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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

July 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 - 25 Jul 2012
Brand New and Sellout Specials
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Thornbury Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Ravishingly fresh and citrussy with salad herbs complementing the green passionfruit scent and a quenching passionfruit, pineapple, pink bubblegum and grapefruit taste. Punchy and tangy with a powerful presence and a long juicy finish that has the fumé character of fresh cut grass.
13% alc. Screwcap. $12.99 special.

Brightwater Lord Rutherford Nelson Chardonnay 2009
Light lustrous gold in appearance with a touch of caramel and a smoky nuance to the delicate citrussy scent. Chilled on the night, the acidity was initially quite pronounced but warming up it shows its class with its flavour and length. There's citrus and tropical fruit, a touch of nougat, a toasty oak backbone and a long nutty finish. Champion Chardonnay and Wine of the Show, Easter Show 2012.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special. Limited stocks.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
Light lemon gold, creamed nuts and caramel on the nose, fresh juicy peach in the palate. A youthful wine with a zesty undercurrent, hints of grapefruit, toasty sweet oak and a suggestion of vanilla as the lemon chantilly cream flavours linger. A pretty wine, medium to full-bodied, and very easy to like.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Osawa Prestige Collection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
A fragrant, mouthfilling Chardonnay that's a bright light golden colour with a toasted cashew, honey oak and apricot scent and a fleshy, fulfilling texture. Smoky and savoury with tropical fruit and stonefruit, a spicy oak undercurrent, sweet nutty flavours, a caramel overlay and a zesty flourish to the smooth, seamless finish. 5 star quality. Gold Easter Show.
14.5% alc. Cork. 32.99.

Morton Estate Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009
Bright golden yellow with a sweet nut-infused smoky French oak scent, upfront citrus and caramel, becoming quite mealy and savoury with an ultra long finish and lingering flavours of nectarines, peaches, shortbread biscuits and cream. Initially a little cold, but as it warms up a buttery nuance comes through.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Te Whare Ra Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010
With distinctive aromas that only Gewürztraminer can deliver, this light golden wine has a bouquet of incense, middle eastern spices and rose petals and sweet musky flavours infused with rose water, praline and ginger, then those evocative exotic spices fill out the finish. Smooth and textural with a light viscosity to the luscious mouthfeel.
14% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Torea Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
After the smoky, savoury, cherry-infused scent, the flavour of this light pinky red wine is full of those intriguing bittersweet red fruit characters, delivered with a tingle of acidity to the tip of the tongue, those mossy forest floor nuances, woody herbs, a touch of musky fruit sweetness to the finish and a smooth impression throughout. Medium bodied in style and value-packed for the special price.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011
Impressively deep violet ruby, there's a nuance of chocolate to the ripe black cherry and thyme flower scent. Youthful with firm tannins (for Pinot), this is full bodied, spicy and expressive with floral nuances, a touch of anise, a concentrated juicy black cherry sweetness and a delectable savouriness that holds it all together. Could be a benchmark for the 2011 wines at this price point. A very smart wine indeed.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $57.99.

Milcrest Nelson Syrah 2010
Blackberry red, with a strawberry and black pepper scent and lashings of pepper in the palate with cherry, coconut and vanillin oak flavours. It's juicy and creamy with smooth velvety tannins, underlying dried herbs, nugget and mocha and an appealing brightness to the lingering finish. Medium to full bodied with American oak flavours that make this Pinot appealing to Aus Shiraz lover's palates. Gold Easter Show.
13% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Woop Woop South East Australia Shiraz 2010
Black red. Slightly tarry, barnyard and allspice scent. Dry and savoury and herbal with smooth, silky tannins, stewed blackberry fruit and a warm finish. A little one-dimensional in the context of the tasting tonight.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Gotham Estate Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
A deep dark, bricky red with a warm scent of chocolate and cherries. Quite savoury at first in the palate, then chocolate and boysenberry jam with a fleshy texture and mouthfeel that adds to its instant appeal. There's some underlying varietal herbal characters with red fruit and leather on the finish. A big, rich, jammy style.
14.8% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Jim Barry The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Dark pinky purple red with a cassis and mint clarity to the scent and distinctive cedar and cassis with a minty brightness to the flavour - this is cool climate Australian Cabernet as we know it. A wine with a fine tannin structure yet firm in its presence, it's a blend of Coonawarra and Clare Valley fruit and to me the outstanding wine of the pair.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 18 Jul 2012
Yalumba Wines with Jane Ferrari
The wines were not tasted blind.

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2010
Sunlight gold, toasty and bready on the nose and dry, toasty and fleshy tasting with lemon grass, a touch of honey, hints of nuts and quintessential apricot that is ethereal in its presence with a touch of butter caramel on the lingering full-bodied finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99.

Yalumba The Virgilius Eden Valley Viognier 2009
Even richer both on the nose and in the palate with a hint of smoke, This straw gold wine tastes warm and heady with a lovely slippery texture, spiced plumped-up raisins, a bready richness, hints of crystallised ginger with classical apricot on the lemongrass-infused finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $.4799.

Yalumba Running with Bulls Barossa Tempranillo 2011
Medium-weight black red. Savoury smelling with intense red and black fruit presence. Slightly confectionery to the taste, the juicy blackberry and raspberry fruits float over the smooth tannin backbone with a spicy brightness and a savoury meaty finish. Young and fresh in a light to medium-bodied style with cherries and musk lingering. Easy-going and tasty to drink. Great lunchtime red or tapas red.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba The Strapper Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2010
Medium weight red black. Savoury and smoky, a suggestion of BBQ, hint of American oak on the nose. Chicory is a feature in the spicy, toasted nut palate with the sweetness of raspberry and cherry and a touch of liquorice. Smooth in texture and while still medium weight, it's more weighty than the Tempranillo. The expansive finish has meaty undercurrent and lingering musk and red plum. Begging for a meat dish with exotic spies, especially star anise, it's made from 40% Grenache, 30% Shiraz and 30% Mataro.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Yalumba Barossa Patchwork Shiraz 2010
Bright reddish black. Satisfying Shiraz aroma of vanillin oak, plums, cherries , pepper and spice. Ultra smooth and creamy on first tasting, spicy, yet savoury with chicory, a potpourri of herbs, smoke and clay with enveloping anisey spices and a touch of pepper on the lifted red and juicy purple fruit finish. Lovely drinking now or over 3 to 5 years.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
This deep red coloured wine smells full bodied and intense, with juicy black cherries, a savoury richness and a subtle suggestion of herbs and mint A little brooding and earthy to the taste with a hot mint character, mouthcoating velvety tannins, musk, violets, cinnamon, cigar box, fruit cake spices and an almost peppery flourish to the red fruit finish. A little more serious. Nice.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99.

Yalumba The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Dark red. Tempting aromas of sweet oak, mint, cedar and nut chocolate, all this in the palate too, with concentrated red fruits, spices, an underlying meatiness and a creamy vanillin edge. I get a rose petal character prettiness in this lovely wine too and cigar nuances on the lingering finish. . Tannins are still resolving in this fabulous long-term prospect. Very popular on the night with the First Glass tasters.
14% alc. Cork. $42.99 special.

Yalumba The Scribbler Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2009
Moderate weight black red with a floral nuance infusing the red fruit perfume. Spicy to the taste with an abundance of red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants), violets, leather, cured meat, fine smooth tannins, bright lifted finish with lingering chicory, herbs and mint. After the Menzies this is a distinctively simpler, medium-bodied style.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba The Signature Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2008
Ah! Comforting familiar territory. Showing a little bricking to the dark red hue, the tantalising aroma is filled with smoky vanillin oak, concentrated red fruits and hints of mocha and chicory. With incredibly fine tannins and a seamless flow, the palate is concentrated and full with plums, violets, vanilla, peppery spices, hints of liquorice and anise, and deliciously enticing nut chocolate and mint.
13.5% alc. Cork. $42.99 special.

Yalumba The Octavius Old Vine Barossa Shiraz 2006
Incredibly dark black red with an intense vanillin oak scent, a touch of chocolate and nuances of coconut. Showing a wonderful secondary savoury earthy complexity that has accrued with bottle age but a vanilla /cocoa theme is still pretty prominent too with fruit reminiscent of shrivelled, concentrated blackcurrants bringing a moreish sweetness to the lavish finish, where the pepper of the Shiraz makes a striking appearance. The incredibly fine silky tannin structure and vinous depth sets this wine apart from all the others so far.
13.5% alc. Cork. $99.99.

Yalumba The Reserve Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2004
The colour is deceptively deep and dark and the aroma and taste is concentrated and complex with bottle aged characters a consistent theme. Blackcurrant, dark chocolate and mocha on the nose and vanilla, milk chocolate, allspice, anise and mint in the palate. Vinous rather than fruity, with a seamless flow, and while the tannins seem resolved, they are still firm and provide structure and power. It is distinctively different and although we have tasted previous vintages at Yalumba nights before, I can't remember any being as magnificent as this.
13.5% alc. Cork. $118.99.

Yalumba FSW8B Botrytis Viognier 2011 - Wrattonbully
Viognier is all about honey, and apricot and nougat and this wine, that is so refreshing after the reds, fills that brief. Light creamy gold, fragrant honeycomb aromatics, botrytis fills the mouth, clean not cloying with lemonade-like citrus, honey intensity and the ethereal character of Viognier's apricots coming through. Cuts through the fat. Lovely wine.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special. 375-mls.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 11 Jul 2012
The French Connection
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Grandin Methode Traditionelle Brut NV – Loire Valley, France
Light creamy yellow. Quite toasty on the nose and savoury in the palate with refreshing bubbles and crisp apple and earthy flavours. It's very salivating and very dry, with mile high lemon meringue pie on the tangy finish. Made from Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon this is value buying in French bubbles.
11.5% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Henri Bourge
ois Le Bonnes Bouches Sancerre 2010 – Loire Valley, France
Citrine gold with a distinctive passionfruit and grass bouquet, this has bold, mouthfilling flavours infused with tangy citrus zest lingering pea. The most exuberant Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire that I've tried, it has line and length with intriguing smokiness and that 'sucking smooth riverstones' on the finish that makes it seems so dry.
13.5% alc. Cork. $41.99.

Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Straw gold with a bouquet of citrus and summer herbs and an abundance of grapefruit in the palate, this seems crisp and flinty to start yet fills out with nectarine on the expansive and tangy finish where the tropical fruit that Marlborough is so renowned for lingers assertively.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $27.99.

Joseph Drouhin Meursault 2010 – Burgundy, France
A 'villages' level wine made from 100% Chardonnay, this is a light gold colour with a delicately toasty, savoury oak bouquet and a dry crisp palate loaded with malolactic flavours. There's a touch of smoky oak on the lingering nutty finish, where peach juice comes to mind, and the wine has the linearity and length that we saw in the Sancerre. Exciting, and a treat to taste.
13% alc. Cork. $77.99.

River Farm Godfrey Road Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
This moderate yellow gold coloured wine smells opulent and toasty and tastes immediately sweeter, richer, and riper (than the Meursault) with juicy stonefruit to the fore. There's lovely use of nutty oak and the tangy finish has a touch of grapefruit to masterfully balance the creamy layers. Stylish and classy and great buying, even at the original $30 price.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Marc Bredif Vouvray Classic 2010 - Loire Valley
After the delicate honeysuckle and earthy apple peel bouquet, the palate of this light gold coloured 100% Chenin Blanc is surprisingly full and rich with a bright, tangy freshness and a powerfully long finish It's seems very dry but it is also so quenching with its melon-like juiciness and fresh apple acidity. A lovely wine to drink already but also worth considering for a few years in the cellar.
13% alc. Cork. $33.99.

Joseph Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2010 – Burgundy, France
Pinky garnet red with a macerated cherry bouquet, this Burgundy is dry and seems quite light yet the tannins are decisively firm. It builds in its savoury intensity and the finish lingers delicately with classic cherry, mushroom and herbs. Undoubtedly Pinot Noir and a pretty good example for the price.
12.5% alc. Cork. $22.99 special.

Fairmont Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2010
Almost black red in colour, this has a lovely juicy red fruit, rose hip and subtle musky bouquet and spicy, savoury flavours with a smoky character that's reminiscent of bacon. A succulent powerful Pinot with a silk-edged velvety tannin structure, juicy bittersweet red fruit and a long savoury finish, this is outstanding for the price and very drinkable. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Domaine Charvin Cotes du Rhone 2010 – Rhone, France
Dark ruby red with a deep rich core, this has a fragrant bouquet of red fruits and smoky oak and tastes savoury and juicy with red plums, bottled cherries, with firm teeth-coating tannins, a youthful freshness and a smoky, almost cigar box-like finish. Overall, apart from the upfront tannins, it is supple and soft with a touch of peppery spice. Made from predominantly Grenache. A keeper.
14% alc. Cork. $26.99 special.

Mills Reef Reserve Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot 2010 - Hawkes Bay
Ruby red in colour with a savoury, earthy aroma, some Brett influence here I think, dusty brambles too, this initially seems light to medium-boded with a silky tannin structure. It's a little herbal, a little savoury, a little smoky, a little earthy with a touch of liquorice, juicy plums, wild blackberries and summer pudding (bready), becoming increasing more complex on the finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay 'The Trinity' 2011
A crimson black wine with youthful brightness to the hue, this has a lovely floral musky fragrance to the cake spice-infused bouquet and tastes of juicy red fruits and allspice with hints of fennel and star anise. With its smooth, velvety tannin structure there's a lot going on in this multi grape blend. Made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, it is a good bench mark for the 2011 Hawkes Bay vintage.
13% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Mouton Cadet Reserve Sauternes 2010 – Bordeaux, France
Bright yellow topaz, A flavoursome sweeties, yet not overly sweet, this blend of 90% Semillon and 10% Sauvignon Blanc has a bouquet of honey and apricot and luscious flavours of candied oranges, bees wax and honeysuckle with an underlying hint of lanolin. Harmonious in its mouthfeel and flow with a slightly viscous runny honey texture, it is penetrating but not cloying at all. Terrific wine. Exceptional value.
13.5% alc. Cork. $34.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 4 Jul 2012
Wines from Italy, Germany, Spain & Portugal
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Antinori Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio 2010 - Sicily
This pale straw wine has a subtle lanolin nuance to the aroma and for Italian Grigio, which I usually think of as bone dry, has a slightly luscious feel to the taste. It's oily in texture with fine acidity balancing the delicate melon and apple fruit, lanolin again and a slight minerally, metallic edge to the finish. Nice take on the variety.
12% alc. Cork. $24.99.

Kerpen Hauth-Kerpen Riesling Spatlese Feinherb 2010 – Mosel, Germany
Light yellow gold with a exotic spiciness to the floral aroma, this is so distinctly Riesling in the palate with toffee apples and a honeyed sweetness building to a luscious finish with a vibrant burst of citrus that makes the lingering aftertaste seem quite dry. A beautifully balanced style with incredible length and very very nice. The Spatlese labelling can be a little deceptive as the wines tastes drier than expected, hence the higher alcohol.
12% alc. Vinolok. $24.99 special.

Kerpen Wehlener-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2010 – Mosel, Germany
Bright yellow gold with a comb honey scent, this is fresh and vibrant tasting from the outset with racy, mouthwatering orange and lemon acidity that makes it initially seem quite dry. There's a hint of 'kero' that adds an intriguing and slightly earthy layer and luscious honey nuances fill the mouth at the end. Fantastic balance, fantastic length and excellent concentration. Outstanding.
8.5% alc. Vinolok. $29.99 special.

Protocolo Tempranillo 2010 - Vino de la Terra de Castillo, Spain
Purple red, not quite opaque. Inviting pure red and purple berry aromas, and spicy in the palate with vanillin oak, smoky spicy nuances, hints of liquorice and juicy fruit concentration. Fresh and vibrant with supple tannins and a bright finish, this medium-bodied wine is outstanding value.
13.5% alc. Cork. $13.99 special.

Coto de Hayas Crianza 2010 – Campo de Borja, Spain
Dark red. Vanillin oak and cherry on the nose and crammed with juicy red fruits in the palate with well balanced acidity, sweet spices, a touch of cigar box, hints of leather and a savoury finish with blueberry lingering. Moderately full-bodied with a creamy texture and firm tannins, it has almost a 'new world' feel to it.
13.5% alc. Cork. $16.99 special.

Antinori Santa Cristina Toscana IGT 2010 – Tuscany, Italy
Dark red, some translucency to the hue. Stinky nose opens up to reveal a touch of cherry. Distinctly European to our kiwi palates, this is savoury and herbal with dry tannins, concentrated black cherry fruit that fills out the mid-palate and a firm peppery finish with a touch of milk chocolate coming through too, Made from predominantly Sangiovese with Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah – it is an entry level wine in the Antinori range and tastes like it is too.
13% alc. Cork. $16.99 special.

Legado Munoz Garnacha 2009 - Vino de la Terra de Castillo, Spain
Dark red with an earthy, savoury aroma, this is a clean, fresh wine with an appealing medium weight palate and with just 3 months in oak the juicy red fruit just sings. It's well balanced by acidity with an earthy depth and a cigar box finish. Andrew says it is a great wine for tapas.
13.5% alc. Cork. $15.99.

Castano Molino Loco Monastrell 2011 – Yecla, Spain
Purple red with bright intensity. Inviting concentrated blackcurrant and violet bouquet and vibrant spicy flavours laced with pepper and anise, The juicy cherry and boysenberry fruit is offset nicely by the and savoury meaty undercurrent and fine dry tannins then blueberries and cream linger on the finish. So approachable and drinkable with such purity of fruit there seems to be little influence of oak.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Penny's Hill The Experiment McLaren Vale Grenache 2009 – South Australia
Moderate red in colour, this screams comfort with its creamy vanillin oak and coconut scent, and tastes spicy, savoury and juicy with voluptuous strawberry, redcurrant and cherry fruit sweetness, firm yet supple tannins, a touch of liquorice, a hint of mint and a long creamy finish. Love it. The 'stand up' options wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $34.99.

Castano Hecula Monastrell 2009 – Yecla, Spain
Moderately dark red, not opaque. A little restrained on the smoky nose, this is earthy, savoury and meaty in the palate with a touch of liquorice, dark blue and black fruits and plenty of acidity that indicates this is a wine that will age. Mouthfilling and creamy with surprisingly supple silky tannins and an expansive finish with a touch of fruitcake at the end, there's lots going on here. A blockbuster in the context of the tasting so far and really needs food.
14% alc. Cork. $20.99 special.

Coto de Hayas Garnacha Centenaria 2010 – Campo de Borja, Spain
Black red, vibrant and translucent in appearance, this is a bright spicy wine with aromas of chicory, cherry and spicy oak and juicy, ripe, sweet fruit flavours with a firm structure and loads of pepper. Full-bodied, supple, creamy and spicy with vanilla, blueberry pie, cherry and a long, tasty finish. Very smart.
14.5% alc. Cork. $29.99.

Dows 10 Year Old Tawny Port – Oporto, Portugal
Orange amber. Very raisiny, spiritous on nose and loads of rancio first up in palate with lovely smoky nuances, candied peel, prunes and liquorice. It's silky in texture with a long, fine finish that seems to last forever.
20% alc. Cork. $61.99.

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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