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.

See our upcoming TASTING DIARY >>

Search the online store for current availability and pricing

 

First Glass 6 December 2017 
Last Night of the Wines
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 

Leveret Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 
There's a fresh vanilla custard creaminess to the bouquet and it’s smooth and rounded in the palate. A fruit driven style with a spicy zesty vibe, well balanced savouriness, beautifully integrated oak and accents of pineapple and apricot tart on the lingering finish. Very tasty and hard to resist at this price. Gold AirNZ 2016. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Mills Reef Bespoke Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
It's golden in colour, the aroma is creamed nuts and there's a touch of butter toffee lusciousness to the full-bodied taste that is smooth flowing with savoury oak while lifted acidity keeps the finish fresh. As Andrew said it is unashamedly made in an ‘old school style’ to enhance the buttery notes and I can attest it is an excellent match to oven roasted salmon. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Villa Maria Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
The bouquet emanates gunsmoke and fascinating wild yeast connotations and the taste is full of polished nutty oak, grilled peach, vanilla biscuit and mealy notes with a flinty undercurrent and spicy savouriness to the warm, full-bodied finish where a citrus vibrancy comes through. A striking Chardonnay at 4 years of age that is full of flavour, long and intense. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Ceres Black Rabbit Central Otago Riesling 2017 
Inviting floral and tropical fruit aromatics and freshly juiced citrus and honeysuckle flavours are so en-pointe in this mouth-watering, lower alcohol, medium style that’s beautifully poised yet utterly refreshing with scintillating acidity and a spritzy vibe. Gold AirNZ. Gold NZIWS. 10.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Rameau D'Or Côtes de Provence ‘Golden Bough’ Rosé 2016 – Provence, France 
The most delicate pink hue, subtle aromas of cherry and raspberry and almost bone dry to the taste which is savoury rather than fruity with spice and pepper nuances and a tangy finish. Fabulous lunchtime wine with attractive bottle presentation and a back label story to entrance. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Montessu Isola dei Nuraghi 2014 – Sardinia, Italy
This tasty blend of 60% Carignan and 10% each of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot is rich black red with crimson edges. A pink bubble gum fragrance wafts from the glass at a distance with a delicious ripe berry scent when nosing. It’s fruity and expressive in the palate with sweet berry fruit, cherry pie, peppery spices, voluptuous tannins and underlying leather and tar. A lovely expression of old world meets new world made by the winemaker who used to work at Sassacaia. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Merlot 2015
Inky black red. Savoury on the nose with hints of freshly baked dark berry pie. Vanillin oak is noticeable on first tasting together with plums, cassis, currants and well balanced tannins cake spices and a touch of pepper. While still unfolding, it is full-bodied, generous and voluptuous with an ornate oak frame and an impressively long succulent finish with just a whisper of mint. Gold and Trophy NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
 
Varvaglione 12 e Mezzo Primitivo del Salento 2015 – Salento, Italy  
Dark red, thinning/fading a little on the edges. Crushed chocolate biscuits, smoky oak and jammy berries fill the bouquet and it’s savoury in the palate which is nicely poised, not too OTT, with fine smooth tannins. Fruit is reminiscent of plums and cassis with cigar box, mocha, chocolate and a subtle pepper zing to lingering red berry finish. Like this a lot – lots going on. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Take it to the Grave Langhorne / Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
The scent is like dusty red plums and apples simmering on the stove for jam and the fruit is ultra ripe and generous in the palate with plump velvety tannins, a touch of mint and a peppery touch to the finish where blackberry and black cherry emerges a little while later as the flavours linger. An okay shiraz however the quirky label may not appeal to everyone. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
 
Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
This is inky black red in the glass with an attractive bouquet of chocolate syrup, spicy oak and concentrated mulberries and berries that follow through to the bright spicy palate together with lashings of mint. Ripe, generous, lifted and clean with a velvet cloak of fine tannins and concentration and power to the full-bodied finish that is nicely balanced with a touch of pepper. A big wine with an elegant swagger and hard for Shiraz lovers to resist. Gold Medal NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

 

 

First Glass 15 November 2017
Gold Medals from the Air NZ Wine Awards and Others
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Wairau River Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 
A proudly pungent lemon and herb aroma with lashings of cut grass and a hint of green passionfruit. Juicy tasting with stonefruit and tinges of grapefruit, hot and fumé in a way and a full on, fresh, powerful, tasty finish.  Gold NZIWS. Gold AirNZ. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Mount Riley Seventeen Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
A very inviting bouquet of butterscotch and caramel with wafts of freshly baked golden crunch biscuits. Smooth flowing across the creamy palate with bold flavours of stonefruit, caramel and toasty oak, underlying savoury malty notes and a long generous and powerful finish tinged with cedar and accents of citrus. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Nautilus Marlborough Albarino 2017 
Poached pears and yellow stone fruits are soft on the bouquet but bright apple acidity is upfront in the palate with hints of dried apricot and lemon peel ebbing to a dry flinty slightly saline finish where subtle gooseberry, herbaceous, sauvignon-like pungency lingers. A crisp dry white wine to go with fish. Gold AirNZ.  13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.
 
Forrest Marlborough Chenin Blanc 2016
This softly aromatic white is smooth and creamy with flavours of stewed apple, stonefruit and custard apple and a crisp apple brightness to the finish.  It has a rounded chardonnay-like mouthfeel, richness to the texture, a touch of honeyed sweetness and underlying nutty savouriness. Lovely drinking now with the potential to age. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017 
This straw gold wine offers delicate floral poached pear aromas and powerful mouth-coating ripe juicy pear / pear drop flavours with touches of ginger and a hint of spearmint leaf confectionary emerging on the lingering finish. Can be well chilled.Very popular on the night. Gold AirNZ. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.
 
Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016
A little shy on the nose but classically pinot gris with medium sweetness to the palate honed by a touch of grapefruit and lemon zest. It's a fairly dry style with juicy peach and nectarine flavours, a tickle of white pepper, underlying flintiness and a long, soft, mouthfilling and satisfying finish. Gold AirNZ. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.

Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2016
The bouquet is like a delicately scented cottage garden and there's just a touch of spun sugar sweetness in the palate with candied citrus, orange blossom water and myriads of zesty tingles, then revealing more classical rose petal and Turkish delight flavours with a little bit of heat as it lingers. Gold AirNZ. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 ‘Plateau’ Hawkes Bay Merlot 2015
Deep inky boysenberry red in the glass. The bouquet is full, opulent, plummy and chocolatey with dark spicy oak and a touch of pencil box then in the mouth the tannins are smooth and the ripe-fruited taste is fleshy and generous. There’s cocoa, chicory, plums and loads of sappy cedar with lingering vanilla and chocolate on the long, powerful finish. Gold AirNZ 2016. Gold NZIWS 2016 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
Te Awa Single Estate Hawkes Bay Gimblett GravelsSyrah 2013
This is a deep dark red with a touch of crimson. There's  a dark smoky cigar box-like aura infusing the plum and black cherry jam bouquet – it smells succulent, smooth and creamy but on first tasting the dryness of the wine and the tight-knit tannins are profound. It soon reveals blackberries and cream and the generous milk chocolate finish is long and flowing – all the upfront dryness has dissipated – and roasted spices and toasted oak accent the long creamy finish. Cuisine Top 10 Syrah 2016. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015
Bright blackberry red in the glass. The bouquet is aromatic and spicy with hints of smoked prosciutto and brambles. Brimming with luscious berry fruit in the palate that’s characterised by fine dry tannins, it’s mouthfilling and concentrated with toasted aromatic spices – more exotically spicy than peppery – with succulent redcurrant and mulberry fruit and a very long fine finish. Power with elegance. Gold AirNZ. 13.5%% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.
 
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot  2014
Inky purple berry red in hue with crushed chocolate cameo cream biscuit aromas infusing the glorious bouquet together with berry fruit and cedar. It’s rich, ripe and succulent in the velvety smooth palate with blackberry, cassis, chocolate and cedar, the most subtle suggestion of mint and perhaps even a hint of pepper, and the finish is beautifully rounded and long and lingers with a hint of violet. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot that exudes absolute class. Gold and Trophy AirNZ 2016. 13.5%% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $42.99.

 

 

First Glass 8 November 2017
Champagne, Riesling, Pinot and Shiraz
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Delaplace Champagne NV – Marne, France
This evocative full-bodied Champagne made from a cuvée of predominantly Pinot Meunier with Chardonnay and a smidgen of Pinot Noir is a terrific way to start an evening. It shows tiny bubbles in the glass, it emanates a yeasty lemon biscuit aroma and the mouth tingles with the fine yet vibrant fizz. It’s savoury rather than fruity with tangy salinity and Champagne’s unique yeast autolysis flavours,  hints of vanilla and lemon sherbet and a long, creamy, mouthfilling finish. Gold NZIWS.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Champagne Charles Orban Blanc de Noirs NV – Troissy, France
A cuvée of Pinot Meunier (60%) and Pinot Noir (40%), it’s gold in the glass, the bouquet gives the impression of lightness and freshness yet there’s pinot’s distinctive earthy allure to the savoury, mellow, yeasty and very very dry taste with hints of lemon, touches of cherry and rose hip and a long lingering tingly finish.
12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99
 
Champagne Tattinger Brut Reserve NV – Reims, France
This cuvée of predominantly Chardonnay with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier is a light golden colour, there’s a touch of nectar to the very ripe scent and the mouth tingles with the vibrancy of the fine fizzy bubbles. It tastes decadent, yeasty and savoury with a subtle suggestion of peach and a lovely long rich complex yet tantalising fresh dry finish with a lingering nutty complexity.
12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $62.99.
 
Hunters Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
A fresh youthful style with a light gold colour and hints of pink bubble gum infusing the yellow fruit bouquet where peach comes foremost to mind. It’s creamy and smooth as it flows through the palate with touches of lemon biscuits and toasted hazelnut over a fresh, crisp fruity backbone and a hint of butterscotch to the lingering finish. Silver NZIWS.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Main Divide Waipara Valley Riesling 2014
Golden in the glass with a bouquet of toasted beeswax and citrus honey, and rich and unctuous to the taste that’s like concentrated grapefruit syrup with vibrant acidity honed beautifully by a lingering tropical fruit sweetness. Main Divide is known for spritzy Riesling, but the spritz has settled with bottle age. 20 g/L residual sugar. 
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Riverby ‘Eliza’ Marlborough Riesling 2014
Yellow gold in the glass with Riesling’s classic lemon/lime aromas infused with kero and a lightly viscous honeyed palate with flavours reminiscent of lemon honey and lime curd with underlying flint honing the sweetness perfectly.  It’s starting to pick up gorgeous toasty notes with age. 40g/L residual sugar.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Brancott Estate Letter Series T Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016
Youthful ruby garnet with a generous bouquet of Damson plums with woodsmoke, cedar and aromatic spice notes. Powerful and complex in the fresh, vibrant, lifted palate with savoury oak, cherry and plum fruit, hints of vanilla and Christmas spices with touches of bouquet garni and just the right amount of firmness to the finely textured tannins. 
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
There's a bright pink glow to the deep ruby hue. The bouquet is hauntingly smoky and savoury with hints of black cherry and thyme, and the palate offers up amazing vinosity / fruit sweetness – the fruit seems almost luscious yet the wine is fresh. It’s smooth, silky and seamless as it flows across the palate with underlying woody savouriness, touches of vanilla, musk and anise and a flourish of cake spice. A pinot of succulence and mouthfilling satisfaction. Bannockburn fruit. Gold AirNZ, Gold NZIWS. 
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.
 
Bald Hills Single Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
It's a rich dark ruby in the glass, not really hinting of its age. The bouquet is fragrant with a deep almost floral allure – then smoky oak and mulled wine spices become noticeable too.  Not overtly fruity to the taste at first and surprisingly still quite firm in the front palate but velvety as it flows with a sensuous meaty savouriness, lifted spices and creamy opulence to the juicy plum and cherry finish. A wine of lingering succulence and harmony. Bannockburn fruit. Gold NZIWS. 
13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $40.99.
 
Kingston Estate Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky in the glass with brightness to the crimson-edged blackberry hue. Lifted bouquet of sweet plums and violets. Concentrated and powerful in the palate with succulent slightly confectionery red and black fruits, smooth tannins, hints of earth, mocha, dark chocolate, cake spices and pepper and a fine tannin flow. Amazing quality and presentation for the price. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Chapel Hill The Parson McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky purple black in hue with a deep rich powerful bouquet offering up mulberry fruit, dark chocolate and liquorice. The taste is like concentrated chocolate and cream flowing through a big dark oaky frame with woody herbs and a savoury edge offset by fine tannins and plump wine-soaked cherry fruit all building to a rich dark succulent finish with a sprinkle of chocolate dust. Gold medal NZIWS.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Tenafeate Creek The Judgement Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
This truly massive wine is inky black with crimson edges and has a super rich, opulent bouquet that exudes a heady raspberry jam vinosity and chocolatey sweetness. It’s super concentrated in the luxurious palate that’s crammed with chocolate, dark berries, smoked spices, vanilla and cedar with big oak and big tannins. It’s the essence of Shiraz with its concentration, succulence and presence. Gold and Trophy for Champion Shiraz, NZIWS 2017.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $99.

 

 

First Glass 1 November 2017
(Almost) All Gold Medal Wines
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Sugar Loaf Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 
Tangy and powerful with buoyant tropical fruit, green passionfruit and apple aromatics and juicy and flavoursome in the textural palate with lashings of tropical fruit, yellow guava, lime, lemon and tangelo underpinned by steely spine-tingling acidity, touches of tarragon and an incredibly long pungent finish. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $17.99.
 
Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Big & Buttery Gisborne Chardonnay 2016
There’s a yellow butter glow to the hue. The bright bouquet exudes butter caramel, just sharpened HB pencils and toast, and it’s soft and smooth flowing in the palate that's oozing malt and caramel with touches of tropical fruit, canned pears and peach. Easy going and living up to its name. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $16.99.
 
La Boheme Act Three Pinot Gris and Friends 2016 - Yarra Valley, Australia
Aromatic and bright on the nose with touches of pear drop and orange zest. Light, crisp and dry in the palate with a zesty fresh apple bite that tickles the tip of the tongue. With pinot blanc, gewurztraminer and riesling (‘The Friends’) joining pinot gris there are little surges of apple, pear, citrus and spice as this refreshing wine traverses the palate and the overall impression juicy and quenching. Gold NZIWS. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $19.99.
 
Mount Riley The Bonnie Marlborough Rosé 2017 
This pinot noir rosé has a radiant pink hue, an enticingly fragrant plum and cherry aroma, and it is juicy and deliciously quenching to the mouthfilling, moderately gutsy and texturally pleasing taste that’s full of summer berries with just a touch of sweetness, well balanced savouriness and lingering flavours of cherry, blueberry and strawberry. Gold NZIWS. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $12.99.
 
Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015
Dark ruby hued with cherries and chocolate and a mellow smoky nuance to the scent which is a little shy to start then opens up to reveal a lovely floral allure. Moderately spicy in the palate yet overall soft, smooth, juicy and not too heavy with a beautifully balanced savoury undercurrent and a firm finish with woodsmoke and sappy notes unfolding as the tasting progresses. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $24.99.
 
Tenuta Ulisse Amaranta Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2014
Shiny blackberry in the glass. Wonderfully concentrated on the nose with people around me saying‘Three Berry Jam’ and ‘hot jam tart jam’. My impression of the bouquet is plum jam and prunes with waves of dark smoky oak and saddle leather. It's inky and opulent to the taste with succulent dark fruit, an inviting savouriness, touches of dark orange chocolate and hints of espresso with surprisingly supple tannins and a long lifted finish. Sam describes this as ‘supercharged’ and it is, absolutely! Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price $32.99.
 
Kingston Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 
Vivid purple black. There’s a tarry note at first on the nose then heady vinosity and dark berry jam. The taste is dark and savoury, spicy and concentrated, meaty and tarry with a touch of chicory essence then waves of bright fruit with touches of rose hip and vanilla and just the slightest hint of mint. The tannins are silky and fine and the finish is fantastically long. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $14.99.
 
Thomas Goss McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016
Deep dark plummy red. Lifted red fruits on the nose and bright, fresh and spicy in the palate with touches of milk chocolate and cocoa, juicy cherry and mulberry fruit, more fine chocolate layers and creamy vanillin oak. Generous on the finish that’s laced with nutmeg and pepper and firmness to the tannins that coat the mouth gently. Gold NZIWS.14.5% alc. First Glass Price $18.99.
 
Three Dark Horses McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016
Bright and inky in the glass. Generous aromas of black cherry and mulberry and ultra decadent in the palate with mouthfilling flavours of creamy oak, chocolate, cherries, black forest cake, touches of liquorice and mocha on a cloud of plush tannins. Harmonious all the way through and irresistible for lovers of this style. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $19.99.
 
Vigne Vechhi Legenda Primitivo di Manduria 2015 - Italy
Rich dark red with heady aromas of ripe, sweet, chocolate-coated sun baked grapes and super ripe and concentrated in the palate with velvet-cloaked soft pillowy tannins, dark berry fruit, vanillin oak, coffee liqueur and cream, marzipan, warm spices and underlying tarry savoury notes in harmony. A spectacular wine in every respect. Gold NZIWS and Trophy for Champion International Red. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price $49.99.
 
Riverby Estate Marlborough Noble Riesling 2015 
It’s the colour of golden topaz, the bouquet is sweet citrus and honeysuckle and the decadently sweet taste is juicy and luscious with viscosity to the texture and a delightful freshness from the racy acidity that continuously ripples through. It’s full of tropical fruit with a smidgen of passionfruit and lingering flavours of apricot, honeycomb and lime marmalade. Gold NZIWS and Trophy for Champion Sweet Wine. 11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $26.99.

 

 

First Glass FineWednesday
25 October 2017
Penfolds with Jamie Sach
Wines were not tasted blind

 
Matua Lands and Legends Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
Glossy citrine in the glass with bright stonefruit and citrus aromatics layered with creamy oak. It’s big, bold and bright in the palate with juicy acidity and a zesty finish laced with a mouthfilling toasty richness. Served on the night with moderate chilling that enhances the fleshiness of the vibrant fruit.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99
 
Penfolds Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2016
Light gold in the glass with lovely clean aromas of citrus and refined nutty oak.  Full and complex in the palate with savoury, mealy, leesy Burgundian-influences, touches of gunflint and hints of stonefruit. Lemonade and grapefruit zest dance on the tongue and there’s a refined smoky aura to the nutty oak finish with a smidgen of French tarragon emerging as this elegant wine lingers.
12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99
 
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
A rich blackberry red with crimson brilliance to the edges. The winey cherry chocolate bouquet wafts out of the glass from a distance with a leathery note when nosing right in. Immediately spicy and peppery to the taste with a lovely fine tannin flow and flavours of mocha, chocolate wheaten biscuits, chicory essence, vanilla and berries with subtle savoury oak underpinning the warm spicy finish. 
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99
 
Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz Mataro Grenache 2015 – Barossa Valley, South Australia
The bouquet of this radiantly hued old vine blend is full of dark berry fruit, prunes, cake spices and sweet oak. The taste is like a sea of ripe sweet red and black berries with firmness to the tannins that underpin a wave of earth, herbs, liquorice and boot leather with the succulent fruit surfing in again. A meaty wine in many respects with a touch of marmite, a judicious touch of pepper and cake spices enveloping the finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99
 
Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
It’s a deep rich red with a bright clean bouquet that becomes more and more complex as it emanates red berry succulence with a sense of creaminess to the French oak and finally revealing the slightest suggestion of mint. The taste is laced with pepper from the outset – red pepper together with bright spices, lifted red berry and cherry fruit. It has a satisfying plump mid palate, the tannins are fine and there’s a nice firm feel to the finish. 
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99
 
Penfolds Bin 28 Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
This blackberry-hued, crimson-edged red is enticingly fragrant with spice, liquorice, mocha and chocolate infusing the sweet berry and savoury oak scent. All that and more in the full-bodied, rounded, spicy, succulent palate that brims with deliciously juicy red and blue berry fruit. It’s so mouthfilling, so fine and velvety, so full of finesse with the oak in balance and harmony all the way through and so ready to be enjoyed immediately yet so able to be cellared for many years.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99
 
Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2015 – Barossa Valley, South Australia
It’s an inky, crimson-edged black-red hue and there’s just the most subtle suggestion of coconut husk to the scent that’s filled with opulence and temptation. Red and black berries, vanilla, dark chocolate, red pepper and cake spices join the exhilarating fragrance. Immediately you taste it you know it is something special. It has such concentration and depth to the palate with beautifully fine tannins and warm peppery spice flavours together with purple fruit, mulberries, rose petals, chocolate, candied fennel and anise. There’s a meaty undercurrent, touches of tar and leather and a lovely frame of dark oak with lingering chocolate dust. We rate this sensational. 
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $77.99
 
Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
An impressively concentrated wine that is black in the glass yet has an aura of lightness and brightness to the scent. The initial taste is sappy, savoury, gamey and leathery with loads of peppery tingles then concentrated dark berry fruit wells up and takes over together with chocolate and an elegant array of Shiraz spices. The tannins are fine with youthful teeth-coating firmness and the wine finishes exceptionally dry with the purity and succulence of the fruit lingering beautifully on the very long finish. One for the very long haul.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $98.99.
 
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
A legendary blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (53:47 ratio) that has been matured in 100% American oak with 32% new and older barrels previously used for Grange and 707. It’s vivid crimson black in the glass and the freshness of the new oak is apparent on the nose together with succulent blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. It tastes exceedingly spicy this vintage, the tannins are youthful furry and firm, the oak has a sweet vanillin overlay and there's red and black berries, chocolate, cake spices, chicory essence, tar and leather will fullness to the palate and touches of smoked mint on the lingering finish where the fruit and the savouriness are in impeccable harmony. 
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $77.99
 
Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – South Australia
There's a glow to the deep dark red hue and berries and chocolate fill the bouquet which gives an impression that the wine will be dense and velvety yet when you first taste it the tannins, while firm, are remarkably silky and fine. It’s a juicy wine with lovely vinosity and concentration and a medley of berry fruit with red more dominant than black. The mouth is also filled with suggestions of mint chocolate and mocha with lovely lift to the finish and a lingering vanilla-tinged velvety succulence. 
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $77.99
 
Penfolds Bin 798 RWT Shiraz 2015 – Barossa Valley, South Australia
Inky crimson-edged purple black in the glass. The opulent bouquet has a gorgeous chocolate biscuit scent laced with red berries, cedar, vanilla and mint. It’s dark,  
tarry, sappy and peppery in the super concentrated palate with a beautifully fine flow, fruit flavours of  prunes, damson plums and blueberry coming to mind and a lovely mouth-enveloping warm spicy finish with a lovely lift from nuances of mint. Very youthful it seems, especially with its big tannins – but while big, they are also quite approachable. ‘Indulgent' sums up this wine in a word.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $218.

 

 

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. 

  

   Search the online store for current availability and pricing

Search Site

Search Wines

Country
  1. Argentina (10)
  2. Australia (158)
  3. Chile (1)
  4. France (100)
  5. Germany (3)
  6. Italy (56)
  7. New Zealand (460)
  8. Portugal (6)
  9. South Africa (7)
  10. Spain (49)
  11. USA (22)
Region
  1. Gisborne (12)
  2. Hawkes Bay (132)
  3. Kumeu (4)
  4. Marlborough (135)
  5. Nelson (10)
  6. Northland (2)
  7. Otago (74)
  8. Waiheke Island (18)
  9. Waipara (16)
  10. Wairarapa (15)
  11. Adelaide Hills (1)
  12. Barossa (52)
  13. Clare Valley (11)
  14. Coonawarra (8)
  15. Hunter Valley (1)
  16. Langhorne Creek (1)
  17. Margaret River (12)
  18. McLaren Vale (30)
  19. Mornington Peninsula (1)
  20. Padthaway (3)
  21. Rutherglen (1)
Price
  1. $0.00 - $19.99 (327)
  2. $20.00 - $39.99 (399)
  3. $40.00 - $59.99 (131)
  4. $60.00 - $79.99 (59)
  5. $80.00 - $99.99 (35)
  6. $100.00 - $119.99 (17)
  7. $120.00 - $139.99 (10)
  8. $140.00 - $159.99 (8)
  9. $160.00 - $179.99 (7)
  10. $180.00 and above (21)

Catch up with our wine reviews from our weekly tasting, special deals, wine news, who's won what, humour and more.

Every week someone who receives our newsletter will win a bottle of wine – just for being on the email list.


22 NORTHCROFT ST
TAKAPUNA

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

Champagne Cork

 

You must be 18 years or older to enter the First Glass online store

Are you 18 years of age or older?

Sorry, you must be 18 years or older to enter the First Glass online store