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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

July / August 2013
[ Click here for index to other months ]

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 28 Aug 2013
Selection including Cuisine's top NZ reds
All but the last two wines were tasted blind

Crossroads Milestone Chardonnay 2012 – Hawkes Bay
Light golden coloured with a ripe stonefruit bouquet and light, fresh, soft creamy flavours with citrus and juicy tropical fruit nicely supported by savoury nutty oak. Tasty and easy to enjoy. Gold Medal Bragato Wine Awards 2013.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Mt Difficulty Central Otago Chardonnay 2008
A deeper golden colour, the bouquet is grapefruit and the palate is full of the bright zing of the fresh, late winter fruit. Spicy and zesty with harmonious toasty oak and a butterscotch richness to the rounded full-bodied finish, it's still climbing to its plateau. Gold Medal NZIWS 2011.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve Riesling 2011 – Nelson
Lemon gold coloured with honeysuckle and lime on the nose and a taut, dry palate, this crisp young Riesling is slightly earthy with a 'sucking on a river stone' feel. It's zesty, almost spritzy with zingy flavours reminiscent of green apples and limes. Gold Medal.
13% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Main Divide Waipara Valley Riesling 2011
A light to medium golden colour with blossoms and orange honey on the nose and luscious flavours, the sweetness balanced by juicy citrus acidity, ripe apple and a zing of ginger. Some people thought marmalade too. Not as spritzy as we usually expect from Main Divide, but the quality that we do.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2012
Light gold with a bouquet of Moroccan spices and cottage garden flowers, this spicy almost peppery wine has a luscious factor with subtle lychee flavours that are balanced and refined. Gold Medal.
13.5% alc. Cork. $32.99.

Farnese Fantini 'Terre de Chieti' Sangiovese 2012 – Ortona, Italy
Medium dark red with pink edges and a juicy dark fruit bouquet that's a little tarry but without too oak. Creamy in the palate with juicy red fruits, a black forest chocolate layer and soft tannins, it seems so smooth and drinkable yet a peppery bite and acid brightness make it a good proposition with food.
12.5 % alc. Cork. $14.99 special.

Trinity Hill The Trinity 2011 – Hawkes Bay
Purple red with a creamy nuance to the bramble fruit bouquet, it is firm in the palate with crushed velvet tannins, succulent berry fruit, cake spices, a savoury almost gamey layer and cigar box-like oak. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it is medium bodied in style. 4 stars Cuisine.
13% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Dark red coloured with alluring vanillin oak infusing the ripe berry fruit bouquet, this full-bodied, juicy red has a fine tannin structure that is harmonious rather than imposing. A touch of Cabernet Franc brings out floral notes and while the oak is a little more obvious in the palate it will settle with some cellaring. A terrific vintage and it shows. 4.5 stars Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $42.99 special.

Seppelts Chalambar Shiraz 2010 – Bendigo/Grampians, Victoria
Deep saturated red with crimson highlights, this super ripe wine has a smoky, spicy, berry fruit bouquet and a voluptuous mouthfeel with rounded, cosy, enveloping tannins. With juicy flavours of mulberry, plum, vanilla, chocolate, the requisite pepper, creamy oak and the slightest suggestion of mint, it is very hard to resist.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Henry's Drive Dead Letter Office Shiraz 2009 – Padthaway/McLaren Vale, South Australia
This is a big wine that’s immediately appealing to lovers of Aussie Shiraz. It's saturated dark red with a bouquet of vanillin oak, cake spice and juicy red berries and a smooth, rounded mouthfeel with sumptuous flavours of juicy red and black fruits, vanilla, cedar, peppery spices and chocolate, and has a super long bright lingering finish. There are limited stocks of this delicious wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Matua Valley Single Vineyard Matheson Merlot 2009 – Hawkes Bay
Dark red with a smoky cedar and plum fruit bouquet, the highlight of this wine is the mouthfeel and the fine silky seamless flow. A full-bodied wine with a firm structure in behind and flavours that are savoury with creamy oak, plums and succulent berries. A classy wine that’s still evolving. 5 stars and No. 2 in the Cuisine NZ Reds tasting. Gold & Trophy NZIWS 2012.
14% alc. Screwcap. $69.99.

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – Gimblett Gravels
Wonderfully bright aromatics of cherries, spice and cedar carry through to the palate. Once again it is the tannin structure and mouthfeel that is the sensual highlight but of course the harmonious flavours of savoury oak, a little earth, a little spice, the plum and berry fruit and the lingering finish make this the top wine it is. Gold Medal winner. 5 stars and No. 1 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $66.99.

There are no tasting notes for the six weeks I was overseas

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 10 Jul 2013
Aromatic Whites and Pinot Noirs
All of the wines were tasted blind

Nga Waka Martinborough Chardonnay 2012
Sun-ripened tropical fruit, oatmeal and sweet vanillin oak on the nose and plenty of buttered toast, nuts and spicy oak flavours. It's super smooth with juicy peach, apricot and tropical fruit surging through and a flourish of citrus zest on the long smoky finish. A great Chardonnay flag bearer for vintage 2012.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008
The smell of aged Sauvignon Blanc, wild fermented and barrel aged, it has an intriguing funky, almost 'oily' character with dried grass, hay, freeze dried pineapple, grapefruit skin, mandarin, loquat and other exotic yellow skinned fruit. It builds in power and flavour in the mouth with the variety's typical pungency and the finish is tangy and dry. Fascinating to try.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $50.99

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Gris 2012
The fragrance is delicately floral and hinting of apple and pear, but it's full of fresh tasty, fruity flavours with juicy pear and some tropical fruit adding to it's allure. There's a sense of lusciousness but it's not sweet, just perfectly off dry with lingering citrus and spice. All round appeal.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Forrest The Doctors Marlborough Riesling 2012
The fragrance is ultra delicate but the taste is full of fresh, clean citrussy flavours with a hint of honey in the background, apple skin and a sherbet character too. The racy acidity imparts the impression of dryness but the 'Taste Profile' on the back label indicates 'off dry'. For those that follow this label, it's definitely not as sweet as it has been in the past. 8.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Crossroads Milestone Series Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2009
A potpourri of fragrance - cottage garden flowers, rose petals, pollen, exotic tropical fruit. Rich in flavour but perhaps showing a little age. Not OTT, as many can be, just lots of flavour and a smooth, almost oily texture that glides cross the palate effortlessly. Gold Medal Easter Show 2013.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $11.99 special.

Joseph Cattin Grand Cru Hatschbourg Gewurztraminer 2010 - Alsace
The fragrance is beguiling - gingerbread and roses perhaps and the taste is exciting - lemon meringue pie, lychees and smoker lollies (musk) with underlying honey adding lusciousness, candied ginger and an infusion of Asian spices providing balance and brightness to the delicious long finish. This Gewurztraminer is several rungs higher up the ladder. 13 % alc. Cork. $39.99 special.

Gran Familia Rioja 2010 – Cosecha, Spain.
Dark red colour with a pinky edge. The fragrance is all black fruit and tar and the taste is juicy and succulent with plums, leather, mushrooms, cherries and just a touch of allspice. There's seems to be very little oak influence, the tannins have some grip and the finish is savoury, meaty and long. 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano.
12.5% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Akarua Rua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
Magenta rimmed purple red. Earthy nuances to the (anise-infused) spicy oak scent, firm and just a little grippy in the palate, with a spicy, almost peppery flourish. Lovely fruit balance – spiced cherries, plums and even a suggestion of chocolate on the succulent, lip smacking finish. From Bannockburn, this is very tasty and one of the better Pinots tasted from 2012 so far. 14% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Hawkdun Rise Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
This dark red coloured wine has a very smooth fine silky texture but it hints of a little age. Earthy, smoky and savoury with great vinous depth, it's meaty rather than fruity at first then red fruit emerges on the finish and a touch of dried rose too. Builds to a harmonious fleshy finish with great length. Alexandra fruit. Gold NZIWS 2012.
12.9% alc. Screwcap. $NA.

Grasshopper Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011
The colour is ruby and although than translucent , the 'lightness' is only a visual thing because the taste is mouthfilling and deep. From the spiced cherry aroma and the savoury richness to the flavour, the initial grip of the tannins dissolve. Mouthcoating, persistent, it finishes with the peacock tail flare. Alexandra fruit. Gold Sydney International 2013.
13.6% alc. Screwcap. $30.99 special.

Church Road Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
From the Bendigo area, this is dark red coloured and fragrantly aromatic with ripe, fruity succulent flavours that are more in the classical red fruit spectrum – strawberries, cranberries, morello cherries with a bright spiciness coming through. The tannins are firm and velvety and there's a creamy feel to the finish where the lingering aftertaste resonates chocolates and rose hips. Church Road – who woulda thought! 14% alc. Screwcap. $27.99 special.

Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
Bright pinky red. Smoky and savoury on the nose with a subtle fragrance of Central Otago's wild thyme. Juicy and savoury with underlying acidity providing brightness and zing. Lovely tannin structure, it has some grip but that is part of this wine's charm. Full-bodied, sensual and savoury with spiced cherries on the long succulent finish. This and the Akarua show great promise for Central Otago 2012.
14% alc. Screwcap. $51.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 3 Jul 2013
Spain, Italy & France
All of the wines were tasted blind

Castello d'Oro Extra Dry Prosecco NV – Italy
Straw yellow. Immediately appealing sweet lemonbread scent but more lemon than sweet in the crisp, fresh, dry palate. Gently sparkling with a foamy mouthfeel leaving behind a creamy finish and yes, a balancing touch of sweetness caps off the finish.
11% alc. Cork. $18.99.

Simonnet Febvre Chablis 2009 - France
Light gold. Hints of pear at first on the nose then nuts and spice join in. Mealy in the palate with buttermilk malolactic influences typical of Chablis and a hint of lanolin too, it's smooth and rounded with little influence of oak but a polished finish with a touch of nut butter, a hint of butter caramel and fruit reminiscent of apples and pears.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Fasoli Gino La Corte del Pozzo Pinot Grigio 2012 – Verona, Italy
Straw gold. Baked apples and pears on the nose, more of the same in the palate. The fruit is ripe and fresh with a tickle of zest, a slight confectionary (boiled lolly) character, concentration and texture, and finishes very very dry. Evidently described by the rep as 'more traditional in style'.
12.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Coopers Creek SV 'Bell Ringer' Gisborne Albarino 2013
Pale straw, shy on the nose but in the palate it's green fruit through and through. Green melon, green apples, a bit of gooseberry maybe and limes with a lacing of white pepper. Very very dry with some oiliness to the texture, I think it needs a little more time.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Granrojo Rojo Garnacha 2012 - Spain
Deep blue red, There's dark brambly fruit on the savoury nose and the fruit is bright in the palate where lots of juicy red berries join in. It's very smooth with a creamy feel, a lightly spiced brightness, a nice savoury rustic feel too. Not too heavy to enjoy without food but better with some nibbles because there is some tannic grip.
13% alc. Screwcap. $11.99 special.

Anciano Gran Reserva Tempranillo 2004 – Valdepenas, Spain
Dark red with a fragrant perfume – red fruits, dried roses, sweet oak, orange peel. Fine tannins characterise the palate, which is full of charm. Still plenty of grip however, and the red fruit is subtle as vinous flavours and integrated vanillin oak prevail. Has nice lift to the finish. A wine to be savoured with friends. Aged 7 years before release and wrapped up in a wire cage.
13% alc. Cork. $18.99 special.

Vindimian Teroldego Vigneti della Dolomiti IGT 2009 – Northern Italy
Dark red. Currants with chocolate and tar on the nose. Very lifted and fresh in the palate and on first tasting, citrus comes to mind then red pepper and all spice. Juicy jube-like red fruits poke through and the finish is plush, creamy and smooth. Despite the initial more acidic impression, it seems very ripe. This wine from the Dolomites is very easy to like.
14% alc. Cork. $22.99 special.

Chateau de Castera Marquis de Castera Medoc 2009 – Bordeaux, France
Dark red with some fading to the edges suggesting a little age. Smoky and funky on the nose with a brooding vinosity, people were likening the aroma to roasting coffee. Savoury, earthy and gamey in the palate with suede-like tannins, dark berry fruit and a peppery tingle to the finish, this is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet and would like to be accompanied with slow roasted lamb shanks.
13.5% alc. Cork. $26.99 special.

Luzon Castillo De Luzon Crianza 2009 – Jumila, Spain
Dark red, aromatic with sweet smoky oak, orange peel and creamy berries, it tastes big, rich, ripe and juicy with plump berry fruit of all colours, creamy vanillin oak, mocha, liquorice and all spice with smooth supple tannins and a savoury kick to the long, bright finish. A blend of Monastrell, Cabernet, Tempranillo and Merlot - if you like juicy Aussie reds you will find this hard to resist.
14.5% alc. Cork. $14.99 special.

Leone De Castris Salice Salentino Riserva Negroamaro Malvasia 2008 – Southern Italy
Dark red, quite earthy and savoury on the nose not hinting of any particular fruit, and similarly so in the brooding palate and though it initially seems silky and smooth the tannins have noticeable grip on the finish. A rustic wine with a fleshy mid palate, it signs off with a little flourish of pepper and zest and has very good length.
13% alc. Cork. $25.99.

Leone De Castris Villa Santera Primitivo 2011 – Southern Italy
Purple red, looks very new world-ish, perfumed with vanillin oak and purple fruit and the taste is full of juicy currants, liquorice and spice in the full bodied palate. It's very ripe, very juicy, very big, very sumptuous and the enveloping tannins give a cosy warm feel while the earthy savouriness and harmonious oak keeps that juicy fruit sweetness in check. Very good all round.
14.5% alc. Cork. $24.95.

Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 - Italy
Dark red. Brooding nose of dark smoky oak, hints of liquorice and some savoury barnyard-like funk. Another super sumptuous wine with tannins and mouthfeel to match. Dark fruit, plums, smoke, spice and vinous sweetness to the finish, with all those tannins, it really does need food.
13.5% alc. Cork. $48.99.

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
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Index to all Wednesday tastings notes.

2013 Tastings
Jan 2013 tasting notes.
Feb 2013 tasting notes.
Mar 2013 tasting notes.
Apr 2013 tasting notes.
May 2013 tasting notes.
Jun 2013 tasting notes.
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Sep 2013 tasting notes.
Oct 2013 tasting notes.
Nov 2013 tasting notes.

Dec 2012 tasting notes and index.

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