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Wednesday Round-up - the 2014 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

October 2014
[ Click here for index to other months ]

Some of the prices are 'special' prices. Check the First Glass website for current pricing.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 1 Oct 2014
Trophy winners from the 2014 NZIWS
Wines were not tasted blind this time.

Te Hana Sparkling Rosé Cuvée
Light salmon pink with masses of tiny bubbles. Inviting bouquet of strawberries and wild flowers with hints of orange zest. Savoury and earthy in the palate with strawberry, cherries and touches of rose hips and a fresh clean spritzy vibrancy to the long, rich, creamy, mouthfilling finish. A value-packed methode traditionelle. Champion NZ Sparkling.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $13.99.

Champagne Laurent Perrier Brut NV
Light yellow gold with a fabulous foamy mousse when poured. Soft on the nose with a creamy richness to the sweet toasted brioche scent with hints of peach, nougat and dried mango – it smells tantalising and divine! Bright, foamy and vibrant in the palate with a lovely rich yeasty savoury backbone and a crisp acid spine. A complex, mealy, bready wine with an ethereal lift to the long full creamy finish. This stunning cuvee has a high proportion of chardonnay and spent three years on yeast lees. Champion Champagne or Sparkling.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $74.99.

Matua Valley Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Albarino 2014
Light gold. Delightfully fragrant with apricot, pepino, apple, honeysuckle and delicate hints of citrus zest. Concentrated and textural in the palate with a tight almost flinty backbone, yet juicy and thirst-quenching at the same time. Like a fleshy peach at the peak of ripeness with floral nuances, clean fresh acidity and a touch of ginger adding spice to the powerful finish. So much going on in this tasty aromatic wine. Champion Other White Varieties.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
Light gold. Lightly creamy on the nose with sweet smoky oak and grilled peaches. Rich, rounded, ripe and creamy in the palate with stonefruit and melon, biscuit complexities, nutty oak and a zesty brightness to the long smooth finish where pleasing touches of butter caramel leave a lasting impression. Tasted several time at First Glass, it’s improving every time, so just how good is it going to get? Champion Commercial White Wine.
13.1% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Marsden Black Rocks Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2013
Light gold. Smoky and savoury with an opulent nougat and oatmeal richness to the impressive bouquet. Smooth, rounded and seamless with concentrated tropical fruit and melon with a bright citrus zing that's a perfect foil to the rich mouthfilling creamy toasty oak with lingering flavours of nougat and butter caramel. Absolutely delicious and hard to resist, a wine to enjoy right now and over the next two years. Champion Chardonnay and Champion Wine of the Show.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Gibbston Valley Central Otago Rose 2014
A delightful ruby pink in hue with aromas of strawberries and rose hips, and bright citrus and strawberry flavours with a well-balanced savoury backbone and a lively, fresh finish. This is so fresh, clean and summery, it’s all about simplicity and purity of the grapes. Champion Rosé.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Obsidian Waiheke Island Montepulciano 2013
Bright purple red with crimson flecks. Alluring deep, cedary aroma with nuances of dried herbs and fruitcake cherries. Creamy and smooth tasting with juicy ripe plum and cherry fruit, dried herbs, savoury oak, game meat, olives and cedar. There’s a bright spicy undercurrent, a touch of chocolate emerging and a juicy succulent finish that offsets the firm tannins and savouriness brilliantly. Already seductive but the cellaring potential is definitely there. Champion International Red.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Squawking Magpie The Nest Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Merlot 2013
Ink purple black in hue with a rich concentrated bouquet scented with creamy oak, vanilla, hints of chocolate, plums and cherries. Concentrated and magnificently structured with plush velvety tannins, this opulent wine brims with spiced cherries, juicy brambles, seductive smoky oak, hints of dark chocolate and the most subtle suggestion of anise. Quite firm but super succulent and caressing. Champion Merlot.
13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Saturated purple black. Opulent aromas of brambles, plums, vanilla, mint and cedar and a spicy brightness to the plush, concentrated, full bodied flavours. A rich, rounded, sweet-fruited, mouthfilling wine with great tannin structure over a creamy backbone with wonderful red fruit vibrancy, underlying cedar and leather. It seems amazingly approachable but it has the legs to cellar magnificently. Champion NZ Bordeaux.
14.5% Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Matua Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Syrah 2013
Brilliant purple crimson. Wonderfully aromatic with a bouquet of concentrated plum and leather aroma with smoky French oak, hints of violets, toasted aromatic spices and a judicious sprinkle of black pepper. Firm and velvety in the palate with layers of finesse, it is a wonderfully juicy wine with cake spices (cinnamon, clove, etc), rich purple fruits and a succulence black cherry sweetness that is so in harmony with the dark, meaty, leathery, smoky savoury backbone. Wonderful concentration, mouthfeel and length. Champion NZ Syrah. Champion Shiraz/Syrah.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $46.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2012
The colour of a yellow topaz gemstone, this lustrous-hued wine is rich and luscious with opulence and power. It has an exquisite bouquet of apricot nectar, honey and lime curd and the botrytis-rich taste is a sweet sensation of candied orange, honey and liquid toffee with gorgeous mouthfeel and flow while fresh acidity imparting a bright clean finish. Stunning. Champion Sweet Wine.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.

Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado Sherry
Mahogany amber with a glorious spiced toffee and brandy-macerated muscatel raisin scent and a liquid honey texture with a touch of rancio, orange peel, mocha, sticky muscatel raisins and warm toffee. Very sweet and decadent with exceptional length. Sensational end of evening treat. Champion Fortified.
17% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99 375-ml bottle.

* * * * * * * * *

I like the Fine Fine Wednesday Tastings held at First Glass Wines and Spirits in Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore. All the wines are served blind and unlike the blind tasting assessments I conduct at home (which are usually from producer's samples or, more rarely, wines I have purchased myself), I usually have no idea in advance of what wines are being included in the Fine Wine Wednesday tasting line-up. Exceptions have been the Cuisine Top 10 tastings, 'Super Tastings', or producer-hosted tastings where the line-up of wines is advertised to attract the tasters. All I know is that with Kingsley Wood choosing the wines, anything goes and the wines being tasted may cost from under $10 to over $110 a bottle, though they usually average somewhere in the $15 to $55 price range.

I have continued to attend the tastings over the years as I feel it gives me a good insight to wines currently available in the market place and the general reaction compared to my own. Not everyone likes the searingly dry rieslings that I love, I've found.

It also provides an oportunity to taste some wines I otherwise wouldn't get to see and to retaste those that I have.

Footnote: Prices listed are the retail and or special prices at First Glass Wines and Spirits at the time of tasting (date is at the top of each week's section). Check out for current availability and pricing and New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.
Sue Courtney's recent Fine Wine Wednesday tasting notes can also be found on the First Glass website.

Wednesday Wines index
2014 Tastings
January 2014 tasting notes.
February 2014 tasting notes.
March 2014 tasting notes.
April 2014 tasting notes.
May 2014 tasting notes.
June 2014 tasting notes.
July 2014 tasting notes.
August 2014 tasting notes.
September 2014 tasting notes.
October 2014 tasting notes.

2013 Tastings
January 2013 tasting notes.
February 2013 tasting notes.
March 2013 tasting notes.
April 2013 tasting notes.
May 2013 tasting notes.
July 2013 tasting notes.
July / Aug 2013 tasting notes.
September 2013 tasting notes.
October 2013 tasting notes.
November/ December 2013 tasting notes.

2012 Tastings
January 2012 tasting notes.
February 2012 tasting notes.
March 2012 tasting notes.
April 2012 tasting notes.
May 2012 tasting notes.
July 2012 tasting notes.
July 2012 tasting notes.
August 2012 tasting notes.
September 2012 tasting notes.
October 2012 tasting notes.
November/December 2012 tasting notes.

2011 Tastings
January 2011 tasting notes.
February 2011 tasting notes.
March 2011 tasting notes.
April 2011 tasting notes.
May 2011 tasting notes.
July 2011 tasting notes.
July 2011 tasting notes.
August 2011 tasting notes.
September 2011 tasting notes.
October 2011 tasting notes.
November 2011 tasting notes.
December 2011 tasting notes.

2010 Tastings
January 2010 tasting notes.
February 2010 tasting notes.
March / April 2010 tasting notes.
May 2010 tasting notes.
July 2010 tasting notes.
July 2010 tasting notes.
August 2010 tasting notes.
September 2010 tasting notes.
October 2010 tasting notes.
November 2010 tasting notes.
December 2010 tasting notes.

2009 Tastings
January 2009 tasting notes.
February 2009 tasting notes.
March 2009 tasting notes.
April 2009 tasting notes.
May 2009 tasting notes.
July 2009 tasting notes.
July 2009 tasting notes.
August 2009 tasting notes.
September 2009 tasting notes.
October 2009 tasting notes.
November 2009 tasting notes.
December 2009 tasting notes.

2008 Tastings
January 2008 tasting notes.
February 2008 tasting notes.
March 2008 tasting notes.
Apr / May 2008 tasting notes.
Jun / Jul 2008 tasting notes.
Aug / Sep 2008 tasting notes.
October 2008 tasting notes.
November 2008 tasting notes.
December 2008 tasting notes.

2007 Tastings
January 2007 tasting notes.
February 2007 tasting notes.
March 2007 tasting notes.
April 2007 tasting notes.
May 2007 tasting notes.
July 2007 tasting notes.
July 2007 tasting notes.
August 2007 tasting notes.
September 2007 tasting notes.
October 2007 tasting notes.
November 2007 tasting notes.
December 2007 tasting notes.

2006 Tastings
January 2006 tasting notes.
February 2006 tasting notes.
March/April 2006 tasting notes.
May 2006 tasting notes.
July 2006 tasting notes.
July 2006 tasting notes.
August 2006 tasting notes.
September 2006 tasting notes.
October 2006 tasting notes.
November 2006 tasting notes.
December 2006 tasting notes.

2005 Tastings
January 2005 tasting notes.
February 2005 tasting notes.
March 2005 tasting notes.
April 2005 tasting notes.
May 2005 tasting notes.
July 2005 tasting notes.
July 2005 tasting notes.
August 2005 tasting notes.
September 2005 tasting notes.
October 2005 tasting notes.
November 2005 tasting notes.
December 2005 tasting notes.

2004 Tastings
Jan-Feb 2004 tasting notes.
Mar-Apr 2004 tasting notes.
May 2004 tasting notes.
July 2004 tasting notes.
July 2004 tasting notes.
August 2004 tasting notes.
September 2004 tasting notes.
October 2004 tasting notes.
November/December 2004 tasting notes.

2003 Tastings
January 2003 tasting notes.
February 2003 tasting notes.
March 2003 tasting notes.
April 2003 tasting notes.
May 2003 tasting notes.
July 2003 tasting notes.
July 2003 tasting notes.
August 2003 tasting notes.
September 2003 tasting notes.
October 2003 tasting notes.
November 2003 tasting notes.
December 2003 tasting notes.

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