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edited by Sue Courtney

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

November / December
[ 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 – 7 Dec 2016
The 2016 Finale
Wines were tasted blind.

Squawking Magpie Counting Crows Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
The bouquet is peach and caramel, the mouthfeel is smooth and seamless and the taste is ripe juicy stonefruit with malt and vanilla tones, underlying cedary oak, a light viscosity to the texture and citrus building up on the lingering savoury finish where there is something intriguing that makes me think of the clean, fresh, oily character of ‘brylcreem’.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Spencer Hill Tres Elegant Nelson Chardonnay 2014
Lovely clean, ripe peachy bouquet and vibrant peaches and cream in the palate with honeyed oak, beautifully balanced mealy malo notes and a long, clean finish with a touch of smoky oak and a lingering zesty vibe.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
There’s a touch of grapefruit together with grilled peach, nutmeg and toast on the gorgeously aromatic bouquet then full-bodied and complex in the palate with stonefruit, tropical fruit, toasty oak, a rich savoury undercurrent and touches of citrus. A big, bold style with beautiful balance and flow and a long, satisfying and very juicy aftertaste. A wine to drink or cellar. Gold & Chardonnay Trophy & Champion Wine of Show NZIWS 2016.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.

Villa Maria Library Release Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
The bouquet entices with subtle nuances of smoke, toast, mealy nuances and peach – it smells classy, it even smells a little Burgundian. In the palate bright acidity balances the complex, mellow, savoury notes, the texture is fine and silky, fruit is lemonade citrus and white peach, there’s gunflint in the background and a nutty oak richness to the finish and later, as the phenomenally long finish persists, bright acidity still marks the wine’s presence. A superb blend of Ngakirikiri and Keltern fruit. Multiple gold medal winner.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $54.99.

Forrest The Doctors Marlborough Riesling 2016
A vibrantly fresh, lower alcohol, spatlese-inspired, medium sweet style with apple and citrus zest aromas and spine-tingling Granny Smith apple crispness balancing the lightly honeyed sweetness and juicy tropical fruit sherbet flavours. Gold and Trophy for Champion Riesling, NZIWS 2016.
9% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Brennan Estate B2 Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
Deep burgundy in hue with a generously perfumed pinot bouquet infused with spice and savoury notes. It’s rich, dense and almost voluptuous in the palate with spiced plums and cherry fruit, well-balanced earthy savoury vibes, a musky floral allure and touches of chocolate on the finish. Gold AirNZ 2016.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Obsidian Waiheke Island Montepulciano 2015
The colour is a vibrant blackberry hue with just a touch of translucency to the edges. The bouquet suggests raspberry, chocolate and smoky vanillin oak but the taste is more wild brambles together with pepper, aniseed, liquorice tea, tar and deep savoury notes. The tannins are fine and supple and the finish is dry but the lingering aftertaste is long and creamy. Gold and Trophy for International Red, NZIWS 2016.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.

Shingleback Davey Estate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
This big, opulent smelling, creamy flowing shiraz is inky black red in hue and flaunts its varietal character with its ripe juicy flavours of plums, mulberries and spiced bottled cherries, gobs of pepper and chocolate, smoky oak, touches of anise, chewy tannins and a spicy zing. Succulent and generous all the way through.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Jacobs Creek Centenary Hill Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
The wine oozes class from the outset. It’s deep yet bright in colour, there’s fine chocolatey oak on the nose and the fruit is lush and intense in the palate where the tannins are firm yet fine. Brimming with nut chocolate and cake spices and wonderfully harmonious stylish cedary oak – it has both French and American oak but French seems to dominate tonight and frames the blackcurrant and baked plum fruit just beautifully.
14.6% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $48.99.

Grant Burge Filsell Old Vine Barossa Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
This is a lavish wine with an inky purple red hue, a seductive bouquet brimming with chocolate biscuit, sappy oak and purple fruit and mouthfilling flavours of mint, chocolate, mulberries, spice and nutty oak with a zingy peppery vibe to the cigar box finish. The tannins are massive in this wine but so well disguised by the plush, opulent fruit and continues the excellence and expectations of the Filsell label.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 30 Nov 2016
Bubbles and Summer Delights
Wines were tasted blind.

Whitehaven Marlborough Chardonnay 2014
This is a lovely, fine textured, creamy Chardonnay with a lifted bouquet reminiscent of vanilla biscuits and nutty oak and moderate palate weight with bright juicy orange / grapefruit acidity, lots of mealy leesy flavours, a long and lightly toasty finish and a delectable nutty savoury aftertaste. Integrated and elegant in the glass tonight. Gold Easter Show. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Bandini Extra Dry Prosecco NV – Italy
The bouquet reminds me of creaming soda with a twist of lemon and the taste brings memories of yellow heritage apples and muscat grapes with lively large bubbles that pop exuberantly. It’s refreshing and quenching with a crisp dry finish but not as dry as the ‘extra dry’ on the label would have you think. Great for lunch or an aperitif.
11% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Champagne Charles de Cazanove Tete de Cuvee NV – Reims, France
The bouquet is delectably savoury with lemon leesy nuances, hints of marmite, nut brown butter and toast and the taste is crisp, fresh and vibrant with ultra fine tingly bubbles, lovely yeast autolysis, malt and marmite flavours and while you get the impression this Champagne is very very dry there’s a peachy sweetness welling up to leave a pleasing aftertaste. Terrific value. Gold NZIWS.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Reserve Brut NV – Ay, France
There's a beguiling and delicately floral lemon nuance to the baking bread bouquet that conjures up perhaps lemon verbena and freesia. And it is light and delicate in the palate with fine effervescent bubbles and wonderfully refreshing acidity that balances the deeply savoury backbone that has a malt and sizzled butter allure with white mushroom notes emerging on the lingering finish. Stylish, classy and fabulous value for Grande Marque champagne. Gold NZIWS.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $64.99.

Hunters MiruMiru Reserve 2011 – Marlborough, NZ This has a truly enchanting yeasty baking bread bouquet with hints of rosehips adding to its aromatic allure and the mouthfeel is silky, creamy and flowing with powerful yeast and malt flavours balanced by crisp refreshing flinty acidity with hints of peach and rosehips and a softly exuberant finish with a delightful creamy savouriness lingering a while. Gold NZIWS.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Champagne Beaumet Cuvee Rose NV – Epernay, France
The colour is rich pink-red, the bouquet is savoury with hints of macerated strawberry, and the taste is full of rose petal and red apple flavours with exuberant bubbles, a creamy texture and a dryness to the finish with red cherry flavours emerging to linger and a slightly earthy funky note too. A blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this was voted No. 1 in Cuisine's under $100 Champagnes tasting.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $44.99.

Rockburn Stolen Kiss Pinot Rose 2016Central Otago
Delightful pale pink hue with quite a strong cherry, watermelon, citrus and refreshing sherbet bouquet – all these traits following through to the very tasty palate where touches of wild strawberries join the fray. It’s mouth-wateringly dry and tangy with loads of flavour and verve and a spritzy textural vibe. The best I’ve tasted from this sought after label and could be considered ‘dangerously drinkable’.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Clark Estate Block 8 Single Vineyard Dry Marlborough Riesling 2015
The bouquet reminds me of prepping for apple pie with slices of apples sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with lime then in the palate there’s more crisp tangy apple and lime with a touch of flower nectar and wonderfully shimmery acidity and flint. The residual sugar is balanced by ultra high acidity and low pH which makes this beautifully refreshing lower alcohol style much dryer than the sugar component alone would have you think. Double gold medal and trophy winner.
8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

First Drop Mothers Milk Barossa Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Bright black red in the glass with moderate saturation. The bouquet offers up lashings of berry fruits and chocolate becoming more concentrated and intense with every sniff, and the taste is ultra plush, smooth, rich and juicy with spicy, peppery, savoury vibes, chocolate wheaten biscuits, vanillin oak, bright acidity and a touch of strawberry to the nicely rounded lingering finish. Great example of a terrifically approachable Barossa shiraz.
14.5% alc. Cork/Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Kirrihill Tullymore SV Shiraz 2014 – Clare Valley, Australia
This inky, saturated purple red-hued number with its big, bold, rich taste whisks you immediately to South Australia. The powerful bouquet offers up loads of chocolate ganache and cherry with savoury oak in the background and it is hot and spicy in the palate with a firm tannin structure, concentrated flavours of juicy black plums, chocolate coated cherries and cake spices with smoky savoury vanillin oak and a deep meaty finish. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Riverby Estate Noble Riesling 2015 – Marlborough, NZ
Looking like sunshine in the glass and radiating a honey and apricot nectar bouquet then seducing the palate with its beautifully flowing viscous texture, this has flavours crammed with candied tropical fruit, passionfruit and mango with honeycomb in the background while the luscious sweetness of the wine is impeccable balanced by refreshing acidity. Will be perfect served with the fresh fruit salad on Christmas Day. Gold AirNZ. Gold NZIWS.
11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 23 Nov 2016
Gold Medals and New Arrivals
Wines were tasted blind.

Petane Station Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris 2015
It smells and tastes of passionfruit and tropical fruit and the texture is so smooth, so creamy, with lashings of apricot nectar and stonefruit, hints of ginger, ethereal-like creamed macadamia nut delightfulness and a mouthwatering citrus and freeze-dried pineapple zing. Very delicious with a wonderfully persistent finish, this is outstanding pinot gris and very deserving of gold medals at NZIWS, Air NZ and the Champion at the Hawkes Bay Wine Awards.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
This will hit the spot for many Chardonnay fans with its powerful malt and toast bouquet and the taste that’s layered with toast, creamy oak and citrus with grapefruit and oranges to the fore and a biscuity finish with terrific persistent and length. Has become a lot more harmonious with time in the bottle since last tasting. Ice breaker wine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Coopers Creek The Limeworks Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
This has a lovely creamy nutty mealy bouquet with nuances of gunflint and peach and while it initially seems a restrained Burgundian-influenced style, the flavours compound with gusto. There’s oatmeal, savoury oak and spice vibes with harmonious touches of citrus and peach. Evolving beautifully in the bottle, it's a serious style, more dinner party than 5 o'clock drinks. Gold NZIWS. Gold AirNZ.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Riverby Estate 'Eliza Marlborough Riesling 2014
Kero abounds from this golden hued number with orange honey and unlit beeswax candles joining the aromatic party, and the taste is juicy and mouthwateringly delicious with the medium sweetness (40 g/l rs) and honeyed botrytis flavours impeccably balanced by lemon/lime citrus and the refreshing edgy fresh pineapple. Serve chilled to quaff in the sunshine, but also to go with Asian style dishes says Sam.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2016
Light lemon hued with a delicate bouquet that hints of lemon Turkish delight and the haunting scent of ‘Sweetie Pie’ dianthus – quite delicate for the variety which makes it even more beguiling. A little spritzy on first tasting perhaps from the touches of ginger and white pepper, then becoming smooth with a lightly oily texture. It evokes a memory of Grandmother's cold cream (Ponds classic) with a concentration of Asian fruits, hints of citrus and spices and mouthfilling expansion to the finish. Gold & Trophy AirNZ Wine Awards 2016.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Akarua Rua Central Otago Rose 2016
The wonderfully luminous translucent light ruby hue has a tine of blue which makes it look so pretty in the glass. Berry fruit together with a savoury aura wafts fills the bouquet and it's lightly spritzy in the palate with a red boiled lolly confectionery sweetness that’s foiled by the spicy and lightly savoury finish and while it seems off dry, the lingering aftertaste is dry. Needs to be chilled to the bones. Gold AirNZ.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Felton Road Calvert Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
Deeply hued in the glass with a bouquet offers up harmonious savoury oak with dark cherries and chocolate and the taste so generous with fruit so ripe, juicy and sweet; the mouthfeel so creamy; the tannins so beautifully integrated and while the oak asserts it spicy youthfulness the fruit intensifies to bring to mind purple grapes, spiced plums and cherries, with touches of anise emerging as the gorgeous flavours linger. Another stunner from the Felton stable and seemingly eminently seductive already.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $64.99.

Taylors Clare Valley Merlot 2014 – South Australia
Deep black red. The bouquet offers up concentrated dark brambly fruits, hints of tar and the fragrance of perfumed roses drying in a vase. Dry tannins and cigar box savouriness underpins the juicy bramble fruit flavours while a little brooding at first it opens up to strut its Aussie heritage with its overt fruit, vanillin oak, touches of chocolate and hints of mint emerging on the spicy, dry cedary finish. Easy to drink now but a great price to put a few bottles away and reap the rewards later.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Enchanted Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – South Australia
Inky black red with crimson edges. The bouquet hints of pepper, spiced bottled cherries, dark chocolate, vanilla and tar followed by plush, mouthfilling flavours that seduce from the outset with opulence and overt minty notes that make it so definitely Australian when you taste it even thought the nose might be heading you in another direction. From the talented Johnny Quarisa, this is a big wine with tannins and charry oak to match.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2014
Vivid and inky in hue. Crushed chocolate jam drop biscuits, blackcurrants, herbs, cake spices and smoky oak fill the bouquet and then in the palate the oak is assertive and spicy with firm tannins and juicy red and black fruits and, as the tannins dissolve into the whole, the finish becomes seamless and long. The classic Merlot characters of dark cherries, plums and cigar box balance Cabernet’s herbal nuances and violets with a meaty savoury depth and fruit sweetness fleshing out the long persistent mouthfilling finish. Trophy AirNZ. Trophy Bragato.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $44.99.

Giordano Primitivo Di Manduria Riserva 2013 – Italy
This is a deep dark red with a sumptuous bouquet that offers up rich, ripe raisiny fruit without being too raisined – more like drying out red and purple grapes with hints of dark chocolate and liquorice. Smooth and flowing in the palate; the fruit so concentrated and ultra-ripe – redcurrant and blackcurrant fruit with prunes and spice nicely brought into check by a savoury undercurrent with nuances of bitumen roads after rain and touches of herbs but overall succulent and juicy with a mellow aura.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 16 Nov 2016
Chardonnay and Shiraz
Wines were tasted blind.

Sebastiani Sonoma Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
The soft bouquet has hints of creamed butter and peach and the taste is harmonious and seamless with nutty oak, a touch of biscuit spice and a zesty zing. After two or three sips it compounds in flavour to a long full finish with tasty touches of butter caramel lingering.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Gibbston Valley China Terrace Central Otago Chardonnay 2015
Grapefruit fills the bouquet – invitingly reductive if you like that kind of thing – and grapefruit and malty, leesy, savoury oak characters abound in the lightly creamy palate with tantalising nutty nuances and a stonefruit sweetness. The acidity is beautifully balanced and the finish is long and flavoursome with haunting smoky oak nuances. Stylish is definitely the word. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Brancott Letter Series 'O' Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
Gorgeous nutty, creamy, lemony, leesy nuances fill the bouquet of this terrifically mouthfilling style with the richness of malt, barley and honeyed oak foiled by the beautifully balanced citrussy backbone and lingering toasty oak and caramel. The citrus is bright and extends the finish gracefully. Gold and Trophy for Champion Chardonnay, Air NZ Wine Awards 2016.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Greystone Waipara Chardonnay 2015
Shy on the nose with delicate nutty oak and quite tight, linear and flinty on first tasting with stonefruit sweetness welling up from within building to an expressive mouthfilling finish with flavours of lemonade and malt biscuits lingering. Andrew says past vintages with a couple of years of age have become absolutely astonishing.
14.2% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.

Sileni Satyr Kereru Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
There's an appealing savouriness infusing the creamy oak bouquet with a hint of orange zest coaxed out with deep inhaling and that zesty nuance becomes noticeable in the palate that seems at first to have accrued a mellow aura yet is bold and mouthfilling with spicy oak and a zesty zing and a terrifically long, toasty finish with a harmonious rounded mouthfeel.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Villa Maria Library Release Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
The powerful bouquet has hints of grapefruit infusing spicy cedar and loads of wild yeast connotations, and the full-flavoured palate is bright, creamy and spicy with a flinty lemonade undercurrent and lingering smoky bacon and peach. A fine textural wine that six years on from vintage is nowhere near its peak. Fruit is sourced from the Keltern and Ngakirikiri vineyards and the result in the glass tonight is outstanding.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $54.99.

Peter Lehmann Hill & Valley Barossa Valley Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Rich dark ruby opaque in the core but lighter on the edges. The abundantly savoury bouquet is infused with blueberries and sweet spicy oak fills the palate with cigar box, liquorice, blueberry and blackberry jam and hints of pepper over a meaty savoury backbone and then on the bright lifted finish, a touch of mint.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Enchanted Tree Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Inky in hue with chocolatey oak and pepper filling the bouquet and spicy and peppery in the smooth flowing palate with chocolate and loads of mocha and lingering flavours of boysenberry and cream all the time building in power to a completely satisfying lingering finish. Rich, full-bodied and insanely good value for the Champion Shiraz at the 2016 NZIWS. How could you not like it? 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Padrillos Mendoza Malbec 2014 – Argentina
This ‘stand up options’ wine is a dark red hue with a translucency to the edges. This bouquet is savoury and leathery with a suggestion of brettanomyces and blackberries, prunes and raisin biscuits. A big wine with firm, velvety textured tannins and upfront flavours of tamarillo, brett and spicy oak and a sumptuous mid palate with bramble and plum and strawberry flavours and a firm dry finish.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Three Dark Horses McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Intensely deep and bright in hue. The bouquet is Shiraz-lover inviting and it’s ripe, smooth and creamy in the palate with loads of spice and a beautifully balanced touch of pepper with a silky flow to the texture and gobs of juicy red and purple fruit and mocha – it’s like a creamy, berry mochaccino with liquorice and chocolate with vanillin oak lingering. ‘Plush’ is definitely the word for this generous but beautifully structured youthful flirtatious wine. Loved it. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Barossa Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Deep and rich in hue with vanilla, mint, berries, shiraz spice and smoky cedar filling the bouquet together with a meaty richness that follows through to the sumptuous and savoury palate where the tannins show their prowess before seemingly melting away to let the bramble fruit sing and the lingering finish is meaty and spice with touches of mint chocolate and pepper.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

D'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
This oozes class from the shiny inky hue, to the rich, creamy, opulent bouquet of chocolate biscuits and vanillin oak to the luxurious mouthfilling taste. “A deep thinking wine,” says Cherrill and that is because the tannins are upfront and grippy before they dissolve into the sumptuous red and black fruit that is kept in check by the savoury oak and spices with a signature flourish of mint.
14.6% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 9 Nov 2016
Rod McDonald Wines with Rod McDonald
Wines were not tasted blind.

Te Awanga Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Creamy bouquet with appealing peachy nuances and a hint of smoky oak. Powerful on first tasting with nutty, malty flavours and a slightly bitey zing underpinning the noticeably toasty / varnishy oak then when the wave of acidity subsides the finish is firm and long with concentrated stonefruit and vanilla. From a coastal site within 300 metres of the ocean.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Quarter Acre Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Wonderfully bold, smoky, creamy, leesy, biscuity bouquet with noticeable influences of wild yeasts and malo. Again the acidity noticeable in palate but the toasty oak more honeyed, more vanillin, more cedary with the backbone quite flinty and the finish long, full, rounded and creamy with touches of candied pineapple lingering. From 25-year-old Mendoza clone on the coastal site, it is an obvious step up in quality. 'Classically modern Hawkes Bay winemaking', says Rod. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

One Off Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
The bouquet offers up an abundance of fruit with grapefruit and peach but in the palate it is initially a more savoury style. It’s very malty, leesy and lemony with smoky bacon nuances – think peach wrapped in bacon and grilled – and a long, bright, zesty, spicy finish with the fruit sweetness emerging and lingering. From 9-year-old Clone 15 vines from an inland site with 100% Hungarian oak fermentation. “Slightly less opulent than the Quarter Acre, it’s made to be enjoyed and not taken too seriously,” says Rod adding it would be a wonderful accompaniment to roast chicken. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

One Off Gisborne Albarino 2015
Delightfully aromatic with honeyed lemon, pear, a touch of ginger, white pepper and some subtle smoky / earthy nuances. Bright and fruity to the taste with wonderfully endearing texture and mouthfeel and a vibrancy that reminds me of the tangy taste of zested lemonade peel (my neighbour has a lemonade tree) together with touches of honey, pepper, flower blossom and melon and a super refreshing finish. There is an oak-free zone – it is the lees stirring that has provided the palate weight. Fantastic wine.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

One Off Gisborne Marsanne Viognier 2015
Concentrated and fragrant bouquet of apricot – the viognier component quite forward tonight together with the lime peel and a subtle suggestion of smoke. Apricot again upfront in the palate together with honey making it quite opulent but brought into check by earthy, flinty notes then building up to a powerful, concentrated mouthfilling finish. Delightfully aromatic with well-balanced vinous savouriness, 100% oaked with 65% new – but the oak is hardly noticeable so powerful is the fruit and the acidity. Rod expects this to be very long lived.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

One Off Lola May Rose Hawkes Bay Rose 2016
Pale watermelon pink with a bouquet of summer berries and a twist of black pepper that follows through to the lightly oily textured palate. Fruit is typical strawberry and raspberry with touches of blueberry and a zesty brightness that makes it just so quenching and refreshing. Made from 94% Pinot Noir and 6% Pinot Gris.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

One Off Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014
Moderate depth of hue for Pinot. The bouquet is initially earthy and savoury with a woody herb character together with Morello cherries and then attractive creamy oak with deep inhaling. In the palate it has that typically Martinborough edgy savouriness and firm tannin structure. Seemingly a little stemmy and sappy at first with gamey, savoury, mossy forest floor suggestions, juicy fruits of the forest and a silky finish that goes on and on. One to pour into a big glass and swirl and savour as it opens up and reveals all it sensual nuances. Beautiful wine, we loved it. From the Te Muna Terrace.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Te Awanga Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Bright in the glass with a bouquet of polished oak, leather, red fruit compote, spices and bramble leaf. Firm and dry in the palate with chalky tannins, the crispy edges of roasted meat and plums and red berries brightened by accents of pepper. Medium to full-bodied with a supple feel to the lightly creamy finish where the fragrance of the wine is heightened with a suggestion of rosehips. From the Gimblett Gravels sub-region.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

One Off Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Bright in the glass. Concentrated on the nose with creamy oak, a touch of chocolate, ground coffee and hints of bottled cherries following through to the quite savoury and complex palate. There is a myriad of flavours both sweet and savoury with plum and cherry fruit concentration and touches of game, leather and black pepper. The firm tannins have a rubbed velvet feel and the finish is incredibly dry but also intensely succulent and long. Grown on red metal soils in the Bridge Pa district.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

One Off Hawkes Bay Malbec 2014
Saturated blackberry hue with crimson edges. Fragrant in the glass and soft and succulent to the taste with a momentary impression of savoury oak before the abundant fruit takes over. It’s like a juicy compote of plums, blackberries and cherries on a bed of plump pillowy tannins with a subtle infusion of mint, touches of cakes spices and a meaty depth that's lifted by a rose petal / violet fragrance and a medium-bodied feel to the mouthfilling finish. From the Gimblett Gravels sub-region.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

One Off Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2014
Bright in the glass with a concentrated and lifted bouquet of plums and blackcurrants with a lovely savoury oak inflection. The taste is earthy, savoury, and cedary with hints of Vitamin B, concentrated plum and bramble fruit and firm, slightly leathery tannins and while it seems old school and slightly brooding, there’s lovely brightness and lift to the finish. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot from the Maraekakaho area.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 2 Nov 2016
Northern Hemisphere versus Southern
Wines were tasted blind.

Leveret Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Golden in hue with toasty oak and grilled peach filling the bouquet and loads of toasty citrus flavours that provide a very firm acid spine. Medium to full-bodied with a mealy richness building up and a long creamy finish. “Pleasant enough,” says Kingsley. Gold AirNZ 2016.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Te Hana Gisborne Reserve Cuvée NV
Delicate lemon-scented florals with malt biscuits nuances, and malty and savoury in the palate where quite sophisticated yeast autolysis flavours come through and while not overly fruity there are hints of lemonade citrus and peach. The upfront energetic bubbles dissipate to leave behind a creamy mouthfeel and bright acidity accentuates the finish. A blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Champagne Laurent Perrier Brut NV
The very fine bubbles are the clue to Champagne. The bouquet is delicately floral and the flavours are fine, clean, balanced and harmonious with classic yeasty savouriness, a flinty undercurrent and delicate touches of peach. Understated in its presence with an exceptionally long finish, the bubbles effervescent, lively and fresh. 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $54.99.

Monstable Chardonnay 2015 – Languedoc, France
The bouquet is fruity with peach, nectarine, tropical fruit and melon and there is body and concentration in the palate that has a slatey feel to the texture with ethereal fruit purity, a nutty richness mid palate, some subtle smoky nuances and a long creamy finish. Classy wine from the warm climes of the South of France.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $21.99.

Xanadu Margaret River Chardonnay 2014 – Western Australia
Peach bubble gum fills the bouquet and the flavours overflow with peach, spice and tantalising smoky oak. It’s full-bodied, rounded and harmonious with bright fruit, juicy acidity, loads of spice and zest, and a long toasty finish with phenomenal length where apricot, nectarine and tropical fruit lingers. Mouth filling and complete.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.

Terras Gauda O Rosal Albariño 2015 – Rias Baixas, Spain
Golden in the glass with a vibrantly aromatic bouquet and bright acidity in the palate with bracing apple-like fruit and although an un-oaked wine there are intriguing toasty nuances and a touch of honey on the finish. Made from a blend of 70% Albariño, 18% Loureiro and 12% Caiño Blanco, the flinty nature and acidity is salivating and makes you wish you had a bowl of shellfish to accompany it – that would be just perfect! 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $31.99.

AA Badenhurst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2015 – South Africa
Toffee apples on the nose and full of melon, apple and honey in the palate with refreshing acidity and a hint of herbal savouriness to balance the perceived sweetness giving the impression this wine is off dry. Overall quite rounded with a long, concentrated finish. Enjoyable drinking and nice to try something different.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Saint Clair Premium Hawkes Bay Malbec 2014
Inviting deep blue-red in hue, full of summer berries on the nose with a sprinkling of leather and pepper and deliciously fruity and juicy in the palate with blackberry and raspberry fruits, a touch of pepper, youthful tannins, chocolate box and leather. Medium bodied, not overly complex, fruit driven and easy to enjoy.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Condado de Haza Tempranillo Crianza 2011 – Ribera del Duero, Spain
This is a very polarising wine with its ‘pongy' character that conjured up words like cowshed, barnyard, compost, mercurochrome and old wardrobes. “The washed rind cheese style of wine,” said Sam. However cinnamon, chocolate, prunes, game meats, truffle, tar and leather rise above the pong, the tannins are resolved yet still hold their firmness and there's a peppery bite to the full-bodied finish.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $26.99.

The Crusher Growers Selection Petite Sirah 2014 – Clarksburg, California, USA
Bright in the glass with an attractive spicy nuance to the concentrated red berry scent that is accented with paprika and the taste recalls memories of blackberry jam and chocolate cream. Soft and juicy with velvety textured tannins and a long smooth finish, the opulent fruit and vanillin oak balanced by zingy acidity and pepper, this exciting wine is made from a blend of 81% Petite Sirah, 7% Merlot, 5% Barbera, 5% Tempranillo and 2% Malbec.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Mamre Brook Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Deep dark red, almost black in hue. Cedary and powdery on the nose with a chocolate-infused meaty nuance. A big, dark, rich, concentrated Aussie Shiraz and while it initially seems tight and brooding with its firm tannin structure the texture is elegant and fine and it opens up beautifully to reveal its spicy disposition and flavours reminiscent of chocolate, mocha, nuts, vanilla, red liquorice, cake spices and pepper – and then more chocolate again on the finish. A fabulous proposition for decanting to coax out those opulent flavours.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Croft Vintage Port 2011 – Douro Valley, Portugal
Shining red-black in the glass with a fantastically decadent, opulent, heady bouquet full of liquorice and port wine yumminess. Smooth flowing in the palate and surprisingly not sweet – actually there is a dryness to the wine with underlying tannins to impart structure and luxurious flavours of dark berry fruits, roasted nuts, liquorice chocolate and cedar. Gold NZIWS.
20.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $145.

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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