Wine of the Week Home

Wine Blog

Blog (2007-2012)

Tasting Notes

Food File

Old Stuff
WOTW archives

Vinous Links

About NZ Wine

About this Site

Wine of the Week logo
Wine of the Week info
edited by Sue Courtney

Wednesday Round-up - the 2016 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

May / June 2016
[ 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 – 29 Jun 2016
Giesen & Peter Lehmann with Malcolm Stopp
Wines were not tasted blind.

Giesen are Peter Lehmann's representatives in New Zealand, the company itself now part of the Casella stable since November 2014. Malcolm Stopp ‘Stoppa’ is back with Peter Lehmann after a break of some time when during the takeover most of the sales and marketing people were let go. He was soon asked to come back as a part time consultant a role that eventually became full time again in October 2015. Stoppa said he was thrilled to be back in NZ and First Glass especially and all of the regulars were thrilled to see him back at First Glass too. All of the VSV wines are indent order, so prices not included.

Giesen Classic Cuvee 2014
Made from 100% Marlborough Chardonnay, this is straw gold in hue with lots of white froth when poured and bubbles rising incessantly in the glass. It beckons with its baking bread aromas and lemony nuances to the yeasty flavours with a deeply savoury undercurrent, a crisp dry steely finish and a fullness to the fresh aftertaste.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2014
From the revered Clayvin Vineyard that Giesen purchased in 2014, this is lustrous glossy gold in hue. Peach and toasty mellow savoury oak fill the bouquet and it's zesty, spicy and savoury in the palate where there is some funky wild yeast action going on. Layers of honeyed oak and salted caramel infuse the stonefruit and citrus flavours and the wine is complete in the mouth with richness and texture to the creamy finish.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Peter Lehmann Margaret Semillon 2010 – Barossa Valley, South Australia
A fresh acid driven wine with a slightly green-tinged gold hue, loads of lemonade, lime and talc nuances to the bouquet and those citrus flavours driving the palate where there is a very intriguing honey character. It's a lighter, white honey / honeysuckle / orange blossom infusion that balances the acidity beautifully with some delicate lemon herb notes coming through. Released after 5 years in the bottle, this is a fabulous seafood / oyster wine.
11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $NA.

Peter Lehmann Hill & Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012– Barossa Valley, South Australia
From a range of vineyard sites in the north west of the Barossa, this is dark red with a dense core. There's a slight herbal nuance to the bouquet that has initially has brooding dark berry and cassis scents at first but soon more redcurrant fruits emerge and later the most subtle suggestion of chocolate. Minty upfront in the palate with lifted red fruits to the fore, firm tannins, hints of cigar box, a meaty depth, heady vinosity and polish to the finish. Predominantly French oak with a touch of American, the older barrels lets the succulent fruit shine through.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Peter Lehmann VSV Reudiger Cabernet Sauvignon 2013– Barossa Valley, South Australia
From the Light Pass area, this is saturated red black with thin transparent ruby edges. There's a smoky character to the dark fruited bouquet of this savoury, earthy, meaty, muscular style with tannins that are firm and grippy indicating it definitely needs a while. It’s full of concentrated blackcurrant and blackberry fruit with hints of mint emerging on the lifted cedary finish where the tannins now seem more velvety, the fruit shows its class and purity, and a touch of cocoa emerges too.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $NA.

Peter Lehmann Hill & Valley Shiraz 2013– Barossa Valley, South Australia
Youthful black red. The bouquet offers up smoky vanillin oak, a touch of chocolate, hints of mint and black cherry. A fruit driven style with a slightly earthy/ minty undercurrent, creamy oak, cake spices, a touch of pepper, hints of mocha, a dusting of cocoa, plump tannins and a juicy finish where the cherry and plum fruit is lifted and bright. No 4 in Cuisine Shiraz tasting. Easy to like.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Peter Lehmann VSV Blesing Shiraz 2012– Flinders Ranges, South Australia
From a high altitude vineyard in the Southern Flinders area near Melrose, this is black red in hue. I get a sense of slight jammy fruit on the bouquet that smells soft and integrated – then nuances of creamy chocolate too. Lifted in the palate with finely structured tannins, chocolate biscuits, juicy blackberry and raspberry fruit, herbal nuances, fine chocolatey oak and interesting spice characters that remind me of Sumac rather than pepper or cake spices - plus a hint of violets and a touch of orange pomander. I really like the intrigue of this wine and while it seems a little lighter than the Barossa Valley wines, the flavour and mouthfeel compound.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $NA.

Peter Lehmann VSV Valley View Road Shiraz 2014– Barossa Valley, South Australia
Bright black red, youthful in appearance. Full and generous bouquet of chocolatey oak, spiced plums and black cherries with a welcoming nuance of mint. Mouthfilling and flavoursome with sappy cedary oak, hints of iron, cake spices, mint, juicy fruits and plush pillowy tannins but there is a tightness to the wine that indicates it definitely needs cellaring for a while.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $NA.

Peter Lehmann VSV Lehmann Shiraz 2013 – Barossa Valley, South Australia
Dark red. Smoky with a concentrated dark fruited, boysenberry, slightly boiled lolly / jammy bouquet infused with hints of mint. Smooth and creamy in the palate with a very appealing velvety flow and flavours of dark juicy fruit with hints of cedar, vanilla, nutmeg, chicory, chocolate, mocha and a touch of pepper to the spicy savoury finish that has excellent length. Tons of flavour in this wine, more typical of what we expect Barossa Shiraz to be but after the first couple of sips the tannins kick in. It’s very tempting but I'd really like to cellar this.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Peter Lehmann 8 Songs Shiraz 2012 – Barossa Valley, South Australia
Dark red. Concentrated creamy oak bouquet with a waft of cocoa, hints of ribena and cedar then in the palate a beautifully fine tannin structure - silky tannins but with firmness to the finish. Dark juicy fruit is infused with mint and cedar, but while overall a more savoury wine with hints of cigar box, it has characteristic chocolate, plums and cherries. Subtle in its power with the long succulent finish showcasing the generosity of fruit. 100% French oak was used in the crafting of this wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $NA.

Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 2010 – Barossa Valley, South Australia
Black red with the slightest indication of age from the no longer purple edges. The bouquet is lifted and bright with chocolate, mint, vanilla and cedar with some sappy notes and bottle developed complexities. Full and luscious – the most opulent of all the wines so far, the tannins are smooth and svelte, the plum and dark berry fruit is concentrated, there's a meaty savoury spicy undercurrent and then all those lovely classic Barossa chocolate and mocha notes coming through and an enchanting floral rosehip nuance too. A beautifully balanced mouthfilling wine that's drinking beautifully now if you have to but the tannins still assert themselves on the finish. Released after five years, they cellar so you don’t have to.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $94.99.

Giesen Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Light citrine. Passionfruit fruit salad fills the intense bouquet and the taste is lavish and luscious with passionfruit honey / orange honey to the fore. Like a nectar-infused syrup, it is viscous and honeyed with bright acidity balancing the toffee sweetness and the concentrated finish has an earthy inflection, perhaps from the wild yeast fermentation. Too sweet to drink on its own, it begs for a well-balanced desert to accompany it. Trophy Royal Easter Show.
10% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 22 Jun 2016
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a selection of Cuisine's Syrah/Shiraz
Wines were tasted blind.

Church Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Glossy gold with toasty oak on the bouquet following through to the palate that's full of peach with hints of tropical fruit and spicy savoury undertones. Medium-bodied, mouthfilling and creamy with a citrus burst to the juicy finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Theory & Practice Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Light gold in hue with fruit salad and crθme brulee on the nose then rich, bold and toasty in the palate with roasted nuts, melon and stonefruit brightened by zesty citrus acidity that's softened by the long creamy finish with just a hint of caramel. Fruit is from the Cape Kidnappers area this year.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Creamy oak infused with grapefruit fills the bouquet of the light gold-hued wine and there's plenty of toasty oak upfront in the palate. A wild yeast barrel fermented style with grapefruit, stonefruit, flinty reductive characters and a dry finish. It shimmers with class and while there are glimpses of generosity it is overall still very tight but should be wonderful for Christmas.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
Citrine gold with intensity to the hue. Stonefruit fills the bouquet and the flavours are bold and creamy with butter caramel, juicy peach, well integrated savoury oak and toffee again on the deliciously long finish. Smooth, rounded, generous, flavoursome and ready to drink. A crowd pleaser.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Lake Hayes Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
Blue red in hue, deep for pinot noir and pleasing to the eye. Black cherry and plum fruit fill the bouquet and it is immediately spicy (think cake spices) in the palate that initially seems dry and tight. Yet there is lots of juice and flesh in there with fruit flavours reminiscent of spiced tamarillo and cranberry with hints of dried herbs and a long savoury finish. Gold Medal NZIWS 2015.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Inky blackberry red. Jammy on the bouquet with savoury undertones of tar and pepper lifted with hints of violets and cake spices. Initially seems very dry with its firm assertive tannins but the generous fruit and the creamy oak tone it down nicely and it becomes quite silky in its flow. A beautifully structured wine with blueberry and black cherry fruit, nutmeg, anise and again a hint of violets, and the finish is long and savoury with a touch of cocoa emerging as the wine lingers. No 2 in Cuisine's Top 10 NZ Syrahs. Fabulous buy.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Grant Burge 5th Generation Barossa Shiraz 2014
This dark red wine is invitingly aromatic with lifted red fruit and generous creamy vanillin oak scents that immediately whisk you across the Tasman. On the medium side of full-bodied, it’s bright and spicy with a burst of pepper tingles, juicy ripe blackberry and cherry fruit, and nuances of chocolate and liquorice and while the tannins have a little grip, it's smooth and creamy on the finish. At this price, hard to resist.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Jim Barry The Lodge Clare Valley Shiraz 2013
This rich meaty wine is inky blueberry red with a minty inflection to the savoury bouquet and loads of eucalypt in the palate with juicy blueberry and red cherry fruit, dried herbs, a sprinkling of pepper and a touch of mint chocolate on the firm, dry finish. Beautifully structured yet smooth and generous all the way through. No. 1 in Cuisine's Top 10 Aussie Shiraz.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Kirrihill Regional Range Clare Valley Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Blackberry red. Dark fruit, cigar box and fruit cake spices on the nose and immediately seductive on first tasting but there is an underlying firmness, savouriness and pepper-infused spiciness balancing the juicy blackberry and cherry fruit and the creamy chocolatey oak, and the finish is long, satisfying and lingering with a hint of anise coming through. No. 2 in Cuisine's Top 10 Aussie Shiraz.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Grant Burge Balthazaar Eden Valley Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
Inky black red. Tantalising aroma of vanillin oak and milk chocolate with accents of green pepper and the most subtle suggestion of mint. Quite prominent acidity on tasting but this quickly integrates into the creamy chocolatey oak and juicy red and black berried fruit, and there's a spicy brightness to the smoky finish. A deep dense wine with a profound savoury backbone and grippy tannins, a wine to cellar right now. 4 stars Cuisine.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Serafino McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
Saturated black red in hue with a complex, savoury aroma then full-bodied and generous in the palate with black pepper, cake spices, juicy black cherry and blackberry fruit, creamy oak and a long juicy finish. A beautifully structured wine with a mouthfilling smooth flow. Not in the Cuisine list but definitely a star on this showing.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Shingleback D Block McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Deep, dark and dense both in colour and flavour, some bottle aged complexities infuse the cedary bouquet. A meal in a glass with its plush fleshy mouthfeel, dark fruit, hints of anise, cake spices, hints of mint, earthy sappy notes and a touch of chocolate on the finish. Maturing nicely and just a delight.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 1 Jun 2016
Church Road Wines with Chris Scott
Wines were not tasted blind.

A fabulous tasting of remarkable Chardonnays and the iconic Tom wines, named for pioneering Hawkes Bay winemaker, Tom McDonald.

Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
The colour is rich gold and the bouquet is full of flint / struck match / reductive funky wild yeast with a delectable hint of peach and the flavours are bold in the smooth creamy palate with all the funks from the bouquet coming through. There's a lovely savoury, zesty, citrussy undercurrent to the bright peach and melon fruit; the beautifully honed acidity is lifted and bright, and there is a subtle salinity and seductive smokiness as the wine lingers deliciously. A wonderful start to the evening.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.

Brancott Estate Chosen Rows Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Slightly green-tinged light gold. Aromatics bound with grapefuit peel, wild yeasts and snow pea. Dry in the mouth (possibly the influence of the large oak cuves used for wild yeast fermentation) with lifted acidity tingling the tongue. The wine quivers with an herbaceous pungency yet is layered with oak and fruit, summer herbs and winemaking complexities.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $78.99.

Church Road McDonald Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Medium gold with a glossy lustre. A little reductive on the nose with grapefruit and smoky French oak. Full bodied, malty and creamy in that mouth with a flinty backbone, a savoury complexity and touches of caramel balanced by grapefruit and mandarin with spiced peach fleshing out the finish and lots of juicy yellow fruits in the mix. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Moderate gold, lustrous in appearance. The bouquet is an amalgam of smoky oak, grapefruit, toasted baguette and a touch of melon jam, the latter adding a sweet allure. Quite dry, spicy and malty on first tasting, the oak a little unresolved at this stage perhaps, becoming mouthfilling and fleshy with white peach and honeydew melon, but mostly reductive savoury wild yeast complexities with wet potters clay and a delicious touch of caramel emerging as the flavours linger.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.

Church Road Tom Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Rich, lustrous gold. The complex bouquet hints of a fruit sweetness yet has a smoky bacon intrigue together with grapefruit and the reductive characters of the wild yeast ferment. Full, rich, creamy and rounded with a caramel confectionary (think Werthers Originals) sweetness yet despite this sense of lusciousness the wine is delectably dry. Harmonious and seamless in its flow with a flinty undercurrent and expansive length leaving behind flavours of grapefruit, orange and mandarin with caramel and savoury complexities lingering until the next wine has to be tasted.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $149.

Church Road McDonald Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris 2015
Light to medium gold hue. Aromatic with aromas of spiced poached pears. With 35g/l of residual sugar it presents as medium sweet with liquid honey, pears, spiced apples and a touch of pineapple sage that reigns in the sweetness. A textural wine with oiliness to the flow and a zestiness to the finish where juicy poached pear flavours linger deliciously. Modelled on the Alsace style it's decadent and rich with flavour, texture and palate weight.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Church Road McDonald Hawkes Bay Merlot 2013
Shiny blackcurrant red in hue. Classically Merlot with a bouquet of plums, cigar box and leather. Savoury and spicy to the taste with a plump softness to the texture, then plum, cherry and redcurrant fruit bursts out of the depths with a fine layer of milk chocolate, hints of chicory, a touch of jaffa, a suggestion of tar and the most subtle nuance of mint. Medium to full bodied with concentrated fruit, attractive vinosity and fine in its flow.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Church Road McDonald Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Shiny boysenberry red. Concentrated dark fruit and smoky French oak on the nose. The bright acidity as expected from Cabernet Sauvignon is prominent but balanced by the deep-set blackcurrant / blueberry fruit with blackcurrant leaf, tobacco leaf, dark chocolate, cake spice and firm tannins all building to a full plush creamy finish with hints of fruit cake. Finishing very dry, it begs for a food, but there’s a lusciousness that accrues in the mouth as the aftertaste lingers.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Church Road McDonald Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Inky black with vivid purple edges. The bouquet is all ripe black cherries laced with a fruit cake richness, aromatic herbs and dark floral notes. It's full in the palate but not very peppery as one would expect from Syrah, instead a softer fruit cake spiciness with lifted red and black fruit, firm tannins, dry chocolate biscuits and a brooding savoury finish. While the tannins are moderately firm there is generosity to the wine and the finish is rounded with lively fruit presence.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Boysenberry red in hue with meaty aromas and concentrated in the palate with fine tannins, purple fruit and hints of anise. It seems very dark and savoury yet has an appealing spicy lift – more cake spices than pepper however – with some lovely vanilla tones coming through to balance the darkness and meaty notes to the fore as the aftertaste lingers. A deep dark savoury wine with moderately fine tannins, lovely fruit lift and touches of vanilla.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.

Church Road Tom Syrah 2014
Deep yet bright in the glass. The bouquet is fragrant, delicately floral – violets perhaps, with red and black fruit and hints of cake spices. Very aromatic and lifted in the palate with concentrated red and purple fruits – definitely some black forest cake macerated cherries in the mix, and the tannins are there, but they just float. Very fine, full and flavoursome with aromatic spices, hints of anise, a suggestion of dried herbs – elegant to the extreme. Made with cellaring potential in mind but seems remarkably approachable already.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $199.

Church Road Tom Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2013
Rich dark red with crimson edges. The bouquet is full and lifted with blackcurrant / redcurrant and a spicy vibrancy. There is a complexity to this youthful wine that is dry, juicy, concentrated and full of vinous extract with ripe fruit and silky flowing tannins that finish with a touch of grip. Layered, complex and deep with blackcurrant / redcurrants / plum / cherry fruit, youthful acidity, nutty oak and an incredibly long finish where a hint of violet and a fine layer of chocolate comes through.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $199.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 25 May 2016
A selection of different varieties or styles
Wines were tasted blind.

Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2015 – Victoria, Australia
Light lemon gold with a heady vinous citrussy scent that seems a little nutty with perhaps a delicate hint of peach. Spicy and zesty on first tasting but the fullness of the wine emerges and the acidity softens to reveal delicate nutty oak and stone fruit and the finish is long and mouthcoating. It seems restrained at first, perhaps because of its youth, but becomes more and more toasty as the wine opens up.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2015
Light yellow gold with a reasonably powerful, buttery oak bouquet and a full-bodied, generous, smooth flowing presence with vibrant tropical fruit, melon and stonefruit over a backbone of butter and spicy oak with citrus and pineapple on the bold lingering finish. Fruit from the Moutere region with 11 months in French and American oak.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Tyrells Single Vineyard Hunter Semillon 2009 – New South Wales, Australia
Moderate lemon gold with a fresh, fruity bouquet of lemons and limes, a whiff of struck match and a hint of kero following through to the vibrant palate. With its fresh acidity it mimics a youthful riesling but at the same time there is a mellow theme that suggests maturity. Joining the citrus is honeysuckle and flower nectar and the long creamy finish that lasts for minutes. Sam suggests oysters as an ideal match.
11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Two Hands The Boy Eden Valley Riesling 2013 – South Australia
Honeysuckle and Roses lime cordial fill the bouquet of this screechingly dry Riesling that's full of kero, sewing machine oil, green apple, salted lime and all those complex dry riesling characters that are fascinating and intriguing. A wine that is already starting to develop a toastiness that will become absolutely awesome in 10 years time.
11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Blackenbrook Nelson Pinot Gris 2014
This light gold hued wine immediately offers up a bouquet of spiced poached pear with hints of tropical fruit and a floral allure. The pear and tropical fruit theme continues in the warm, lightly oily, textural palate with a gentle spiciness reminiscent of Gewurtzraminer. A rich, full-bodied, concentrated style with a touch of sweetness and terrific length, it's quite stunning and will turn people's heads! 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

Artiga Castillo Armado Tempranillo Reserva 2008 – Valdepenas, Spain
Dark cherry red with a savoury bouquet infused with redcurrant fruit and cake spices, then spicy and savoury to the taste with lifted red berry fruit, a touch of orange zest and peppery spices. There's a nice touch of smokiness coming through, underlying earthy notes and a long dry finish lifted by vanillin oak and mint. Tannins are firm yet the wine is ripe and juicy with a pleasing generosity.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Kanonkop Kadette Pinotage 2014 - Stellenbosch, South Africa
Inky black red with blackberries and raspberries filling the bouquet and it's spicy and peppery in the palate with juicy red and black fruits and soft pillowy tannins that have a firm centre. Fresh, clean and youthful with a touch of tar, a charry note to the creamy oak and a juicy disposition to the finish where woody herbs notes are offset by a touch of peach. The back label suggests a long cellaring time but the fruit is so generous I think its will be pretty darn drinkable with char-grilled lamb ribs.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Barry Brothers Clare Valley Shiraz Cabernet 2013 - South Australia
Dark red with an inky depth. The bouquet is perfumed and spicy with purple fruits, leather, rosemary and violets. Dry and peppery to the taste, it seems restrained to start then juicy blueberry and purple plum fruit wells up from the depths. Deep, concentrated and savoury with biscuity oak – yes chocolate biscuits definitely come to mind – with fine tannins and mint emerging on the finish that by now has opened up beautifully and is generous and spicy. Trophy winner at the Brisbane and Melbourne Wine Shows.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Aramis White Label McLaren Cabernet Sauvignon – Australia
A mature looking dark red with burnished tones to the edges. Currants, cedar and chocolate wheaten biscuits fill the bouquet, then in the mouth the flavours hint towards the cool climate characters of blackcurrant, mint and cedar with a touch of orange zest and an intriguing hint of pepper. Mouthfilling and generous with rubbed velvet tannins, spicy oak, hints of mocha and a warm rounded finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Basket Pressed Shiraz 2014 – McLaren Vale, South Australia
Vivid purple black with a full and concentrated vinous bouquet while fine textured tannins define the palate together with spicy oak, leather, tar, dried herbs, black fruits and liquorice. A stylish, elegant wine with a deep savoury undercurrent and a long juicy finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 18 May 2016
Trinity Hill Wines with John Hancock
Wines were not tasted blind.

This was an exciting evening with one of New Zealand's foremost wine identities, never mind the fantastic wines. John related how he got into winemaking at the age of 12 when he lived on a remote sheep farm in South Australia and library books were sent to him to further his education. One of those was how to make fruit wine and he did, with mulberries. The arrival of that library book was obviously a sign.

Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Rose 2015
Pretty watermelon pink with attractive raspberry and cherry aromas and a fresh zingy taste of summer berries with a zesty touch of spice and a long fulfilling finish with a hint of savouriness. This rather unique blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 25% Merlot and 25% Montepulciano is a perfect aperitif to tickle the tastebuds and have you salivating for another sip.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (white label)
Light gold with peach, citrus and hazelnut aromas and full of flavour in the medium-bodied palate that has a creamy feel, a nutty richness and a zesty brightness to the finish. There's minimal amount of oak used in the crafting of this wine but good crisp acidity and masses of flavour. Fantastic social sipper or seafood wine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2014
There's a sunshine glint to the colour and then, wow, the grapefruit aromas just pop together with a funky wild yeast / struck match complexity. The flavours have a grapefruit zing with an underlying mealy richness and savoury oak that expands beautifully and fills the palate with pleasure leaving behind a juicy peach intensity. Hand picked, whole bunch pressed with fermentation and maturation in 500 puncheons (35-40% new) for at least a year. Exciting.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Marsanne Viognier 2014
The bouquet of this medium gold-hued wine is a little shy, perhaps a little nutty with the most delicate floral nuance but the full-bodied mouthfilling taste is such a contrast with masses of fruit and textural complexity. There's melon, tropical fruit, hints of ripe apple and a sprinkle of strudel spices with brightness to the long, rounded finish where hints of apricot emerge. A blend of 55% Marsanne and 45% Viognier wild fermented and matured in older oak.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Tempranillo 2014
Lustrous blackberry red with crimson bright edges. Sensually smoky on the nose with concentrated red and black berry fruits and hints of vanilla and liquorice. Firm in the palate with a touch of mint, succulent berry fruit, hints of tobacco and firm-edged plump pillowy tannins. There's good acidity to the wine with an underlying spicy savouriness, a juicy succulence and a firm finish with vanilla tones from the 10% American oak emerging as the flavours linger. A wine with the provenance to cellar magnificently but immensely enjoyable already. 10% Touriga Nacional is included in the blend.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay 'The Trinity' 2014
This is bright blackberry red in the glass with a juicy berry fruit aroma that's interweaved with leather and tar that follows through to the palate with succulent dark-hued berries and plums, meaty savoury notes (marmite and soy said John) and moderate tannin structure. A medium-bodied, lightly oaked blend based mainly of the trio of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with an odds and sods addition of other interesting reds such as Tempranillo, Touriga, Montepulciano and Syrah, etc., it's juicy and immediately approachable.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels 'The Gimblett' 2013
Inky blackberry red in hue with an attractive bouquet of cassis, plums, vanilla and violets and firm and full in the palate. Made from a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 29% Cabernet France and 1% Petite Verdot, this is a complex, fascinating wine with bright fruit, mouthfilling texture, magnetic tannins, herbal nuances and a long savoury finish. The youthful acidity will see this wine develop nicely over the years.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $28.99.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels 'The Gimblett' 2014 – pre release
Red fruits characterise the nose and fine tannins accentuate the palate of this magnificent, stellar, dark-hued wine that has firm but ripe tannins, hints of cigar box, a nuance of mint in the intriguing medley of herbs and succulent berry fruits including cassis, redcurrants and plum. Straight up and down deliciousness, it seems smooth and already quite forward but has the underlying concentration and complexity and all the indicators of longevity. Wonderful comparison of the two vintages – the tannin structure especially. To be released in October.

Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 (white label)
Dense black cherry in hue. Peppery on the nose and soft in the palate with soft pinot noir-like tannin structure, red peppercorns, cake spices, dark cherry and blackberry fruit, and a meaty complexity to the savoury finish. A medium bodied, fresh, bright, easy drinking style with not too much influence of oak. A fantastic introduction to the Hawkes Bay syrah.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Trinity Hill Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2013
The bouquet of this inky boysenberry red-hued wine is peppery, spicy, savoury, leathery and while it seems quite smooth on entry to the palate the tannins become quite assertive on the finish. Full-bodied, complex and mouthfilling with peppery spices, camphor and sandalwood and a rich, meaty depth that's lifted by the brightness of the concentrated black and purple fruit. The lingering aftertaste is all succulence with red berries, including strawberries adding to the vinous allure.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Trinity Hill Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2014 – pre release
Vivid and lustrous boysenberry purple in colour. The nose is floral, like a delicately scented rose with a hint of vanilla and warm spices and the taste is savoury and spicy with bright fruit and firm tannins. All in all it's juicy and succulent with cake spices, hints of chocolate, dark cherries and a subtle smoky savouriness .. a very attractive sensuous Syrah. Not available until October.

Trinity Hill Homage Syrah 2014
The bouquet of this deeply coloured wine is open and glorious with floral nuances, hints of spice, a touch of chocolate and beautifully honed savoury oak. Then in the mouth the wine is complex and savoury with highlights of pepper, cake spices, anise and liquorice infusing juicy, succulent dark red berry and purple fruit flavours. Tannins are firm with a velvety edge and there's a savoury, tarry, meaty depth offset by a wonderful but indescribable vinous sweetness and concentration. The flow is like silk across the palate and there's a hint of chocolate on the warm full finish.
13% alc. Cork. NA.

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.

Wednesday Wines index
Current month's tasting notes.
Index to all Wednesday tastings notes.

2016 Tastings
Jan 2016 tasting notes.
Feb 2016 tasting notes.
Mar 2016 tasting notes.
Apr 2016 tasting notes.
You are here - May/Jun 2016 tasting notes.
Jul 2016 tasting notes.
Aug 2016 tasting notes.
Sep / Oct 2016 tasting notes.
Nov / Dec 2016 tasting notes.

Jan 2017 tasting notes and index.

Nov / Dec 2015 tasting notes and 2015 index.

Wine Review Index | Wine of the Week Archives | Wine of the Week Home