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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

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 – 6 Dec 2017
Last Night of the Wines
Wines were tasted blind.

Leveret Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
There's a fresh vanilla custard creaminess to the bouquet and it’s smooth and rounded in the palate. A fruit driven style with a spicy zesty vibe, well balanced savouriness, beautifully integrated oak and accents of pineapple and apricot tart on the lingering finish. Very tasty and hard to resist at this price. Gold AirNZ 2016.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Mills Reef Bespoke Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
It's golden in colour, the aroma is creamed nuts and there's a touch of butter toffee lusciousness to the full-bodied taste that is smooth flowing with savoury oak while lifted acidity keeps the finish fresh. As Andrew said it is unashamedly made in an ‘old school style’ to enhance the buttery notes and I can attest it is an excellent match to oven roasted salmon.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Villa Maria Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
The bouquet emanates gunsmoke and fascinating wild yeast connotations and the taste is full of polished nutty oak, grilled peach, vanilla biscuit and mealy notes with a flinty undercurrent and spicy savouriness to the warm, full-bodied finish where a citrus vibrancy comes through. A striking Chardonnay at 4 years of age that is full of flavour, long and intense.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.

Ceres Black Rabbit Central Otago Riesling 2017
Inviting floral and tropical fruit aromatics and freshly juiced citrus and honeysuckle flavours are so en-pointe in this mouth-watering, lower alcohol, medium style that’s beautifully poised yet utterly refreshing with scintillating acidity and a spritzy vibe. Gold AirNZ. Gold NZIWS.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Rameau D'Or Côtes de Provence ‘Golden Bough’ Rosé 2016 – Provence, France
The most delicate pink hue, subtle aromas of cherry and raspberry and almost bone dry to the taste which is savoury rather than fruity with spice and pepper nuances and a tangy finish. Fabulous lunchtime wine with attractive bottle presentation and a back label story to entrance.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Montessu Isola dei Nuraghi 2014 – Sardinia, Italy
This tasty blend of 60% Carignan and 10% each of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot is rich black red with crimson edges. A pink bubble gum fragrance wafts from the glass at a distance with a delicious ripe berry scent when nosing. It’s fruity and expressive in the palate with sweet berry fruit, cherry pie, peppery spices, voluptuous tannins and underlying leather and tar. A lovely expression of old world meets new world made by the winemaker who used to work at Sassacaia.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Merlot 2015
Inky black red. Savoury on the nose with hints of freshly baked dark berry pie. Vanillin oak is noticeable on first tasting together with plums, cassis, currants and well balanced tannins cake spices and a touch of pepper. While still unfolding, it is full-bodied, generous and voluptuous with an ornate oak frame and an impressively long succulent finish with just a whisper of mint. Gold and Trophy NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Varvaglione 12 e Mezzo Primitivo del Salento 2015 – Salento, Italy
Dark red, thinning/fading a little on the edges. Crushed chocolate biscuits, smoky oak and jammy berries fill the bouquet and it’s savoury in the palate which is nicely poised, not too OTT, with fine smooth tannins. Fruit is reminiscent of plums and cassis with cigar box, mocha, chocolate and a subtle pepper zing to lingering red berry finish. Like this a lot – lots going on.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Take it to the Grave Langhorne / Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
The scent is like dusty red plums and apples simmering on the stove for jam and the fruit is ultra ripe and generous in the palate with plump velvety tannins, a touch of mint and a peppery touch to the finish where blackberry and black cherry emerges a little while later as the flavours linger. An okay shiraz however the quirky label may not appeal to everyone.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
This is inky black red in the glass with an attractive bouquet of chocolate syrup, spicy oak and concentrated mulberries and berries that follow through to the bright spicy palate together with lashings of mint. Ripe, generous, lifted and clean with a velvet cloak of fine tannins and concentration and power to the full-bodied finish that is nicely balanced with a touch of pepper. A big wine with an elegant swagger and hard for Shiraz lovers to resist. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 29 Nov 2017
Mostly Gold
Wines were tasted blind.

Brancott Letter Series ‘O’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
This is a glorious Chardonnay that immediately tempts with its creamy, mealy, slightly citrussy, barrel ferment aromas and it’s smooth and seamless as it flows across the palate with nougat and hazelnut flavours together with grilled peach, toasty oak and a zesty brightness to the mouthfilling and lingering finish. 5 star wine at 5 star value. Gold AirNZ, NZIWS, Marlborough and Sydney.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Margaret River Chardonnay 2016 – Western Australia
This is very tight and youthful at this stage of its life. The bouquet is savoury and just a little reductive and it’s dry and citrussy in the full-bodied palate – what some would call an ‘elegant’ wine – but as the flavours linger and flesh out in the mouth with touches of nectarine joining more primary lemongrass, you can sense the potential. An icon wine that’s made to last and will offer so much more with at least 12 months cellaring time.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $81.99.

Mount Riley Marlborough Riesling 2017
This is refreshingly fragrant with its scent of lemon zest, honey and flower nectar and the flavours are bright, clean and aromatic with light viscosity to the texture, juicy citrus and apricot fruit, just a touch of sweetness and refreshing apple acidity to the bright zesty finish. Well-balanced and drinkable. Gold NZIWS. Gold & Trophy Air NZ. Gold and Trophy Marlborough Wine Show.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.

Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017
This is a soft and fairly dry pinot gris with a lightly aromatic pear and apple skin scent and flavours of poached quince and peach with a hint of ginger adding a spicy vibe to the zingy finish. Made by Peregrine. Gold and Trophy AirNZ.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Rockburn Stolen Kiss Central Otago Pinot Rosé 2017
This is seriously pale pink and while the bouquet seems delicately scented it emanates wild cherry with a beguiling exotic flare. It’s full of flavour in the palate with off dry to medium sweetness, touches of strawberry floss and a zesty vibrancy to the quenching finish that's very long and tasty.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Bannockbrae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
This has a translucent and slightly fading ruby hue. The bouquet is smoky and savoury with a floral allure and it’s dry in the savoury, slightly gamey palate where the aromatics infuse to give a sense of dried roses and polished oak furniture. The tannins are silky yet still quite firm with cherry and cranberry fruit and while it seems like a lovely lighter elegant style to start it has understated stamina and power. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
This has a rich ruby saturation to the deeply translucent hue. The colour is in sync with the succulence of the fruit-driven, spice-infused aroma and the fullness of the flavours that are crammed with juicy cherry and plum fruit, touches of rose hip, hints of vanilla and woody spices. A generous pinot with a velvety flow and a lasting finish that leaves an aura of mouthfilling satisfaction. Gold AirNZ.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Organic Merlot 2016
This is a vibrant crimson-edged black red hue. There's a leathery, dusty, woody herb, Bordeaux character to the bouquet and it’s dry and firm in the initially savoury, cedary, cigar box palate that opens up with plum and cherry fruit and a lingering succulence to the creamy finish. Smooth and elegantly poised in a medium to full-bodied style and very well received on the night. Gold and Trophy AirNZ.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Coopers Creek Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2016
The colour is a bright pinky / crimson cherry jam red. The bouquet is concentrated and generous with succulent, almost jammy, berry fruit infused with chocolatey oak. It seems quite dry on first tasting with toasted spices and a slight hint of pepper but becomes more and more succulent as the berry and plum fruit pushes through to tame the tannins to leave a mouth-coating, vibrantly lifted finish. Gold and Trophy AirNZ Wine Awards.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Giordano Primitivo Di Manduria Reserva 2014 – Puglia, Italy
There's a tawny aura to the bricking red hue hinting of a little age. The bouquet is full of sweet fruit and it’s full-bodied and sweet-fruited in the opulent, velvety-textured palate with rich raisin, date and prune-like fruit, Xmas cake spices, hints of almonds and marzipan and vibrant almost peppery tingles. Rich, warm, full-bodied and smooth-flowing and while the fruit is sweet there’s a beautifully balanced savoury undercurrent and the wine finishes satisfyingly dry. Hard to resist.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.

St Johns Road Blood and Courage Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
The colour is a fresh, youthful, deep dark red. Chocolate biscuits, creamy oak and shiraz spices fill the bouquet and it’s typically shiraz in the creamy, spicy palate that’s full of luscious berry fruit with integrated oak, fine smooth tannins and a long, succulent finish with a little flourish of mint. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 22 Nov 2017
USA v NZ Chardonnay Shootout and NZ v AUS Red Wine Shootout
Wines were tasted blind.

Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay 2015 – Clarksburg, California
This is a fresh, medium-bodied, oily-textured chardonnay with an initial burst of acidity tamed by the smooth, caramel-coated finish that's very long and tasty with touches of apricot and peach emerging to linger. Some will find this a little sweet, others will simply love its lusciousness.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Grove Mill Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
A tantalising vanilla biscuit bouquet leads the way into the full-bodied palate. It's savoury and just a little spicy with an underlying mealy richness, juicy flavours of fig and nectarine and zesty citrus accents. Compared to the Bogle this is much drier and tangier with nutty oak lingering on the long, mouth coating finish. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Milcrest Estate Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2015
This has a rich creamy bouquet and is full and fat in the palate with spicy oak and zesty citrus beautifully balanced by juicy peach at first then butterscotch and buttery savoury notes joining in on the complex mouthfilling finish. Full-bodied and engaging and drinking beautifully now.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Gold Label Chardonnay 2015 – Monterey County, California.
This has a rich, tropical fruit bouquet with hints of pineapple and it’s soft in the oily-textured palate with fruit at first reminiscent of baked apple and pear then lemon and honey and finishing with a surge of crushed pineapple. Tonight it presents as full-bodied and fruity rather than oaky with lingering hints of toasted raisin bread.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Harken Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016 – California, USA
The lovely rich creamy chardonnay bouquet tempts from the outset while toasted savoury cedar and butter caramel notes fill the mouth-coating palate that’s crammed with ripe juicy stonefruit and touches of sumac. Perhaps a little sweet (like the Bogle) but many will love the utter opulence of this bigger, richer style.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Marlborough Chardonnay 2014
The bouquet is fresh and fragrant with infusions of wild yeast, gunflint, toast, grapefruit and stonefruit and all those exciting gunflint, savoury, malty, leesy flavours in the moderately high-toned palate. Sophisticated and elegant, still unfurling yet showing its power. The polar opposite of the sweet Californian wines. Gold Medal Bragato 2017.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Mission Barrique Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2016
It's a deeply translucent cerise and the bouquet emanates berry fruit with hints of tobacco like a lightly-oaked European red. It’s fresh and fruity in the youthful medium-bodied fine-tannined palate with juicy blackberries and raspberries at first then becoming more savoury, smoky and complex with Syrah’s pepper signature more obvious on the finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Penfolds Bin 8 Shiraz Cabernet 2016 – South Australia
This saturated red has a rich, dark, inviting bouquet with hints of vanilla and chocolate and it's bright and spicy in the fine-textured palate with ripe red and blue berry fruits, cake spices, pepper, a momentary edgy herbaceous and a dark tarry, charry finish with a lingering brightness from the vanillin oak and the berries. Medium to full-bodied with loads and loads of flavour.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.

Craggy Range Te Kahu 2015 – Hawkes Bay
Inky blackberry red in hue with an enveloping bouquet infused vanilla, nutty oak, cedar, chocolate and cassis liqueur. A ripe, juicy, blockbuster red with velvet coated tannins, hints of cigar box, touches of vanilla, a smidgen of mint in the background and ripe currant fruit with a chocolate coating. This serious and fairly dry Bordeaux-inspired red blended from 76% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec is opulent and tasty and developing nicely.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Vasse Felix Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – Western Australia
Rich dark red, not totally opaque. Dusty on the nose with wafts of mint, eucalypt and cedar becoming more fragrant and perfumed with a little time – the mint and eucalypt masking the concentrated berry fruit at first with firmness to the chalky tannins, toasted spicy cedar and a pleasing succulence to the focussed finish that lingers with finesse. Has terrific ageing potential.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.

d’Arenberg The Dead Arm McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
A very dense, dark saturated black red in the glass. The bouquet is smooth with dark chocolate-coated red berry fruit and sappy cedar and it is vibrant and tasty in the opulent velvety-textured palate with a succulent red berry and mint brightness spiralling around the oaky frame with splashes of red pepper, black forest chocolate and perhaps even a soupçon of Turkish delight. Mouth-coating and mouthfilling with many years to go.
14.6% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 15 Nov 2017
Gold Medals from the Air NZ Wine Awards
Wines were tasted blind.

Wairau River Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
A proudly pungent lemon and herb aroma with lashings of cut grass and a hint of green passionfruit. Juicy tasting with stonefruit and tinges of grapefruit, hot and fumé in a way and a full on, fresh, powerful, tasty finish. Gold NZIWS. Gold AirNZ.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Mount Riley Seventeen Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
A very inviting bouquet of butterscotch and caramel with wafts of freshly baked golden crunch biscuits. Smooth flowing across the creamy palate with bold flavours of stonefruit, caramel and toasty oak, underlying savoury malty notes and a long generous and powerful finish tinged with cedar and accents of citrus. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Nautilus Marlborough Albarino 2017
Poached pears and yellow stone fruits are soft on the bouquet but bright apple acidity is upfront in the palate with hints of dried apricot and lemon peel ebbing to a dry flinty slightly saline finish where subtle gooseberry, herbaceous, sauvignon-like pungency lingers. A crisp dry white wine to go with fish. Gold AirNZ. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Forrest Marlborough Chenin Blanc 2016
This softly aromatic white is smooth and creamy with flavours of stewed apple, stonefruit and custard apple and a crisp apple brightness to the finish. It has a rounded chardonnay-like mouthfeel, richness to the texture, a touch of honeyed sweetness and underlying nutty savouriness. Lovely drinking now with the potential to age. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017
This straw gold wine offers delicate floral poached pear aromas and powerful mouth-coating ripe juicy pear / pear drop flavours with touches of ginger and a hint of spearmint leaf confectionary emerging on the lingering finish. Can be well chilled.Very popular on the night. Gold AirNZ.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.

Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016
A little shy on the nose but classically pinot gris with medium sweetness to the palate honed by a touch of grapefruit and lemon zest. It's a fairly dry style with juicy peach and nectarine flavours, a tickle of white pepper, underlying flintiness and a long, soft, mouthfilling and satisfying finish. Gold AirNZ.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2016
The bouquet is like a delicately scented cottage garden and there's just a touch of spun sugar sweetness in the palate with candied citrus, orange blossom water and myriads of zesty tingles, then revealing more classical rose petal and Turkish delight flavours with a little bit of heat as it lingers. Gold AirNZ.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 ‘Plateau’ Hawkes Bay Merlot 2015
Deep inky boysenberry red in the glass. The bouquet is full, opulent, plummy and chocolatey with dark spicy oak and a touch of pencil box then in the mouth the tannins are smooth and the ripe-fruited taste is fleshy and generous. There’s cocoa, chicory, plums and loads of sappy cedar with lingering vanilla and chocolate on the long, powerful finish. Gold AirNZ 2016. Gold NZIWS 2016 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Te Awa Single Estate Hawkes Bay Gimblett GravelsSyrah 2013
This is a deep dark red with a touch of crimson. There's a dark smoky cigar box-like aura infusing the plum and black cherry jam bouquet – it smells succulent, smooth and creamy but on first tasting the dryness of the wine and the tight-knit tannins are profound. It soon reveals blackberries and cream and the generous milk chocolate finish is long and flowing – all the upfront dryness has dissipated – and roasted spices and toasted oak accent the long creamy finish. Cuisine Top 10 Syrah 2016.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015
Bright blackberry red in the glass. The bouquet is aromatic and spicy with hints of smoked prosciutto and brambles. Brimming with luscious berry fruit in the palate that’s characterised by fine dry tannins, it’s mouthfilling and concentrated with toasted aromatic spices – more exotically spicy than peppery – with succulent redcurrant and mulberry fruit and a very long fine finish. Power with elegance. Gold AirNZ.
13.5%% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot 2014
Inky purple berry red in hue with crushed chocolate cameo cream biscuit aromas infusing the glorious bouquet together with berry fruit and cedar. It’s rich, ripe and succulent in the velvety smooth palate with blackberry, cassis, chocolate and cedar, the most subtle suggestion of mint and perhaps even a hint of pepper, and the finish is beautifully rounded and long and lingers with a hint of violet. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot that exudes absolute class. Gold and Trophy AirNZ 2016.
13.5%% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $42.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 8 Nov 2017
Champagne, Riesling, Pinot and Shiraz
Wines were tasted blind.

Delaplace Champagne NV – Mame, France
This evocative full-bodied Champagne made from a cuvée of predominantly Pinot Meunier with Chardonnay and a smidgen of Pinot Noir is a terrific way to start an evening. It shows tiny bubbles in the glass, it emanates a yeasty lemon biscuit aroma and the mouth tingles with the fine yet vibrant fizz. It’s savoury rather than fruity with tangy salinity and Champagne’s unique yeast autolysis flavours, hints of vanilla and lemon sherbet and a long, creamy, mouthfilling finish. Gold NZIWS.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Champagne Charles Orban Blanc de Noirs NV – Troissy, France
A cuvée of Pinot Meunier (60%) and Pinot Noir (40%), it’s gold in the glass, the bouquet gives the impression of lightness and freshness yet there’s pinot’s distinctive earthy allure to the savoury, mellow, yeasty and very very dry taste with hints of lemon, touches of cherry and rose hip and a long lingering tingly finish.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99

Champagne Tattinger Brut Reserve NV – Riems, France
This cuvée of predominantly Chardonnay with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier is a light golden colour, there’s a touch of nectar to the very ripe scent and the mouth tingles with the vibrancy of the fine fizzy bubbles. It tastes decadent, yeasty and savoury with a subtle suggestion of peach and a lovely long rich complex yet tantalising fresh dry finish with a lingering nutty complexity.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $62.99.

Hunters Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
A fresh youthful style with a light gold colour and hints of pink bubble gum infusing the yellow fruit bouquet where peach comes foremost to mind. It’s creamy and smooth as it flows through the palate with touches of lemon biscuits and toasted hazelnut over a fresh, crisp fruity backbone and a hint of butterscotch to the lingering finish. Silver NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Main Divide Waipara Valley Riesling 2014
Golden in the glass with a bouquet of toasted beeswax and citrus honey, and rich and unctuous to the taste that’s like concentrated grapefruit syrup with vibrant acidity honed beautifully by a lingering tropical fruit sweetness. Main Divide is known for spritzy Riesling, but the spritz has settled with bottle age. 20 g/L residual sugar.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Riverby ‘Eliza’ Marlborough Riesling 2014
Yellow gold in the glass with Riesling’s classic lemon/lime aromas infused with kero and a lightly viscous honeyed palate with flavours reminiscent of lemon honey and lime curd with underlying flint honing the sweetness perfectly. It’s starting to pick up gorgeous toasty notes with age. 40g/L residual sugar.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Brancott Estate Letter Series T Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016
Youthful ruby garnet with a generous bouquet of Damson plums with woodsmoke, cedar and aromatic spice notes. Powerful and complex in the fresh, vibrant, lifted palate with savoury oak, cherry and plum fruit, hints of vanilla and Christmas spices with touches of bouquet garni and just the right amount of firmness to the finely textured tannins.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
There's a bright pink glow to the deep ruby hue. The bouquet is hauntingly smoky and savoury with hints of black cherry and thyme, and the palate offers up amazing vinosity / fruit sweetness – the fruit seems almost luscious yet the wine is fresh. It’s smooth, silky and seamless as it flows across the palate with underlying woody savouriness, touches of vanilla, musk and anise and a flourish of cake spice. A pinot of succulence and mouthfilling satisfaction. Bannockburn fruit. Gold AirNZ, Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Bald Hill Single Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
It's a rich dark ruby in the glass, not really hinting of its age. The bouquet is fragrant with a deep almost floral allure – then smoky oak and mulled wine spices become noticeable too. Not overtly fruity to the taste at first and surprisingly still quite firm in the front palate but velvety as it flows with a sensuous meaty savouriness, lifted spices and creamy opulence to the juicy plum and cherry finish. A wine of lingering succulence and harmony. Bannockburn fruit. Gold NZIWS.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $40.99.

Kingston Estate Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky in the glass with brightness to the crimson-edged blackberry hue. Lifted bouquet of sweet plums and violets. Concentrated and powerful in the palate with succulent slightly confectionery red and black fruits, smooth tannins, hints of earth, mocha, dark chocolate, cake spices and pepper and a fine tannin flow. Amazing quality and presentation for the price. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Chapel Hill The Parson McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky purple black in hue with a deep rich powerful bouquet offering up mulberry fruit, dark chocolate and liquorice. The taste is like concentrated chocolate and cream flowing through a big dark oaky frame with woody herbs and a savoury edge offset by fine tannins and plump wine-soaked cherry fruit all building to a rich dark succulent finish with a sprinkle of chocolate dust.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Tenafeate Creek The Judgement Barossa Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
This truly massive wine is inky black with crimson edges and has a super rich, opulent bouquet that exudes a heady raspberry jam vinosity and chocolatey sweetness. It’s super concentrated in the luxurious palate that’s crammed with chocolate, dark berries, smoked spices, vanilla and cedar with big oak and big tannins. It’s the essence of Shiraz with its concentration, succulence and presence. Gold and Trophy for Champion Shiraz, NZIWS 2017.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 1 Nov 2017
(Almost) All Gold Medal Wines
Wines were tasted blind.

Sugarloaf Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Tangy and powerful with buoyant tropical fruit, green passionfruit and apple aromatics and juicy and flavoursome in the textural palate with lashings of tropical fruit, yellow guava, lime, lemon and tangelo underpinned by steely spine-tingling acidity, touches of tarragon and an incredibly long pungent finish. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $17.99.

Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Big & Bouncy Gisborne Chardonnay 2016
There’s a yellow butter glow to the hue. The bright bouquet exudes butter caramel, just sharpened HB pencils and toast, and it’s soft and smooth flowing in the palate that's oozing malt and caramel with touches of tropical fruit, canned pears and peach. Easy going and living up to its name.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $16.99.

La Boheme Act Three Pinot Gris and Friends 2016 - Yarra Valley, Australia
Aromatic and bright on the nose with touches of pear drop and orange zest. Light, crisp and dry in the palate with a zesty fresh apple bite that tickles the tip of the tongue. With pinot blanc, gewurztraminer and riesling (‘The Friends’) joining pinot gris there are little surges of apple, pear, citrus and spice as this refreshing wine traverses the palate and the overall impression juicy and quenching. Gold NZIWS.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $19.99.

Mount Riley The Bonnie Marlborough Rosé 2017
This pinot noir rosé has a radiant pink hue, an enticingly fragrant plum and cherry aroma, and it is juicy and deliciously quenching to the mouthfilling, moderately gutsy and texturally pleasing taste that’s full of summer berries with just a touch of sweetness, well balanced savouriness and lingering flavours of cherry, blueberry and strawberry. Gold NZIWS.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $12.99.

Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015
Dark ruby hued with cherries and chocolate and a mellow smoky nuance to the scent which is a little shy to start then opens up to reveal a lovely floral allure. Moderately spicy in the palate yet overall soft, smooth, juicy and not too heavy with a beautifully balanced savoury undercurrent and a firm finish with woodsmoke and sappy notes unfolding as the tasting progresses. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $24.99.

Tenuta Ulisse Amaranta Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2014
Shiny blackberry in the glass. Wonderfully concentrated on the nose with people around me saying‘Three Berry Jam’ and ‘hot jam tart jam’. My impression of the bouquet is plum jam and prunes with waves of dark smoky oak and saddle leather. It's inky and opulent to the taste with succulent dark fruit, an inviting savouriness, touches of dark orange chocolate and hints of espresso with surprisingly supple tannins and a long lifted finish. Sam describes this as ‘supercharged’ and it is, absolutely! Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price $32.99.

Kingston Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Vivid purple black. There’s a tarry note at first on the nose then heady vinosity and dark berry jam. The taste is dark and savoury, spicy and concentrated, meaty and tarry with a touch of chicory essence then waves of bright fruit with touches of rose hip and vanilla and just the slightest hint of mint. The tannins are silky and fine and the finish is fantastically long. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $14.99.

Thomas Goss McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016
Deep dark plummy red. Lifted red fruits on the nose and bright, fresh and spicy in the palate with touches of milk chocolate and cocoa, juicy cherry and mulberry fruit, more fine chocolate layers and creamy vanillin oak. Generous on the finish that’s laced with nutmeg and pepper and firmness to the tannins that coat the mouth gently. Gold NZIWS.14.5% alc. . First Glass Price $18.99.

Three Dark Horses McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016
Bright and inky in the glass. Generous aromas of black cherry and mulberry and ultra decadent in the palate with mouthfilling flavours of creamy oak, chocolate, cherries, black forest cake, touches of liquorice and mocha on a cloud of plush tannins. Harmonious all the way through and irresistible for lovers of this style. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $19.99.

Vigne Vechhi Legenda Primitivo di Manduria 2015 - Italy
Rich dark red with heady aromas of ripe, sweet, chocolate-coated sun baked grapes and super ripe and concentrated in the palate with velvet-cloaked soft pillowy tannins, dark berry fruit, vanillin oak, coffee liqueur and cream, marzipan, warm spices and underlying tarry savoury notes in harmony. A spectacular wine in every respect. Gold NZIWS and Trophy for Champion International Red.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price $49.99.

Riverby Estate Marlborough Noble Riesling 2015
It’s the colour of golden topaz, the bouquet is sweet citrus and honeysuckle and the decadently sweet taste is juicy and luscious with viscosity to the texture and a delightful freshness from the racy acidity that continuously ripples through. It’s full of tropical fruit with a smidgen of passionfruit and lingering flavours of apricot, honeycomb and lime marmalade. Gold NZIWS and Trophy for Champion Sweet Wine.
11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $26.99.

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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