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

July 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 – 9 Jul 2014
Yalumba Wines with Jane Ferrari
None of the wines were tasted blind.

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2013
A bone dry, delicately floral Riesling with exhilarating freshness and a flinty underflow. Talc and lime notes are a highlight while hints of honeysuckle and very ripe fruit impart a sense of lusciousness to the incredibly long and salivating finish … but it is the racy acidity that is so exciting. ‘It’s like a lime sorbet,' says Jane. A Riesling to drink or cellar for many many years.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2012
Delicate apricot kernel, orange blossom and creamed nut perfume and a bright full taste with purity of apricot, just ripe peach, a tangy lemony / lemongrass pop and a hot tickle of spice. The concentration on the finish imparts richness to the mouthfeel without losing any of the wines aromatic liveliness. Jane waxed lyrical about the food matches, e.g. Scallops with chorizo; Whitebait; Firecracker Prawns or Deep Sea Cod done Char Siu style.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99 special.

Yalumba 'The Virgilius' Eden Valley Viognier 2010
Compared to the lively 2012 Eden Valley there's a mellow sense to this two-year-older Virgilius. The perfume is delicate apricot and the texture is fine, almost ethereal, with warm biscuit spices, vanilla and a subtle nutty oak richness. More savoury than the younger Eden Valley, but the classically varietal apricot notes are understated in their power and the finish is long, expansive and mouthcoating with a captivating aromatic brightness.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $41.99 special.

Yalumba Old Bush Vine Barossa Grenache 2012
This aromatic wine is a translucent deep blue red hue and it tastes spicy with a judicious sprinkle of pepper and chipotle surging to tickle the tastebuds then subsiding to let the fruit shine through. The fruit is sweet and slightly confectionary - red jubes and jelly babies come to mind - with a touch of mocha, an earthy savoury undercurrent and a bright lifted finish. Not too heavy, harmonious throughout with a nice touch of grip to the suede-like tannins. "Old School traditional,” says Jane who says the wine goes well with Lebanese and Turkish cuisine as well as lamb.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99 special.

Yalumba The Strapper Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2012
This fuller bodied tipple is a more opaque glossy blue red with a bouquet of dark fruit and it tastes juicy, savoury, spicy and fruity. There’s a range of fruits - plums, raspberry, currants and cherries - with a touch of cigar box, Deli meats and fruit cake spices. With its supple silk-edged tannins imparting a seamless flow it seems like a nice quaffing wine but the whisper of acidity on the long dry finish has it crying out for food.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba The Guardian Eden Valley Shiraz Viognier 2010
An even more glossy deep blue red, this opulently aromatic wine has inviting spicy vanillin oak and juicy red fruit scents and the allure follows through to the vibrant exciting taste. Spicy, savoury and creamy with silky tannins and a texture that just flows, an underlying earthy herbal note balances the red fruits beautifully and the finish has great persistence. A standout wine at this price.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba The Patchwork Barossa Shiraz 2012
Concentrated purple red with spicy oak scents that are inviting and intense. This is a super wine, an earthy savoury 'old school' dry red on the cusp of being full-bodied with a dark fruit profile underpinned with pencil shavings, pepper and aromatic anise-like spices with chocolate covered liquorice adding to its charm. Silky throughout with a succulent finish. Another value-packed pleaser.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $19.99 special.

Yalumba The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Concentrated purple black with a nuggety overlay to the deep vinous scent, the nuggety notes carrying through to the fine silky textured palate where there is purity of blue/red fruits together with oak spice, cigar box and nuances of tobacco. After a while the hallmark Coonawarra cedar / mint / cassis becomes more evident and linger on the finish where the wine shows it youth with its slightly edgy acidity - a sign that this outstanding vintage wine is one to lay down for several years.
14% alc. Cork. $40.99 special.

Yalumba The Signature Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2010
A blend of 52% Cabernet and 48% Shiraz, this dark crimson beauty has aromas of creamy oak with dark fruits and aromatic spices. Bright, rich and spicy to the taste with an earthy savoury undercurrent infused with Herbs de Provence with herb flower notes in behind, it is concentrated with silk-edged velvety tannins and a soft sensual finish. Full bodied and powerful in every sense with red and black fruits, mint, peppery spices, smoky oak and bitter chocolate emerging on the long succulent aftertaste, the Signature is always a super duper wine but this outstanding 2010 vintage is utterly irresistible. Oh - and Jane Ferrari is the signature this year!
13.5% alc. Cork. $49.99 special.

Yalumba The Octavius Barossa Shiraz 2008
Ah, this is sensational. The bouquet seduces with its exciting pepper-laced spice and sweet vanillin oak and the spice is dominant in the front palate with mocha and liquorice notes combining with dark fruit and savoury oak with interlayers of red fruits, bitter chocolate and vanilla. Fine tannins have an assertive feel. Very succulent with a super long finish. A class act all the way through.
13.5% alc. Cork. $90.99 special.

Yalumba TSW8B Wrattonbully Botrytis Viognier 2012
Very pale lemon gold. Lemon honey, orange blossom bouquet and lovely nectar-like concentration in the mouth where Viognier’s renowned apricot notes are a highlight. Delectable honeyed sweetness with hints of marmalade providing the requisite acid balance to this light, fresh, lively, luscious end of dinner wine.
10.5% alc. Screwcap. $23.99 special.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 2 Jul 2014
Twelve Glorious Chardonnays
All wines poured into fantastic Zerutti glasses and all but the last wine were tasted blind.

Mission Vineyard Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2011
There's a golden mellow aura to this full-bodied, rounded, beauty. Smooth, silky and seamless in its flow. Mellow oak, toast, mealy notes, grilled peaches, nectarines and a flourish of zest to the spicy vanillin finish that lingers with great persistence. Kingsley says it's a cheapie but in the Zerutti glass it certainly sets a benchmark for the night.
13% alc. Screwcap. $13.99 special.

Spade Oak Vigneron Gisborne Chardonnay 2012
A moderately restrained hazelnut aroma infused with citrus zest introduces this malo-influenced style. It's quite nutty and creamy with a savoury cedary undercurrent, a warm mouthfeel and a flowing finish that's lifted and long.
13% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Lochiel Estate Mangawhai Chardonnay 2012
Enticingly aromatic and vibrantly tasty with a smooth seamless texture and a fantastically long finish. There’s a funky yeast character to the bold toasty flavours with sweet mealy notes beautifully balanced by grapefruit and memories of hokey pokey and cream brulee on the finish. Simply sensational tonight. Gold medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $24.99.

Villa Maria SV Ihumatao Auckland Chardonnay 2012
Nougat and citrus on the nose carry through to the fine-textured, nutty, savoury palate where subtle smoky oak, wild yeast mealy notes and touches of white pepper and grapefruit infuse the lifted melon and tropical fruit. Stylish and silky with a wonderfully expansive finish - it comes into its own in the big glass.
13% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Clearview Beachhead Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Stonefruit aromas are quite a contrast to the spicy, nutty flavours. Initially quite linear and restrained with citrus and malt and a momentary tickle of ginger-like spritz, then stone fruit emerges and the finish is spicy and creamy with lingering butterscotch and caramel.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. $20.99.

Coopers Creek SV The Limeworks Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Sweet nutty oak and baking biscuit aromas introduce this soft, savoury, spicy style. Expanding nicely in the palate with well-integrated oak, stonefruit and a touch of citrus, it is one of the more approachable 2013s tasted so far and delivers plenty of satisfaction for the price.
14% alc. Screwcap. $17.99.

Seifried Barrique Ferment Nelson Chardonnay 2011
There's something rather tantalising about the scent of this wine – it's seductively smoky with mealy notes and hints of grapefruit and pineapple. A bold toasty style in the mouth with a distinctive citrussy zing and sweet tropical fruit balanced nicely by savoury complexities. "Character," says Kingsley who says this is absolutely his style of wine.
14% alc. Screwcap. $22.99.

Xanadu Margaret River Chardonnay 2010
Smoky and nutty on the nose with a suggestion of lemon butter. Initially quite restrained with a malo influence coming through, becoming warm, rich and mealy with a rounded mouthfeel, spicy oak, a touch of lime, spiced pineapple and a zingy brightness to the long juicy powerful finish. In absolutely wonderful condition and still evolving. A magnificent main course wine - I'm salivating for seafood with a lemon butter sauce.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99.

The Landing Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2012
This is super smooth and creamy with melting butterscotch aromas and delectable flavours of spiced peaches, butterscotch and cream. The fruit is juicy and ripe with a well-honed mealy savoury undercurrent and spicy oak that is totally in harmony. A bold, generous wine with mouthfilling presence and a gorgeously long finish – it seduces me every time I taste it. Gold medal NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99.

Soho Carter Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2013
Aromas of bread sauce with subtle smoky notes and hints of citrus and spice, this fine textured wine has tropical fruit to the fore with the oak playing only a supporting role in the background. Seems hardly there at first but expands in the palate with nutty mealy savoury notes and a long rich finish, where once again the tropical fruit makes itself known. Definitely needs more time.
14.7% alc. Screwcap. $37.99.

John Forrest Collection Marlborough Chardonnay 2010
Very dry and flinty in the context of the tasting tonight with a momentary suggestion of struck match that quickly passes. Savoury mealy notes on the nose carry through to the palate to harmonise with tropical fruit, citrus, refined smoky oak, nougat, nuts and orange jam with a very appealing touch of caramel on the finish. Still very tight with focussed acidity, it is a wine that is still evolving - a dinner party wine.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. $45.99.

Church Road 'Tom' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Golden yellow in colour with delectable smoky oak and sweet mealy aromas with a lovely nutty, savoury infusion. A multi-layered, rich, ripe, creamy wine with a silky harmonious mouthfeel and flavours of stonefruit, savoury oak, nutty mealy notes, honey and caramel balanced by a well-honed citrussy spine. A complex seductive wine with a powerful presence - there really is something about it that puts it on a pedestal.
14% alc. Screwcap. $107.99.

* * * * * * * * *

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.

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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