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edited by Sue Courtney

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

May 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 – 31 May 2017
Northern Hemisphere v Southern Hemisphere
Wines were tasted blind.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
Light gold in hue with sweet smoky oak and tropical fruit aromas and bright in the palate with tropical fruit to the fore, a touch of canned apricot, brown sugar custard, spicy oak and a slight malo influence to the savoury finish. Easy drinking style and a great price for an introduction to Cali wine.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet 2012 – Burgundy, France
This chardonnay is an intense citrine and bright in the glass. The bouquet offers up sizzled butter notes infused with cedar and it is bold and toasty in the palate with spicy oak, juicy stone fruit, a zingy flash of mandarin, an oily mouth-coating texture and a touch of lanolin on the long, savoury finish. Impressive.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $102.

Westbrook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
It’s golden in colour, the bouquet is full of zest and sweet winey notes while savoury oak and nutty, leesy barrel ferment characters fill the palate with fairly restrained notes of stonefruit, tingles of sherbet and a lingering suggestion of spice. Kingsley says really starting to hit its straps.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Dr Loosen Ürziger Würtzgarden Kabinett Riesling 2015 – Mosel, Germany
The bouquet of this pale coloured wine offers up lemon/lime pith with the merest hint of kero and a faint suggestion of honey and the taste is fresh and bright and a little suggestive of green apple cider with both flavour and lightly spritzy texture. A quenching off dry style with spine tingling acidity and a lemon and honey finish. “Racy acidity – lively – low alcohol,’ says Sam.
8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Waipara Riesling 2014
Deep gold coloured. The bouquet is orange honey and brulee toffee with hints of beeswax that’s even more obvious in the bright spritzy palate where the tingly vibrancy is a nice foil to the golden syrup / honeyed sweetness. A concentrated, weighty style with a long rich finish it is made from late harvest grapes have been fermented to dryness, which makes the alcohol higher. 14.5% alc. Cork/Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.

Bouchard Beaune du Chateau Premier Cru Pinot Noir 2014 – Burgundy, France
This is a gamey savoury style of pinot with a translucent strawberry jam hue. There’s a whiff of cowpat under the raspberry coulis scent and it is medium-bodied in the palate with upfront moderately firm dry tannins, a slight herbal edge and sour cherry on the silky finish. Brooding in its youth but classically Burgundian with lots of promise. Made to accompany food.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
The colour is a rich cerise rimmed magenta hue – ‘the colour of raspberry jam,’ says Jim. Enticingly fragrant and full-bodied in the palate with velvety tannins, succulent cherry fruit, spicy oak, touches of anise and toasty notes together with pinot’s quintessential savouriness. Rich, fruity, supple and generous. “Even I could drink this.” says shiraz lover Kingsley. Gold Easter Show. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Chateau Des Ganfards Bergerac Rouge 2014 – France
Youthful pinky red. The bouquet is succulent and inviting with concentrated fruit, a hint of chalk dust and leafy notes. There's a suggestion of chocolate on first tasting and the fruit is in the red plum spectrum. with medium-bodied palate weight and a long savoury finish. A food friendly style made from 100% Merlot. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Te Awa Single Estate Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2014
Concentrated purple red. Opulent aromas of vanilla and cedar and savoury and spicy in the full-bodied palate that’s brimming with creamy oak, opulent ‘velvet cloak’ tannins and well-balanced sappy notes. Mouth filling and supple with oodles of concentration and flavour and outstanding quality for the price. Gold AirNZ.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Toño Hawkes Bay Tempranillo 2014
A young wine in many respects yet the pinky red colour is starting to break up on the edges to correlate to the age. It’s savoury on the nose – a little leafy with cherry fruit and perhaps a hint of chicory and pepper. Medium-bodied, savoury and slightly gamey to the taste with brambly fruit and a long, clean, juicy finish. One of Ant McKenzie’s labels.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Pesquera Condado de Haza Crianza 2012 – Ribera del Duero, Spain
The intriguing bouquet of this inky dark red tempranillo offers up earthy, savoury, leathery, mercurochrome notes with cowpats in the brambles. Full-bodied, plush and velvety in the palate with a frame of acidity around the succulent red fruits, touches of pepper, vanillin oak and a long brooding finish where a suggestion of strawberry chocolate emerges. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Shingleback The Davey Estate Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014
Inky purple red. The bouquet of spicy cedar and red berry fruit is infused with creamy vanilla. It tastes like a youthful sweet-fruited dry red with a spicy complexity, silky tannins, concentrated purple fruit, touches of vanilla and cedar all building to a long smooth finish with an earthy pepper savouriness.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 24 May 2017
New to First Glass
Wines were tasted blind.

RM Wines Mister Chardonnay 2016 – Hawkes Bay
The bouquet hints of tropical fruit with a lightly toasty polished oak flair. Served chilled it tastes young and flinty with fresh polish and edgy stonefruit but when it warms up it’s soft with apple, pear and fleshy peach tones and a much richer, creamy finish. Mister is the new name for Rod McDonald’s former ‘One Off’ label but this is still a master and needs to be swaddled for a little while longer.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Tony Bish Wines Fat and Sassy Chardonnay 2016 – Hawkes Bay
There's a slightly oily / shea butter nuance to the scent and the taste lives up to the name with sassy savoury oak and fat almost buttery creamy flavours together with generous very ripe fruit and zest on the finish leaving a tingly aftertaste. Tony Bish calls this “old school style”.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Bogle Reserve Clarksburg Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
Golden in colour with a glorious caramel toffee aroma and smooth flowing and seamless in the palate with lashings of malt, cream, fleshy peach, coconutty American oak and an ultra long mouthfilling finish that, to quote Heather, “keeps on giving.” And for Lesley and me there were flashback memories of Mackintosh’s Harrogate (yellow wrapper) and egg and cream (orange wrapper) toffees. Big, rich and swooningly delish.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Theory And Practice Pinot Gris 2016 – Hawkes Bay This is a rich, satisfying, mouth-filling pinot gris with a heady scent that hints of musk and violets and fruit flavours reminiscent of spiced quince and pear. It has considerable palate weight with a creamy texture and flow, a sweetness level on the cusp of off dry and a savoury undercurrent to the lingering aftertaste. 40% of the wine had wild ferment and partial mlf in large ‘Fuder’ oak barrels, the remainder fermented in tank. Ant Mckenzie’s own label. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Falconhead Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015
A young looking pinot with a savoury, slightly gamey, slightly cherryish aroma and smooth, juicy and easy going in the medium-bodied palate. It tastes savoury and just a little gamey with bright cranberry and cherry fruit, mulled wine spices and a fine tannin finish. 4 stars and Best Buy in Cuisine. A little cracker actually.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

I Muri Primitivo 2016 – Puglia, Italy
This has a bright, intense, inky, magenta hue. The smoky bouquet is like blackberry jam on toast and it is juicy and generous in the smooth flowing medium to full-bodied palate where fleshy purple fruit is infused with a smoky, cigar box savouriness, a hint of violet, a touch of cocoa, cake spices and a long creamy finish where brighter red fruits emerge. Lots to love in the brand new vintage.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Quarisa Johnny Q Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
The colour is a deep rich ruby. The bouquet offers up chocolate biscuits, vanilla, cedar and berry jam and it tastes spicy and peppery with fine chocolate dust tannins, plummy fruit and a juicy finish with a touch of eucalypt/mint and a pleasing firmness to the lingering aftertaste. Kingsley describes it as smooth, easy and not too complex for everyday drinking. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

RM Wines Quarter Acre Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015
Purple and fine in the glass. The bouquet is plummy and it is fine textured with silky tannins in the juicy yet refined and elegant medium-bodied palate. It’s full of plump blackberry and plum fruit with a touch of pepper, a judicious touch of savoury oak and a creaminess adding generosity to the finish where the silky textural finesse is an outstanding feature. A quadruple trophy winner at the 2017 London International Wine Challenge including the esteemed accolade of Best International Syrah.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Langmeil Valley Floor Barossa Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Inky purple red with Roses chocolate box aromas and big, generous, juicy red and black berry flavours infused with lashings of creamy vanillin oak, mint, spice, pepper, chocolate, mocha and more. It’s a beautifully structured and harmonious full-bodied red with soft pillowy tannins and while seductive and comfortable already, it’s one of those wines that will evolve over many many years.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.

Jacobs Creek Centenary Hill Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
A saturated black red in the glass. Raspberries float off the bouquet that's deep and brooding and complex with hints of vanilla and finely spiced cedar and it is texturally superb in the palate with its fine-grained svelte tannins and depth of flavour. ‘Sweet tannins,’ says Colin. A complex wine with ripe berry fruit, hints of violets, vanilla, cream and beautifully integrated spices. A standout wine on the night that offers equally much as some wines you could pay two or three times the price for. “Sensational,” says Kingsley. We agreed.
14.6% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $48.99.

Beach House Noble Chardonnay 2016 – Hawkes Bay The colour of sunshine on a blue sky day this has an enticing nectar and honeysuckle bouquet while the texture is like fine syruppy nectar. Bright acidity balances the orange toffee and candied peach and apricot fruit flavours and the overall impression is sweet yet refreshing with a lingering finish.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99. 375-ml.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 17 May 2017
Mostly New New New
Wines were tasted blind.

Coopers Creek Select Vineyards ‘Limeworks' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
The attractive bouquet of peach and hazelnut carries through to the smoky savoury palate. It's smooth, soft and creamy with harmonious malt and oatmeal and a long stylish finish with the peachy flavours lingering deliciously. Five star value.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2014
The bouquet is reminiscent of vanilla custard and spiced apricot and the mellow taste backs up the golden colour that hints of a little age. With flavours like juicy nectarine, zingy citrus, an exotic pepper like papaya seeds and a touch of cedar, it’s soft, rounded and ready to go.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Tony Bish ‘Heartwood’ Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
A Burgundian influenced chardonnay that smells a little steely with touches of lime pith and dried hay, The first taste is quite restrained, flinty and lean with fruit initially reminiscent of apple and kiwano (horned melon) then it fleshes up nicely with a juicy finish where French oak (25% new) and stonefruit come more into play. “Pretty smart,” says Kingsley adding it will develop into something special with time.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.

Craft Farm Home Vineyard Hawkes Bay Gewurztraminer 2014
From the southern banks of the Karamu Stream near Havelock North, this is vibrant yellow gold in the glass, the heady bouquet is immediately redolent of spicy, floral Gewurztraminer with the addition of a butter honey layer and it’s powerful in the soft, rounded, off dry palate with flavours suggestive of Turkish Delight, rose petal, apricot and white pepper. Ant McKenzie’s own wine with tank and barrel fermentation.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
A youthful ruby purple hue introduces this brooding style of pinot where deep inhaling reveals rosehips and a waft of grapey sweetness. The taste is foremost savoury with moderately firm pinot tannins and a salty note coming through. It’s a delicate, medium-bodied wine with fruit reminiscent of purple grapes and cranberry jelly and a concentrated finish. From a number of vineyard sites, it’s biodynamic and organic with low sulphides and natural fermentation.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $40.99.

Castille Armado Tempranillo Reserva 2009 - Valdepenas, Spain
Dark red with some bricking to the edges. The bouquet is savoury and leathery with just a hint of citrus and the taste is concentrated with light but ripe juicy brambles, slightly dusty tannins, a savoury gamey undercurrent and a dry finish with a winey sweetness. With the bottle age the fruit is starting to fade as the complex bottle age characters take over. Price to enjoy and drinking well now.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Ernesto Cantina Animal Malbec 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina
Fine dark red with a savoury, slightly gamey bouquet that also suggests red plum skins. Spicy and bright upfront in the fine textured palate that has gamey, leathery, slightly barnyard connotations. The finish becomes quite fleshy with touches of chocolate and sour cherry. ‘Natural Wine’ adorns the label and it’s organic too.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.

I Muri Primitivo 2015 - Puglia, Italy
Inky purple red, showing its youth. The bouquet is crammed with berry fruit and a well balanced savoury oak allure. It's spicy and peppery in the initially firm, savoury, slightly gamey palate with juicy red fruits, soft velvety tannins and a long fleshy finish with lingering notes of cranberry jelly. Medium bodied with Southern Italy generosity.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 - California, USA
Inky dark red with ripe, juicy, red and black berries and hints of chocolate filling the bouquet. Fine silky tannins are an attractive feature with touches of vanilla, spice, rosewood and cedar and a long, fine elegant finish with lingering nuances of redcurrant jelly. Very smart indeed.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.

Three Dark Horses McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 - South Australia
Very youthful purple red. The inviting bouquet offers up violets, purple plums, hints of vanilla and cedar and the taste is concentrated with dusty tannins and loads of spice and pepper. It’s full-bodied and creamy to the taste with mocha, red liquorice, raspberry jam, well balanced spicy oak and a long fine finish. Pretty much a blockbuster in tonight’s scheme of things tonight.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Chocolate Box Barossa Shiraz 2015 - South Australia
This big, bold wine is deep in colour, the bouquet is full of creamy oak, juicy ripe berries and chocolate and the taste is spicy and peppery with juicy bramble fruit soaking into the slightly sappy vanillin oak while firm muscular tannins add grip and the aftertaste is long and savoury. With its 15% alcohol, it’s quite simply massive.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 10 May 2017
An evening with Steven Bennett MW
Wines were not tasted blind.

Champagne Paul Louis Martin Bouzy Grand Cru NV – Riems, France
A blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, this is a very stylish, savoury, yeasty, style of bubbles all the way through. It has an attractive baking bread scent and the complex flavours offer up green grape and lemony tones, just ripe peach and a salivating, crisp, dry and every so slightly salty finish. Primes the palate for the evening ahead in the nicest possible way.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $65.99.

The Cups and Rings Godello 2015 – D.O. Monterrei, Spain
Light golden in colour, with richness to the hue. The bouquet is savoury with hints of yeast lees and it is crisp, dry, flinty and textural in the palate with peach skin, hints of apricot and a spicy ginger-like heat without the ginger taste. It has mouth-watering acidity and the delicate fruit finish is long and dry with a sucking-on-a-river-stone mouthfeel. 20% fermented in old oak. Match to seafood especially oysters.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Montsable Chardonnay 2015 – Pays d’Oc, Languedoc, France
Montsable, pronounced ‘mont-sar-blay’ offers up hazelnut skin aromas and is foremost savoury in the palate. There's a touch of creaminess to the texture, a vague nuance of lemon and honey, and the nutty finish is long and expansive. 20% fermented in oak, but no oak flavours, a nice little lunch time wine.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Viento Aliseo Rosado 2015 – Castille La Mancha, Spain
Pale coral in hue with a hint of strawberry and rosehip to the bouquet and spicy and peppery upfront in the textural palate. It’s bone dry yet ultra refreshing with its juicy, mouthwatering summer berry flavours nicely offset by a touch of salinity and a terrifically long finish where the spicy nuances emerge again. Made from the Bolbal grape, this is organic and biodynamic.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Mont Rocher Carignan 'Veilles Vignes' 2014 – Pay's d’Herault, France
Deeply translucent ruby red. The bouquet immediately whisks you to Europe with its savoury, slightly leathery nuances and hints of blue fruits coming through. Very dry in the palate where the tannins are fine with a light sense of grip. A lighter styled red made from Carignan grapes with minimal use of oak. I get a sense of the vineyard – the leaves, the berries, the clay, the vineyard workers' sweat. It’s juicy with purity of fruit and a long finish. A lighter styled red that definitely has its place.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Argento Mendoza Shiraz 2013 – Argentina
Bright shiny red. The scent of ripe juicy blackberries and raspberries tempt the nose and it is spicy and bright in the medium bodied palate with juicy berries, cake spices, a hint of pepper and a touch of vanillin oak all wrapped up in soft velvety tannins. Steve says Argentina is the most exciting Southern Hemisphere country in the world but the demand here in NZ is for its Malbec, not Shiraz, hence the ridiculous price.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.

The Cups & Rings Mencia 2014 – D.O. Bierzo, Spain
A rich, dark, deeply translucent red in the glass. There’s profoundness to the savoury, berry-embossed nose and it screams Europe in the palate. It has all of those earthy, savoury, tarry, peppery nuances with fine youthful tannins and very concentrated juicy red fruits that remind me of cranberries and red guavas – yes, guava jelly – with a touch of salinity to the very long and very succulent finish. An unoaked red made from the Mencia grape, it will develop in the bottle for several years.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Discovery Point Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014
Deeply translucent Burgundy red. Ah – NZ pinot – it smells sensually smoky and savoury with bittersweet red fruit and pinosity. It’s made in a medium-bodied Burgundian style with only old oak contact and flows across the palate with its fine silky tannins offering depth and concentration of juicy red fruit together with cake spices, a zing of acidity, sappy notes and a bright, salivating finish. This is Steve’s own label with Rob McDonald holding the winemaking reins.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Thorny Devil Old Vine Barossa Grenache 2015 – South Australia
A little jammy on the nose. Bright, lively and creamy in the palate with juicy red fruit reminiscent of blueberries and raspberries together with cakes spices, hints of pepper and a touch of salinity to the long juicy finish that has a sucking-a-cherry-stone feel. A fine tannined, delicately spicy wine with what seems like medium bodied palate weight (the alcohol is masked by the succulent fruit) and a welcome savoury bent as the wine lingers.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Es lo Que Hay Garnacha Vinas Viejas 2011 – Calataylud, Spain
Rich red black. Concentrated cherry jam and aromatic herbs fill the bouquet and it’s ripe and juicy in the full-bodied palate where the flirty high alcohol is immediately heady. It’s crammed with ripe, juicy, succulent blue and red fruits with a touch of graphite and iodine in behind and the finish is incredibly long with firm grunty tannins taking command. ‘Es lo que hay’ means ‘it is what it is’ and it definitely created a buzz around the room. Steve says this unoaked red will live 30 or 40 years but as it is unfined and unfiltered, expect the bottle to throw a huge amount of sediment.
15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $35.99.

Sierra Cantabria Rioja Gran Reserva 2005 – Rioja Alavesa, Spain
Bright black red with some bricking starting to show on the edges. The bouquet is aromatic and enticing with its concentrated scent of plums, cherries, spice, hints of vanilla and cedar. Full of flavour in the palate with bright acidity, concentrated red berries, hints of cigar box and vanilla, savoury / tarry notes in the background, still youthful slightly chalky tannins and a long, dry finish. Made from 98% Tempranillo and 2% Graciano grapes, aged for 24 months in American oak (25% new) then bottled unfiltered and further matured before release.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $46.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 3 May 2017
Simply Delicious
Wines were tasted blind.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
This is a light gold hue and it’s toasty on the nose and youthful in the citrussy palate with fresh oak to the fore, juicy peach and nectarine, apricot pie with crispy caramelised edges, hints of custard and a well balanced savouriness on the lingering finish. Just a little tight however this brand new release is not fully broken out of its cocoon just yet. One to watch with anticipation.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Alchemy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Light yellow oak with a bouquet that’s reminiscent of hazelnut oatmeal biscuits. The first sip seems mild and mellow then bold toasty oak bursts through. It’s bright with fresh acidity, a flinty undercurrent, fruit reminiscent of grilled peach and a very dry finish that’s offset with honey-coated oatmeal as the mouthfilling flavours linger. Silver NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Mission Jewelstone Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
The fascinating bouquet of this glossy light gold wine offers up wild yeast funk with slight sizzled butter notes and stonefruit. It seems quite Burgundian in the seamless palate with mellow malo notes, lemonade citrus, lovely seasoned French oak and a long dry finish that expands with mouthfilling vinosity and lingering flavours of nectarine and peach. Trophy AirNZ 2015.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.

The Landing Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2015
Full of nutty oak on the nose with hints of stonefruit and a waft of gunsmoke an. Rich in the palate with well integrated nutty savoury oak, loads of tingling spice, malo buttery notes, juicy tropical fruit and a hint of tantalising whisper of salinity – perhaps from the seasoning of the oak. Looking very classy tonight.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.

Kahurangi Nelson Gewurztraminer 2014
This has a classic rose petal bouquet and it is juicy and spicy in the palate with viscosity to the mouthfeel, lychee-like fruit flavours and a white pepper and ginger-like heat. It’s a soft, low acid style and the sweetness level is off dry. It’s ready to drink and enjoy now and why not at the price.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.

Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2005 – Mosel, Germany
Brilliant yellow gold in the glass with a glossy lustre. The bouquet offers up citrus, blossoms and white honey and while there is a hint of kero both on the nose and in the palate, it is just a suggestion. The mouthfeel is textural and the wine is luscious though not overly sweet. It’s light in its impression with hints of apple butter and lemon biscuits. Already 12 years old and nowhere near its peak. Words uttered around the room included ‘Striking’, ‘delightful’ and ‘delicious’. 8.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $45.99.

Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Merlot 2014
This is a saturated shiny red black. The bouquet smells ripe and creamy with scents of cherry and plum jam and it presents as velvety smooth with supple tannins in the creamy palate. There’s a bit of a spicy kick with a hint of pepper, juicy plums, a touch of leather and Christmas cake connotations on the long mellow finish. A super full-bodied, deep, dark Merlot that I would be happy to recommend to everyone.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Craggy Range Te Kahu Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2015
Deeply translucent in the glass, not quite opaque. This is a deep dark brooding wine both on the nose and also initially in the palate that’s characterised by fine textured tannins and a rounded mouthfeel. Made from predominantly Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec mixed in, it offers up hints of violets, earthy brambly notes, nuances of chocolate and a suggestion of cigar box with lifted acidity brightening the finish. What stands out for me is the profound and lingering fruit purity.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Yalumba The Paradox Barossa Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
A very deep dark red in the glass without being inky. Blackberry and vanillin oak tempt the nose and in the mouth it is fine and silky in its flow. It has an upfront spiciness and dry meaty tannins that complement the succulent chewy fruit with touches of mocha, chilli-infused chocolate and just the slightest suggestion of mint on the long, rounded, persistent finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Molly Dooker The Maitre D’ McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – South Australia
Deep dark red in the glass. The bouquet is meaty, oaky and savoury with a peppery aura and it is full-bodied and textural in the mouth with obvious alcohol / ethanol heat. It’s savoury, sappy, cedary and peppery with an earthy undercurrent, abundant plum and mulberry fruit, hints of cola and a welcome accent of mint. A big, heavy, alcohol-laden red.
16% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.

Osborne Pedro Ximinez 1827 Sherry – Jerez, Spain
A transparent mahogany hue with yellow/green tints to the edges. On the heady bouquet there’s that alluring and intriguing ‘rancio’ scent that comes from the oxidative ageing of the sherry in ancient oak barrels then in the mouth it’s thick and viscous and coats the tongue and the sides of the mouth deliciously. It tastes like liquid muscatel raisins that have been macerated in spiced brandy with hints of caramel, mocha and a luscious honeyed aura.
17% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99 / 750 ml bottle.

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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