Every week we sample and taste dozens of wines at First Glass.

 

Sue Courtney

Sue Courtney is a nationally recognised wine writer, senior wine judge & wine critic
www.wineoftheweek.com

Many of them are samples that have been provided by wineries for assessment, others are opened and poured at our Wednesday or Saturday tastings.

These notes come from our Fine Wine Wednesdays tastings and are compiled by winewriter Sue Courtney.

The following reviews are based on how we found the wines on the day or evening. On occasions the review is made on a single bottle but at the Wednesday tasting there will usually be 3 or 4 bottles of each wine opened. Clearly wines will taste differently, depending on the various circumstances but as the views of a number of people are considered, the comments do not become the opinions of just one person. Many of the following wines are stocked by First Glass, others are wines that may be considered for stocking at a future date.

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First Glass 18 October 2017 
More Gold Medal Wines
Notes by Sue Courtney

 
 
La Gioiosa et Amorosa Prosecco NV - Treviso, Italy 
Straw gold with an exuberant head of bubbles settling to a fine lacy mousse. There’s a hint of lemon to the scent and it’s light, soft and refreshingly dry to the foamy taste with a touch of pear, a touch of savouriness and a pleasing grapey aftertaste. Gold NZIWS. 11% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $16.99.
 
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2016
Gorgeous golden yellow with an inviting chardonnay aroma full of barrel ferment and mealy yeasty connotations. Savoury more than fruity to the taste though full of rounded, mouth-coating stonefruit sweetness and butter caramel corn coating the finish. Drinking beautifully. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Crossroads Winemakers Collection Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2015
Golden in colour with a fabulous toasty oak bouquet infused with spiced nuts and the scent of freshly baked hokey pokey biscuits. It’s rich and juicy to the taste with classy oak, sweet nutty nuances, juicy peach, an underlying mealy savouriness and fresh acidity extending the long dry finish. One for the long haul. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Dashwood Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017 
Light gold in colour with invitingly fragrant pear drop and honey dew melon aromas and full and textural in the off dry palate with power and juiciness to the pear, stonefruit and nashi fruit with a touch of creaming soda flavour coming through on the bright zingy finish. Champion Pinot Gris at both NZIWS and New World Wine Awards.  13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $9.99.
 
Willm Reserve Pinot Gris 2015 - Alsace, France
Off dry heading towards medium in sweetness level with a lightly honeyed aura both to the bouquet and in the almost luscious palate with a touch of pear, nectar-like tropical fruit, a hint of spice and lifted acidity adding freshness to the concentrated mouthfilling finish. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Ceres Black Rabbit Central Otago Riesling 2017
This instantly attractive Riesling has an intensely floral and tropical fruit scent with a vibrant citrussy zing. It’s deliciously juicy and quenching to the taste with fruit reminiscent of wind-fallen heritage apples accented with lime and tangelo zest. It’s a lower alcohol style with scintillating acidity that makes the medium sweetness seem more like off dry. Superb wine. Gold NZIWS. 10.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Peregrine Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
There’s concentration and brightness to the deep ruby garnet hue. The fragrant bouquet is creamy, voluptuous and generous as is the juicy taste that’s layered with cherry chocolate and supported by fine velvety tannins with a harmonious savoury undercurrent and a bright spicy allure. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Vega Del Rayo Rioja Reserva 2011 - Spain
Made from the Tempranillo grape, this is dark red in the glass with a burnished orange glimmer to the hue. It has a savoury, gamey and slightly herbal aroma with more obvious savouriness in the succulent yet meaty palate with a huge hit of peppery spice, touches of  cigar smoke, Christmas cake fruit and nut mix, leather and vanilla.  Concentrated and powerful, with super fine tannins and a long juicy finish and fabulous presentation with its wire wove cage. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Tenuta Ulisse Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015 - Central Italy
Superlatively dark and inky in the glass with radiant shininess of youth. Deep and intense, almost heady on the nose with a profound depth of dark jammy fruit and a slight confectionary note like blackberry jubes. All this and more in the super expressive palate with firm tannins, touches of leather, well balanced savouriness and chocolate emerging on the super succulent finish. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Shingleback McLaren Vale Red Knot GSM 2016 - South Australia
The blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre is a deeply translucent ruby crimson, youthful in appearance. Ripe and creamy on the nose and harmonious in the palate with a fine tannin profile, a spicy vibrancy, restrained savouriness and peppery accents to the long creamy finish. Sam’s description of ‘ berries, plums and chocolate' is absolutely spot on. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Mr Riggs The Truant McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 - South Australia
A deep dark red hinting of a just a little age. Concentrated and spicy on the nose with red fruits to the fore. The lovely smotth flowing taste is brimming with bright berry fruit and Damson plum jam over savoury oak with hints of vanilla, anise and chocolate. Intensely concentrated yet succulent and juicy all the way through. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
St Johns Road Blood and Courage Barossa Shiraz 2016 - South Australia
Vivid purple, red/magenta with a deep, fine, vinous aroma that has a delightful cherry and rose-like floral allure. It’s layered and intense in the palate with succulent cherry and mulberry fruit, creamy chocolate smoothness, a lovely fine oak frame, and a spicy flourish to the finish. Succulent and juicy all the way through. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

 

 

First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday
12 October 2017
Trophy Winners from 2017 NZ International Wine Show

 
Verde Brut NV
This floral, full-bodied chardonnay pinot noir cuveé has a savoury, yeasty, pie crust opulence honed in by flinty acidity with creaminess to the finish and fine bubbles.
First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Whitehaven Awatere “Greg” Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Tropical fruit and musk fill the bouquet and shimmy through the long focussed textural palate together with cape gooseberry, melon, hints of tomato stalk and passionfruit.
First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
Delightful mealy barrel ferment complexities infuse the aromas and mouth-coating flavours with layers of gunsmoke, citrus, stonefruit and vanilla pod and a lifted spicy oak finish.
First Glass Price: $32.99.
 
Linden Estate Hawkes Bay Viognier 2014
Creamy aromas of apricot and full and dry in the softly textured palate with lovely flavours of honeysuckle, apricot and peach mingling with a whisper of oak and spice.
First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
The Family Company Gisborne Gewurztraminer 2016
Honey infuses the exquisitely fragrant lychee and rose petal scent and it’s delectably spicy and bright in the palate with intense Turkish delight and a white pepper zing to the finish.
First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Invivo Michelles Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 
Divinely aromatic and harmoniously silky with rose musk, bottled cherry, cake spices, smoky bacon and mocha. Intensely concentrated with lingering touches of vanilla and cinnamon.
First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Church Road McDonald Series Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2015
Stylish and powerful at the same time, offering blackcurrant, raspberry, vanilla and toasted walnut flavours with a full-bodied silky palate, joined by chalky tannins.
First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Church Road McDonald Series Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015
The wine offers fabulous fruit purity backed by stylish oak, showing black/blueberry, violet, spice and hazelnut characters, wonderfully supported by silky mouthfeel and a persistent smooth finish.
First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Three Dark Horses ‘The Bandy’ McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
A delicious Cabernet full of blackberry, thyme and chocolate with cedar aromas. A beautifully weighted palate that delivers excellent fruit intensity and a long succulent finish.
First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Lustau San Emilio Pedro Ximenez 
It’s unctuous and delectable, lusciously filled with caramel, cinnamon, toasted malt and toffee notes, sensually wrapped in staggering sweetness and thick viscous mouthfeel.
First Glass Price: $29.99 375ml

 

 

First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday
27 September 2017
Gold Medal Galore

 
Ayala Brut Rosé Majeur N.V. Champagne
The bouquet is rosehips and cherries and the very crisp dry taste has a lovely vibrancy from the bubbles with a divine touch of strawberry shortbread coming through. Gold medal – NZIWS.
First Glass Price: $69.99
 
Brancott Letter Series B* Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – Marlborough
Complex aromas and soft, rounded, full-bodied flavours with touches of green passionfruit, peach, aromatic herbs, tangelo and lime with a savoury complexity to the mouth-filling finish. Gold medal - NZIWS
First Glass Price: $19.99
 
Summerhouse Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
Toasty on the nose, creamy and mellow in the palate of this soft uncluttered style with smoky French oak, citrus and spice, while juicy melon and apricot flesh out the zingy finish. Gold medal - NZIWS
First Glass Price: $14.99
 
Brancott Letter Series O* Chardonnay 2016 – Marlborough
Delightful nougat and creamed hazelnut bouquet with creamy flavours balanced by beautifully integrated savoury oak, gunflint, juicy grilled peach and a zing of citrus zest. Gold medal - NZIWS
First Glass Price: $19.99
 
Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2016 – Hawke’s Bay
A rich, complex full-bodied style with aromas and flavours of nougat, roasted nuts, peaches and cream. It’s mealy, savoury and spicy with beautifully harmonious creamy French oak. Gold medal - NZIWS
First Glass Price: $31.99
 
Mansion House Pinot Noir 2016 – Marlborough
Raspberry jube and vanilla aromas and a harmonious savoury taste with fine tannins, red berries, woody herbs, a whisper of smoke and a light, fresh zingy finish with hints of anise. Gold medal – NZIWS.
First Glass Price: $19.99
 
Luna Argenta Rosso 2014 – Tuscany, Italy
Classically expressed, showing spiced cherry, cranberry, charcuterie and walnut aromas, leading to a juicy palate that’s finely textured with seductive savoury nuances and appetising freshness. Gold medal – NZIWS.
First Glass Price: $16.99
 
Telmo Rodrigues Corriente 2014 – Rioja, Spain
The wine combines rich fruit intensity with elegant savoury nuances, exhibiting dark plums, pancetta, cloves and roasted nuts, together with finely textured mouthfeel that is lingering and engaging. Gold medal – NZIWS.
First Glass Price: $22.99
 
Evans & Tate The Go Between Cabernet Merlot 2014 – Western Australia
Beautifully fruited and elegantly styled, the wine offers spiced cherry, dark plum, dried herb and floral aromas on the nose, leading to a juicy palate that is rounded and flowing. Friendly and very easy to like. Gold medal – NZIWS.
First Glass Price: $14.99
 
Reillys Clare Valley Shiraz 2014
It’s sweetly fragrant with blackberry, mocha, toasted hazelnut and black olive characters with subtle clove and chocolate brownie notes. The palate is equally satisfying with plump mouthfeel and velvety texture. Gold medal – NZIWS.
First Glass Price: $19.99
 
Three Dark Horses The Bandy Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – McLaren Vale
A delicious Cabernet full of blackberry, thyme and chocolate with cedar aromas. A beautifully weighted palate that delivers excellent fruit intensity and a long succulent finish. Gold medal – NZIWS.
First Glass Price: $15.99

 

 

First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday
13 September 2017
Double Trouble
Notes by Sue Courtney (with suggestions from others)
Wines were tasted blind

 
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2015 — California, USA
Golden in colour, a hint of smoke on the nose and rounded and mellow in the mouth with a soft smooth flow. Extremely approachable with touches of melon and apricot fruit, a sprinkle of spice, whispers of caramel and well integrated lightly toasted savoury oak. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $14.99.   
 
Domaine Rewa Central Otago Chardonnay 2016
Straw gold in hue with aromas of grilled peach following through to the crisp fresh palate with abundant zesty lemon and ‘weeny grapefruit’, nicely balanced savoury smoky French oak and a touch of nougat on the long dry finish. Gold and Trophy Bragato Wine Awards 2017. 13.75% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.   
 
Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay 2015 — Kumeu, Auckland
Quite golden in colour. The bouquet is like a freshly formed clay bowl of just cut citrus and the upfront taste is zingy with a sherbet-like spritzig feel from  zesty flavours of luscious juicy limes. The wine softens mid palate to reveal malty mealy nuances, touches of lemon barley, elegant use of oak , a lightly phenolic slatey texture and the finish is long, crisp and dry. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $44.99.   
 
Kumeu River Mate's Chardonnay 2015 — Kumeu, Auckland
Also golden in colour but in comparison to the Coddington the bouquet is shy with delicate tropical fruit and nutty French oak nuances not hinting of the fullness to come. A wine of body and richness with flavours of grilled lemon, mango and papaya, hazelnuts, mealy malo characters and a touch of wild yeast funk and a very very long dry zesty finish where the flavours linger magnificently. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $64.99.   
 
Main Divide North Canterbury Gewurztraminer 2016
Glossy gold coloured with aromas of pink smoker lollies, crystallised violets and candy floss, and warm spicy flavours with a touch of sweetness. A beautifully expressive gewurztraminer that’s been fermented in barrel with luscious lychee fruit, ginger marmalade, geranium flowers and touches of liquorice staples and aniseed.  14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.   
 
Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Gewurztraminer 2016
Golden in colour with a savouriness (possibly from the oak) infusing the fragrant bouquet and soft in the opulent and powerful palate. A big-boned, indulgent, ripe heady wine with touches of botrytis adding a honey / hokey pokey intrigue and fruit flavours reminiscent of apricot, spiced pear and glace peaches with a lingering soft ginger-like zing. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.   
 
Farnese Fantini Giro Primitivo 2016 — Puglia, Italy
Deep dark red in colour, soft, ripe and jammy on the nose with a touch of cedary oak pushing through and savoury and spicy in the soft textured creamy palate with prune, blackberry and cherry fruit, touches of chocolate, mochaccino and vanilla pod and wrap around the tongue savouriness to the finish. Simply delicious and easy to drink. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Vigne Vecchie Leggenda Primitivo di Manduria 2013 — Italy
Vibrant purple red coloured with cedar and spice filling the bouquet and thick and firm in the palate with noticeable tannins, crushed vanilla-soaked wild blackberries, cigar box, chicory, mocha, creamy toffee and well balanced acidity honing in the opulence. Still very youthful for its four years of age. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.   
 
Beresford Bell Tower McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013 — South Australia
Deep dark red in colour, smoky on the nose with a touch of struck match and full of ripe juicy jubey raspberry, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit in the smooth flowing fine-tannined palate with peppery spice, touches of red liquorice, chocolate, tobacco and vanilla with nicely balanced oak on the concentrated finish. So much delight for the price. 14.2% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.   
 
Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015— South Australia
A glorious deep, rich, dark red with a nut chocolate / vanilla / cedary  bouquet and fruit positively brimming in the thick, mouth-coating velvety-tannined palate. Black Doris plums, vanilla, chocolate, cherry, raspberry liquorice, mint and cedar entwine with the ripe fruity finish offset by a beautifully balanced cedary savouriness and winey chocolate emerging again to linger. ‘OMG yum’ simply sums up this wine. 14.2% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.   
 
Two Hands Angels Share McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 — South Australia
Inky black red. Powerful on the nose with boysenberry jam, chocolate and mocha coming to mind and spicy and bright in the palate with deep berry fruit, bitter chocolate and peppery spices to the fore. A heady wine with depth and structure, fine supple tannins and a touch of mint emerging on the dry concentrated finish.  14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.   
 
Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Barossa Shiraz 2016 — South Australia
Concentrated in its black red colour and concentrated in its rich, ripe, sumptuous taste that can simply be summed up as ‘dark divine chocolate and berry delight’. A bright-fruited with fine silky tannins, a liquid chocolate texture, blackberry pie, a touch of mint and a judicious touch of pepper. The Gnarly Dudes are the gnarly old vines that Two Hands say look like soldiers going into battle. 13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99. 

 

 

First Glass 6 September 2017
Value, Variety and Gold Medal Winners
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
This is powerfully pungent and vivaciously fresh with passionfruit aromas and a myriad of bright, punchy, tangy tropical fruit flavours accented with zesty citrus sherbet vibes and textural richness to the mouthfeel. Gold medal contender. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Matua Single Vineyard Wairau Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
The bouquet is shy for sauvignon blanc and the flavours, while classically zesty with gooseberry and capsicum, seem a little muted which makes this a more elegant style. There’s textural richness to mouthfeel with a touch of spritz that adds vibrancy. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Selaks Founders Limited Edition Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
Light golden in colour with aromas of butterscotch oak, nougat and salted caramel and bright in the palate with a smooth butterscotch flow. It's chewy and satisfying with a malty mealy complexity, hints of citrus and peach and a long, mouthfilling, toasty oak finish. Gold Bragato Wine Awards 2017. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
This moderate alcohol style initially seems quite lean after the generous Selaks. It has nutty oak aromas and malo milkiness overriding the flavours which for a moment whisks me to Burgundy! Toasty oak emerges with richness to the mouthfeel, hints of citrus and peach, a touch of vanilla and excellent length. Gold Bragato Wine Awards 2017 – judged at room temperature. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Clark Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2017
A very attractive delicate pink-ruby hue. The bouquet is fresh raspberries and redcurrants and the taste is full of glace cherry with a bright zesty raspberry and red apple freshness. Made from 100% pinot noir, it is just off dry with a savoury undercurrent and must be served chilled. Gold & Trophy Bragato Wine Awards 2017. 12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Matt Connell Wines Rendition Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
There's brightness to the purple ruby hue, the bouquet is bottled cherries, spice and woodsmoke and the flow across the palate is silky, almost creamy with a youthful tannin edge. A deep savouriness underpins the almost luscious fruit, there’s a suggestion of chocolate and anise and the finish, where oaky nuances emerge, is rounded, satisfying and complete. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $41.99.
 
Te Rata Matakana Syrah 2014
Deep red black with moderate opacity. There’s chocolate on the nose with an earthy allure, and green and black pepper comes through in the soft, smooth, creamy, full-bodied palate full of dark fruit over a gamey, savoury backbone. Very popular on the night, it’s organic, natural wine suitable for vegans with low preservative, and ready to drink and enjoy now. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Chalk Ridge Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
This is co-fermented with Viognier which adds brightness to the deeply translucent pinky red hue and a delicate violet nuance to the cherry perfume. It’s medium bodied in palate weight with beautifully fine silky tannins, harmonious oak, plummy fruit and well balanced spiciness. Slips down easily. A charmer. Gold Easter Show. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
 
Haselgrove First Cut McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Deep black red in colour with chocolate and cherry filling the bouquet and full-bodied and bright in the palate with firm, moderately dry tannins, spicy oak, chocolate, mocha and loads of juicy red and purple fruit. A reasonably serious wine with a deep brooding undercurrent and needs food right now or more cellar time. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Grant Burge Filsell Old Vine Barossa Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Deep purple red in colour with creamy nut chocolate and dusty oak on the nose and layer upon layer of flavour in the palate. While it initially seems quite dry, lashings of ripe cherry and mulberry fruit well ups, there’s a harmonious velvety flow, touches of chocolate, vanilla, cake spices and pepper then on the savoury oak aftertaste the merest suggestion of mint. Terrific wine with no hurry to drink. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Shinas Estate The Verdict Mildura Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – NW Victoria, Australia
Inky purple red - almost black. Vinous berry jam aromas fill the bouquet and it seems ultra spicy (for cabernet) in the palate. It's youthful and dry with firm fine-grained tannins, boysenberry and blackcurrant fruit, touches of chocolate, sappy oak, graphite and leather and hints of violets on the succulent and mouthfilling finish. 14.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

 

 

First Glass 30 August 2017
Wines from the North
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Villa Jolanda Prosecco NV – Italy
This has a slightly soapy musky floral scent with a hint of lemon and the taste is Euro-centric, steely and lean with Granny Smith apple crispness and lemon biscuit yeastiness. Bubbles to wash down oysters. 11.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Simonnet Febvre Petit Chablis 2013 – Burgundy, France
This is unoaked chardonnay from the Petit Chablis appellation in northern Burgundy. It has a delicate floral and pear drop scent and tastes dry with soft acidity and fullness to the mouthfeel with flavours reminiscent of baked apple, almonds and lanolin. Another oyster / seafood wine. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.
 
Domaine De Pellehaut Chardonnay 2015 – Cotes de Gasgogne, France
Bright in the glass with a radiant scent of apricot and nectarine and full bodied in the palate that’s crammed with flavours of stewed apricot and ripe tropical fruit with sizzled butter. A flavoursome wine with a suggestion of vanilla on the fresh zingy finish. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Fantini Farnese Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015 – Ortona, Italy
The purple violet hue hints of the youth of this fresh young red.  It's fruity and bright with a hint of mocha and a touch of pepper, black cherry, blackcurrant and rosehip and is overall soft, smooth and not too heavy. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Casa Nostra Organico Nero D'Avolo and Syrah 2015 – Sicily
A soft, medium-bodied red with plummy aromas and flavours that remind me of red plum jam and the leftover cooked plum stones that are so nice to suck on. It has fairly dry tannins with the juicy fruit pushing through a well-balanced meaty savouriness, the slightest suggestion of menthol herbaceousness and a peppery zing to the fresh dry finish. Organic wine with an appealing point of difference. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Bosco del Grillo Governo All’uso Toscano 2015 – Tuscany, Italy
Quite a dense looking wine with concentration to the almond and dry fruit cake scent yet not as heavy in the palate as the scent suggests. It’s a fine tannined wine with a soft smooth mouthfeel, upfront savouriness and a juicy red berry / ripe red cherry finish. Made from predominantly Sangiovese with secondary fermentation induced by the addition of dried grapes. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Valcanto Garnacha Tintorerra 2013 – Almansa, Spain
Youthful looking dark red with a spice-infused red plum scent and the slightest suggestion of mint. A flavoursome, full-bodied, grunty Garnacha with hints of mint chocolate and pepper and oodles of ripe berry fruit. Ripe, smooth and juicy with a dry finish. Very tasty and five star value. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $12.99.
 
La Consulta Reserva Malbec 2014 – Mendoza, Argentina
Perfumed with bright fruit, this juicy fresh tasting, crimson-tinged red has soft smooth tannins, juicy blackcurrant and cherry fruit, a meaty undercurrent, a hint of menthol, nicely integrated smooth oak and a touch of spice on the long creamy finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
 
Chateau Loudenne Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2011 – Bordeaux, France
Deep in hue with hints of barnyard, leather and tar amongst the deep winey scent wafting out of the glass while dry tannins and fresh acidity frame the palate that has flavours of Damson plums, currants, cigar box, savoury oak, smoke, liquorice and leather and a long, savoury and bright-fruited finish. A dense, tasty wine with lots of character but needs food to cut through the still youthful tannins – rare meat or cheese would be nice. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2015 – California, USA
Rich ripe and fruity on the nose and full-bodied, soft and approachable in the palate with ripe raisiny fruit – like Christmas muscatel raisin treats together with glace cherry, chocolate, smoky oak, tobacco and touches of pepper. Gentle and juicy to start with a powerful, firmly framed finish. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $21.99.
 
Castelforte Amarone Della Valpolicella 2013 – Italy
This oozes concentration in the line-up tonight, but not as concentrated as some of these wines made from partially dried grapes can be. It's showing some bricking to the dark red hue, the bouquet is savoury and while the smooth full taste offers up sweet grapey fruit the overall impression is dry with fine tannins, sappy oak, peppery spice, orange peel fruit cake mix and alcohol heat. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $43.99

 

 

First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday
23 August 2017
Giesen Wines with Nikolai St George
Notes by Sue Courtney

 
 
Giesen Classic Cuvée 2014
Made from Hawkes Bay chardonnay grapes this is crisp, dry, fresh and bright with tingly fizz, a creamy backbone and a yeasty mouthfilling savoury-tinged finish. Value for money in a not too serious style. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Made from Awatere fruit, this powerful, flavoursome wine is full of tropical fruit with lashings of pineapple, tangy herbs and a touch of hokey pokey with a slightly oily texture and a long, rich finish. There's some use of oak and extended time on yeast lees to give this tasty sauv a pleasing point of difference. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Giesen The August Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Comments from around me were, ‘This smells like Chardonnay.” It’s made from hand picked, whole bunch pressed grapes from low yielding old vines and fermented in French oak with extended time on yeast lees. The aroma is biscuity and there’s a smoky nuance to the taste. It’s oily and a little earthy (Nikolai said ‘peaty') with an underpinning of mellow savoury oak and freeze dried pineapple flavours lingering.  Fascinating wine with a fabulous texture. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
 
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
This multi award winner is peachy on the nose with harmonious and nicely seasoned spicy French oak following through to the tasty, warm, mouthfilling palate. A creamy textured wine with touches of grapefruit, an array of ripe stonefruit, roasted nuts and a long savoury and persistent finish that tapers off gently. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2014
Bright and glossy in the glass with tantalising grapefruit and nutty oak-infused wild yeast scents with a nuance of smoky bacon.  Powerful in the mouth with a magnetic toasty allure, it's a marriage of savoury winemaking complexities with ripe juicy stonefruit supported by a touch of citrus and a long, creamy, nutty, finish with some yummy hokey pokey nuances coming through. The Fuder is a 1000-litre German oak barrel. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2014
There's a heady allure to this wine that Nik describes as a punchy juicy style. I find gewurztraminer’s classic musky floral and pink smoker lolly scent and the taste just off dry with upfront spiciness settling nicely to reveal delicate violet pastille and rose water nuances and lingering flavours of lychee.  A touch oily in texture with low acidity and gorgeous flow. Lots of awards. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Giesen Riesling 2015
A blend of Marlborough and Waipara fruit, the bouquet offers up a myriad of citrus and honeysuckle and the smell of the road after rain. Made in an easy to drink style, it’s ultra juicy with medium sweetness that’s balanced by fresh green apple and mandarin acidity, which makes it seem dry. Low alcohol with pleasing mouthfeel and texture, it is a multi Trophy and gold medal winner. 10% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.
 
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015
This newly bottled wine has at first a classic earthy scent then a pretty floral rose petal / feijoa flower perfume wafts through. The taste is bright red fruit with Christmas cherries and rosehips over a savoury gamey backbone with a touch of gunsmoke, a touch of smoky bacon and slight grip to the silky tannins. An approachable, drinkable and very pretty wine with understated substance. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Giesen Single Vineyard Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013
Immediately rich, ripe and almost voluptuous on the nose with savouriness welling up from the bowl of the glass. Then in the palate it is full bodied and mouthfilling with a velvety feel to the flow. It’s bright and spicy with hints of anise, purple fruits, a touch of lavender and even a touch of pepper with a long tasty finish. A sensuous pinot from an excellent vintage. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $51.99.
 
Giesen Single Vineyard Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough Syrah 2012
This is a big, earthy, savoury style of Syrah with a deep black-red colour, a slightly feral note to the leathery, dampened embers aroma and a little feral again in the palate where tight-knit tannins are a feature. This is a terrific example of the earthy, smoky side of Syrah with brooding red berry fruit humming along harmoniously in the background then bursting through with brightness on the finish along with a peppery zing. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $51.99.
 
Giesen The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2013
This is an amazingly concentrated wine with a golden raisin colour, a bouquet full of with honeyed apricots and a fantastic bright, fresh taste where flavours like tropical fruit tea and marmalade hone in the toffee sweetness harmoniously. Then the lingering aftertaste is like a smooth crème brulee. The key to this wine is botrytis. A delicious finish to the evening. 10% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

 

 

First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday 16 August 2017

Yalumba Wines from South Australia with Jane Ferrari

Notes by Sue Courtney

 

Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV

Light gold coloured with a fine mousse. A little toasty on the nose and foamy in the mouth with crisp tangy acidity, a fresh yeasty aura and the merest hint of peach. Sophisticated. Stylish. Dry. Champion NZ Sparkling at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2017. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Yalumba Eden Valley Roussanne 2014

This ‘experimental variety’ for Yalumba was wild fermented in old barrels. It’s golden and glossy in the glass. The lifted aromatics in both the bouquet and taste hint of dried pineapple, lime, lemon grass and baked apple with a haunting suggestion of rubber bands and a whisper of smoky savouriness. The mouthfeel is full and textural with a pleasing oily flow and the exceptionally long finish is dry and tasty. 12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2015

Light golden hued with a delicate nutty scent that hints of apricot but the taste is much bolder that the bouquet suggests. It’s textural and mouth-coating with musky florals, warm spices, a touch of white pepper and ethereal nuances of apricot melding into the savoury background with the long finish aromatic and bright. 60% fermented in old barrels with wild ferment and 10 months on yeast lees. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.

Yalumba The Cigar Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Black red in the glass with concentration and depth to the scent that hints of bramble leaf and dried berries with a leathery, savoury inflection and the slightest suggestion of liquorice. Brooding to start in the dry, fine textured, understated palate that opens up to reveal mint, cassis, chocolate, cigar box and leather with accents of youthful freshness. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Yalumba The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet 2013

Black pinky-red in the glass. The attractive and foremost savoury bouquet has an aura of refined oak with deep-seated cassis and touches of mint, red earth and leather. All this and more in the intense and long palate and while the tannins are still a little forward making the wine seem very youthful in its presence, it has wonderful vinosity and lingering berry sweetness. “A two-stage palate with fruit then dryness then fruit again,” says Jane. I think it is evolving beautifully with no hurry to drink. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Yalumba Triangle Block Eden Valley Shiraz Viognier 2013

Crimson-edged red black in the glass. Immediately more forward and fruiter on the nose than the previous two Cabernets and bright in palate with cherry jam fruit and red and black pepper. A powerful yet elegant wine with a meaty savouriness, hints of tar and mocha, a smooth harmonious flow and a warm berry pie finish with touches of oak and vanilla. Long, persistent and very tasty. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.

Yalumba Barossa Patchwork Shiraz 2014

Deep pinky red black with the bouquet offering up nuances of crushed milk chocolate biscuits and perhaps toasted coconut with hints of cherry and an underlying spicy savouriness. The palate is characterised by fine dry tannins with upfront brightness to the cherry berry fruit and vanillin oak that comes and goes, lots of pepper, an underlying leafy/tobacco note, hints of mercurochrome and a long, succulent, more-ish finish. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Yalumba Paradox Northern Barossa Shiraz 2015

Boysenberry red. Concentrated and deep on the bouquet and also in the palate. Smooth at first with the tannins kicking in mid-palate then melting away again. A muscular, meaty, savoury wine with smoky bacon oak, harmonious pepper and spice with accents of anise and chicory essence and warmth to the finish. More savoury than fruity - the fruit is there but not upfront like the others. 'Old fashioned,’ says Jane. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $27.99.

Yalumba The Octavius Old Vine Barossa Shiraz 2013

‘Power with elegance’ is one of Yalumba’s mantras and it really shows in this wine tonight. It is deep purple black in the glass with a profound depth to the blackberry and mulberry bouquet and concentrated and brooding in the inky and intense yet wonderfully fine-tannined palate. It’s full of ripe berry / bramble fruit with touches of vanilla, sweet oak, savoury oak, a refined spicy aura and a meaty depth with the tannins more obvious on the finish. Very long, very young, one to cellar - it will last for years. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $82.

Yalumba The Scribbler Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2013

A dense purple red with woody spices, savoury oak and blackcurrant filling the bouquet, the blackcurrant very intense at first in the palate then melds into the savoury oak frame with highlights of chocolate, liquorice, star anise and pepper. The tannins are still firm but they are fine in their delivery and integrating nicely. An amalgam of harmony and definitely THE buy of the night. Buy a case and enjoy over several years. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Yalumba The Signature Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2013

There's brightness to the inky black-red hue of this 52% Cabernet, 48% Shiraz blend. Crushed chocolate biscuits and cherry pie fill the bouquet together with a spice, meaty, cigar box savouriness that’s so in harmony with the deep, dark, brooding concentrated cassis and cherry fruit that fills the palate together with mocha, chocolate, vanilla and mint. There’s almost a lusciousness to this wine that has a fine tannin flow and is opening up nicely since tasting last year.14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $43.99.

 

 

First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday 9 August 2017

Twelve Bloody Chardonnays

Notes by Sue Courtney

Wines were tasted blind

 

Summerhouse Marlborough Chardonnay 2015

This lustrous gold coloured wine has a grilled peach and pineapple aroma with a subtle smoky overlay. A generous tasting, bright fruity wine with juicy acidity, a steely undercurrent and plenty of vanilla accents in the toasty savoury oak. Recommended by Cuisine. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Gibbston Valley China Terrace Central Otago Chardonnay 2016

Light lemon gold with a subtle biscuity oak aroma that also hints of hazelnut and lemon.  Harmonious and elegant in the palate with touches of nougat, malo-influences, an ethereal white peach infusion and a delicate feel to the creamy finish which is very long with an enticing compounding richness. One to sip and savour. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.

Penfolds Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2014 - NSW, Australia

Rich lemon gold with stonefruit filling the bouquet and a lifted nutty complexity. Concentrated in the palate with oiliness to the texture, an elegance to the polished spicy French oak, a fresh nectarine and peach fruit profile, a punch of zesty acidity and a long, dry and very harmonious and satisfying finish. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.

Clearview Beachhead Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016

This is a moderate gold colour with perfumed peach and vanillin oak aromas then in the mouth it’s full and fat and big and bold and rich and generous with barrel ferment notes, grapefruit, vanilla, peaches and cream and a long tasty finish. Five stars Cuisine. Gold Easter Show. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Penfolds Reserve Bin 15A  Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2015

Lemon gold in hue with a haunting bouquet reminiscent of nougat and toasted brioche then the taste is crisp, dry, steely, and leesy with subtle wild yeast funk, creamed macadamia nut notes and touches of citrus. Echoing a youthful white burgundy it is classy and sophisticated, harmonious and elegant, and very very long on the focussed aftertaste. Trophy winner at the James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge.

13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $93.99.

Mills Reef Bespoke Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016

Golden coloured with a strong tropical fruit aroma that has the estery scent of ‘banana bike’ lollies and an intriguing woody nuance a little like camphor. The taste is bold, brash and fruity with spicy oak, a hint of cinnamon and lingering butterscotch on the rounded finish. A new label made in a retro 90s style that slots in between the Elspeth and the Reserve. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.

Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Limeworks Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016

A golden coloured wine with an attractive, warm, butter shortbread aroma and a delicate floral allure. Bold toasty oak and golden fruit upfront in the palate falls away to reveal soft creamy notes, a nutty undercurrent, a medley of stonefruit and a lingering apricot glaze. 

14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.

Kidnappers Cliff Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014

Light gold in colour with a delicate lemon and white peach scent together with nutty oak, haunting smoky notes and later, in the empty glass, original Radox bath salt scents. This is an in-vogue reductive, flinty, wild yeast style with all those lovely intricacies that the best wines have with touches of cashew and hazelnut, a background of nougat, delicate nutty oak and a harmonious melon-like sweetness to the finish. Beautifully sophisticated, seamless and long. Five stars and No.1 in Cuisine’s 2017 chardonnay tasting. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $47.99.

Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay 2015 - California

Though light in colour it’s big, bold and fruity on the nose and the taste is jam-packed with juicy tropical fruit, mellow oak and creamy, buttery, easy drinking chardonnay goodness. The most popular Californian chardonnay at First Glass, it is easy to see why. Keep the cork screw handy. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Ata Rangi Petrie Martinborough Chardonnay 2014

A moderate gold colour with honey roasted nuts and lifted fruit aromas filling the bouquet with perhaps a hint of stewed rhubarb. Rich, rounded, full bodied and tasty with zesty, spicy notes, hints of caramel and a medley of tropical fruit with underlying peach. There’s a touch of development to this very satisfying wine that has harmonious oak and a warm mealy finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.

Vavasour Anna’s Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2015

This light yellow hued wine has a bold aroma offering up honey dew melon, spicy oak and touches of hazelnut. More spicy and savoury than fruity upfront in the palate - perhaps white currants and citrus notes - with polished French oak and a touch of hokey pokey on the warm, rounded, lingering, mouthfilling finish. 4 stars Cuisine. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.

Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Sonoma Chardonnay 2015 - California

Citrine in hue with an inviting tropical fruit bouquet and rounded and clean in the palate with the tropical fruit profile continuing together with spice, oatmeal, honeyed oak, touches of butterscotch and a warm juicy finish. Very drinkable and best of all it you no longer need a corkscrew to open it. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.

 

 

First Glass 12 July 2017
Premium versus Budget
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
This is a brilliant gold colour. The nose is lemon and oatmeal and the taste is rounded and mellow with warm lemon butter caramel, creamed cashews and savoury oak emerging to linger with a subtle salinity. It’s smooth and satisfying with a deliciously long finish. Not tasted blind, it was served from a 1.5-litre magnum that comes in an impressive presentation box. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $71.99.
 
Selaks Founders Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
Light lemon gold in the glass with a leesy, grapefruit bouquet and a fresh juicy taste with zesty citrus tones, smoky French oak and gunflint. A clean modern style with a rounded mouthfeel and seamless flow. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay 2014
This bouquet of this light gold wine is smoky and savoury with biscuity notes and cedar. It is bright and zesty in the palate with underlying flinty reductive notes, some wild yeast influences and touches of  caramelised peach crumble with honeyed oak more prominent on the mouthfilling and magnificently long finish where lovely creamy mealy notes linger. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
 
Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014 
Light gold in hue with almost heady aromatics and silky and seamless in its flow with richness to the texture, a touch of rose petal and musky spice notes, spiced strudel apple and a hint of apricot-like sweetness to the finish where there is the most subtle suggestion of hokey pokey. Never OTT, just sublimely ethereal and elegant. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.
 
Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Pinot Gris 2016
This straw gold wine is immediately more redolent of Pinot Gris as we know it with vanilla poached pear and quince aromatics following through to the palate. It’s bright, spicy, juicy and appealing with the sweetness level just on the cusp of off dry for all round appeal. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
 

Shaky Bridge Pioneer Series Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
Deep boysenberry hued with a ripe plummy aroma yet savoury rather than upfront fruity to the taste with a peppery vibe and some vanillin oak tones then, on the finish, succulent juicy plum and cherry fruit wells up from within. Not overly complex but smooth in its flow. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014
This aromatics of this deep Burgundy-hued wine are framed with beautifully honed savoury oak and  the woodsmoke scent of smoky bacon. It tastes savoury and a touch gamey with firm, fine-grained tannins, a touch of anise, dried herbs, bittersweet red fruits and a velvety finish where ripe cherry notes emerge to linger. Wild yeast funk adds intrigue to this multi-faceted wine that becomes more generous and thought provoking with every sip. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $44.99.
 
Alma Gitana Old Vine Grenache 2013 – Carinena, Spain
The savoury and slightly herbal bouquet of this rich pinky red-hued wine immediately whisks me to Europe. It smells like a classic dry red and it is indeed dry upfront in the medium-bodied palate where firm tannins are tamed by succulent raspberry and red plum fruit, the oak is nicely integrated with a touch of vanilla and the finish is long and juicy. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $12.99.
 
Xavier Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 – Rhone Valley, France
Dark red in the glass with hints of mocha joining brooding red fruits on the nose. Savoury yet succulent in the velvety textured palate with touches of barnyard and mercurochrome infusing dark red fruit flavours with hints of tobacco, a peppery vibe and later a hint of anise. Made from a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre this is a serious, full bodied, textural, mouth-coating wine with a creaminess to the ripe, succulent finish and a very long, pleasing, winey aftertaste. Fantastic wine at a great price. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
Belasco De Baquedano Llama Old Vine Malbec 2015 – Mendoza, Argentina
Inky crimson purple with a slight herbal nuance to the boiled red lolly bouquet then purple fruits and violets are upfront in the palate that’s characterised by fine tannins with pepper-infused spicy accents, charry oak, an edginess to the fruit like you get in tamarillo (but not tamarillo) and a long juicy finish. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $21.99.
 
Belasco De Baquedano AR Guentota Malbec 2011 – Mendoza, Argentina
This is almost black in the glass with a sumptuous aroma of blackberries. It’s a very stupendous, ripe, succulent, juicy, meaty, charry offering with mouthfilling tannins yet a surprisingly smooth flow. There’s a touch of vanilla in the woody oak with luscious berries and a hint of rose hip – and while it is fruity, it is foremost savoury with a warm, mouth-coating finish. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.

 

 

First Glass 5 July 2017
Peter Lehmann Wines from the Barossa, with Malcolm Stopp
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
Peter Lehmann Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz 2011
Deep black red with a lacy veil. Chocolate coated cherries fill the bouquet and bubbles dance across the tongue when you taste. There's a lovely mellow character to the dark cherry and mulberry fruit with viscosity to the texture and a savoury richness to the long finish where the fruit brims up and over. Perfect for a July mid winter Christmas dinner and of course summer Christmas in December. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $56.99
           
Peter Lehmann Wigan Eden Valley Riesling 2012
Light gold in hue with enticing aromatics reminiscent of honey, citrus blossom and just the slightest suggestion of buttered toast. Very dry to the taste with vibrant, freshly squeezed, racy lime acidity – think Roses lime juice – with a touch of honeysuckle rounding out the edges and a toasty intrigue to the shimmery finish. 11.2% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Peter Lehmann Clancy's Red 2014
This blend of Cabernet, Shiraz and Merlot is a rich deep red. It offers up a bouquet of succulent plums and cherries with a waft of wood spice and savoury notes in the background and has a fine smooth tannin structure and flavours reminiscent of mint, red plums, woodsmoke and a suggestion of game with concentration to the medium bodied finish. This is your BBQ wine. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Peter Lehmann VSV Ruediger Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Bright blackcurrant red.  A little shy on the nose at first then distinct blackcurrant fruit with a hint of vanilla, touches of cedar and later, in the empty glass, eucalypt. The upfront firm tannins become warm and enveloping with underlying tingly vibes, velvet-lined cedar, dusty wild blackberries, a touch of mint and the merest hint of chocolate on the long dry finish where the fruit takes over again beautifully. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 

Peter Lehmann Hill and Valley Barossa Shiraz 2015
Deep ruby-tinged black red. Mint infuses the bouquet that offers up dark spices, charred wood, charcoal ash and leather and it is very fine textured with fruit purity in the palate that’s accentuated by lifted acidity, smoky cigar box, tobacco, pepper, plums and mulberries. It’s more savoury than fruity however with a pleasing amount of grip to the finish. 14.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Peter Lehmann ‘The Barossan' Shiraz 2015
Deep dark red. The bouquet is mint, ripe plums and savoury polished cedary oak and it is creamy and smooth in the palate with bright minty notes, plenty of spiced-up toasty oak, succulent red and black fruits and a touch of cherry chocolate and anise on the long, luscious, mouthfilling finish. Smooth, rounded and soft with lots of flavour and THE star buy. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Peter Lehmann Futures Shiraz 2013
A little brooding on the nose at first, the bouquet emitting a sense of sweet leather with hints of smoky vanillin oak and touches of cherry chocolate. Savoury and spicy in the palate with loads and loads of pepper, sumac and underlying leather with slightly grippy tannins before the succulent plum, mulberry and bramble fruit take over to dissolve the tannins and leave behind a fine, clean, mint-accented finish. Enjoy now or continue to cellar.14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.
 

Peter Lehmann VSV 1885 Shiraz 2015
Deep dark red with crimson edges. There’s a slightly charred wood, cigar box and leather scent to the brooding bouquet but the taste of this old vine Shiraz is bright and alive with mint, concentrated and super succulent small red and black berries, touches of blueberry, vanilla, chocolate, spice and pepper. The supple tannins have a firm exterior and plush interior and the finish is long fine mouthfilling and satisfying. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Peter Lehmann VSV Lehmann Shiraz 2013
Fine textured in appearance and beautifully fine in palate. Chocolate and spice fill the bouquet and there’s more chocolate, like crushed chocolate biscuit in the palate. This reminds me of ‘old school’ Barossa shiraz – dusty, earthy, savoury and gutsy with undeterminable winey fruit, pepper, dried herbs and lingering mint. Very fine and smooth in its flow with lovely savoury oak and lingering cigar box notes, it’s one of those wines that will keep giving for years. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Peter Lehmann VSV Carey Shiraz 2014
Concentrated intense black red. Wonderfully opulent minty bouquet but brooding and deep in the palate with firm teeth-coating tannins, dark savoury oak, pepper and spice, dark chocolate, tobacco, herbs and leather, concentrated berry fruit extract and touches of mint coming through. A wine that patience will reward, so decant for drinking right now.14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Peter Lehmann Eight Songs Shiraz 2013
This deep dark red-hued wine is the first in the line-up to hint of a mellow character. The bouquet is initially brooding and leathery then becomes elevated with wafts of pepper, spice, vanilla, a hint of cherry and cedar. There’s a lovely savouriness to the taste with cedary oak, plummy fruit, leather, mocha, chicory, pepper and lingering mint chocolate and while the tannins are fine and silky and not overpowering the fruit is still a little brooding so decanting will open it nicely.14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 2012
This has a super saturated inky red hue with crimson edges. The bouquet is opulent and powerful offering up notes of mint, cedar, sappy oak and leather. A surprisingly juicy wine with wonderful purity and concentration of fruit, beautifully fine silky tannins, loads and loads of spiced pepper and wonderful supporting facets of chocolate, vanilla, mocha, aromatic spices, cigar box and cedar. Succulent, mouthfilling, long and satisfying. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $98.

 

 

First Glass 28 June 2017
Anything but New Zealand
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Albert Mann Cremant d'Alsace Extra Brut Sparkling 2013 – France
There a burst of froth when the wine is poured and the fizz is vigorous on the first sip. Yeasty aromas follow through to the savoury palate where bright fresh tingly apple acidity succumbs to the foamy mouthfeel and the finish is long and dry. A classy blend of mainly Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris with a Champagne-like allure. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.
 
Moss Wood Wilyabrup Margaret River Chardonnay 2015 – Western Australia
This light golden chardonnay has a gorgeous toasty nut butter bouquet with a hint of caramel and it a beautifully rounded mouthfeel with super smooth flow. It’s crammed with flavours of malt, caramel, buttered popcorn, toasted macadamia nuts and spicy mellow oak with a hint of peach on the long, bright, lingering finish 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $62.99.
 
Kendall Jackson Camelot Highland Chardonnay 2015 – Santa Maria Valley, California, USA
Yellow gold in the glass with a bold, rich, savoury bouquet that hints of tropical fruit and lemon polished cedar. It’s soft, rounded, smooth, generous, fat, luscious and ripe with a mouthfilling texture, harmonious mellow oak and touches of apricot and pineapple on the bright lifted finish. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $44.99.
 
Chateau Tahbilk Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier 2013 – Victoria, Australia
Golden hued with hints of coconut and lime on the beguilingly fragrant bouquet with mouth-watering acidity filling the palate.  Dry with a flinty undercurrent yet wonderfully textural at the same time with flavours reminiscent of lemon wafer biscuit flavours with hints of peach and touches of spice on the long, bright, mouthfilling finish. Gold & Trophy NZIWS 2016. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. Sold out on the night.
 
Schoffit Pinot Gris Tradition 2012 – Alsace, France
The colour a glossy gold, the scent is rich and honeyed and there's a sense of sweetness to the taste. It’s quite an oily textured wine with creamed honey, floral nuances, vanilla poached pear and a zing of spice to the long, mouthfilling finish with a mellow aura all that hints of the five years of age. 14% alc. Cork. Sold out on the night.
 
Two Hands Brilliant Disguise Barossa Valley Moscato 2013 – South Australia 
Straw lemon in the glass with a perfumed muscat grape and apple skin scent. Bright in the mouth with a spritzy texture – like fizzy tropical fruit sherbet lollies, plus hints of mandarin, a delicate aura of honey and a lingering nuance of tarragon. Light, refreshing, delicious and a perfect palate cleanser. 8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99. 500-ml bottle.
 
Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine Cotes du Rhone 2015 – Rhone Valley, France
This little medium-bodied charmer has a translucent ruby purple hue, the bouquet is a touch savoury with blue plum fruit and a subtle suggestion of spice and the taste has a smoky, savoury, deli meat allure. Made from a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah it has fine but reasonably dry tannins, the merest suggestion of pepper, and purple fruit sweetness emerging on the lingering finish. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Finca Constancia Parcela 23 Tempranillo 2014 – Tierra de Castilla, Spain
Inky blackberry red with crimson edges. The bouquet is suggestive of roasted coffee beans with hints of mocha and it’s quite meaty in the palate with juicy red berry fruit, vanillin oak, savoury earthy notes, a hint of menthol and a lovely long finish where berry chocolate emerges. This label of Gonzales Byass seems so harmonious and smooth with its soft velvety tannins but there is a firm structural frame. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Tasca Perricone Guarnaccio 2014 – Sicily
Medium dark red with sweet vanillin oak and ripe berry fruit filling the bouquet while seductive alcohol warmth is a feature in the full-bodied palate that has very fine dry tannins, prunes, dried currants, Christmas cake fruit, cake spices and a comforting velvety cloak. This label of Tenuta Regaleali made from the obscure ‘Perricone’ grape is mouth-filling and impressive. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Reilly's Clare Valley Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Purple black in the glass with a fragrant ripe berry fruit and spicy vanillin oak bouquet and deep and dark in  the firm palate that’s full of chocolate and mocha with a meaty undercurrent and crushed red and black pepper. A veritable blockbuster with the alcohol masked by juicy red fruits while cherry chocolate notes linger long after the wine has been swallowed. 15.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Langmeil Valley Floor Barossa Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Dark pink purple red in the glass, the bouquet is brimming with vanillin oak, mulberries, chocolate and cherries and in the mouth it is instantly mouthfilling and generous. It’s full of juicy red and black berries with pepper and spice, fine firm tannins, creamy oak, touches of mint and a stupendously long creamy berry chocolate-coated finish. Delicious now but has excellent cellaring potential. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99. 

 

 

First Glass 21 June 2017
Church Road Wines
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris 2016 
There’s a touch of copper to the golden colour. The bouquet is all pears poached in honey and spice and the taste is full and luscious with a mouth-coating texture. It’s a sweeter style than the norm with a tingle of ginger and white pepper, a touch of beeswax and loads of fleshy baked apple and pear flavours. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Brancott Letter Series O* Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
Glossy citrine in hue with a heady bouquet offering toasted nuts and leesy barrel ferment delights. Smooth and creamy in its flow with initial flavours reminiscent of tropical fruit and caramel banana bikes together with hazelnuts, toasted brioche and a spicy heat then fleshy Golden Queen peach-like fruit and biscuity notes on the mouthfilling savoury finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
A rich, more linear, more flinty style of Chardonnay with a light lemon gold hue, a nutty aroma and warm, leesy, upfront citrussy flavours with stonefruit emerging. It’s quite dry with nutty savoury oak and lovely malty flavours on the long bright finish. Great buying to store in your cellar until the end of winter. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
The fantastically intense rich malty aroma is embossed with hazelnut and funky yeast and gun smoke notes and it is full and rounded and harmonious in its flow with malt, nuts, toast and a spicy zesty brightness to the finish, all the while those lovely savoury, funky, flinty notes in behind. Church Road describes as complex and multi-dimensional – I agree, absolutely. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.
 
Church Road TOM Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
The savoury oak bouquet has a wonderful leesy, mealy, malty sizzled butter allure with a haunting floral note wafting through and the taste is concentrated and powerful with a deep, sweet oak frame. It’s full of toasted brioche, fig, creamed nuts, delicate peach and the merest touch of mandarin with an incredibly malty finish, a lingering spicy zesty vibe and again an evocative floral note. Still such a baby but the potential is clearly there. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $149.
 
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Marzemino 2015
Purple crimson in hue with a beautifully fragrant bouquet of concentrated berry, nutmeg, smoky creamy oak and sweet leather. Red and purple fruits fill the juicy palate with supple tannins that have a firm velvety edge while the finish is long and dry. There's something cosy and comforting about the slightly rustic flavour that has a fresh acid spine with accents of pepper and toasted aromatic Indian spices. A rare Italian grape variety that’s being discontinued by this winery so maybe your last chance to buy. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Impenetrable purple violet. Slightly jammy red fruit aromas with a hint of pepper and rosehip adding to the bouquet while Syrah’s signature spice and pepper is a feature in the palate. Full of juicy plum and dark cherry fruit with fine textured supple tannins, creamy oak with a polished edge, a slightly meaty undercurrent with a hint of chicory and again that seductive floral lift to the harmonious finish.14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015
There’s a youthful vibrancy to the purple red hue; the brooding berry fruit bouquet has a hint of dried fennel seed together with a hint of gun smoke and mocha wafting through. Mouthfilling and firm in the harmonious palate with signature pepper and an array of intriguing warm sweet spices infusing the juicy blackberry fruit flavours together with rose petal, sweet leather, a suggestion of chocolate dust and anise. Five stars and number 3 in the latest Cuisine. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
 
Church Road TOM Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
This initially reticent inky powerhouse opens up to reveal a delicate fragrance of warm spices, rich plummy fruit, hints of rose spice, tar, liquorice, black forest chocolate and leather. Juicy is the first taste impression with fleshy plums and cherries over savoury French oak infused with toasted aromatic spices, a hint of liquorice and fine firm tannins with a supple flow. A heady and already harmonious Syrah with alcohol sweetness initially masking the youthfulness and a peppery bite to the long dry finish. “A stonkingly good wine,” says Sam adding it is as good as any he has tasted. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $199.
 
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Inky red black. Lovely purity of cabernet fruit on the bouquet with a fragrant almost soapy floral note and freshly sawn cedar. Mouthfilling and immediately inviting in the bright, spicy palate – a zesty fruit cake spice rather than a peppery spice with creamy oak, juicy blackcurrant and blueberry fruit, fine tannins, hints of mocha, dark chocolate biscuits and more. Beautifully structured and harmonious. Very hard not to like. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2013
Inky purple red with a complex winey cedary bouquet embossed with chocolate, poached cherries and crushed red jam berries. Still very youthful with very firm tannins, cedar, cigar box, pipe tobacco, juicy redcurrant and plum fruit, leather, mocha, a hint of anise and underlying dried herbs with a hint of mint on the very dry finish. This stellar blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 44% Merlot is definitely still unfurling. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
 
Church Road TOM Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2014
Inky purple black with a complex aromatic and cedary bouquet with lifted red fruits and hints of camphor, violet, anise, rose spice and fragrant herbs. The palate is almost ethereal with beautifully fine tannins and a savoury frame with spicy oak supportive but never intrusive. Blackcurrant and black cherry fruit is concentrated complex and ripe, there’s a hint of chocolate, a smidgen of mint and other dried herbs and the creamy finish just seems to float. A blend of 60% Merlot from the Gimblett Gravels and 40% Cabernet from Redstone. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $199.

 

 

 

First Glass 14 June 2017
Options Night
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

Spencer Hill Trés Elegant Nelson Chardonnay 2014
Light lemon gold with a bouquet that is creamy and toasty with a hint of vanilla. It tastes smooth and toasty with roasted nut flavours, hints of citrus and peach and a savoury finish with lingering butter caramel. Delicious drinking and a good wine to begin the evening.
 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2015 – California, USA
Moderate glossy gold. Quite heady on the nose and mouth-coating and textural in the palate with an ultra smooth creamy flow. Caramel oozes from this wine that’s balanced with a nice touch of acidity and underlying polished savoury oak and has a long, focussed finish with just a suggestion of vanilla poached peach. Monterey and Santa Barbara fruit. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $30.99.
 
Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Marsanne Viognier 2014 – Hawkes Bay
Delicately scented yet with loads of flavour, this is just off dry with a whisper of honeysuckle among the musky rose petal-like florals with tropical fruit and hints of coconut and apricot also coming to mind. Gentle on entry but powerful textural intensity, palate weight and length. A blend of 55% Marsanne and 45% Viognier wild fermented and matured in older oak. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
Lawson Dry Hills Pioneer Series Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2015
Unmistakably gewurz with its powerful musk, spice, rose oil and lychee aromas that follow through to the juicy, flavoursome taste together with hints of orange pomander. Off dry, heading towards luscious but never cloying, just beautifully balanced with seamless flow. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Giesen The Brothers Late Harvest Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Sunshine gold in the glass. Honeycomb and dried apricot on the nose. Concentrated like nectar yet with bright refreshing acidity that cuts through the beeswax flavours finishing with liquid toffee and on the finish the pungency of the sauvignon blanc grape comes through. Trophy winner. 10% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99 375-ml bottle.
 
Thelema Mountain Red 2008 – Western Cape, South Africa
A touch of bricking to the dark red hue hints of some age. It’s dusty and mellow on the nose but full of bright red fruit in the palate with firm tannins, a meaty depth and a smoky savoury allure. Plums, Christmas cake, cigar box and a touch of chocolate emerge and the finish is ripe and juicy. The blend includes 26% Cabernet Sauvignon,28% Merlot, 21% Petit Verdot and 22% Grenache. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.
 
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015
Vibrant purple red in the glass with dark berries, cola and chocolate aromas and thick and firm in the mouthfilling palate with flavours reminiscent of purple plums, mulberries, black pepper and mocha with underlying fragrant herbs, savoury oak, touches of vanilla and a long, succulent, fulfilling and lingering finish. No 1 in Cuisine NZ Syrah tasting 2017. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Braida Montebruna Barbera d'Asti 2013 Piedmont, Italy
A deep dark red fading on the edges. The savoury, funky aroma immediately whisks me to Europe with ‘barnyard’ muttered by several people in the room. All this and more in the palate with worn leather, mercurochrome, herbs and a slight acid bite then the fruit emerges – red fruits, cherry fruits, red and blackcurrant jubes and a peppery vibe to the firm tannin finish where all those barnyard notes disappear and the fruit wins out on the day. Fascinating wine, best accompanied with food. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $32.99.
 
Quinta do Crasto ‘Crasto Superior’ 2013 – Douro DOC, Portugal
Bright blackcurrant red hue. Brooding on the nose with a sense of dark chocolate. Dense and meaty in the palate with a succulent aura. The berry fruit is ripe, almost raisined, there’s a touch of mint, a hint of chocolate, firm tannins and winey sweetness to the finish. A clean, modern wine from a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Sousao grapes grown in the Upper Douro region. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $32.99.
 
Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – South Australia
It’s a concentrated crimson-tinged red. The bouquet is like mint velvet and the taste is ripe and succulent with striking mint, chocolate and berry tones, supple tannins and a long smoky savoury finish. A cooler climate Australian red developing nicely. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Shinas Estate The Verdict Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – Mildura, South East Australia
Bright purple red. There’s purity of bramble berry fruit on the nose with perhaps a hint of leather and it tastes rich and ripe with fine-grained tannins, redcurrant and blackcurrant fruit, touches of raspberry jam, hints of chocolate and graphite and a warm spicy finish with a touch of pepper. 14.6% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Shinas Estate The Guilty Shiraz 2015 – Mildura, South East Australia
Deep dark red. A little brooding on the nose but oh so flavoursome in the rich, ripe concentrated mouthfilling palate. It’s full of vanillin oak, coconut oak and sappy oak with loads of pepper, succulent berries, plums and black cherries, a touch of mint and loads and loads of black forest chocolate cake flavours. An enormous wine that with this vintage is right back on form. 15.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

 

 

First Glass 7 June 2017
Ten Different Varieties
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Verdelho 2016
Golden in colour with a fruity aromatic allure and the taste is spicy with a touch of pineapple adding brightness to the mellow yellow fruit flavours with perhaps a hint a melon jam. There is palate concentration throughout and a touch of gunsmoke infusing the bright fruity zingy finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Villa Maria Library Release Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Glorious golden yellow with a full, complex and aromatic bouquet that has a waft of vanillin oak and brightness to the fruit. Smoky and toasty in the rounded, mouthfilling palate with hints of stone fruit and a creamy flow. There’s plenty of oak and a lovely touch of caramel to the deliciously satisfying finish with still enough acidity to keep it on the road - and best of all it can be well chilled. Keltern and Ngakirikiri vineyards.13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $54.99.
 
Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Gris 2016
Light gold in hue with a medley of apple on the nose – heritage apple, slightly stewed apple, lemon and apple – and an attractive delicate floral blossomy note wafting through. Flinty, steely and crisp in the palate with apple and Nashi pear and a zing of aromatic spice on the lingering finish that is softened with a touch of honey. Surprised several pinot gris detractors who, when tasting blind, found they liked it. Made by Mt Difficulty. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Spy Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2015
Light golden hued with powerfully fragrant rose musk and Turkish delight following through to the strong flavoured zingy spice taste that’s on the sweeter side of off dry with a bit of sweet/sour tension mid palate and a powerful finish. Thai food will make this wine sing. 14% alc. Screwcap. b
 
Lauregan Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 – Central Hawkes Bay
This deep Burgundy-hued wine is in an attractively presented bottle with no indication of origin on the front label, which is good because it’s definitely not your typical kiwi fruit-forward style. The bouquet is smoky, savoury and just a little gamey with wafts of dark cherry and brambles while firm tannins and savoury, earthy, leather, bacon brine, mushroom and gamey notes fill the palate. A sensuous funky Burgundy look-alike with considerable depth. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Guigal Côtes Du Rhône 2012 – Rhone, France
Vibrant dark red with a touch of cerise. The bouquet is quite savoury with hints of red plum, pepper and graphite and it is full-bodied and juicy in the palate with fine tannins, underlying savoury notes, loads of pepper and plum stone. Made from a blend of 50% Syrah, 45% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre, it has more of a winey sweetness than a distinctive fruit sweetness and the lingering finish is velvety and long. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $21.99.
 
Sardòn 2014 – Castilla y León, Spain
Vibrant purple red with considerable saturation. Restrained on the nose with hints of rhubarb and berry jam, yet the taste overflows with ripe, fruity, almost raisiny flavours. A big, mouthfilling, instantly gratifying wine with juicy red fruit, hints of paint box, dusty tannins, dark earthy notes and blood warming heat. Made from 93% Tempranillo blended with Garnacha, Cabernet and Malbec. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
Petit Pissarres 2015 – Priorat, Spain
A bright, saturated deep ruby hue with a fruity bouquet and a fresh taste with firm yet supple tannins. Smooth flowing across the palate with ripe red cherry / glace cherry fruit, underlying savoury notes that hint of tobacco and cigar box and a long creamy finish with a spicy lift. Made from 60% Garnacha and 40% Sanso (aka Carignan). Nice. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
Quarisa Enchanted Tree Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Concentrated and intense with brightness to the purple red hue it has powerful coconut American oak aromas and considerable structure and well-balanced savouriness in the palate. It tastes full-bodied, plush, lush and beautifully rounded with fine silky tannins, juicy blackberry and cherry fruit, coconut and vanilla oak and spicy accents with hints of pepper. Gold and Trophy NZIWS.  Fabulous value. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99 or by the case $14.99 p.b.
 
Houghton’s Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – Frankland River, Western Australia
Inky black red with crimson edges. Initially brooding and earthy on the nose before revealing a concentrated fruit scent with a touch of mint stalk. Bright from the outset in the full-bodied, concentrated, plush-tannined, creamy flowing palate with vanilla, cedar, juicy red and black currant fruit and chocolate raisins. It’s plump and plush with spicy oak and a very subtle suggestion of mint and a deliciously rounded, creamy, long juicy finish. Regarded as one of Australia’s greatest Cabernets, it is a blend of 93% Cab Sav, 3% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $56.99.
 
Krohn Quinto de Retiro Novo 2009 – Rio Torto Valley, Portugal
Bright, glossy, impenetrable black red in the glass. The raisiny, port wine scent is aromatically intoxicating and the mouthfeel is enveloping and luxuriously velvety. It tastes spicy, hot, spirituous and heady with succulent jammy red berries together with brandy macerated raisins, hints of liquorice, a touch of cigar box and an almost everlasting finish. Champion Fortified Wine, NZIWS. 20% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $65.99.

 

 

First Glass May 31 2017
Northern Hemisphere v Southern Hemisphere
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2014 California, USA
Light gold in hue with sweet smoky oak and tropical fruit aromas and bright in the palate with tropical fruit to the fore, a touch of canned apricot over brown sugar custard, spicy oak and a slight malo influence to the savoury finish. Easy drinking style and a great price for an introduction to Californian wine. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet 2012 Burgundy, France
This chardonnay is an intense citrine and bright in the glass. The bouquet offers up sizzled butter notes infused with cedar and it is bold and toasty in the palate with spicy oak, juicy stone fruit, a zingy flash of mandarin, an oily mouth-coating texture and a touch of lanolin on the long, savoury finish. Impressive. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $102.
 
Westbrook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
It’s golden in colour, the bouquet is full of zest and sweet winey notes while savoury oak and nutty, leesy barrel ferment characters fill the palate with fairly restrained notes of stonefruit, tingles of sherbet and a lingering suggestion of spice. Kingsley says really starting to hit its straps. 13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Dr Loosen Ürziger Würtzgarden Kabinett Riesling 2015 Mosel, Germany
The bouquet of this pale coloured wine offers up lemon/lime pith with the merest hint of kero and a faint suggestion of honey and the taste is fresh and bright and a little suggestive of green apple cider – both flavour and lightly spritzy texture. A quenching off dry style with spine tingling acidity and a lemon and honey finish. “Racy acidity – lively – low alcohol,’ says Sam. 8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Waipara Riesling 2014
Deep gold coloured. The bouquet is orange honey and brulee toffee with hints of beeswax that’s even more obvious in the bright spritzy palate where the tingly vibrancy is a nice foil to the golden syrup / honeyed sweetness. Made from late harvest grapes fermented to dryness, which makes the alcohol higher, this is a concentrated, weighty style with a long rich finish. 14.5% alc. Cork/Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.
 
Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune du Chateau Premier Cru 2014 Burgundy, France
This is a gamey savoury style of pinot noir with a translucent strawberry jam hue. There’s a whiff of cowpat under the raspberry coulis scent and it is medium-bodied in the palate with upfront moderately firm dry tannins, a slight herbal edge and sour cherry on the silky finish. Brooding in its youth but classically Burgundian with lots of promise. Made to accompany food. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
The colour is a rich cerise rimmed magenta hue – ‘the colour of raspberry jam,’ says Jim. Enticingly fragrant and full-bodied in the palate with velvety tannins, succulent cherry fruit, spicy oak, touches of anise and toasty notes together with pinot’s quintessential savouriness. Rich, fruity, supple and generous. Gold Easter Show. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Chateau Des Ganfards Bergerac Rouge 2014 France
Youthful pinky red.  The bouquet is succulent and inviting with concentrated fruit, a hint of chalk dust and leafy notes. There's a suggestion of chocolate on first tasting and the fruit is in the red plum spectrum. with medium-bodied palate weight and a long savoury finish. A food friendly style made from 100% Merlot. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Te Awa Single Estate Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2014
Concentrated purple red. Opulent aromas of vanilla and cedar and savoury and spicy in the full-bodied palate that’s brimming with creamy oak, opulent ‘velvet cloak’ tannins and well-balanced sappy notes. Mouth filling and supple with oodles of concentration and flavour and outstanding quality for the price. Gold AirNZ. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Toño Hawkes Bay Tempranillo 2014
A young wine in many respects yet the pinky red colour is starting to break up on the edges to correlate to the age. It’s savoury on the nose – a little leafy with cherry fruit and perhaps a hint of chicory and pepper.  Medium-bodied, savoury and slightly gamey to the taste with brambly fruit and a long, clean, juicy finish. One of Ant McKenzie’s labels. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Pesquera Condado de Haza Crianza 2012 Ribera del Duero, Spain
The intriguing bouquet of this inky dark red tempranillo offers up earthy, savoury, leathery, mercurochrome notes with cowpats in the brambles. Full-bodied, plush and velvety in the palate with a frame of acidity around succulent red fruits, touches of  pepper, vanillin oak and a long brooding finish where a suggestion of strawberry chocolate emerges. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Shingleback The Davey Estate Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014
Inky purple red. The bouquet of spicy cedar and red berry fruit is infused with creamy vanilla. It tastes like a youthful sweet-fruited dry red with a spicy complexity, silky tannins, concentrated purple fruit, touches of vanilla and cedar all building to a long smooth finish with an earthy pepper savouriness. 14% alc. Screwcap First Glass Price: $22.99.

 

 

First Glass 24 May 2017
Brand New to First Glass
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
RM Wines Mister Chardonnay 2016 – Hawkes Bay
The bouquet hints of tropical fruit with a lightly toasty polished oak flair. Served chilled it tastes young and flinty with fresh polish and edgy stonefruit but when it warms up it’s soft with apple, pear and fleshy peach tones and a much richer, creamy finish. Mister is the new name for Rod McDonald’s former ‘One Off’ label but this is still a master and needs to be swaddled for a little while longer.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Tony Bish Wines Fat and Sassy Chardonnay 2016 – Hawkes Bay
There's a slightly oily / shea butter nuance to the scent and the taste lives up to the name with sassy savoury oak and fat almost buttery creamy flavours together with generous very ripe fruit and zest on the finish leaving a tingly aftertaste. Tony Bish calls this “old school style”.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Bogle Reserve Clarksburg Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
Golden in colour with a glorious caramel toffee aroma and smooth flowing and seamless in the palate with lashings of malt, cream, fleshy peach, coconutty American oak and an ultra long mouthfilling finish that, to quote Heather, “keeps on giving.” And for Lesley and me there were flashback memories of Mackintosh’s Harrogate (yellow wrapper) and egg and cream (orange wrapper) toffees. Big, rich and swooningly delish.
14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Theory And Practice Pinot Gris 2016 – Hawkes Bay
This is a rich, satisfying, mouth-filling pinot gris with a heady scent that hints of musk and violets and fruit flavours reminiscent of spiced quince and pear. It has considerable palate weight with a creamy texture and flow, a sweetness level on the cusp of off dry and a savoury undercurrent to the lingering aftertaste. 40% of the wine had wild ferment and partial mlf in large ‘Fuder’ oak barrels, the remainder fermented in tank. Ant McKenzie's own label. Gold NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Falconhead Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015
A young looking pinot with a savoury, slightly gamey, slightly cherryish aroma and smooth, juicy and easy going in the medium-bodied palate. It tastes savoury and just a little gamey with bright cranberry and cherry fruit, mulled wine spices and a fine tannin finish. 4 stars and Best Buy in Cuisine. A little cracker actually.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
I Muri Primitivo 2016 – Puglia, Italy
This has a bright, intense, inky, magenta hue. The smoky bouquet is like blackberry jam on toast and it is juicy and generous in the smooth flowing medium to full-bodied palate where fleshy purple fruit is infused with a smoky, cigar box savouriness, a hint of violet, a touch of cocoa, cake spices and a long creamy finish where brighter red fruits emerge. Lots to love in the brand new vintage.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $16.99.
 
Quarisa Johnny Q Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
The colour is a deep rich ruby. The bouquet offers up chocolate biscuits, vanilla, cedar and berry jam and it tastes spicy and peppery with fine chocolate dust tannins, plummy fruit and a juicy finish with a touch of eucalypt/mint and a pleasing firmness to the lingering aftertaste. Kingsley describes it as smooth, easy and not too complex for everyday drinking. Gold NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
RM Wines Quarter Acre Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015
Purple and fine in the glass. The bouquet is plummy and it is fine textured with silky tannins in the juicy yet refined and elegant medium-bodied palate. It’s full of plump blackberry and plum fruit with a touch of pepper, a judicious touch of savoury oak and a creaminess adding generosity to the finish where the silky textural finesse is an outstanding feature. A quadruple trophy winner at the 2017 London International Wine Challenge including the esteemed accolade of Best International Syrah.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.
 
Langmeil Valley Floor Barossa Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Inky purple red with Roses chocolate box aromas and big, generous, juicy red and black berry flavours infused with lashings of creamy vanillin oak, mint, spice, pepper, chocolate, mocha and more. It’s a beautifully structured and harmonious full-bodied red with soft pillowy tannins and while seductive and comfortable already, it’s one of those wines that will evolve over many many years.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Jacobs Creek Centenary Hill Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
A saturated black red in the glass. Raspberries float off the bouquet that's deep and brooding and complex with hints of vanilla and finely spiced cedar and it is texturally superb in the palate with its fine-grained svelte tannins and depth of flavour. ‘Sweet tannins,’ says Colin. A complex wine with ripe berry fruit, hints of violets, vanilla, cream and beautifully integrated spices. A standout wine on the night that offers equally much as some wines you could pay two or three times the price for. “Sensational,” says Kingsley. We agreed.
14.6% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $48.99.
 
Beach House Noble Chardonnay 2016 – Hawkes Bay
The colour of sunshine on a blue sky day this has an enticing nectar and honeysuckle bouquet while the texture is like fine syruppy nectar. Bright acidity balances the orange toffee and candied peach and apricot fruit flavours and the overall impression is sweet yet refreshing with a lingering finish.
12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99. 375-ml.

 

 

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22 NORTHCROFT ST
TAKAPUNA

Monday to Friday – 9.00am to 6.30pm
Saturday – 9.00am to 6.00pm
Sunday – closed

Champagne Cork

 

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