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

September 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 3 Sep 2014
Kingsley's Choice
All of the wines were tasted blind.

Ashwell Martinborough Chardonnay 2011
Bright, fresh and toasty with juicy flavours of peach and nectarine, an underlying mealy savouriness and a touch of caramel mingling with mandarin on the finish. This lively spicy Chardonnay gets you right into the zone.
13.1% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
The bouquet is full and mealy and the taste is smooth and creamy with a tropical fruit brightness, a punch of citrus, nutty oak in behind and the lingering finish bringing nougat to mind. Really starting to hit its straps, it is delivering on the hype that the vintage promised to offer.
13.1% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 Twin Valleys Marlborough Chardonnay 2012
This is a powerful, mealy, savoury wine with a fresh burst of grapefruit infusing the toasty oak backbone, creamed nut characters and a mouthfilling finish with great persistence. A lovely progression of Chardonnays tonight, this undeniable beauty is definitely the main course wine.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Organic Merlot 2013
Shiny inky blackcurrant red. A fruity wine from the outset with plums, loganberries and black cherries on the nose following through to the juicy, supple, generous palate with plenty of tar and leather, underlying spicy oak, hints of dried herbs, cigarbox and liquorice and moderately firm tannins holding it nicely together. The 2013 vintage looks to be a ripper for the Hawkes Bay reds. Gold Spiegelau IWC.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.

Caruso & Minini Cutajo Nero d'Avola 2011 - Sicily
Purple red in the glass with a bouquet that is quite shy with herb and floral notes, perhaps roses and violets. It's a medium bodied palate weight with juicy flavours reminiscent of bottled spiced cherries, underlying meaty savoury notes and a firm but pleasingly smooth finish.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Silvio Nardi Brunello Di Montalcino 2009 - Tuscany
This has a translucent slightly bricking, pinot noir-like hue. The bouquet is savoury and leathery with dried rose scents adding an intriguing allure. Smooth and silky with a vinous richness to the texture and a wonderful sweet mellow vinosity welling up from within. The fruit is all dried cherries with a spicy dried citrus peel tingle and the vinosity envelopes the mouth and persists with wonderful finesse. A treat.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $82.99.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot 2010
Inky black crimson. Coconut-infused sappy oak and red berry fruit fill the bouquet and it's a massive wine in the palate with succulent sweet berry fruit, opulent sweet oak and a beautifully harmonious savoury undercurrent with a touch of mint and fine textured velvety smooth tannins. Not for the faint-hearted, it really needs food at this stage of its life so pair it with a rare cut of juicy tender beef and you will be delighted. 11 gold medals and 3 trophies.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $43.99.

Elderton Barossa Shiraz 2012
Rich purple red in hue with a plummy sweetness to the savoury oak aroma and a taste that is utterly juicy and seductive, one sip makes it very hard to resist. It's spicy with a peppery flourish, sweet berry fruit and a furry coating to the velvety smooth finish, a bit of a blockbuster and will be on the 'must buy' list for First Glass fans of this style.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

Ravenswood Zinfandel 2010
Inky crimson red with an opulent vinous sweetness to the smoky oak aroma. A big thick wine in the mouth with tannins that are quite upfront and grippy, hints of cigar box, rose petals and a tarry savoury veneer. While deep, dark and brooding was the first impression, the juicy fruit sweetness and bright spicy character totally takes over but the concentration and structure is so there. Dangerously drinkable.
14.8% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $52.99.

Wynns Black Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Shiny purple red. Concentrated aromas of blackcurrant jubes and smoky French oak. The first mouthful of this rich, dark wine has a dry tannin feel but a very appealing vinous sweetness comes through with fruitcake cherries, blackcurrants, hints of roasted rosemary, a very subtle suggestion of mint, underlying pencil box and leather. The tannins are momentarily overwhelmed by the fruit but make their presence known again on the finish. A wine with many years ahead of it but needs a creamy cheese to accompany it right now.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Shingleback The Gate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010
Inky black red. Chocolate abounds on the nose of the massive Australian Shiraz cherry chocolate with a cacao dusting and the chocolate theme continues throughout the palate together with mocha and spices. There's a fantastic succulent red berry fruit sweetness with a harmonious smoky oak savouriness, incredibly smooth velvety tannins and a long lasting juicy finish.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $37.99.

de Bortoli Old Boys 21 YO Tawny
Lustrous deep amber. Heady and spirituous on the nose with sweet oak rancio notes coming through. Rich, smooth, luscious and creamy in the palate with spirituous heat, orange brandy infused muscatels, liquid honey and a heady finish. Multi gold medal winner.
19% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $68.99.

* * * * * * * * *

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 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.

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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