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edited by Sue Courtney

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

January 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 for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 30 Jan 2013
Rieslings and Pinot Noirs Mainly
Wines were tasted blind.

Melness Canterbury Chardonnay 2010
Light gold in colour with 'legs' running down the side of the glass. There's a toasty nuance to the scent enhanced by the fragrance of apricot, and integrated oak in the palate. It's smooth and full-bodied with textural richness, delicate apricot, lemongrass and macadamia nut flavours and a fresh, zesty brightness with a tickle of ginger to the long, savoury finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $12.99 special.

Tyrrell's Single Vineyard Belford Semillon 2004 - Hunter Valley
Light gold with a fragrant bouquet of citrus blossom , buttered toast and melon, and a toasty freshness to the concentrated and beautifully developed flavours, it's almost bone dry with an oiliness to the texture, and with its subtle kero-like nuances it's reminiscent of dry Aussie Riesling with age. Trophy winner at the NZIWS and an outstanding example of this variety.
11% alc. Screwcap. $46.99.

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2012 – South Australia
A light, fresh style of Riesling at this infant stage of its life. It's pale in colour with a citrus blossom and lime zest bouquet and a slither of sweetness to balance the pristine lemon/mandarin/ lime-rich flavours. There's a talc-like character coming through that imparts an earthiness to the finish that's long, expansive and vibrant. From a fabulous vineyard and a fabulous vintage, this is a fabulous wine to cellar – a 20 year proposition! 2.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99/$19.99 special.

Palliser Estate Martinborough Riesling 2011
There's concentration to the bouquet and power to the flavour of this richer–styled Riesling. It's light gold coloured with underlying honey and apricot sweetness that suggests some botrytis. Beautifully balanced and juicy with a silky smooth mouthfeel, there's an exciting burst of orange zest freshness and the finish leaves an impression that the wine is dry.
13% alc. Screwcap. $23.99.

Greenhough Apple Valley Nelson Riesling 2011
Pale coloured, with a whiff of potter's clay joining the apple skin bouquet, and a dry, 'sucking on stone' youthful freshness to the palate, yet this wine is a sweeter wine in the low alcohol Germanic mould with freshness of apple and a juicy squeeze of lemon balancing the sweetness to perfection, and a flinty character as the aftertaste lingers. Gold medal NZIWS. 9% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett Riesling 2011 - Germany
This smells rich with its clay and tropical fruit bouquet and tastes off dry to medium with an exciting tickle of spritz that imparts vibrancy and freshness to the delicate peach skin taste. It builds in palate concentration and the tangy finish just lasts and lasts. 8.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
With a generous, ripe, sweet-fruited bouquet infused with orange pomander, the generosity continues into the succulent, silky smooth palate of this bright Burgundy-hued wine. Plums, juicy black cherries, mulled wine spices and vanillin oak are in harmony, there's a savoury gamey undercurrent and youthful freshness gives lovely lift to the end. A charming wine with wide appeal.
14% alc. Cork $48.99.

Bald Hills Single Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
This deep hued pinot smells profoundly savoury and the taste continues that theme. With plums, black cherries, hints of cranberries, sweet herbs, savoury oak and a dry finish this firm structured, deep meaty wine is still quite tight and needs a little more to unfold. That said, with the right food at a dinner party, eg a rare backstrap of venison, it will go down a treat.
14% alc. Screwcap. $48.99.

Tatty Bogler Otago Pinot Noir 2010
An inky hued Pinot, it almost looks like Syrah. Fragrant and concentrated with a firm tannin structure, it is a blockbuster in the context of tonight's trio. But it is also a seductress with its viper bugloss and wild thyme fragrance and its generous black plum, bittersweet cherry, mulled wine spice and savoury oak flavours, and the long, juicy succulent finish lasts for ages. Marginally tonight's favourite on a show of hands. Central Otago and Waitaki fruit. Gold NZIWS, Gold AirNZ, 5 stars Cuisine. Excellent in all respects. 14% alc. Screwcap. $33.99 special.

Antinori Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore DOCG 2011 – Tuscany
Deep purple red, spicy aromatics - a little peppery in fact, it's ripe red fruit juicy in the palate and also quite savoury and smoky with a touch of tobacco and tar and a fresh bite to the finish. Made from 95% Sangiovese grapes with 5% Merlot in the blend, this medium bodied Italian is to go with your Quattro Formaggi (four cheese) pizza.
13% alc. Cork. $27.99.

Yalumba The Strapper Barossa Valley GSM 2011 – South Australia
Dark red, a hint of vanilla and chocolate to the scent with red berries wafting through and continuing into the palate. It tastes spicy, savoury and fruity with a hint of tar and green pepper and a velvety smooth caress. It's medium bodied and succulent with a long, juicy, tasty finish. A blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro (Mourvedre).
13.6% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Kim Crawford Small Parcels Victory Syrah 2010 – Hawkes Bay
Dark red, almost black, with a deep dark, earthy scent infused with herbs, smoky French oak and dark berry nuances - it smells sensual and alluring and tastes juicy and succulent with firm, velvet-coated tannins. Crammed full of juicy red and black fruit with vanillin oak and sweet spices, it has a long creamy finish with a well-honed savoury undercurrent. Exciting Syrah. 5 stars Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $28.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 30 Jan 2013
Chardonnay, and Shiraz v Syrah
Wines were tasted blind.

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Gris 2012
Bright fresh aromas of citrus and pear, then soft and savoury to the taste with a lovely mealy complexity, a touch of honeysuckle, juicy orchard fruit, tangelo, and just a tickle of spice. Dry, full-bodied, rich and long, a classy and exciting wine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Felton Road 'Bannockburn' Central Otago Chardonnay 2010
With an inviting bouquet of citrus, nutty oak and cornmeal, this light gold coloured wine has a lovely balance of savoury oak and citrus-dominated fruit with funky wild yeast-influenced mealy flavours and honeyed roasted nuts in the background. It's silky smooth in texture and the finish is dry, expansive and long.
14% alc. Screwcap. $34.99 special.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
A little more restrained on the nose, this ultra savoury wine has a lemony mealy undercurrent and a silky palate that appears to medium bodied at first but intensifies magnificently to a rich full finish. An intriguing peach stone character adds character, there's a hint of caramel and the smoky oak is harmoniously integrated all the way through.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $40.99.

Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
There's a touch more yellow to the colour of this ripe scented wine and the bouquet is seductively funky from the 100% wild yeast. There's grapefruit both on the nose and in the harmonious savoury palate. A glorious wine, it's full-bodied, silky, spicy, mouth-coating and long.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $38.99 special.

Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Again some restraint to the nose, but the delicate toasted brioche-like bouquet is inviting. Surprisingly fresh in the palate with a tickle of zest, it's nutty and savoury with a juicy stonefruit intensity, layers of spicy oak and a bold, rich, almost creamy, mouthfilling finish. Kingsley says, "Delicious." 14.5% alc. Screwcap. Sold Out.

Marc Bredif Vouvray 'Classic' 2011 – Loire Valley, France
On first tasting it seems that this pale coloured, nutty smelling Chenin Blanc is medium in sweetness, but there's a very dry (sucking stone) mouthfeel after the wine is swallowed. Long and fresh with classic chenin flavours of green apples and citrus, with many tasters in the room suggesting marzipan too. There is also that expected touch of honey.
13% alc. Cork. $29.99 special.

Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay The Gimblett 2006
This deep dark red wine looks quite youthful, but the taste is quite mellow and mature. The bouquet is reminiscent of nuts and cherries with savoury oak, leather and a momentary suggestion of cocoa and the fruit is best described as dried red and black currants with an underlying milk chocolate note. Overall very dry, a little herbaceous and earthy with a firm tannic finish. A blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc and Malbec.
14% alc. Diam. $30.99 special.

Gemtree Bloodstone McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010
Purple red in hue with a fresh, bright bouquet of sweet oak, plum jam and spice with an intriguing twist of cracked green pepper. Spicy tasting with juicy cherry and boysenberry fruit, it's medium to full bodied with agreeable tannins and a juicy succulent finish. Gold medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Crossroads Winemakers Collection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010
Deep purple red. Vanillin oak comes through on the balanced harmonious nose that hints of an overall more savoury style. Full of juicy ripe sweet plum and blackcurrant fruit with a spicy savoury backbone, this is a meaty wine with a smooth velvety texture, a whack of pepper and allspice and a seductive touch of Black Forest chocolate coming through. An exciting wine that won the Trophy for Champion NZ Syrah at the 2012 NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $34.99 special.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Barossa Shiraz 2009
Purple black, magnificently intense in hue. This is a complete contrast in style and so obviously South Australian with all its exciting eucalypt/ mint and nut chocolate flavours. With its bright spicy bouquet, concentrated flavours of plums and blackberries and smooth velvety tannins, it seduces from start to finish. One of the most affordable great red wines from Australia with multiple golds and Trophies 14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2007
This dark red coloured wine seems a little more mature. It has a smoky oak and dried cherry scent, perhaps even a nuance of chocolate too but in contrast it's quite savoury and earthy tasting with black and green pepper (the green pepper a clue to it origin, perhaps). The chocolate detected on the nose is smooth and velvety in the palate. Almost six years of age, it's enjoyable drinking right now.
14% alc. Screwcap. $54.99.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Botrytis Semillon 2008
Light yellow gold with candied tropical fruit and orange zest scents and exciting lively, mouth awakening flavours. Its' sweet, like nectar, with a smooth nectar-like texture, but the fresh citrus flavours cut through the winey sweetness to balance it impeccably. A delicious sweet wine that's not too heavy. 11.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 16 Jan 2013
More Summer Nights
Wines were tasted blind.

Leonardo 'Extra Dry' Prosecco DOC – Veneto, Italy
A soft creamy spumante style, it's light, fresh and at first seems a little sweet but, as suggested by the label, this sparkling wine finishes dry. Full of juicy green grapes and spiced apple flavours with a nicely poised savoury undercurrent, it's perfect to enjoy with lunch or as an aperitif.
11% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Seifried Barrique Fermented Nelson Chardonnay 2010
This gloriously scented buttery Chardonnay tastes rich, bold and toasty with lashings of butterscotch, vanilla and nuts, and bright fruit flavours of tropical fruit, citrus and stonefruit. Powerful, juicy and long. Fans of the big style will like this. The last stocks of this excellent vintage are now in store.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
Light in colour and dry and savoury to the taste, this departure from the typical fruit forward styles seems more youthful than the vintage states. There are nuances of barrel ferment on the nose, and lovely mealy flavours in the smoky palate with citrus and nectarine playing a secondary role in the background. A classy wine, inspired by a Burgundy benchmark, I'd say, and a long life ahead of it yet. Cuisine Top 10 (2011).
14% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Wingspan Nelson Pinot Gris 2011
Fairly neutral on the nose and while there is a suggestion of sweetness to the scent, the palate is quenching and just off dry with flavours of pear, citrus, ginger-like spice and nuances of lemon meringue pie. Made by Woollaston Estate, for Pinot Gris fans this is easy to like and easy to drink.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $12.99 special.

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Gris 2012
In contrast this abounds with the fragrance of exotic fruits like guava, loquat and custard apple and the mouth comes alive with the flavours. It's rich and weighty with balanced acidity to cut through the off dry sweetness. Even non-Pinot Gris fans will enjoy this.5 stars Sam Kim.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Maude East Block Central Otago Riesling 2012
The very delicate, honeysuckle scent is beguiling, and the freshness and brightness of the pure citrus flavour is exciting. It's juicy and vibrant with enough weight to make it serious, and simply delicious drinking already. Three gold medals. Trophy.
9.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone 2010 – Rhone, France
Dark red. The scent is all chocolate, cherry, savoury oak and spice and the creamy oak and chocolate is a feature in the soft juicy palate where blackberries and raspberries abound. But underneath the generous fruit is a wine that's actually quite savoury, earthy and deep, with a lovely bright flourish of spice at the end. Gold NZIWS 2012.
13% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Gran Sasso La Bella Addormentata Montepulciano 2011 – Ortona, Italy
There's a bit of a brambly character to this deep maroon wine that's firm and dry. While the nose is quite restrained, there is plenty of flavour in this savoury, European style. It's smoky with pencil shavings, vanillin oak, currants and dried herbs and has a long expansive, lingering finish.
14% alc. Cork. $16.99 special.

El Burro Kickass Garnacha 2011 – Carinena, Spain
The chocolate and black Doris plum scent carries through to the smooth, succulent palate that has a beautifully balanced smoky savoury character, juicy fruit and just the right amount of peppery spice. Medium bodied and vibrant with a long, dry finish, everyone will love this so take two to your mate's BBQ. It definitely kicks ass! 14% alc. Cork. $15.99 special or $14.99 per bottle on case buys.

SUD Primitivo di Manduria 2010 – Puglia, Italy
This is a more powerful wine in structure - a rich ripe, succulent, full-bodied, purple black wine with fine tannins, and layers of flavour. Mouthfilling and velvety with cigar box, currants, a touch of liquorice, chocolate and allspice, it seduces all the way through.
14% alc. Cork. $26.99.

Browns of Padthaway T-Trellis Shiraz 2010 – South Australia
Dark red with spiced blackberries and BBQ smoke on the nose, and firm tannins, blackberry fruit, tobacco and distinctive peppery heat in the palate. This rich, full-bodied wine tastes surprisingly quite savoury for South Australia but with its big fruit and big alcohol it packs quite a punch.
15% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Farnese Edizione Lot 2010 – Puglia/Abruzzo, Italy
Luxurious in its deep purple robe, intriguingly savoury smelling - a hint of Rosemary, perhaps, and chocolate raisin, it's incredibly smooth and succulent in the palate with a meaty undercurrent and super ripe fruit that suggests a very warm Mediterranean climate. This delicious full-bodied, juicy, Southern Italian red, made from five grape varieties, can be summed up in one word: 'outstanding'. Gold and Trophy NZIWS 2012.
14% alc. Cork. $51.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 9 Jan 2012
Value wines for Summer Drinking
Wines were tasted blind.

Kahurangi Estate Nelson Riesling 2010
There's an intriguing smoky nuance to the citrus and tropical fruit scent of this rich, textural, off dry Riesling that has abundant apricot, yellow peach and tropical fruit flavours, a mellow undercurrent and refreshing citrus zest at the end. Long lasting, flavoursome and fulfilling - a great start to the tasting year.
13% alc. Screwcap. $9.99 special.

Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Pale in colour with capsicum and bean on the nose, seemingly not too aggressive with an oily textured palate, but in typical savvy fashion there's a pungent explosion of tropical fruit with tangy citrus and a tart gooseberry undercurrent to keep the juicy fresh fruit in check. Gold Air NZ Wine Awards 2012.
13% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Forrest Marlborough Chardonnay 2009
Medium gold in colour with a touch of butterscotch infusing the mealy, barrel ferment scent. Initially quite savoury tasting with a mellow oak presence, it's full bodied and spicy with a smooth creamy texture, a fresh, citrussy undercurrent and the savouriness persisting on the long lasting finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

River Farm Godfrey Road Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
Yellow gold with a creamy oak scent and a spicy, smoky, toasty oak flavour. The oak asserts its presence yet is well balanced with an oatmeal complexity and a fresh citrussy backbone. Vibrant and fresh as a seafood wine and mellowed by a creamy cheese, this has the legs to keep on running for a very long time. Made by Brian Bicknell.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Morton Estate Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009
This green-tinged yellow gold beauty is harmonious and seamless from the outset. There's warm bacquette with a scraping of butter on the nose and it is fresh and smooth in the palate with creamy oak, a hint of lime, nuts, stonefruit and fig. Stylish and classy, a lovely wine that's developing nicely.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Invivo Sophie's Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2012
Pale ruby / watermelon hue. Aromatic cherries, Xmas plums, pink bubblegum, earth and spice fill the bouquet. Fresh and fruity in the palate, it tastes just off dry and juicy with orange peel, blackboy peach, a hint of rose petal, tropical fruit and a crisp tangy finish. Served chilled, there's lots going on in this wine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Devil's Staircase Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011
Fresh, youthful, violet ruby hue. Succulent cherry aromatics with a smoky earthy infusion. Savoury, gamey and spicy to the taste with cherry and raspberry fruit , a touch of mocha and a little grip to the tannins. If you want a lighter styled pinot than the full-bodied Rockburn sibling then this, at half the price, is a steal.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Zabu Chiantari Nero d'Avola 2010 - Sicily
Black red with bright aromas of blackcurrants and boysenberrries infused with subtle nuances of mint. A rich fruity wine with upfront ripe currant flavours then earthy, savoury, leathery notes kicking in. Firm velvet coated tannins pop up mid palate but the concentrated, medium-bodied finish is smooth, succulent, satisfying and long.
14% alc. Cork. $23.99 special.

La Luna Negroamaro Primitivo 2011 - Puglia
Intense purple black. Concentrated berries on the nose with a hint of anise, and ripe and juicy in the palate with smooth, plush, velvety tannins. It's a super ripe wine with upfront berry fruit across the strawberry to blackberry spectrum, a touch of chocolate and a well balanced savoury backbone. Succulent and juicy all the way through.
14.5% alc. Cork. $24.99 special.

Rocland Duck Duck Goose Barossa Shiraz 2010
There's a hint of vanilla in this decadent, smoky scented, dark coloured, succulent taste fest. It's smooth and creamy with black cherry and black berry fruit, chocolate, leather, savoury oak and allspice with perhaps a smidgen of mint coming through too. Soft, smooth and drinkable; a perfect summer BBQ red. Gold NZIWS 2012.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008
Intense red black with a cherry ripe scent of coconut, cherry and chocolate together with smoky savoury oak that features prominently in the full, ripe, fine tannined palate that's embossed with spiced blackberry fruit. A step up in alcohol, quality and cellaring potential, this is deep and penetrating with harmony and balance. Maturing slowly, it still has a long way to go. Gold NZIWS 2011.
15.5% alc. Cork. $22.99 special.

Penny's Hill Crackling Black McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009
Dark red in hue, not as intense as the wines before it. The bouquet is smoky and savoury with nuances of woody herbs and pepper, and the savoury aspect carries through to the smoky, meaty, cigar box palate where a high quality cocoa intensity sifts through. Nicely balanced with wild brambles, creamy oak and harmonious tannins, it finishes dry. Classy wine in an understated style.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 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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