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edited by Sue Courtney

Wednesday Round-up - the 2012 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

February 2012
[ 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 Feb 2012
Gold Medal Wines, mostly from the Easter Show (RESWA)
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Lindauer Special Reserve Blanc De Blanc NV
White yellow gold with fine bubbles. Yeasty aroma with a lemon bread tang. Fresh and foamy, full-bodied and bready with a savoury depth and a creamy citrus zing on the lingering toasty finish. Outstanding value for money. Gold RESWA.
11.5% alc. Cork. $14.99 special.

Marisco The Ned Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Pale lemon coloured with a vibrant scent of passionfruit and sweet pea and deliciously fruity flavours of passionfruit, pineapple and green melon with tomato stalk and bean and a pungent grassy finish. There's a slight viscosity to the texture and chilled to about 12 degrees, it's just so quenching. Gold RESWA.
13% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Light lemony gold with a radiance to its appearance. Tantalising peaches and cream, lemony lees and smoky, barrel fermented aromas and toasty, nutty flavours with terrific concentration of ripe peach and melon. There's a malty, savoury undercurrent and a citrussy finish. A very classy wine. Five gold medals.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2008
Golden yellow with a creamy, buttery bouquet and a dry nutty savoury palate with some fruit restraint. There's an aura of age and so completely different to the previous wine with malolactic influences, pencil shavings and a flourish of underlying acidity adding zest. "Just beautiful," says Kingsley. Gold RESWA. Gold Bragato 2010.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2008
Golden yellow with delicate leesy aromatics and a smooth creamy palate with a lovely expression of peach and nectarine, a layer of caramel cream and a spicy oak backbone. Lovely acid balance that makes it seems so youthful - it still has a long way to go. Gold RESWA. Gold & Trophy Marlborough Wine Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Couper's Shed Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris 2010
A pale gold wine with a fruity/floral aroma that's delicate and clean and soft apple and pear flavours, a little tingle of gingery zest and a slightly phenolic edge balanced by a touch of sweetness. A change in style from the luscious, gold medal winning 2009. Gold RESWA.
14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Sea Level Home Block Nelson Pinot Gris 2011
Concentrated pear on the nose follows through to the palate with strudel spices and a lovely seam of citrus adding a bright tang with a slight bready nuance, perhaps white mushroom too. A more complex wine with obvious lees aging and richness and roundness to the harmonious finish. Gold RESWA. Gold Bragato. Gold & Trophy International Aromatic Wine Comp.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

2 Degrees Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Deep Burgundy red with a ruby/garnet edge. A youthful and fresh Pinot Noir with a smoky savoury nuance to the chocolate cherry aroma with red fruit over a smoky savoury backbone with well balanced acidity. Not a fruit bomb style at all but actually quite Burgundian and restrained. Gold RESWA. Gold AirNZ.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $35.99.

Coopers Creek Single Vineyard Saint John Hawkes Bay Malbec 2010
Inky amaranth, shiny, intense. There's a floral intrigue to the spicy, creamy oak scent and the taste is rich, ripe and juicy with gobs of plum and blackberry fruit, firm yet svelte tannins, liquorice, leather and a long succulent finish. Exciting wine with lovely use of oak.
14% alc. Screwcap. $27.99.

Coopers Creek Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010
Black in the core with a crimson red edge, this deliciously creamy, soft, supple Hawkes Bay Syrah has a chocolate carnation scent and is full of chocolate, red berries and spicy oak flavours with seductively smooth tannins and some chicory and mocha on the long succulent finish. A super smart wine and not overly peppery. Gold RESWA. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $43.99.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010
Dark purple/crimson with a complex aroma of pepper, tar, chocolate, cherry and chicory. Decanted two hours before tasting, it's quite peppery, meaty and savoury with iodine, chicory, chocolate, lovely purity of blackberry and boysenberry fruit, firm grainy tannins and a fantastically long smoky finish. Champion Wine Sydney International. Gold Hawkes Bay.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2009
Purple black, dense in appearance with a mellow aroma of creamy vanillin oak and chocolate biscuits carrying through to the opulent, ripe palate. Although the tannins are very dry, this is a deep, rich, harmonious wine with concentrated dark berry fruit, liquorice, oak and underlying acidity and spice bringing it all into balance. Gold RESWA. Gold Hawkes Bay.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $35.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 22 Feb 2012
Five Star Wines made from Cuisine's Aromatic Tasting
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Dry Riesling 2011
Ripe and juicy smelling with classic citrus and honeysuckle, this dry zingy, pale coloured Riesling is delicately zesty with apple and lime fruit nicely balanced by the merest suggestion of sweetness with a bright finish and a lasting tingle of freshness. Fabulous value. Cuisine #3.
12% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Te Whare Ra Marlborough Riesling D 2011
Distinctly more lemon and lime on the nose, a little earthy and very dry, linear and focussed with haunting purity of juicy citrus fruit and zest. Lithe and long with beautiful balance that adds a textural intensity and a hint of honey to the end. A stunning dry style. My favourite on the night. Cuisine #7.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Dry Riesling 2010
A hint of grapefruit blossom on the nose carries through to the vibrantly citric palate where lemon, lime, mandarin peel, grapefruit infused with exhilarating zest add brightness to the mouthfeel with a beautifully balanced finish bringing it just off the cusp of bone dry. Cuisine #1.
12% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Greystone Waipara Pinot Gris 2011
Floral smelling with pears and a hint of spice and off dry to the taste, this oozes ripeness and juicy fruit sweetness balanced by zesty acidity and a hint of honeysuckle on the end. Lovely mouthfeel and a long rich finish. Cuisine #3.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Main Divide Waipara Pinot Gris 2011
Rich concentrated aroma of honey, ripe pear and a touch of spice. Some spritz in the palate gives the wine a slightly fizzy texture. Barrel ferment and lees aging adds an earthy savouriness with underlying acidity balancing the subtle pear and apricot sweetness. Some Alsace inspiration here. Cuisine #1 & Best Buy.
13.7% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Spy Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2011
Perfumed and aromatic with a distinctly lemon scented floral bouquet then in the soft-textured palate a lovely touch of aromatic spice and white pepper infuses the musky pear flavours that have a savoury undercurrent. The brightness of orange zest gives a lovely burst of freshness to the finish. A fairly delicate style for this sometimes flamboyant variety but with a finish that lasts and lasts. Delicious. Cuisine #5. 14% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Framingham Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010
Reminiscent of ginger nuts on the nose, this tastes classically varietal with rose petal, lychee and Turkish Delight and a soft fine mouthfeel. It has a lasting rich weighty impression with a ginger-like spices and a touch of sweetness that imparts a sense of lusciousness without being cloying. Cuisine #1.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Series Block 9 Big John Marlborough Riesling 2011
Gorgeously aromatic with a honey-scented citrus blossom bouquet, this bright, fresh Riesling has low alcohol and a touch of sweetness that just makes it so enjoyable to drink. Quenching, refreshing, deliciously long with lasting flavours of tangelo and lime. Lovely wine. Cuisine #2.
9% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Giesen Marlborough Riesling 2011
A lovely pure expression of citrussy Riesling grapes with a hint of rose petal to the bouquet and red apple, citrus and the classic earthiness of Riesling coming through in the palate with a long juicy finish and lovely acid balance to moderate the (40 g/l rs) sweetness. Cuisine #10 and Best Buy.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2011
The heady bouquet is so distinctive of the variety and the textures and flavours are smooth, soft and silky with a deep musky savoury backbone, rose petals, orange water and a gentle spice infusion. Showing a little more restraint than we would expect from this producer, it's like a bud that’s about to unfurl. Excellent. Cuisine #2. 13% alc. Diam. $29.99 special.

Te Whare Ra Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010
There's so much more pepper in this rich concentrated mouthful of heady lusciousness, it seems. Earthy spices like cumin and cardamom add an exotic intrigue and classic Turkish Delight and rose petal linger on the rich, juicy finish. Cuisine #3. 14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Main Divide Reserve Pokiri Late Picked Waipara Pinot Gris 2009
A delicious, sweet, late harvest Pinot Gris, with a honeysuckle aroma, it has tingly acidity to balance the delicate candied orange and pear sweetness and strudel spices. Fine textured and beautifully balanced with a luscious finish that is penetrating and long. Oustanding wine. Cuisine #4. 13% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

Selaks Heritage Reserve Gisborne/Waipara Gewurztraminer Riesling 2011
Concentrated apricot, orange, honey and spice on the nose and soft and luscious with honey, sweet citrus, apricot and dried papaya in the palate. Viscous and textural with the spicy nature of Gewurztraminer and the tingly finish of Riesling combining in harmony. A 'Best Buy' in Cuisine.
11% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 15 Feb 2012
Anthing Goes
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Squealing Pig Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
This juicy and vibrant smelling Sauv is crammed with bright punchy flavours of pineapple, passionfruit, gooseberry, yellow capsicum and summer herbs. It's crisp, fresh, pungent and flavourful with great mouthfeel and presence. 5 star quality. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Wines of Ara Single Site Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011
Served reasonably chilled this pale lemon coloured wine has a pear aroma with a stonefruit succulence and a crisp citrussy undercurrent to the orchard fruit flavours with a touch of sweetness on the finish. A beaut pre-dinner conversation tipple but a little too cold to express it's gold medal quality on the night. Gold Marlborough Show – where it was tasted at room temperature.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Cave De Lugny Macon Villages Chardonnay 2010 – France
Light gold coloured with a chalky nuance to the creamy aroma, it tastes buttery and tongue coating creamy from the full mlf then the underlying acidity kicks in. Dry with crisp apple acidity and a flinty restraint at this early stage of its life, there's a mealy savouriness and a lovely expansive finish. Decanter Trophy for Best Chardonnay under £10.
13% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Bascand Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
Yellow gold with a rich, buttery, toasty aroma infused with stonefruit and nutty oak followed in the palate by rich mealy characters with funky, savoury nuances from partial wild ferment. A very enjoyable wine with juicy stonefruit and citrus, a touch of caramel, terrific mouthfeel, expansive finish and takes chilling well. 4.5 stars.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $10.99 special.

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2009 - Margaret River
Light gold with malty, mealy aromas infused with classy French oak this is a very refined, very classy and very dry wine with pineapple, white peach, hazelnut, spicy French oak and a silky flow. A very impressive dinner party wine with a fantastically long finish. A sensational Charonnay, I rate it 5 stars.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $56.99.

Kerpen Riesling 2009 – Mosel, Germany
Pale in colour with a restrained aroma, perhaps a clue to its origin. It's not overly sweet with modest alcohol and a flinty backbone with a lime and apple zing and a long, juicy and terrifically quenching finish. A beautiful young wine with pure clean fruit (ie no botrytis). 4.5 stars.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99.

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2010 - Central Otago
Deep purple red / ruby garnet in hue, this is dry, earthy and gamey but there's a juicy New World succulence pervading the savoury, almost Burgundian, nature of this wine. Savoury yet fleshy, with black cherry, smoky bacon, forest floor and firm tannins - not a fruit bomb in any way.
14% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Guigal Cotes Du Rhone 2007 – Rhone, France
Dark red coloured with a concentrated brambly aroma with tar, polished leather and rose petal nuances adding to the aromatic intrigue. A profoundly savoury dry wine with supple tannins and natural cherry fruit sweetness with touches of cedar, chocolate and spice. Made from a blend of Shiraz 55%, Grenache 35% and Mourvedre 10%, this is a lovely wine from an excellent vintage, it's very smooth, a little peppery and drinking well now. 4 stars.
14% alc. Cork. $20.99 special.

Man O War 'Ironclad' 2009 - Waiheke Island
Concentrated black red in hue with a sweet earth, savoury oak and chocolate biscuit aroma, this full-bodied dry red has concentrated red and black fruit characteristic of the Bordeaux varieties it is made from. Cedary, with some grip to the tannins and a rich, savoury finish that is persistent, expansive and long, it has a beguiling flourish of rose petal at the end . A blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Ultra-impressive. 5 stars. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. $39.99 special.

Quarisa Johnny Q 'Treasures' Shiraz 2006 - Langhorne Creek
Black red, impenetrable, incredible colour for its age. Perfumed aromatics with a deep Shiraz fruit presence and lovely bottle-aged complexity. Medium to full-bodied in style, dry and cedary with fine tannins, hints of tobacco, plum jam, fruit cake spices and a succulent juicy finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Chocolate Box 'Truffle Chocolate' Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – Barossa Valley
Impenetrable black red in hue with concentrated red fruit and vanillin oak scents, this is a lovely wine with a beautifully refined structure, resolved tannins, some dry extract and underlying acid lift to balance the opulent fruit. Very smooth, creamy and chocolatey, almost seamless, with an unbelievably succulent finish. Made by the super impressive Rocland Estate. 4.5 stars.
15% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Krohn Vintage Porto Quinta do Retiro Novo 2007 – Portugal
An impenetrable pool of deep purple in the glass, this has a heady, spirituous, nutty aroma and is even more spirity and alcoholic in the palate with the smoky character of the port barrels and incredible concentration of spiced prunes and blackcurrants. Smooth, seamless with great impression on the palate and incredible length. Trophy Fortified Wine 2011 NZIWS.
20% alc. Cork. $74.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 1 Feb 2012
Wines made from Traditional French Varieties
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Tohu Mugwi Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010
A sweet-fruited and floral smelling wine with a hint of snow pea that's joined in the palate by juicy banana passionfruit and honeydew melon. With a little age and a touch of oak to add a mellow complexity there's nothing at all brash about this wine. The texture is harmoniously smooth and the finish is rounded and long. Very nice and popular on the night. Gold Medal Air NZ Wine Awards.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Domaine Seguinot Chablis Grand Vin De Bourgogne 2009 – Burgundy, France
A pale wine with a shy and delicate scent of tropical fruit, citrus and a hint of cream that's just starting to turn. Soft textured with a tingle of zest but quite neutral flavours of apple and pear. A steely, cool climate style with an incredibly dry finish that is expansive and long. 3 stars.
13% alc. Diam. $33.99.

Waimea Nelson Viognier 2009
We are redeemed in the aroma department with the rich, almost sweet, opulent, fragrant scent and the heady flavours of butterscotch and caramel in harmony with juicy apricot and peach. Rich in colour with a smooth texture, a curvaceous complexity and an expansive finish. I rate this 5 stars. Trophy New Zealand International Wine Show 2010.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99/$19.99.

Johanneshof Marlborough Medium Pinot Gris 2009
Expressively perfumed and fragrant, more redolent of Gewurztraminer than Pinot Gris and the taste is full-bodied, textural and spicy with Turkish Delight, spiced baked apple and candied violets. Made in the rich, opulent Alsatian style, it's golden in colour with a sweet disposition and a long mouthfilling finish.
13% alc. Diam. $29.99.

Main Divide Pokiri Reserve Late Picked Pinot Gris 2009
Golden hued with a lime and honeysuckle aroma and a rich sweet flavour of honey, beeswax, candied peel and a sweet orange marmalade finish. A late picked wine with a touch of botrytis, a lightly viscous texture and impeccable acid balance. Most of the tasters classified the wine as 'medium sweet'. 5 stars from the group on the night, inlcuding me. 5 Stars Winestate Magazine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

Fairmont Block One Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2009
Dark garnet red with an intense aroma of plums, smoke and leather, this silky textured Pinot is full of flavour with that quintessential gamey savouriness, a touch of spice and a long meaty finish. A zing of acidity on the finish is a sign of its potential longevity. Fantastic price for a wine of this quality. Gold Medal NZIWS 2010.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Pinot Noir 2009
Youthful ruby garnet in appearance, perfumed and floral with a little funk and game. Initially more strawberry and cherry flavours with slight grip to the tannins and floral notes, which are a clue to the region, makes it seem more of an 'elegant' style than the Pegasus Bay Pinots of the past, but there's a deep, earthy, gamey, savoury sense and a beautifully expansive and deliciously long finish that lingers for minutes. A beautiful wine to sip and savour. 5 stars.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $51.99.

Quarisa 30 Mile Shiraz 2008 Australia
Black red with moderate intensity, it has a rich berry fruit aroma infused with cedary oak and a touch of spice and soft, juicy flavours of chocolate-coated blueberries with a touch of nutmeg and fruitcake cherries. A little sweet on the finish but this medium to full-bodied sipper is soft, smooth and so easy to enjoy.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2008
Black purple, shiny and dense. The bouquet is spicy and savoury with smoky oak and leather. A very dry wine but profound and rich with ultra-ripe fruit and lashings of black pepper. Still looking youthful but settled in the palate with a long lasting finish, it has excellent potential to age and is best enjoyed with food right now. Elite Gold Medal AirNZ Wine Awards 2009.
13% alc. Cork. $32.99 special.

Mitolo Jester McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008
Black deep and dense with a bouquet of sweet vanillin oak and super ripe fruit seducing the senses. With flavours of dark berry fruit, a hint of chocolate, a flourish of spice, underlying leather and a touch of chicory on the finish it seems easy to start but the tannins in this wine are deceptive. It’s big and bold with a firm dry finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Quarisa Johnny Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Purple black coloured with a seductive aroma of creamy vanillin oak, chocolate and cassis. A big rich wine with a full body, smooth yet firm tannins and plenty of red berry and cassis flavour. The underlying acidity is a clue to its makeup. A lovely wine made by a very clever winemaker and undoubtedly the 'hot buy' of the night. The NZIWS judges gave it gold medal and we, including me, rated it 5 stars.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2008
Shiny black red, impenetrable and dense. The bouquet of fine French oak, chocolate and anise oozes finesse and the palate back us the promise. With dark berry fruit, cassis and firm tannins, this is a deep rich wine with a long life ahead of it. Gold Medal NZIWS 2010.
14% alc. Cork. $35.99.

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.

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