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

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

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 30 Mar 2016
American Pie
Wines were tasted blind in gorgeous Zerrutti glasses.

Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut NV
This golden-hued bubbles has a mellow yeasty bouquet with a saline nuance and a zingy lemon brightness and the Champagne-like taste is ultra savoury and yeasty with an effervescent vibrancy. It’s rich and creamy with hints of toast and marmite that has accrued from time in the bottle, and a salivating, refreshing, citrussy, salty tang (like Arnott’s Lemon Crisps) that resonates through the delectable lingering finish that is crisp and dry. The bottle I tasted from was exquisite.
12% alc. Cork. $32.99.

Bogle Vineyards Central Valley Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
Golden yellow with oodles of toast and buttery oak titivating the olfactory senses and delivering the same to the bold, rich, spicy, toasty oak taste where there are youthful bubblegum esters and layers of crème caramel with well-balanced acidity imparting brightness as the powerful flavours linger.
13.5% alc. Cork. $19.99.

Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
Yellow gold with a mealy nuance and a hint of woodsmoke to the moderately restrained bouquet then creamy and nutty to the taste with touches of tropical fruit, stonefruit and melon, and mealy notes filling out the lingering finish that's lifted by bright acidity that's a beautiful foil to toasty oak accents. Much more restrained and elegant than many California Chardonnays we have tried in the past perhaps because it is from what Flowers states on the back label as an ‘extreme maritime climate’.
13.5% alc. Cork. $88.99.

La Crema Monterey Chardonnay 2013 – California, USA
Radiant golden yellow with a soft creamy bouquet that has delicate hints of citrus and does not foretell of the power within. The sumptuous taste overflows with malt and butterscotch and caramel that makes it seem super creamy but a woodpile of toasty oak makes its way forward while welcome zings of acidity lift the powerfully long finish. 13.5% alc. Cork. $29.99.

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2012 – California, USA
Rose-tinted garnet red – translucent, not opaque. Savoury on the nose with woodsmoke in the distance and juicy in the palate with fruit reminiscent of black cherries and brambles with a delicious smoky savouriness and moderately firm meaty tannins. It has a depth of fruit sweetness like get in Central Otago and a structure like you get from top-notch Martinborough but the tannins are just a little harder. Great to taste this exciting Pinot.
13.5% alc. Cork. $35.99.

Sebastiani Sonoma County Zinfandel 2013 – California, USA
Bright blue-red in hue, not too opaque. Smoky and spicy on the nose with lifted berry fruit, perhaps ever so slightly confectionary – a little reminiscent of Spanish Garnacha perhaps. In the mouth there are firm tannins, juicy ripe blueberry and redcurrant fruit, creamy oak, a touch of spice and a lovely spike of pepper on the brushed velvet finish with a smoky nuance as the wine lingers. Described as ‘dangerously drinkable’ by one of the tasters.
14.6% alc. Cork. $19.99.

Eos Estate Paso Robles Zinfandel 2013 – California, USA
Slightly garnet-tinged red in hue. Red fruit reminiscent of redcurrants, plums and maraschino cherries fills the bouquet and it is firm and dry in the palate with reasonably grippy fine tannins, a touch of cake spice, moderately concentrated cooked red fruits, touches of Christmas cake and cigar-box like oak, and while it seems a little thin to start a creaminess emerges as the wine fleshes out on the lingering finish.
13.9% alc. Cork. $29.99.

McManus Family Vineyards Paso Robles Petite Sirah 2013 – California, USA
Inky black red with crimson edges. Powerful on the nose with creamy oak, boot leather, concentrated berry fruits and smoky spices jumping out of the glass. Full-bodied and fleshy in the palate with wrap-your-tongue-around svelte-textured tannins supporting juicy plum, mulberry and black cherry fruit with peppery spices, beautifully honed savoury oak and a long creamy finish. Seductive and incredible value for money.
13.5% alc. Cork. $18.99.

Charles and Charles Columbia Valley Cabernet Syrah 2014 – Washington, USA
Deep blue red with cabernet nuances of blackcurrants and leather foremost on the lightly smoky bouquet and in the reasonably firm tannin structure and the long dry finish of this 75% Cabernet Sauvignon / 25% Syrah blend but it seems so Syrah-forward in the palate with its spicy, savoury taste and hints of mocha, juicy plum fruit and Syrah’s pepper signature signing off at the end.
13.5% alc. Cork. $29.99.

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – Washington, USA
Dark red with moderate density, perhaps hinting of a little age. So Australian-like on the bouquet with sweet vanillin oak, chocolate and spice then creamy and silk-edged velvety smooth in the juicy succulent palate that is framed by the robust structure of Cabernet. A warm climate style with hints of mint and cedar and loads of creamy vanillin oak, chocolate, mocha and leather and a resoundingly powerful mouthcoating finish. Magnificent wine.
13.5% alc. Cork. $24.99.

Frances Ford Coppola the Directors Cut Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon – California, USA
Inky red black with touches of crimson. There’s masses of mint and cedar on the bouquet nevertheless it gives an impression of a dry elegant wine and fine tannin expectations and indeed it does have beautiful fine tannins and flow. The taste offers up sweet American oak, concentrated red fruits, mint and cake spices with a touch of acidity underpinning the cedar and a beautifully honed dry savoury finish. Impressive.
13.5% alc. Cork. $54.99.

Stags Leap Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – California, USA
Dark red with a black core. The bouquet is powerful, concentrated and meaty with dark fruit, dried woody herbs and leather and the powerful full-bodied taste is deep, dark, brooding, meaty and savoury with concentrated blackcurrant and redcurrant fruit, hints of spice, beautifully resolving firm yet silky tannins, well-integrated savoury oak and a long dry mouth-coating finish with wonderful vinous extract. It has the hallmark of longevity and greatness.
13.9% alc. Cork. $66.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 23 Mar 2016
Chardonnay, Chardonnay, Chardonnay
Wines were tasted blind in gorgeous Zerrutti glasses.

Sebastiani Sonoma Country Chardonnay 2013 – California, USA
The toasty oak, sizzled butter and grilled peach bouquet of this lustrous gold wine follows through to the creamy palate that is smooth, rounded and seamless in its flow with a delicious mealy complexity, hints of citrus zest and melon, and a spicy oak flourish at the end.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Fat and Sassy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Lemon biscuits on the nose and hints of vanilla in the palate with creamy spicy oak, a focussed seam of citrus, toasty mealy notes and a burst of fleshy peach on the finish. A little more restrained than you would expect from the name of the wine, but lots to like nevertheless. Made by Tony Bish, chief winemaker at Sacred Hill, but this is his own label.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Rod Mc Donald Wines One Off Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
This has a bold rich bouquet full of grapefruit and opulent barrel ferment notes that are just so enticing and the taste delivers on the aromatic promise. A rich chewy style with malty leesy mealy characters to the fore, juicy tropical fruit including pepino, a tingle of zest and an attractive smoky finish. Drinking beautifully already.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
A little shy on the nose then crisp and fresh in the palate, I’m thinking at first it’s quite like Chablis but then savoury oak forges its way through. It seemed a little lean at first because it was over-chilled when served, but it starts to fatten out and flow softly across the palate with honeyed oak and hints of nectarines.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay 2013 – California, USA
Mellow oak, hazelnuts and sizzled butter fill the bouquet and the taste is savoury and spicy with a lovely infusion of stonefruit and spicy oak and a long, full-bodied, creamy, buttery, oaky finish with a harmonious zing of orange zest cutting through the creaminess beautifully. Served lightly chilled the temperature is perfect for the butteriness to excel. At the end of the tasting, this was regarded by many as their absolute favourite.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2014
Delicately malty and leesy on the nose then later honeyed oak, hints of vanilla, almond meal and nougat. Nutty and savoury in the palate, seemingly a little tight and reductive at first but as the chill from its time in the refrigerator subsides this opens up to reveal tropical fruit, spicy oak, a citrussy zing and a creamy finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Lochiel Estate Mangawhai Chardonnay 2014
A bold flamboyant bouquet introduces this full-bodied style and the taste is lemony, leesy, powerful and intense with toasty cedary oak and touches of tropical fruit and stonefruit. Fattening up nicely as the chill subsides to become a big chewy mouthfilling wine with an incredibly long finish. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Delicately creamy on the nose and then in the mouth it's soft, mealy and creamy with a touch of malt, honeyed oak and toffee cut by crisp citrus notes and a flourish of spice. Smooth and seamless in its flow with a long creamy finish where toasty oak, that seemed more subtle at first, comes to the fore as the aftertaste lingers.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Seresin Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2014
Light gold in hue with smoky, gunflint characters driving the bouquet and mealy, savoury, smoky, flinty and lemony malo nuances filling the palate – not overly fruity and seemingly quite lean and tight to start, I’m thinking it’s from Burgundy so a surprise to find out it’s from Marlborough although the vibrancy should be a clue. The finish is harmoniously cedary and the subtle aftertaste lingers deliciously.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $40.99.

Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay 2012
“Oh yum” was my first impression from the tantalising bouquet that is bold yet seductively smoky with grilled peaches, hints of grapefruit and reductive leesy notes, then the wine flows through the palate so seamlessly with gorgeous savoury notes, touches of honey and toffee, beautifully honed spicy oak, hints of stonefruit and a full fleshy finish with haunting wild ferment funk and a lingering French oak smokiness. My personal favourite on the night.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $37.99.

Black Barn Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
The bouquet reveals biscuity notes and stonefruit brims through the savoury oak / sweet oak / honeyed oak / creamy oak flavours that are underpinned by lemony, leesy, mealy notes. Tonight it seems quite youthful and would benefit from further bottle development but you can sense that it’s a big wine to wrap your tongue around. Decant for immediate drinking. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Esk Valley Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
This immediately presses Chardonnay lovers’ buttons with its big, bold, toasted brioche aroma and full-bodied, mouthfilling, savoury flavours with sweet smoky oak and reductive gunflinty notes that add to the complexity rather than detract. With touches of grapefruit, hints of butterscotch and a long, seamless, mealy, creamy finish it’s definitely hard to resist. Gold NZIWS. Gold & Champion Wine at Hawkes Bay Wine Awards.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 16 Mar 2016
Pre Stocktake Sale
Wines were tasted blind.

Moet et Chandon Nectar Imperial NV – Epernay, France
The delicate honeyed bouquet has a lightly savoury aura and it's fresh and foamy in the mouth with a very appealing nuance of vanilla, a touch of apple and a creamy finish where a crisp zesty zing is a lovely foil to the sweetness. A demi-sec style (half-dry) style made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $57.99.

Leveret Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
The bouquet of this yellow gold wine offers up mellow notes of butter caramel and savoury oak yet there's oodles of bright zingy acidity upfront in the palate with fleshy golden queen peaches, mealy notes and spicy toasty oak. The acidity tapers off and the finish is soft and juicy.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Taylors Jaraman Clare & Eden Valley Riesling 2009 – South Australia
A very dry riesling with a light golden hue, and a bouquet of dried hay and roses lime juice. It's crisp, dry and racy in the palate with puckery limes and granny smith apples but it’s also garnering some toast and honey nuances and there is texture and weight to the mouthfeel. Already seven years old but will continue to develop in the bottle for years.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

Black Peak Central Otago Riesling 2014
From Queensberry near Wanaka this delightfully juicy Riesling has 42 grams per litre of residual sugar but with its refreshing acidity it is more off dry to the taste than sweet. It’s full of apples, citrus and honeysuckle then more honey and spice on the mouthwatering and persistent finish. Lovely aperitif style.
9.2% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gisborne Albarino 2015
Straw gold with quince jelly and vanilla poached pear filling the bouquet, and flavours of apples predominantly with a flinty undercurrent and a spicy peppery zing, becoming more textural and fuller to the mouthfeel with every sip. Tonight it seems like it would slot in somewhere between pinot gris and riesling. Lightly chill but do not over chill.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Zephyr Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2013
Fragrantly aromatic with a perfume of musk and Turkish Delight, then off dry to the taste with a lightly viscous texture and flavours of smoker lollies, ginger and lemon meringue pie decorated with crystallised violets, and while the acidity is soft, there is a spicy zing to the finish from the aromatic spices. No. 1 in Cuisine March 2014.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Albola Chianti DOCG 2014 - Italy
Quite a pale, translucent, garnet red hue. The aroma is savoury and a little pinotesque in a way, but the overall impression is more rural and rustic. A medium weight wine with bottled cherries and earthy notes, a soft texture and a dry finish. Classic (but not classico) Chianti made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Zabu Chientari Nero D'Avolo 2014 - Sicily
The colour is dark and rich and while it’s a little pongy on the nose at first, a pleasing vinosity and hints of blackcurrant jam are revealed as the wine opens up with swirling. Chocolate comes through in the meaty palate with touches of cigar box, plump macerated cherries and juicy berries and while the tannins are honed and the flow seems silky the wine is full-bodied and the overall textural feel is plush and full. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Zabu Il Passo Nerello Mascalese / Nero D'Avola 2014 - Sicily
This bright pinky edged, crimson red fooled me into thinking it was a stellar NZ Merlot at first, then with super ripe fruit and peppery notes bursting through I thought perhaps Primitivo or a Zin. No, it is ‘Nerello Mascalese’ with origins on the slopes of Mt Etna, with Nero D’Avola. Touches of vanillin oak with leather, plums and berries on the nose. Full-bodied, juicy and spicy with a soupcon of pepper, concentrated berry fruit, smoky oak, hints of liquorice and milk chocolate in the palate. A smooth, velvety wine with lovely flow and a salivating dry savoury finish. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Angove Family Crest McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Bright black red with crimson edges. A bouquet of vanillin oak introduces this more gutsy red that’s fully loaded with flavours of oak, mocha, chicory and chocolate with juicy boysenberry and mulberry fruit and a long creamy finish with surprisingly fine tannins and a flourish of pepper. Matured in French and American oak for 14-16 months. Gold medal Canada 2015.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

George Wyndham Founders Reserve Shiraz 2012 – Langhorne Creek
Concentrated black red. Smoky and savoury on the nose with dark berry fruit and cake spices. A robust wine with tannins that are firm upfront but dissolve as the wine traverses the palate with touches of mint, smoky French oak, more peppermint, dark chocolate, mocha, cigar box and cedar building nicely to a satisfying long, sumptuous finish. Matured in both French and American oak for about 16 months.
14.9% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 9 Mar 2016
All Gold Medals
Wines were tasted blind.

Te Hana Methode Traditionelle NV
Light crystalline gold with tiny bubbles. Very appealing and delicately floral, malty, nutty, yeasty bouquet. Deliciously savoury and yeasty to the taste with a fine tingle of fizz and flavours of roasted hazelnuts and toasted brioche. This elegant, complex, mouthfilling cuvée of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with lingering hints of butterscotch is absolutely unbelievable quality for the price! Champion Sparkling at the Royal Easter Show 2016.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Matua Single Vineyard Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Straw gold in hue with quite a powerful, pungent bouquet but surprisingly quite soft in the mouth with loads of vibrant passionfruit and summer herbs, a burst of juicy lime / grapefruit and a subtle smoky nuance to the lingering finish. Clean and fresh with seamless flow all the way down to the toes. "Perfect for in-season Bluff Oysters," says Sharon sitting next to me adding they are in season now. I think it's 'Yum' with or without! Gold NZIWS 2015.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Light lustrous gold. Crème caramel and sweet smoky barrel ferment nuances fill the bouquet and it's full-bodied and creamy to the taste with upfront smoky toasty oak, a touch of gunflint, bright citrus and fleshy stonefruit, and a long, mouthfilling, savoury, mealy finish that expands just beautifully as the wine traverses the palate and lingers harmoniously. Supreme Champion at the 2016 Royal Easter Wine Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Radiant lime-tinged gold. Hedonistic vanilla biscuit nuances to the bouquet – subtle yet sensual. Fresh in the palate with hints of pineapple and citrus zest and then a touch of struck match that adds to the pleasure rather than detracts. Rich, toasty, creamy, mouthfilling, savoury and mealy with spicy French oak and malo influences – the citrus cuts through the weighty components beautifully. Gold Royal Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.

Dusky Sounds Marlborough Pinot Gris 2015
Straw gold in hue. Attractive bouquet of vanilla poached pear. Soft and smooth in the palate with juicy red apple and pear, hints of citrus and touches of strudel spices. Easy-going, fruity and refreshing when served chilled – a delightful aperitif style for socialising. Gold Royal Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $10.99.

Soho Betty Lighter Alcohol Marlborough Riesling 2015
Straw gold. Lemon curd and honeysuckle fill the bouquet and it’s beautifully crisp, clean, fresh and vibrant in the palate with juicy apple and lime to the fore and then a hint of apricot nectar that adds textural complexity as well. Fruit forward and just so refreshing when served chilled to the bones – in fact it is so deliciously drinkable you need to ensure it is opened in a child-free zone! Gold & Trophy for Champion Riesling NZIWS 2015.
9.4% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Whitehaven Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2015
Light gold. Smoker lollies and candied violets wrapped in musky spices fill the bouquet. This wine is dry yet there is a purple confectionary note in the palate together with Moroccan spices and a tantalising touch of white pepper. Mouthfilling and textural with seamless flow and an almost eternal finish that tapers off so elegantly. Full of flavour but not OTT at all. Gold Royal Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Caravan Petite Syrah 2014 – South Eastern Australia
Deep dark red-black with a halo of crimson. The jammy dark fruit bouquet seems brooding and savoury so the bright, juicy flavours in the palate are a surprise. Super ripe and easy to drink with mulberry-like fruit, manuka woodsmoke, cigar box, cake spices, liquorice, mocha and chicory. With loads of flavour and smooth fine tannins, this crowd-pleaser wine by the clever Johnny Quarisa has more guts than most Pinot Noirs but is not as powerful as most Shirazes. Gold Medal winner in Australia, China, NZ and Spain.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Church Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013
Inky purple red. Liquid black forest chocolate, cedar and dried herbs including a sprig of dried mint fill the bouquet of this 56/44 classic Bordeaux varieties blend. Firm in the palate with fairly grippy tannins underlying sappy cedary oak and fleshy ripe fruit. A rich, intense wine with a dry finish and a chocolatey allure, and while it's still developing the potential is so incredibly there so you would be doing yourself a favour by laying several bottles of this fantastic wine in your cellar and opening one (or two) every couple of years. Gold NZIWS 2015.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.

Rosemount Balmoral Syrah 2010 – McLaren Vale, South Australia
Inky black red – youthful in appearance but there’s a sense of bottle age to the bouquet as the aromas of rose petals, tar and leather repose behind a chocolate veil. Smooth and mellow in the palate with silky-edged tannins integrating nicely and a lovely swish of spicy oak in the background. The fruit profile is not really determinable but it doesn’t matter as vinosity envelopes the mouth and the long dry finish leaves behind lingering nuances of cedar and touches of chocolate. Matured for 14 months in French & American oak and bottle-aged for another four years, it’s drinking beautifully now. Trophy & gold medal Decanter World Wine Awards 2012.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Barossa Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
Inky purple red. Smoky and cedary on the nose with juicy red and black fruits then in the palate it’s big, juicy, fruity, bright, spicy and peppery with freshly-picked super-ripe dripping-down-the-chin red berry fruits, chewy tannins and a long creamy oak finish. With 18 months in new and seasoned French oak barrels it will benefit from laying down for a while but on the other hand it would be so good right now with a juicy rare to medium-rare char-grilled steak or some semi-hard cheese on French bread. Gold medal China Wine & Spirits Awards.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 2 Mar 2016
Wine in Pairs
Wines were tasted blind.

Giesen Vineyard Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Light gold. Delicate nuances of sizzled butter and lemon biscuit on the bouquet. A little smoky in the fine-textured palate with nutty savoury oak, a touch of spice, a zing of citrus, hints of white peach and a dry finish. Not too powerful and great scene setter for the evening’s tasting.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

First Pair

Champagne Louis Roederer Vintage 2007
Moderate golden hue. The frothy mousse when poured subsides to a fine beaded lacy rim. The bouquet offers up quite strong yeast autolysis notes with a little oxidative character that points to its heritage. Very effervescent on first tasting and quite savoury with hints of bacon, some lemon/apple sweetness pushing through and a strong bready finish that's opulent, mouthfilling and long. What a treat!
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $126.99.

No 1 Family Estate No 1 Reserve Cuvée NV
Light gold with a very fine bead of bubbles rising incessantly from the bottom of the glass. Quite shy on the nose with a savoury, slightly marmite nuance then an exquisite touch of white flowers and vanilla bean. Very savoury in the delicately creamy palate that becomes quite juicy with bursts of freshly squeezed lemon, and the finish is mouthwateringly dry with the vanilla from the nose echoing in the lingering aftertaste.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $83.99.

Second Pair

Te Mata Elston Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
This light gold hued wine has a rich, proud bouquet and it's powerful in the palate with toasty oak, hints of butterscotch, a touch of grapefruit and a smooth, seamless, flow. A little tight on the finish that reaffirms this wine is young and has a long way to go. Nevertheless it seems a little more forward at this stage of its life Elstons have been in the recent past.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Jackson-Kendall Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnay 2012 – California, USA
Rich gold. Loads of butter and toasty vanillin oak on the nose and butter toffee galore in the palate of this big, bosomy, curvaceous wine with a touch of oiliness to the texture and a rich toasty finish. Powerful yet with soft acidity, it comes more alive with food as the murmurs from the row in front was that it went really well with the cheese.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $44.99.

Third Pair

Schoffit Alsace Pinot Gris Tradition 2012 – Alsace, France
Medium gold in hue with a radiant fruity bouquet where apricot and mealy notes come to mind. Juicy and fleshy in the palate with a heady aura, a rich mid palate, a hint of nut meal and a touch of spice to the glorious finish that's powerful and long. Soft, almost unctuous, mouthfilling and delicious.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $32.99.

Lawson’s Dry Hills 'The Pioneer' Marlborough Pinot Gris 2012
Light gold. The bouquet is full of biscuit spices with poached pear and honey. It's heady and powerful with a lusciousness to the texture. Honey-baked and judiciously spiced orchard fruit flavours are delicate and restrained. Partial barrel ferment adds a complexity and mouthfeel that makes it stand apart from the more fruity styles. Very Alsatian in a way.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Fourth Pair

McManus Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014 – California, USA
Deeply translucent ruby blue. Very generous and attractive bouquet of spiced cherries & dark plums with a whisper of chocolate and an intriguing savoury note. Juicy and again very generous in the palate with vanillin oak and a touch of pepper, vibrant fruit, and a smooth, silky flow. A very ripe style, I thought it just delicious. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Vidal Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014
Deep ruby hued. The bouquet is earthy and savoury and while initially quite restrained it opens up to reveal red and black fruit later. Quite savoury on the nose and spicy in the palate, more typically Burgundian with moderately firm tannins, a touch of leather, bittersweet cherry fruit, cake spices and a lovely brightness to the creamy finish where the tannins have resolved to become smooth and velvety, and the lingering finish is juicy. Gold Royal Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Stand-up Options Wine

Yalumba The Guardian Eden Valley Shiraz Viognier 2012 - South Australia
Rich red black with a crimson aura. Dark cherry fruit, mint, sappy oak and chocolate box on the nose. Rich, creamy and velvety in the palate with loads of chocolate, a touch of mint, a smattering of pepper and some very appealing savoury oak and mocha notes that balance the juicy plum and cherry fruit. Opens up beautifully in the glass. Overall not too heavy and a very satisfying quaffer.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Fifth Pair

Kingston Estate Echelon Petit Verdot 2009 – South Australia
Dark red with a black core. There’s a sappy herbal scent nuance to the scent with a touch of cigar box – a pointer to this grape’s Bordeaux origins maybe – then the bouquet opens up to reveal purple fruit nuances with a fine mint and chocolate aura. Lifted acidity is quite noticeable upfront in the palate but a welcome asset to this wine’s overall structure; then leather, chocolate, currants and touches of mint, becoming more and more mouthfilling, juicy and supple with touches of violets and pepper on the finish with the irresistible magnetism of America oak emerging.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Mission Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013
Vibrant purple black. On the nose a touch of cigar box infuses creamy oak and blackcurrant jam. Dry, firm, svelte and structured in the palate with brushed leather tannins and a touch of spice. Juicy blackcurrant and plum fruit exude from the deep core and savoury oak embellishes the long creamy finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

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.

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

2016 Tastings
Jan 2016 tasting notes.
Feb 2016 tasting notes.
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Apr 2016 tasting notes.
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.


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