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edited by Sue Courtney

Wednesday Round-up - the 2014 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

April 2014
[ 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 Apr 2014
The 'Mostly Red' Tasting
All of the wines were tasted blind

Bodegas Val de Vid Musgo Verdejo 2012 – Rueda, Spain
Light gold with a flinty aura to the fresh melon and grilled peach scent and more melon tones together with tropical fruit and citrus in the fleshy palate with bright zesty freshness to the ever so slightly savoury finish that rounds out very nicely. Gold medal Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2013.
13% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2013
Moderate gold colour. Toffee apple and melon on the nose. Soft, spicy, fleshy and juicy in the palate with a tingle of spice and some luscious honey notes coming through. Lovely mouthfeel, concentration and length – and the acidity is very well honed. Very tasty indeed.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $32.99.

Bimbadgen Signature Palmers Lane Hunter Valley Semillon 2009
This bright citrine-coloured wine has a great sense of mellow acidity on the nose and is rich and 'lemon toasty' in the palate – it has all the wonderful characters of aged Semillon yet a tantalising freshness that makes this variety so unique. It makes me think of summer meadows, dried hay and lemongrass with a honeyed citrus and almost lime curd character in behind with concentrated mouthfeel and excellent length. Gold NZIWS.
11% alc. Screwcap. NA.

Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013
This youthful fruity number is shiny, crimson-tinged dark ruby with smoky cake spice notes on the nose and cinnamon-like nuances most dominant in the palate with juicy black cherries and a beguiling smoky savoury note in behind. Acidity is fresh and the tannins still a little firm - they will integrate nicely with a little more time. 13.5% alc.
Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010
Translucent ruby garnet in hue. Savoury on the nose, quite distinctly pinot in the palate with refined silky tannins, strawberry and cherry fruit, underlying woody herbs, earthy mushroom notes, cake spices and a bright zesty flare to the long lasting 'fruit sweet' finish. Maturing beautifully but still on an uphill ascent.
14% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Mission Vineyard Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2012
Youthful ruby red. Pepper and leather on the nose and lashings of green and white pepper in the fresh, spicy and slightly edgy palate. Medium-bodied in style with raspberry and blackberry fruit, an earthy leathery undercurrent, hints of salami and smooth easy tannins but just a little short on the finish.
13% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Dog Ridge 'The Pup' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012
Inky black red. Blackberry jubes on the nose carry through to the firm textured, creamy, spicy palate with underlying savouriness and plenty of power in behind together with hints of vanilla and mocha. The generous fruit is forward, and juicy fruit sweetness is a key feature of this smooth, velvety wine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Chakana Mendoza Shiraz 2012 - Argentina
Dark red with the bouquet emanating deep dark fruits and something in the palate that evokes memories of dusty blackberries on the side of the road with melting tar nearby and harmonious peppery spices. It's earthy and savoury with super smooth tannins, excellent concentration and fruit sweetness in behind. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Catena High Mountain Vines Mendoza Malbec 2011 - Argentina
Saturated black red. Dark fruits and smoky cedar on the nose. Rich and fleshy in the firm but succulent full-bodied palate with juicy Black Doris plums and spiced blackberries over a rich gamey backbone. Concentrated with brightness to the finish, this is an opulent wine yet still quite tight in some respects because it has years and years to go, so tame the tannins with rare meat dishes right now.
13.5% alc. Cork. $29.99 special.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Malbec 2009
This blockbuster is inky black red with an inviting bouquet of creamy vanillin oak, spiced berry fruit and dried roses, then in the palate it's all vanilla, macerated cherries, a pleasing herbal note that is in harmony with the spicy fruit sweetness, firm velvety textured tannins and a hint of violets on the mouthfilling finish. A totally awesome wine that belies its age, even Shiraz lovers with enjoy this. Multi gold medal winner.
14% alc. Screwcap. $52.99 special.

Kirrihill Regional Selection Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Dark red. Concentrated and meaty on the nose with a slight mint herbal note. Chocolate, mint and Ribena in the palate with thick chunky tannins and underlying tarry savouriness. "Lovely rich, succulent, supple flavours," says Kingsley.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Mamre Brook Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
This wine is simply sublime. It's inky black red in colour with biscuity oak on the nose and fine velvet-edged silky tannins, plum and blackcurrant fruit, smoky oak, vanilla, dark chocolate and cake spices in the palate. Full-bodied and powerful but being so smooth and creamy, it is very hard to resist.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 23 Apr 2014
Cuisine Chardonnays and Kerpen Rieslings
The Chardonnays were tasted blind

Forrest Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
There's a butterscotch edge to the lightly toasted smoky oak, citrus and nectarine flavours of this nutty savoury Chardonnay pre-taster; not a big rich wine to knock your socks off but it is tasty and mouthfilling and sure gets you into the zone.
13% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2012
Nougat, lime and vanilla chantilly cream flavours ripple over the dry savoury backbone, there's an increasing toasty richness and a touch of grapefruit on the finish. Like the Forrest, this is more of an aperitif style.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Crossroads Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Now we are getting to what most of us expect of main course Chardonnay. Toasty oak, grilled peaches, tropical fruit and zesty acidity combine in harmony in this richer style of wine that's laced with butter cream on the long rounded finish. There's a slight bubblegum nuance that indicates it could be of quite some youth. 5 stars and No 4 in Cuisine Top 10. Best Buy.
14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Sebastiani Sonoma County Chardonnay 2011 California, USA
If you like a soft caramel cream style of wine, this is for you. It's warm, rich, smooth and rounded with seamless flow, pleasing peach tones and a touch of citrus adding vibrancy and freshness to the creamy full-bodied finish.
13.5% alc. Cork. Sold out.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylor's Pass Chardonnay 2012
Rich mealy flavours with a smidgen of wild yeast funk add a point of difference to this spicy, toasty, savoury, malty, full-bodied style and while it initially seems luscious, it finishes very dry. Citrus underpins the delectable peach flavours with creamy oak on the finish. Impeccable harmony throughout and simply quite delicious. 5 stars and No 1 in Cuisine Top 10. Champion Chardonnay Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 Twin Hills Chardonnay 2012
Fine textured and creamy with tropical fruit and melon flavours dancing on the soft creamy floor and a zing of citrus freshness twirling through. Oak is seamless and integrated with lovely nutty nougat-like flavours appearing and a lick of butterscotch on the finish. Gold medals NZIWS 2013 & AirNZ 2013.
14% alc. Screwcap. $28.99 special.

Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
Utterly enticing from the outset and emphatically 'another glass please' delicious. Tantalising funky wild yeast nuances infuse the creamy oak scent and carry through to the rich, mouthfilling palate where tropical fruit and citrus zest hum along in harmony. It's oaky and malty with a nutty savoury undercurrent and a long creamy finish and a veritable crowd favourite on the night. Gold NZIWS. 5 stars and 6 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $50.99 special.

Fromm Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
A polar opposite to the Fuder even though from the same vineyard. It's flinty, 'struck match' smoky and lean with a nutty meaty character that is not often seen in Chardonnay and lemon/lime notes that leave a very dry sucking on a river stone finish. Restrained as Chardonnay could ever be. One to put away for a while. 5 stars and 5 in Cuisine.
13.5% alc. Cork. $62.99 special.

Kerpen Riesling 2012 QBA – Mosel, Germany
So light and refreshing after the raft of Chardonnays, this Riesling has an earthy flinty nature, mouthwatering red apple / lemonade acidity and wonderfully soft rounded edges with a whisper of honeysuckle on the long lingering finish.
10% alc. Screwcap. $20.99 special.

Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2011 – Mosel, Germany
The preserved lemon tones and spice that come forth in this wine are earthy and refreshing yet concentrated at the same time. Bright acidity pierces through the honeyed backbone with a subtle suggestion of anise but it is those rounded edges and the 'apple butter' tones that make it so easy to drink.
8.5% alc. Cork. $26.99 special.

Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2012 – Mosel, Germany
The concentration of this wine is amazing. All apples, honey, spices and nectar with an underlying tickle of spritz and exciting freshness to the ultra-long finish. Note the vinolok glass stopper – Kerpen has been using it for 10 years now and say it is what they prefer for long term evolution of their wines. 65 g/l rs. 8.5% alc. Vinolok. $35.99 special.

Kerpen Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese 1* 2010 – Mosel, Germany
This golden coloured beauty is a wonderful way to finish the evening. Moderately viscous in texture, concentrated yet juicy (more juicy than the wines that preceded it) with honeyed nectar-like flavours brought into check by the tangy orange juice-like acidity. Seems far too easy to drink but as it is from a vintage with acidity levels that reached the sky the aging potential is such that it will make a great 50th birthday present for that wee darling born in 2010!
120 g/l rs. 8.5% alc. Vinolok. $45.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 16 Apr 2014
High Price Low Price
Wines were tasted blind

Thistle Ridge Waipara Chardonnay 2012
The nutty, slightly buttery, apricot-infused aroma emits a Chardonnay-like impression so a perceived sweetness to the taste is indeed a surprise. It's all juicy ripe stonefruit with soft acidity then a burst of tropical fruit and tingly spice and the wine actually finishes dry. Very popular wine, currently a best seller at First Glass.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Morton Estate Blanc de Blanc Methode Traditionelle 2004
Dry, nutty, concentrated, yeasty and savoury with a hint of stonefruit – Chardonnay is definitely the hero grape here. A mellow character has crept in with age, marmite is a back note and a seam of citrus brightens the finish. Eight years on lees before disgorgement has resulted in richness and depth.
12% alc. Cork. $21.99 special.

Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Methode Traditionelle NV
Very clear and bright in the glass with a lacy rim and tiny bubbles, then the Champagne-like taste takes yeasty savouriness to a new level. It's fresh and bright with a full creamy mouthfeel and nutty citrus notes on the long vibrant finish. A second glass please. Gold medal NZIWS.
12% alc. Cork. $38.99 special.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2012
Golden yellow with an enticing toasty oak and grilled stonefruit bouquet, this veritable temptress has a rich concentrated mouthfeel and a soft seamless texture. Toasted nuts, grilled stonefruit, malt and sizzled butter flavours round out the picture and the finish is long and creamy. A beautiful drink right now.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $32.99 special.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Straw gold coloured and a polar opposite to the previous wine, it is lean and flinty in its youth. Partial malolactic fermentation tames some of the acidity but there's still a vibrant zesty buzz and a nougat-like creaminess to the finish. A wine from a great vintage and set to evolve in the cellar. Right now it will be a stylish accompaniment to seafood.
13% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special

Sherwood Estate Stratum Waipara Riesling 2012
The delicate citrus blossom aroma of this light gold-coloured off dry Riesling carries through to the thirst quenching palate. It's all freshly squeezed lemon and lime beautifully balanced by honeysuckle sweetness and anise-like spices, building in richness on the finish but overall a lighter style of wine - perfect for an aperitif.
11% alc. Screwcap. $12.99 special.

Greenhough Apple Valley Nelson Riesling 2013
Pale as wine can be, it's a more powerful and concentrated Riesling all round. A suggestion of kero on the nose and baked apples the dominant flavour in the palate with a honeyed richness to the medium sweet finish. Champion Riesling at the 2014 Easter Show. Delicious. 8.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Chateau De Sours La Fleur d'Amelie Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010 - Bordeaux
This dark black-centred red smells a little of earth, plum and chocolate box – like Merlot sometimes does but the initial vibrant spicy taste makes you think it may have some Syrah – not so. Then Merlot's classic plum and leather notes and underlying dried herbs shine through. It's soft as it flows across the palate but the tannins have a firm dry feel on the finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Red Metal Basket Press Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010
This wine is beautiful. The medium red colour is translucent, it has an evocative smoky oak and cherry bouquet and in the mouth the wine caresses the palate with its silky smooth texture and flow. The cherry and red berry fruit is delicate yet assertive and anise-infused cake spices and vanillin oak are in harmony. Stylish. My kind of wine.
14.5% alc. Cork. $27.99 special.

Antinori Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2010
Medium red black in hue, the aroma is earthy and savoury with a barnyard nuance coming through. It smells old world but vanillin oak and sweet fruit in the palate makes it momentarily seem more modern. It's fine textured and medium bodied in the big wine picture but has excellence presence. A cigar box note emerges with underlying herbs and tannins coat the gums on the finish.
14% alc. Cork. $39.99

Renzo Mazi Basciano Chianti Rufina 2011
Deep black red with a bright youthful appearance. It's smoky and savoury on the nose and lip-licking juicy in the palate with ripe cherry fruit, sweet oak, an underlying tarry savouriness and smooth easy tannins. A star on the night. Gold medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Cape Barren Native Goose Shiraz 2012
Inky black red with aromas and flavours of smoky American oak, vibrant peppery spices, liquorice and cherries with velvety smooth tannins and a long lasting finish with just a hint of mint. "A big, full-bodied, grunty Shiraz," says Kingsley. I think it is a very irresistible wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009
Shiny purple black with just a hint of bricking on the edges, this is a super ripe, jammy, almost luscious full-bodied Shiraz with spiced blackberry, cherry and mulberry fruit, chocolate, liquorice and vanilla underpinned with smoky savoury oak and leather. It becomes even more powerful as it traverses the palate and still has a long way to go. Gold medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $31.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 9 Apr 2014
Trophy winners from the 2014 Easter Show and others from around the world
Wines were tasted blind

Vavasour Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Powerful in its aromatic expression – no doubt as to the variety here – this is fresh, fruity, bright and zingy with mouthfilling tropical fruit where pineapple is the hero together with tomato leaf, candied fennel and a crisp, flinty back note. Champion SB Easter 2014.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylor Pass Marlborough Chardonnay 2012
Soft acidity and nut butter notes characterise this smooth peaches and cream Chardonnay that has a savoury mealy undercurrent, beautifully integrated oak, a zing of citrus and a lick of caramel on the long seamless finish. Super stylish and delicious already although it has excellent cellaring potential. Champion Chardonnay at the Easter 2014. No.1 in Cuisine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2012
Another Chardonnay but such a different style with smoky French oak on the nose and the taste is flinty and dry with hints of grapefruit initially then fleshing out with nougat and mealy notes as it traverses across the palate – but oh so very tight in the glass right now. Champion Wine of the Show at the Sydney Top 100.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Morton Estate Hawkes Bay Viognier 2010
It's golden in colour and smells of citrus and the taste confirms this impression. There's a suggestion of sweetness and soft rounded edges. It seems like it has some age and it does, but the taste is still very fresh. Packed with flavours of apricot, nougat, honey, biscuit spices and lemongrass with a long rounded finish, this offers value-packed drinking.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $12.99 special.

Wairau River Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013
Light gold in colour with a delicate floral bouquet but quite vivacious in the palate with vanilla and spice poached pears topped with quince jelly while a bright acid spine makes this very chilled sample seem crisp and crunchy – like biting into a juicy apple. It's just off dry in style with partial barrel ferment adding richness and texture. Champion Pinot Gris Easter 2014.
14% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Grove Mill Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2013
A lovely soft wine with an attractive floral bouquet and classical Turkish Delight, lychee and rose petal flavours with a tickle of ginger and white pepper on the finish. Not too overpowering and tonight it was served lightly chilled – perfect for this moderately dry style. Champion Gewurztraminer Easter 2014.
14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

El Pajaro Rojo Mencia 2012 - Spain
With a bright but deep black red colour, this soft, generous and approachable wine made from 100% Tempranillo smells invitingly fragrant and tastes rather exciting with roasted coffee bean-like oak, macerated plums and spiced berries combining in delicious harmony with a well-balanced rustic savouriness in behind.
13.5% alc. Cork. $22.99 special.

Muriel Rioja Crianza 2009 - Spain
It's a fading translucent burgundy colour and it smells cherry sweet and mildly spicy. We learnt in the stand-up options that the back label says 'red fruits, vanilla and coconut' and I totally agree. Made from 100% Tempranillo and developing some maturity, this is an unassertive but deep-set wine and the tannins are silky and fine. Old school Rioja in style.
13% alc. Cork. $22.99.

Baltasar Gracian Tempranillo 2009 - Spain
Dark red with moderate depth, another Tempranillo but totally different to the Muriel tasted before it. It's a gutsy and fruit forward with a jammy aroma and raisin-like fruit that indicates the grapes were picked very ripe. There's some spice and tobacco notes too and the tannins have softened nicely. A wine that's for drinking rather than cellaring.
14.5% alc. Cork. $19.99 special.

Thorn Clarke Sandpiper Barossa Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Inky black red. Black pepper infuses the smoky oak aromas and it is bright and spicy to the taste with pepper and herbal notes a baseline in the palate together with deep dark fruit, a touch of spice and velvety smooth tannins. Quite a dark wine but terrific with Edam cheese, which imparts a creamy mouthfeel.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Thorn Clarke Shotfire Barossa Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Inky purple red. It smells of berries and velvet cream and is bright and spicy in the palate with sweet spices, red berries, liquorice, creamy oak and a harmonious savouriness in behind. This wine just hums. It is Aussie Shiraz that we know and love. A step up above the Sandpiper and well worth the extra.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99 special.

Rosemount Balmoral Syrah 2012 – South Australia
Deep dark red with a dark bouquet of plums, blackberries and savoury oak, while mocha is one of the first impressions in the smooth but firm palate. It's one of those wines that evolves slowly as it traverses the palate, but it's worth the wait. Berries, spice, dark chocolate and a touch of vanilla are some of the characters that evolve. A wine to be cellared or decanted for drinking right now.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $41.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 2 Apr 2014
New Release Penfolds Bin Wines
Wines were not tasted blind

Lanson Black Label Champagne NV – Reims, France
Light buff gold with a lacy edge of mousse. The bouquet is yeasty and the taste is dry yet creamy with fine bubbles and fresh steely acidity that carries through to round out the finish with a mouthfilling bready richness and much admired yeast autolysis characters lingering.
12.5% alc. Cork. $55.99 special.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay 2012 – Adelaide Hills
Light yellow gold with a tantalising creamy oak bouquet infused with citrus. Spicy and zesty in the palate with nutty oak, grilled nectarines, grapefruit and a touch of pineapple on the bright yet full-bodied lingering finish. Utterly stylish, as you would expect from Adelaide Hills, and a wonderful entrιe for the reds to follow.
13% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2012 'retro label'
Bright purple red with concentration and depth – the colour a feature of all the 2012 vintage wines to follow. Concentrated plum and ripe berry fruit on the bouquet and firm in the palate with pepper-infused oak, mixed berries and a touch of roasted coffee bean on the finish. The Cabernet component emerges as the succulent berry flavours linger with hints of cassis and mint.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre 2012
Concentrated red fruits and sweet vanillin oak on the nose are a foil to the initially deep dark meaty flavours, then red berry fruits and cake spices with creamy oak layers well up from the sappy depths. The finish is bright, juicy and succulent and the tannins are plush and cushiony but with a firm edge.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Cassis and cherry fruit intertwine with vanillin oak on the bouquet then red fruits fill the spicy, savoury oak and herb-infused palate with a hint of chicory and a touch of pepper that is especially noticeable on the tip of the tongue. It's a firm, fine textured wine with a well-rounded, mouth-coating finish and a hint of pencil box as the flavours linger.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 2012
An impressive deep purple colour, it has the minty character of Coonawarra seemingly leaping out of the glass. The bouquet also emanates red fruits, roasted coffee beans and spicy vanillin oak. A leap up in price and a leap up in concentration, it’s a very generous 128 for those who follow this label. It's a dry-styled, spicy, peppery wine with concentrated bright red fruit and a soft rounded finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $32.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2011
Inky purple red coloured with a tantalising bouquet of mocha, black cherry, chocolate and vanilla; this luxurious wine taste super succulent with sweet red and black cherry fruit, pillowy tannins, dark chocolate, a smidgen of mint, hints of mocha and a grind of pepper. While American oak has been toned down over recent years (all 'seasoned' oak now), followers of Bin 28 will not be disappointed in this wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $32.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz Grenache Mataro 2012
Quite different in style to the Bin 28, this fragrant wine tastes more meaty, more spicy and more savoury with mocha making an appearance – a common theme in the wines tonight it seems. Soft American oak adds creaminess and juicy red fruits impart succulence and sweetness. Tannins are fine and integrated and there's a smoky note to the lingering finish.
14.5% alc. Cork. $29.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz 2011
Concentrated on the nose with a cassis-like fragrance and a definite suggestion of nut chocolate that carries through to the smooth, creamy textured, succulent palate where concentrated red and black fruits abound. There is some underlying acidity (an age worthy trait), dried herbs and smoky spicy notes to the long bright finish. Just a little tight right now, it needs some swirling action in a suitably sized glass.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2011
Inky in the glass, the colour seduces even before you smell and taste this legend. The fragrant vanillin and cedary oak bouquet infused with cassis and chocolate lives up to expectations, then the super concentrated taste surpasses everything else we have tasted tonight. Super succulent and powerful without overpowering, it has lashings of harmonious pepper and cake spices infusing the dark berry fruit flavours and there's a lovely savoury meaty undercurrent with mocha once again making an appearance. Outstanding wine, although quite tannic at this stage of its life, so one for the cellar right now.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $69.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2010 - Barossa
Inky purple black. Opulently fragrant with smoky vanillin oak and dark chocolate, then quite profound in the concentrated palate. It reminds me of the Penfolds wines as I was introduced to them in the 1980s. Creamy American oak, dark chocolate, black cherries and blackberries, roasted spices and a judicious touch of pepper – concentrated and intense with an expansive and satisfying finish where the fragrance of rose petals makes a fleeting appearance.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $69.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lovely sweet smoky vanillin notes with concentrated cassis and cedar fill the bouquet then in the palate there is vinous harmony with concentrated fruit, smoky cedar, pencil box and dried herbs with a subtle suggestion of mint and that touch of mocha too. The tannins seem so velvety and fine but they do pack a punch and the finish is very dry. "Classical power and elegance, the iron fist in a velvet glove." Even though five years old, it's very much still evolving – one to cellar now and revel in when it is more mature.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. Sold out.

Wolf Blass Red Label Australian Tawny NV
Clear orange amber. Opulent muscatel raisin scents and an almost creamy feel to the texture as the wine glides across the palate. Heady and sweet with classic muscatel flavours infused with orange liqueur and hints of rancio on the hot, spicy finish.
17.5% alc. Cork. $24.99 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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