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Peter Lehmann Wines with Malcolm Stopp

First Glass 18 April 2018
Peter Lehmann Wines with Malcolm Stopp
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
This has a light golden hue in the glass with peach and citrus floating through the nutty oak bouquet and a lovely mealy savouriness with fleshy peach stone to the taste. It's smooth and creamy with increasing richness to the finish. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Peter Lehmann Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz 2012 – Barossa, South Australia 
Almost black in the glass with rich garnet edges. There's a deep-set plum and bottled cherry bouquet and the taste is bright, tingly and effervescent with underlying structure from the tannins, ripe berry fruit and a dry lifted finish with a creamy aftertaste and a lingering suggestion of chocolate. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $56.99.
 
Peter Lehmann Margaret Semillon 2010 – Barossa, South Australia
Straw coloured with a gorgeous bouquet redolent of all the wonderful lemony tones that Barossa Semillon is known for - lemon blossom, lemon grass, lemon honey and lemon lolly with honeysuckle and lanolin notes. All this and more in the remarkably youthful and zesty palate that has a sense of a mellow toasty character as the aftertaste lingers. It’s fine textured and slippery smooth with a deliciously refreshing finish.  11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Peter Lehmann Wigan Riesling 2011 – Eden Valley, South Australia
There's a lovely bright aura to the scent that conjures up lime and lemonade zest with honeysuckle and a 'fusel' note we sometimes call ‘kero’, and the taste is bright and deliciously refreshing with mouth-watering lime-like acidity zinging through with a touch of flower nectar complementing the tingly zest. Just on the cusp of dry with a slight sucking-on-a-riverstone earthiness, a slatey texture, increasing toastiness and phenomenal length. Seven years old yet fresh, vibrant and exciting. 11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Peter Lehmann VSV Ruediger Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – Barossa, South Australia
This is a saturated deep crimson red. The creamy bouquet emanates violet jam, chocolate and mocha and it's firm to start in the palate that's full of upfront eucalypt notes with vibrant red- and blackcurrant fruit, an underlying charred meatiness and a sense of roasted nuts on the fine cedary oak finish that lingers with a silky mouthfeel and comes full circle back to the scent with hints of chocolate and mocha. There's still noticeable acidity in this five year old wine from an excellent vintage so will continue to develop in the bottle for years.  14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Peter Lehmann Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – Barossa, South Australia
This is a deep dark red in the glass. The creamy bouquet offers up a deep sense of blackcurrant, cassis and shaved cedar with the subtlest suggestion of mint that becomes more obvious in the savoury, spicy palate with initially noticeable brushed velvet tannins. Very attractive, sappy and succulent with pleasing sweetness of fruit and touches of tobacco that become more obvious as the wine lingers. This has the addition of Malbec this year. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2016 – Barossa, South Australia
Saturated purple red with concentration and opacity. Mocha is the first sense that emanates from the bouquet then concentrated plums, black cherries and cedar. Sweet fruit balances out the palate’s earthy, savoury, toasty oak and tingly pepper notes; the tannins are soft and velvety and there's brightness to the creamy finish with hints of chocolate and touches of aniseed and then, like the previous wine, coming full circle back to the mocha.  14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Peter Lehmann The Futures Shiraz 2014 – Barossa, South Australia
Shiny black red with fine opacity and a wonderfully fragrant sweet mint and berry aroma with touches of vanilla and chocolate. Juicy and bright in the fine-tannined palate with an upfront hit of spice and pepper then chocolate, mocha, savoury oak, cigar box and underlying meaty notes with lingering touches of mint and all the while succulent plum and mulberry fruit. A great label and hard to resist. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.
 
Peter Lehmann VSV Hearnden Shiraz 2013 – Eden Valley, South Australia
This inky black red wine with crimson edges has a lovely deep earthy sense to the bouquet with touches of dried rose, rooibos, mocha, vanilla and aniseed. The fascination continues into the deep-set savoury yet silky textured palate where intense dark plum and blackberry fruit melds into savoury oak with bright touches of pepper-infused spice and lingering hints of violet and chocolate. While lighter bodied than Lehmann’s Barossa reds, it radiates finesse. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Peter Lehmann VSV Hongell Shiraz 2015 – Barossa, South Australia
Shiny black red in hue with the bouquet offering up plum and mulberry fruit with touches of eucalypt and hints of cigar box and leather. Lifted, bright and youthful with  upfront firm fine tannins that seem soft and rounded mid palate yet stamp the ground on the finish. A powerful wine with ripe juicy fruit that mingles with sappy, minty, peppery notes and has a lingering hint of coffee bean.  14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Peter Lehmann 8 Songs Shiraz 2014 – Barossa, South Australia
Concentrated red black in the glass with a sense of old world on the nose with touches of leather and barnyard and sappy herb notes but such vibrant, rich, sweet ripe fruit in the palate with invigorating underlying acidity and tingles of pepper. The firm upfront, tight-grained tannins become quite silky and svelte on the finish with a chocolate, vanilla, mocha and succulent dark fruit profile to balance the cedar and earthy savouriness. A stellar ‘old vine’ wine with an ultra long finish.  14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 2012 – Barossa, South Australia
Intensely purple red with concentration and opacity. Immediately attractive sweet berry fruit, mint, chocolate and cedar fill the bouquet and it’s full-bodied, ripe, velvety and chocolatey in the palate with classic vanillin oak, succulent red and black berry fruit, deep savoury undertones, beautifully balanced spice and pepper and the most subtle suggestions of mocha and mint. Released as a 5-year-old wine it’s beautifully structured and radiates finesse. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $96.99.

Pinot Passion

First Glass 11 April 2018
Pinot Passion
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Leveret Estate Hawkes Bay Reserve Chardonnay 2014
Tasted chilled on the first cold night of the year this four-year-old comes across as bright and fresh with a touch of oyster shell and a hint of smoke to the tropical fruit scent and more tropical fruit in the palate that's lightly creamy with a bright finish. Gold Hawkes Bay. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Mission Estate Barrique Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
This is a smooth, medium to full-bodied style with lemony, malo notes to the bouquet and upfront savouriness to the taste with just a touch of zest and ripe stonefruit fleshing out the very dry finish with a nice touch of butterscotch emerging to linger. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Harken Barrique Fermented California Chardonnay 2016 – California, USA
From the creamy vanilla biscuit aroma to the complex leesy full-bodied palate this oozes flavour and character. It's mouthfilling, mouth coating and mouth enveloping with tropical fruit bursts, banana bikes, pineapple and caramel with harmonious buttery oak and a creamy sweetness to the tasty finish. Verging on irresistible. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Misha's Vineyard Limelight Central Otago Riesling 2014
The earthy / slatey / limey / honeyed bouquet with lashings of kero is so expressive and totally en pointe for this off dry to medium Riesling with flavours of apple, honey and touches of tarragon and a crisp clean mouthfilling finish. Complex, full, concentrated and tasty with the 33 g/l residual sugar balanced by refreshing acidity. 10.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Pinot Noir 2015
Bright ruby with luminous translucency. There's richness to the cherry scent with touches of dried herb and woodsmoke, and complexity to the fruit driven yet savoury flavours with a nuance of smoky bacon coming through. It's soft and velvety and full of flavour. Upper Moutere fruit. Fabulous value. Gold Easter Show. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Main Divide North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2014
Dark ruby heading towards garnet. The bouquet offers up bramble fruit with savoury, slightly herbal nuances and it is full of ripe berry fruit flavours in the firm yet silky palate with classical savoury, smoky, earthy, gamey vibes and appealing fruit sweetness to the lively finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Russian Jack Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016
Brightly hued with a touch of barnyard on the nose but full of bright fruit that is a little reminiscent of raspberry in the silky palate that features sensual savoury undertones. It's still youthful with a spark of acidity and firmness to the finish. Made by Martinborough Vineyards. Gold New World, Gold Easter Show.  14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Maude Estate Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
Ruby hued, clear and bright. The deep fruited aroma suggests plum and blueberry with harmonious yet subtle spicy oak, and it’s wonderfully concentrated in the creamy palate with Christmas cake spices, bottled cherries, plums and hints of chocolate on the long, full-bodied and increasingly complex finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
 
Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016
Dark ruby hued with a  lovely savoury expression of pinot both on the nose and in the palate that’s full of dark fruit and lovely savoury gamey notes with beautifully balanced smoky oak . It's smooth and complex with silky tannins and a long firm finish. Very impressive. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Mission Estate Jewelstone 'Antione' Hawkes Bay 2016
Dark red black in hue with considerable density. The bright blackcurrant and plum aroma is infused with smoky oak and it’s full-bodied and concentrated in the palate with dark savoury notes, sappy herbs, oak spice, ripe juicy fruit, firm yet pillowy tannins and a gobsmacking succulent finish with nuances of mint adding brightness. Made from predominantly Merlot with a touch of Cab Sauv and Cab Franc, it’s stylish and memorable.  14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
A Good Dirt Barossa Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Dark red black in hue with savouriness coming through on the nose to balance the dark, concentrated, ripe, almost jammy fruit scents and super ripe in the palate with touches of mint, savoury oak notes and iodine underpinning the succulent plum and blackberry fruit with touches of vanilla, mocha and chocolate. Velvety in its flow with a rounded finish. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 

Happy 19th Birthday First Glass

First Glass 4 April 2018
Happy 19th Birthday First Glass
Notes by Sue Courtney
All wines (except the Champagne) were tasted blind

 
Champagne Charles de Cazanove Stradivarius 2007 – Riems, France
This has a 24 carat gold colour, the bouquet oozes the gorgeous malty and slightly oxidative characters of bottle aged vintage Champagne and the taste is lemony, leesy, malty and savoury with tantalising salinity and brightness to the long, extra dry finish while a fine effervescence radiates all the way through. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $85.99.
 
Mount Riley 17 Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
This is a rich, oaky, grilled peach style of Chardonnay. It's golden coloured with an opulent toasty bouquet and a juicy taste where polished oak, gunsmoke, malty mealy notes, fig and stonefruit are all in harmony. Developing beautifully in the bottle. Gold NZIWS 2017. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
This light lemon-gold hued chardonnay is a full-on leesy, flinty, reductive style with nuances of gunsmoke, lemon, fig and cedar filling the bouquet and upfront youthful acidity in the palate with full, fat, leesy, gunflint, funky wild yeast notes taking over. Mouthfilling and increasingly complex with fruit in the lemon/melon spectrum and masterful use of oak. Still evolving so one for the cellar right now. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
 
Lawson Dry Hills ‘The Pioneer’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2015
This lustrous light gold wine has honeyed poached pear aromatics that are delicate and enchanting. A sweeter, lightly viscous style with a nod to Alsace, it flows beautifully across the palate and teases with it’s powerful and almost gewurztraminer-like flavours that hint of violets and ginger infused spices. Impressive. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses 2017 – Languedoc, France 
The most attractively bottled and romantic of any rosé on the market today, this blend of grenache, syrah and cinsault is a pale pink sapphire hue with a lightly floral / rose hip / pink candy floss aroma and tastes like it is just on the cusp of off dry. It's deliciously quenching with delicate wild strawberry, ‘rose de mai’, hints of violet and a whisper of tarragon on the refreshing finish. 13% alc. Vinolok Stopper. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014
There's a pink tinge to the garnet hue of this ripe, mouthfilling pinot with fruit sweetness infiltrating the slightly herbaceous scent and a nice touch of savouriness to the taste that brims with black cherry, plums and spice with a suggestion of woodsmoke and chocolate velvet tannins. Nicely aged expression. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Dona Paula Estate Valle de Uco Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina
This deeply coloured wine smells quite earthy and savoury with a depth of red berry fruit, and it's sappy and juicy in the medium to full-bodied palate that has a smoky, leathery, meaty, tobacco-like character, touches of plum skin, fairly firm but nevertheless approachable tannins and a long, bright lingering finish.  13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Chalk Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 – South Australia 
This is an impenetrable deep dark red with an opulent bouquet suggestive of chocolate and mulberry with a haunting floral allure and a subtle suggestion of mint. It's irresistibly smooth with concentrated plum and blackberry fruit laced with mocha and chocolate, smoky oak and tingles of pepper and a mouthfilling succulent finish.  14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Grant Burge Filsell Barossa Old Vine Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
This is a bright black red with luminosity to the hue. The bouquet is close to  mesmerising with hints of dried roses, touches of chocolate, succulent berry fruit and wafts of oak and it's velvety smooth in the palate with vanillin oak, chocolate, dark berry fruit and a lovey savoury underpinning of spice that’s judiciously laced with pepper. Firm on the finish with an x-factor-like vinous sweetness that wells up and lingers.  14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Two Hands Fields of Joy Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
This is a vibrant saturated crimson red in the glass. The bouquet is smoky with hints of cigar box and tobacco and the taste is juicy, succulent, silky and smooth yet with a profound berry fruit concentration with underlying youthful vibrancy, touches of pepper, herbaceous notes, hints of chocolate and an earthy, savoury finish that is dry and salivating. Lots going on. Will last for years. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.

A Journey through France, Italy and Spain with Stephen Bennett MW

First Glass 21 March 2018
A Journey through France, Italy and Spain with Stephen Bennett MW
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
 
The Cup & Rings Godello 2015 – Monterrei, Spain
There’s an oily appearance to the yellow hue, the bouquet is lightly honeyed with hints of almond, savoury leesy notes and loquat, and the taste is steely with texture and vinosity, hints of green apple, apricot and peach and refreshing acidity on the bone dry finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Champagne Charles de Cazanove NV – Reims, France 
Light yellow gold with striking snow white mousse that froths and subsides. The enticing yeasty bouquet hints of freshly baked lemon bread and touches of malt and it’s vibrantly fizzy in the fairly dry palate with a steely undercurrent to the rich, toasty, creamy leesy finish. A tasty cuvée made from 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Tesouro Segredo Albarino 2016 – Rias Baixas, Spain
Citrine gold in hue with a rich inviting fragrance  of apricots and orange blossom that’s almost heady. Concentrated and oily textured in the palate that’s dry and just a little spicy with apple, apricots and almond notes and a long finish with salivating salinity that makes you want to take another sip. This oak free wine was aged on its yeast lees that adds to the textural complexity and Stephen had us drooling over his descriptions of seafood matches. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Mont Rocher Viognier Vieilles Vignes 2016 – Pays d'Oc, France
Glossy citrine gold. Ethereally fragrant with apricot kernel and an intriguing savoury earthy nuance. Very appealing lift and brightness in the warm, rounded, oily textured palate that hints of apricot, nuts, a touch of musky spice and a hint of honeysuckle that implies sweetness although the wine finishes dry. A smooth, curvaceous, textural wine to accompany rich buttery foods.13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Viento Aliseo Tempranillo Petit Verdot 2016 – Las Perdronas, Spain
Purple red in hue with an intensely fruity, winey bouquet. Full of flavour in the palate with warm gravelly tannins, vibrant red and purple fruit, earth and mushroom notes and a long dry finish with accents of tobacco and spice. A young biodynamic organic wine without any oak, which lets the fruit sing. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Gran Familia Rioja Reserve 2012 – Rioja Alta, Spain
Rich ruby garnet with watery edges indicating some age. Red ‘jelly baby’ candy on the nose with just the slightest suggestion of barnyard and leather. A mellow wine that’s soft, supple and gentle in its flow caressing the palate with its fine, velvet-fringed, silky tannins with harmonious touches of vanilla-tinged savoury oak, red summer berries and a succulent finish. This current release, aged in barrel then in the bottle before we see it, is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 10% Garnacha with 50% American oak. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Il Mandorlo Negroamaro 2015 – Puglia, Italy
Dark red black in the glass. Savoury on the nose with leather and spice and hints of rosehip jelly and brimming with flavour in the juicy powerful palate with firm almost teeth-coating tannins, succulent purple and black fruit and a lovely violet-like fragrance floating through then later, as the bright finish lingers, hints of anise and crushed chocolate biscuits. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Soprasasso Valpolicella Ripasso 2014 – Veneto, Italy
Rich red black with moderate density. Savoury on the nose with hints of barnyard and leather that follow through to the medium-bodied, firm-tannined palate but overall bright to the taste with woody herb characters, slightly confectionary red fruit flavours, mouthfilling vinosity and spiciness, and a warm fresh finish. Made predominantly from the dark coloured Corvina grape using the Ripasso method, it’s best enjoyed with food. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Chateau Loudenne AOC Cru Bourgeois 2011 – Medoc, France
Deep dark red with a very enticing bouquet that’s a harmony of mellow fruit and cedar with earthy savoury accents. Classically earthy, savoury flavours with subtle plum and currant fruit and hints of cigar box, cedar, leather and thyme. What’s very striking, however is the fine but still unresolved and slightly tongue coating tannins and the very dry finish. A blend of 52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc that has the elegance and class of top quality Bordeaux at a fraction of the price. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Pietra Primitivo Susumaniello 2015 – Puglia, Italy
Susumaniello is a grape variety that’s blended with 60% Primitivo in this brightly hued black red wine. The concentrated bouquet has cigar box-like woody notes infusing the luscious red berries and the taste is succulent and heady. It seems super ripe and luscious with ripe berries, creamy oak, chocolate, anise, sweet spices, a sprinkle of pepper and big tannins that sit in well with the overall opulence that’s underpinned by fresh acidity. Plush and flirtatious. Fabulous with cheese. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
Piqueras 100 Anos Limited Edition 2011 – Alamansa, Spain
Made primarily from Monastrell and Garnacha Tinitoreo with a little Syrah and Grenache from 100 year old vines at 900 asl, this deeply hued wine is totally different. The wonderfully fragrant bouquet is full of winey extract with salty, saline, leathery notes and the taste suggests dusty gravel roads, graphite (pencil lead), earth, clay and possibly even a suggestion of mint. The vinosity of the red fruit is deep, like every last drop of juice has been squeezed out of the grapes and the tannins are dry and mouth-coating. Fantastic wine to muse over with vinously minded friends. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Soprasasso Amarone della Valpolicella Ripasso 2014 – Veneto, Italy
This has a fairly saturated dark red hue and a sweet, grapey, biscuity scent laced with raspberry, plum and cherry. Made from sun-dried grapes this smooth flowing, mouthfilling wine is concentrated, heady, warm, spicy, almost peppery. A big wine, yet a harmonious wine with succulent berries and noticeable tannins that are more noticeable on the finish. Superb with rich dishes like casseroles or to enjoy after dinner with cheeses. “Decant in the morning, drink at night,” says Stephen. Good advice. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $47.99.

Easter Show Trophies, Gold Medals and more

First Glass 14 March 2018 
Easter Show Trophies, Gold Medals and more
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind



Te Hana Sparkling Reserve Cuvée NV
This methode traditionelle made from a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir is yellow gold in the glass with fine bubbles and a lacy froth when poured. It evokes bacquette aromas and hints of marmite to the flavour that suggest a little bottle age. The upfront tingly effervescence subsides to reveal vibrant acidity,  malt and nut bread nuances and a dry, toasty, lingering finish. Outstanding value. Gold Easter Show. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $13.99.
 
Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Emanating youthfulness with its glossy pale straw hue and with its bright breezy scent full of greengage plum, grapefruit and bright summer herbs that recur in the crisp, dry flinty palate where juicy pineapple, red capsicum, celery and fleshy peach add to the quintessentially pungent and delightful sauvignon blanc taste. Trophy Easter Show 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Whitehaven Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
The colour is lustrous lemon gold, the tantalising bouquet conjures up toasty oak, gunsmoke, malt, nectarine and peach with some reductiveness noticeable and the taste is bold, toasty and mouthfilling with lashings of peaches and cream and a long rich savoury oak finish with lingering wheatmeal and woodsmoke. Gold Easter Show 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
This light gold hued wine has a gentle bouquet with wild yeast, barrel ferment, malo, melon and gunflint scents and the taste shows lovely creaminess and restraint with melon, white peach, hazelnut and fig and a long, dry, mealy finish. Subtle, seamless and absolute class. Gold Easter Show, Gold AirNZ. Trophy NZIWS. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
 
Summerhouse Marlborough Verdelho 2016
This barrel-fermented wine is straw gold in hue with a bouquet of gunsmoke and nuances of pear, guava, peach and nectarine – the fruit more obvious in the palate. It's dry, flinty and focussed with a refreshing acid backbone, touches of salinity, hints of manuka woodsmoke and the fruit opening up the wine for a fleshy finish. Trophy Easter Show. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Spy Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2016
Light gold hued with a heady fragrance of violets, lychee, Turkish Delight and rose oil and off dry to the tingly taste with sweet ripe grape and lychee flavours, white pepper and musky spices with a powerful, toasty, smoker lolly finish that’s soft and seamless. Begs to be accompanied with Thai or and Indian curry. Trophy Easter Show. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Auckland Gewurztraminer 2017
Straw gold in hue with a delicate yet fragrant perfume of lilac and strudel spices with hints of musk and vanilla poached pear. Bright and spicy to the fairly dry taste with delicate tropical fruit and mandarin and just a smidgen of honey that enhances the texture. A subtle Alsace-like style that’s not too OTT. Gold Easter Show. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
This Bannockburn pinot is a rich dark ruby hue with a beguiling smoky savoury aroma infused with black cherry, vanilla and tar and its seamless in the palate that’s ripe, fruity, flavoursome and intense. Full of musky, spicy, cherry and plum fruit with hints of briar rose, pillowy tannins and subtle smoky oak with underlying acidity that will see it evolve over many years. Gold Easter Show, Gold AirNZ, Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.
 
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2016
Intense crimson-edged blackberry hue with an attractive bouquet of savoury oak, pencil box, blackcurrant and woody herbs that carry through to the palate where there is refreshing brightness of mint infusing the earthy savoury undertones and the succulent plum and blackberry fruit. The tannins are velvety and firm and there are hints of cigar box on the finish where the purity of the fruit and the savouriness of the oak linger harmoniously. Gold Easter Show. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Mills Reef Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2016
Deep blackberry red in the glass with the bouquet revealing leathery notes overlaying plum, chocolate and spicy cedar and more leathery, earthy, savoury tones in the soft rounded silky palate that’s brimming with plums and bramble berry fruit with underlying acidity and touches of chocolate and vanilla on the long, smooth finish. Trophy Easter Show. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Riverby Estate Noble Marlborough Riesling 2015
Light yellow bronze in the glass – almost amber. The bouquet is all honey, botrytis, toffee, candied citrus and candied peach and the taste is a mouthful of sweet deliciousness. The lightly viscous nectar is seamless in its flow leaving memories of dried apricots, liquid honey, orange toffee and peach with refreshing acidity honing in the sweetness. A magnificent finish to a dinner party – or any evening when you want to enjoy beautiful wines. Trophy Easter Show. 11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99. 375ml.
 
Delgado Zuleta Pedro Ximinez Monteagudo NV - Jerez, Spain
Dark mahogany in the glass with yellow green edges. The heady scent and unctous flavours are like muscatels and sticky dates macerating for the Xmas cake with a hint of salinity that comes from the old barrels the win has age in. It’s seamless, viscous, heady and intense with absolutely amazing length. Hard to resist but a little goes a very long way. 17.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $31.99. 375ml.

New Arrivals and the Return of some favourites

Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
 
Murphy Goode Chardonnay 2016 – California, USA 
Golden hued with a bouquet that suggests lemon scented butter caramel and more of the same in the smooth seamless palate with just a whisper of oaky savouriness together with harmonious acidity that hones in the caramel sweetness beautifully. A real crowd pleaser. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99
 
Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2016 
Glossy gold with a touch of gunflint to the stonefruit and melon scent, this full-bodied savoury wine has richness and underlying power and plenty of fresh stonefruit flavours accented with zest and a polished, spicy, nutty oak finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99
 
Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay 2015 – California, USA
There's a touch of gunsmoke to the scent of this golden coloured, bold, rich, creamy wine that oozes butterscotch and caramel with beautifully balanced savoury oak and succulent tropical fruit flavours infused with grilled peach.  It's a voluptuous wine with a long rich finish that lingers harmoniously. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99
 
Le Vieille Ferme Rosé 2016 – Ventoux AOC, Rhone, France
This distinctly European style is barely-there pink in the glass with a whiff of struck match and dilute berry tea. The fruit is restrained but the wine has texture and vinosity with hints of strawberry and pepper and a very dry finish with a suggestion of tarragon as the flavours linger. A blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99
 
Rabbit Ranch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
The bouquet of this translucent Burgundy-hued wine is intriguing with red cherries, hints of thyme and touches of strawberry jam. It seems very dry on first tasting with a hint of gunsmoke and firm and slightly hard tannins that remind me of Villages Burgundy and while light to start it has increasing vinosity and silkiness with textbook savouriness, woody herbs and red cherry fruit. 13.6% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99
 
Shaky Bridge Pioneer Series Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
This is a deeply coloured, generously scented and full on flavoursome pinot with succulent red and black cherry fruit, plum pie, deep savoury notes and spices. Velvety tannins frame the bountiful fruit that brim to the fore on the finish. First of the 2017s we have seen, it’s to drink now and over the next 12 months. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99
 
Tenuta Ulisse Sogno di Ulisse Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – Terre di Chieti IGP, Italy
Opulent in its saturated black red hue with a touch of barnyard, leather and game wafting through the rich berry and chocolate tones of the scent and it's juicy and succulent in the velvety textured palate. It’s a big wine with chocolate, creamy oak, touches of herbs infused with mint and those savoury notes from the nose surging again on the fabulously long mouth-filling finish. Top value and simply ideal for a meat lovers BBQ. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99
 
Finca Constantia Parcela 23 Tempranillo 2015 – Castilla VdIT, Spain
The bouquet of this shiny black red coloured wine is fragrant and enticing with its chocolatey oak, berries, herbs and spices. It's succulent and juicy in the fine silky palate with a firm backbone, ripe berry fruit, hints of vanilla, pencil like oak and fabulous concentration to the long, dry, satisfying finish that brims with vinous sweetness and hints of anise. Best served with food. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
Kingston Estate Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Deep crimson-edged blackberry hue with an attractive and concentrated bouquet of plum and cassis underpinned with creamy oak and spices. In the palate there are touches of chicory and mocha infusing the creamy chocolatey oak and succulent red berry flavours with tingles of cake spices and pepper and the tannins are silky with a velvet trim. A fulfilling flavoursome Shiraz that at the price point over delivers. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99
 
St Hallett Faith Barossa Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Deep purple in the glass, inky and intense. Ripe red and black berries and leather fill the bouquet that's laced with chocolate and woody spices and it's stellar and structured in the palate with reasonably firm tannins that have a supple velvet-coated edge. The mouthfilling flavours exude smoky oak, hints of bacon, leather, spices and an amalgam of ripe berry fruit including plums, mulberries and cherries, and the finish is long and satisfying. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99
 
Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Looking youthful with its saturated purple red hue yet the bouquet hints of a little maturity with it’s sensual, earthy, mushroomy, savoury notes together with chocolate and mint that carry through to the palate. It’s a big wine, almost a blockbuster with its succulent, mouthfilling, jammy berry fruit flavours, creamy oak, supple tannins and harmonious spice. Lots going on. One that will last in the cellar. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99

Kingsley Wood on Tour - Central Otago - Part Two

There are numerous sub regions making up the wine areas of Central Otago. I split up the main ones over two days – Cromwell/Bannockburn/Wanaka then the Lake Hayes/Gibbston area. The weather was ideal for visiting wineries, cold, wet, miserable in every respect – perfect.
 
We may have been lucky with our trip over the Crown Range as the snow at the top had turned to rain, lots of it, as we crawled our way down. We drove past several very recent slips and later that day the road was closed – for the next 2 days.
 
We started our day at fabulous Amisfield. You hear various comments about their experiences at Amisfield but there is no question that this place would rate in any of the world’s greatest wine regions. They charge $10 for a tasting of any 5 wines, including the Amisfield RKV Pinot Noir that retails for $120. And they use Riedel tasting glasses – it’s a class act.
 
Travel a couple of kilometres along Lake Hayes towards Arrowtown and you find the restaurant and tasting room (container) featuring the wines from Akarua. They have a reasonably substantial restaurant – serving breakfast and lunch and it was fully booked out on this day of miserable weather. They charge $5 for 5 wines.
 
Drive back to Amisfield, go up the hill and you find “Wet Jacket” – owned, run and named by Grey Hay – ex Peregrine. This is an old stone shearing shed – some of the shearing set up is still in place, but next door you can sample the local wines for $5 on the days they have the food truck outside. The Whitestone Cheese room, part of the complex, is well worth a visit. It was great to catch up with Greg Hay – our first encounter was around 35 years ago when several teams from Central Otago travelled to Dunedin for the Wilson Neill Wine Options competitions.
 
Our next visit was Chard Farm and we can tell people the entrance road has not changed. I cannot believe we once persuaded a driver to take a full-size bus into that winery. There’s a big range of wines to taste at Chard Farm and you pay a donation to do so – there is no set fee. No food – no fixed tasting fee. Rob Hay was our host at Chard Farm.
 
The Peregrine winery has not really changed since my last visit – some 14 years ago. The winery was new then, the winemaker was Michelle Richardson and there were only a few barrels in evidence – it’s now full. There is no charge to taste 4 wines at Peregrine and they are open from 11 am to 6 pm.
 
On the region’s wine map we noticed there was a Gibbston Tavern located on Coal Pit Road. This road is only a few hundred metres from Peregrine and we decided to check it out for lunch. The Tavern looks like a little old rustic building, and we are told it was made from containers – but you wouldn’t know it. The wood-fired pizza with a glass of Peregrine Chardonnay was very agreeable.
 
Travel up Coal Pit road, turn along Gibbston Back Road (which runs parallel to the Gibbston Highway) and you arrive at Brennan Wines. Open from 11 – 5, you pay $15 for a tasting of their wines, which are all made from locally grown Gibbston fruit.
 
Back on the main road we discovered Kinross. There’s a lot on offer here. Open 7 days, 8 am – 5 pm, they have boutique accommodation, a bistro, cellar door ($15 for 5 wines) and you can taste wines from Valli, Hawkshead, Coal Pit, Domaine Thomson and Wild Irishman. Kinross was packed with tourists and we thought this was a place to include on your visiting list.
 
Our last stop in the Gibbston Valley was to Waitiri Creek. They open 7 days 11 – 5, they have a busy kitchen (at least 3 people working in there) and for $12 you can taste 4 wines – or 4 craft beers. They have a lovely garden setting, somewhat inappropriate on the day we called in.
 
Heading back to Wanaka we decided we had to revisit Archangel which had been closed on the Tuesday. It’s closed every Tuesday. You will find Archangel at Queensbury – approximately 20 minutes out of Wanaka. This is a new complex, there is a food menu and every Sunday the Food Truck arrives. It’s $3 to taste each wine – rebatable if you purchase 2 bottles. Nothing to do in Wanaka or Cromwell, it’s worth the drive – but not on a Tuesday.
 
So that was my whistle stop trip around a lot of Central Otago wineries – 25 were open, 5 closed and while we tasted wines at only a few places, if you were planning on plenty of tasting you would need about 4 days to get around so many venues.

Constellation Brands with Chief Winemaker Wendy Stuckey

First Glass 28 February 2018
Constellation Brands with Chief Winemaker Wendy Stuckey
Notes by Sue Courtney

 
Ruffino Momenti Prosecco Brut NV – Treviso DOC, Italy
This is a white gold hue with an attractive lacy edge. The bouquet is lightly floral and the taste is crisp and tingly fresh with tiny bubbles, underlying savoury slightly salty notes and lingering flavours of tart apples laced with vanilla creaming soda. 11% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Emperical Central Otago Gewurztraminer 2016
Made from grapes grown at Charcoal Gully in the Lowburn subregion, this light golden wine has a fine elegant bouquet of violet, spun sugar and spice and it’s warm in the mouth with a silky flow. It seems fairly dry with a primary flavour of ripe musky grapes and the merest suggestion of lychee with a lovely spicy lift and violets again together with liquid orange blossom honey on the fine lingering finish. Understated with a nod to Alsace.13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Emperical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Glossy citrine in the glass with a bouquet that is surprisingly quite toasty and full of butterscotch and creamy malo notes with the toastiness quite noticeable in the palate. A beautiful and subtle ‘alternative’ wild yeast barrel fermented style with warm spices, grilled peach, a fresh lemon verbena-like lift and underlying flint. From a trial that used all sorts of winemaking processes, this is from a single barrel selected from the six that survived the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Rapaura fruit. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Emperical Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Light yellow gold in the glass with a full on tantalising leesy bouquet filled with toasty, biscuity, nutty, lemony, mealy notes and powerful in the seamless palate yet not overpowering. It’s decadently toasty with peaches and cream, flint and gunsmoke notes and a beautifully balanced dry savoury oak finish that's long and persistent with a touch of cedary salinity. Clone 15 grapes from the Corner 50 area adjacent to the famed Keltern Vineyard. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
Selaks Founders Limited Edition Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
This light gold wine smells dry, leesy and flinty with hints of grapefruit and nougat and it’s lifted, lemony and nutty in the smooth flowing palate with wild yeast nuances, lemon meringue and mellow toasty oak underpinned with gunsmoke. While it seems a little tight at first this long term potential wine has increasing layers of complexity and a light touch of caramel on the finish. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
A wrap around the tongue wine thats light gemmy gold in the glass with a malty richness to the bouquet together with leesy, nutty, wild yeast and spicy savoury oak notes and full-bodied and powerful in the palate with toasty oak, touches of gunflint, dried hay, tropical fruit, citrus and juicy nectarine with a creamy malo softness and touches of caramel in harmony. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
Bright lemon gold in the glass with subtle buttery notes to the bouquet and restrained toasty oak floating around the fruit that seems more in the fig and melon spectrum but as the wine warms up flavours of bottled peach come through. It’s different and understated with textural complexity, refreshing acidity, a touch of salinity and a lingering savoury finish. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Wild Grace Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
A saturated deep ruby in the glass, the generous bouquet emanates rich cherry notes with roasted sappy woody herbs like thyme and rosemary and a nice touch of woodsmoke there too – all this and more in the savoury palate that has youthful velvety tannins and a peppery heat with blue-red fruit on the finish. From grapes grown around the Bendigo subregion, this pinot is still evolving and worth cellaring for a while. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012 – Tuscany, Italy
Garnet red with some bricking to the hue. The bouquet is mellow and savoury with a touch of redcurrant jelly, leather and game and it’s savoury and firm in the palate where the mellow cherry-like fruit is underpinned with lifted orange-like acidity that’s in harmony with the savoury gamey notes and seasoned oak. Evolving in the glass this dry wine has a very long finish but does need to be served with rich flavoursome food – a duck ragu will do. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Corner 50 Vineyard Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2013
Inky blackcurrant red in the glass looking so youthful for its 5 years of age. The bouquet is positively creamy with a chocolate box scent that recurs in the soft fine-tannined palate where pencil box oak and graphite frames the mellowing fruit that’s an amalgam of plums and bramble berries with just a smidgen of mint that adds brightness. 2013 is one of the greatest vintages ever in Hawkes Bay and this stellar wine is an absolute steal. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  2014 – California, USA 
The bouquet of this deep blackberry red hued offering promises a deep rich wine and the palate delivers. There's lifted woody scents that follow through to the taste – more sandalwood than cedar laced with woody herbs and spices that infuse the sumptuous blackcurrant, boysenberry and plum fruit with well balanced acidity and warmth while the tannins just meld. A heady, high alcohol wine that finishes a little sweet, it begs for a juicy rare steak. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $31.99.

Kingsley Wood on Tour - Central Otago – Part One

They say timing is important in life – well how about choosing a suitable week to visit the wineries in Central Otago, in February, and you get a cyclone and snow.  Like a good Auckland resident, you travel with shorts and then the high for the day is forecast to be 6 degrees.  The shops in Wanaka have no long-sleeved shirts on the racks, unless you want to buy something for the mountains which costs $400 – and will probably last a lifetime.  I am envious of the 25 degrees forecast for the North Shore!

However, we didn’t need fine weather when my plan was to visit as many winery cellar doors as I could over two days.  Day one was around Cromwell and Bannockburn and the Gibbston/Arrowtown area the next day.  Sadly, there was not time to get down to Alexandra. 

My plan was to visit the Cellar Doors that were open – not intending to taste at most, it was just a chance to see what was new, what the wineries were offering – and charging.  We found out that many wineries did not charge for a tasting, supposedly because they did not provide any food.  What did surprise me, since my last visit about three years ago, was the incredible increase in vineyard plantings, mainly across the Lowburn/Dunstan plains, but even in Bannockburn and the famous Felton Road.

While scaffolding companies are ‘creaming it’ in Auckland, netting companies must be doing very well in Central Otago.  With the vintage still expected to be early, there are hundreds of hectares of vineyards covered in nets – it’s a great sight for the tourists.

These are the wineries I visited and this is what they offer:

Wanaka based Maude Wines now has a retail presence in town.  They share the facilities with French themed restaurant Bistro Gentil – Maude has the day, the restaurant the evenings.  They are right across from the Wanaka golf course – tourists could walk there.  Maude offers a sit down hosted tasting of five wines for $15.  We had a talk with the charming winemaker Sarah-Kate Dineen, in fact all of the staff were hospitable and knowledgeable. 

There must be no winery in New Zealand more photographed, or visited, than Rippon and because they don’t provide food, the tastings are free.  There were at least 50 people there when we called – they should work out how to charge people – few would complain.

Our first call in Bannockburn was to Mt Difficulty.  This winery is probably going to be sold to the Foley Family Group – another string to their bow – Vavasour, Grove Mill, Goldwater, Te Kairanga, Martinborough Vineyards etc.  Mt Difficulty charges $2 for five wines and you can pay $5 for tastings of their limited release pinots, served from the enomatic pourer. And of course, they have their popular restaurant with the amazing view – a must visit.

Felton Road’s actual winery can only be visited by appointment now.  We called, but winemaker Blair Walter was away this week.

Terra Sancta had a sign on the gate “Visits by Appointment Only”.

We were surprised to find a new tasting facility on the hill right next door to Felton Rd.  Domain Rd has 14 acres of vineyards planted there now and their tasting room is made from shipping containers – its new and stylish but apparently the severe heat after Christmas really gave visitors a stressful visit.  No such problem when we called.  They do not charge for the tasting.  Open 11am – 5pm, 7 days.  Check it out.

Just a few hundred metres from Domain Rd, also in Felton Rd, is a sign for Gate 20 Two.  They have a Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, grown on site and made by Mt D. The tasting is conducted in the foyer of the owner’s house – we recommend no more than two people to call at a time.

The other wineries in Bannockburn are located around the Southern end of Lake Dunstan, but still only a couple of kilometres from Felton Rd.  Akarua was proud to tell us about yet another gold medal for their Pinot Noir and I was delighted to see just three Trophy certificates on the walls of the Akarua tasting room – all from the NZ International Wine Show.  There is no charge for the 4 or 5 tasting wines at Akarua.

Bannock Brae was closed so we travelled another few hundred metres to Carrick which has a popular restaurant – almost booked out for lunch.  I’m not a big fan of tastings in stemless glasses and while we decided we would taste the Carrick EBM Chardonnay 2016, the tasting sample was so tiny it really didn’t tell us much.  They charge $10 for 5 wines, but we did notice everyone was getting extremely small servings.

Bald Hills was unfortunately closed but up the hill at Ceres it was all action and delight after the news had filtered through about another gold medal for their Black Rabbit Riesling in the Royal Easter Wine Show Awards.  James Dicey is a compelling figure who will be at First Glass on Wednesday 2nd May. 

Wild Earth now have their wines on for tasting at the Goldfields complex several kilometres along the road to Queenstown and we were hopeful of lunch.  But the presence of a bus and several vans told us the place was pretty full, so it was just a whistle stop to see what they offer.  They have a $10 tasting of 5 wines which is rebated off a wine purchase.

Wooing Tree right on the outskirts of Cromwell was busy and they are open all week, 10 – 5pm.  They have a full food menu available and a good family set-up.  Excellent Pinots and glorious Rosés.

The visit to the new Misha’s Vineyard tasting room was a highlight.  Their “cellar door” is located on the main road between the Shotover River bridge and the Cromwell township.  Misha was on deck to present her wines and it’s a place you should visit.  $10 for five wines of your choice.  The Limelight Riesling 2014 is delicious!  This is a very hospitable visit. 

At Quartz Reef we did run into the inimitable Rudi Bauer who was supervising the arrival of the first grapes from the vintage, 3 weeks early.  Quartz Reef sparklings are great wines.

The Scott Base tasting room has a great view over Cromwell and Lake Dunstan. They charge $5 or $10 for a range of Alan Scott wines or Moa beer.  Aurum Vineyard is a few kilometres along the Wanaka road and there is no charge for the tasting.  The Lazy Dog past Lowburn was closed as was Archangel at Queensbury (closed Tuesday) but it looked impressive from the gate so we visited again the next day.

The decision to charge or not to charge for Cellar Door tastings seems to be a decision made by the respective winery licence and whether they serve any food or not.  There were some mixed messages from some wineries.

Part two will include a trip over the Crown Range, in snow, and the Winery Cellar Doors around Lake Hayes and in the Gibbston Valley.

When Kingsley's Away …

First Glass 21 February 2018 
When Kingsley's Away …
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Starborough Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Straw in the glass where the bouquet radiates out soft tropical fruit, apple and white peach with a waft of basil. Distinctively varietal but soft rather than aggressive with flavours of pineapple, green passionfruit, citrus, apple and herbs with basil, tarragon and fennel coming to mind and increasing pungency to the long, juicy finish. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Tasca Cavalo Delle Fate Grillo 2016 – Sicily 
Straw gold in hue with a shy restrained nose and a steely, flinty, slightly chalky feel at first with moderate palate weight. It tastes bright and fresh with scintillating acidity, touches of tropical guava, apple, lemon and hot/ peppery/zesty vibes and lingering hints of tarragon on the long quenching finish.  Grillo is an Italian grape variety and this wine is a refreshing change. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $21.99.
 
La Crema Monterey Chardonnay 2016 – California, USA
Deep golden yellow in the glass with a light lanolin overlay to the buttery nuances infusing the soft cedary oak bouquet. Juicy peach fills the creamy palate that’s smooth and seamless in its flow with layers of butterscotch and butter caramel, well-balanced underlying acidity and a powerful finish. New vintage, new label, New Zealand winemaker. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Leveret Estate Hawke’s Bay Viognier 2015
Bright yellow gold with an abundance of tropical fruit, sweet citrus and honeysuckle filling the bouquet  and juicy in the off dry palate where touches of apricot and honey are underpinned by a crisp acid spine  while a hint of savoury salinity on the warm rounded finish adds to this youthful looking wine’s allure. Gold Medal AirNZ Wine Awards 2016. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Willy Gisselbrecht Pinot Gris 2016 – Alsace, France
Looking viscous in the glass with a light gold hue. The scent is fragrant and floral and the taste is mouthfilling and unctuous with delightful flavours of apricot, poached pear, violets and honey. The touch of sweetness sits well and it’s smooth and satisfying with a lingering finish. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Hunters Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2017
Watermelon pink with a scent of candy floss and strawberry and red cherry juices following through to the lightly spicy zesty palate that has a refreshing flinty undercurrent and touches of rose hip jelly. Technically bone dry but the fruitiness belies this. Gold Medal NZIWS. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016 
Youthful bright, burgundy hue with shimmering translucency. The haunting bouquet emanates subtle wood smoke with spice and florals, perhaps violets, and the mouthfilling taste is deeply savoury with spiced cherries and purple fruit notes. The tannins are silky and fine and the wine seems almost creamy on the captivating finish.  Gold Medal NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Trulli Primitivo Di Manduria 2015 – Puglia, Italy
Moderately bright black red and while dark in the core of the glass it’s pinky red on the edges. The wine smells ripe, like plum jam cooking on the stove, but there’s ‘old world’ connotations brimming through too. The ripeness continues with the taste full of currants with a slight red jelly confectionary feel that’s nicely offset by the robust tannins and the meaty undercurrent. Well-structured and chewy with a warm finish and a touch of char and spice. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Turkey Flat Barossa Valley Grenache 2016 – South Australia
There's a violet glow to the bright purple garnet hue. The perfumed bouquet hints of red and purple fruits with perhaps a sprinkle of five spice, and the fragrance continues in the spicy, peppery palate that has firm yet supple tannins and lift to the finish where Chinese spices come again to the fore and a touch of cherry chocolate emerges. There's an incredible lightness and elegance to this old vine wine. Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy Winner 2017. 15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
 
Xavier Arcane XV Le Diable Mourvedre 2015 – Rhone, France
Dark red  almost translucent with pink edges. The bouquet of fresh game meat and iron is subtle and it’s meaty and savoury to the taste with rich dark plummy fruit and bright cherry. The tannins at first seem fine and accessible but pack a punch on finish. A blend of old vine Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cote de Rhone fruit where it’s rare to see a wine solely made from Mourvedre.15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $35.99.
 
The Willows Barossa Valley Shiraz 2014 – South Australia.
Inky black red with youthful brightness. The bouquet tantalises with its winey fragrance of berries and chocolate and it’s concentrated and spicy in the palate with chocolate and cocoa to the fore and while not as minty as we night expect from this label it has the lift, brightness and cleanness that the Willows wines always have and followers of this label won’t be disappointed.. It’s a powerful wine with harmonious oak and pillowy tannins that make it seem almost approachable but really would benefit from further cellaring. 14.9% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.