Waimea Nelson Gewurztraminer 2015

This is gorgeous Gewurztraminer.

It is just the merest of off dry and the smooth flowing, soft flavours are reminiscent of orange water; cumin, coriander, cardamom, fennel seeds and anise spices; the nectar of Asian fruits; sprinkled pink smoker lolly dust and a zing of mandarin and ginger like a pas de doux pirouetting across the stage as a final flourish – all the flavours linger gently, tempting you to taste again. Continue reading

Time and place makes so much difference to taste

I first tasted Mills Reef ‘Bespoke’ Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 at a Chardonnay wine tasting. It was number 6 in a line-up of twelve chardonnays and followed Penfolds Reserve Bin 15A Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2015, a glorious, focussed, leesy, funky, youthful, white Burgundy look-alike. The big, bold, buttery, oily and seemingly overripe ‘banana bike’ confectionary flavours of the ‘Bespoke’ just didn’t gel with me at the time.

Mills Reef had sent me a bottle so I decided to take it to a friend’s place for dinner when I learnt salmon was on the menu. Well, what a difference time and place and the natural drinking environment makes. Continue reading

First taste of 2017

Matawhero Single Vineyard Pinot Rose 2017 from Gisborne, North Island, New Zealand
13.5% alc. RRP $23.

Matawhero Pinot Rose 2017My first taste of vintage 2017 – and a taste of summer in winter – though here in Auckland today it was shorts and t-shirt for a while as I walked along the beach without a skerrick of cloud or wind. And I didn’t have to chill the wine as it was left by the courier on the shady side of the house – a refrigerator in its own right. Continue reading

Iconic Tom releases from Church Road

At the First Glass wine tasting the other night (21 June to be precise) I got the opportunity along with the other 120 or so at the tasting to try the three new ‘Tom’ releases from the Church Road Winery in Hawkes Bay. Named for visionary winemaker Tom McDonald (1907-1987) who devoted his life to making wines at the current site of the Church Road winery, the Tom wines are true icons of #nzwine and some of the most expensive too.

Tom Chardonnay, Tom Syrah and Tom Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Tom Chardonnay, Tom Syrah and Tom Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

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Wine tasting exercise with Te Mania and Richmond Plains

When you drink wine socially you have one glass in your hand and you either like the wine or you don’t but you drink it anyway just because it is there. When you are a wine taster there’s often more than one bottle open and it’s all about swirling, sniffing and sipping one wine after the other while making evaluations, making comparisons, asking yourself which one you like best and ranking wines in order of preference. But for me it is often not as simple as saying A is better than B. I like to also try wines with food and that can change the comparison rankings on their head.

For this wine tasting exercise I opened Te Mania Nelson Pinot Noir 2015 ($24.99) and Richmond Plains Nelson Pinot Noir 2015 ($28.99) to taste on their own then to accompany with lamb shanks to see how they would fare. Te Mania and Richmond Plains Pinot Noirs 2015

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Kick it in the guts Trev

If your name is Trev or you’re a fan of the late John Clark aka Fred Dagg (who coined that now Kiwiana classic ‘Kick it in the Guts Trev’  phrase) then you’ll love this Waimea Family Estate Wines Trev’s Red 2015 for its name alone even though it is actually named for Trevor Bolitho who founded Waimea Estates in Nelson’s Waimea Plains in the early 1990s.

Trev’s Red is a smooth soft-drinking red made from a blend of 71% Cabernet Franc, 27% Syrah, 2% Viognier co-fermented and matured in new and seasoned oak barrels for a total of 10 months. Continue reading

Refreshing Riesling Before Dinner

Every time I go to the First Glass wine tastings and taste a riesling that is just off dry with juicy acidity and fruity freshness I say to myself, ‘I am really enjoying this, I should open more rieslings at home.’ So when I went to my sisters for dinner over Queens Birthday Weekend the Main Divide Waipara Valley Riesling 2014 was one of the wines in my wine bag.

We opened it after a pre-dinner excursion to Viaduct Harbour to see the light installation that switched on at 6 pm. There was a slow cook dinner in the oven to finish off while we were out.

Auckland Viaduct Harbour June 3 2017

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Hunters Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Hunters Unoaked Chardonnay 2016It’s not often I get excited about unoaked chardonnay but from the very first sip Hunters Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2016  set out to impress me.

It’s soft, almost creamy in the mouth and actually quite complex. It has those lovely lemon biscuit / oatmeal / nutty notes offset by well-balanced acidity and hints of just ripe, skin-on peach. Continue reading