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Wednesday Round-up - the 2016 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

September 2016
[ 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 – 7 Sep 2016
Great Value Wines from Europe, USA and elsewhere
Wines were tasted blind.

Two Rivers Convergence Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
The bouquet radiates tropical guava, cape gooseberry, pineapple, summer herbs and sunny days and the fabulously fresh taste overflows with vibrantly zesty citrus, a hint of peach, a touch of yellow capsicum, a gorgeous zing of fennel pollen and there is palate richness to the long juicy finish where a touch of mandarin sings. Our first of the vintage and it’s exciting!
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

McManis Family Vineyards California Chardonnay 2015
The bouquet of this light gold wine is all tropical fruit salad. A youthful, medium-bodied style with a soft smooth texture, it initially seems light on oak while a touch of caramel cream fleshes out the palate. A smoky savouriness emerges and the wine accrues richness as the fruity flavours linger.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Brancott Letter Series O Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
Hokey pokey aromas fill the bold rich bouquet of this golden-hued wine and it is full of flavour in the opulent palate with juicy Golden Queen peaches, spicy cedary oak and a smooth seamless butterscotch finish with fabulous length. Oodles of toasty chardonnay satisfaction for as under $20 price tag.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Terra Sancta Central Otago Rose 2016
Gorgeous pink spinel gemstone hue. Spiced strawberry and Morello cherries fill the delicately fruity bouquet. Moderate palate weight with a slightly oily feel to the texture, a zing of pepper that complements the spiced strawberry fruit, and a juicy finish seems almost creamy. Served chilled it seems just on the cusp of off dry.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Avaniel Tempranillo 2013 – Ribero del Duero, Spain
Dark Burgundy hue. Wood smoke on the on the nose with concentrated raisined fruit and a scent reminiscent of Throaties lollies. A bold, funky, smoky, savoury wine with ample palate weight, a firm chamois-like texture and an amalgam of intriguing taste profiles like polished wood, leather, plums, spice, cough drops and hints of liquorice with ripe red and purple fruit more prominent on the finish. 100% Tempranillo.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Septima Los Pasos Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina
Dark Burgundy hue – youthful in appearance. The bouquet is smoky and savoury with hints of sap and spice. Firm in the palate with youthful acidity, juicy red fruit, hints of tar, a touch of charcoal and cherry chocolate emerging to linger on the dusty finish. A simple medium weight blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Cabernet.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $12.99.

Septima Malbec 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina
A bright, rich dark red in the glass, this has a woody, sappy, leathery, savoury, Christmas cake bouquet. Savoury again in the medium bodied palate with firm tannins, black plums, cakes spices and hints of mint. Clean and well balanced with a long, smooth, juicy finish.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Domaine du Caillou Les Quartz Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 – Southern Rhone, France
Deep dark red. Earthy and savoury on the nose with a waft of leathery funk. Bold in the palate with juicy red and black fruits, pepper, liquorice, tar, charcoal and menthol. Full-bodied, mouthfilling and textural with fruit sweetness, hints of violets, a touch of bitter chocolate and a juicy succulent aftertaste that lingers satisfyingly. Quite youthful with excellent cellaring potential, this stellar stablemate to the magnificent ‘Reserve’ we tasted last week needs food right now to cut through the tannins.
15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $69.99.

Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Zinfandel 2013 – Sonoma, California
Deeply translucent purple red. The bouquet is woody and cedary with lifted red fruits and a hint of mint. Medium-bodied in the palate, a little reminiscent of a juicy ripe pinot noir in a way but spicier and fruitier. I find a dash of pepper, cake spices, blueberry, spiced cherries, strawberry chocolate, creamy oak and velvety tannins in this soft, rounded wine that has a pleasing and persistent finish.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – Sonoma, California
Rich purple-red with crimson edges. Vibrant on the bouquet with cassis, vanilla, cedar and a whisper of mint. Juicy in the full-bodied palate with cassis, cake spice, earth, nutty oak and chocolate coated raisins. The tannins are firm yet there is a silky aura to the lingering finish. A well-balanced, succulent and very likeable wine made from mostly Cabernet blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Tohu Limited Release Raiha Reserve Noble Riesling 2014 - Marlborough
Orangey-gold with a radiant bouquet of sunshine, apricots, liquid honey and candied peel. Full of mouth-coating sticky viscosity in the palate with flavours of dried apricots, golden sultanas, honey, crème brulee and toffee apple on the lingering finish. "I want to lick my glass,” said the lady behind me. Absolutely. Gold NZIWS.
11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

* * * * * * * * *

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 opportunity 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
2016 Tastings
January 2016 tasting notes.
February 2016 tasting notes.
March 2016 tasting notes.
April 2016 tasting notes.
May/Jun 2016 tasting notes.
July 2016 tasting notes.
August 2016 tasting notes.
September 2016 tasting notes.

2015 Tastings
January 2015 tasting notes.
February 2015 tasting notes.
March 2015 tasting notes.
April 2015 tasting notes.
May 2015 tasting notes.
Jun / Jul / Aug 2015 tasting notes.
Sep / Oct 2015 tasting notes.
Nov / Dec 2015 tasting notes.

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.
November / December 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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