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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

July 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 Jul 2014
Chardonnay, Shiraz and More
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Zephyr Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2013
Aromatic with a vibrant tropical fruit scent – very appealing for the first wine of the night. Bright, juicy and tasty with an abundant yellow fruit profile – melon, papaya, pineapple, nectarine and later apricot come to mind. Warm with aromatic spices and a little heady on the finish, a lovely wine but atypical for Gewurztraminer and hard to pinpoint the variety when tasting it blind. 5 stars & No.1 in Cuisine. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Spade Oak 'Voysey' Gisborne Chardonnay 2013
Golden yellow with a butter caramel scent and tropical with pineapple the dominant fruit in the palate. A creamy wine but it does have a little grip in the background. Fleshing out more as the wine lingers, this is the entry level wine in the Spade Oak range and made as an affordable wine to drink.
13% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Pask Declaration Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2012
This glossy light golden wine is right in the zone. The bouquet emanates a tantalising ripe grilled peach scent and there's more of that in the palate with toasty oak, hazelnut, citrus and some lovely mealy notes in behind. Bold and toasty with power, concentration and a mouthfilling persistent finish, this delicious Chardonnay is a multi-gold and Trophy medal winner, including Best NZ White at 2014 London IWC – and on tasting it is easy to see why because it is simply outstanding tonight.
13% alc. Screwcap. $37.99 special.

Lawson's Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2012
Bright yellow gold. Peaches and custard on the nose with subtle French oak wafting through. Creamy in the palate with a nutty nougat-like richness, peaches and savoury oak layers. There is lovely expansion of flavours as the wine flows with an exciting, slightly funky mealy undercurrent and a zingy twist of citrus imparting brightness and freshness to the finish. Very smart wine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special

Muriel Rioja Blanco 2012 – Spain
Light straw gold. Some slightly earthy lemon pith and apple on the nose but overall a reasonably restrained bouquet with the neutrality carrying through to the palate, perhaps oyster shell too. A dry, light, fresh, crisp, flinty white wine that builds in palate intensity and has a zingy lift to the finish. An aperitif style that would go well with shellfish, is it made from Viura (aka Macebeo) and is Rioja's most planted white variety.
12.5% alc. Cork. $18.99.

Farnese Fantini Montepulciano 2013 – Ortona, Italy
Youthful purple red with a much darker centre. Enchanting purity of red and blue fruit in the bouquet, then smooth in its flow with cherry and liquorice-like spices – yet there is some firmness to the chewy tannins and although it is un-oaked a hint of cigar box and underlying tar comes through. The packaging oozes style and the taste delivers satisfaction. Lots to like in this lighter styled pizza pleaser.
12.5% alc. Cork. $15.99 special.

Dog Ridge 'The Pup' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012
Inky purple red. Creamy on the nose with juicy blackberry scents, then in the mouth it hits the spot immediately. Rich, creamy and spicy with juicy red berry fruit, smooth tannins, underlying savouriness, hints of mocha and vanilla and a long fruit sweet finish. Terrific conversation wine for social gatherings. Showing fabulously tonight.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Johnny Q Shiraz Viognier 2010 – South Australia
There's an aura of concentration to this wine that is noticeable immediately. It's a deep rich red with a spicy infusion to the creamy oak bouquet and the taste is spicy and savoury with very fine tannins, succulent red berry fruit and a lift to the long, smooth finish where hints of chocolate emerge and the characteristic pepper of Shiraz is perfectly honed. Champion Shiraz NZIWS 2013 and outstanding value.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Shingleback Davey Estate Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Inky black. Initially a little tarry and nuggety on nose but creamy chocolatey oak and red berry scents push through. Chocolate also abounds in the palate of this rich meaty number with hints of bacon and salami in the background, together with cake spices, sweet vanillin oak, mulberries and the most subtle suggestion of mint. Grunty, fleshy, powerful with an amazingly long finish, it ticks all the boxes and is incredible value for a wine of this quality. Gold in Hong Kong.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Charles Melton 'The Kirche' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010 – South Australia
Black red. The scent of vanillin oak, chocolate, mocha and spiced berry fruit is immediately appealing then in the mouth the juicy, smooth succulent flavours simply seduce the palate. Spicy with a rich, savoury undercurrent, the tannins simply meld into the whole and it has seamless flow. A fantastic showing tonight. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $39.99 special.

Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2010 – South Australia
Shiny purple black. The evocative vanillin oak and sweet spicy scent has subtle nuances of chocolate, mint and smoke wafting through and the spicy, peppery, palate is concentrated, rich and savoury with juicy blackberry and bramble fruit, creamy vanillin oak and a deliciously long dry tannin-empowered finish. A fantastic cellaring proposition and although already glorious it demands to be savoured in a big glass right now.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $49.99 special.

Henry's Shiraz Dead Letter Office Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Gosh, the wines tonight just seem to get bigger and bigger. This big black beauty is perfumed with red berries, chocolate and spices, and it’s succulent, spicy and juicy in the palate with ripe red fruits, creamy chocolate and mocha. A smooth, fleshy wine with incredibly fine tannins and a wonderfully long finish, the flavours sit there nicely long after it’s been swallowed. A blend of Padthaway and McLaren fruit but not overly minty as some Padthaway wines can be.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 23 Jul 2014
Around the World
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Penny’s Hill The Handshake Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2010
Bright citrine gold. Lifted aromatics of dried hay and citrus with mealy nuances and nutty oak. Rich and warm in the mouth with yellow fruit – sun-ripened golden grapes, pineapple and melon come to mind – and a very dry, nutty oak finish. Seems quite mellow to start but becomes toastier and toastier as it opens up in the glass.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
Moderate citrine gold. The overtly fruity bouquet emanates aromas of melon, dried banana chips and honeyed oak and there is an abundance of toasty oak and caramel flavours in the palate – an excellent foil to the juicy fruit – as is the bright touch of zest to the rich, rounded, creamy and persistent finish. A definite ‘First Glass’ style.
13.1% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Mr Riggs Watervale Riesling 2012 – Clare Valley, Australia
Light lemon gold. There's a dry talcy note to the floral aroma with citrus blossoms and lemonade-like citrus. Crisp, dry and flinty with lime juice and zest, toasty kero and a mouthfeel that you get from sucking on smooth river pebbles, then after you swallow it the racy citrus flavours linger and expand with a suggestion of honeysuckle coming to mind. Salivating and more-ish. Dry Riesling fans will love this.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
Ruby garnet in hue with a candied cherry aroma that has a savoury aura and an enticing anise-like spiciness wafting through. Quite dry in the palate, it has sautéed mushroom and bacon notes and distinctive woody herb savouriness with bittersweet cherry fruit, rosehips and aromatic spices. There is just a touch of grip to the fine textured tannins and an underlying brightness that carries the finish but it is to be noted it needs a bit of cuddly warmth before serving at this time of year. Gold Medal Decanter 2014.
14% alc. Screwcap. $25.99 special.

Marques de Riscal Proximo 2011 – Rioja, Spain
Dark red in hue with a chocolate coated red berry scent, then quite savoury on first tasting with fruit now a background feature. Made from 100% Tempranillo, the accompanying flavours of dried red berries, citrus, spice and pepper with good acidity in behind and moderately firm leathery tannins make this a wine to accompany food.
14% alc. Screwcap. $17.99 special.

Domaine d’Andezon Signargues Cotes du Rhone Villages 2012 – Rhone Valley, France
Inky black red. A deep rich wine with tar, leather and a dusting of cocoa to the scent. Spicy and vibrant in the palate with a slightly tarry, bretty undercurrent that adds to the complexity. It’s a big, rich, chewy wine with firm tannins, fleshy dark red and blue fruits, a creamy oak richness and a succulent finish where chocolate re-emerges. A terrific winter warmer from the fiery label to the fiery heat that surges thru the blood vessels.
14.5% alc. Cork. $25.99 special.

Fontana Mesta Tempranillo 2013 – Ucles, Spain
Vibrant crimson purple. Fruity to the fore with the aroma radiating red fruit and rose hips then chocolate, strawberry, blueberry jubes and spices in the palate with an exciting fine savoury undercurrent and succulent tannins that snuggle and flow. A very pretty wine that seduces with its sylph-like elegance, it seems very light but it has understated power. Made from 100% Tempranillo grapes that were organically farmed, if you like Beaujolais or Te Mata’s fabulous Gamay Noir, this wine is for you.
14% alc. Screwcap. $15.99 special.

Kaapzicht Stellenbosch Pinotage 2008 – South Africa
Inky black red. Chocolate raisins and spicy creamy oak scents. Rich, ripe and creamy in the palate – a bit of a blockbuster compared to the previous wine – and there is a zing of chilli pepper heat in here too. Full of sweet berry fruit flavours with a gamey savoury undercurrent and a touch of mocha infusing the creamy oak on the rounded full-bodied finish, it’s a fleshy wine with velvety tannins and underlying acidity adding brightness. An excellent example of the variety with bottle age adding layers and complexity.
14.5% alc. Cork. $26.99 special.

Altermura Negroamaro 2011 – Salento, Italy
Inky black red. Spiced plums on the nose with hints of anise and chicory and a dusting of chocolate. A deep, dark, nuggety wine to the taste with a red fruit brightness, prunes, brambles, anise-like spices, a touch of red pepper and graphite. Quite fleshy with slightly muddled tannins and a sweet oak finish with an underlying savouriness balancing the sweetness beautifully and a finish that is long and profound … but it does need food to make it complete.
13% alc. Cork. $25.99 special.

Albertina Mendoza Malbec 2011 – Argentina
The purple red colour is concentrated and deep. There's a subtle woodsmoke nuance to the scent that carries on throughout the palate where it is joined by flavours of plums and redcurrants, yet it is quite a savoury wine with a sprinkle of pepper. Tannins are fine textured yet firm and ever so slightly grippy and a delicate floral note comes through on the assertive finish where the true power of this wine is revealed. Enjoy with meat or cheeses.
13.9% alc. Cork. $22.99 special.

Vigne Vecchie Primitivo di Manduria 2011 – Salento, Italy
Inky purple red. Woodsmoke enchants the nose, while the curvaceous body structure simply seduces the palate. Rich, ripe, succulent and concentrated, opulent and creamy with spiced currants, cloves, plums, red fruits and a touch of orange with those subtle woodsmoke nuances a delightful feature throughout. Delivering the high standard we expect from this region, this magnificent mouthful is simply as good as it gets.
14% alc. Cork. $52.99.

George Wyndham Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Inky red black. Sweet red berry scents with a sexy smoky overlay then in the palate there is concentrated cassis and blueberry with lashings of mint/eucalypt flavours, smoky cedary oak and spices with cinnamon sprinkled on cappuccino coming to mind. A succulent blockbuster with furry tannins and an underlying whip of leather.
14.9% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 16 Jul 2014
All New Zealand
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Chenin Blanc 2013
Light lemon gold in hue with a smoky nuance to the scent of dried pineapple and tangy herbs that intertwine on the vibrant bouquet. A smooth, soft style that must have some oak influence to tone the lively acidity down, it is mouthfilling and flavoursome with tropical fruit, stone fruit and baked apple harmonising on the ultra long and slightly grassy finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Felton Road Bannockburn Chardonnay 2013
Light gold in hue with an enticing aroma of tropical fruit and mango with a touch of orange blossom and mealy barrel ferment characters wafting through. Smooth in the palate, fruity, almost creamy, with nutty oak and mealy savoury notes emerging and becoming rather delicious as the flavours open up. A wine that needs a bit of encouragement right now - lots of swirling in a big glass (or decanting) and you won't be disappointed. Lovely wine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Weaver Estate Central Otago Pinot Gris 2012
Pale lemon in the glass, it's reasonably shy on the nose but bright and fruity in the palate – it initially seems like an un-oaked wine with its fruit forward flavours, but a portion of oak was used in the winemaking. Initially soft with a harmonious flow, juicy nectarine and apricot fills the mouth and the finish bursts with an effervescent zing. Pinot gris but not as expected, it finishes dry with a flinty undercurrent and was No.1 in Cuisine in 2013.
12.4% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Sea Level Home Block Nelson Pinot Gris 2014
Pale straw gold. Brightly aromatic with scents of flower blossoms and quince then honey, apples and Nashi pear the key flavours in the palate. Juicy, fresh, tasty and lightly viscous but not too sweet nor too dry. It sets a benchmark for the Pinot Gris to come from the 2014 vintage.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Crossroads Milestone Series Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2013
Light lemon gold in hue, this is a heady wine both with its floral perfume and its alcohol warmth in the palate. However the key flavours of rose petals and warm Asian spices are not overpowering and it has a lovely smooth texture and flow with a whisper of sweetness to the finish. Affordable ‘everyday’ gewurz that delivers plenty of varietal expression for the price.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $14.99 special.

Lawson's Dry Hills The Pioneer Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2012
Gosh, this light yellow gold coloured wine smells gorgeous. The bouquet radiates flowers, spices and zest and it’s beautifully restrained in the palate An off dry to medium style with plump stonefruit and pears macerated in rosewater and honey then adorned with exotic spices and a sprinkle of white pepper. Rich, ripe, concentrated and textural with a touch of oak just noticeable in the background, this is definitely not your everyday Kiwi gewurz, it is in fact very much like Alsace Grand Cru in style.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Mt Difficult Target Gully Central Otago Riesling 2012
Straw gold in hue with kero, orange blossom, apple and flint on the nose. It smells dry and makes your tastebuds salivate but doesn’t taste as dry as expected because despite the flinty undercurrent it is juicy and zesty with an array of citrus and apple, and a honeysuckle coating to the crisp, clean finish. A scintillating wine throughout. This label always delivers.
10% alc. Screwcap. $24.99 special.

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2013
Ruby marone with a sweet perfume of rosehips and cherries with nuances of smoky bacon. A sultry savoury wine, rather seductive from the outset, with spiced cherries, caramelised oak, hints of anise-like spices and a sweet earthy depth. Persistent and flavoursome on the lingering finish but quite primary at the moment, leaving behind a dry, slightly puckery mouthfeel. An age-worthy wine that needs more time and will definitely reward with cellaring. This label is superb with a little age.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $51.99 special.

Hans Herzog Marlborough Montepulciano 2009
A dark red colour with marginal bricking on the edges. The savoury, cedary, spicy bouquet has an attractive vanillin veneer and there is a mellow aspect to the taste with no primary characters at all. It’s warm with mouthcoating plush velvety tannins, cigar box, pencil shavings, macerated currants and violets – a heady wine that begs to be accompanied with food. I initially though 'twas a Rioja Gran Reserva but this is an Italian variety from Marlborough!
14.5% alc. Cork. $62.99 special.

Te Mata Estate Vineyards Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernets 2013
Purple red with crimson edges, aromas of creamy cedar and brambles and mouthfilling flavours of plums and juicy red berries with cigar box in behind, hints of liquorice and a touch of mint. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is very concentrated but showing its youth with its underlying acidity and firm edgy tannins so ‘slosh decant’ or accompany with food for the utmost enjoyment right now. One of the great value buys with excellent cellaring potential.
14% alc. Screwcap. $16.99 special.

Man O’ War Vineyards Warspite 2010 - Ponui Island, Auckland
Rich black red in hue and while restrained on the nose the taste of this gorgeous wine is juicy and profound. It has some age that really becomes it and the velvety tannins have a silky edge. A Bordeaux blend of 62% Cabernet Franc, 23% Merlot and 15% Malbec, it is a lovely smooth mouthful with chocolate raisins, cedar and pencil shavings also coming to mind. Ready to go. A perfect winter dinner wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $42.99.

Mudbrick Waiheke Island Reserve Syrah 2013
This purple-edged dark red beauty is a powerful wine with green peppercorn, fruit cake spice and camphor chest-like scents and rich ripe berry flavours with a game meat undercurrent and nuances of woody herbs. A full boded red with layers of complexity and a peppery kick to the finish that broadens and shows its potential as the flavours linger. A very good vintage and a very smart wine but still very young, firm and tight.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $49.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 9 Jul 2014
Yalumba Wines with Jane Ferrari
None of the wines were tasted blind.

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2013
A bone dry, delicately floral Riesling with exhilarating freshness and a flinty underflow. Talc and lime notes are a highlight while hints of honeysuckle and very ripe fruit impart a sense of lusciousness to the incredibly long and salivating finish … but it is the racy acidity that is so exciting. ‘It’s like a lime sorbet,' says Jane. A Riesling to drink or cellar for many many years.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2012
Delicate apricot kernel, orange blossom and creamed nut perfume and a bright full taste with purity of apricot, just ripe peach, a tangy lemony / lemongrass pop and a hot tickle of spice. The concentration on the finish imparts richness to the mouthfeel without losing any of the wines aromatic liveliness. Jane waxed lyrical about the food matches, e.g. Scallops with chorizo; Whitebait; Firecracker Prawns or Deep Sea Cod done Char Siu style.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Yalumba 'The Virgilius' Eden Valley Viognier 2010
Compared to the lively 2012 Eden Valley there's a mellow sense to this two-year-older Virgilius. The perfume is delicate apricot and the texture is fine, almost ethereal, with warm biscuit spices, vanilla and a subtle nutty oak richness. More savoury than the younger Eden Valley, but the classically varietal apricot notes are understated in their power and the finish is long, expansive and mouthcoating with a captivating aromatic brightness.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $41.99 special.

Yalumba Old Bush Vine Barossa Grenache 2012
This aromatic wine is a translucent deep blue red hue and it tastes spicy with a judicious sprinkle of pepper and chipotle surging to tickle the tastebuds then subsiding to let the fruit shine through. The fruit is sweet and slightly confectionary - red jubes and jelly babies come to mind - with a touch of mocha, an earthy savoury undercurrent and a bright lifted finish. Not too heavy, harmonious throughout with a nice touch of grip to the suede-like tannins. "Old School traditional,” says Jane who says the wine goes well with Lebanese and Turkish cuisine as well as lamb.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Yalumba The Strapper Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2012
This fuller bodied tipple is a more opaque glossy blue red with a bouquet of dark fruit and it tastes juicy, savoury, spicy and fruity. There’s a range of fruits - plums, raspberry, currants and cherries - with a touch of cigar box, Deli meats and fruit cake spices. With its supple silk-edged tannins imparting a seamless flow it seems like a nice quaffing wine but the whisper of acidity on the long dry finish has it crying out for food.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba The Guardian Eden Valley Shiraz Viognier 2010
An even more glossy deep blue red, this opulently aromatic wine has inviting spicy vanillin oak and juicy red fruit scents and the allure follows through to the vibrant exciting taste. Spicy, savoury and creamy with silky tannins and a texture that just flows, an underlying earthy herbal note balances the red fruits beautifully and the finish has great persistence. A standout wine at this price.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba The Patchwork Barossa Shiraz 2012
Concentrated purple red with spicy oak scents that are inviting and intense. This is a super wine, an earthy savoury 'old school' dry red on the cusp of being full-bodied with a dark fruit profile underpinned with pencil shavings, pepper and aromatic anise-like spices with chocolate covered liquorice adding to its charm. Silky throughout with a succulent finish. Another value-packed pleaser.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Concentrated purple black with a nuggety overlay to the deep vinous scent, the nuggety notes carrying through to the fine silky textured palate where there is purity of blue/red fruits together with oak spice, cigar box and nuances of tobacco. After a while the hallmark Coonawarra cedar / mint / cassis becomes more evident and linger on the finish where the wine shows it youth with its slightly edgy acidity - a sign that this outstanding vintage wine is one to lay down for several years.
14% alc. Cork. $40.99 special.

Yalumba The Signature Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2010
A blend of 52% Cabernet and 48% Shiraz, this dark crimson beauty has aromas of creamy oak with dark fruits and aromatic spices. Bright, rich and spicy to the taste with an earthy savoury undercurrent infused with Herbs de Provence with herb flower notes in behind, it is concentrated with silk-edged velvety tannins and a soft sensual finish. Full bodied and powerful in every sense with red and black fruits, mint, peppery spices, smoky oak and bitter chocolate emerging on the long succulent aftertaste, the Signature is always a super duper wine but this outstanding 2010 vintage is utterly irresistible. Oh - and Jane Ferrari is the signature this year!
13.5% alc. Cork. $49.99 special.

Yalumba The Octavius Barossa Shiraz 2008
Ah, this is sensational. The bouquet seduces with its exciting pepper-laced spice and sweet vanillin oak and the spice is dominant in the front palate with mocha and liquorice notes combining with dark fruit and savoury oak with interlayers of red fruits, bitter chocolate and vanilla. Fine tannins have an assertive feel. Very succulent with a super long finish. A class act all the way through.
13.5% alc. Cork. $90.99 special.

Yalumba TSW8B Wrattonbully Botrytis Viognier 2012
Very pale lemon gold. Lemon honey, orange blossom bouquet and lovely nectar-like concentration in the mouth where Viognier’s renowned apricot notes are a highlight. Delectable honeyed sweetness with hints of marmalade providing the requisite acid balance to this light, fresh, lively, luscious end of dinner wine.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 2 Jul 2014
Twelve Glorious Chardonnays
All wines poured into fantastic Zerutti glasses and all but the last wine were tasted blind.

Mission Vineyard Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2011
There's a golden mellow aura to this full-bodied, rounded, beauty. Smooth, silky and seamless in its flow. Mellow oak, toast, mealy notes, grilled peaches, nectarines and a flourish of zest to the spicy vanillin finish that lingers with great persistence. Kingsley says it's a cheapie but in the Zerutti glass it certainly sets a benchmark for the night.
13% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Spade Oak Vigneron Gisborne Chardonnay 2012
A moderately restrained hazelnut aroma infused with citrus zest introduces this malo-influenced style. It's quite nutty and creamy with a savoury cedary undercurrent, a warm mouthfeel and a flowing finish that's lifted and long.
13% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Lochiel Estate Mangawhai Chardonnay 2012
Enticingly aromatic and vibrantly tasty with a smooth seamless texture and a fantastically long finish. There’s a funky yeast character to the bold toasty flavours with sweet mealy notes beautifully balanced by grapefruit and memories of hokey pokey and cream brulee on the finish. Simply sensational tonight. Gold medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $24.99.

Villa Maria SV Ihumatao Auckland Chardonnay 2012
Nougat and citrus on the nose carry through to the fine-textured, nutty, savoury palate where subtle smoky oak, wild yeast mealy notes and touches of white pepper and grapefruit infuse the lifted melon and tropical fruit. Stylish and silky with a wonderfully expansive finish - it comes into its own in the big glass.
13% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Clearview Beachhead Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Stonefruit aromas are quite a contrast to the spicy, nutty flavours. Initially quite linear and restrained with citrus and malt and a momentary tickle of ginger-like spritz, then stone fruit emerges and the finish is spicy and creamy with lingering butterscotch and caramel.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99.

Coopers Creek SV The Limeworks Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Sweet nutty oak and baking biscuit aromas introduce this soft, savoury, spicy style. Expanding nicely in the palate with well-integrated oak, stonefruit and a touch of citrus, it is one of the more approachable 2013s tasted so far and delivers plenty of satisfaction for the price.
14% alc. Screwcap. $17.99.

Seifried Barrique Ferment Nelson Chardonnay 2011
There's something rather tantalising about the scent of this wine – it's seductively smoky with mealy notes and hints of grapefruit and pineapple. A bold toasty style in the mouth with a distinctive citrussy zing and sweet tropical fruit balanced nicely by savoury complexities. "Character," says Kingsley who says this is absolutely his style of wine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Xanadu Margaret River Chardonnay 2010
Smoky and nutty on the nose with a suggestion of lemon butter. Initially quite restrained with a malo influence coming through, becoming warm, rich and mealy with a rounded mouthfeel, spicy oak, a touch of lime, spiced pineapple and a zingy brightness to the long juicy powerful finish. In absolutely wonderful condition and still evolving. A magnificent main course wine - I'm salivating for seafood with a lemon butter sauce.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

The Landing Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2012
This is super smooth and creamy with melting butterscotch aromas and delectable flavours of spiced peaches, butterscotch and cream. The fruit is juicy and ripe with a well-honed mealy savoury undercurrent and spicy oak that is totally in harmony. A bold, generous wine with mouthfilling presence and a gorgeously long finish – it seduces me every time I taste it. Gold medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Soho Carter Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2013
Aromas of bread sauce with subtle smoky notes and hints of citrus and spice, this fine textured wine has tropical fruit to the fore with the oak playing only a supporting role in the background. Seems hardly there at first but expands in the palate with nutty mealy savoury notes and a long rich finish, where once again the tropical fruit makes itself known. Definitely needs more time.
14.7% alc. Screwcap. $37.99.

John Forrest Collection Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
Very dry and flinty in the context of the tasting tonight with a momentary suggestion of struck match that quickly passes. Savoury mealy notes on the nose carry through to the palate to harmonise with tropical fruit, citrus, refined smoky oak, nougat, nuts and orange jam with a very appealing touch of caramel on the finish. Still very tight with focussed acidity, it is a wine that is still evolving - a dinner party wine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $45.99.

Church Road 'Tom' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Golden yellow in colour with delectable smoky oak and sweet mealy aromas with a lovely nutty, savoury infusion. A multi-layered, rich, ripe, creamy wine with a silky harmonious mouthfeel and flavours of stonefruit, savoury oak, nutty mealy notes, honey and caramel balanced by a well-honed citrussy spine. A complex seductive wine with a powerful presence - there really is something about it that puts it on a pedestal.
14% alc. Screwcap. $107.99.

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.

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May 2014 tasting notes.
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Aug 2014 tasting notes.
Sep 2014 tasting notes.
Oct 2014 tasting notes.
Nov / Dec 2014 tasting notes.

Dec 2013 tasting notes and index.

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