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Wine & Chocolate

First Glass 15 August 2018
Wine with Chocolate
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017
Light gold with an attractive fragrant aroma of poached pear and a soft citrussy zing to the off dry flavours that are full of delicious honey poached pear.  
Choc match: Whittaker’s Nelson Pear and Manuka Honey in Milk Chocolate. Enhances the freshness of the wine but the sweet milky creamy chocolate is the overall lingering taste.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Main Divide North Canterbury Gewurztraminer 2016 
Crisp, dry and oily smelling and strong and spicy to the taste with tingles of ginger and candied lime with abundant musk flavours in a full-bodied, off dry style. 
Choc match: Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish Delight. A sweet sugary chocolate that needs the wine to balance it out, which it does with a peppery vibe and the musky taste of Turkish Delight lingers.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Archangel Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013
Rich ruby red in the glass with an alluring earthy savoury scent infused with leather and spice yet surprisingly fruity to the taste with still fresh acidity, lightly firm tannins, spiced tamarillo and bittersweet berries.  
Choc match: Whittaker’s West Coast Buttermilk Caramelised White Chocolate. The chocolate is quite sweet and cloying on its own but makes the wine seem silky smooth and rich with a lingering creamy caramel taste. A winning match.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.
 
Zolla Primitivo Di Manduria 2016 – Salento, Italy 
A vibrant black red. The bouquet is rich and ripe with wisps of cocoa powder and black cherries and the taste is sweet, ripe, gutsy and full-bodied with prunes and cherries, an earthy savoury undercurrent and smooth tannins that make it seem almost seamless in its flow.
Choc match: Cadbury Dairy Milk - Milk Chocolate. This old favourite seems dry on its own compared to the voluptuous wine but it balances the wine’s sweetness beautifully and introduces a fresh acid zing. 
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
McManis  Family Vineyards Petite Sirah 2016 – California, USA 
Vibrant purple red with crimson edges. The leathery bouquet hints of a savoury wine but there's a juicy plum and mulberry sweetness to the taste with earth, straps of leather and a sprinkle of pepper on a bed of fine tannins.
Choc match: Cadbury Old Gold Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate. Makes the wine seem full, smooth and seamless. Good match. 
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Chocoholic Pinotage 2016 – Darling, South Africa
Dark ruby red with garnet edges. Aromas of cherry jam and spice and quite peppery in the savoury palate with lightly firm tannins and a smoky touch to the finish.   
Choc match: Cadbury Dairy Milk Black Forest. The chocolate is milky and sweet but the sweetness is toned down by the wine and the glace cherry in the chocolate is the lingering taste. Good match.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Mister Riggs The Truant McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Deep dark red. Ripe and fruity smelling with touches of vanillin oak, chocolate and cherry then spicy and peppery to the taste with velvety tannins, plums and cherries, irresistibly smooth in its flow. 
Choc match: Cadbury Dairy Milk packed with Crunchie. This is a milky chocolate and not overly sweet, but makes the wine seem a little more earthy and savoury and drier than it seemed on its own. 
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Chocolate Box Dark Chocolate Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia 
Inky black red. Deep intense scent of cedar and leather with hints of red berries.  Beautiful fine tannin structure, fresh acidity, purity of plum and raspberry fruit, a tingle of pepper and a silky chocolate-like smoothness to the finish.   
Choc match: Cadbury Dark Milk with Roasted and Caramelised Hazelnuts. The nut flavours are strong and the match brings out a bitterness in the wine. Not a good match.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
Grant Burge Barossa Ink Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky black red with vibrant crimson edges. The chocolate and plum bouquet is cloaked with vanilla and the taste is ripe and voluptuous with fine velvet tannins, juicy plum, prune and bottled cherry fruit, a sprinkle of pepper and a well-balanced nutty oak note to the creamy finish. 
Choc match: Whittaker’s Black Doris Plum and Roasted Almonds in Dark Chocolate. This is a silky smooth chocolate, not overly sweet, not overpoweringly nutty, nice on its own and an excellent match to this wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
St Hugo Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – South Australia
Deep dark red hinting of a little age. There's mint wafting through the bouquet and heaps more in the taste. A firmly structured wine, quite dry with savoury oak and plum and cassis fruit that is starting to fade as bottle developed earthy leathery characters take over yet the cabernet fruit sweetness still signs off the finish.  
Choc match: Cadbury Old Gold Dark Chocolate with Peppermint. While the mint is complimentary, the chocolate brings out a bitterness in the wine. 
14.1% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Villa Maria Reserve Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2016
Sunshine gold. Candied orange fills the bouquet and the sticky, delicious, nectar-like taste is crammed with luscious liquid honey and candied tropical fruit with a vibrant and beautifully balanced citrussy zing.
Choc match: Whittaker’s Fijian Ginger and Kerikeri Mandarin in Dark Chocolate. This is a excellent chocolate on its own and goes beautifully with the wine, foiling the sweetness a little. The chocolate is subtle in the match, the ginger and mandarin flavours are complimentary and the wine’s flavours are the lasting memory. Excellent combo.
10% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99. 375ml.

New In Store

First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday - 8 August 2018
New In Store
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
 
Goldwater Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 
Lustrous straw gold. Aromas of peach oil and cape gooseberry with more peach together with tropical fruit in the fresh lively palate that's overflowing with juicy citrus acidity and a quenching tangy finish where a delightful touch of Thai basil emerges. Trophy Winner Air NZ Wine Awards 2017. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Tiki Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Light yellow gold. Aromas of spicy oak, nuts and peach and boldly flavoured in the silky palate with bright sweet citrus underpinning the savoury oak with touches of  gunflint, butterscotch and spice, becoming quite creamy and peachy as the flavours linger. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Ra Nui Marlborough Chardonnay  2014
Moderate gold in hue. Soft nutty aromas fill the bouquet with a suggestion of honeydew melon that recurs in the rounded, mellow, seamless flowing palate with lingering nutty oak, touches of nashi pear and mandarin brightening the finish. Nicely developed and ready to go. 13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018 
Straw gold in hue with a bright fruity aroma and refreshing flavours full of gooseberry, lime, tropical guava and Packham pears poached in wine framed by soft acidity with a tickle of ginger and slivers of sweetness. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.
 
Bond Block Wines Ormond Gisborne Gewurztraminer 2017
Light gold in hue. Fragrant scents of old fashioned roses and candied violets and a light spritzy, spicy upfront feel to the texture like tingles of white pepper and ginger yet mouthcoating and long in an off dry style with rose oil and orange water and touches of Turkish delight. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Mount Riley The Bonnie Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2018 
Like a spinel gemstone in hue, this blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris is fragrant and fruity with a bright spritzy texture and just off dry flavours reminiscent of early season plums and cherries with lingering flavours of tarragon and watermelon. Juicy and refreshing and verging on irresistible even on a cold winters night. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.
 
Summerhouse Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
This is an intense ruby / magenta with a deep aroma of earth and herbs and chocolate-coated black cherries. Showing its youth as it is quite firm in the initially earthy savoury palate with classical herbaceous tones, then a bittersweet berry sweetness ripples through with hints of rosehips and smoky bacon. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Doctors Flat Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 
Bright translucent ruby with pinky edges. The shy bouquet is floral yet meaty and it’s silky in its flow across the palate with a juicy sweetness to the bright cherry and strawberry fruit that’s underpinned by a beautifully balanced savouriness, a salivating salinity, and a long rounded mouthcoating finish with increasing complexity and touches of anise. Tasty and totally on song at the tasting. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $44.99.
 
Pesquera Crianza Ribera del Duero Tempranillo 2014
This is a shiny blackish red in the glass. The slightly charry, cedary bouquet has intensity and depth of fruit with wafts of barnyard and leather and it’s dark and dusty in the savoury meaty palate where succulent and opulent prune-like fruit ripples through with touches of peppery spices and slightly chalky tannins that impart a very dry finish yet all the while refreshing underlying acidity. True to the region but does need food. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Aramis White Label McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015
Dark blackish red with chocolate and spiced berry aromatics and succulent plum and raspberry flavours with an underlying earthy, leathery savouriness, moderately firm tannins, peppery spices, touches of cacao and a dry yet fruity finish. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Sandalford Reserve Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Bright red black with crimson edges, the bouquet of this big oaky wine is laced with vanilla and mint that's a little more discreet in the dark, brooding, firmly structured, chewy palate that has lashings of leather, tar and smoke with touches of chocolate and a berry fruit brightness to the lifted and lingering finish. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 

d'Arenberg Wines from the McLaren Vale with Jack Walton

First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting 1 August 2018
d'Arenberg Wines from the McLaren Vale with Jack Walton
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
 
d'Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne 2017
Light citrine in hue with delicate tropical fruit aromas and an intriguing touch of spearmint infusing the warm oily taste with a hint of apricot and yellow guava and a peppery papaya seed heat. Mouthfilling and textural but also bright, flinty, dry and tangy. Oysters would be a terrific match. 
12.9% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne  2016
There's a citrine brightness to the hue and a sense of honeyed apricot both to the aroma and the taste together with peach and a tingle of ginger juice that’s nicely honed by refreshing acidity and an underlying savouriness. Mouthcoating and textural with a subtle smoky nuance to the long warm, lingering finish.  
13.3% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
d'Arenberg The Peppermint Paddock Sparkling Red
A blend of Chambourcin, Shiraz and Graciano grapes, this is an intensely vivid purple crimson in the glass with a lacy foam when poured. It radiates boysenberry and mulberry scents and the full-bodied, juicy taste is crammed with plums, prunes, chocolate coated raisins, cinnamon and leather finishing with a flourish of freshly crushed mint.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.
 
d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2014
Deep burgundy hued with touches of ruby in the core and garnet edges. Cedary aromatics with hints of mint, plums and cherries. Tight knit and tannic driven at first in the finely textured savoury palate that’s lifted with mint – like after milk chocolate-coated dinner mints – and red berries and finishes with a juicy sweetness that counteracts the initial dryness and leaves a smile. A Grenache that can be cellared for years. 
14.4% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
d'Arenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Inky black red with crimson edges. Profoundly savoury and leathery on the nose at first then fragrant blackcurrant scents waft through. A classic dry red with upfront dry, slightly mouth-puckery, chalky tannins and intense cassis / blackcurrant / black Doris plum fruit with lingering savoury oak and subtle nuances of cacao, tobacco, mint and leather. The fruit overwhelms the tannins and the incredibly long finish is vibrant and lively.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $ 17.99.
 
d'Arenberg The Galvo Garage 2013
This blend of Cabernet, Petit Verdot and Merlot is inky in the glass with a minty infusion to the bright berry and cedar scent and it tastes deliciously juicy from the outset with supple tannins and sappy minty cedary notes framing the succulent plum, mulberry and black cherry fruit with a firm earthy leathery savouriness underpinning it all. Totally on song with lingering berry and mint chocolate notes.
14.4% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2015
Purple red. Berry pie, spiced tobacco and chocolate-coated red liquorice scents. Mouthfilling, lifted and minty with sappy oak and upfront red berry fruits underpinned by chewy, crushed velvet tannins that seem more fine and silky on the long, ripe, juicy finish with touches of vanilla and cake spices, and lingering menthol tobacco.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
d'Arenberg The Love Grass Shiraz 2015
Inky crimson black. Intense aromas of dark smoky cedar, mint, blackberry and woody herbs. A profoundly savoury wine with earth, graphite and coal – a wine that evokes a warm winter fire toasting marshmallows over the embers – the sensual brooding savouriness lifted by juicy black plums, mulberries and cherries with a smattering of pepper and black liquorice while refreshing underlying acidity balances out the jammy sweetness on the deliciously long mouthfilling finish. Value for money buy of the night. 
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2013
Inky black red. Aromatic and perfumed with wafts of apricot, milk chocolate, mulberry and mint. At first it seems velvety smooth then the tannins kick in mid-palate and it’s smooth flowing on the finish again. There’s a lovely depth of succulent fruit and vinous sweetness to the creamy finish with an underlying woody, stalky, sappy character and lingering floral / rose petal notes.  ‘Soft yet seriously structured,’ said Jack.
14.6% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
d'Arenberg The Wild Pixie Shiraz 2014
Inky black red. Black forest chocolate, earth, leather and vanilla fill the bouquet. A dark, brooding, firmly structured wine with enchanting earthy, savoury, mushroomy notes – magic mushrooms – meaty mushrooms – and very intense berry fruit together with vanilla, spice, pepper and a bright flourish of mint chocolate making the finish very moreish. 
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.
 
d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2015
Inky purple / black red – fine in appearance.  Dark sappy oak on the nose and while at first it seems super fine in the palate this is a deceptive veneer as the tannins are firm and teeth-coating. Wonderful intensity of lightly jammy cherry, mulberry, raspberry, plum and blackberry fruit with nutty oak, toasted hazelnut chocolate, lifted mint and sensuous vanilla tones on a bed of sweet earth, herbs and pepper, and a dark mint chocolate finish. A monumental wine that really should be cellared at this stage of its life.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.

Mostly Italian with a Primitivo V Zinfandel Shootout

First Glass Template
Mostly Italian with a Primitivo/Zin Shootout
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
 
San Lorenzo Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi 2016 – Puglia, Italy 
Golden in hue with at first a slight buttery touch to the nutty aroma and later bright tropical fruit delights. The taste is bright, fresh and tangy with peach and apricot fruit, oiliness to the texture and softness to the finish. A touch of almond and lime zest adds to the intrigue. Tasty unoaked apertif style.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Escarpment Martinborough Pinot Blanc 2016
Golden hued with a flinty sense to the shy tropical fruit scent and a touch of spritz to the texture that makes it seem so bright and fresh, yet this is a wine of Chardonnay-like body and weight and as the spritz subsides flavours of lime and white peach emerge and the finish is lightly savoury.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
 
Crossroads Winemakers Collection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Golden in colour with a struck match smell to the scent and a gunflint feel to the initially grapefruit driven taste but under that is some lovely nectarine fruit and oak spice and as the wine warms up stone fruit, mealy notes and savoury oak emerge.  A big bold dry wine with an exceptionally long and alluring finish but still seems youthful wanting further time to unfold. Gold NZIWS.  
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Leone De Castris II Medaglione Negroamaro 2106 – Salento, Italy
Deep ruby, moderately opaque with pinky edges. Very appealing aroma of summer berries then firm yet fresh in the mouth with vibrancy of fruit and a lovely underlying savouriness and a lingering touch of anise. Gutsy, juicy and salivating fruit driven wine.   
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Leone De Castris Salice Salentino Riserva Negroamaro 2015 – Salento, Italy
A dark black red with the edges suggesting a little age. Currants and fruit cake on the nose and rich, ripe and sweet in the fleshy palate with juicy berries and touches of vanilla-tinged spice underpinned with dark savoury leathery tones and finishing reasonably dry – the fruit masks the tannins until the end. 
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Masseria Li Veli Orion Primitivo 2016 – Salento, Italy
Deep rich red with pinky edges. The bouquet is ripe and vinous with fruit cake nuances and a spicy flare. Concentrated and mouthfilling in the palate with a peppery vibe, deliciously juicy fruit and leather savoury tones simmering along in the background then vanilla and tobacco come to the fore with a spicy brightness as the wine lingers.
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $21.99.
 
Leone Du Castris Villa Santera Primitivo Di Manduria 2016 – Manduria, Italy
Dark red with moderate opacity and youthful pinky edges. Perfumed yet slightly rustic with a nuance of violet and a waft of menthol tobacco and cedar. Bright in the palate with a touch of musk / chocolate-coated Turkish delight, fresh acidity, juicy plum and cherry fruit and a tingle of spice shimmying through the background. Fine and silky with the tannins more obvious on the finish. A crowd favourite on the night.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.
 
Fatalone Giola Del Colle Fatalone Primitivo 2015 – Puglia, Italy
A moderately deep red black in the core of the glass. Perfumed with a sensual savouriness and red berry fruit. Savoury and spicy in the palate with firm tannins quickly making themselves known yet at the same time radiating a plum and dark berry fruit succulence with oak-infused peppery spices, underlying boot leather and savoury cigar box-like notes. The tannins melt away on the deliciously long dry finish. It hides its high alcohol well.
15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
Brazin Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel 2015 – Lodi, California
Deep red black with a creamy, spicy, cedary, bright, lifted berry scent and flavours that overflow with vanillin oak, smoky oak, sappy oak, oily oak and sweet, ripe, succulent berry fruit. It's ripe, luscious, full-bodied, meaty and chocolatey. Sweet and ripe with appealing bright flavours lingering for ages and while some will find the oak overpowering, others will love it. As someone said on the night, "A wine to drink with a knife and fork.".
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $30.99.
 
The Prisoner Wine Company Saldo Zinfandel 2015 – California
Bright pinky/red black. Concentrated and fruity on the nose with vanilla and spice and touches of leather.  A high alcohol opulent wine brimming with bright berry fruit and jam biscuit notes yet with a well-balanced underling savouriness, juicy acidity and tannins that seem silky and seamless yet assert their presence on the finish.  A blend of 85% Zinfandel and 15% Petite Sirah and Syrah matured in French and American oak, 25% new, this is a powerful wine that as someone said, ‘needs a buffalo to accompany it.”
15.9% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $40.99.
 
The Prisoner Wine Company Napa Valley Red 2015 – California 
A deep purple red with a profoundly vinous bouquet with a waft of chocolate biscuits. A big wine, a creamy wine, a spicy wine, a fruity yet savoury wine with obvious high alcohol that masks the immense tannins. This blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Charbono matured in French and American oak, 30% new, is overwhelming at this stage of its life and really should be cellared. Patience will reward.
15.2% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $45.99.

NZ versus the Rest of the World

Tasting Notes 18 July 2018
New Zealand versus the Rest of the World
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Simonnet Febvre Petite Chablis 2013 - France 
The fresh, steely, orchard fruit bouquet of this light matte gold hued wine hints of Chardonnay, which indeed it is and the taste is crisp, malic, earthy and lemony with a suggestion of mountain pawpaw and honeydew melon. It's unoaked yet pleasingly textural with a chalky dryness and a long lasting finish. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.
 
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Light yellow gold in the glass. Inviting aromas of ripe peach, toasty oak, and vanilla. Tasty, mouthfilling, malty, mealy flavours with gunsmoke, spicy oak, underlying flint and gobs of juicy tropical fruit that lingers tantalisingly. Exudes class all the way through. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.
 
Sebastiani North Coast Chardonnay 2015 – California, USA
Citrine gold. Restrained at first on the nose but later tropical fruit rises to the fore. Full, fat and juicy in the palate with sizzled butter, vanillin oak, caramel and cream brûlée. Mouthfilling, easy to open with the screwcap and easy to drink. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Framingham Classic Marlborough Riesling 2016
Light gold hued with an initial whiff of rubber band that succumbs to more intensely aromatic yellow citrus, heritage apple and delicate floral scents. Bright and zesty in the palate with refreshing tart apple acidity that's tempered by a touch of sweetness on the juicy quenching finish. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Kerpen Alte Reben Wehlener Sonnenhur Spatlese Feinherb Riesling 2015 – Mosel, Germany 
Light gold in the glass. The fragrant bouquet of honey and botrytis has a fascinating earthy aura like wet potters clay and flavours full of tropical and citrus fruits with a tickle of spritz to the texture and only moderate sweetness. A classic example of the great wines of this region. 10.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Guigal Côte du Rhône 2014 – Rhone, France
Dark tamarillo skin red. The bouquet is earthy, a little rustic and slightly metallic with  a hint of cranberry, liquorice and tobacco. Fine flowing and vinous in the mouth with silky tannins, a suggestion of leather and a long savoury finish underpinned by well balanced acidity with fruit sweetness lingering. Made from predominantly Syrah with Garnacha and Mourvedre, this is excellent value. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Hawks Bay Syrah 2016
Deep crimson black. Warm comforting chocolate cake and cherry bouquet. Full-bodied, mouthfilling, spicy and peppery with juicy blackberry, mulberry and cherry fruit framed by savoury oak. The firmly structured tannins are still tight and youthful but the potential is clearly there. Patience will reward. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.
 
Pepperjack Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky black red with crimson edges. A rich berry chocolate nose and more chocolate in the sweet-fruited, creamy, silky-tannined, succulent palate together with cherry, vanilla, mocha, liquorice and hazelnut that meld into a mouthfilling delight. The firm finish is accented with spice and pepper and dry savoury notes linger. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Rockbare Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – South Australia  
Dark pinky red with moderate density. Eucalypt and chocolate dust fill the bouquet and there's a warm fine chocolatey coating to the texture with fine tannins, mint, leather, cedar, vanilla and ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruit underpinned by nicely balanced acidity. Smooth and velvety all the way through. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Crossroads Talisman 2014 – Hawkes Bay
Glossy rich dark red with an intense and attractive bouquet of cedar and brambles laced with chocolate and cherry. Beautifully poised as it floats across the palate. Finely structured tannins, concentrated red and black berries, savoury oak and cake spice are some of the descriptors that come to mind. A classy wine made from a secret blend of classic and rare red varieties that grow in Hawkes Bay. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $44.99.
 
Beach House Noble Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 
Deep yellow gold. Citrus blossom and honeysuckle nectar fill the bouquet and sweet honeyed citrus of the mandarin / orange spectrum in the palate with grapey muscat-like notes and a zingy brightness. A sweet yet refreshing desert wine that’s lightly viscous with a silky smooth flow. 12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

New Arrivals, New Vintages

First Glass 11 July 2018
New Arrivals, New Vintages
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were mostly tasted blind

 
Beach House Hawkes Bay Selection Chardonnay 2016
Golden hued with toasty oak and a just out-of-the-oven nut biscuit scent. Nutty and creamy in the palate with peach and polished toasty oak. Smooth and long with a bright tasty finish. Terrific socialising wine. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Champagne Delaplace Brut NV
Straw yellow with a frothy foam when poured. Quite a broad yeasty scent. Vibrantly effervescent at first in the mouth but when the bubbles subside the texture is creamy. A mouthfilling, nutty, mellow Champagne with attractive yeast autolysis and richness to the lingering finish. Gold NZIWS. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $42.99.
 
Lawson Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 
Lemon yellow in hue with a full-on rich, fat, mealy, inviting Chardonnay scent then toasty and savoury in the mouthfilling palate that's layered with gunsmoke, spicy oak, lemon biscuit, peach and a touch of caramel and culminates in a long, dry, roasted nut finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Vega del Rayo Rioja Reserva 2011 – Rioja, Spain 
There’s a touch of tawny to the fading ruby hue. The bouquet offers up cherry and blueberry jam and it’s quite dry at first in the savoury palate with earth, game, mushroom and leather then juicy succulent redcurrant jelly-like fruit wells up from within with a whisper of spice and soft mellow oak. Subtle, understated and long with well-structured silky tannins and a linger hint of jaffa. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Honoro Vera Garnacha 2016 – Calatayud, Spain 
Bright ruby in the glass with touches of crimson. Fresh, bright and youthful both on the nose and in the silky-textured palate where cherry and raspberry fruit is framed with red pepper, leather and spice and the finish lingers with succulence and charm. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Giordano Reserva Primitivo Di Manduria Riserva 2015 – Puglia, Italy
Inky black red with crimson edges. Sweet smoky oak fills the bouquet with blueberry and chocolate coasted raisins. Full-bodied, powerful, succulent and juicy with a curvaceous body and a velvet cloak texture. Full of ripe fruit, sweet oak and underpinned with spice and pepper, it is definitely seductive at this stage in the tasting. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
I Muri Primitivo 2017 – Puglia Italy 
Bright red black in the glass. Crushed dark chocolate biscuits and jammy red fruits shimmy through the slightly rustic scent with underlying savouriness, a touch of earth and plum and dark cherry fruit in the fine silky-textured palate. Oozing with succulence and flavour, a new vintage of a perennial favourite that delivers what you expect from this label. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Red Knot Classified McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 – South Australia 
Inky purple red in the glass. Blackberry and dark chocolate fill the bouquet then in the firmly structured, full-bodied, mouthfilling palate there’s savoury oak, vanilla, touches of pepper, hints of anise, concentrated mulberry and black cherry fruit and succulence to the spicy finish. Made by Shingleback. Winestate Shiraz Wine of the Year. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Reilly's Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky black red with crimson edges. There’s a floral allure to the sweet nutty oak and spice-infused scent with spice quite prominent in the silk-edged velvety textured palate with dry (but not drying) tannins and a juicy succulence to the bright creamy finish. A dense, concentrated, tight-knit wine that would benefit from cellaring at this stage of its life. 15.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Mouton Cadet Reserve Sauternes 2014 – Bordeaux, France
Deep yellow in the glass with a nectar-like scent and lightly viscous and honeyed in the palate with an intriguing earthy savouriness that brings the delectable sweetness into check. Orange honey, candied orange peel, candied fennel seeds, dried tropical fruits and lanolin all combine for a glorious finish. Made from 90% Semillon and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Delicious. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99 for a 750-ml bottle. 

Felton Road Wines from Central Otago with Blair Walter

First Glass 4 July 2018
Felton Road Wines from Central Otago with Blair Walter
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
Felton Road Dry Riesling 2017
Straw in colour with a delicate lemon sherbet aroma and a crisp, dry, steely, green apple fresh taste. There’s a flinty undercurrent, a shimmer of salinity and a pleasing touch of honeysuckle that tempers the racy acidity and brings succulence to the lingering finish. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
 
Felton Road Bannockburn Chardonnay 2017
The bouquet has an understated chablis-like nutty, creamy, malo elegance with the most subtle nuance of caramel and the most delicate toasty savouriness. In the mouth this is a wine of body and texture with tingly acidity punching though the creamy flow with neutral oak, a flinty / earthy undertone, fruit reminiscent of loquat, melon and just ripe apricot and softness to the long graceful finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $42.99.
 
Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay 2016
The bouquet evokes a soft sense of chardonnay long before revealing yellow fruit and light nutty scents. Immediately vibrant and tasty with sweet oak, bright tropical fruit and a touch of apple with underlying flint. From a warm vintage this is fine and elegant with a long, full, mouth-coating finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $52.99.
 
Felton Road Block 2  Chardonnay 2010
Smoky, fumé scents are joined by sweet nutty tones and the taste is full-bodied, creamy and nutty with fruit reminiscent of custard apple and pawpaw with slight peppery tingles and a touch a caramel corn on the mouthfilling finish. The vibrancy of the acidity is quite remarkable in that brings life and liveliness to this 8-year-old wine that exhibits finesse and elegance all the way through. From a vintage similar to 2017, this is quite delicious. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: NA
 
Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017
Bright ruby garnet, deeply translucent not opaque. Intense aromatics of bottled cherries with leafy notes, refined savoury oak and subtle chocolate tones. Bright, fresh and tasty with a sensuous savouriness, a youthful edge to the fine textured silky tannins, a touch of spice and game, succulent cherry fruit and a ‘sucking on a cherry stone’ feel to the remarkably long finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $58.99.
 
Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2017
There’s a touch of violet to the deep ruby hue and immediate opulence to the scent that oozes fruit, savouriness and pinosity. Concentrated and spicy tasting with ripe cherry and blueberry fruit, a touch of chocolate, lovely savoury oak tones, a tingly undercurrent from the youthful acidity, a flourish of anise and subtle lilac-like florals. Full and satisfying with a fine velvety texture and loads of flavour and flare. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $69.99.
 
Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2014
Good depth of colour and alluring mellow savoury notes to the scent where a touch of rusticity comes through. Full-bodied, rounded, mouthfilling and tasty, deeply savoury and gamey with silky tannins and a fine textured flow. It’s a slightly funky wine with body, texture and layers, fruit like old bottled cherries, and has a spicy vibrancy to the sweet-fruited succulent finish with a touch of smokiness as it lingers. Drinking superbly now - a great example of why you buy young and cellar even if only for 3 years. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: NA.
 
Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir 2017
Deep rich ruby with a flush of pink. The bouquet is so evocative with its sensuous oak, plump perfectly ripe cherries, a slight leafy/herbal nuance, black forest chocolate and spice. This is old school pinot - an earthy, gamey, savoury pinot - a dense and concentrated pinot with vibrant red and purple fruit, a voluptuousness to the texture and a long satisfying finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $94.99.
 
Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir 2013
There's a touch of tawny to the garnet hue and a white mushroom nuance to the scent together with cherry jam and mellow savoury oak. Spicy and tingly to the taste indicating the acidity is still a defining factor in this wine yet there is a fullness and roundness with fruit, oak, savouriness and subtle anise spiciness all in harmony and a lingering aftertaste that delightfully persists. Beautifully structured and still evolving. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: NA.

All Whites

First Glass 30 May 2018
All Whites
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Sensi 18K Prosecco Brut NV - Italy 
Pale straw with a salted apple nuance to the lightly floral scent. Vibrantly fizzy with a soft stewed apple, tart zingy apple and muscat grape-like taste. Light and easy going with a creamy finish. Looks fantastic and tastes nice too. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.
 
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Glossy lemon gold with an attractive toast and grilled peach scent. Quite savoury at first then juicy tropical fruit and stonefruit flavours burst through and the soft oak finish lingers with a spicy zing. Not too heavy, terrific socialising wine and top value for the money. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Te Mata Elston Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
A rich savoury wine with a light citrine hue; vanilla biscuit, gunflint and mealy aromas and more of the same in the palate. Quite tingly in its youth with the acidity subsiding to reveal ripe stonefruit and nectarine, savoury earthy notes (as in potters clay) with a creamy oak sweetness to the persistent full-bodied finish. 13.5% alc. Diam cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay 2016 - California, USA
Bright yellow gold, touches of tropical fruit with suggestions of caramelised banana on the nose and rich and oily in the palate with a ton of butter and vanilla underpinned by sweet citrus acidity and all of that rich ripe fruit making for a delicious wine. Fans of Californian Chardonnay will love this wine. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.
 
Mr Riggs Watervale Riesling 2012 – Clare Valley, South Australia
There’s a waft of kero to the scent together with apple and lime in this archetypal dry Riesling that’s quiveringly fresh and steely but with enough juicy apple and citrus / barley sugar sweetness to round out the edges while a touch of tarragon emerges as the long finish lingers. Still youthful with many years ahead of it.  11.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $11.99.
 
Kahurangi Estate Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Riesling 2016 
White gold in the glass with aromas of lemon, quince and roasted apple and a spritzy tingle to the texture. A richer style that is just off dry with a toasty character starting to develop and a lingering taste of quince and apple and a very agreeable touch of sweetness. 12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Albert Mann Pinot Gris 2016 - Alsace, France
Pale straw with a moderately shy aroma that hints of spiced apple that is a little more obvious in the very dry, steely, flinty and slightly nutty palate. A contrast to the lusher sweeter styles we often see from Alsace, this fleshes out for a much fuller finish with ripe orchard fruit and a very alluring suggestion of anise. Youthful with potential. Intriguing wine. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.
 
Spy Valley Single Vineyard Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2016
Light yellow gold with a heady bouquet of lychee, Nashi pear, crystallised violet and Turkish Delight, and ripe, concentrated tasty flavours with a touch of rose musk adding to the charm. Powerful yet with a lightness to its step, it’s just off dry with a seamless lightly oily texture and a sprinkle of ginger and white pepper. Trophy Easter Show. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Schoffit Cuvee Caroline Alsace Gewurztraminer 2014 - France
Golden hued with intense aromas of candied tropical fruit, beeswax and nectar and a medium sweet taste that’s spicy and rich with an oily smooth texture and flavours of apricot honey with pepper and ginger-like tingles and fresh acidity imparting a clean balanced finish. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Villa Maria Reserve Noble Marlborough Riesling 2016 
This delicious sweetie has a deep yellow gold colour, a scent of toffee apple and unbelievable concentration in the palate. There’s ginger marmalade, tropical fruit, apricot and candied orange with the sweetness honed in by crisp fresh vibrant acidity. Gold NZIWS. 10% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
Osborne Pedro Ximinez Very Sweet Sherry - Jerez, Spain
It’s the colour of dark mahogany with a transparent green tinge to the edges. The bouquet is like muscatel raisins and treacle and it is warm and spiritous in the decadent palate with a thick almost syrupy texture and a luscious toffee grapey sweetness. 17% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Ten Reds

First Glass 23 May 2018
Ten Reds
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
 
Clearview White Caps Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Yellow diamonds sparkle in the glass, the enticing bouquet is suggestive of manuka woodsmoke in the distance together with sizzled butter and bacon and there is a toasty veneer to the mouthfilling flavour crammed full of butterscotch and grilled peach and a smooth seamless flow. First wine of the night and pretty hard to resist. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Esk Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016
Translucent pinky red. A touch of smoke and a waft of roasted rhubarb infuse the cranberry cordial-like scent and there's a light touch to the savoury, gamey, earthy flavours with spiced bittersweet red berries, silky tannins and a lingering finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Ant McKenzie Wines Tono Hawkes Bay Tempranillo 2016 
There's richness and vibrancy to the shiny magenta hue and a creamy note to the sappy spicy bouquet with a lovely array of anise-like spices and a touch of salinity. Dry at first in the palate with a dark tarry savoury note, more of those lovely spices, a touch of rose hip and increasing summer berry juiciness to the long bright finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
La Consulta Reserva Malbec 2014 – Mendoza, Argentina
The deeply translucent hue is a tamarillo skin colour, there’s a hint of fruit cake to the scent with almonds and cherries and increasing sweetness in the silky palate with a touch of woodsmoke emerging on the ripe juicy finish where the tannins seem a little more assertive, then lingering hints of violet. Not as dark in colour as some Malbecs can be but very tasty. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
 
Quarisa Caravan Petite Sirah 2016 – South Eastern Australia 
Deep dark crimson red, intense aromas of musk and boysenberry, and ripe juicy flavours crammed with opulent berry fruit, firm tannins, underlying leather and tar, a touch of spice and strawberry chocolate on the lingering finish. Youthful but expressive. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Te Mata Awatea 2016 – Hawkes Bay 
Bordeaux character is the first aromatic sense of this bright crimson-tinged Cabernet-dominant red with cigar box, leather, earth, herb, polished French oak and harmonious berry fruit scents. Dry at first in the fine-tannined palate with all those lovely savoury, cigar box, leather and spice characters to the fore then a mouthfilling burst of succulent berry fruit and a slight herbal note to the sappy finish where the tannins are a little more assertive. Long and persistent.  13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.
 
Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2013 – Sonoma, California, USA
Dark red in hue with a hint of liquorice infusing the bright berry fruit scent that leads into a succulent, juicy, flavoursome palate. It’s soft and creamy with velvety tannins and tingles of peppery spices and lingering touches of musk, nut chocolate and currants. Despite the alcohol it doesn’t seem heavy. Nice wine. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
Sons of Eden Kennedy Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2016 – Barossa, South Australia
Bright youthful red black in the glass with aromas of spiced cherry, vanilla and soft cedar. Juicy and bright in the palate with succulent red fruits, a peppery tingle, fine silky tannins, underlying savoury notes and touches of mocha. Rich and chewy yet beautifully poised without overpowering. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
Chalk Hill Blue Lotus McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Dark pinky red. A little smoky and savoury on the nose with red berries and vanillin oak emerging.
Seemingly medium-bodied in the initially dark savoury palate with a medicine-masking fruitiness that becomes more obviously plummy, it’s fine and silky smooth in its flow, spicy and chocolate biscuit chocolatey, with increasing vinosity and richness that builds to a very fulfilling finish with smoky vanillin oak and a lifted floral allure. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Chalk Hill Alpha Crucis Titan McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia 
Deep crimson red black with a generous and expressive aroma of mulberries, mint, chocolate, vanilla and cedar. Full-bodied and meaty to the taste with firm tannins, spicy vibes, jammy red fruit, mocha, chocolate and vanilla with harmonious savoury oak and leather and a lingering suggestion of mint. Rich, smooth, succulent and mouthfilling. In a word, delicious. Gold medal - NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Cape Barren Old Vine Reserve Release McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Dark purple red, fine in appearance. There’s purity of red fruit on the nose while a very appealing smoky oak regime introduces the taste that quickly bursts with magnificent red and purple fruit together with touches of sumac, touches of mint, touches of chocolate and touches of ironstone. Fine and silky in its flow with a sense of vinous sweetness to the lingering finish. 14.7% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $44.99.

Italian & Spanish Wine Festival

First Glass 16 May 2018
A selection from the Italian and Spanish wine tasting
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
Astoria Treviso Butterfly Prosecco 2017 - Treviso, Italy
Pale straw with a lacy mousse. Ripe orchard apple scents fill the bouquet and it’s vivaciously fizzy in the mouth with a myriad of apple flavours and hints of musk. Fairly dry with a long creamy finish. 11% alc. $19.99.
 
Vilarnau Cava Brut Reserva NV - d’Espiells, Penedes, Spain
A dry, creamy cuvee of Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada grapes with secondary fermentation in the bottle that introduces complex yeast aromas and flavours to the fresh grapey taste. Served in a painted bottle that would look fabulous at any occasion. 11.5% alc. $20.99.
 
Tenuta Ulisse Pecorino 2016 - Terre di Chieti, Italy 
Luminous gold in the glass, aromatic, and rich and oily to the taste with a hint of apricot. A mouthfilling, textural white that’s a little reminiscent of Viognier with fresh acidity pushing through on the long, full, satisfying finish. 13% alc. $22.99.
 
Castello Del Poggio Moscato - Provinca de Pavia, Italy
Grapey, musky, floral aromas and a sweet, light and frothy taste full of muscat grape flavours with a green apple bite to balance the flirty sweetness. To be served very chilled as an aperitif or at the end of a feast. 7% alc. Screwcap. $18.99.
 
I Muri Puglia Primitivo 2016 - Salento, Italy
A rich garnet red (cherry juice) hue with light, savoury aromas with hints of raspberry jam adding brightness, and medium-bodied to the spicy taste with firm tannins, hints of nut chocolate and cherry with a juicy fruit sweetness to the finish and lingering touches of anise. 13.5% alc. $16.99.
 
Gran Sasso Colline Teramane Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2012 - Abruzzo, Italy
Deep black red in hue with a leathery overtone to the concentrated red and black jammy fruit aromas then in the mouth a profound vinosity frames the black cherry and plum fruit with a hint of liquorice and vanilla and beautifully integrated tannins. Svelte yet with understated power. Outstanding on the night. 13.5% alc. $30.99.
 
Fantini Edizione 2014 - Puglia & Abruzzo, Italy
A sumptuous, smooth, mouthfilling blend of Montepulciano, Primitivo, Sangiovese, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera with a youthful saturated black-red colour, a fragrant aroma reminiscent of chocolate-coated violets and a big, rich, ripe, almost sweet taste with loads of fruit, spice, vanilla, musk, chocolate and mocha. $57.99.
 
Banfi Bolgheri Aska 2013 - Italy 
There’s a little browning to the red garnet hue, the aroma evokes a mellow old world style with subtle barnyard and woody herb notes and the taste is initially dry, sappy, savoury and herbal with increasing vinosity that imparts a juiciness to the finish. A bit like leftover fruit cake with dried cakey bits and sweetness from the fruit. Very much a food wine. 13.5% alc. $29.99.
 
Rocce delle Macie Chianti Classico 2015 - Italy
Deep ruby red with a dark centre. The aroma is savoury with barnyard and leather then sweet herbs and glace cherries. Medium-bodied, dry and spicy with juicy cherry, plum and cranberry fruit, well-balanced underlying savouriness, freshness and lingering anise vibes. Accompany with antipasto nibbles or BBQ. 13.5% alc. $22.99.
 
Castelforte Valpolicella Superiore 2014 - Italy
Rich garnet red with the slightest suggestion of browning. Savoury aromatics with the blood of fresh game and hints of liquorice and anise, then touches of ironstone, bottled plums and green herb tones to the taste. An interesting wine in a rustic, old world style with pleasing vinosity and texture and rounded tannins. 13% alc. $20.99.
 
Castello Tricerchi Brunello Di Montalcino 2012 - Italy
Dark orange garnet. Lifted fine, mellow aromatics with a hint of orange cordial / orange pomander. Silky in the palate with old world savoury gamey notes, fine dry tannins and mellow dried orange tones. A little understated/delicate to start but builds in complexity and vinosity with an almost floral lift to the bright and extra long finish and just a touch of salinity. A thinking wine to savour with food. 14% alc. $69.99.
 
Muga Rioja Reserva 2012 - Rioja, Spain
Dark red, browning on edges. The bouquet is a little dusty with hints of baked chocolate plum tart - the scent becoming more and more intriguing over the course of the tasting. Lovely concentration to the taste with fine tannins, sweetness to the mulberry and cherry fruit, touches of anise and an aura of complexity that comes with bottle age while the dusty oak is an alluring feature to the finish. 14% alc. $35.99
 
Torres Celeste Crianza Tempranillo 2014 - Ribero del Duero, Spain
Bright deep red. Concentrated fruit and fine oak aromas with a hint of cigar box. Smooth and flowing in the mouth with red fruit, nicely framed vanillin oak, pillowy tannins and plumpness to the long, creamy finish. A youthful wine with brightness to its astral aura. 14.5% alc. $29.99
 
Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserve 2010 - Rioja, Spain
Dark red black with orange tones to the edges. Aromatic, a little dusty with sweet oak and baked fruit pie. Firm in the mouth with tannins still quite pronounced. Savoury, gamey and just a little meaty with a softness/mellowness coming through and while it is still unfolding the vinosity/fruit sweetness that emerges shows the promise of the future. 13.5% alc. $29.99.
 
Castillo Armado Tempranillo Reserva 2009 - Valdepenas, Spain
Dark garnet red. The bouquet is of drying / baking red fruit with a touch of herb and spice. Flowing seamlessly across the palate it is medium-bodied with mellow plum fruit and a sprinkle of spice, perhaps a hint of oxidation but it is nine years old - or maybe it is rusticity. 13% alc. $17.99.
 
Carlos Serres Rioja Reserva 2011 - Rioja, Spain
Dark burnished red with a black core. Aromatic scents of plum and mulberry pie with sweet spices and perhaps even a suggestion of mint. Savoury, dusty and earthy to the taste with touches of red berry, vanilla and mint with smooth silky tannins and a long mellow finish with a brightness as it lingers. Rioja’s acidity is holding this wine nicely. 14% alc. $25.99.
 
Costers Del Priorat Petit Pissares 2015 - Priorat, Spain
Bright black red. Aromas of brambles bushes (juicy berries, sappy leaves and stems) on the side of a dusty road. A big wine. A full-bodied wine. An earthy, savoury, spicy, gamey wine with powerful yet rounded tannins, juicy drupelets of blackberry that pop in the mouth, a touch of pepper and a dark chocolatey oak finish. Fulfilling, modern and memorable. A crowd favourite on the night. 14.5% alc. $28.99.
 
Gran Familia Rioja Reserva 2012 - Rioja, Spain
Fading black red garnet. Fragrant aromas of cherry jam with a touch of rosehip and sweet spices. Lifted in the medium-bodied palate with moderately firm tannins to start, juicy red fruits, a touch of vanilla creaminess, a rose petal muskiness and subtle anise spices finishing smooth with the tannins dissolving to leave behind a pleasing roundness and well-balanced sweetness and savouriness. Star buy. 13.5% alc. $19.99.