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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

[ Click here for index to other months ]

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 25 Sep 2013
More Gold Medals from the NZIWS
All of the wines were tasted blind

Sileni The Straits Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013
There's plenty of grass and sunshine in this tangy drop, together with tropical fruit that's brimming with passionfruit on the long flavoursome finish. The soft oily texture makes it skip down very easily. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
13% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 Twin Hills Chardonnay 2012
Light gold with a tempting bouquet of nougat and citrus chantilly cream, and delicious nutty, spicy, savoury flavours with grilled peach, a touch of butter caramel and a zing of citrus that's such a refreshing foil to the rich toasty oak. Powerful and expansive with a long, smooth, creamy finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

The Landing Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2012
Light gold coloured with a nutty, savoury, sweet toasty oak bouquet, then peach and nectarine fill the spicy vanillin oak palate that's rich, full-bodied and rounded with mealy yeast lees flavours and loads of caramel on the gorgeous lingering finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Mount Riley Marlborough Riesling 2013
Light and delicate yet assertive in its racy freshness, it's pale straw in colour and full of freshly squeezed citrus and juicy heritage apples with flinty notes in the background. Just on the cusp of off dry, a wonderful aperitif style. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
12% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Riesling 2010
Lemon gold with a wonderful aromatic presence, the toasty lime and hints of kero suggest a little age while adding complexity to the juicy red apple and citrus flavours. It has 12 grams/litre residual sweetness but with its flinty undercurrent, seems to finish reasonably dry. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Pinot Gris 2011
Medium gold coloured and quite shy on the nose with only subtle hints of custard and fruit salad. Smooth and honeyed in the palate, it has a mouthcoating textural presence and the fruit is clean and luscious with pears and tropical fruit lingering. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings Pinot Noir 2012
Rich ruby red with a gorgeous aroma that emanates spiced cherries and plums with a lovely savoury note wafting through, the succulent fruit a feature in the juicy palate together with smoky, savoury, gamey notes and a spicy touch of anise. Smooth and just so easy to like. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
14.3% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011
Deep purple red with succulent fruits of the forest and chocolate immediately seducing the nose, this is a full bodied style with a meaty savoury oak backbone, plump black cherry fruit, hints of orange peel and cigar box, and a velvety smooth texture with a firm touch to the finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
14.3% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Telmo Rodriguez Dehesa Gago Tempranillo 2011 - Toro, Spain
Dark black red coloured, it's spicy and peppery from the outset with a lovely smoky savoury undercurrent, a hint of tobacco and cigar box and juicy mulberry-like fruit. Quite firm with velvet-edged, tea-like tannins and vinous sweetness to the long dry finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
14.5% alc. Cork. $17.99 special.

Chakana Andean Wines Syrah 2012 – Mendoza, Argentina
Inky purple crimson red with a smoky, savoury, gamey bouquet infused with a hint of vanilla, then lots of pepper and all-spice in the rich dark savoury palate with dusty blackberries, firm tannins and a flourish of citrus brightness at the end. Wants to be consumed with hearty carnivorous foods. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz 2012
This inky wine is ultra juicy and succulent with red fruits, smoky oak, pepper, allspice and a touch of anise, a lovely firm tannin structure and a dry finish. Will invigorate a rare cut of venison or beef and good cellaring proposition too. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Saltram Mamre Brook Barossa Shiraz 2010
Shiny purple black in colour with a bouquet of vanillin-infused cedary oak, pepper, chocolate, allspice and anise - all those tantalising aromas carry through to the opulent palate where the super fine tannin structure gives the wine a seamless flow. There's a lovely smoky savouriness and sumptuous fruit – a monumental wine from a great vintage with a pedigree to last in the cellar for years. Two gold medals.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $26.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 18 Sep 2013
Gold Medals from the NZIWS
All but the last two wines were tasted blind

Coopers Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Ah – if you don’t drink Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc often, the ravishing exotic fruity aromas and exciting vibrant taste will remind you how good it is. This is full of passionfruit, pineapple and lime with a cut grass nuance and bright tangy herbaceousness. Smooth textured, juicy, powerful and long. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
13% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Lochiel Estate Mangawhai Chardonnay 2012
Light gold with a delectable aroma of nougat, toasty oak and grilled peach that carries through to the smooth, rich creamy palate – the toasty oak and peach joining creamed nut flavours, with almost funky mealy notes and a lovely savouriness too. Juicy and creamy, with a flourish of citrus brightness on the end. Delicious. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
14% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2012
Light medium gold with inviting with nutty, savoury barrel ferment scents tinged with grapefruit, then upfront bold toasty oak in the palate that softens to let the grilled peach and roasted cashew/hazelnut flavours come through. An incredibly complex Chardonnay with funky, savoury, mealy characters and a vibrant zesty finish rounded out with butterscotch as the long flavours linger. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
14% alc. Screwcap. $30.99 special.

Vavasour Awatere Valley Pinot Gris 2012
Straw gold with lovely white flower and honeysuckle aromatics, and quite classical fruit flavours of apple, pear and nectarine with vanilla bean, strudel spices and ginger. Just off-dry with oak maturation adding a creamy complexity rather than oak flavour and a delectable orange blossom nuance too. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Maude Mt Maude East Block Vineyard Central Otago Riesling 2013
Pale straw with an earthy, exotic almost musky floral scent and a medium sweet taste exquisitely balanced by racy citrus freshness. It's incredibly juicy with youthful purity and clarity, a touch of spice, exotic Asian fruit, heritage apples and vibrant fizzy lime on the lingering aromatic finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
10% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
Ruby maroon in hue with a lovely smoky savoury cherry bouquet, it's spicy and a little gamey in the medium to full-bodied palate with hints of rosemary and musky rose petal characters, juicy berry fruit, a dry savoury backbone, velvet-edged silky tannins and a long bright finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Fattoria di Basciano Chianti Rufina 2011
Medium black red in colour with an aroma that is reminiscent of red berries and sweet smoky oak with a little barnyard funk and tar, and a sweet-fruited palate underpinned by savoury meaty flavours. Overall it's smooth and creamy with vanillin oak layers and spice, firm tannins, succulent berry fruit and a long savoury finish with unexpected concentration (for Rufina). Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
13.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Menhir N°Zero 'O' Negroamaro 2010 – Salento, Italy
Crimson purple red coloured with smoky savoury aromas and super juicy, succulent fruit flavours reminiscent of macerated cherries, spiced plums and chocolate raisins while firm tannins impart richness and power and the underlying savouriness is edged with pepper and tar. Very harmonious and approachable tonight with great vibes from everyone in the room. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013. Cork.
14% alc. Cork. $17.99 special.

Mojo Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012
Purple black red. Succulent berry fruits join spicy vanillin oak on the nose with amazing depth and concentration of berry fruit flavour. A bold, rich tasting wine with a creamy texture, boysenberry fruit, a touch of chocolate and mocha, a lovely fine tannin structure and underlying savouriness with a peppery bite to the finish. Lots to like here. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special

Rocland 'Petite Rocland' Shiraz 2010 – South Australia
Deep red. Sweet vanillin oak and spiced berry scents with a touch of savouriness bringing it all together. It’s juicy in the palate with black fruit, silky tannins, vanillin oak and extra dark chocolate flavours with a lovely flourish of pepper and fruit cake spices bringing brightness and freshness to the end. Rounded and velvety with oodles of appeal, this is one of the great finds of the Show and ready to enjoy now. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Serafino McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010
Purple red with aromas of vanillin oak, spices and cherries and a wonderfully fine tannin structure in the palate. Brimming with mulberry and cherry fruit, chocolate, cake spices, pepper and liquorice, it's a very opulent, succulent, concentrated style with lovely vanillin oak and red fruit sweetness to the creamy lingering finish. Will reward even more with furthering cellaring. Gold Medal NZIWS 2012.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Thorn-Clarke William Randell Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010
Inky purple red black. Very concentrated and intense on the nose with blackcurrant, blackberry, vanilla and smoky cedar. Similarly concentrated in the fine textured palate with spicy vanillin oak, nutmeg, mocha, spiced plums and berries and powerful tannins at this stage of its life. An opulent and sumptuous style with a lovely nuance of mint chocolate too. Gold Medal NZIWS 2012 & 2013.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $50.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 4 Sep 2013
NZ, Australia, Italy and Spain
All but the last wine was tasted blind

Felton Road Dry Riesling 2011 – Central Otago
This gorgeous dry Riesling seems to have added complexity just because it is dry. It has body richness and power with bright fresh acidity yet nicely rounded edges. Lime flavours ripple through the wine with suggestions of grapefruit zest and dried hay.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2011 – Hawkes Bay
The orange blossom bouquet has you going down another track than Chardonnay, but when you taste it, there is no doubt what it is. It's a smooth, creamy and caramel infused with layers of stonefruit, a lovely fresh citrus lift to the finish and harmoniously integrated oak. But it is still very young and while some will enjoy it already, this wine will continue to develop for several years.
13.5% alc. Cork. $29.99 special.

Villa Maria SV Keltern Chardonnay 2011 – Hawkes Bay
The grapefruit and barrel ferment aromas emanate class, perhaps even some wild yeast funk contributing to the glorious scent (yes!). It's bold and bright with woodsmoke penetrating the almost luscious stonefruit with grapefruit like acidity keep the ripe fruit in check and while the fruit is ripe, the wine is dry and the finish is memorable and long. Multiple gold medal winner.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Alchemy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
The aroma of this wine is quite different. It smells of dried earth with smoke in the distance, perhaps a hint of dried pineapple too. There's lanolin in the creamy palate, but without any distinctive put-your-finger-on-it fruit. Very dry, a little wood spice, plenty of underlying acidity, very powerful – very much a food wine.
13.9% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Pasquale '16' Waitaki Valley Riesling 2012
Now we are back on the riesling-mobile but this one is sweeter, juicier and zestier than the dry one before. Freshly squeezed grapefruit and tangelo provide a sweet sour symmetry and there's a touch of spritz to the texture. Lovely garden party or aperitif wine. Gold Medal Bragato.
11% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Alan McCorkindale Waipara Gewurztraminer 2010
The bouquet is musky old-fashioned roses with a hint of cinnamon bark and the taste is powerful and vibrant. It's a slightly drier style than most with a little bottle age and the flavours are orange water infused with heated aromatic spices and a lingering taste of lychees. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Montana Letter Series 'T' Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011
Medium garnet red with woodsmoke and cherries on the nose, this is juicy and ripe in the palate with red fruits in the strawberry / cherry spectrum, plenty of spice and a zesty lift to the lingering finish where savoury gamey notes come through.
14% alc. Screwcap. 22.99 special.

Vasse Felix Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2011 – Western Australia
Juicy black and purple fruits on the nose of this inky purple red wine intermingle with cedar while succulent red and black fruits are a feature in the spicy palate where there is savoury oak, liquorice, tobacco and a subtle suggestion of mint. Still fresh and youthful with firm tannins.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. Sold Out.

Aramis Single Vineyard (Black Label) McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010 – South Australia
Almost impenetrable purple black in colour, this wine has chocolate and vanillin oak scents and is smooth and succulent in the palate with chocolate raisin flavours underpinned by savoury oak and spice. A terrific wine with a firm structure, it's from a spectacular vintage and very hard to resist.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Mr Riggs The Truant McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010 – South Australia
Shiny purple red. Quite peppery on the nose with plum and tar and juicy red fruits in the palate with a fine tannin structure, a touch of mint, hints of vanilla and a savoury oak finish. A grunty, true-blue Aussie Shiraz at a great price.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Sessantani Primitivo Di Manduria 2009 – Puglia, Italy
Impenetrable purple red in hue, on the nose sweet vanillin oak is interwoven with chocolate but does not prepare for the power surge of flavour in the palate. It's super ripe and raisiny with savoury oak, pencils, dried herbs, charcoal – everything. In the bottle that weights 1.8 kilos empty, this impressively packaged, gold medal blockbuster is a conversation starter. 14.5% alc. Cork. $45.99 special.

Delgado Zueta Monteagudo PX Sherry – Spain
The colour of dark orange-brown amber with golden yellow edges, it smells of mocha, toffee and macerated muscatel raisins. The texture is viscous and sticky and the taste is unbelievably delicious – all nuts and liquid orange toffee and raisins. A decadent after dinner treat.
17.5% alc. Screwcap. $30.99. 375-ml bottle.

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.

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.
Jul / Aug 2013 tasting notes.
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Oct 2013 tasting notes.
Nov 2013 tasting notes.

Dec 2012 tasting notes and index.

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