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Wednesday Round-up - the 2015 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

March 2015
[ 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 – 25 Mar 2015
New Arrivals
Wines were tasted blind.

Thornbury Gisborne Chardonnay 2014
Straw gold with gentle aromatics of white autumn fruit and soft and textural in the palate, almost creamy in its flow, with crisp, clean fruit, a nutty concentration and a bright spicy aura. The fruit is reminiscent of citrus, melon, baked apple and vanilla poached pear and the oak is barely detectable, adding more to the texture rather than the taste. If you like pinot gris, you will love this lighter styled Chardonnay that offers just that little bit more.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.

Two Gates Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Light gold with a gem-like lustre. Full of creamy malo aromas with a hint of butter caramel, but the taste has an abundance of caramel together with butter-coated popcorn and Werthers Originals caramel creams. The ripe fleshy nectarine and yellow plum holds ground with a solid spicy oak backbone and a seamless texture that makes it slip down easily. Citrus on the finish provides a welcome acid zing. Made by former Vidal winemaker, Rod McDonald, now with his own Rod McDonald Wines stable.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

de la terre Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Bright yellow gold. Grilled nectarine and bold toasty oak on the nose. A real winemaker's wine with wild yeast and beautifully integrated French oak, bright fleshy fruit flavours and a lovely seam of citrus zest. Full-bodied, concentrated and long with a biscuity richness and stone fruit, melon and tropical fruit in harmony and while it seems quite developed already, there is oodles of chewy deliciousness here. The new label of former Church Rd winemaker, Tony Pritchard, from his vineyard in Taihape Road. Tony definitely knows what he is doing when it comes to Chardonnay. Classy wine.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.

Mount Edward Central Otago Riesling 2014
Straw gold. Aromatic with a fresh cut apple aroma, the apple traits carrying through to the bright racy palate. Its young, fresh and thirst quenching with a fairly dry, flinty backbone, a citrus pith / apple skin-like earthiness and a welcome sliver of honeysuckle sweetness. Then an intriguing salinity lingers in the mouth after the wine is swallowed - it makes you want to have another sip.
11.9% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Taylors Jarraman Clare Valley / Eden Valley Riesling 2009
The citrine-like hue has a luminous green tinge. The bouquet is concentrated lime, talc and rose petal and it is weighty, rich and full of flavour in the palate with concentrated lime, talc and honeysuckle as well as some delectable toast and apple butter notes that linger on the wonderfully persistent finish. A fabulous, fabulous, magnificent Riesling that is texturally sublime, it’s a blend of Clare Valley and Eden Valley fruit and for an Aussie Riesling fan like me, it is heart fluttering stuff. Perfect right now. Gold medal Decanter World Wine Awards.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
Deeply translucent pink-edged ruby in hue. Inviting sweet cherry notes infuse the earthy savoury and lightly smoky scent - it smells almost confectionary / cherry jam in the most nicest of ways. Quite dry on entry into the palate, and a little meaty, but the fruit is just beautiful – fruits of the forest I’d say, and forest floor with cake spices lifting the rounded finish. Fine tannins still have a lightly furry feel. Seems more of a medium bodied style for the region but it has incredible savour and length. It needs to be served in a big glass or decanted as I can see it starting to evolve in the XL5 tasting glass but the next wine is waiting to be poured.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $37.99.

Quinta de Quercus Single Vineyard Tempranillo 2011 – Castille-La Mancha, Spain
Inky black red with a youthful brightness. Sweet creamy American oak, spices and strawberry chocolate fill the bouquet. It tastes deliciously juicy and creamy and absolutely seduces the palate with its soft caress from the smooth, velvety tannins. Plums, black liquorice and cedar was the favoured description by the back room team for the stand up options on this wine but I also get vibrant red fruits, chocolate and pepper with well-balanced vanillin oak and a savoury, almost earthy, concentration and depth. This Spanish stunner was awarded a gold medal at the Mundus Vini International Wine Awards in 2014.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Te Mata Bullnose Hawkes Bay Syrah 2013
Vibrant crimson-edged inky purple black. At first the bouquet is dark, brooding and reticent but with a little coaxing fine scents of chocolate, rose hips and tar are revealed. A monumental and concentrated wine, as stellar as Cabernet with its French oak, purple fruit and fine firm tannin structure, though clearly Syrah with its crushed peppercorn signature there. Gamey savoury layers intertwine with super ripe plum and blackcurrant fruit and there’s a touch of dark chocolate and Vitamin B. This seriously young wine is firm and dry on the finish and even though the fruit sweetness wells up as the aftertaste lingers, it’s a wine to be cellared right now.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $41.99.

Kirrihill Regional Range Clare Valley Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
The colour is inky, shiny, purple black. Sweet oak, cigar box and spicy oak fill the bouquet - it gives the impression of being quite oaky. A little more approachable than the previous wine, the approachability heralding a different region. Beautifully honed charry oak and savoury notes underpin the concentrated cherry and plum fruit with pepper and fruit cake spices, fine tannins, smoky cigar box nuances and a minty brightness to the full firm finish. Perhaps a little young, but lots to like about this wine, especially the price. New release of a favourite label.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Barossa Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Inky purple black. Profuse aromas of mint, chocolate, blackberry and raspberry confectionary notes and smoky oak tantalise the nose – it smells full bodied and vinously sweet and it tastes like that too. Right from the outset this full-bodied, mouthfilling gem is bright and spicy with a lush, plush feel to the velvety tannins, a creamy / chocolatey / chocolate biscuit richness, a tarry nuance to the savoury undercurrent and a peppery flourish to the beautifully rounded, mouthcoating finish. “It's just so drinkable,” says Kingsley. “A comfort wine,” he says. And I agree! The winner of the Decanter World Wine Awards Trophy in 2014 and numerous gold medals.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Taylors Jarraman Clare Valley/ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013
Inky purple black. Concentrated scents of brambles with a hint of mint, sweet spices and savoury oak fill the bouquet. The first impression in the mouth is of a very savoury, spicy, full-bodied, fine tannined wine but the blackberry / brambly fruit is so very very juicy and there is lots of spice / pepper / chocolate that is just so appealing. Underlying savoury, nuggetty notes are uplifted by a bright minty nuance to the finish with the tannins now seeming quite firm and dry. A sophisticated, dinner party wine, I think. The 2014 NZIWS gold medal is one of 8 collected so far.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 18 Mar 2015
Saint Clair Wines with Hamish Clark
Wines were tasted blind.

Saint Clair Premium Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
Light gold with a ripe peach and sweet smoky oak scent and smooth, juicy and creamy in the palate. It’s a youthful wine with mealy notes, tropical fruit, deliciously ripe stonefruit and a tickle of zest and tonight, served lightly chilled, it presents as an instantly approachable medium-bodied starter wine. Think of this for five o'clock drinks.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Saint Clair Premium Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Light straw gold with vivacious aromas of tropical fruit, pineapple, green passionfruit and summer herbs that pave the way for the lightly oily textured palate that has a spicy peppery zing like you get when you chew mountain pawpaw seeds. It’s smooth, flowing, almost creamy with tasty melon, citrus and tropical fruit, a zingy herbaceousness and great acid spine. Super bright, bouncy, great tasting sauv. Gold Easter Show.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 ‘Foundation Block’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Almost the polar opposite of the Premium wine, it is pale straw in hue, the bouquet is dried pineapple and purple basil (that smells a little like cats pee) and the taste is so much more sweaty and saline with citrus that’s like a combination of lemonade and grapefruit. There’s a fleshy stonefruit richness that ripples through but it is the scintillating tartness and the flinty undercurrent that steals the show. A well-balanced combo of sweet/sour/dry that is not so much of a carefree sipper but would be a humdinger match to fresh oysters or mussels. Gold Easter Show.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Light golden coloured with a powerful and inviting aroma of tropical fruit and zest and a texture in the mouth that’s bordering on oily / creamy that gives such beautiful mouthfeel and flow. There is a myriad of tropical fruit, stonefruit, apple, citrus and herb flavours that bounce off each other and the result is vibrancy and balance. Full-bodied, rich, long and super tasty, it’s top notch Marlborough sauvignon blanc with at least two gold medals and the Air NZ Wine Awards trophy.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 'Twin Hills' Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
This is a rich, creamy, toasty oak style. It's a medium light gold colour, the bouquet is suggestive of grilled stonefruit and nutty oak, and the taste is full-bodied, spicy and creamy with a yummy vanilla biscuit deliciousness and a savoury oak flair to the finish. Saint Clair is known for their use of American oak in Chardonnay, but this plump, tasty Block 10 is 100% French, 50% new.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
If you like caramel in your wine, as many First Glass customers do, this will take you right into the zone. There’s woodsmoke and caramel on the nose and it is super tasty, full-bodied, powerful and creamy in the palate with a spicy vanillin oak savouriness, a deep butter caramel popcorn richness, a vibrant zesty zing and a gorgeously long and beautifully polished finish with hints of smoky bacon as the warm, mouthfilling flavours linger. Fermented in 100% American oak, 50% new. Gold NZIWS, Gold Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.

Saint Clair Premium Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2012
While the honeysuckle and apple blossom of the straw lemon-hued wine is quite delicate, it tastes fresh and aromatic with a high-toned presence in the palate that’s beautifully complemented by a light viscosity to the texture. It a green-fruited wine and while it is not feijoa, a sense of feijoa juice / kiwi berry / does come to mind. There's a talc note too, like you get in some Rieslings, together with an earthy almost mealy undercurrent and a touch of honeysuckle / honey. But what is most exciting about this wine is the spicy pepper-like tingle that the best Austrian GVs get. Blue Gold Sydney. Gold Easter Show.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 9 Big John Marlborough Riesling 2013
The bouquet of this pale-hued wine is definitely aromatic – it's a gorgeous spring cottage garden flower fragrance infused with the scent of freshly squeezed lime juice and zest. Then lime, green apple and tropical guava add fascination to the flavours of this lighter alcohol style and although it has high residual sugar that gives it viscosity and an almost nectar-like honeysuckle texture, the natural acidity is zingy and racy and cuts right through the flesh. It is this sugar / acid balance that makes it such a sublime, lip-licking and refreshing wine. Four gold medals and Trophy Easter Show 2015.
9% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 15 'Strip Block' Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013
Rich ruby marone in colour with very attractive aromas of spiced plums and chocolate-coated cherries with a sense of savoury oak loitering in the background. Spicy and savoury and initially quite dry in the palate with firm silk-edged tannins yet there is a suppleness and fruit sweetness pushing through and leaves behind a rounded and pleasing mouthfeel, but in the taste department it is the savouriness of this wine that wins on the day - the lovely savoury earthy signature of Pinot the lasting impression.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Saint Clair Premium Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2013
This shiny blackberry red-hued ‘Bordeaux’ blend of 38% Cabernet, 33% Merlot, 29% Malbec matured partially in American oak has a deep concentrated brambly aroma with the creamy oak in support of it. It tastes full-bodied, creamy and spicy with a red and blue fruit concentration, sweet oak, and woody herbs. I get a kind of get an earthy / graphite / coal-like depth, the tannins are rounded and smooth and the finish is long juicy and sweet with the most subtle suggestion of mint. Great interaction and balance of the blend components make it seem like one, and it is absolutely outstanding value. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Saint Clair Premium Hawkes Bay Malbec 2013
This is an impenetrable shiny purple-red-black in hue, and has an evocative earthy nuggetty aroma that has a subtle rose petal intrigue and allure. And in the palate there is the earthy savouriness with a very delicious brambly red fruit sweetness and plush velvety tannins that coat the mouth with sensuality. There’s a momentary herbal edginess with an underlying hint of leather but the overall impression is juiciness and the finish is smoky, creamy and long with a warm, rounded mouthfeel. With hints of chocolate emerging, this is another value-packed offering from Saint Clair. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Saint Clair Godfrey's Creek Reserve Noble Marlborough Riesling 2013
Yellow gold with a gem-like lustre. Wonderfully concentrated orange honey and apricot scents - in fact it smells like apricot jam that has started to crystallise. There’s botrytis concentration in the palate together with apricot, spiced peel and orange toffee. It’s full of lusciously sweet nectar-like flavours yet there is a scintillating presence of acidity that cuts through the sweetness to add freshness to the finish and makes the wine so impeccably balanced, decadent and delicious. No wonder it been awarded at least five gold medals.
10% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99. 375-ml bottle.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 11 Mar 2015
Bubbles, Chardonnay and Shiraz
Wines were tasted blind.

West Brook Barrique Ferment Chardonnay 2014
A richly aromatic, light golden coloured Chardonnay with a toasty oak and fruity apricot bouquet and a bold outspoken taste with toasty / nutty /creamy / spicy oak flavours alongside juicy melon and stonefruit with touches of butterscotch and caramel and then apple and citrus on the long dry finish. A First Glass favourite.
13.1% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

No. 1 Family Estate No1 Cuvee NV
A Blanc de blancs made from 100% Marlborough Chardonnay, this straw coloured bubbles has a fine effervescent bead and a clean, fresh, bready bouquet with hints of nutmeg, hazelnuts and nougat. Fizzy and foamy in the mouth with fresh, crisp, bright, zesty flavours of apples and stonefruit, a lovely savoury undercurrent with a subtle hint of marmite, a delicate salty tang and a bright citrussy burst to the creamy finish – a perfect party wine.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.

Cloudy Bay Pelorus 2009
There is a touch of yellow gold to the brilliantly clear hue and the rich, leesy, slightly oxidative bouquet adds to the suggestion it is moderately mature. In fact it smells very much like Champagne but the foamy, fizzy attack in the mouth leads you elsewhere – and that happens to be Marlborough. A rich, full-bodied creamy, yeast-rich style with a fresh, flinty undercurrent and a ripe, fleshy, stone fruit sweetness. A classic Pinot Noir Chardonnay blend with a long, full tasty finish that lingers with a zesty citrus brightness and touch of rose petal. Seriously stunning proposition wine.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Squawking Magpie The Chatterer Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Light golden coloured with an aromatic but delicate bouquet that has a hint of creaminess with a nuance of tropical fruit that is more obvious in the palate where melon, tropical guava and a touch of dried pineapple join the fray. Then spicy oak emerges with a ginger / pepper-like bite. Smooth and silky in texture with hints of fresh tangelo juice as the juicy flavours linger.
13.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Invivo Michelle's Central Otago Chardonnay 2013
The colour is light gold, the bold aromas are redolent of grapefruit and finely polished smoky savoury oak and the creamy flavours are quite lees-influenced giving the wine a very attractive savoury / mealy / nutty / biscuity aura with a fine acid spine that you find in top white Burgundies. A beautiful wine with great mouthfeel and flow and a harmonious touch of spice, I find it a little reminiscent of the NZIWS gold-medal Terra Sancta and further emphasises Central Otago should not be dismissed when it comes to elegant and potentially long-lived chardonnays. Gold Air New Zealand 2014.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2013
Pale yellow gold with a striking bouquet of sweet oak, butter caramel and hints of spiced peach then finely honed buttery oak and nutmeg-like spices fill the palate, A rich creamy wine that has a well-balanced spicy, savoury undercurrent and a smooth, seamless flow with caramel and lemon/grapefruit nuances in harmony and a warm biscuity finish with oak flavours pushing through as the flavours linger.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Chalk Hill Sonoma Chardonnay 2012 – California, USA
This bright citrine-hued wine has a bold and enticing bouquet of grilled peaches and caramel. A beautifully silky, fine-textured wine in the mouth and while at first it seems a little high-toned, it is in fact quite a malty, leesy, savoury style with lashings of creamy vanillin oak, hints of bacon fat and something a little bit sensual and fascinatingly ‘grubby’ (like truffle but not truffle) going on in there. Add to that nutmeg, hints of grapefruit and a spicy zesty flourish to the long full-bodied finish, this delicious mouthfilling chardonnay is one to serve at a dinner party. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $60.99.

Mt Monster Padthaway Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Rich dark red. Lovely full nose of spiced berries and creamy spicy, savoury oak and then in the palate raspberry and blackcurrant fruit is joined by cake spices, liquorice allsorts, black jellybeans, and mint. On the medium side of full bodied with a fine silky tannin structure, sweet oak and a slightly dry finish with a pepper-filled finale, it has a very appealing and well-balanced earthy and slightly rustic aura. 3 gold medals. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Pepperjack Barossa Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
The bouquet of this purple red wine is deep and concentrated giving the impression of a fine, rich, smooth wine and the taste is full-bodied and spicy with juicy blackberry and raspberry fruit, mint, vanilla, nut chocolate and a very peppery tingle to the finish. Yet there are some underlying dark, earthy, tarry, charry notes that make it seem quite brooding and the tannins are still quite grippy and tight and need some creamy food to cut through them at this stage of its life.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Kirrihill VS Tullymore Clare Valley Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Inky purple red. Hints of mocha and sweet spicy vanillin oak on the nose make this sumptuous wine so rich and inviting. Primary fruit is an attractive feature in the plush, velvety textured palate. There’s raspberry and plums with vanillin oak, a deep chocolatey undercurrent and a clean, lifted, bright minty nuance to the spicy finish. A full wine with huge tannins, but they are beautifully rounded tannins and add to the structure without imposing. With lingering nuances of mocha, mochaccino and chocolate there is lots to like her but it definitely needs food to accompany it. 5 stars and No. 1 in Cuisine last year.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Trentham Family Reserve Heathcote Shiraz 2010 – Victoria
Wow, this crimson-tinted purple red coloured wine has a monumental bouquet of vanillin oak, concentrated red and black fruits, earth and sweet spices, and it is smooth and flowing in the palate with firm dry, silk-edged, velvety tannins, There’s the classic mint that comes from this region, a warm red earth character, sweet berry fruit, hints of liquorice and mocha together with dried herb notes and a native pepper of some kind. Juicy and long with an upwelling of vinous sweetness to the finish with nut chocolate emerging as the flavours linger, this is a beautiful drink five years on from vintage and it will continue to hold for a while.
14.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Alpha Cruxis McLaren Shiraz 2010 – South Australia
Flushed with purple black-red colours, this is all savoury spicy vanillin oak and concentrated berry scents and it is big, rich and sweet tasting with fine, slightly chalky tannins. High-toned from the acidity that will help it age gracefully with lifted plum and raspberry fruit that has great concentration and depth, it is mouthfilling and mouthcoating with full, slightly furry tannins, a hot spicy heat and pepper-like tingles on the tongue as the full flavours linger with appealing accents of orange-chocolate emerging.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $80.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 4 Mar 2015
Cuisine Aromatics and some Delicious Reds
All but the first and last wines were tasted blind.

Champagne Lanvin et Fils NV
This is lemon gold in the glass with a persistent but tiny effervescent bead. There the most beguiling hint of butterscotch on the nose and the taste is full of enticing brioche flavours. A crisp, dry bubbles with a yeasty richness, a delightful salty tang and just a hint of sweetness to the long savoury mouthfilling foamy finish with a tantalising aura of maturity. Served from a magnum, a very stylish start to the evening.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99 750-ml bottle.

Peregrine Central Otago Riesling 2010
Light bright gold with a fragrant aroma of citrus zest, talc and honeysuckle, this is a unusually dry styled riesling that has succulence and concentration with exciting toasty, bottle age characters and a lime marmalade tang. Mouthfilling with terrific length, it’s great to see a more mature style on the table. 5 stars and No.7 in Cuisine.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Ceres Composition Central Otago Riesling 2014
Light gold with hints of apple blossom, musk and sweet spices wafting from the delicately fragrant bouquet, then honey, apple, quince and citrus fill the palate. There’s vinous concentration that’s commensurate with a higher alcohol, off dry style while the lusciousness abetted by a touch of botrytis is nicely offset by a flinty undercurrent. With around 12 g/l of residual sugar you expect it to be medium but citrus pith acidity makes it seem more off dry. 4 1/2 stars and No 9 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

Framingham 'Classic' Marlborough Riesling 2013
Medium light gold with a touch of orange marmalade on the nose but the palate is more classic lemon / lime with a flinty undercurrent and a zesty brightness to the succulent honeysuckle and apple skin finish that coats and swaddles the tongue. While not as concentrated in texture as the previous wine, it has line and length with racy acidity surging again on the finish to give exciting verve and an impression of being dry. Gold Easter Show 2015.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Waipara Hills Waipara Riesling 2014
There is a gorgeous floral allure to this pale straw gold wine. It’s noticeably medium in sweetness on first tasting with red apple, honeysuckle and a fresh citrussy brightness to the long juicy finish. It ticks all the Riesling boxes and has satisfying length. 5 stars and No.1 in Cuisine.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Highfield Marlborough Riesling 2013
There's a hint of spice infusing the honeyed apple nose and it is almost creamy in the smooth honey and citrus palate that has such beautiful flow. It’s one of those wonderful Mosel spatlese-inspired styles with high sugar but equally high acidity to balance it, and has mouthfilling concentration to the gorgeously long finish that is accented with a touch of zesty spice. This was the overall favourite on a show of hands on the night, my hand included. Gold Easter Show. Gold AirNZ.
10 % alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Brancott Letter Series 'P' Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2013
This pale lemon-hued wine smells pretty and sweet, like candied violets with rose petals, lychees and a delicate hint of spice. The palate is smooth, rich and oily with hints of lemongrass, Moroccan spices and ginger infusing the almost luscious musky flavours. An outstanding example from Marlborough, it has a heady warmth and a powerful and tasty finish. 5 stars and No.1 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Greystone Waipara Gewurztraminer 2014
Lemon gold with violets on the nose, it smells tantalising spicy rather than sweet. While the aromas remind me of Grand Cru Alsace, to me the taste is more typically mouthfilling Antipodean. It is a fairly dry wine with a pleasing touch of musky sweetness, pepper-like tingles and a creamy feel to the powerful finish. A tiny bit of botrytis (3%) and partial barrel ferment adds to the complexity. This was my favourite of the two with its quintessential spicy twist, rose musk and violets. 5 stars and No. 2 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Vina Pomal Rioja Crianza 2011 – Rioja, Spain
Medium weight purple red. The bouquet is shy at first but deep inhaling reveals a rustic wine with wild red brambles and subtle vanillin sweetness. There's a thread of juicy raspberry running through this predominantly savoury wine that is firm and dry in the mouth with cedary vanillin oak, tar and leather and a salty lick to the lifted finish. Made from 100% Tempranillo it morphs into a fleshy, supple mouthful and becomes so much juicier as the medium bodied flavours linger.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Les Courtilles Cotes du Rhone 2012 – Rhone Valley, France
Purple red. A little savoury on the nose with crushed chocolate biscuits and raspberry jam infusing the bouquet. Following on from the fragrant aroma the taste is ripe, juicy and spicy with a touch of nutmeg and peppery spice in the background. Grenache dominant (80%) with 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre in the blend, it's soft with easy going tannins that make it a very approachable medium bodied red wine with a delightful lingering finish where a nuance of fresh lavender adds to its overall appeal.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Tenute Silvio Nardi Turan Sant'Antimo Rosso 2013 - Montalcino, Italy
Moderately dark purple red with medium density. Mellow spicy oak on the nose and heading towards full-bodied and luscious in the palate. It’s spicy and savoury with a rustic peppery edge, sweet red and black fruit, chocolate, dried herbs and reasonably firm but supple rounded tannins. It reminds me in a way of a big, earthy, sweet, juicy, curranty Primitivo … but it's from the wrong region. Made from a blend of 40% Petit Verdot, 30% Sangiovese, 20% Syrah and 10% Colorino, this ‘Super Tuscan’ is smart, juicy and very delicious.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Te Mata Coleraine 2013 – Hawkes Bay
A blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc and decanted before tasting, this colour is shiny purple with crimson edges and impenetrably inky in hue. The nose is sweet spicy cedar with a creamy oak veneer and the taste is powerful and heady with firm but sensual rounded tannins. There is mouthfilling concentration to the opulent fruit flavours that include at the very least plums, blackcurrants and boysenberries with a supporting harmonious chorus of spices, liquorice and cedar. From a magnificent red wine vintage in Hawkes Bay, this iconic wine is destined to become legendary, a word that will echo around the table when the wine is opened in is 21st year.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $87.99.

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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