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Wednesday Round-up - the 2013 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

February 2013
[ 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', but were correct at the date noted for the tasting. 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 – 27 Feb 2013
Cuisine Aromatics
Wines were tasted blind.

Grandin Grande Reserve Brut Methode Traditionelle NV – Loire Valley, France
Light and refreshing with subtle floral nuances to the bouquet and crisp flavours of nectarine skin and lime sherbet (fizzy fruits). The salty salinity is nicely balanced by the fruit sweetness and the finish is soft and creamy with some yeasty brioche flavours coming through. A Pinot Noir base with some Gamay, stylishly packaged and great value.
12% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Growers Mark Bone Dry Marlborough Riesling 2009
There's a slight toasty kero nuance to the bouquet and the taste, as the label says, is dry. Edgy and crisp, it is full of flavours of limes – reminiscent of Roses lime juice in fact but of course with more body and weight – and the finish is fresh and racy with loads of flint. 5 stars and Best Buy Cuisine.
12.6% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Riesling 2012
An aromatic honeysuckle and juicy apple bouquet leads into a palate that for most is pleasingly off dry than bone dry to the taste. There's a touch of fizzy fruit sherbets - tropical fruit and mandarin come to mind, with a clean crisp crunchy apple finish and a scrummy honey-infused fruit taste that lingers in the mouth for ages. 4 ˝ stars Cuisine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Mt Difficulty Target Central Otago Riesling 2012
The bouquet is reminiscent of potter's clay with a sugary apple pie nuance coming through. The sweetest wine of the three, but beautifully balanced with mouthwatering acidity that makes it seem drier than the 40 g/l residual sugar would have you believe. The fruit is juicy apple, lime and mandarin interlayered with nectar and there's a refreshing zing to the finish. 4 stars Cuisine.
10% alc. Screwcap. $27.99

Weaver Estate Central Otago Pinot Gris 2012
This Alexandra wine is one of the drier styles of Pinot Gris you will find on the shelves these days. The aromatic white peach and apple strudel bouquet has a delicate spicy zing and the flavour is juicy and mouthwatering with a savoury undercurrent to the Nashi pear flavours, finishing with richness and length. 5 stars and No.1 in Cuisine.
12.4% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Sea Level Home Block Nelson Pinot Gris 2012
Although still seemingly dry, this is a slightly sweeter wine than the Weaver. There is a nutty nuance to the scent and abundant nectarine and Nashi pear flavours with a lively zing of citrus, a suggestion of tarragon and a fresh, juicy and deliciously quenching finish. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Moncellier Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011
There's a fairly neutral bouquet to this more luscious style that's so smooth and textural, yet it too finishes moderately dry. A more full bodied style with a tickle of spice, a weighty mid palate, flavours of peaches and pears and a finish that goes on and on. 4˝ stars Cuisine. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Alan McCorkindale Waipara Gewurztraminer 2010
A powerful wine with a heady rose oil and exotic fruit bouquet and a texture that is so smooth, almost oily, as it crosses the palate. With lychees, rose musk, candied fruits, honey and ginger-like spices there is lots going on and the off dry, almost luscious finish is delectably long. 5 stars and No.3 Cuisine. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.


Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010
There's more violet florals both to the aroma and flavour of this silky textured wine, which seems much drier and headier and more white pepper spicy. The tasty lychee, peach and candied lemon flavours are luscious, however, with a juicy mid palate and a long creamy finish. 5 stars and No.2 Cuisine. Trophy AirNZ 2012 14% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Te Whare Ra Toru Marlborough 2011
A blend of three grape varieties that shows different characters at different temperatures and different times of day. Tonight at the tasting the citrussy characters (from the Riesling) dominate upfront, with the oily texture and spicy characters of the Gewurztraminer more dominant mid to end palate and orchard fruit from the Pinot Gris lingering with a touch of spice. Off dry in style and very tasty, it ticks the boxes for a range of palates. No.4 and Best Buy in the Cuisine Gewurz line-up.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

West Brook Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2011
This is classic Gewurztraminer. There's a layer of honey coating the floral bouquet, and the flavours are luscious, exciting and memorable with ginger and exotic spices, violets, stonefruit, lemon verbena and flower nectar and a lovely savouriness underpinning the wine too. Warm and textural, and at times seemingly luscious, yet it finishes moderately dry. 5 stars and No.1 Cuisine.
13.2 % alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Terra Mia McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Blackberry red in colour with a smoky oak and red fruit bouquet, this taste generously fruity with its deep, ripe, blackcurrant and blackberry jam flavours supported by a savoury backbone, sappy oak and a nice touch of spice. With smooth supple tannins, this medium bodied style has a lingering finish and is easy to drink. 4˝ stars Winestate.
14.5 % alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 20 Feb 2013
Last of the Summer Wine
Wines were tasted blind.

Coopers Creek 'The Limeworks' SV Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2011
This light coloured wine is silky smooth in texture and the taste is nutty and spicy with a lovely balance of citrus and juicy white stonefruit. The finish is warm, mouthfilling savoury and the smoky oak is beautifully integrated throughout. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2011
There’s an attractive smoky nuance to the nutty oak bouquet and it tastes fruity and fresh with a nougat sweetness, a flinty mid-palate and a touch of caramel on the expansive creamy finish. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2008
There's a rich buttery scent with a nuance of smoky bacon and creamy flavours full of Golden Queen peaches. The acidity is mellow and the oak is integrated. It has intensity, it has flavour and the whole impression is smooth and silky. 3 golds and drinking magnificently now.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Waipara Springs 'Premo' Waipara Chardonnay 2010
The bouquet emanates roasted cashews and hazelnuts with a waft of wood smoke. A bold, powerful wine with smoky savouriness quite profound in the palate, perhaps some funky wild yeast plus a touch of grapefruit. The finish is full bodied and lasting with tropical fruit suggestions. Gold Air NZ 2011.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Seifried Barrique Fermented Nelson Chardonnay 2010
With toasty oak on the nose and a lemon nougat concentrated richness, this powerful style appeals immediately. The flavour is ripe and juicy with layers of creamy oak, spiced peaches and a lovely nutty savoury richness.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Askerne Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
A golden coloured wine with a tropical fruit bouquet yet mellow and buttery in the palate with peach the dominant fruit character. Very smooth, with massive oak layers, butterscotch, caramel and a warm creamy finish, Kingsley says this is the biggest Chardonnay they have had in the shop in at least 10 years. Gold NZIWS. 5 stars Winestate.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99 special.

Quarisa 30 Mile Shiraz 2010 – NSW, Australia
Dark red with a concentrated biscuit and berry scent. Quite juicy red fruit in palate with confectionary flavours like blackcurrant jubes and red jelly babies. A light touch of oak with a smoky savoury undercurrent, a smattering of pepper and a touch of leather yet fresh with light tannins and a medium bodied finish that fills out nicely and leaves a smile. Easy drinking, would be a great BBQ cooks quaffer or with pizza.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Sierra Cantabria Seleccion 2010 – Rioja, Spain
A delicate perfume that hints of a deep red berry scent, then in the mouth there’s edgy red fruit, smoked meats, tar, leather, firm tannins, dried herbs, a creamy undercurrent and typical of Rioja, a touch of citrus brightness on the finish. Made from 100% Tempranillo. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Cork. $27.99.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Tempranillo 2010
Inky red with a savoury, meaty, gamey nuance to the scent and a savoury earthiness to the creamy, full-bodied palate with smoky bacon, a touch of tickly spice and leather. Blackcurrant and cherry fruit comes through and though, the tannins are robust and firm, there a silky chocolate layer too. Gold medal and Trophy AirNZ 2012. 13.5% alc. Cork. $29.99 special.

Henry's Drive Pillar Box Reserve Padthaway Cabernet 2009
While starting to brick on the edges, this black-red coloured wine emanates nut chocolate scents and is so smooth and creamy in the palate – it’s like it floats. Juicy and bright with a touch of spice, blueberry and plenty of chocolate, the tannins are nicely integrating that makes this full-bodied red just so seamless to drink.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Wolf Blass Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010
Inky purple red in colour, this profound wine has a concentrated blackberry / blackcurrant scent and a full-bodied palate that is endowed with all the great McLaren Vale fruit, spice and chocolate flavours yet has a deep savoury undercurrent and intriguingly has a nuance of mint too. The tannins are velvety and fine yet the structure of this wine foretells a long future.
15% alc. Screwcap. $46.99 special.

Yalumba The Signature Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2008
Blackberry red in hue, with sumptuous vanillin oak and blackberry scents, it tastes juicy and rounded and full of juicy Shiraz fruit sweetness with lashings of nut chocolate, pepper, allspice, well honed smoky oak flavours and a savoury backbone. Garnering a mellow edge, with tannins that seem luxuriously smooth, yet it is still puberty for a wine of this stature. Outstanding. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Cork. $49.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 13 Feb 2013
Valentines on a Budget
Wines were tasted blind.

Villa Jolanda Prosecco NV - Italy
There are grapey scents to the bouquet and lots of juicy apple flavours in this light, slightly raisiny bubbles. A herbal savouriness that balances the tangy brightness and the finish is refreshing and dry.
11.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Kakapo Barrel Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
An inviting caramel cream bouquet, the caramel continuing into the palate that's so creamy and smooth with a light touch of oak that's integrated and seamless already. There's some lovely peach notes, a touch of melon and juicy sweet citrus adding lift and life to the finish. Gold medal NZIWS 2012.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Ngatarawa Alwyn Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Quite restrained on the nose with scents of smoky French oak with a wheatmeal inflection, it's Burgundian in style with milky malolactic characters and acidity that's forward and striking at this stage of its life, yet inkling of the wine's longer term potential. Flinty and nutty with white peach, citrus, nougat, a smoky savoury undercurrent and a penetrating and expansive finish, this was awarded the Best NZ White Wine Trophy at the 2012 IWC.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $37.99.

Terra Sancta 'Mysterious Diggings' Central Otago Pinot Gris 2012
There's baked apple on the nose and some sherbet adding brightness to the apple and quince flavours with a sweetness level that's off dry to medium. A textural wine with a tickle of strudel spice that brings the sweetness into balance. Made in a style to be served well chilled and consumed without hesitation.
14% alc. Screwcap. $21.99.

Two Hands Brilliant Disguise Barossa Valley Moscato 2011
An exciting bouquet of exotic tropical fruits, even a hint of passionfruit and pineapple, but such a surprise when you taste the wine because it is frizzante in texture. It's not dry, its not sweet, it's just perfectly juicy with well balanced citrus and tropical fruit, an allusive exoticness and a soft foamy mouthfeel. Brilliant even without a disguise. 8% alc. Screwcap. $22.99. 500mls.

The Miner's Daughter Reserve North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2011
While light in colour, it smells spicy and savoury with smoky oak, woody herbs, red cherry and strawberry, and tastes soft and spicy with juicy red plums, red cherry, a touch of earth and game and a citrussy tang to the finish. A medium bodied style with the pinot characters you expect, but at the price point you don't.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Dark Burgundy red with ruby flashes, this full-bodied powerful wine has lashes of mana and flavour. There's wild berries / fruits of the forest on the nose, and black cherries, blackberries, spicy oak and a touch of leather in the palate with Pinot's classical savouriness and a velvet cream texture. Maturing nicely yet still has a youthful aura. 3 Gold Medals.
14.3% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Cavallina Nero D'Avola Syrah 2010 - Sicily
Medium red with some garnet tones to the fading/orangey hue. Smoky struck match on the nose with wafts of cherry and marzipan. Savoury tasting with juicy red fruits and a hint of stewed tamarillo, it's a lighter styled wine with grainy-edged tannins, tar, chocolate biscuits and a hint of jaffa.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99.

Logan Apple Tree Flat Shiraz 2010 – Central Ranges, NSW
Dark red coloured with concentrated berry fruit scents, this tastes quite dry and smoky with fruit flavours of blackberry and loads of pepper. It's a medium bodied, cool climate, food friendly wine with firm tannins and underlying freshness.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Mitchell 'McNichol' Clare Valley Shiraz 2000
Deceptively deep in colour for its age, with mellow chocolate and berry suggestions to the bouquet, it's seductive with its sumptuous favours and velvety smooth texture. There's a lovely mellow oak savouriness, spiced blackberry characters, silky milk chocolate, a hint of mint, and all those complex aged Shiraz flavours we just love so much, yet bright on the finish, and long. A testimony to screwcaps, for sure.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. Sold Out.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010
This purple black coloured Syrah smells a bit green after that gorgeous aged Shiraz, and this is because it is so youthful and also because it is from cool climate Hawkes Bay. There's that classic cracked pepper character and sweet ripe boysenberries on the nose and it's firm in the palate with juicy dark fruits, a hint of mint, a touch of liquorice, and a long, juicy, expansive finish. Gold AirNZ 2012.
14% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

George Wyndham Founders Reserve Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2009
This is the style of blockbuster Shiraz many of us at First Glass just love so much. The colour is a concentrated purple, there's coconut American oak on the nose and it's spicy and bright in the palate with juicy red fruit, allspice, sweet oak, mint, chocolate and well balanced savouriness to boot. Smooth, velvety, seductive and sumptuous. Hard to resist.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 6 Feb 2013
New Arrivals
Wines were tasted blind.

Le Cirque Classique Chardonnay / Gros Manseng 2011 - France
Classically European with its high-toned, neutral, delicately floral and subtle smoky, flinty scent. There's a fresh lemon / mandarin tang to the taste yet underneath the texture is soft, buttery, almost oily, with a delicate touch of French 'fines herbes', like chervil, and the flinty character hinted at on the nose, accenting the dry finish. Made by Gabriel Meffre from undisclosed vineyards, it is a fresh tasty summer alternative to pinot gris and sauv blanc.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99.

Sacred Hill Halo Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2011
This is a little floral on the nose yet quite neutral smelling in its moderately chilled state but it is rich and fleshy in the palate with a bright citrus tang that makes it seem so youthful and fresh. Stonefuit and tropical fruit mingle with the citrus and zest, there's an underpinning of toasty oak, and the finish is savoury and long.
13% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Rimu Grove Nelson Chardonnay 2011
There a touch of orange on the smoky nose and the taste is zesty and spicy, with the citrus heading towards grapefruit – even a subtle suggestion of ginger – but the mealy savouriness takes over, the texture becomes creamy, the oak flavours become richer and the finish is long, rounded and satisfying.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Antinori Tenuta Guiado al Tasso Vermentino 2011 – Bolgheri DOC, Italy
The bouquet is apple skin with an intriguing hint of violet and apples are to the fore in the palate. It tastes fresh and bright with a hints of those delicate anise-like herbs like chervil and tarragon, and a touch of white pepper - yet the dry finish is balanced and soft with a pleasing textural complexity.
12.4% alc. Cork. $39.99.

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Gris 2011
Youthful in appearance, aromatic and floral with the scent of wet clay, and the taste is fresh and bright with flavours of citrus and apples, a tingle of zest, delicate French herbs and a touch of sherbet. Just off dry, it's uncomplicated and easy to please.
14% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Willy Gisselbrecht Tradition Pinot Gris 2011– Alsace, France
Golden in colour with quite a heady scent, this is a rich full wine with a rounded, mouthfilling texture. There's seems to be some smoky notes and lees complexities but this savouriness plays a secondary role to the apricots and honey but at the same time balances the fruit sweetness. With a touch of baking spices, it is an intriguing wine with a freshness to the finish.
13% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Wild Earth Central Otago Rosé 2012
Watermelon pink in hue with a spiced plum and cherry scent, this is fresh and super juicy in its deliciously chilled state with a spicy lift to the flavours and underlying savouriness that's perfectly balanced to the yellow plum and red cherry fruit. It's dry refreshing and tasty with a tangy finish, perfect for the amazing summer we are experiencing. 5 stars and No.2 in Cuisine.
13.7 % alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Lar de Paula 2010 Tempranillo 2010 – Rioja, Spain
Dark red with crimson hints, this smells savoury, earthy and leathery with a milky inflection and tastes spicy and peppery with a strapping of liquorice, black plums, prunes, sweet baking spices, firm tannins and a dry finish. It's a wine that begs to be accompanied with some food.
13% alc. Cork. $17.99 special.

Felton Road Calvert Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011
Purple edged medium red. The bouquet is smoky, savoury and spicy with bittersweet cherry, earth and game and the taste is rounded and velvety with classical Pinot characters of black cherries, spice, herbs and earth. It's concentrated and fulsome and while the tannins are still quite firm, the texture is seductive and silky as well.
14% alc. Screwcap. $68.99.

Shot the Dark Cabernet Shiraz 2010 – NSW, Australia
This dark coloured wine smells deep earthy and savoury with plenty of barnyard and leather-like characters, yet it tastes surprisingly fruity, a bit like blackberries picked from the side of a dusty gravel road. A deep, meaty, concentrated wine with a spicy character and a dry finish, it's a wine to accompany a BBQ where the cook has been a little distracted and the meat has a little char. Made by Quarisa Vineyards, of Johnny Q fame. Very good value.
14% alc. Screwcap.$13.99 special.

Fagus de Coto de Hayas Seleccion Especial Garnacha 2009 – Campo de Borja, Spain
This deeply coloured wine is a contrast - it’s smells of cedar, berries and chocolate and it's full of those creamy chocolate characters with a touch of leather and green pepper. It's velvety smooth and the seductive finish becomes more complex with every mouthful. Medium bodied in palate weight, yet generous and opulent from go to whoa. A lovely wine that's sure to please.
14% alc. Cork. $49.99.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010
This full-bodied concentrated wine is deep in colour with a sweet berry scent that interweaves with vanillin oak, allspice and an intriguing savoury inflection. The taste is firm and structured with muscular tannins, smoky cedary oak, lashings of pepper, dark chocolate, blackberry and raspberry jubes, mocha, a touch of herbs and a fresh dry finish. While a food friendly match now, it has excellent cellaring potential.
14.5% alc. Cork. $37.99.

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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Index to all Wednesday tastings notes.

2013 Tastings
Jan 2013 tasting notes.
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Mar 2013 tasting notes.
Apr 2013 tasting notes.
May 2013 tasting notes.
Jun 2013 tasting notes.
Jul / Aug 2013 tasting notes.
Sep 2013 tasting notes.
Oct 2013 tasting notes.
Nov 2013 tasting notes.

Dec 2012 tasting notes and index.


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