Wine of the Week Home

Wine Blog

Blog (2007-2012)

Tasting Notes

Food File

Old Stuff
WOTW archives
Vine Dining
Book Reviews
Wine Stories

Vinous Links

About NZ Wine

About this Site

Wine of the Week logo
Wine of the Week info
edited by Sue Courtney
e-mail address:

Wednesday Round-up - the 2017 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

March 2017
[ 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 – 8 Mar 2017
Gold Medal Wines from the 2017 Royal Easter Wine Show
Wines were tasted blind.

Te Mata Estate Hawkes Bay Gamay Noir 2016
A vibrant, luminous blue red in the glass. ‘Rose madder’ said Jim. The bouquet is fresh, floral, grapey and winey while fruit-driven purple plum and fruits of the forest flavours fill the palate with pleasing underlying savoury notes and hints of anise on the juicy finish. A light styled fruity red that can be served chilled. (Pre-taster and not in the Easter Show).
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Te Awa Single Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
A modern ‘reductive’ style with a glossy light citrine hue; a mealy, grapefruit, wild yeast nuanced, nutty oak scent and a touch of 'struck match' infusing the juicy nectarine and white peach fruit flavours with delectable smoky oak and a long creamy finish with a trill of citrus. Andrew says it’s best with only the slightest of chilling. Gold Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Light golden yellow with a bouquet that offers up suggestions of gunsmoke with nutty, mealy notes and hints of ripe peach all carrying through to the full, rounded palate that tonight has a noticeably dry, flinty undercurrent, lots of leesy notes and tropical fruit salad. Incredible value. Gold Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Glossy lemon gold with immensely attractive leesy, mealy, smoky aromas infused with ripe stonefruit, and seamless flowing, rich, full, rounded flavours of stonefruit and melon with a touch of nutmeg and other subtle woody spices and a fabulously long, harmonious and creamy, malo / wild yeast influenced finish. 2016 AND 2017 Champion Chardonnay and Champion Wine of the Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Viognier 2016
There's a slight oily appearance to the light gold coloured hue. The bouquet offers up honey-spiced red apple and stonefruit. Orchard fruit comes through in spades in the moderately dry but lightly oily textured palate. It becomes richer and more concentrated as the wine flows and the juicy stonefruit finish is accented with fresh fennel seeds and tangelo. Gold Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2016
Full of juicy apple and poached pear both on the bouquet and in the palate, this light hued wine has terrific concentration and texture with subtle savoury notes and spicy vibes to the mouthfilling off dry finish. Gutsy and flavoursome. Champion Pinot Gris at both NZIWS and the Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2014
The bouquet of this light lemon gold wine is powerful but not overpowering - it’s like fresh lychee and rambutan, these Chinese fruits also a feature in the smooth flowing palate which is mouthfilling and spicy with touches of ginger and white pepper and a lingering sense of Turkish Delight and spun sugar. Champion Gewurztraminer. Gold NZIWS. 5 stars Cuisine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Merlot Rose 2016
A striking deep coral hue with a fresh vibrant aura, this is initially quite plummy and savoury with a dry flinty backbone skilfully offset by juicy strawberry sweetness and enchanting touches of tarragon. Such a popular style of wine these days, this is one of the best and food friendly too.. Trophy NZIWS. Gold Easter Show.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
A full-on, spicy, gutsy style of pinot with a tantalising intensely deep ruby hue; a lovely fragrance of cherries and spice infused with subtle smoky oak; then ripe, concentrated, juicy black cherry and fruits of the forest fruit with harmonious underlying savoury, spicy, meaty tones and a touch of mocha and anise on the finish. Complete and seductive with a velvety flow and a silky finesse. Trophy NZIWS. Gold Easter Show.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.

The Landings Bay of Islands Syrah 2013
Inky blackberry red with crimson edges. Dark creamy oak, dusty wild berries and peppery spices on the nose. It tastes concentrated, meaty and savoury with firm teeth-coating tannins and fruit that is just starting to mellow - think blackberry, black cherry and prunes together with chocolate and hints of anise and fruit-sweet high notes to the finish. With four years of age it is developing beautifully and would definitely tame a rare steak. Gold Easter Show.
13.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $37.99.

Goldie Estate Reserve Waiheke Island Syrah 2014
Inky vibrant blackberry hue. Earthy, gamey, savoury, peppery, sappy oak aroma. Juicy and succulent to the taste with plush velvety tannins, loads and loads of green and black pepper, lovely underlying chocolate, cream and vanilla notes, hints of cake spices and a long mouthfilling finish. Champion Syrah Easter Show.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $51.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2013
Deep, vibrant and youthful with a concentrated bouquet of savoury oak and bright plummy fruit with hints of cocoa. Firm yet silky in the succulent palate that’s full of bright blackcurrant and plum with hints of cigar box, cake spices and creamy oak, whispers of chocolate and anise, underlying herb notes with rosemary and mint coming to mind and a long juicy, mouth-coating finish. Quite amazing actually. Champion Cabernet Easter Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $42.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 1 Mar 2017
New Zealand versus the World
Wines were tasted blind.

Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay 2015 – Clarksburg, California
This is light yellow gold with a youthful vibrant oak-nuanced tropical fruit and custard apple scent and it’s very full on and concentrated in the palate with spicy, creamy, buttery, savoury oak flavours, canned apricot and touches of cornmeal. Simply summed up this fat, mouth-coating Californian style delivers oodles of satisfaction.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2013 – South Australia
Light gold with aromas of grilled peach and gunsmoke and steely in the fresh, citrus-driven palate with tropical fruit, touches of pineapple and a very subtle suggestion of honeycomb. Tingly to start but the lingering finish shows lots of promise, a wine I would like to see with a little bit of cellar time – or perhaps it was just too cold.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Mission Jewelstone Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Medium gold with an attractive and intense malty, mealy bouquet infused with polished oak and hints of citrus and stonefruit then very full and rounded in the rich, ripe, mealy palate with spicy vibes and well balanced underlying savoury French oak that's nicely integrated already. The fruit is concentrated yet subtle and touches of vanilla biscuits emerge on the lingering finish. Elite gold and Exhibition Trophy AirNZ Wine Awards 2015.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $35.99.

Kerpen Handpicked Riesling 2014 - Mosel, Germany
Golden yellow with a scent reminiscent of rich dark honey and luscious almost toasty flavours with viscosity to the texture and honeysuckle, botrytis, orange honey and bright acidity humming all the way through.
9.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Riesling 2014
Light yellow gold with a delicate honeysuckle / citrus blossom scent and slatey textured with racy grapey acidity balanced by a delicate sweetness and lingering hints of lemonade peel. A light, youthful, just off-dry style. 5 stars and Cuisine ‘Best Buy’.
11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Albert Mann Gewurztraminer 2015 – Alsace, France
The bouquet is gorgeously redolent of rose musk and violets and it’s concentrated and powerful in the palate that is lightly viscous and beautifully seamless in its flow with violets to the fore, a musky smoker lolly sweetness and a finish that is more savoury than fruity and tapers off gently.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.

Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2015
The bouquet enchants with scents of lemon Turkish delight and lemon verbena and it is off dry in the palate with lovely viscosity to the flow, subtle tropical fruit and tingles of ginger and white pepper. Lovely concentration and persistence and very very impressive.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine Cotes du Rhone 2014 - Rhone Valley, France
Lovely bright youthful pinot noir-like hue. Generous bouquet with a hint of mocha and soft and spicy tasting with hints of chocolate coated berries, raspberry jam, lightly savoury oak, hints of tar and a peppery finish. A light, juicy, silky-textured easy going red with a little point of difference to the flavour.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
The colour is a saturated inky purple magenta. Chocolate and meaty spicy oak fill the bouquet and it has an initial medium-bodied feel with increasing concentration and suggestions of chocolate biscuits with a subtle nuance of mint, an earthy nuggety undercurrent, slightly furry tannins and a meaty finish with accents of pepper and lingering nuances of bbq'd pomegranate molasses.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Trivento Reserve Malbec 2015– Mendoza, Argentina
A rich, dense, youthful ruby garnet hue - not as saturated and deep as some malbecs can be. Ripe and jammy on the nose – plum jam and fruits of the forest maybe - carrying through to the fruit forward medium-bodied palate with smooth velvet-coated tannins, nutty oak, subtle nuances of chocolate, aniseed and tar and a well balanced savoury finish with a spicy flourish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Rod McDonald Wines 'One Off' Hawkes Bay Malbec 2014
Rich, bright red black with full saturation and density. There’s a dusty, slightly wild game scent and it’s full-bodied, perhaps heading towards blockbuster in the smooth, velvety, concentrated palate with smoky, nuggety, spicy oak, hints of vanilla and dark dried fruits - prunes come to mind - and vinosity and winey sweetness enveloping the finish. More seductive with every sip.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

Thorn Clarke William Randell Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Lovely smooth looking red black. Inviting spice-infused bouquet with hints of mocha, chocolate and vanilla and full of the same in the grunty yet generous palate that’s characterised by supple tannins together with ripe berry fruit (macerated strawberries come to mind), hints of mint, loads of savoury oak, graphite and tar, crushed cameo cremes and a long mouthfilling finish. Succulent and ripe with the oak and savouriness giving it structure and presence.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $52.99.

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.

2017 Tastings
Jan 2017 tasting notes.
Feb 2017 tasting notes.
You are here - Mar 2017 tasting notes.

Nov / Dec 2016 tasting notes and 2016 index.

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

E-mail me: