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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

September / October 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 – 26 Oct 2016
Penfolds New Releases and more
The Penfolds wines were not tasted blind.

Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Vibrant bouquet of citrus and summer herbs then in the palate a full-on explosion of tropical fruit and zesty sweet citrus with a refreshing tangy vibrancy and a long rounded juicy finish with touches of passionfruit, pineapple and nectarine. Not too screechy, which makes it ultra appealing. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Bogle Central Valley Chardonnay 2014 - California
Crushed wine biscuits fill the bouquet of this light golden wine and it is creamy in the palate with a smooth buttery flow, hints of apricot jam and a harmonious infusion of tangelo that imparts a zing of acidity to balance the nuances of vanilla biscuits, savoury oak and malt. It’s seamless and multi-layered with a bright lifted peachy finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
A bold, golden chardonnay with a proud toasty oak and grapefruit bouquet and the grapefruit vibrant and upfront in the palate before stepping into the momentarily flinty background to let the peach and apricot fruit sing with spicy savoury oak a great foil to the juicy fruit sweetness and hints of butter caramel emerging on the powerful finish. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Forest The Doctors Marlborough Rose 2016
The bouquet of this delicate baby pink-hued lower alcohol style offers up summer berries with cranberries and a waft of summer herbs and the light refreshing taste is reminiscent of diluted cherry juice and ripe red apples finishing with a zingy, juicy vibe. Reasonably crisp, and just off dry. Gold NZIWS.
9.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz Grenache Mataro 2014 – South Australia
Saturated purple red with a beguilingly perfumed and very attractive bouquet of crushed Shrewsbury biscuits with touches of vanilla and blackberry jam. The spicy character of the wine is foremost with the liquorice, cake spices and red pepper a lovely foil to the juicy red and black fruits. The tannins seem smooth and velvety, there’s a touch of truffle in the background and the finish is dry with lingering nuances of mint. It’s not too heavy which makes it already easy to enjoy and very food friendly - I like it very much.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 2014 – South Australia There are crimson flashes to the dark red-black hue and the bouquet is perfumed with touches of mint chocolate and hints of spice and leather. Generous, smooth, creamy, spicy and savoury with chocolatey oak and touches of vanilla infusing the boysenberry / blackberry fruit building in mouthfeel and presence to become concentrated and deep and the finish is long and creamy with hints of sweet tobacco emerging.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Penfolds Bin 28 Barossa Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Inky purple red with a wonderfully opulent bouquet of chocolate-coated cherries, cassis and red berries that follow through to the bright palate where the pepper signature of Shiraz is quite noticeable and present with ample cedar, spice, mocha, cocoa and vanilla and liquorice. A mouthfilling wine that momentarily seems smooth and creamy, yet the muscular framework is quite assertive and adds grip to the dry finish. Wonderful persistence and length and fabulous cellaring potential. Grapes are sourced from Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Wrattonbully, Port Lincoln and Clare Valley.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Barossa Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Interesting to compare with the younger new release wine, the colour still completely saturated with chocolate is first impression on the nose then earth, game and leather then the brightness and freshness of mint. Still vibrantly spicy and peppery to the taste with firm tannins underpinning the juicy red fruits and a meaty richness accruing - all the while minty /sappy notes with vanilla-infused cedar, violets and bottled cherries. Love the waves of fruitiness and savouriness and the phenomenally long finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
This deep and bright coloured classic Australian blend has a rich, concentrated, meaty bouquet with nuances that remind me of wild brambles in the cow paddock on a hot summer’s day. Regan from Treasury said, ‘iodine’. A stellar, full-bodied, mouthfilling offering with a lovely amalgam of ripe cassis and pepper, a firm outer to the pillowy tannins, loads of chocolate, liquorice and vanilla and gobs of purple fruit that washes away the dryness of the tannins and leaves behind a sumptuous creamy aftertaste that lingers for ages. 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 47% Shiraz with grapes sourced from Barossa Valley, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $69.99.

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – South Australia
Very old school (as Jane Ferrari would say) with a bouquet that offers up cassis and cedar and the classic South Australian hallmark of eucalypt/mint that replicates so deliciously in the palate where there is spicy oak – even a touch of pepper, crushed dark chocolate cream biscuits, loads of sweet juicy blackcurrants and red currant, touches of violets and beautifully balanced savoury notes - everything you expect and more. This is a terrific, full-bodied, concentrated and very satisfying cabernet with beautifully svelte tannins. Grapes are sourced from Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and Clare Valley 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $69.99.

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
Saturated in its deep red hue with concentrated red fruit and milk chocolate on the nose and loads of chocolate in the palate - in fact it’s like liquid chocolate berry coulis with all that chocolate so in harmony with the concentrated red and purple grape vinosity together with vanilla and an intriguing character like you could imagine chocolate-coated ants would be like. Wonderfully silky in its flow, the silk-edged tannins providing impeccable structure with natural acid lift to the finish. Deep, rich, dense and super appealing. Awesome wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $93.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 19 Oct 2016
Brand New to First Glass
Wines were tasted blind.

Hunters MiruMiru™ Reserve Methode Traditionelle 2011 – Marlborough
This is a very appealing glass of bubbles. Golden in hue with a full head of foam when poured, a lemon biscuit aroma and a mellow creamy lemon-infused flavour with delicious yeast autolysis characters, a mealy malty richness and a vibrant zing to the long toasty finish. Gold and Champion NZ Methode NZIWS 2016.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Wow, pow – the ravishing and striking bouquet of passionfruit and grapefruit with a hint of peach follows through to the juicy, tangy palate that has a flinty underflow to the vibrant flavours. An absolutely fantastic sauv blanc with partial wild yeast fermentation and lees ageing adding to the body weight and textural concentration with refreshing acidity throughout and phenomenal length.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Louis Latour Grand Ardeche Chardonnay 2013 - Burgundy, France
Polished cedar on the nose and soft and creamy in the palate with a hint of briny citrus infusing the toasty, buttery and distinctly caramel flavours, the finish a lot more delicate than the initial impression promised which makes sense when it was revealed his wine was French. Will tolerate moderate chilling for summer sipping.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Vavasour Anna’s Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
Peach, cedar and malo notes fill the bouquet and it's full of peach, tropical fruit and vanilla in the mouthfilling palate that has a bright zesty citrus zing and a rich mealy undercurrent that extends into the long, smooth, seamless finish. Long, full and delicious. A wine for lovers of big, rich Chardonnays.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Theory & Practice Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris 2016
The bouquet is concentrated with delicate nuances of pear drops, musk and violet sugar dust. Fruity and juicy in the palate with a savoury vinous complexity underpinning the quince and poached pear flavours with hints of peach, mandarin and lime and violets emerging again as the intriguing and delicious flavours linger. It seems to be a very appealing just off dry. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Rose 2016
Summer berries fill the bouquet of this delicately hued pink and it tastes spicy and zingy and zesty with loads of strawberries and red cherries and a mouthfilling lingering finish. Refreshing and delicious. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Vavasour Felix's Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2015
There’s a delectable smoky savouriness to the bouquet with hints of chocolate coated cherries and spicy vibes that continue into the vibrant palate that’s full of juicy fruit with sensual silky tannins, a compounding creamy richness and lingering hints of woodsmoke. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $37.99.

Chateau des Ganfards Rouge 2014 – Bergerac, France.
A dark red hue with a slightly gamey barnyard scent that immediately transports me to the northern hemisphere. The tannins are powerful and the flavours are meaty, savoury and slightly gamey with touches of pepper, pizza herbs and dark berry fruits. Made from 100% Merlot, this is medium bodied in palate weight but desperately needs food to cut through the tannins. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Kirrihill Regional Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – South Australia
Inky black red with an awesomely concentrated fruity bouquet where mulberries and juicy ripe redcurrants and blackcurrants come to mind. The palate is succulent, juicy and fruit driven with firm yet fine tannins, concentrated red fruits, a lovely touch of woodsmoke, hints of liquorice, a suggestion of cigar box and a touch of mint emerging on the lingering finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Clare Valley Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Youthful purple-tinged black red. This flaunts its distinct Shiraz characters of juicy cherry fruit, vanillin oak and pepper and it’s spicy and creamy in the palate that has such a smooth flow. There’s loads of pepper, touches of graphite and ash, black cherries, black Doris plums, liquorice chocolate and crushed chocolate biscuits with a mouthfilling finish. ‘Chewy tannins,’ said Kingsley adding it is ready to drink right now.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Kaesler Stonehouse Barossa Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
Very deep rich, opulent scent with hints of cigar box and a delightful mint chocolate nuance. Firm tannins are upfront in the palate. Complex, full bodied and savoury, it is crammed with juicy black cherry and spiced plum fruit, smoky vanillin oak, hints of mocha and liquorice, accents of black pepper and a lovely harmonious savouriness to the concentrated and powerful finish.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Fantini Farnese Edizone Cinque Autoctoni 2013 – Abruzzo, Italy
A big black monster that seduces with its bouquet of dark chocolate-coated cherries and coconut and its succulent taste full of creamy oak, crushed chocolate biscuits, mocha, liquorice, vanilla and cake spices on a bed of plush pillowy tannins. A mesmerising, sumptuous, mouthfilling and harmonious wine with a lingering smoky savoury finish, it’s a blend of several Italian varieties from a number of regions.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $58.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 5 Oct 2016
More Golds & Trophies from the NZ International Wine Show
Wines were tasted blind.

Mount Riley Marlborough Riesling 2016
Aromatic with initially a hint of pear drop to the bouquet, then honeysuckle, lemon and a juicy tropical fruit brightness. Heading towards off dry this is juicy, fruity and refreshing all the way through with light viscosity to the mouthfeel, hints of apple, peach and pineapple then finishing with a lively sherbet flourish and a lingering suggestion of honey. Gold NZIWS.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.

Alchemy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Full-on bouquet of gunflint and grapefruit with mellow toasty oak and grilled peach. Smooth and creamy in the substantial palate where a harmonious cedar is interjected with citrus and the gunflint notes continue. Very dry, a little steely with underlying savouriness and an expansive finish, it’s a wine that should only ever be lightly chilled – too cold and it masks the delicate nougat and tropical fruit notes. Made by Ant McKenzie. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Goldie Estate Reserve Waiheke Island Viognier 2015
Crushed lemon biscuits on the nose. Smooth and seamless in the richly textured palate where hints of butter caramel mingles with spicy oak and zesty hints of citrus, then classical apricot notes synonymous with Viognier make their presence known most splendidly on the lasting and persistent finish. About 90% of people in the room said they like this wine which hides it’s heady alcohol very well. Gold and Trophy NZIWS.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.

Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Pinot Gris 2016
Pale straw. Pear drops, green grapes and honeysuckle on the nose. Spicy and zesty in the palate that’s full of juicy apples, Nashi pear, spices and musk with a refreshing spritzy feel to the texture. Made in an off dry style with the sliver of sweetness balanced by refreshing citrus acidity. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Rose 2016
Made from predominantly Merlot this has a vibrancy to the translucent blue-red hue. The bouquet is all early season plums and citrus and there’s vinous richness to the texture with a pleasing zesty zing, touches of strawberries and blueberries, well balanced underlying spicy savouriness and a light honeyed feel to the lingering finish. Gold NZIWS and Trophy for Champion Rose.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Rich, deep black red with vibrant crimson edges. Savoury on the nose with crushed chocolate cream biscuits adding to the allure. Deep, rich and savoury to the taste with opulence to the succulent dark fruit that emerges from the brooding background where there are hints of tar, leather and pepper becoming concentrated and intense with fine, silky textured but moderately firm tannins and a long dry finish where the chocolate notes from the nose resurface and linger together with bright accents of raspberry. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Mission Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015
Inky purple red. Peppery spices fill the bouquet together with vanilla, cedar and a touch of pencil. The pepper continues into the finely textured palate where hints of violets infuse the concentrated dark plum fruit and hints of chocolate emerge on the sweet oak finish. The tannins seem dry but nevertheless this is very supple and creamy in its flow, which makes it very approachable. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Farnese-Fantini Giro Primitivo 2015 – Puglia, Italy
There's a warm climate sense to the bouquet from the cooked berry fruit scent that’s infused with hints of cocoa and touches of spice. Warm and juicy in the medium-bodied palate with the ripe berry fruit a feature, soft supple tannins and nicely integrated savoury oak with touches of liquorice and chocolate and a zing of pepper adding freshness to the incredibly succulent finish. Approachable and juicy.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $21.99.

McManis Petit Syrah 2015 – California, USA
Richly coloured red with a bouquet of violet, chocolate and cedar and juicy red fruit filling the palate – red currants and red cherries come to mind with creamy vanillin oak, cake spices and a twist of pepper supported by smooth flowing tannins and a vibrancy to the generous succulent fruit that's balanced by a pleasing savoury vibe.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Villa Maria Braided Gravels Organic Hawkes Bay Merlot 2013
Concentrated and classical Bordeaux varieties bouquet of cassis, plums and cedar with savoury / milky / slightly leathery / gamey nuances. Firm and structured in the palate with the fruit from the nose carrying through, a wonderfully silky seamless flow, a creamy richness, violets, smoky oak and crushed chocolate wheaten biscuits. A stellar wine that exudes total class, it is the structure, the mouthfeel, the silky flow and the fruit harmony that is so compelling. Gold, Champion Merlot and Champion NZ Bordeaux varieties NZIWS 2016.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $50.99.

Rockbare McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014
Rich and dark with a wonderfully opulent bouquet of vanilla, cedar, juicy black cherries and hints of pepper. Savoury and spicy on entry to the palate, the spices building up and almost exploding with their vibrancy. Full of macerated red fruit flavours with slightly grainy tannins that add structure while the finish has an intriguing and more-ish gamey, minty, meaty salinity.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Williams & Humbert Don Zolio Pedro Ximinez – Jerez, Spain
This unctuous PX sherry looks like liquid dark amber / mahogany with rims of green amber and tears of viscosity. The bouquet is heady and spirituous with an aroma like get when you cut into fresh baked Christmas cake. Thick and viscous in the palate, the texture like treacle with flavours of raisin, rancio, dark honey, and toffee. Christmas cake in a glass, says Cherrill, who cooks a scrumptious cake for First Glass every year.
18% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $56.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 5 Oct 2016
Trophy Winners from the NZ International Wine Show
Wines were not tasted blind.

Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne NV – Ay, France
Light lemon in hue with tiny bubbles rising in the glass, this has a very engaging and lifted, floral, toasty, bouquet. In the mouth it’s foamy, creamy, malty, savoury and bready with persistent effervescence, a bright acid seam and a very long, dry, mouthfilling finish. Juicy - yet sophisticated and elegant at the same time. Just delicious. Trophy for Champion Champagne / Methode Traditionelle.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $59.99.

Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Quite a textural and seemingly complex sauvignon blanc, it has a powerful, pungent and inviting aroma of gooseberry, green passionfruit, grapefruit, summer herbs and the clean, fresh flavours are crammed with sweet pea, tropical fruit and sugared grapefruit that's been in the fridge overnight. Juicy, quenching and fabulously long. Trophy for Champion Sauvignon Blanc.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Tahbilk Roussanne Marsanne Viognier 2013 – Victoria, Australia
This green-tinged gold, bright lustrous looking white is a blend of Rhone white varieties from Nagambie Lakes in Central Victoria. It’s aromatic, textural and delicately creamy with a spicy almost peppery allure, hints of apricot (that seems more pronounced with chilling), savoury mealy complexities, a delicate touch of honey that's beautifully balanced by refreshing acidity and fabulous aromatic length. Trophy for Champion Other Whites.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Light citrine gold with a lustrous hue. The bouquet is full, rich, nutty and spicy with sweet polished oak and grilled stonefruit, and the flavours are crammed with creamy oak, loads of peach, a mealy lemon biscuit richness and a toasty finish with butterscotch and crème brulee emerging as decadently long, mouthcoating, flavours linger. “Rich without being complicated,” says Kingsley. Trophy for Champion Chardonnay. Trophy or Champion Wine of the Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.

Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2016
Pale in hue with aromas of Nashi pear, poached pear, lifted floral nuances and hints of strudel spices. Mouth-filling concentrated and just off dry with a spicy vibrancy, touches of preserved lemon rind, juicy apple and a warm finish with a slight toffee yumminess like you get on apple strudel crust. Trophy for Champion Pinot Gris.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Forest The Doctors Marlborough Riesling 2016
Straw gold in hue with bright aromas of orange zest, honeysuckle and flower nectar with a momentary pop of kaffir lime and quenching flavours of juicy tropical fruit, apple, citrus, sherbet and honeysuckle combining in harmony. A light, refreshing, lower alcohol, medium sweet style that served chilled is fruity and delicious. 28 grams/litre residual sugar. Trophy for Champion Riesling.
9% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2014
Intensely perfumed and full of flavours of Turkish delight, lychees and tingly toasted aromatic and slightly peppery spices with hints of sugared violets, rose petals and orange oil. It’s mouthfilling, concentrated and powerful with a lightly honeyed texture and a zesty vibrancy with a musky sweetness as the flavours linger. With 30g/l residual sugar, it’s a medium sweet style. Trophy for Champion Gewurztraminer.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
The colour is vibrant and the incredibly aromatic bouquet is bright, lifted, a little reminiscent of Shrewsbury biscuits and very engaging. Spicy and juicy to the taste with wonderfully pristine cherry and plum fruit, hints of mocha and toasty oak becoming quite creamy with hints of chocolate - like chocolate ganache, a silk-edged velvety texture, a harmonious savoury undercurrent and an incredible sensual mouthfeel and flow. Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Bodegas Borsao Monte Oton Garnacha 2015 – Capo de Borja, Spain
Deep blue red. Bright fruited with creamy vanillin oak on the nose and spicy, peppery, juicy and savoury in the palate. The red berry fruit is vibrant and fresh with a beautifully balanced gamey undercurrent, succulent tannins and a generous medium-bodied finish with again a touch of vanilla. Very hard not to like. Trophy for Champion Commercial Red.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Obsidian Waiheke Island Montepulciano 2015
This boysenberry-hued wine has a dark, brooding, concentrated bouquet with hints of iodine, then in the palate bright acidity underpins the blue-red fruit, the tannins are firm, there are touches of game, tar and leather and the finish is dry with hints of mocha and pepper. The fruit is intense and tames the tannins making this medium bodied wine quite juicy and approachable with an aura of succulence as the flavours linger. Trophy for Champion International Red.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Inky blackberry red. Crushed cameo crème biscuits on the nose. Very firm and dry in the full-bodied concentrated palate, heading towards blockbuster, with flavours of spiced plums, blueberries, red currant jelly, hints of liquorice, a harmonious touch of pepper and polished cedar. While the tannins seem unforgiving at the tasting tonight, this is a wine to buy and put away then bring out to show off to your best vinously minded friends in 2-3 years. Trophy for Champion NZ Syrah.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Whitehaven Marlborough Noble Riesling 2014
This wonderfully concentrated, amber-hued sticky has a bouquet that’s an explosion of honey, beeswax, pollen and flower nectar and the sweet dark honey, nectar-soaked raisins, candied tropical fruit and reconstituted dry apricots together with a touch of spice has a lovely zing of pineapple / tangelo acidity shimmering through. Trophy for Champion Sweet Wine.
8.3% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 7 Sep 2016
Great Value Wines from Europe, USA and elsewhere
Wines were tasted blind.

Two Rivers Convergence Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
The bouquet radiates tropical guava, cape gooseberry, pineapple, summer herbs and sunny days and the fabulously fresh taste overflows with vibrantly zesty citrus, a hint of peach, a touch of yellow capsicum, a gorgeous zing of fennel pollen and there is palate richness to the long juicy finish where a touch of mandarin sings. Our first of the vintage and it’s exciting!
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

McManis Family Vineyards California Chardonnay 2015
The bouquet of this light gold wine is all tropical fruit salad. A youthful, medium-bodied style with a soft smooth texture, it initially seems light on oak while a touch of caramel cream fleshes out the palate. A smoky savouriness emerges and the wine accrues richness as the fruity flavours linger.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Brancott Letter Series O Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
Hokey pokey aromas fill the bold rich bouquet of this golden-hued wine and it is full of flavour in the opulent palate with juicy Golden Queen peaches, spicy cedary oak and a smooth seamless butterscotch finish with fabulous length. Oodles of toasty chardonnay satisfaction for as under $20 price tag.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Terra Sancta Central Otago Rose 2016
Gorgeous pink spinel gemstone hue. Spiced strawberry and Morello cherries fill the delicately fruity bouquet. Moderate palate weight with a slightly oily feel to the texture, a zing of pepper that complements the spiced strawberry fruit, and a juicy finish seems almost creamy. Served chilled it seems just on the cusp of off dry.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Avaniel Tempranillo 2013 – Ribero del Duero, Spain
Dark Burgundy hue. Wood smoke on the on the nose with concentrated raisined fruit and a scent reminiscent of Throaties lollies. A bold, funky, smoky, savoury wine with ample palate weight, a firm chamois-like texture and an amalgam of intriguing taste profiles like polished wood, leather, plums, spice, cough drops and hints of liquorice with ripe red and purple fruit more prominent on the finish. 100% Tempranillo.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Septima Los Pasos Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina
Dark Burgundy hue – youthful in appearance. The bouquet is smoky and savoury with hints of sap and spice. Firm in the palate with youthful acidity, juicy red fruit, hints of tar, a touch of charcoal and cherry chocolate emerging to linger on the dusty finish. A simple medium weight blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Cabernet.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $12.99.

Septima Malbec 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina
A bright, rich dark red in the glass, this has a woody, sappy, leathery, savoury, Christmas cake bouquet. Savoury again in the medium bodied palate with firm tannins, black plums, cakes spices and hints of mint. Clean and well balanced with a long, smooth, juicy finish.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Domaine du Caillou Les Quartz Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 – Southern Rhone, France
Deep dark red. Earthy and savoury on the nose with a waft of leathery funk. Bold in the palate with juicy red and black fruits, pepper, liquorice, tar, charcoal and menthol. Full-bodied, mouthfilling and textural with fruit sweetness, hints of violets, a touch of bitter chocolate and a juicy succulent aftertaste that lingers satisfyingly. Quite youthful with excellent cellaring potential, this stellar stablemate to the magnificent ‘Reserve’ we tasted last week needs food right now to cut through the tannins.
15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $69.99.

Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Zinfandel 2013 – Sonoma, California
Deeply translucent purple red. The bouquet is woody and cedary with lifted red fruits and a hint of mint. Medium-bodied in the palate, a little reminiscent of a juicy ripe pinot noir in a way but spicier and fruitier. I find a dash of pepper, cake spices, blueberry, spiced cherries, strawberry chocolate, creamy oak and velvety tannins in this soft, rounded wine that has a pleasing and persistent finish.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – Sonoma, California
Rich purple-red with crimson edges. Vibrant on the bouquet with cassis, vanilla, cedar and a whisper of mint. Juicy in the full-bodied palate with cassis, cake spice, earth, nutty oak and chocolate coated raisins. The tannins are firm yet there is a silky aura to the lingering finish. A well-balanced, succulent and very likeable wine made from mostly Cabernet blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Tohu Limited Release Raiha Reserve Noble Riesling 2014 - Marlborough
Orangey-gold with a radiant bouquet of sunshine, apricots, liquid honey and candied peel. Full of mouth-coating sticky viscosity in the palate with flavours of dried apricots, golden sultanas, honey, crème brulee and toffee apple on the lingering finish. "I want to lick my glass,” said the lady behind me. Absolutely. Gold NZIWS.
11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Note: The New Zealand wines listed on this page should have been cross-catalogued to my wine reviews by grape variety - check out my Wine Review Index.

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