramel, stonefruit, citrus, nougat and nuts. A stylish wine with an 'Old World' feel. Gold Medal Royal Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $35.99 special.

Seppelt Original Victoria Sparkling Shiraz 2006
Loganberry/plum red-coloured with a pinky foam. The aroma is a mix of savouriness and tanginess with a salty prune edge and on the first sip, the effervescence is key. Juicy and jammy yet with underlying structure and savouriness. Maturity prevails.
13.5% alc. Cork. $16.99 special.

Yalumba The Strapper GSM Eden Valley Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2010
Ruby red coloured with earth and spice aromas and savoury flavours. Crammed with raspberries and strawberries that are classically Grenache, it's medium-bodied with fine tannins, a savoury undercurrent, fruitcake spices and a light touch of pepper. Lots going on and a good wine for someone who finds grunty Shiraz too heavy.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Yalumba Galway Vintage Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010
Intense purple red with an opulent plummy aroma and intensely peppery flavours. Full-bodied and tongue coating with firm meaty tannins, dark fruits and a hint of mint, this rich savoury wine provides lots of bang for the buck. This name is a blast from the past.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Hardys Oomoo McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008
Dense black red with cocoa on the nose joined by herbs and spices, this has bright spicy flavours and firm tannins, yet is layered with juicy red fruits, vanillin oak and chocolate biscuits. While not as robust as the Barossa wine before it, it's rounded out nicely and drinking well now.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Thorn Clarke Shotfire Barossa Valley Shiraz 2009
Appealing to the eye with its intense black purple colour, and seductive with its American oak scent infused with ripe berries, vanilla and gentle spice. A succulent wine with ample fruit balanced by a spicy savouriness, a fine tannin structure and a creamy finish. Powerful on its own but nevertheless, almost irresistible to drink. Cuisine Magazine Top 10 Shiraz.
14.5% 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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