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

March 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 www.first-glass.co.nz for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 21 Mar 2012
Prestige Premiums, Reserves and Boutiques
Wines were tasted blind.

Forrest The Doctors Marlborough Riesling 2011
A delicate bouquet of honeysuckle and lime and a crisp, fresh taste with racy acidity to balance the honeyed sweetness. A lovely light refreshing style with florals, spice, zest, juicy lemonade and lime and a bright, tangy finish - perfect for an aperitif.
8.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
Light yellow coloured with a butterscotch-coated toasty aroma and rich, full flavours of wine biscuits, orange, peaches and caramel cream with fresh acidity and spicy zest to balance the butterscotch richness. Luscious and opulent with classy oak, a savoury undercurrent and an expansive finish. Gold Medal Royal Easter Show.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Brightwater Lord Rutherford Barrique Nelson Chardonnay 2009
Light gold with citrus notes to the mellow smoky bouquet that follow through to the tangy palate to be joined by peach and preserved ginger in syrup notes. So different to the previous wine, it's flinty, youthful and vibrant, with fine French oak, a long, creamy finish and a classic Burgundian-like elegance. Royal Easter Show Champion Chardonnay, Champion Wine of Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2010
Light yellow gold with a creamy lemon biscuit scent and a smooth seamless impression in the palate. Youthful and fresh with juicy tropical fruit, a nougat-like creaminess and a biscuity butterscotch finish. It's like the previous wine on steroids and got most votes for favourite Chardonnay of the three. Four gold medals.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Gustave Lorentz Reserve Alsace Pinot Gris 2009
Straw gold coloured with restrained pear and spice aromas but the flavours are exquisite and build in richness in the palate. It's lightly viscous and textural with soft acidity, pear, a touch of honeysuckle and a spicy harmonious finish with a delicate musky sweetness.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Lawson's Dry Hills The Pioneer Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010
Bright gold with a powerful bouquet of rose petals and spices and full flavours of warm pepper, ginger, cardamom and other Asian spices. Texturally smooth and rounded with a light viscosity, rose musk, orange water and a touch of apricot. A partially oak-fermented wine and despite the moderate sweetness, it seems to finish dry.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Millcrest Estate Nelson Pinot Noir 2010
Moderate black cherry red with a lovely rich bouquet of cherry, plum and cake spice, the richness following through to the medium to full palate where there are flavours of chocolate, aniseed (tarragon) and spiced berries with fine silky tannins and a lasting lively finish. Lovely take on the expression of the grape.
14% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Deep dark cherry red with a perfumed bouquet that emanates classic smoky savoury nuances with cherries ad dried herbs. Earthy and savoury with juicy plum and cherry fruit, firm tannins, and a chocolate richness to the spicy finish. That typical "I am Pinot" character through and through.
14% alc. Screwcap. $49.99.

The Big Top California Zinfandel 2010
Dark purple red with moderate density. Tar and leather on the nose and gamey and savoury in the palate with ripe juicy blackcurrant, strawberry and plum fruit. A medium-bodied, easy going, fresh, fruity wine with peppery spice, smooth tannins and a sweet, creamy finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Penny's Hill The Experiment McLaren Vale Grenache 2009
Like a red cherry in appearance, it smells of ripe, juicy strawberries with a touch of mint and tastes juicy, spicy, fruity and savoury with a sweet creamy oak backbone and fine smooth tannins. A lovely, spicy, well balanced wine with complexity and a savoury note to the concentrated finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $30.99 special.

Annie's Lane Copper Trail Clare Valley Shiraz 2008
Impenetrable purple black with a shiny, reflective appearance. The bouquet is opulent and spicy with a creamy oak aura and the taste is full-bodied and sumptuous with firm tannins, concentrated berry fruit, a rich savoury backbone, peppery spice, biscuity oak, mint and a hint of tar. Succulent and lush with an assertive presence, this blockbuster wine doesn't hint of its age.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $45.99.

Penny's Hill Skeleton Key McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009
Black red coloured with spice, a touch of rose petal and a savoury tarry nuance. The tannins are fine-grained, almost silky, with just a little bit of grip. Harmonious with red and black fruit, mint, a peppery bite and a liquoricey finish. Another lovely rich, sweet-fruited wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $40.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 14 Mar 2012
Te Mata Showcase
Wines were not tasted blind.

Te Mata Zara Viognier 2009 - Hawkes Bay
Light gold coloured with aromas of tropical fruit and citrus, this is smooth textured, almost oily, with nuts, citrus, green melons and quintessential apricot and spice on the finish. From NZ's oldest Viognier vines, 85% of the wine was fermented in seasoned oak.
14% alc. Diam. $27.99 special.

Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2011 - Hawkes Bay
There's a tantalising smoky nuance to the peach and classic grassy scents and the flavours are deliciously juicy with grilled peach, pineapple, grapefruit, pear, a glimmer of tarragon and a toasty, grassy finish. A blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Semillon, 4% Sauvignon Gris barrel fermented in French oak, 30% new. A gem from a tough vintage.
13% alc. Diam. $27.99 special.

Te Mata Zara Viognier 2010 - Hawkes Bay
A bouquet of stonefruit, warm mealy notes, citrus peel, vibrant apricot and freshly squeezed citrus leads into the warm, sweet-fruited palate that's layered with creamed nuts, stonefruit, a hint of zest, delicate spice and a sweet natured creamy, honeyed finish. Hits all the "yes" buttons. A beautiful wine. Just divine.
14.5% alc. Diam. $27.99 special.

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2010 - Hawkes Bay
Light yellow with a smoky aroma and a sweet oak palate with a leesy, lemony, nutty backbone. Exhibiting flavours like pineapple and citrus that we've come to expect from Elston, with a delicate hint of honeycomb on the warm rich finish and bright acidity leaving a mouthfeel that is vibrant and clean.
14% alc. Diam. $29.99 special.

Te Mata Bullnose Syrah 2010 - Hawkes Bay
Bright purple red with a ripe damson plum and blueberry aroma infused with a judicious touch of spice and a meaty nuance too. Firm structured and savoury with rose petal, red pepper, concentrated dark berry and plum fruit, underlying earth and game with svelte tannins that show it has longevity yet it seems just so smooth too.
14% alc. Cork $46.99 special.

Te Mata Awatea 2006 - Hawkes Bay
Dark red with just a hint of bricking to the hue. Cedary aroma of mellow oak aroma with hints of liquorice, polished leather and plum jam carries through to warm rich palate. Still showing varietal fruit with subtle bottle aged characters, there's a dark berry fruit concentration, blackcurrant, cedar, liquorice, sweet leather, fine suede tannins and a firm youthful grip. Drinking beautifully now. 38% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petit Verdot.
13.5% alc. Cork. $NA.

Te Mata Awatea 2008 - Hawkes Bay
With its deep purplish red colour and rich vinous aroma it still seems very youthful with its firm velvety-edged tannin structure. Lovely sweet earthy flavours with leather and liquorice and concentrated ripe red fruit infusing into the spicy oak finish where floral violet-like nuances come through. Sensual mouth-coating tannins and vibrancy to the finish. 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot.
13.5% alc. Cork. $NA.

Te Mata Awatea 2010 - Hawkes Bay
Dark purple red with a bouquet of concentrated, cedar, cassis, rose hip nuances and a rich evocative scent like new suede, opening up in the glass to display more and more perfume with time. A youthful wine to the taste with mocha notes, cedary spice, blackberry, boysenberry and cherry fruit, fine tannins and a gorgeous vinosity that is rich, long and deep. 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot.
13.5% alc. Cork $29.99 special.

Te Mata Coleraine 2006 - Hawkes Bay
Dark red with just the slightest suggestion of bricking. The wine is mellow and vinously sweet with smoky cedar, rose petals, cherries, currants, cake spice, firm dry tannins that till seem to be resolving, cigar box and secondary notes coming through and as the wine lingers there's a lovely flourish of spice and floral notes too. 49% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc.
13.5% alc. Cork. $NA.

Te Mata Coleraine 2008 - Hawkes Bay
Purple black, concentrated and dense in appearance with a deep scented perfume that has a cedar intensity, violets, blackcurrant and a subtle nuance of milk chocolate too. A wine that's firm and structured with mouth-coating tannins, concentrated blackberry and raspberry fruit, a subtle suggestion of milk chocolate and a fine silky finish. Lovely harmony of savoury oak, creamy chocolate and fruit. Youthful and fresh with lovely mouthfeel and finesse. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc.
13.5% alc. Cork. $NA.

Te Mata Coleraine 2010 - Hawkes Bay
Deep purple red. Beautifully scented with rose/violet florals coming through. Lovely lift and vibrancy to the flavours with dry tannins that have a silky coating that parts occasionally to reveal a velvet lining. This is a young wine, tight in its youth, with concentrated blackcurrant fruit, a creamy richness, lovely sweet savoury oak, herbs, cedar and a long fleshy finish. A baby with a fantastic cellaring proposition, it has many years to go. 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc.
14% alc. Cork $69.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 7 Mar 2012
First Glass Selection
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
Grown in the Ure Valley, some 50-km south of Blenheim, this has an attractive bouquet of citrus, vanilla and poached nectarines tastes of nougat, nuts and cream with savoury oak in the background, lively acidity and a stonefruit juiciness. Harmonious and easy going with a long lasting finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Black Barn Vineyards Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Juicy nectarines, grapefruit and spicy French oak on the nose follow through to the palate of this rich, bold style. It's classy and elegant with a lovely smoky savoury depth, a zesty brightness and a layer of butterscotch on the lingering finish. Gold Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
With a bouquet of smoky oak, nectarine and savoury oak and ripe, juicy, creamy flavours with nectarine, nougat, fig, harmonious oak and a butter caramel finish, this beautiful poised, light golden wine simply oozes finesse. Drinking now but with long term potential. 5 star quality and the crowd favourite on the night.
14% alc. Screwcap. $32.99 special.

Man O War Valhalla Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2010
Yellow gold coloured with spicy oak and butterscotch tantalising the nose, then in the palate loads of zesty citrus, spicy oak and malt. Rich and powerful with vanillin notes on the rounded finish, it's dry, flinty and moderately phenolic with maturity beyond its age.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese Riesling 2008 Mosel, Germany
Radiant golden yellow with tantalising aromas and vibrantly fresh, delicious juicy fruit flavours with the natural sweetness perfectly balanced by fresh acidity. A stunning wine from an exceptional vintage with sweet citrus, honeysuckle and a touch of marmalade. "Flirtatious," said Andrew. Most of the rest of us simply said "Yum". 5 star quality.
8% alc. Vinolok. $42.99.

The Miner's Daughter Reserve North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2010
Light Burgundy red with a morello cherry jam and woody herb aroma and dry, rustic, savoury flavours with an earthy depth then red cherry and chocolate burst through and the finish is smooth and long. Ready for drinking now as it seems a little maturer than its age would suggest. 14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Cypress Hawkes Bay Merlot 2010
Shiny blackcurrant red with a spicy oak, blackberry and redcurrant bouquet and a firmly structured, full-bodied palate with dry tannins and leather tamed by concentrated plum and red berry fruit with a touch of cake spice and chocolate on the long creamy, succulent finish. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Craggy Range Single Vineyard Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2010
Black purple red. Chocolate and chicory on the nose and juicy and succulent in the palate with smooth fine tannins, black forest chocolate, a lovely red pepper/spicy inflection and a long, dry, full-bodied finish. A seductive wine that's easy to enjoy already. Once known as Block 14, this vintage has 3% Viognier in the blend. 5 star quality.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Man O War Dreadnought Waiheke Island Syrah 2009
The deep dark red coloured wine was a little controversial on the night for its deep earthy peaty character, which Man O War says is a classic trait of this wine. Earthy, dusty, gamey and meaty with peat, volcanic ash, seaweed and iodine, blackcurrant, pepper and leather, fine velvety tannins, chocolate biscuits and spice and a long juicy fruit finish. Full-bodied, concentrated and long.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $49.99.

Penny's Hill Crackling Black Shiraz 2009 - McLaren Vale
Black red with a concentrated spicy aroma with chicory, boot leather, rose petals and red pepper, and a spicy full-bodied palate with a warm easy mouthfeel, juicy raspberry and blackcurrant fruit and a deep meaty finish with a bright zesty flourish. Long lasting, rounded and complete.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Jacobs Creek St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Coonawarra
Known to many of us as Orlando before the rebranding, this is now 7 years old but still a very deep dark red. Peppermint and chocolatey oak on the nose surge through to the palate where the very fine resolved tannins make it a delight to drink now. Concentrated full-bodied and harmonious with ripe berry fruit sweetness and a spicy flourish to the long dry finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $52.99.

De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2008 - NSW
Radiant orange-tinged gold. Deep, rich, apricot and marmalade bouquet. Fresh acidity to balance the decadent sweetness, a wine of harmony and balance with lime marmalade, candied orange peel, nectar-like viscosity. Tart yet sweet with a clean finish and oh so decadently delicious.
10% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

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
Current month's tasting notes.
Index to all Wednesday tastings notes.

2012 Tastings
Jan 2012 tasting notes.
Feb 2012 tasting notes.
You are here - March 2012 tasting notes.
Apr 2012 tasting notes.
May 2012 tasting notes.
Jun 2012 tasting notes.
Jul 2012 tasting notes.
Aug 2012 tasting notes.

Dec 2011 tasting notes.


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