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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

September / October 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 – 18 Oct 2017
More Gold Medal Wines
Wines were tasted blind.

La Gioiosa et Amorosa Prosecco NV - Treviso, Italy
Straw gold with an exuberant head of bubbles settling to a fine lacy mousse. There’s a hint of lemon to the scent and it’s light, soft and refreshingly dry to the foamy taste with a touch of pear, a touch of savouriness and a pleasing grapey aftertaste. Gold NZIWS.
11% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Kim Crawford Small Parcels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
Gorgeous golden yellow with an inviting chardonnay aroma full of barrel ferment and mealy yeasty connotations. Savoury more than fruity to the taste though full of rounded, mouth-coating stonefruit sweetness and butter caramel corn coating the finish. Drinking beautifully. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Crossroads Winemakers Collection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Golden in colour with a fabulous toasty oak bouquet infused with spiced nuts and the scent of freshly baked hokey pokey biscuits. It’s rich and juicy to the taste with classy oak, sweet nutty nuances, juicy peach, an underlying mealy savouriness and fresh acidity extending the long dry finish. One for the long haul. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Dashwood Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017
Light gold in colour with invitingly fragrant pear drop and honey dew melon aromas and full and textural in the off dry palate with power and juiciness to the pear, stonefruit and nashi fruit with a touch of creaming soda flavour coming through on the bright zingy finish. Champion Pinot Gris at both NZIWS and New World Wine Awards. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $9.99.

Willm Reserve Pinot Gris 2015 - Alsace, France
Off dry heading towards medium in sweetness level with a lightly honeyed aura both to the bouquet and in the almost luscious palate with a touch of pear, nectar-like tropical fruit, a hint of spice and lifted acidity adding freshness to the concentrated mouthfilling finish. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Ceres Black Rabbit Central Otago Riesling 2017
This instantly attractive Riesling has an intensely floral and tropical fruit scent with a vibrant citrussy zing. It’s deliciously juicy and quenching to the taste with fruit reminiscent of wind-fallen heritage apples accented with lime and tangelo zest. It’s a lower alcohol style with scintillating acidity that makes the medium sweetness seem more like off dry. Superb wine. Gold NZIWS.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Peregrine Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
There’s concentration and brightness to the deep ruby garnet hue. The fragrant bouquet is creamy, voluptuous and generous as is the juicy taste that’s layered with cherry chocolate and supported by fine velvety tannins with a harmonious savoury undercurrent and a bright spicy allure. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Vega Del Rayo Rioja Reserva 2011 - Spain
Made from the Tempranillo grape, this is dark red in the glass with a burnished orange glimmer to the hue. It has a savoury, gamey and slightly herbal aroma with more obvious savouriness in the succulent yet meaty palate with a huge hit of peppery spice, touches of cigar smoke, Christmas cake fruit and nut mix, leather and vanilla. Concentrated and powerful, with super fine tannins and a long juicy finish and fabulous presentation with its wire wove cage. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Tenuta Ulisse Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015 - Central Italy
Superlatively dark and inky in the glass with radiant shininess of youth. Deep and intense, almost heady on the nose with a profound depth of dark jammy fruit and a slight confectionary note like blackberry jubes. All this and more in the super expressive palate with firm tannins, touches of leather, well balanced savouriness and chocolate emerging on the super succulent finish. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Shingleback McLaren Vale Red Knot GSM 2016 - South Australia
The blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre is a deeply translucent ruby crimson, youthful in appearance. Ripe and creamy on the nose and harmonious in the palate with a fine tannin profile, a spicy vibrancy, restrained savouriness and peppery accents to the long creamy finish. Sam’s description of ‘ berries, plums and chocolate' is absolutely spot on. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Mr Riggs The Truant McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 - South Australia
A deep dark red hinting of a just a little age. Concentrated and spicy on the nose with red fruits to the fore. The lovely smotth flowing taste is brimming with bright berry fruit and Damson plum jam over savoury oak with hints of vanilla, anise and chocolate. Intensely concentrated yet succulent and juicy all the way through. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

St Johns Road Blood and Courage Barossa Shiraz 2016 - South Australia
Vivid purple, red/magenta with a deep, fine, vinous aroma that has a delightful cherry and rose-like floral allure. It’s layered and intense in the palate with succulent cherry and mulberry fruit, creamy chocolate smoothness, a lovely fine oak frame, and a spicy flourish to the finish. Succulent and juicy all the way through. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 13 Sep 2017
Double Trouble
Wines were tasted blind.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2015 — California, USA Golden in colour, a hint of smoke on the nose and rounded and mellow in the mouth with a soft smooth flow. Extremely approachable with touches of melon and apricot fruit, a sprinkle of spice, whispers of caramel and well integrated lightly toasted savoury oak.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Domaine Rewa Central Otago Chardonnay 2016 Straw gold in hue with aromas of grilled peach following through to the crisp fresh palate with abundant zesty lemon and ‘weeny grapefruit’, nicely balanced savoury smoky French oak and touch of nougat on the long dry finish. Gold and Trophy Bragato Wine Awards 2017.
13.75% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay 2015 — Kumeu, Auckland
Quite golden in colour. The bouquet is like a freshly formed clay bowl of just cut citrus and the upfront taste is zingy with a sherbet-like spritzig feel from zesty flavours of luscious juicy limes. The wine softens mid palate to reveal malty mealy nuances, touches of lemon barley, elegant use of oak , a lightly phenolic slatey texture and the finish is long, crisp and dry.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $44.99.

Kumeu River Mate's Chardonnay 2015 — Kumeu, Auckland
Also golden in colour but in comparison to the Coddington the bouquet is shy with delicate tropical fruit and nutty French oak nuances not hinting of the fullness to come. A wine of body and richness with flavours of grilled lemon, mango and papaya, hazelnuts, mealy malo characters and a touch of wild yeast funk and a very very long dry zesty finish where the flavours linger magnificently.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $64.99.

Main Divide North Canterbury Gewurztraminer 2016
Glossy gold coloured with aromas of pink smoker lollies, crystallised violets and candy floss, and warm spicy flavours with a touch of sweetness. A beautifully expressive gewurztraminer that’s been fermented in barrel with luscious lychee fruit, ginger marmalade, geranium flowers and touches of liquorice staples and aniseed.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Gewurztraminer 2016
Golden in colour with a savouriness (possibly from the oak) infusing the fragrant bouquet and soft in the opulent and powerful palate. A big-boned, indulgent, ripe heady wine with touches of botrytis adding a honey / hokey pokey intrigue and fruit flavours reminiscent of apricot, spiced pear and glace peaches with a lingering soft ginger-like zing.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Farnese-Fantini Giro Primitivo 2016 — Puglia, Italy
Deep dark red in colour, soft, ripe and jammy on the nose with a touch of cedary oak pushing through and savoury and spicy in the soft textured creamy palate with prune, blackberry and cherry fruit, touches of chocolate, mochaccino and vanilla pod and wrap around the tongue savouriness to the finish. Simply delicious and easy to drink.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Vigne Vecchie Leggenda Primitivo di Manduria 2013 — Italy
Vibrant purple red coloured with cedar and spice filling the bouquet and thick and firm in the palate with noticeable tannins, crushed vanilla-soaked wild blackberries, cigar box, chicory, mocha, creamy toffee and well balanced acidity honing in the opulence. Still very youthful for its four years of age.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Beresford Bell Tower McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013 — South Australia
Deep dark red in colour, smoky on the nose with a touch of struck match and full of ripe juicy jubey raspberry, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit in the smooth flowing fine-tannined palate with peppery spice, touches of red liquorice, chocolate, tobacco and vanilla with nicely balanced oak on the concentrated finish. So much delight for the price 14.2% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015— South Australia
A glorious deep, rich, dark red with a nut chocolate / vanilla / cedary bouquet and fruit positively brimming in the thick, mouth-coating velvety-tannined palate. Black Doris plums, vanilla, chocolate, cherry, raspberry liquorice, mint and cedar entwine with the ripe fruity finish offset by a beautifully balanced cedary savouriness and winey chocolate emerging again to linger. ‘OMG yum’ simply sums up this wine.
14.2% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Two Hands Angels Share McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 — South Australia Inky black red. Powerful on the nose with boysenberry jam, chocolate and mocha coming to mind and spicy and bright in the palate with deep berry fruit, bitter chocolate and peppery spices to the fore. A heady wine with depth and structure, fine supple tannins and a touch of mint emerging on the dry concentrated finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.

Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Barossa Shiraz 2016 — South Australia
Concentrated in its black red colour and concentrated in its rich, ripe, sumptuous taste that can simply be summed up as ‘dark divine chocolate and berry delight’. A bright-fruited with fine silky tannins, a liquid chocolate texture, blackberry pie, a touch of mint and a judicious touch of pepper. The Gnarly Dudes are the gnarly old vines that Two Hands say look like soldiers going into battle.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 6 Sep 2017
Value, Variety and Gold Medal Winners
Wines were tasted blind.

Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
This is powerfully pungent and vivaciously fresh with passionfruit aromas and a myriad of bright, punchy, tangy tropical fruit flavours accented with zesty citrus sherbet vibes and textural richness to the mouthfeel. Gold medal contender.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Matua Single Vineyard Wairau Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
The bouquet is shy for sauvignon blanc and the flavours, while classically zesty with gooseberry and capsicum, seem a little muted which makes this a more elegant style. There’s textural richness to mouthfeel with a touch of spritz that adds vibrancy.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Selaks Founders Limited Edition Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
Light golden in colour with aromas of butterscotch oak, nougat and salted caramel and bright in the palate with a smooth butterscotch flow. It's chewy and satisfying with a malty mealy complexity, hints of citrus and peach and a long, mouthfilling, toasty oak finish. Gold Bragato Wine Awards 2017.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
This moderate alcohol style initially seems quite lean after the generous Selaks. It has nutty oak aromas and malo milkiness overriding the flavours which for a moment whisks me to Burgundy! Toasty oak emerges with richness to the mouthfeel, hints of citrus and peach, a touch of vanilla and excellent length. Gold Bragato Wine Awards 2017 – judged at room temperature.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Clark Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2017
A very attractive delicate pink-ruby hue. The bouquet is fresh raspberries and redcurrants and the taste is full of glace cherry with a bright zesty raspberry and red apple freshness. Made from 100% pinot noir, it is just off dry with a savoury undercurrent and must be served chilled. Gold & Trophy Bragato Wine Awards 2017.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Matt Connell Wines Rendition Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
There's brightness to the purple ruby hue, the bouquet is bottled cherries, spice and woodsmoke and the flow across the palate is silky, almost creamy with a youthful tannin edge. A deep savouriness underpins the almost luscious fruit, there’s a suggestion of chocolate and anise and the finish, where oaky nuances emerge, is rounded, satisfying and complete.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $40.99.

Te Rata Matakana Syrah 2014
Deep red black with moderate opacity. There’s chocolate on the nose with an earthy allure, and green and black pepper comes through in the soft, smooth, creamy, full-bodied palate full of dark fruit over a gamey, savoury backbone. Very popular on the night, it’s organic, natural wine suitable for vegans with low preservative, and ready to drink and enjoy now.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.

Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Chalk Ridge Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
This is co-fermented with Viognier which adds brightness to the deeply translucent pinky red hue and a delicate violet nuance to the cherry perfume. It’s medium bodied in palate weight with beautifully fine silky tannins, harmonious oak, plummy fruit and well balanced spiciness. Slips down easily. A charmer. Gold Easter Show.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

Haselgrove First Cut McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Deep black red in colour with chocolate and cherry filling the bouquet and full-bodied and bright in the palate with firm, moderately dry tannins, spicy oak, chocolate, mocha and loads of juicy red and purple fruit. A reasonably serious wine with a deep brooding undercurrent and needs food right now or more cellar time.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Grant Burge Filsell Old Vine Barossa Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Deep purple red in colour with creamy nut chocolate and dusty oak on the nose and layer upon layer of flavour in the palate. While it initially seems quite dry, lashings of ripe cherry and mulberry fruit wells ups, there’s a harmonious velvety flow, touches of chocolate, vanilla, cake spices and pepper then on the savoury oak aftertaste the merest suggestion of mint. Terrific wine with no hurry to drink.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Shinas Estate The Verdict Mildura Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – NW Victoria, Australia
Inky purple red - almost black. Vinous berry jam aromas fill the bouquet and it seems utlra spicy (for cabernet) in the palate. It's youthful and dry with firm fine-grained tannins, boysenberry and blackcurrant fruit, touches of chocolate, sappy oak, graphite and leather and hints of violets on the succulent and mouthfilling finish.
14.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

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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