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

October 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 www.firstglass.co.nz for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 29 Oct 2014
Bubbles & Pinots from Cuisine magazine
Wines were tasted blind.

Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Rosé NV
Very pale orange-pink with a creamy, bready bouquet that hints of rosehips and wild strawberries and a rich bubbly mousse that foams in the mouth, a refreshingly crisp acid spine balanced by an enticing savouriness and delicate fruit that finishes with a whisper of strawberry sweetness. Delicious. 5 stars. No 7 in Cuisine’s Sparkling tasting.
12% alc. Cork. $23.99.

Champagne Lanson Black Label Brut NV
Lustrous lemon gold with a toasty bouquet that’s adorned with lemon chantilly and light lees yeast autolysis notes that carry through to the palate. It's tastes quite steely and crisp with very fine bubbles, a creamy feel to the texture, a herbal savouriness and a zingy twist of lemon on the expansive finish and again a whisper of fruit sweetness lingering, this time more in the stonefruit spectrum.
12.5% alc. Cork. $44.99.

Champagne H Lanvin et Fils Brut NV
Lemon gold with richness to the hue. Toasty and mealy on the nose with the most subtle suggestion of sizzled butter. Full-bodied with a fine acid spine, a satisfying mouthfeel with a delicate touch of spritz and a malty savoury finish with lingering hints of apple blossoms and rose hips. Bubbles are fresh and persistent all the way through. 4.5 stars & No. 9 in the Cuisine Top 10. Gold NZIWS.
12.5% alc. Cork. $39.99.

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV
Light lemon gold with a fragrant, leesy, lemon bread scent underpinned with a toasted nut savouriness and yeast autolysis notes that are a highlight in the crisp steely palate. The very fine bubbles round out the edges with a foamy creaminess, and there are delicate malty savoury nuances to the full, satisfying finish. 5 stars. No. 7 in the Cuisine Top 10. Gold NZIWS.
12% alc. Cork. $59.99.

Champagne Tattinger Brut Reserve NV
Light lemon gold in hue. Fantastically fragrant with toasted nut and lemon biscuit notes filling the bouquet and it is full and foamy in the palate – the bubbles are definitely the hero in this wine. It's full-bodied and just a little mellow yet with hints of nougat and a floral intrigue with a touch of rose petal, a hint of jasmine and a racy citrus brightness that is so in harmony with the savouriness. Just delicious. 4.5 stars & No 10 in the Cuisine Top 10.
12% alc. Screwcap. $69.99.

Terra Sancta Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2014
Very pretty pink sapphire, almost ruby in hue. The fragrant red berry aroma has a touch of orange zest, a twist of herb and is a touch spicy too. Fantastic rounded mouthfeel, creamy – like cherry and raspberry ripple ice cream – with the most delicate touch of tannin and an underlying savouriness that makes it seem so balanced. Just off dry with moderate palate weight and just delicious and refreshing when chilled.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012
Rich ruby maroon with heady scents of crushed chocolate biscuits, dried thyme, dry roasted rosemary and black cherries. A meaty, savoury tasting pinot with smooth tannins imparting a creamy texture, a herbal infusion and juicy Morello cherry fruit. Sam sums this up succinctly as, “dense, generous, flavoursome and rich.” 5 stars. No. 2 in the Cuisine Top 10.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Charcoal Gully Sally's Pinch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
There's a dark cherry colour to the hue of this beautifully fragrant and inviting pinot with aromas of smoky savoury oak, roasted herbs and spiced macerated red cherries. But it is intriguingly more savoury than fruity in the silk-edged velvety textured palate with a herb and citrus brightness to the finish that is embossed with wild rose hips and brambles with underlying hints of mocha. From the Pisa sub-region. 5 stars. No. 10 in the Cuisine Top 10.
14% alc. Screwcap. $27.99.

Terra Sancta Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
Ruby in hue with a touch of purple, the slightly floral bouquet emanates earthy notes with fragrant spicy red berries. While initially it seems slightly grippy and edgy it becomes quite creamy with red berries, early season plums, smoky savoury notes, dried herbs and a touch of citrus that morphs into jaffa that is very appealing. Bannockburn fruit. 5 stars. No. 7 in the Cuisine Top 10.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Ceres Composition Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
Very deep dark and rich both in colour and flavour, this is a bit of a blockbuster as far as pinot noirs go, yet still retains essential and enthralling pinosity. It is fragrantly scented and rich and full-flavoured with a vibrant spicy zesty infusion to the bright red fruit flavours that are underpinned by a compelling gamey savouriness, and finishes with a dusting of chocolate dust and lingering mushroom notes. Bannockburn sub-region. 5 stars. No. 5 in the Cuisine Top 10.
14% alc. Screwcap. $33.99.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012
Dark cherry red. Fragrantly smoky with enticing woody spices and red and black cherries filling the bouquet and the taste is full-bodied, luxurious and plush with a beautiful fine silky texture, generous black cherry and juicy purple fruits, well balanced savouriness, a whisper of cake spices and a harmonious finish that just flows. From the Ben Morven region on the southern side of the Wairau Valley. 5 stars. No. 3 in the Cuisine Top 10.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $48.99.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
Dark ruby with touches of purple. The bouquet emanates an exciting herbal savouriness with a spicy brightness and an earthy mushroom intrigue, these traits carrying through to the sensual silky textured palate where they are joined by bittersweet cherry and cranberry fruit with bright zesty orange citrus notes coming through. Compounding in power, with a lick of chocolate to the lovely smoky, savoury finish, this multiple gold medal winning pinot noir and 5 star wine made from Parkburn and Gibbston fruit is a deserving No. 1 in the Cuisine Top 10.
14% alc. Screwcap. $39.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 22 Oct 2014
The First Glass Challenge
Wines were tasted blind.

Houghton Margaret River Chardonnay 2012 – South Australia
This light gold hued wine has a smoky bouquet with subtle stonefruit nuances and is lightly toasty in the rounded palate with hints of apricots, a touch of lemongrass and a nutty savoury undercurrent building to a warm biscuity finish with just a touch of sweetness. I thought it was Viognier.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Ernie Els Big Easy Chenin Blanc 2013 - Western Cape, South Africa
Lime sherbet tantalises the nose of this fresh aromatic wine that's crammed with tropical fruit juiciness and a lively spritzy zing. It's almost bone dry with its racy green apple acidity yet there is a perceived touch of sweetness that balances it beautifully. Takes chilling very well as this example shows. From the wine stable of famous golfer Ernie Els.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Moana Park Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Light to medium gold in hue with a rich, creamy oak bouquet and smooth rounded flavours with layers of grilled stonefruit, butterscotch and caramel cream and well balanced savoury oak and mealy notes on the lingering finish. While controversial on the night I enjoyed this wine and it has been extremely popular on the Saturday tasting table. Moana Park wines are approved by the Vegetarian Society.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Marlborough Chardonnay 2012
Greeny gold hued with abundant grapefruit on the fragrant bouquet where a tantalising touch of smoky oak wafts through. Full-bodied and fulfilling in the warm rounded palate, there is wild yeast to the fore of this beautiful Chardonnay that is rich and long with a sensual lasting finish. Delicious.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Main Divide Waipara Valley Gewurztraminer 2013
This is a powerful Gewurztraminer that is the epitome of what wine lovers of this varietal expect. It is a medium gold colour with heady floral and spice aromas and there is a touch of sweetness to the flavour that is reminiscent of sugar coated violets, rose petals, lychees and toasted crushed aromatic spices. A concentrated wine with a long finish and a tingle of ginger as the almost luscious flavours linger. Begging for a Thai curry.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Rockburn Stolen Kiss Central Otago Rosé 2014
The most delicate baby pink colour in the glass, like the colour of pink fluorite for those who know their gemstones, this perfectly chilled rosé has a delicate strawberry and cherry scent and a zesty brightness to the refreshing flavour. What I like most about this wine, however, is the exciting touch of tarragon that adds the most subtle nuance of anise. Refreshing, light and juicy, the most satisfying and exciting Rosé I have tasted from the vintage so far.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2013
There's a luminous vivid crimson edge to this dark red hue. The aroma is savoury with a nuance of tar, bramble fruit, a twist of black pepper and a pleasing waft of vanillin oak, and the taste is full, rich and flavoursome with smoky oak, juicy red berries, baking spices, plush velvety tannins and a savoury undercurrent to the long creamy finish. Seductively delicious.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Septima Tempranillo 2013 – Mendoza, Argentina
This rich red coloured wine takes you away from the obvious as it gives an impression of old world but is definitely a modern wine. The bouquet is smoky with dried herbs, red fruits and emanates warmth and richness and it is rich and rounded in the palate with chocolate cream biscuits, spicy oak, dried herbs, a touch of citrus, firm tannins and silky savoury notes on the smoky finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Philippe Viret Renaissance GSM 2011 – Rhone Valley, France
This dark red wine made from a blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre is definitely old world but it is also organic, biodynamic and sulphide free. The intriguing and lightly smoky aroma reminds me of dried blood on band-aids and fresh killed game then in the mouth the wine is a little spicy and zingy with an almost spritzy feel with smoky tobacco notes, spiced plums and hints of mint. Yet it has a firm backbone and although the tannins seem slightly drying, there is succulence to the lingering meaty finish.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $32.99.

Casa y Concha Marques Casa Concha Merlot 2011 - Chile
Inky purple red with a shiny reflective appearance. The nose evokes a comment of "oh yum" - it’s deep, rich and full of cedary vanillin oak. Then in the palate it is so smooth, full and creamy with plummy fruit to the fore together with allspice, hints of tobacco, cigar box, chocolate box and loads of succulent cedar. Warm and velvety with a long finish, this warm seductive red delivers outstanding value. Red wine of the night for me.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Samuel's Gorge McLaren Vale Grenache 2010 – South Australia
Bricking on the edges of the dark red hue, which gives it an impression of being older than it actually is, but it is Grenache so the colour tends to fade more quickly than other Rhone varietals. The smoky oak, chocolate and dried mint nuances on the bouquet continue into the rather savoury, gamey, leathery, firm tannin palate. While it seems a little one-dimensional to start this ‘old vines’ wine opens up rather nicely, letting the red fruit and spice profile emerge only when the next wine was ready to be poured, so it’s a wine for decanting and a little breathing before enjoying.
15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Rosemount Diamond Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
Inky red black with a lustrous pinky-red tinge, the aroma is spicy red fruits with smoky oak and hints of salami and the smooth velvety taste is rich and inky with jammy red fruits, chocolate biscuits, spicy cedary oak and tar. A succulent wine and in the context of tonight’s tasting it is vying to be called a block buster. Gold Medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $11.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 15 Oct 2014
Gold Medals and New Arrivals
Wines were tasted blind.

Delaplace Champagne Brut NV
This is full, rich, yeasty Champagne with a bright, zesty, lemon bread bouquet and a creamy effervescence to the mouthfeel with a tangy citrus vibrancy to the long savoury mouthfilling finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2013 & 2014 and unbelievable value for the price.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2012
The bouquet is all toasty oak with an alluring touch of manuka woodsmoke that replicates in the palate. It’s mouthfilling and savoury with grilled peach and a spike of grapefruit-like citrus on the super smooth, super creamy finish where there is an enticing touch of butter caramel. Delicious.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

The Landing Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2013
Smoky caramel oak and tropical fruit radiates from the glass and the taste is super creamy with a butterscotch and caramel-coated popcorn nuance to the delicious toasty oak flavours, all the while the fruit in harmony. Grilled stomefruit joins tropical fruit and there is a citrus brightness to the lingering finish. Seriously powerful. Seriously stunning.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Vidal Legacy Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Smoky cedar and pencil box join grilled peach on the nose and grapefruit joins stonefruit in the palate of this seriously serious Chardonnay. It’s mouthfilling and seamless with sweet wild yeast characters and a nutty richness to the long full finish with the flavours lingering for ages. Wonderful vintage and this wine is just hitting its straps. So nice to see Chardonnay maturing so well. Gold medal NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Jasci & Marchesani Pecorino 2013 - Abruzzo, Italy
Lightly aromatic, clean and unoaked with a nutty nuance to the scent. Slightly steely / flinty on first tasting with green apples, stewed apples, hints of apricot and almonds with a spicy, almost peppery note to the finish which is more oily as the wine traverses the palate. A slightly oxidative style, I thought it similar to Pinot Grigio in some respects, others were likening it to Viognier. Very attractive sun motif on the label.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Blackenbrook Nelson Pinot Gris 2013
Full and fragrant with soft acidity and almost luscious flavours infused with white pepper and five spice, this is a lovely rich mouthcoating style with juicy ripe pear, peach and melon fruit while honey, musk, orange water add to the allure. Before the label was revealed I thought it was from Alsace, that’s how good this is. Andrew's pick of the NZIWS gold medal Pinot Gris selection and one of my favourites too.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Saint Clair Premium Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013
Attractive ruby hued with a gem-like translucency, this has a beguiling fragrance with subtle floral notes, toasty wood smoke and black cherries. Fine textured, silky, smoky and savoury in the medium-bodied palate with bittersweet cherry fruit and a smooth succulent finish. Fabulous wine for an under $20 price. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Anciano Crianzo Tempranillo 2010 - Valdepenas, Spain
Leather, leather and more leather introduces this old school, seemingly old fashioned, dark coloured European style and it’s a little salty and tarry in the firm-tannined palate but with an exciting juicy undercurrent. There are prunes and boysenberries with hints of roasted rosemary, sweet smoky oak and lingering nuances of strawberry jam. Completely different style to what we are used to but lots to like and it has Rioja-like presentation with the open wire mesh wrapped around the bottle.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Montere Valpolicella Ripasso 2011 – Veneto, Italy
Made from Corvina and Rondinella grapes, this dark red-coloured wine has strawberry nuances to the scent and there are sweet red berries and tar notes in the firm, suede-textured, sweet, slightly metallic palate where flavours of strawberry chocolate and jaffa come through and linger on the juicy succulent finish. A sweeter style but definitely not overly sweet as some of the ripasso wines can be, it is in an impressively heavy bottle and can be enjoyed simply with bread and cheese.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.

Penfolds Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz 2012 - South Australia
Sweet American oak radiates from the glass of this brilliant purple-hued charmer and it is smooth and creamy in the bright, spicy palate with succulent cherry and loganberry fruit, subtle nuances of chocolate, hints of mint, underlying savoury notes, touches of dried herbs and an ultra long firm fleshy finish. A super reliable Bin number in the Penfolds range.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Rockbare 'Barossa Babe' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010
Made from predominantly over 40-year-old Barossa Valley vines, this is a super opulent wine with an inky black red hue, chocolate biscuit aromas and warm, creamy flavours. Deep inhaling also reveals a touch of mint. The mouthfilling flavours are dark, rich, spicy and savoury with redcurrant and spiced plum fruit, hints of cigar box, chicory, liquorice, black pepper and a lightly grippy finish.
15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Houghton Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – Western Australia
The first impression on the nose of the rich coloured red is lots of leather, then some chocolate biscuits but it becomes more and more fragrant and cassis-like as the wine opens up in the glass, with a bright nuance of mint joining in. Firm in the palate, it is a deep-seated wine with profound depth and tannins, baked berry and plum pie. A little salty, a little tarry and very savoury with a dry finish, it is a wine that is still evolving and will relish a couple of years in the cellar.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $59.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 8 Oct 2014
More gold medals et. al
Wines were tasted blind.

Leveret IQ Brut Methode Traditionelle NV
Light yellow gold with tiny bubbles rising incessantly from the bottom of the glass. The bouquet is rich, toasty and yeasty and it's full and foamy in the mouth with a steely lemon sherbet brightness, a cream-centred biscuity richness and a deliciously long toasty finish. From the previous owners of Morton Estate, the value for money quality of this Brut style continues. Silver NZIWS.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Esk Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Unmistakable Sauv Blanc with its pungent grassy herbaceous scent and subtle suggestion of sweat, this straw gold wine has a soft, almost oily mouthfeel with a grassy undercurrent to the fleshy stonefruit flavours and a burst of tropical fruit and lime on the long, punchy finish. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Alchemy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Light gold. Butterscotch and stonefruit fill the bouquet and the super smooth taste is like liquid caramel creams (think Werther's Originals). A spicy brightness joins toasty oak and fleshy stonefruit flavours and there's a touch of citrus on the long, lifted finish. A new vintage with a new winemaker, the skills of Ant McKenzie were employed for this dangerously drinkable wine. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2010
Light yellow gold with an enticing smoky aroma that hints of nougat and the a gorgeous nutty, citrussy taste with a smooth creamy backbone and spicy oak that is integrating just so beautifully. Stylish, savoury, sophisticated with hints of tropical fruit and a mellow roundness to the edges that is indicative of a little bottle age. Winner of at least 7 gold medals.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Tohu Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014
Straw gold. The fragrant bouquet is apples and pear with a citrus blossom freshness and a hint of ginger. Soft and smooth in its flow with a spicy brightness, a hint of vanilla and juicy orchard fruit, this concentrated Pinot Gris that doesn’t need too much chilling to enjoy. It is also a brilliant accompaniment to succulent roast pork and a stewed pear sauce. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Satellite Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013
Seemingly a lighter styled pinot with its translucent ruby hue, but there is plenty of oomph in this silky fruit driven style. There an enticing smoky nuance to the light red fruits scent and a pleasing spicy savoury undercurrent to the cranberry and raspberry fruit with a touch of vanillin on the lifted finish. Made by Spy Valley. Silver NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Elefante Garnacha 2012 - Spain
Rich pinky purple, dense and intense. Plums, allspice, chicory and leather entice the nose and smoky vanillin oak fills the creamy palate with an exciting spicy brightness and deliciously juicy plum and mulberry fruit. A pleasing savouriness underpins the fruit and the finish is dry. Value packed drinking. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Saint Clair Premium Hawkes Bay Malbec 2013
Inky purple crimson. Wow, a very different, savoury style of wine with an enticing fragrance of spiced plums and brambles, sweet oak and violets. A sexy, savoury wine with a sweet lick of leather, succulent juicy fruit, hints of chocolate biscuits, smoky oak, slightly grippy tannins and a long creamy finish. The quintessential meat lovers wine. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Houghton Red Classic Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot 2012
Relatively shy on the nose – hints of chocolate maybe but with deep inhaling a distinct eucalypt note shimmers through. Concentrated in the palate with soft, pillowy, fine textured tannins and flavours of mint, chocolate and cassis with harmonious creamy oak and the most gentle ripple of leather. The bargain red wine buy of the show at this price for sure. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $11.99.

Piano del Cerro Aglianico del Vulture 2009 - Basilicata, Italy
Intense black red in hue. Wonderfully fragrant aroma filled with fruit cake spices and Black forest chocolate cookies. Bright and spicy in the palate with pepper, cake spices, allspice, chocolate, dried herbs and even a hint of tar. The fruit is like red and purple wine gums (sweet and chewy) and there's pleasing grip to the seductive, succulent, mouthcoating finish. So much going on in this super concentrated wine – a wine lovers’ dinner party conversation wine – something different to taste and banter about with every mouthful. Gold NZIWS 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $35.99.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Barossa Shiraz 2012
Inky and intense purple black. Touches of eucalypt and mint permeate through the chocolate and vanillin oak scent and it’s deliciously spicy and creamy with a peppery burst to the savoury flavours with succulent berry fruit, a bright spicy finish and fantastic length. This Barossa Shiraz always delivers. 3 gold medals.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Galway Pipe Grand Tawny 12 Year Old
Clear orange amber. Spicy on the nose with a hint of rancio from the old barrels the wine spent at least 12 years in. In the mouth this heady sweet tawny is wonderfully unctuous with loads of those intriguing rancio characters together with salted muscatels, nuts, orange toffee and spice. Gold NZIWS.
18.7% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 1 Oct 2014
Trophy winners from the 2014 NZIWS
Wines were not tasted blind this time.

Te Hana Sparkling Rosé Cuvée
Light salmon pink with masses of tiny bubbles. Inviting bouquet of strawberries and wild flowers with hints of orange zest. Savoury and earthy in the palate with strawberry, cherries and touches of rose hips and a fresh clean spritzy vibrancy to the long, rich, creamy, mouthfilling finish. A value-packed methode traditionelle. Champion NZ Sparkling.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Champagne Laurent Perrier Brut NV
Light yellow gold with a fabulous foamy mousse when poured. Soft on the nose with a creamy richness to the sweet toasted brioche scent with hints of peach, nougat and dried mango – it smells tantalising and divine! Bright, foamy and vibrant in the palate with a lovely rich yeasty savoury backbone and a crisp acid spine. A complex, mealy, bready wine with an ethereal lift to the long full creamy finish. This stunning cuvee has a high proportion of chardonnay and spent three years on yeast lees. Champion Champagne or Sparkling.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $74.99.

Matua Valley Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Albarino 2014
Light gold. Delightfully fragrant with apricot, pepino, apple, honeysuckle and delicate hints of citrus zest. Concentrated and textural in the palate with a tight almost flinty backbone, yet juicy and thirst-quenching at the same time. Like a fleshy peach at the peak of ripeness with floral nuances, clean fresh acidity and a touch of ginger adding spice to the powerful finish. So much going on in this tasty aromatic wine. Champion Other White Varieties.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
Light gold. Lightly creamy on the nose with sweet smoky oak and grilled peaches. Rich, rounded, ripe and creamy in the palate with stonefruit and melon, biscuit complexities, nutty oak and a zesty brightness to the long smooth finish where pleasing touches of butter caramel leave a lasting impression. Tasted several time at First Glass, it’s improving every time, so just how good is it going to get? Champion Commercial White Wine.
13.1% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Marsden Black Rocks Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2013
Light gold. Smoky and savoury with an opulent nougat and oatmeal richness to the impressive bouquet. Smooth, rounded and seamless with concentrated tropical fruit and melon with a bright citrus zing that's a perfect foil to the rich mouthfilling creamy toasty oak with lingering flavours of nougat and butter caramel. Absolutely delicious and hard to resist, a wine to enjoy right now and over the next two years. Champion Chardonnay and Champion Wine of the Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Gibbston Valley Central Otago Rose 2014
A delightful ruby pink in hue with aromas of strawberries and rose hips, and bright citrus and strawberry flavours with a well-balanced savoury backbone and a lively, fresh finish. This is so fresh, clean and summery, it’s all about simplicity and purity of the grapes. Champion Rosé.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Obsidian Waiheke Island Montepulciano 2013
Bright purple red with crimson flecks. Alluring deep, cedary aroma with nuances of dried herbs and fruitcake cherries. Creamy and smooth tasting with juicy ripe plum and cherry fruit, dried herbs, savoury oak, game meat, olives and cedar. There’s a bright spicy undercurrent, a touch of chocolate emerging and a juicy succulent finish that offsets the firm tannins and savouriness brilliantly. Already seductive but the cellaring potential is definitely there. Champion International Red.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Squawking Magpie The Nest Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Merlot 2013
Ink purple black in hue with a rich concentrated bouquet scented with creamy oak, vanilla, hints of chocolate, plums and cherries. Concentrated and magnificently structured with plush velvety tannins, this opulent wine brims with spiced cherries, juicy brambles, seductive smoky oak, hints of dark chocolate and the most subtle suggestion of anise. Quite firm but super succulent and caressing. Champion Merlot.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Saturated purple black. Opulent aromas of brambles, plums, vanilla, mint and cedar and a spicy brightness to the plush, concentrated, full bodied flavours. A rich, rounded, sweet-fruited, mouthfilling wine with great tannin structure over a creamy backbone with wonderful red fruit vibrancy, underlying cedar and leather. It seems amazingly approachable but it has the legs to cellar magnificently. Champion NZ Bordeaux.
14.5% Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Matua Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Syrah 2013
Brilliant purple crimson. Wonderfully aromatic with a bouquet of concentrated plum and leather aroma with smoky French oak, hints of violets, toasted aromatic spices and a judicious sprinkle of black pepper. Firm and velvety in the palate with layers of finesse, it is a wonderfully juicy wine with cake spices (cinnamon, clove, etc), rich purple fruits and a succulence black cherry sweetness that is so in harmony with the dark, meaty, leathery, smoky savoury backbone. Wonderful concentration, mouthfeel and length. Champion NZ Syrah. Champion Shiraz/Syrah.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $46.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2012
The colour of a yellow topaz gemstone, this lustrous-hued wine is rich and luscious with opulence and power. It has an exquisite bouquet of apricot nectar, honey and lime curd and the botrytis-rich taste is a sweet sensation of candied orange, honey and liquid toffee with gorgeous mouthfeel and flow while fresh acidity imparting a bright clean finish. Stunning. Champion Sweet Wine.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.

Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado Sherry
Mahogany amber with a glorious spiced toffee and brandy-macerated muscatel raisin scent and a liquid honey texture with a touch of rancio, orange peel, mocha, sticky muscatel raisins and warm toffee. Very sweet and decadent with exceptional length. Sensational end of evening treat. Champion Fortified.
17% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99 375-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.

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