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

March 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 – 11 Mar 2015
Bubbles, Chardonnay and Shiraz
Wines were tasted blind.

West Brook Barrique Ferment Chardonnay 2014
A richly aromatic, light golden coloured Chardonnay with a toasty oak and fruity apricot bouquet and a bold outspoken taste with toasty / nutty /creamy / spicy oak flavours alongside juicy melon and stonefruit with touches of butterscotch and caramel and then apple and citrus on the long dry finish. A First Glass favourite.
13.1% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

No. 1 Family Estate No1 Cuvee NV
A Blanc de blancs made from 100% Marlborough Chardonnay, this straw coloured bubbles has a fine effervescent bead and a clean, fresh, bready bouquet with hints of nutmeg, hazelnuts and nougat. Fizzy and foamy in the mouth with fresh, crisp, bright, zesty flavours of apples and stonefruit, a lovely savoury undercurrent with a subtle hint of marmite, a delicate salty tang and a bright citrussy burst to the creamy finish – a perfect party wine.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.

Cloudy Bay Pelorus 2009
There is a touch of yellow gold to the brilliantly clear hue and the rich, leesy, slightly oxidative bouquet adds to the suggestion it is moderately mature. In fact it smells very much like Champagne but the foamy, fizzy attack in the mouth leads you elsewhere – and that happens to be Marlborough. A rich, full-bodied creamy, yeast-rich style with a fresh, flinty undercurrent and a ripe, fleshy, stone fruit sweetness. A classic Pinot Noir Chardonnay blend with a long, full tasty finish that lingers with a zesty citrus brightness and touch of rose petal. Seriously stunning proposition wine.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Squawking Magpie The Chatterer Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Light golden coloured with an aromatic but delicate bouquet that has a hint of creaminess with a nuance of tropical fruit that is more obvious in the palate where melon, tropical guava and a touch of dried pineapple join the fray. Then spicy oak emerges with a ginger / pepper-like bite. Smooth and silky in texture with hints of fresh tangelo juice as the juicy flavours linger.
13.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Invivo Michelle's Central Otago Chardonnay 2013
The colour is light gold, the bold aromas are redolent of grapefruit and finely polished smoky savoury oak and the creamy flavours are quite lees-influenced giving the wine a very attractive savoury / mealy / nutty / biscuity aura with a fine acid spine that you find in top white Burgundies. A beautiful wine with great mouthfeel and flow and a harmonious touch of spice, I find it a little reminiscent of the NZIWS gold-medal Terra Sancta and further emphasises Central Otago should not be dismissed when it comes to elegant and potentially long-lived chardonnays. Gold Air New Zealand 2014.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2013
Pale yellow gold with a striking bouquet of sweet oak, butter caramel and hints of spiced peach then finely honed buttery oak and nutmeg-like spices fill the palate, A rich creamy wine that has a well-balanced spicy, savoury undercurrent and a smooth, seamless flow with caramel and lemon/grapefruit nuances in harmony and a warm biscuity finish with oak flavours pushing through as the flavours linger.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Chalk Hill Sonoma Chardonnay 2012 – California, USA
This bright citrine-hued wine has a bold and enticing bouquet of grilled peaches and caramel. A beautifully silky, fine-textured wine in the mouth and while at first it seems a little high-toned, it is in fact quite a malty, leesy, savoury style with lashings of creamy vanillin oak, hints of bacon fat and something a little bit sensual and fascinatingly ‘grubby’ (like truffle but not truffle) going on in there. Add to that nutmeg, hints of grapefruit and a spicy zesty flourish to the long full-bodied finish, this delicious mouthfilling chardonnay is one to serve at a dinner party. Gold Medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $60.99.

Mt Monster Padthaway Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Rich dark red. Lovely full nose of spiced berries and creamy spicy, savoury oak and then in the palate raspberry and blackcurrant fruit is joined by cake spices, liquorice allsorts, black jellybeans, and mint. On the medium side of full bodied with a fine silky tannin structure, sweet oak and a slightly dry finish with a pepper-filled finale, it has a very appealing and well-balanced earthy and slightly rustic aura. 3 gold medals. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Pepperjack Barossa Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
The bouquet of this purple red wine is deep and concentrated giving the impression of a fine, rich, smooth wine and the taste is full-bodied and spicy with juicy blackberry and raspberry fruit, mint, vanilla, nut chocolate and a very peppery tingle to the finish. Yet there are some underlying dark, earthy, tarry, charry notes that make it seem quite brooding and the tannins are still quite grippy and tight and need some creamy food to cut through them at this stage of its life.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Kirrihill VS Tullymore Clare Valley Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Inky purple red. Hints of mocha and sweet spicy vanillin oak on the nose make this sumptuous wine so rich and inviting. Primary fruit is an attractive feature in the plush, velvety textured palate. There’s raspberry and plums with vanillin oak, a deep chocolatey undercurrent and a clean, lifted, bright minty nuance to the spicy finish. A full wine with huge tannins, but they are beautifully rounded tannins and add to the structure without imposing. With lingering nuances of mocha, mochaccino and chocolate there is lots to like her but it definitely needs food to accompany it. 5 stars and No. 1 in Cuisine last year.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Trentham Family Reserve Heathcote Shiraz 2010 – Victoria
Wow, this crimson-tinted purple red coloured wine has a monumental bouquet of vanillin oak, concentrated red and black fruits, earth and sweet spices, and it is smooth and flowing in the palate with firm dry, silk-edged, velvety tannins, There’s the classic mint that comes from this region, a warm red earth character, sweet berry fruit, hints of liquorice and mocha together with dried herb notes and a native pepper of some kind. Juicy and long with an upwelling of vinous sweetness to the finish with nut chocolate emerging as the flavours linger, this is a beautiful drink five years on from vintage and it will continue to hold for a while.
14.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.

Alpha Cruxis McLaren Shiraz 2010 – South Australia
Flushed with purple black-red colours, this is all savoury spicy vanillin oak and concentrated berry scents and it is big, rich and sweet tasting with fine, slightly chalky tannins. High-toned from the acidity that will help it age gracefully with lifted plum and raspberry fruit that has great concentration and depth, it is mouthfilling and mouthcoating with full, slightly furry tannins, a hot spicy heat and pepper-like tingles on the tongue as the full flavours linger with appealing accents of orange-chocolate emerging.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $80.99.

Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting – 4 Mar 2015
Cuisine Aromatics and some Delicious Reds
All but the first and last wines were tasted blind.

Champagne Lanvin et Fils NV
This is lemon gold in the glass with a persistent but tiny effervescent bead. There the most beguiling hint of butterscotch on the nose and the taste is full of enticing brioche flavours. A crisp, dry bubbles with a yeasty richness, a delightful salty tang and just a hint of sweetness to the long savoury mouthfilling foamy finish with a tantalising aura of maturity. Served from a magnum, a very stylish start to the evening.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99 750-ml bottle.

Peregrine Central Otago Riesling 2010
Light bright gold with a fragrant aroma of citrus zest, talc and honeysuckle, this is a unusually dry styled riesling that has succulence and concentration with exciting toasty, bottle age characters and a lime marmalade tang. Mouthfilling with terrific length, it’s great to see a more mature style on the table. 5 stars and No.7 in Cuisine.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Ceres Composition Central Otago Riesling 2014
Light gold with hints of apple blossom, musk and sweet spices wafting from the delicately fragrant bouquet, then honey, apple, quince and citrus fill the palate. There’s vinous concentration that’s commensurate with a higher alcohol, off dry style while the lusciousness abetted by a touch of botrytis is nicely offset by a flinty undercurrent. With around 12 g/l of residual sugar you expect it to be medium but citrus pith acidity makes it seem more off dry. 4 1/2 stars and No 9 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.

Framingham 'Classic' Marlborough Riesling 2013
Medium light gold with a touch of orange marmalade on the nose but the palate is more classic lemon / lime with a flinty undercurrent and a zesty brightness to the succulent honeysuckle and apple skin finish that coats and swaddles the tongue. While not as concentrated in texture as the previous wine, it has line and length with racy acidity surging again on the finish to give exciting verve and an impression of being dry. Gold Easter Show 2015.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Waipara Hills Waipara Riesling 2014
There is a gorgeous floral allure to this pale straw gold wine. It’s noticeably medium in sweetness on first tasting with red apple, honeysuckle and a fresh citrussy brightness to the long juicy finish. It ticks all the Riesling boxes and has satisfying length. 5 stars and No.1 in Cuisine.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Highfield Marlborough Riesling 2013
There's a hint of spice infusing the honeyed apple nose and it is almost creamy in the smooth honey and citrus palate that has such beautiful flow. It’s one of those wonderful Mosel spatlese-inspired styles with high sugar but equally high acidity to balance it, and has mouthfilling concentration to the gorgeously long finish that is accented with a touch of zesty spice. This was the overall favourite on a show of hands on the night, my hand included. Gold Easter Show. Gold AirNZ.
10 % alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Brancott Letter Series 'P' Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2013
This pale lemon-hued wine smells pretty and sweet, like candied violets with rose petals, lychees and a delicate hint of spice. The palate is smooth, rich and oily with hints of lemongrass, Moroccan spices and ginger infusing the almost luscious musky flavours. An outstanding example from Marlborough, it has a heady warmth and a powerful and tasty finish. 5 stars and No.1 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Greystone Waipara Gewurztraminer 2014
Lemon gold with violets on the nose, it smells tantalising spicy rather than sweet. While the aromas remind me of Grand Cru Alsace, to me the taste is more typically mouthfilling Antipodean. It is a fairly dry wine with a pleasing touch of musky sweetness, pepper-like tingles and a creamy feel to the powerful finish. A tiny bit of botrytis (3%) and partial barrel ferment adds to the complexity. This was my favourite of the two with its quintessential spicy twist, rose musk and violets. 5 stars and No. 2 in Cuisine.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Vina Pomal Rioja Crianza 2011 – Rioja, Spain
Medium weight purple red. The bouquet is shy at first but deep inhaling reveals a rustic wine with wild red brambles and subtle vanillin sweetness. There's a thread of juicy raspberry running through this predominantly savoury wine that is firm and dry in the mouth with cedary vanillin oak, tar and leather and a salty lick to the lifted finish. Made from 100% Tempranillo it morphs into a fleshy, supple mouthful and becomes so much juicier as the medium bodied flavours linger.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Les Courtilles Cotes du Rhone 2012 – Rhone Valley, France
Purple red. A little savoury on the nose with crushed chocolate biscuits and raspberry jam infusing the bouquet. Following on from the fragrant aroma the taste is ripe, juicy and spicy with a touch of nutmeg and peppery spice in the background. Grenache dominant (80%) with 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre in the blend, it's soft with easy going tannins that make it a very approachable medium bodied red wine with a delightful lingering finish where a nuance of fresh lavender adds to its overall appeal.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Tenute Silvio Nardi Turan Sant'Antimo Rosso 2013 - Montalcino, Italy
Moderately dark purple red with medium density. Mellow spicy oak on the nose and heading towards full-bodied and luscious in the palate. It’s spicy and savoury with a rustic peppery edge, sweet red and black fruit, chocolate, dried herbs and reasonably firm but supple rounded tannins. It reminds me in a way of a big, earthy, sweet, juicy, curranty Primitivo … but it's from the wrong region. Made from a blend of 40% Petit Verdot, 30% Sangiovese, 20% Syrah and 10% Colorino, this ‘Super Tuscan’ is smart, juicy and very delicious.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.

Te Mata Coleraine 2013 – Hawkes Bay
A blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc and decanted before tasting, this colour is shiny purple with crimson edges and impenetrably inky in hue. The nose is sweet spicy cedar with a creamy oak veneer and the taste is powerful and heady with firm but sensual rounded tannins. There is mouthfilling concentration to the opulent fruit flavours that include at the very least plums, blackcurrants and boysenberries with a supporting harmonious chorus of spices, liquorice and cedar. From a magnificent red wine vintage in Hawkes Bay, this iconic wine is destined to become legendary, a word that will echo around the table when the wine is opened in is 21st year.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $87.99.

* * * * * * * * *

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 www.firstglass.co.nz 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.

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.

Other Wine Reviews.
Wine of the Week archives.


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E-mail me: winetaster@clear.net.nz