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Wednesday Round-up - the 2015 edition
Sue Courtney's tasting notes from the First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday $15 tastings

April 2015
[ 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 – 8 Apr 2015
Premium, Prestige and Others
Wines were tasted blind.

Milcrest Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2013
Light glossy gold with a bouquet of polished oak, grilled peach and fig. Quite toasty and initially just a little brassy in the palate with a burst of grapefruit providing plenty of acid bite, then well-balanced juicy tropical fruit, golden queens and fig round out all the edges and there’s a spicy flourish to the long full finish where a touch of toffee-like sweetness is very satisfying. By the third sip all remnants of toothpaste have been washed away and you think, my gosh, this wine is quite okay.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Margaret River Chardonnay 2011 – Western Australia
Light gold with delectable sweet smoky oak and nougat aroma – it smells delicate and creamy, yet it is a big wine in the mouth where there is plenty of lemon / malo / leesy / barrel ferment action. It tastes powerful and mouthfilling with a spicy veneer and while it initially seems tight with citrus the key fruit descriptor, you actually feel the wine expanding as it evolves into the most gorgeous Chardonnay taste experience with layers of deliciousness interweaving. Showing its exceptional class, I just wanted to let the glorious flavours linger. It’s a wine to pour into a big glass and sip and savour.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $99.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Cell Block Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
This is a powerful style with tropical fruit and citrus on the nose and a creaminess to the texture with flavours of spicy oak and lashings of citrus zest that gives such a bright bouncy feel, yet it has a beautifully savoury nutty backbone and touches of grilled peach to provide perfect harmony. Developing nicely in the bottle, the finish is long, rich, rounded and mouthfilling. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99. Last stocks.

Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Sonoma County Chardonnay 2013 – USA
Glossy yellow gold. Sweet honeyed fruit on the nose is reminiscent of apples and pears, then honeyed baked apples are foremost in the palate and harmonise with the oak that becomes more and more powerful with a zesty accent to the toasty finish where buttery flavours shine through. Possibly a little overchilled at the tasting because the wine garners complexity as it warms up and by the end of the glass I’m savouring flavours of apple, pear and peach sautéed in butter, and a long toasty creamy oak finish. Different to what we are used to, it grows on you.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Main Divide Waipara Valley Riesling 2013
Rich lemon gold. Glorious bouquet of honeysuckle and tropical fruit - it is rich and aromatic, as Riesling should be. Full of flavour, there is a little TDN /kero action going on in the background of this gorgeously toasty, honeyed styled with candied tropical fruit, sweet citrus and a touch of spritz adding life and verve. Seems quite developed, which is exciting in a way, as it is so great to have a young riesling with ‘older’ Riesling characters. An off dry style that is ready to drink and enjoy now rather than cellar, it’s 5 star quality and 5 star value.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Farnese Fantini Sangiovese 2013 – Puglia, Italy
Rich garnet ruby. The bouquet is quite smoky and charry with roasted red fruits / blackberries and some herbal / leather / rustic notes coming through. A profound wine in the palate, it is smooth and velvety with sweet, succulent, juicy, primary red/purple fruits and a beautifully balanced savoury backbone with the most charming hint of liquorice and fennel. Finishing fresh and dry, it is super tasty and resoundingly great value sipping.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Gianni Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2012 - Central Italy
Rich dark purple red. The bouquet is full of complex red wine vinous aromatics with a touch of leather. There’s initially a cedary veneer to the wine but it is also peppery and spicy with a savoury undercurrent and touches of vanilla. The fruit, that’s red berries with tropical accents, is juicy and succulent, the tannins are velvety and smooth, the oak is sweet and the finish is spicy and dry.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.

Mission Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2013
Saturated purple red. Varnishy oak on the nose. Rich, ripe, sweet and juicy in the palate with blackcurrants, plums, chocolate and leather and a long succulent finish. Very soft, easy and approachable already but the firm structure and well-balanced acid spine means it will gracefully age in the bottle. From such a fantastic year, a year that Mission Estate says was 'the best for them since 1983' it won a gold medal at the Easter Show this year.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Stags Leap Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – USA
Dark purple red. Smoky oak, leather and herbs fill the bouquet with nuances of chocolate biscuits adding to its aromatic allure. A thick, rich, sweet juicy, succulent wine in the mouth with a spicy, zesty, peppery spine, a little acetic note, very firm tannins and profound depth and concentration. Chocolate, sweet creamy vanillin oak, juicy boysenberry and strawberry fruit all ripple through and the finish is long, expansive and mouthfilling.
13.9% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $66.99.

Leconfield Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – South Australia
Saturated purple black. The bouquet of dusty oak and bramble jelly radiates a fabulous vinous sweetness. A monumental wine in the palate, it’s spicy and just a little peppery with intensely concentrated red and black fruit, massive tannins that have a fine velvety edge and a long rich sweet/savoury finish with a creamy feel to the aftertaste that is the icing on the cake. From 40 year old vines in the revered Coonawarra strip, this young wine will develop into something pretty special with a little more time.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Saltram No. 1 Barossa Shiraz 2009 - South Australia
Even though it is six years old, the colour is still very saturated and purple. The bouquet is all sweet smoky oak and red berries and the taste is ripe, concentrated red and purple fruit and vanillin oak with a touch of pepper, nut chocolate and chocolate mousse cream. It’s a fine textured wine with tannins that are still very tight and firm, although it opens up beautifully over the course of the tasting. Decant for sensational drinking.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $50.99.

* * * * * * * * *

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
2015 Tastings
January 2015 tasting notes.
February 2015 tasting notes.
March 2015 tasting notes.
April 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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Wine of the Week archives.

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