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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

June 2013
[ Click here for index to other months ]

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 26 Jun 2013
A Night of Winners
All of the wines were tasted blind

Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Riesling 2011
Straw gold with a tropical fruit bouquet infused with subtle hints of coconut and lime – it smells like Riesling with a little bit of age but when you taste it there's a fresh zingy character there too. Quite citrussy, tangy in the full bodied palate with a lemon honey layer and while there's a suggestion of sweetness, there's a 'sucking a river pebble' dryness too. Gold Spiegelau Wine Comp 2012.
13% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
Light gold. Grapefruit and funky wild yeast / mealy / smoky barrel ferment characters on the nose and crammed with grapefruit in the seamless palate with hints of peach, roasted nuts and smoky oak. Incredibly dry with quivering acidity and a phenomenally long finish, it is scintillating now if you like these wild fermented styles and will develop more toastiness and creaminess with age.
14% alc. Cork. $35.99 special.

Alchemy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Medium gold with a toasty butterscotch bouquet and full bodied, oaky and toasty in the palate with a slight oxidative character – this is maybe what Kingsley was referring to as 'a little grubby' – but it is intriguing nevertheless. The texture is like melted butter, almost oily in fact, with flavours of juicy ripe peach, a fresh citrussy undercurrent and a sizzled butter nuttiness on the finish.
13.9% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Johanneshof Cellars Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2011
Light gold with an intensely heady and aromatic bouquet of Asian spices and rose musk and a smooth texture – almost heading towards oily. It tastes off dry to medium sweet with five spice characters, a zing of white pepper, orange water, lychees and spiced baked apples, then candied violets and rose petals on the powerfully long finish. Needs to be lightly chilled.
13% alc. Cork. $32.99.

Pegasus Bay Aria Late Picked Waipara Riesling 2009
Light yellow gold with honeysuckle and citrus blossoms filling the bouquet and the taste is fresh, light, bright, zingy and tangy with candied oranges, tropical fruit and honey syrup. There's a luscious sweetness that's beautifully harmonised by the acidity and then on the finish, grapefruit, and the slightest suggestion of spritz. This outstanding wine comes in a full 750ml bottle.
11% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Ruby garnet. Concentrated cherry with subtle smoky oak on the nose, and the first impression in the velvety smooth palate is earthy and savoury. It's ripe, almost raisiny with plums and black cherries, a nice touch of spice, hints of anise, and lovely brightness, zest and length to the finish. Still very much alive. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Quarisa Johnny Q Shiraz Viognier 2009 - NSW
Inky red black – quite glossy. Smoky, savoury, almost earthy on the nose with ripe plum and cherry fruit. Earthy and savoury to the taste with chocolate and liquorice, smoky oak, moderately firm tannins, plums, cherries, cake spices and warmth to the medium bodied finish. 5 stars in the Cuisine Top 10.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Browns of Padthaway T-Trellis Shiraz 2010
Deep boysenberry red. Attractive bouquet of vanillin oak infused with chocolate biscuits and full of creamy oak, chocolate and raspberry jam flavours. A great drinking Shiraz, it is smooth and succulent all the way through with a bright, spicy peppery finish and a hallmark flourish of mint.
15% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Coopers Creek Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010
Glossy blackberry red. Leather and chocolate on the nose with a hint of dried rose then firm and tannic in the palate with a brooding feel to the wine. But the chocolate, the plums, the spice, the vanillin oak come through and the finish is mouthfilling and succulent. A wine that won’t mind a few years cellaring. Four gold medals and No. 1 in Cuisine's NZ Syrah tasting.
14% alc. Screwcap. $43.99.

Hollick Wrattonbully Shiraz 2006 – South Australia
This is what we love about Aussie Shiraz. Creamy vanillin oak, chocolate, spice, liquorice, mocha and mint with fine tannins and a savoury richness. The colour is black red, intense and glossy, and the bouquet is chocolate, plums, spice and vanilla. The massive oak in this blockbuster is still not fully integrated and with the underlying brightness, there are years more to go in this beauty.
14.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Jip Jip Rocks Padthaway Shiraz 2010
Blackberry red. Spiced berries, black pepper, blackberry jam, tar and smoke on the nose and the taste is rich, ripe, juicy and succulent, with black cherry and blackberry fruit, a touch of chocolate, a hint of mint, velvety tannins and a harmonious spiciness. Smooth, creamy, winter warming drinking.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Two Hands Angel's Share McLaren Vale Shiraz 2011
Purple black coloured, savoury with a deep vinosity and black pepper nuances to the scent. Concentrated and powerful in the palate with a fine silky tannin structure, ripe juicy berry fruits – mulberries come to mind, hints of chocolate and mocha with a creaminess from the nutty oak and a savoury character that keeps the massive sweet richness in balance. The typical high end Two Hands we have come to expect.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $38.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 19 Jun 2013
Peter Lehmann Wines with Malcolm Stopp
None of the wines were tasted blind

Peter Lehmann Margaret Barossa Semillon 2007
Golden yellow with a bouquet of nut bread and sunburnt fields of hay and an incredibly complex toastiness that carries through to the taste, then the flourish of bright zestiness reminds us of the acidity this wine style has – it's the key to its longevity. Unoaked with five years in the bottle before release, lime and lemon curd flavours linger on the lasting finish.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Peter Lehmann Hill & Valley Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Dark berry red. The varietal and unadulterated scent of blackcurrants and smoky oak with a touch of chocolate too. A fresh young wine with spicy integrated oak, juicy bramble berries, a hint of tobacco, well balanced savouriness and subtle hints of rosemary and mint. Tannins are fine and silky and there's concentration to the lingering finish with has a pleasing berry richness.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Peter Lehmann VSV Ruediger Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Deep blackberry red with the intense fruit character of cassis infused with mint, violets and cigar box teasing the nose. The mint and cassis and vanillin sweetness of the new French oak hogsheads is an upfront feature of this very appealing Cabernet. Firm fine tannins with vibrant ripe cassis and blackcurrant jube flavours. Long and creamy, almost approachable now … with food.
13% alc. Screwcap. $44.99 special.

Peter Lehmann The Mentor Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Concentrated inky, blue red with purple flashed to the colour. Chocolate (dry cocoa) is the first impression on the nose, and then a meaty nuance to the savoury oak scent. An incredibly complex, deep, mouthfilling red with firm velvety edged tannins still needing to unfold. Concentrated red and blackcurrant fruit with a freshness to the undercurrent, subtle herbs and a lovely French oak savouriness to the long lingering aftertaste. A wine to be cellared with confidence.
100% new French oak.
14% alc. Screwcap. $49.99 special.

Peter Lehmann Hill & Valley Barossa Shiraz 2010
Boysenberry red, this emanates a fruity aroma - raspberry and black berry jubes. Soft and fleshy in the palate with pillowy tannins, fruit is in the plum and black cherry spectrum, there's a judicious touch of pepper, the merest hint of chocolate and well balanced savoury oak completes the picture. "This is about drinkability," says our host who is nicknamed Stoppa.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Peter Lehmann Futures Barossa Shiraz 2010
Inky purple black red. Deep concentrated black fruit scent with a touch of smoky cedar and pan-roasted spices. This is a concentrated, full-bodied, serious style of Shiraz with fine yet powerful tannins, underlying freshness and a touch of all spice and pepper. But the kingpin of the taste is the delicious juicy succulence of the generous ripe plum and cherry fruit and a silky chocolate layer to the lingering finish. A keeper. Sometimes referred to as 'Baby Stonewell'.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Peter Lehmann VSV 1885 Barossa Shiraz 2009
Dark berry red. There's a inviting mocha/ choc nuance to the savoury cedary (vanillin) oak scent and a peppery warmth infiltrates the flavour. A big wine with velvet edged pillowy tannins, chocolate layers, juicy plum and blackcurrant fruit, hints of liquorice and violets and a deep, dark meaty richness to the fleshy full bodied finish. Lovely balance of fruit, oak and savouriness. "Yummy," says Stoppa, who likes to sip this while reading a book on a Sunday afternoon. I think it is delicious drinking too – but more serious than Stoppa infers.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $44.99 special.

Peter Lehmann VSV 1885 Barossa Shiraz 2010
Inky coloured with a purple richness to the hue. There's more vanillin sweetness to the bouquet of this gorgeous blockbuster, dark fruit, spices and a subtle minty note too. Full and fleshy in the palate with flavours crammed full of ripe red fruits, black forest chocolate mint, liquorice and vanilla. Tannins are firm yet fine and the finish is fresh, lifted and spicy with an underlying pencil shaving note too. Lots going on as the long, creamy flavours linger. Exciting.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $44.99 special. (On indent from Australia.)

Peter Lehmann Eight Songs Barossa Shiraz 2009
Shiny blackberry red. Mixed berry compote on the nose with smoky, savoury, nuggetty nuances too then in the palate lots of peppery spice, dark fruits, blackcurrants and tar. Released as a four year old but it still seems to be a bit of a brooding number, it's concentrated and savoury with cigar box, dark chocolate and smoky cedar with a silky impression across the palate but the finish is firm.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $49.99 special.

Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 2008
The best 'Shirrah' they make at vintage, it is released at five years old and is super concentrated in the context of the tasting tonight. Inky boysenberry coloured, berries and chocolate biscuits on the nose and while it seems deep brooding and savoury to start it opens up beautifully in the glass. There's an array of spices there – from mulled wine spice to Asian spices, to pepper and even a touch of anise, plus chocolate biscuits, red and black fruits, rose hips, savoury oak and roasted rosemary when it is cooked with meat. The firm mouthcoating tannins have a silky edge, there's creamy vanillin layer and the whole impression is mouthfilling, long and intense. An amazing wine from an amazing vintage, one to cellar I think.
14% alc. Screwcap. $95.00 special.

Peter Lehmann Botrytis Semillon 2010
Lustrous yellow gold. Clean and refreshing after a raft of reds. There's a smoky nuance to the candied tropical fruit scent, the flavours carrying through to the honeyed palate where's there's a silky creaminess to the slippery texture and a zesty citrus flourish. A deliciously juicy sweetie that's not too overpowering. Unbelievably, Stoppa recommends for breakfast … with eggs! I think would be more ideal with dried fruits and a creamy blue cheese.
11% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 12 Jun 2013
The Class of 2010
All of the wines were tasted blind except for the last one

Balthazaar Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Shiny golden yellow. Toasty on the nose initially then later stonefruit and caramel. Toasty and warming to the taste with a touch of apricot, a squeeze of citrus and a creamy caramel richness to the rounded finish. A big, rich, value-packed wine that fits into the First Glass mold.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Vavasour Anna's Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
Yellow gold colour. With delicate caramel and citrus on the nose, it seems like a much fresher wine. It tastes creamy and bready with that lovely nougat like character running through it and fruit that's reminiscent of melon with a zing of pineapple and citrus. Seems like a more restrained wine, developing quite slowly, with a flint and savoury oak undercurrent – lovely sweet fruit wells through the finish which is long and fulfilling. People comments: "More structure, more oak, more acid." 14% alc. Screwcap. $42.99.

Kirkpatrick 'Kirky' Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2010
Bright gold with smoked spices on the nose, loads of sizzled butter, a touch of yellow fruit too. A big rich nutty style of wine, more developed than the other two but lacking nothing for it. Fat full and creamy with plenty of citrus and pineapple flavours and a polished oak finish that is pleasingly dry, it is ready to enjoy right now. "It has the colour, the oak, the toast, the butteriness, the citrus, the caramel ... it has it all really," says Kingsley.
13.4% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Pinot Gris 2010
Pale gold. Nashi pears and white pepper on the nose, summer and autumn fruits in the palate - tropical fruit, red apples and pear. Quite smooth, moderately spicy – a touch of those strudel spices, layers of vanilla and a pleasing citrus zest zing. Definitely some peppery nuances in there, perhaps some nutmeg too. Overall texturally pleasing.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Schoffit 'Cuvee Alexandra' Alsace Gewurztraminer 2010
This bountifully fragrant wine has a yellow gold colour and is rich and mouthfilling with exotic tropical fruits, honeysuckle, flower musk, beautifully balanced sweetness and sensual spiciness. It has a silky viscosity, it seamlessly coats all the nooks and crannies with its lusciousness and leaves behind the most luxurious taste. Simply sensational.
13.5% alc. Cork. $45.99.

Tatty Bogler Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Blackberry red, concentrated and deep. Savoury aromas with a fragrant floral overlay and rich, meaty flavours. It's spicy and bright with initially a little peppery heat and the fruit is wild dusty blackberries, spiced plums and then, on the finish, black cherries. Tannins are velvety and there's a deep rich savouriness too. This massively intense Pinot Noir rendition is a label of Forrest Estate and made from Central Otago and Waitaki fruit. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $33.99 special.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Grenache 2010
Deep blue red with a smoky and slightly meaty nuance to the fragrant scent with cherries, spiced plums and wafts of vanillin oak carrying through to the succulent and seemingly more medium bodied palate. It's smooth, creamy and spicy with supple tannins and the whole impression is juicy with lovely lift and length, and a touch of chocolate too. An outstanding wine made from a blend of 92% Grenache, 6%Syrah and 2% Malbec.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

14 Hands Hot to Trot Red 2010
Dark red. Juicy on the nose where red fruits abound with a touch of polished oak and there is a little oak action in the sweet, juicy palate together with red and black currants, a touch of spice, well balanced savoury undercurrent and supple tannins. This juicy quaffable number is from the Columbia Valley in Washington, USA, and is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Mourvedre and more.
13.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Mastermind 'The Rook' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009
Served as the stand-up options wine, hence the departure from the theme, this dark red charmer has a tantalising aroma of chocolate biscuits, vanillin oak and spices and tastes so concentrated and intense with creamy oak, chocolate, juicy plum and black cherry fruit, pepper and allspice. Absolutely unbelievable quality for the price and deliciously drinkable too.
14.9% alc. Screwcap. Sold out – the $14.99 price was too good to be true.

Wirra Wirra 'Catapult' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010
This big, rich, ripe, meaty wine is an inky black red colour and the initial impression is spices, mocha and tobacco. Fruit is in the darker berry spectrum and a chocolate spiciness comes through as the smooth, creamy flavours linger. The fine but firm tannins and the long, full, dry savoury finish makes this beg to accompany some food. There's 2% Viognier in the blend.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Serafino McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010
Dark red with purple black flashes. Chocolate infuses the creamy vanillin oak bouquet and the taste is smooth and creamy with velvety tannins, rich berry fruits, a lovely savoury spiciness, loads of chocolate and chicory and a smidgen of mint and liquorice. A succulent juicy wine that hits all the harmony buttons, it's easy to see why the judges awarded this gold at the 2012 NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Buller Fine Old Muscat
Dark copper orange amber. Concentrated brandy soaked muscatel grapes and dried Christmas cake fruits and peel. Hot, rich, spicy and heady with a rancio character from the old barrels, mouthcoating viscosity and a long smooth spirity finish with lingering orange brandy macerated muscatel raisins. Glorious. Gold Medal NZIWS.
18% alc. Screwcap. $36.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 5 Jun 2013
New Zealand versus Europe
All of the wines were tasted blind

Riondo Monte Forte Lot 16 Pinot Grigio 2011 – Delle Venezie, Italy
Straw gold with a hint of flint and lanolin on the nose, subtle citrus, clean. No suggestion of oak in the palate where melon and pineapple dance with a lovely fresh twirl. The fruit is ripe but the finish is lemony dry. Lovely palate awakening aperitif style.
12.5% alc. Cork. $16.99 special.

Riverby Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
There's fresh roasted nuts and butterscotch on the nose of this golden yellow wine and it's full bodied and juicy in the palate with citrus (tending towards grapefruit), beurre noisette, a savoury mealy backbone, a touch of butterscotch and peaches and cream. "The best we've ever made," says Riverby's Kevin Courtney (no relation).
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Passage Rock Waiheke Island Viognier 2012
Exotic tropical fruit on the nose and in the palate fleshy yellow fruits come to mind – babaco, pepino and banana passionfruit – with a lanolin undercurrent that adds body and a zesty rightness to the tangy finish. Heritage apples too. There's lovely purity to this moderately dry wine – it will work well as an aperitif. Champion Viognier Easter Show 2013.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Guigal Condrieu 2010 – Rhone, France
Made from 100% Viognier, there's a smoky nuance to the scent and flower blossoms too. It's full and rich in the palate with baking spices and fruit that's more in the canned apricot spectrum. Concentrated with an expansive richness and a vinous sweetness, it has a silky texture and the finish is just off dry. A powerful wine on its own, it needs complementary food. Sam suggests slow cooked spiced pork belly. I think a comforting Chicken and Apricot casserole.
15% alc. Cork. $86.99 special.

Dr Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett 2011 – Mosel, Germany
Light gold with a tantalising bouquet of lime and flower blossoms, this has an attractive spritzy zing to the texture and ginger-like spices that dance on the tongue. Crammed with tropical fruit and an array of citrus, this medium style wine is bright and clean with youthful vibrancy and refreshing tang. 8% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Series Block 9 Big John Marlborough Riesling 2012
Concentrated in its citrus and lemony honey aromas and flavours, there a ton of sweetness in there but equally as much acidity that almost gives it an impression of dry – so juicy, fresh and refreshing, another very tantalising aperitif style wine. 8.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
Dark berry red. Sweet and savoury on the nose with a concentrated richness and mushroom-like earthiness. Juicy and succulent in the palate, with a cherry sweetness and a sultry savouriness, a touch of chocolate, fruitcake spices and that sought after peacock's tail flare to the finish. A very attractive and generous wine from the Lowburn sub region.
14% alc. Screwcap. $36.99 special.

Luigi Guisti Lacrima di Morrow d'Alba 2010 – Montignano, Italy
This bright blue-red coloured wine is quite unusual wine both in its perfumed aromatics and flavours. A garden party in the glass with violets, rose and lilac blossoms but also a tarry character and a touch of compost. There's a perceived sweetness, an abundance of red fruits and welcome savouriness to this juicy wine that probably has no oak. It seems like a wine that you could enjoy in summer – just ever so slightly chilled. Lacrima is an ancient grape variety.
13% alc. Cork. $22.99 special.

El Burro Kickass Garnacha 2011 – Carinena, Spain
Dark red with a glossy brightness. Spiced plums, blackberries and a hint of pepper on the nose, then in the palate it's smooth and creamy textured, the juicy red fruits so beautifully balanced with the supple tannins – it seems to just flow. Seems like 'real wine' after the Lacrima and quite modern in style. Great appeal both in taste and presentation.
14% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Tempranillo 2010
Deep black red. Savoury and earthy on the nose with a hint of tobacco and leather then succulent dark berry fruits in the full bodied, firm, meaty palate with a harmonious smoky savouriness and a brightness to the finish, as all good Tempranillo should have. Trophy Air NZ Wine Awards 2012.
13.5% alc. Cork. $29.99 special.

Leone de Castris Trupperre Zinfandel Primitivo 2010 – Salento, Italy
Medium dark red, a little shy on the nose with subtle red fruits and a touch of menthol tobacco that carries through to the succulent velvety textured palate. Full of brightness and flavour with dried cake cherries and currants, an embossing of sweet oak and spices and a touch of mint maybe. It's on the medium side of full with an exciting rusticity and fine tannins that impart harmony and flow.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay 'The Trinity' 2011
This deep purple blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with the addition of Tempranillo, Malbec and Petit Verdot has a beguiling fragrance that hints of violets, allspice and chocolate coated liquorice. Full bodied and juicy, yet concentrated and intense with firm velvety tannins, sweet ripe fruit and a dry finish that begs for a juicy steak.
13% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 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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