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edited by Sue Courtney

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

September / October 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 for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 15 October 2015
NZIWS Gold Medals and More
Wines were tasted blind.

Selaks Founders Limited Edition Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Pale lemon with an intense and excitingly pungent bouquet of tropical fruit, herbs and passionfruit then full-bodied, rounded and textural in the mouth with a vivacious, zesty vibrancy, touches of lime and grapefruit together with gooseberry and kiwifruit, and a fantastically long finish where passionfruit comes to the fore. “Complete without being aggressive,” says Kingsley. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Babich Family Estates Fernhill Viognier 2014 – Hawkes Bay
Light gold. Heady aromatics of apricot, peach, melon and nut bread. Warm and textural in the palate with a spicy brightness, a savoury mealy richness, ethereal flavours of apricots beautifully honed by a touch of lemon honey, and a radiating glow to the finish that’s silky and long with wonderful mouthfilling intensity. Gold and Trophy NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2014 – Nelson
Light yellow gold. The expansive bouquet is so inviting as scents of polished French oak, nuts and honey grilled nectarines tantalise the senses, then classy nutty, savoury, polished oak is an upfront feature in the palate that becomes more and more toasty as the wine is savoured. A beautifully honed and rounded Chardonnay with delicious mealy intensity, succulent stonefruit juiciness and racy grapefruit intensity, it’s tempting to drink already but this superb dry white has the cachet to develop in the cellar for ten years or more.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $71.99.

Framingham Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014
Straw gold with a generous bouquet of honey, custard and vanilla poached pears. At first it seems quite fruity and light in the mouth with white pepper tingles but becomes increasing fuller with a mouth-coating creamy texture and flavours of poached pears in orange water together with musk and five spices. Deliciously smooth with loads of flavour and although of ‘medium’ sweetness the finish is long and refreshing. Gold NZIWS.
31.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Rockburn Stolen Kiss Central Otago Rose 2015
Barely there pink in hue with a delicate cherry bouquet and the taste is refreshingly off dry with juicy cherry and strawberry fruit and a zesty citrus vibrancy. Like a kiss of chilled watermelon in the heat of summer, it's super refreshing and quenching.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Nanny Goat Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
Intense deep ruby-violet in hue with a bouquet that’s reminiscent of Black Forest cake and a texture is seductively svelte as the wine traverses the palate. It’s smooth and delicious with beautifully honed savoury oak, dark chocolate, spiced cherries and plums and a bright flourish to the succulent finish where the oak becomes more noticeable but without ever distracting from the wine’s harmonious tune. Gold NZIWS.
13.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Zabu Il Passo Nerello Mascalese and Nero d'Avola 2014 – Sicily
Deep ruby violet. The initial leathery, tannic scent immediately whisks you to Europe then the bouquet opens up splendidly to reveal concentrated bramble fruit with hints of vanilla. Big, rich and powerful in the mouth where jammy red fruits are laced with spicy oak and pepper, it’s full-bodied and rounded with firm-centred pillowy tannins. An exciting modern expression of indigenous Italian grapes with just six months in oak, it’s deliciously approachable and juicy. Gold NZIWS.
26% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Penny's Hill Crackling Black Shiraz 2013 – McLaren Vale, South Australia
Inky black red. Inviting bouquet of dark chocolate and concentrated dark fruit. Full of vanillin oak, mocha and nut chocolate flavours with ripe plums and blackberries, beautifully balanced spiciness and an underlying tarry savouriness, this classically styled Shiraz has firm tannins with juicy centres and a long, powerful, delicious mouthfilling finish. Matured in French oak (20% new) for 18 months. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
First impression of this inky purple-red stunner is “Yum”. The bouquet offers up opulent and refined vanillin oak and in the mouth it is fine yet firm and assertive in its flow – it tastes like a legend and it is! It’s rich and generous with luscious red and black berry fruit, a delightful savoury backbone, a lovely touch of chocolate and a wonderfully long creamy finish with a gentle expansion of spices. A classic and just delicious – followers of this label will not be disappointed. No longer solely from the famed Kalimna vineyard, it’s now a multi-regional mix from Barossa, McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Langhorne Creek with 12 months in seasoned American oak.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Gemtree Ernest Allen Shiraz 2013 – McLaren Vale, South Australia
Inky black red. Beautifully refined creamy oak utterly titillates the senses – it smells deep and savoury with opulent fruity Shiraz intensity. A big wine in the mouth and although firm and tight it has an incredibly fine texture. It’s a powerful dry red with nutty oak, chocolate, a juicy red and black fruit deliciousness, beautifully balanced savouriness. Mouthfilling and long – and the flavours go on and on. An organic and biodynamic farmed wine with 20 months in French oak. “Monumental,” says Kingsley. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $48.99.

Osborne Pedro Ximinez 1827 Sherry – Spain
Green-edged toffee hue. Incredibly heady scent of muscatel raisins macerated in brandy spirit with a luscious honeyed aura. Sensual and luscious in the mouth with spiced muscatels, caramel, mocha and Christmas cake, and the unique ‘rancio’ character from the ancient oak barrels that date back to 1827 is compelling and exquisite. Gold NZIWS.
17% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 7 October 2015
Gold Medal Wines from the 2015 New Zealand International Wine Show
Wines were tasted blind.

Champagne Louis Roederer Vintage 2008 – France
Yellow gold with an adamantine lustre, this luxurious Champagne has a rich yeasty aroma of baked bread and tastes full, rich and creamy with a deep, savoury, nutty, yeasty complexity that comes from bottle age, and a gloriously crisp flinty spine with apple, lemon, cashew nuts and fresh acidity that is so charming as the classy, delicious flavours linger. Gold and Trophy for Champion Champagne & Methode Traditionelle.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $126.99.

Theory & Practice Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
In the glass the wine has a moderate gold hue. A bouquet of fragrant nutty oak leads into a bright, full-bodied, savoury palate with fleshy stonefruit to the fore. It’s vibrant and zesty with a very appealing rounded mouthfeel, lemony / leesy notes, a hazelnut complexity, spicy cedary oak – a little chilling enhances the toasty aura – and the long, dry, lingering finish has touches of grapefruit. Ant McKenzie’s own label with fruit sourced from the Cape Kidnappers area. Gold Medal.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Black Barn Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Lemon gold in hue with enchanting peaches and cream nuances to the delicate vanilla and toasted oak bouquet. Full-bodied, toasty, spicy and cedary in the mouth with opulent peach and melon fruit, accents of grapefruit peel and a lovely nutty, savoury undercurrent to the long, creamy finish where lemon bread / malo influences emerge and linger. The wine is a class act and while delicious already it could become sensational with a little more time. Gold medal.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $43.99.

Forrest The Valleys Brancott Riesling 2007 – Marlborough
Glossy lime-tinged gold. Heady aromatics of honeysuckle and lime and subtle nuances of toast and beeswax come to mind. Deliciously juicy and thirst quenching with many layers of delicious Riesling flavours – there are bottle-aged characters of hokey pokey, lime curd on toast and talc with beautifully balanced citrus and tarragon notes, tropical fruit, freshly squeezed tangelo and an exciting fresh racy brightness. An outstanding eight-year-old that Riesling aficionados will find hard to resist. Gold medal.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Forrest The Valleys Brancott Riesling 2009 – Marlborough
Light gold, clear and bright. Gorgeous aroma of honeysuckle and citrus with a salted lime tang. Juicy, almost luscious in the palate with succulent fruit, a talcy, spicy, honeyed overlay and a crisp, tangy, dry, racy finish with a fresh, zesty character that is so bright it is almost peppery. Incredibly quenching. Gold medal.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Peregrine Rastasburn Central Otago Riesling 2010
Light yellow gold. Enticingly aromatic with aromas and flavours of beeswax, botrytis, flower nectar and pollen-like honeyed notes. A luscious style but not overly sweet with a flinty, slippery / slatey feel to the texture and bright acidity piquing the long juicy finish that’s filled with citrus and flower nectar with a sherbet-like zing. Bottle age adds richness, intensity and complexity. Gold medal.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

Soho ‘Betty’ Lower Alcohol Marlborough Riesling 2015
Named after Betty Ford this pale straw gold stunner is an exciting lower alcohol style like the famous Spatlese wines of the Mosel – it’s all apples, lemons and tropical guavas with a delightful honeysuckle infusion to the aromatic allure and so light and luscious in the palate with a licking-a-river-stone minerality, a light salty tang and a wonderful shimmery thirst quenching finish. Irresistibly delicious. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Riesling.
9.4% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Clearview Black Reef Blush 2015 – Hawkes Bay
Made from Chambourcin grapes, this is dark pink/ almost ruby hue. The bouquet is savoury yet has a slightly confectionary cherry note too. In the mouth it’s full-flavoured, savoury and spicy with juicy black Doris plums and blackberry fruit and a crisp dry finish that’s accented with tangelo, glace cherries and cake spices with a zing of ginger adding warmth and tang. Full and fleshy, very juicy, mouthfilling and quenching. Gold Medal.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Alexander Dusty Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014
Dark purple violet in hue. The bouquet offers beautifully fragrant savoury oak with hints of woodsmoke and pencil shavings and it is deep-set, savoury, leathery and gamey in the full, rich palate with firm tannins, a cake spice brightness and lifted red fruits in the tamarillo, guava and red cherry spectrum that make this gutsy wine seem so deliciously juicy. A creaminess accrues as the wine traverses the palate and the lingering finish has a succulent meaty savouriness and hints of vanilla. Gold medal.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Henry’s Drive Dead Letter Office Shiraz 2013 – Padthaway, South Australia
Inky purple red with crimson edges. The bouquet is buoyantly spicy with juicy plum and black cherry fruit, savoury oak, vanilla and chocolate. A bright, spicy, full-bodied creamy tasting Shiraz with a firm outer to the soft pillowy centre, sumptuous red and black fruits, beautifully honed touches of pepper, a chocolatey richness, a hint of mint and a long fulfilling finish. Gold medal.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Krohn Quinto Do Retiro Novo Vintage 2009 – Portugal
Luxurious and super concentrated with an impenetrable black red hue. The divinely heady and quintessentially porty bouquet is deep, rich and raisiny with a wonderful berry richness, and the mouth-enveloping taste is warm, spicy and spirituous with honeyed raisins, cigar box, dark chocolate-coated cherries and liquorice. Fantastically opulent with incredible length. Gold medal and Trophy for Champion Fortified.
20% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $73.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 30 September 2015
A selection of NZIWS Trophy Winners 2015
Wines were tasted blind.

Vidal Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Glossy yellow gold. Fantastically aromatic and vibrantly tasty with vivacious tropical fruit, tarragon and green bean. There’s a lovely fine flow through the palate and it’s bright, fresh, juicy, crisp and clean with classical grassy, gooseberry, passionfruit pungency and bursts of lemon and lime on the long zingy finish. Quenching and delicious. Gold medal and Champion Sauvignon Blanc.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.

Villa Maria Taylor’s Pass Marlborough Chardonnay 2014
Light citrine gold. The bouquet is quite simply charismatic tonight with delightful scents of nougat, tropical fruit and mealy French oak and the expansive flavours in the palate are exquisite and the oak quite toasty with light chilling. Powerful yet elegant with a warm rounded mouthfeel and flavours of white peach, citrus, apricot and nutty mealy notes with a spicy flourish to the finish and impeccable balance and length. It’s stunning already but has the complexity to benefit even more with cellaring. Gold medal, Champion Chardonnay, Champion Wine of the Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99

te Pa Marlborough Pinot Gris 2015
Light ‘white gold’ in hue. There’s a vanilla pod creaminess to the peach and orchard fruit bouquet and the mouthfeel is soft and generous with a spicy brightness to the abundant fruit flavours of poached pear, custard apple and mandarin with an exotic spiciness and hints of tarragon. Deliciously juicy, rounded, mouthfilling and intense and the ultra long finish really zings. Gold medal and Champion Pinot Gris.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Spy Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2014
Light yellow gold. A delicate scent of pink smoker lollies and rose musk with lemon verbena and lemon balm infused honey, this is on the dry side of medium with beautiful flavours of crystallised violets and sugar-coated rose petal that impart a tantalising floral allure. So elegant and silky in its flow with an exciting orange, ginger and coriander zestiness to the honeyed finish that’s long and intense. Powerful, yet refined, and quite simply stunning. Gold medal and Champion Gewurztraminer.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Left Field Hawkes Bay Rose 2015
Pale pink ruby in hue, this exciting crisp dry Rose made from predominantly Merlot grapes with the addition of Pinotage and Arneis has a bouquet that’s reminiscent of wild strawberries and red cherry jubes. A terrifically juicy Rosé with substance and even a little tannin to support the juicy strawberry and blackcurrant fruit with a bright zesty seam of freshness and tropical fruit with touches of pineapple and a squeeze of mandarin. A delightful summer style that served very chilled is refreshing, delicious and full of sass.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
Deep purple violet with purple garnet edges. A beautifully perfumed Pinot, the gorgeous aromatics exude savoury oak, rose hips, thyme and spiced red and black cherries. Savoury and silky in the mouth with the oak now spicy and layered with woodsmoke and bacon, and juicy red and black fruits with hints of cinnamon bark-spiced tamarillo. Vibrant yet robust, concentrated and intense in its flavours and the texture quite velvety and firm on the finish. Gold medal.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Akarua Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013
Purple / ruby / violet. The gorgeous aromatic scent is sultry, smoky and savoury without overpowering, with delicate cherry notes coming through. A beautiful elegant and refined Pinot Noir with a spicy brightness and juicy fruit deliciousness – the tannins are silky with a velvet cushion flow – and while the texture seems fine it becomes firm and plush on the long, savoury, mouthfilling finish. Last year’s Champion excels again! Gold medal and Champion Pinot Noir.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Spy Valley Noble Marlborough Riesling 2014
Glossy light gold. Very lifted lime and lemon bouquet. It’s sweet but so silky and seamless with honey infusing apple, lemon and lime and a touch of earthiness to the liquid honey finish. Such great focus and purity sets it on a pedestal above the others and there is an exciting zing of ginger-like spice and hints of dried pineapple and mango. It’s so fresh and light after the heavy reds and the nectar-like texture is just sublime. Gold medal and Champion Sweet Wine.
11.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 16 September 2015
Gold Medals from the 2015 New Zealand International Wine Show
Wines were tasted blind.

Sileni Cellar Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Straw gold with a highly aromatic bouquet that’s bright and juicy with apples, gooseberry, capsicum and lime coming to mind and the taste is bright, refreshing, zingy and racy with loads of ultra-juicy citrus, touches of stonefruit and tropical fruit salad with pineapple to the fore and crisp apple again on the impressively long finish. Gold NZIWS.
12% alc. Screwcap. $12.99.

Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Light gold with a smoky, grilled peach and polished oak bouquet infused with grapefruit and mealy notes and powerful, toasty, spicy oak and honeyed roasted nut flavours with juicy peach and melon. Full, rounded, juicy, fleshy, succulent and savoury with a mouthfilling seamless finish - lightly chilled this is irresistibly delicious. Silver NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $19.99.

Lochiel Estate Mangawhai Chardonnay 2014
The bouquet is initially quite restrained with delicate hints of pear and tropical fruit but soon there’s a buttery layer with oatmeal biscuits, custard and cream. Still young, flinty and a little tight with light chilling on the night, but with gentle coaxing the taste becomes full, rich, rounded and creamy with a lovely malty toasty richness, touches of tropical fruit and mango and a bright zesty citrus flourish to the nutty oak finish. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $20.99.

Domaine Schlumberger Les Princes Abbes Gewurztraminer 2012
Mother’s cold cream and pink smoker lollies on the nose of this golden hued wine trigger childhood memories. Concentrated, fleshy and spicy in the palate with a seductively smooth oily texture, the taste is full of toasted spices like coriander, cinnamon, cumin and ginger with a lovely honeyed aura and the finish has a tantalising sliver of sweetness – the wine is more medium dry than sweet. Musky rose petal nuances are subtle but evocative in this full-bodied, concentrated, rich, oily, opulent wine. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $40.99.

McManis Family Vineyards California Pinot Noir 2014– USA
Gem-like ruby marone hue. Captivating bouquet of succulent strawberries and cherries with spicy vanillin oak and touches of chocolate and the taste is soft and rounded with silk-edged velvety tannins and seductive flow. Generous red fruits are ripe and juicy with hints of mint and warm spices and lovely smoky savoury nuances infuse the creamy finish. Very approachable indeed. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013
Deep ruby violet. Succulent aromatics of juicy cherries and macerated grapes with hints of woodsmoke in the distance, this is a gorgeous, concentrated, intense and opulent Pinot Noir with a deep savoury complexity and plush velvety tannins, plums and bittersweet cherries and a spicy flare to the gorgeously long finish with the lingering taste juicy and complex with some lovely smoky notes and touches of roasted thyme. Gold NZIWS.
14.3% alc. Screwcap. $19.99.

Perrin Reserve Cote du Rhone 2012– France
Inky purple red – amazing colour for this style of wine. The bouquet is classically savoury with roasted rosemary, sweet aromatic Cuban cigar, tar and leather but so phenomenally juicy in the generous palate that’s crammed with dark fruit with a delicious spicy oak allure, smooth tannins, and a meaty finish with a succulent juicy aftertaste. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $21. 99.

Elephant Hill Le Phant Hawkes Bay Merlot- Syrah– Cabernet 2014
Rich crimson-edged black red. Fragrant with hints of pepper, rose petal, chocolate box, leather, blackberries and spiced bottled cherries carrying through to the juicy succulent, aromatically spicy, peppery palate. Tannins are fine and silky and in harmony with the polished oak and the succulent fruit flavours linger with touches of chocolate, mint and leather. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $21.99.

Caravan Petite Syrah 2014 – South Australia
Concentrated deep purple red. Very fragrant with creamy oak, jammy blackberry and raspberry fruit, hints of tobacco. Wow – so much going on here when you add mint, pepper and spice to all of the above in the palate. Multi-faceted in its flavours and aromas and so immediately approachable with a seductively smooth flow and a vibrant, creamy, juicy, fruity finish. Hard to resist. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $15.99.

Henry's Drive Pillar Box Padthaway Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Quite savoury and leather with a sense of berries that the last bit of concentrated juice is being squeezed from. Dark, brooding, tarry, spicy and peppery in the palate with firm tannins – then it’s all mint and chocolate as the wine opens up and the finish is long and succulent and the lingering aftertaste is classically dry. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99.

Cape Barren Native Goose Shiraz 2013
Dark red black– fine in appearance. Gosh, this immediately smells big, rich, ripe and juicy and the taste is spicy, full-bodied, succulent and creamy with beautifully poised allspice and a touch of pepper. The fine silky tannins have a velvety edge and there are gorgeous layers of vanilla, black forest chocolate cake, chocolate biscuits and cherry jam. Something very irresistible about this juicy, succulent wine. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99.

Yalumba Hand Picked Eden Valley Shiraz Viognier 2012
Dark black red. Full-bodied, succulent and full of chocolate with fine tannins accentuating the full-bodied, tarry, savoury flavours with loads of pepper and spice. Rich, smooth, generous and chocolatey – it’s a meal in the glass and the finish has layers of sweetness infusing the chocolatey oak with a charming floral lift to the long, savoury finish. I find it a bit of an old-school, dark-fruited, brooding Australian style – quite simply its fantastically good wine that would like to continue to dwell in a cellar for a while. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Cork. $35.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 2 September 2015
New and Surprising
Wines were tasted blind.

Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Noir Rose 2015
The bouquet and flavour of this pretty candy floss pink coloured, moderately dry, refreshingly juicy Rose is all strawberries and cherries. There's an oily richness to the texture that adds to the mouthfeel and while a sense of lusciousness creeps in, the finish is crisp and fresh with a bright zesty tang. Served lightly chilled it's extremely tasty. Trophy Bragato Wine Awards 2015.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

The Landing Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2014
Creamy lemon gold with a bouquet of toasted hazelnuts and a malt biscuit richness that is just so tantalising, and so smooth and creamy as it flows across the palate with peach, melon and tropical fruit infused with butterscotch cream, beautifully balanced savoury oak and a touch of pineapple brightness to the seamless finish. "Chardonnay as we like it," says Kingsley. "I actually don't mind it," says Robin who is not a Chardonnay drinker! The wine you want would want to drink this Saturday night, it’s a very deserving gold medal winner at the Spiegelau IWC judged in July.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Marsden Estate Black Rocks Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2014
Yellow gold hued with a spicy vanillin oak bouquet and full of savoury mealy flavours, this is more of a juicy, fleshy peaches and nectarines style with a malty undercurrent that is seamless and honed. Developing nicely, it has a lovely full, rich, rounded finish with mouthfilling length – the stonefruit and yellow fruit notes really shine through.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.

Sacred Hill Rifleman’s Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Light lemon gold in hue with a cedary bouquet that’s lifted by the wafting scent of grilled pineapple, and smooth in the palate with lemon butter and lots of mealy, yeasty, baguette / pineapple notes, this is a very elegant style with spicy oak accents, touches of creamed macadamias and a beautifully balanced savoury depth. Still quite tight with a flinty undercurrent at this stage of its life, this legendary label will continue to evolve in the cellar.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $69.99.

Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Gris 2014
Light gold with a bouquet that's all stewed quince and pears and the taste is honey baked apples stuffed with raisins and accented with strudel spices and touches of orange zest. There's a touch of sweetness that makes this tangy and very juicy wine so very approachable on first tasting and the good thing about it is that it can be chilled to the bones. Perfect for summer.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Pinot Gris 2015
Straw gold in colour with a delicately fragrant honeyed pear bouquet, this tastes immediately spicy and zesty with a lovely crisp freshness to balance the juicy poached pear fruit with ginger, lemon and honey flavours coming through. There's more residual sugar than the Roaring Meg, but the balance here is impeccable and the acidity balances the sweet fruit excellently with a beautifully rounded mouthfeel as the flavours linger.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Merlot 2011 – Chile
This is a rich dark red colour with crimson edges. The bouquet is restrained and subtle but it gives the impression the wine in the glass is smooth and savoury – and indeed it is. A very dry tasting wine at first with touches of chocolate and leather but morphing into such a generous and supple wine with lashings of vanillin oak, fruit cake spices and pepper. A beautifully rounded wine with smooth silky tannins and a juicy red and black fruit sweetness to the seductive and more-ish finish where black forest cake and chocolate flavours linger.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Mt Hilary Clare Valley Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
Inky black red with purple crimson edges. Creamy oak, toasted spices and dried cocoa fill the bouquet. On the first taste the wine seems very dry with firm unresolved tannins and quite edgy with its peppery, spicy bite but it’s tamed by abundant blackberry and raspberry fruit with touches of chocolate and liquorice. Words from around the room were Black Doris plums, toasty oak, smoked mushrooms and cough mixture! A quaffer that delivers for the price.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Noon ‘Eclipse’ McLaren Vale 2011 – South Australia
A blend of 81% Grenache, 13% Shiraz and 6% Graciano, this is quite a developed looking wine in the glass with its translucent garnet colour and bricking hue to the edges. There's a salty, leather, mocha nuance to the bouquet and a sweet / salted raisin and nut character comes through in the palate with a fine coating of chocolate. Peppery and spicy with plenty of heat that gives the wine heart, it’s smooth, silky and seamless with touches of port-like liquorice as the generous flavours linger. Looks old but it really is quite delicious. Definitely the kind of wine to sip and savour with good friends, good conversation and good cheese.
16% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $72.99.

CJ Pask Declaration Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2009
Dark red. Initially quite leathery and sappy on the nose then a fragrance of stewed plums infused with cinnamon, anise and clove shines through. Generous and round in the palate, it’s full of plum and black cherry fruit with pepper, rosemary and leather, and the tannins have resolved nicely to deliver a rounded flow. Not a wine that shouts out, it just gently shimmers and radiates and seduces and the finish is lovely and smooth.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Wolf Blass Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012
Inky red black with an opulent bouquet of chocolate, mocha, liquorice and pepper, and terrifically bright and spicy in the palate with firm tannins and woody oak at this stage of its life but the potential is very clearly there. A blockbuster style with flavours of chocolate biscuits, prunes and mocha and a full-bodied chewy finish. One to watch with great interest.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Wolf Blass Black Label CSM 2006 – South Australia.
Holding its colour very well, it's a very deep, dark red hue with no indication of bricking. A little restrained on the nose as the once primary fruit has let the bottle aged characters take command– but still could be coaxed out with decanting when tasting at home. A firm tasting wine, it’s seductively spicy with a voluptuously velvety flow and a delicious vinous sweetness that has evolved to balance the deep set savoury notes. Fleshy plum and mulberry fruit is still reasonably primary and bright and there's a deep smoky flourish to the finish. A very serious wine from a fabulous vintage, it is made from a blend of 51% Cabernet, 40% Shiraz and 9% Malbec from a number of regions in South Australia and still has many many years to go.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $129.99.

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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