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Every week we sample and taste dozens of wines at First Glass.
Sue Courtney is a nationally recognised wine writer, senior wine judge & wine critic
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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Clark Estate Block 8 Marlborough Riesling 2015
A light delicate style with an attractive lime sherbet bouquet and tangy lemon, lime and apple jelly flavours with a touch of kero in the background and a nectar-like touch to the finish. It's clean and refreshing and a perfect start to the evening. Two golds. Trophy. 8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
The scent of juicy grilled peach and biscuity notes are tantalising and the wine is beautifully harmonious in its flow across the palate. It’s toasty and creamy with nutty barrel ferment complexities, juicy stonefruit and the brightness of zesty grapefruit on the finish. Almost perfect and five star value.13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
This seems to be a change of direction for this label. At first it seems very dry and restrained with cheesy malo notes that make me think France - a cooler climate style with flavours of lemon pie then toasty oak pushes through with a touch of peach and vanilla and the finish is juicy and long. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Gris 2016
This proudly flaunts classic pinot gris poached pear and apple strudel aromas and flavours with a honeyed sweetness to the finish and a zesty brightness tickling the tongue as the wine lingers. 30% of the wine was fermented in barrel and it’s just off dry with 8 g/l residual sugar. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
Peregrine Rastasburn Central Otago Riesling 2014
This is moderately rich and weighty for Riesling. It’s a light golden colour, there’s an intriguing bouquet that reminds me of bath salts and it’s starting to show some kero characters that come with a little age. In the mouth it’s spritzy and while there’s a touch of sweetness the overall impression is dry with lashings of apple on the persistent yellow fruit finish. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Black Peak Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
Deep ruby violet with an attractive bouquet of woodsmoke, bottled spiced cherries and thyme. Generous in the silky textured palate with spicy savoury oak to the fore, juicy cherry and plum fruit and lifted acidity on the finish. From a vineyard on the Queensbury Hills near Wanaka, this is a big pinot that would benefit from a little more time. 13.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $37.99.
Antinori Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore 2013 – Tuscany, Italy
This is a dark red colour, the bouquet offers up leather and tar with sweet brambly fruit wafting through and the taste is dry and savoury with moderately firm tannins, herbs and tobacco, a little sour cherry upfront then a cherry jam sweetness evolving. It’s nicely balanced with classic Chianti characters and a juicy mouthfilling finish. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.
Bodega Piedra Negra Alta Coleccion Malbec 2016 – Mendoza, Argentina
This youthful, bright red-black hued wine has oodles of bright fruit aromas and flavours in a medium-bodied package. It’s soft and juicy with a hint of cigar box, a touch of vanilla, plums, blueberries, rosehip conserve, herbs and spice and a lingering finish. Certified organic. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Langmeil Blacksmith Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – South Australia
Inky black red. Vanillin oak and red berries tease the nose and the first impression in the palate is a eucalypt/mint feast. This is a big wine and seems quite oaky to start but there is a plethora of juicy blackberry and black currant fruit to tame it. The tannins are silky and fine and there’s a classic Cabernet lift to the savoury finish with touches of pepper and mint chocolate lingering. A bit of a charmer. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $37.99.
Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run Clare Valley Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Deep dark red with purple tints to the edges. Chocolate dust on the nose and concentrated in the palate with black pepper, savoury oak and an intriguing tarry note. Fruit is reminiscent of black cherries and blueberries, the tannins are fine with a velvet fringe, there’s a suggestion of Oreo biscuits and just a smidgen of mint on the finish where vanillin oak lingers. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Esk Valley Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2013
Inky blackberry red with a bouquet that is reminiscent of a well worn leather jacket as well as more classic chocolate box, cedar and bramble berries. A massive chewy wine in the sumptuous palate with fine and moderately dry tannins, sappy oak, herbs, mint, graphite and succulent berries. This is a stellar wine and is developing beautifully with many years to go. Two golds. Trophy. 14% alc. Cork/Screwcap. First Glass Price: $54.99.
The bouquet is redolent of sweet apples and muscat grapes and the juicy sweet / tart grapey flavours continue in the soft, foamy and gently spritzy palate with a subtle hint of anise and then, on the aftertaste, the merest hint of spearmint leaf. This multiple gold medal winner has medium sweetness and is best served very chilled as an aperitif or after dinner with fruit salad. 8.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $15.99.
Reasonably golden in colour with a ripe, fruity bouquet that offers up bright tropical fruit and melon with yellow skin heritage apples also coming to mind. It’s full-bodied and reasonably complex with chardonnay-like palate weight and chenin’s hallmark acidity initially tamed by a mead-like honey richness but singing brightly on the very long finish. Lovely example of South Africa’s number one white grape. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
This is brightly aromatic with passionfruit honey, roasted citrus peel, wild yeast and oak barrel notes. It’s a full-bodied, mouthcoating wine and and while it initially tastes a little oily and 'funky’ from the wild yeast fermentation, the sweetness of the tropical fruit melds into the savoury backbone with grapefruit zest zinging through the incredibly long and pungent finish. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
This is a lustrous citrine hue and the bouquet offers haunting scents of apricot, mango and tropical fruit that is ripe, bright and sweet to the taste. It’s lightly oily in texture with musky spices and a touch of white pepper while the use of neutral oak adds palate weight and a harmonious complexity but only the most subtle oak taste. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $26.99.
This is a yellow-gold hue with smoky oak and buttered roasted nut on the nose and quite dry in the palate with mellow yellow fruit and a soft oily / creamy note. Quite a full fat heading-towards-butterscotch style with well-balanced toasty oak and nutty notes and while obviously chardonnay there is something quite different – the South African ‘x’ factor perhaps. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Light gold in hue with lashings of peach and a hum of spicy cedar filling the bouquet and peach upfront in the palate with sweet toasty oak, marshmallow, citrus and spice, underlying savoury notes and hints of ‘banana bikes’ on the lingering mouth-coating finish. Bright and fresh and oozing finesse. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.
Saturated purple black with a bouquet that’s dry and savoury with peppery spices, tar and leather. In the mouth it’s a well-structured, meaty red with firm fine-textured tannins, cigar box and pepper, wonderfully juicy Black Doris plums, blueberries and black cherries and a nuance of liquorice on the mouth-filling finish. This stunning 100% Syrah pitches way above its price point and the ‘free wing’ butterfly on the label adds its overall charm. This bottle had been open 90 minutes before tasting so decanting is recommended. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.
This blend of Tinta Roriz, Castelao and Tinta Muida grapes is a deep pink red in the glass. Sweet red berries and tobacco fill the bouquet and the smooth taste is dry, savoury and just a little gamey with red pepper, sappy oak, red plums and raisined cranberries, a touch of raspberry liquorice and a velvety warmth to the juicy medium-bodied finish. The packaging is also fun with its colourful arty label. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Youthful pinky red with a concentrated cherry and blueberry scent mingling with a touch of cedar. It tastes fruity yet quite savoury with tobacco, cigar box, tar and leather and while very dry, a touch of dried mint adds brightness to the finish. A medium-bodied red that needs food to counteract the dry tannins and cheese went well on the night. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Deep dark red with the slightest of bricking on the edges. The nose is ultra inviting with ripe, juicy fruit vanillin oak and a gamey, meaty allure. It’s soft and velvety on entry to the palate with oodles of creamy vanillin oak, hot peppery spices, cherries, cigar box, tobacco, chocolate and liquorice and pillowy tannins that become more assertive on the finish. This full-bodied red made from 100% Merlot is really quite spectacular but does need time. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $91.
Dark mahogany in the glass with a heady lifted bouquet of liqueur macerated raisins, hot treacle and sherry’s unique ‘rancio’ character. Thick & viscous in the palate with a myriad of mouthcoating flavours like cedar, spice, treacle, Christmas cake, preserved orange peel and Muscatel raisins with a cosy warmth to the finish where the unctuous flavours linger for ages. 18% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.
Forrest Marlborough Riesling 2010
This pre-taster to the main event has apple blossom on the nose and tastes crisp, fresh and super dry with bracing racy acidity and flavours reminiscent of Roses lime juice and green apple fried in a little butter with fullness to the finish and a hint of honey emerging. Seven years old and in terrific condition, still nowhere near full development. 12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Domaine Testut Chablis Premier Cru Montée dé Tonnerre 2014 – France
After a momentary whiff of struck match the shy and delicate citrus pith bouquet has a desirable hint of creamy malo. It’s flinty and steely in the mouth with fresh apple acidity, not quite ripe peach and greengage plum becoming fuller on the finish and the lingering flavours hint of lemon cream. Classic unoaked chardonnay from Burgundy’s Chablis. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $60.99.
Dr L Loosen Mosel Riesling 2015 – Germany
The bouquet is moderately expressive with fruit tree blossoms, green grapes and chalk and the scintillating flavours in the medium sweet palate are a harmony of green apple, lime sherbet and honeysuckle. A crisp and fresh yet delicate Riesling with finesse and length. 8.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Le Vieille Ferme Cotes du Ventoux Rosé 2016 – Rhone Valley, France
A very desirable delicate pink hue and a fragrant red berry aroma introduce this 'very fresh' off dry rosé with raspberry drop lolly and bramble leaf flavours and bright vibes of zest and spice. A tasty blend of Syrah and Grenache, this is exceptional value and nicely packaged too. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Chermette Les Griottes Beaujolais 2016 - Burgundy, France
This is an inky blackcurrant hue and it smells warm and inviting with its concentrated black cherry conserve and subtle spice scent. Velvety in the mouth with sumptuous blackberry and cherry fruit and underlying savoury notes. Made from Gamay Noir grapes, this is fresh, juicy and immensely sippable right now and a wonderful insight into the more serious side of Beaujolais. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $23.99.
Gilles Robin ‘Terroir des Chassis’ Crozes-Hermitage 2014 – Rhone, France
Dark red in hue with a fine appearance. Delicately floral on the nose with a dusting of cocoa. The taste offers up initial savoury earthy notes with fresh acidity, a touch of pepper, subtle cherry and blueberry fruit, fine youthful tannins and well integrated oak with perhaps a hint of mint on the lingering juicy finish. Made from Syrah. 13 % alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.
Velenosi Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015 – Piceno, Italy
Inky black red – bright in the glass. Smoky and savoury on the nose and quite earthy and savoury in the palate to start then juicy sweet plummy fruit wells up and stands its ground. A fresh, young wine with velvety tannins, fruit cake spices and a long meaty finish and despite the smoky nuances that initially waft through it evidently has no oak. Ripe and fleshy and ready to enjoy now. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Muriel Rioja Crianza 2013 – Rioja, Spain
This deep dark red-hued wine has a wonderfully fragrant bouquet like blackberry jam infused with cedar and mint and the flavours are crammed with plums, cherries, spice and liquorice with sappy vanillin oak and perhaps a hint of tobacco. It’s bright in the mouth with silky tannins, a meaty richness and an underlying tarry savouriness and the lingering finish is long, juicy and flavoursome. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Simonsig Pinotage 2014 – Stellenbosch, South Africa
Dark red with a fine appearance. Chocolate and leafy herbs on the nose. Smooth and creamy in the palate with concentrated red fruits, touches of spice and a well-balanced slightly herbal, slightly gamey savouriness. Seems medium bodied in its palate expression with harmonious flow and a slight confectionary (boiled red lolly) note emerging on the fresh lingering finish. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $18.99.
The Crusher Petite Syrah 2014 – California, USA
Inky black red. Berries, spice and vanillin oak fill the bouquet and it's bright and spicy in the palate with firm velvety tannins, creamy oak, loads of fruits of the forest berries with the slightest suggestion of mint. Very juicy and flavoursome and ready to go. 13 % alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.
Penny's Hill Cracking Black Shiraz 2015 – McLaren Vale, South Australia
Dark red. Creamy oak, mulberries, hints of chocolate and sweet spices fill the bouquet and it is bright and spicy in the full-bodied, creamy textured palate with silk-edged soft velvet tannins together with mocha, chocolate and vanilla and plump macerated plums and cherries. Smooth, harmonious and super seductive on the night. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2015
Golden with a fragrant lemon-infused nutty oak bouquet. Fresh tasting with bright tropical fruit, accents of citrus (orange marmalade comes to mind), underlying mealy notes, vanilla-tinged savoury oak and a long smooth juicy finish with lingering notes of peach. Smooth and not too overpowering. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Neudorf Rosie's Block Nelson Chardonnay 2015
Light lemon gold with subtle smoky nuances to the nutty, oatmeal bouquet that also hints of stonefruit. Bright and fresh with a light dance of lemonades across the palate becoming more savoury and nutty with a funky wild yeast leesy character evolving and a very dry finish. Needs more time but would be great with a creamy sauce to cut through the still taut acidity. FYI, not a ‘Kingsley style’. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.
Delegat Crownthorpe Terraces Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Rich lemon gold. The bouquet is a little shy but the taste is full of flavour. It’s malty and savoury with honeyed oak, grilled peach and a harmonious creamy flow. Acidity is nicely integrated and the wine can be well chilled. Ready to go now. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
Greystone Waipara Valley North Canterbury Chardonnay 2015
Glossy gold with a rich full bouquet of nutty oak and peach, then bold and savoury in the palate with a creamy texture and flavours of malt, cedar, grilled stonefruit, cashew, sumac spices and underlying touches of grapefruit. A mouthfilling wine with harmonious flow and an impressively long finish, and it can take moderate chilling. 14.2% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
This is a glorious wine. It’s citrine in hue. Tantalising smoky French oak and grapefruit fill the bouquet and the taste is rich, creamy, toasty and harmonious with nutty yeast lees and vanilla biscuit notes, gorgeous savoury oak, spice and zest. The acidity is accented yet beautifully integrated and the golden peach and tropical fruit flavours linger with haunting nuances of woodsmoke. Sophisticated yet more-ish, it really is the full package.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
Taylors Clare Valley Shiraz 2015
This bright hued red is creamy and spicy on the nose with generous plummy fruit and vanilla-tinged oak. More medium bodied in palate weight with primary plum and berry fruit, lifted acidity, chocolate biscuits, smoky oak, fine tannins and a touch of char on the finish. Adorned with nine gold medal stickers and unbelievable value for money.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $13.99.
Sisters Run Epiphany McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015
Sweet and juicy from the outset – it’s spicy, chocolatey, bright and juicy with tannins that are structured yet supple, hints of pepper, blackberry and black cherry fruit, purple violets and something a little intriguing, a little leafy – perhaps tobacco or perhaps dried mint but tending more and more toward spearmint as the flavours linger. A new label for us and an impressive debut.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Beresford McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014
The chocolate-infused bouquet is aromatic and spicy with bright brambly fruit and the taste is rich and velvety with generous blackberry and mulberry fruit together with chocolate, mocha, pepper, Black Forest cake and vanilla and a meaty richness to the finish – delivers everything you expect from the Vale with mouthfilling satisfaction and a lasting finish.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
Serafino McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014
The chocolate box and black cherry bouquet is immediately captivating and the taste is rich, ripe and full with voluptuous velvety tannins, vanillin oak, juicy mulberry fruit, double chocolate biscuits, touches of mint and a meaty depth to the bright creamy finish that is mouthfilling and long. Offers so much gratification for a $20 bill.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Henry's Drive Dead Letter Office Padthaway Shiraz 2014
Sweet vanillin oak and red fruit fill the bouquet – I sense a hint of strawberry that also shimmies through the taste. There’s a point of difference to this cooler climate wine – it’s a little tarry with hints of rose hips, lovely fine tannins, smoky oak, cigar box and touches of mint and lingers beautifully with finesse, clarity and harmony. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
Haselgrove First Cut McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014
Concentrated black fruit and wafts of empty chocolate box fill the bouquet that has an aura of finesse and class. Ripe and juicy to the taste with fruits of the forest and Black Forest cake with red pepper adding a spicy heat and the 30-second aftertaste is red berries and vanilla cream. Tannins are beautifully fine – more silky than velvety – but the oak is still a little woody on the finish so would benefit from a little more time. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
Molly Dooker The Boxer McLaren Vale / Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2015
This is a rich, ripe, juicy blockbuster. Concentrated red and black fruits fill the bouquet with a dusting of chocolate and a suggestion of liquorice and it’s deliciously spicy in the smooth creamy palate with bright fruit reminiscent of blueberries, mulberries and black cherries together with a touch of chocolate on a bed of plush velvety tannins. It’s cosy and enveloping with a blood warming feel, underlying vanillin oak and a touch of savouriness bringing it into balance. The most spiciest and peppery of the red wines tonight, this heady high alcohol red is dangerously seductive.
16% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.
Crafters Union Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris 2016
The subtle yet fruity bouquet is evocative of stonefruit and vanilla poached pear and the taste is fresh and crisp with upfront crunchy apple and quince becoming softer and textural mid palate with a nutty savouriness, a zing of aromatic spices and tropical fruit brightening up the lingering finish. It seems to me just off dry and with its attractive packaging it is an all round crowd pleaser. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
Beach House Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
The initial sense of orange blossom / orange sherbet on the nose is joined by a whisper of sweet nutty oak and it’s youthful and bright in the palate with a creamy butterscotch flow, touches of stonefruit and a roundness to the finish with there’s a lovely zing of citrus and more and more butter caramel emerging as the flavours linger. . But very attractive and appealing at this stage. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Brancott Letter Series 'O' Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
This oozes class from the outset. The bouquet is nutty and mealy with shortcake crust, brioche, gunsmoke and wild yeast scents and there is plenty of oomph and flavour in the palate that’s harmonious throughout. I get juicy ripe stonefruit, a touch of grapefruit zest, all those lovely nutty, mealy connotations, beautifully integrated creamy oak and a long, concentrated finish. Outrageously good and an excellent follow on from the Trophy winning 2015 edition. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Soho White Collection Marlborough Rose 2016
Crisp and fresh, with just a touch of blush to the hue, it has a pinot gris-like poached pear scent followed by light pinot noir-like strawberry fruit in the palate. A light playful, zingy, medium dry style very suitable for lunch or an aperitif. Gold NZIWS. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
San Marzano Talo Primitivo Di Manduria 2014 – Southern Italy
Saturated black red. Quite tarry and smoky on the nose with a touch of cedar and a sweet spicy allure. Concentrated and ripe in the palate with vanillin oak, sun-baked cherries and currants, sumptuous pillowy tannins, touches of tar and game that balance the fruit beautifully, and a little bit of grip revealing there is indeed structure to this generous, velvety wine. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Ruffino Modus IGT 2012 – Tuscany, Italy
Start to show a little bricking to the black red hue. Cedary / leathery on the nose. Earthy, savoury and firm in the palate that has an ‘old school’ rusticity with a slight oxidative note, a touch of brett, sappy oak, a suggestion of herb, and the fruit is heading towards prunes. A blend of 50%, Sangiovese, 25% Merlot and 25%, it’s made to go with food. Ruffino suggests bold dishes such as duck with olives and pancetta, beef-stuffed manicotti with Bolognese sauce, and aged cheeses including taleggio, pecorino and gouda. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $32.99.
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico 2011 – Tuscany, Italy
There's translucency to the brick red hue. Dried redcurrants, cherries and drying out cow pats on the nose. Fine textured in the palate that's very dry and showing bottle age characters like tobacco, cigar box and leather with underlying game and herbs, lifted red fruits and orange acidity. There's a halo of velvety warmth and sweetness to the very persistent finish but with its age-worthy high acid and high tannins this blend of 80% Sangiovese with 20% Merlot and Cabernet definitely needs food. Ruffino suggests traditional Italian dishes such as pasta Bolognese, wild boar ragù, and eggplant Parmesan. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $38.99.
Montessu Isola dei Nuraghi 2014 – Sardinia
Vibrant blackberry hue. The lavish bouquet oozes sweet vanillin oak, red berries and a subtle nuance of mint but there’s a suggestion of game meat too. Quite savoury in the palate with cigar box-like oak and plump ripe plum and cherry fruit pushing through. An immediately impressive wine with supple tannins, juicy fruit and a mouth enveloping finish with touches of liquorice, it’s made from a blend of 60% Carignano and 10% each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah. Absolutely worth trying this unique Sardinian offering from the producer of the legendary Super Tuscan Sassicaia. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.
Calabria Three Bridges Durif 2015 – NSW, Australia
Inky purple red with vibrancy and concentration. A big, dark, rich, sumptuous monster with pillowy tannins and mouthfilling sweet ripe fruit reminiscent of plums, blackberries and black cherries together with chocolate, vanillin oak, tar, spice, pepper and refreshing acidity lifting the finish. From the grapes known as Petit Sirah in California, this juicy wine is ready. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Vasse Felix Filius Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2014 – Western Australia
It’s deep in colour with a savoury aura to the bouquet together blackcurrant, spicy cedar and a hint of mint. And it's definitely savoury on the more medium-bodied palate with vanillin oak, a gamey undercurrent and a hum of acidity in the background. The tannins initially make the wine seem quite dry then a juicy blackcurrant and plummy fruit sweetness surges through with fruitcake nuances to the smooth succulent finish. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Pepperjack Barossa Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
The colour is blackberry red. There’s chocolate dust on the nose and the taste is opulent and lush. It’s a big wine but the tannins are fine, the red and black fruits are juicy and ripe and there’s lots of mocha and pepper. There’s everything you expect in Barossa shiraz with a well balanced savoury undercurrent and glowing alcohol warmth to the lingering finish of chocolate coated berries. A little more forward than the previous vintage. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Te Kairanga Martinborough Riesling 2014
This is straw gold in hue with an intense lime, talc and apple skin bouquet and refreshing in the palate with racy acidity and flavours that morph from crisp apple to citrus to apple butter with a welcome sliver of sweetness on the long, persistent, invigorating finish. 12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Vavasour Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Wow, this is vivaciously aromatic. The ravishing tropical fruit scent has passionfruit highlights and gooseberry pungency and the flavours are crisp and tangy with juicy stonefruit joining tropical fruit, a squeeze of citrus, tomato stalk in the background, salivating salinity and a rounded finish. Made from 100% Awatere fruit, it’s ‘da bomb with oysters’ says Alastair. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
Te Kairanga Martinborough Chardonnay 2016
This newly bottled lemon-hued wine is youthfully restrained on the nose with a hint of peach skin and subtle malo / butter / caramel notes while the flavours offer up stonefruit with a zesty undercurrent and a nutty richness to the warm, long, expansive finish that hints it will unfold nicely in the months to come. Alastair says it has drinkability with natural acidity and elegance and finesse. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Sebastiani Sonoma Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
This is a moderate gold hue. The full bouquet suggests buttered toasty oak and it’s toasty in the palate with underlying zesty vibes, loads of juicy stonefruit (canned apricot comes to mind), and a creamy / buttery feel to the seamless flowing, long lasting finish that's flushed with butterscotch and caramel. It's rich, powerful and bold with instant mouthfilling satisfaction. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Te Kairanga John Martin Martinborough Chardonnay 2014
The bouquet is tantalisingly mealy and nutty with smoky French oak that oozes finesse and the flavours are elegantly stylish, toasty and nutty with modern winemaking flare. There’s peach and nectarine with hints of vanilla and lime-infused chantilly cream and lovely mealy barrel ferment complexities with the oak integrated beautifully and terrific length. “With only 15% new oak it’s all about capturing the fruit,” says Alastair. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.
Vavasour Anna's Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
This is a rich, savoury, mouthfilling style of Chardonnay with malo and wild yeast adding intrigue. There’s a buttery nuance to the bouquet and it’s toasty in the palate with concentration to the semi-dried peach and nectarine fruit that mingles with ripe citrus with a touch of hokey pokey and biscuity oak in the background. Alastair explains the grapes hang on the vines a little longer to get the flavours. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.
Roth Estate Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
The bouquet is initially all about restraint. There’s an intriguing oily character – hair oil maybe – and then peaches and cream. Initially quite citrussy in the palate then fattening up nicely with a touch of butterscotch together with peach, nectarine, vanilla and nutty oak and the finish is warm, rich and rounded with a touch of spice. From a cooler coastal-influenced site and aged in French and Hungarian oak, this fascinating chardonnay is not what we expect from Cali and definitely oozes class. 14.1% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.
Te Kairanga Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015
Brilliant translucent ruby hue. Savoury and inviting on the pretty perfumed bouquet that’s flushed with vanilla tinged oak and red berries like the tiny Chilean guava. Juicy red plums, red guavas and bittersweet cherry in the medium-bodied palate that has a silky flow and just a little underlying earthy grip like you get in some Villages Burgundies, with delightful harmonious gamey notes infusing the finish. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Pinot Noir 2014
This is a saturated dark ruby hue with considerable density. The distinct pinot bouquet is alluring and savoury while the taste is rounded and full with deep, soft, smooth tannins and a momentary peppery zing. There’s a meaty richness to the wine with dark, ripe berries – loganberries come to mind, and a touch of salinity to the salivating savoury finish. Concentrated with weight, structure and intensity, it’s exceptional value. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
Martinborough Vineyards Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013
This is a monumental Pinot Noir with wonderful mouthfeel and flow. Its dark in colour. The bouquet has waves of floral notes, forest floor, Shrewsbury biscuit jam, tar, earth and game. The taste is concentrated and mouthfilling with a momentary peppery zing quickly enveloped by plump fruit and pillowy tannins. Typical Martinborough fruit of cherries, bittersweet red berries and touches of guava jelly with integrated smoky oak and gamey savoury notes. An outstanding and ethereal pinot that reveals more and more with every sip. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $59.99.
Vavasour Felix's Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015
This is youthful ruby with violet tints. The bouquet is fresh, aromatic and fragrant with subtle smoky oak and there’s lifted red cherry and concentrated purple grapes in the palate with underlying savouriness and spiciness, tobacco-like oak, brushed velvet tannins and a succulent finish that is fine and long. Unfolding nicely but still not in full bloom. Gold NZIWS 2016. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.
Sebastiani Sonoma Zinfandel 2013 – California, USA
Deep fine blue-red with clarity to the edges. Opulent bouquet of gentle vanillin oak and ripe red berries that follow through the palate – the red fruits juicy and sweet heading towards but not quite jammy with cigar box-like oak and tingles of pepper. Upfront firm mouth-coating tannins seem to melt into a velvety smooth finish and there’s a touch of raspberry chocolate and liquorice. “Gutsy with richness and weight,” says Alastair.
14.6% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Te Mata Estate Hawkes Bay Gamay Noir 2016
A vibrant, luminous blue red in the glass. ‘Rose madder’ said Jim. The bouquet is fresh, floral, grapey and winey while fruit-driven purple plum and fruits of the forest flavours fill the palate with pleasing underlying savoury notes and hints of anise on the juicy finish. A light styled fruity red that can be served chilled. (Pre-taster and not in the Easter Show). 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Te Awa Single Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
A modern ‘reductive’ style with a glossy light citrine hue; a mealy, grapefruit, wild yeast nuanced, nutty oak scent and a touch of 'struck match' infusing the juicy nectarine and white peach fruit flavours with delectable smoky oak and a long creamy finish with a trill of citrus. Andrew says it’s best with only the slightest of chilling. Gold Easter Show. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Light golden yellow with a bouquet that offers up suggestions of gunsmoke with nutty, mealy notes and hints of ripe peach all carrying through to the full, rounded palate that tonight has a noticeably dry, flinty undercurrent, lots of leesy notes and tropical fruit salad. Incredible value. Gold Easter Show. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Glossy lemon gold with immensely attractive leesy, mealy, smoky aromas infused with ripe stonefruit, and seamless flowing, rich, full, rounded flavours of stonefruit and melon with a touch of nutmeg and other subtle woody spices and a fabulously long, harmonious and creamy, malo / wild yeast influenced finish. Gold Easter Show. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Viognier 2016
There's a slight oily appearance to the light gold coloured hue. The bouquet offers up honey-spiced red apple and stonefruit. Orchard fruit comes through in spades in the moderately dry but lightly oily textured palate. It becomes richer and more concentrated as the wine flows and the juicy stonefruit finish is accented with fresh fennel seeds and tangelo. Gold Easter Show. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2016
Full of juicy apple and poached pear both on the bouquet and in the palate, this light hued wine has terrific concentration and texture with subtle savoury notes and spicy vibes to the mouthfilling off dry finish. Gutsy and flavoursome. Champion Pinot Gris at both NZIWS and the Easter Show. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $13.99.
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2014
The bouquet of this light lemon gold wine is powerful but not overpowering - it’s like fresh lychee and rambutan, these Chinese fruits also a feature in the smooth flowing palate which is mouthfilling and spicy with touches of ginger and white pepper and a lingering sense of Turkish Delight and spun sugar. Champion Gewurztraminer Easter Show. Gold NZIWS. 5 stars Cuisine. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Merlot Rose 2016
A striking deep coral hue with a fresh vibrant aura, this is initially quite plummy and savoury with a dry flinty backbone skilfully offset by juicy strawberry sweetness and enchanting touches of tarragon. Such a popular style of wine these days, this is one of the best and food friendly too.. Trophy NZIWS. Gold Easter Show. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
A full-on, spicy, gutsy style of pinot with a tantalising intensely deep ruby hue; a lovely fragrance of cherries and spice infused with subtle smoky oak; then ripe, concentrated, juicy black cherry and fruits of the forest fruit with harmonious underlying savoury, spicy, meaty tones and a touch of mocha and anise on the finish. Complete and seductive with a velvety flow and a silky finesse. Trophy NZIWS. Gold Easter Show. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.
The Landing Bay of Islands Syrah 2013
Inky blackberry red with crimson edges. Dark creamy oak, dusty wild berries and peppery spices on the nose. It tastes concentrated, meaty and savoury with firm teeth-coating tannins and fruit that is just starting to mellow - think blackberry, black cherry and prunes together with chocolate and hints of anise and fruit-sweet high notes to the finish. With four years of age it is developing beautifully and would definitely tame a rare steak. Gold Easter Show.13.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $37.99.
Goldie Estate Reserve Waiheke Island Syrah 2014
Inky vibrant blackberry hue. Earthy, gamey, savoury, peppery, sappy oak aroma. Juicy and succulent to the taste with plush velvety tannins, loads and loads of green and black pepper, lovely underlying chocolate, cream and vanilla notes, hints of cake spices and a long mouthfilling finish. Champion Syrah Easter Show. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $51.99.
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2013
Deep, vibrant and youthful with a concentrated bouquet of savoury oak and bright plummy fruit with hints of cocoa. Firm yet silky in the succulent palate that’s full of bright blackcurrant and plum with hints of cigar box, cake spices and creamy oak, whispers of chocolate and anise, underlying herb notes with rosemary and mint coming to mind and a long juicy, mouth-coating finish. Quite amazing actually. Champion Cabernet Easter Show. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $42.99.
Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay 2015 – Clarksburg, California
This is light yellow gold with a youthful vibrant oak-nuanced tropical fruit and custard apple scent and it’s very full on and concentrated in the palate with spicy, creamy, buttery, savoury oak flavours, canned apricot and touches of cornmeal. Simply summed up this fat, mouth-coating Californian style delivers oodles of satisfaction. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2013 – South Australia
Light gold with aromas of grilled peach and gunsmoke and steely in the fresh, citrus-driven palate with tropical fruit, touches of pineapple and a very subtle suggestion of honeycomb. Tingly to start but the lingering finish shows lots of promise, a wine I would like to see with a little bit of cellar time. 12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Mission Jewelstone Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Medium gold with an attractive and intense malty, mealy bouquet infused with polished oak and hints of citrus and stonefruit then very full and rounded in the rich, ripe, mealy palate with spicy vibes and well balanced underlying savoury French oak that's nicely integrated already. The fruit is concentrated yet subtle and touches of vanilla biscuits emerge on the lingering finish. Elite gold and Exhibition Trophy AirNZ Wine Awards 2015. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $35.99.
Kerpen Handpicked Riesling 2014 - Mosel, Germany
Golden yellow with a scent reminiscent of rich dark honey and luscious almost toasty flavours with viscosity to the texture and honeysuckle, botrytis, orange honey and bright acidity humming all the way through. 9.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Riesling 2014
Light yellow gold with a delicate honeysuckle / citrus blossom scent and slatey textured with racy grapey acidity balanced by a delicate sweetness and lingering hints of lemonade peel. A light, youthful, just off-dry style. 5 stars and Cuisine ‘Best Buy’. 11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Albert Mann Gewurztraminer 2015 – Alsace, France
The bouquet is gorgeously redolent of rose musk and violets and it’s concentrated and powerful in the palate that is lightly viscous and beautifully seamless in its flow with violets to the fore, a musky smoker lolly sweetness and a finish that is more savoury than fruity and tapers off gently. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2015
The bouquet enchants with scents of lemon Turkish delight and lemon verbena and it is off dry in the palate with lovely viscosity to the flow, subtle tropical fruit and tingles of ginger and white pepper. Lovely concentration and persistence and very very impressive. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $27.99.
Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine Cotes du Rhone 2014 - Rhone Valley, France
Lovely bright youthful pinot noir-like hue. Generous bouquet with a hint of mocha and soft and spicy tasting with hints of chocolate coated berries, raspberry jam, lightly savoury oak, hints of tar and a peppery finish. A light, juicy, silky-textured easy going red with a little point of difference to the flavour. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
The colour is a saturated inky purple magenta. Chocolate and meaty spicy oak fill the bouquet and it has an initial medium-bodied feel with increasing concentration and suggestions of chocolate biscuits with a subtle nuance of mint, an earthy nuggety undercurrent, slightly furry tannins and a meaty finish with accents of pepper and lingering nuances of bbq'd pomegranate molasses. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Trivento Reserve Malbec 2015– Mendoza, Argentina
A rich, dense, youthful ruby garnet hue - not as saturated and deep as some malbecs can be. Ripe and jammy on the nose – plum jam and fruits of the forest maybe - carrying through to the fruit forward medium-bodied palate with smooth velvet-coated tannins, nutty oak, subtle nuances of chocolate, aniseed and tar and a well balanced savoury finish with a spicy flourish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
Rod McDonald Wines 'One Off' Hawkes Bay Malbec 2014
Rich, bright red black with full saturation and density. There’s a dusty, slightly wild game scent and it’s full-bodied, perhaps heading towards blockbuster in the smooth, velvety, concentrated palate with smoky, nuggety, spicy oak, hints of vanilla and dark dried fruits - prunes come to mind - and vinosity and winey sweetness enveloping the finish. More seductive with every sip. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Thorn Clarke William Randell Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Lovely smooth looking red black. Inviting spice-infused bouquet with hints of mocha, chocolate and vanilla and full of the same in the grunty yet generous palate that’s characterised by supple tannins together with ripe berry fruit (macerated strawberries come to mind), hints of mint, loads of savoury oak, graphite and tar, crushed cameo cremes and a long mouthfilling finish. Succulent and ripe with the oak and savouriness giving it structure and presence. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $52.99.
Gancia Prosecco NV – Italy
Prosecco is often bone dry but this has a gentle touch of sweetness which makes it universally appealing. It has a delightful creamy apple bouquet, the bubbles dance in the mouth before breaking into foam, the fruit is subtle, there’s a refreshing touch of salinity and the lingering finish is soft and long.
11.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Mt Riley 17 Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
A rich chardonnay heading towards golden in colour, it has butterscotch and subtle smoky nuances to the mellow bouquet and it’s smooth and seamless in its flow with ripe golden peach flavours, soft acidity and hints of butterscotch again on the finish. Superb drinking already. One for lovers of the ‘O’.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
This is a star in the making. The colour is noticeably golden, the enticing bouquet offers up grilled stonefruit, pink bubblegum, wild yeast nuances and woodsmoke. And the taste is almost luscious in its concentration with winemaking influenced malo and wild yeast characters supported by vanilla cream, fleshy stonefruit and zesty vibes with hints of Manuka woodsmoke playing a harmonious supporting role.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016
This is a richer, fuller, just off dry style of pinot gris with an alluring bouquet of tropical fruit and bright fruit flavours of vanilla poached pear, quince, stonefruit and honey. A small portion of the blend was barrel fermented with wild yeasts which adds to the textural complexity.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Nanny Goat Super Nanny Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
Ruby garnet in hue. Vibrantly aromatic with spiced bottled cherries and delicate touches of woodsmoke filling the bouquet and ripe, tasty and silky in its flow with generous mixed berry fruit, spice, typical pinot noir smoky savoury notes and a pleasing firmness to the finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $46.99.
Farnese Fantini Giro Primitivo 2015 – Puglia, Italy
This southern Italy charmer is inky in hue. The bouquet offers up blackcurrant, redcurrant, leather and spice and it’s succulent, supple and fruity to the taste with an initial slightly gravelly texture that softens as the wine flows. With super ripe fruit together with chocolate, coffee and tar and a long, mouthfilling finish, this easy going red is easy to like.
13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2015
This is a value packed Bordeaux style from Hawkes Bay. It’s deeply coloured with a bramble-rich bouquet and the taste delivers plenty of juicy fruit flavours supported by polished, creamy, nuggety oak with leather, spice and silk edged tannins and a smooth, succulent and savoury finish.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
Serafino McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Inky black red with a soft, plummy bouquet that also hints of cedar and spices. Mouthfilling and seamless in the palate with plump rounded tannins, generous plum and berry fruit, chocolate, cake spices, vanillin oak and a long finish where savoury notes balance the fruit nicely. “Ready to go,” says Kingsley.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Kirrihill Vineyard Selection Tullymore Clare Valley Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Inky black red with purple edges. Mint is immediately noticeable on the nose and follows in the palate of this classy, beautifully structured dry red with silky edges to the moderately firm tannins. Juicy black cherry fruit is balanced by savoury oak that’s still a little prominent but with integrate nicely with a little more time and there a nice touch of peppery spice on the lingering finish.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
Two Hands Angels Share McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Inky black red with dark berries and chocolate filling the bouquet and more chocolate in the opulent yet savoury, creamy oak palate that’s infused with woody spices, hints of anise and flashes of purple like plums, violets, blueberries and mulberries. The tannins are silky with a touch of firmness to the finish and there’s a surge of pepper as the succulent mouthfilling flavours linger.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.
Delaplace Champagne Brut NV
Light lemon gold with tiny bubbles, an attractive lemony yeasty bouquet and mouth-tingling fizz and zizz with savoury toasty layers under bright lemonade and peach, then after the bubbles subside the mouthfeel is delectably creamy. Sophisticated and sleek with plenty of flavour. Gold NZIWS. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $42.99.
Gibbston Valley China Terraces Central Otago Chardonnay 2015
The bouquet is delicate yet evocatively smoky and the concentrated flavours are understated in their richness. There’s gunflint, lemonade zest, nougat, fig, bubble gum, hints of musk, vanilla, nutty oak and toast with a fresh acid spine and softness to the texture that’s seamless in its flow. It’s going to age but extremely satisfying now. Gold NZIWS. Cuisine Top 10. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.
Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Riflemans Chardonnay 2015
Lime tinted gold — ‘electric’ said Heather next to me. There’s fullness to the bouquet that's redolent of sizzled butter, golden peach and toasted cedar then bold in the palate with grilled stonefruit, roasted nuts, biscuity oak, spice and caramel cream. An absolutely super chardonnay that’s powerful in its presence, seamless in its flow and with a wonderfully long finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $62.99.
Nautilus Marlborough Albarino 2016
Bright aromatics and flavours full of apple, quince, pear and mandarin zest with a touch of tarragon / anise coming to mind and heaps of mouth-watering salinity building to a very tasty fruit-driven finish. I find riesling-like acidity, pinot gris-like fruit and viognier-like body richness and texture. Gold and Trophy AirNZ Wine Awards. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.
Marc Bredif Classic Vouvray 2015 – Loire Valley, France
Golden in hue with shy aromatics of yellow fruit / yellow apple with a slight toasty nuance but there’s nothing shy about the flavour. It’s mouthfilling, toasty and creamy with bright yellow fruit acidity, touches of strudel spices and an inkling of hokey pokey on the finish that reins in the high acidity that makes these Chenin Blanc wines age almost forever. A great example. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $26.99.
Lawson Dry Hills Pioneer Series Pinot Gris 2015 - Marlborough
Light glossy gold hued with a hint of lychee, honey and citrus peel wafting from the glass. Flavoursome and concentrated in the palate with a soft, almost oily texture, poached pear and tropical fruit, a tickle of spice and a lingering suggestion of honey. Just off dry, it emulates Alsace and is almost verging on luscious. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
Fromm Riesling Spatlese 2015 - Marlborough
Ravishingly aromatic with its scent of lime peel, apple peel, a hint of flower nectar and a waft of kero and full of flavour in the mouth-watering palate with racy acidity honed in by a grapey / white raisin sweetness with a texture that is almost creamy. Bright and refreshing with exciting sweet/sour tension and quite outstanding. 7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
Deep purple garnet in the glass with a bright, generous, inviting bouquet that's creamy, fruity and savoury at the same time. The taste is spicy upfront with concentrated plum and cherry fruit and sweet smoky oak in the background with a hint of anise on the long creamy finish. A silky, seductive, generous pinot that’s ready to enjoy now. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.
Xanadu ‘Exmoor’ Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Western Australia
Dark red with a ripe creamy bouquet that evokes a suggestion of dry red earth. Juicy in the palate with classic blackcurrant /cassis and a rich plummy note with touches of tobacco, then loads of cherry mid palate with tannins more noticeable on the earthy, savoury finish that has accents of pepper. Ripe, generous and ready. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Craggy Range Le Sol Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2013
The deep purple hue is almost lustrous in the glass, the bouquet is rich, dense and meaty with a delightful black cherry sweetness and it’s phenomenally smooth and silky in the palate with juicy ripe fruit balanced by the savouriness of the oak and the firmness of the melt-in-the-mouth tannins. Not overtly peppery but with a tantalising whisper of spice and a lick of chocolate on the fabulously long finish. All in all a pleasure to taste and savour. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $99.99.
Three Dark Horses McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015
The bouquet and taste of this deep yet brightly hued red is opulent and generous and full of plum and mulberry fruit woven into vanillin oak with touches of mocha, spice and pepper. It’s young, fresh, juicy and creamy with a silky seductive texture. “Never underestimate a dark horse,” it states on the back label. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Fat Bastard Chardonnay 2014 – Monterey, California, USA
The bouquet hints of this Chablis-like wine offers up spice and zest and it's steely yet textural in the palate with a touch of peach, a hint of mushroom, a nuance of lanolin, subtle oak adding richness and a long, persistent, sucking-on-a-peach-stone finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
West Brook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
Sunshine gold with toasted coconut oak both on the nose and in the palate together with tropical fruit, peaches and pineapple. It’s deliciously toasty and creamy yet with a fresh, breezy aura as it spills across the palate with a touch of savouriness on the finish to keep the bright fruit in check. 13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Goldie Estate Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2014
Lemon gold hued with a steely nuance to the nutty, mealy, grapefruit-infused bouquet that suggests it has had all the winemaking bells and whistles. Initially very dry but quickly becoming juicy and fleshy with nectarine and peach, a vanilla biscuit undercurrent and finesse to long rich finish that fattens up beautifully with spiced stonefruit lingering. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
Gotas de Mar Albarino 2015 – Rias Baixas, Spain
Sunshine in colour with a striking lemon verbena and tropical fruit bouquet then crisp, racy and teeth tingling in the palate but underneath quite textural with bright flavours reminiscent of stonefruit, mandarin, ginger and aromatic herbs. Very refreshing and perfect for seafood. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.
Main Divide Waipara Riesling 2014
Moderate gold. Spiced citrus honey fills the bouquet and it’s honeyed and luscious in the palate where the sweetness a foil to the refreshing acidity with flavours reminiscent of apricot jam and orange and lime marmalade with a slightly earthy undercurrent akin to German Auslese and lingering honeysuckle deliciousness. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
Fat Bastard IGP Pays D’OC Pinot Noir 2015 –, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
A moderate translucent ruby with spice, tamarillo and leather on the bouquet and firm and dry in the medium-bodied palate that's lifted with youthful acidity from the cherry and cranberry fruit with a light savouriness to the lingering finish. Light and easy drinking. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
A rich ruby red with touches of crimson this is full of bright cherry aromas – both bottled and fresh – with a waft of chocolate box and a sprinkle of spice. Crammed with cherry and pomegranate fruit in the creamy, generous, flowing palate with a bright lingering finish lifted by youthful acidity and well balanced underlying savouriness. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
Tormaresca Neprica 2013 – Puglia, Italy
A blend of Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet grapes, this full-blooded looking red has a savoury aura to the bouquet and the taste is quite dry, quite savoury and even a little herbal in a nice kind of way with underlying sweet-fruit, polished oak, nuances of leather and tar and a touch of spice to the bright lifted finish. Medium bodied and a very tasty point of difference. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Vina Pomal Rioja Reserva 2012 – Rioja, Spain
Inky blackberry red with a distinctly old world bouquet where smoked meats, mercurochrome, leather and spice come to mind. Full-bodied, fleshy, meaty and savoury to the taste with peppery spices, charry oak, red and purple fruit – prunes maybe – and thick almost voluptuous tannins that assert their firmness on the long full finish. Made from 100% Tempranillo it’s a big wine that needs food to tame it. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.
Redmetal Vineyards Basket Press Merlot Cabernet Franc 2014
Rich black red. The bouquet is bright and fruity with wafts of polished savoury French oak a perfect teaser to the full-bodied and seemingly youthful, slightly sappy oak palate that becomes quite rounded as the wine flows. Ripe fruit, ripe tannins, touches of cigar box and Christmas cake spices lift the fleshy mouthfilling finish where there is a pleasing touch of grip. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.
Zabu il passo Nerello Mascalese Nero D’Avola 2015 – Sicily, Italy
A slightly dusty, rustic bouquet introduces this deeply coloured bright, fruity, fine textured wine that’s full of chocolate-coated currants and cherries with touches of spice, tar and leather and hints of rosehips on the lifted finish. A generous wine on the medium side of full bodied, it’s a new vintage of a First Glass favourite and possibly even better. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Brancott Terroir Series Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
The bouquet of passionfruit, mango, pineapple, mandarin peel and lime is so fragrant and powerful you can smell the exciting tropical island fruit without even raising your glass. All this and more in the palate with juicy zesty tingles of grapefruit and summer herbs, a pleasing texture and a touch of heat to the long pungent finish. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $13.99.
The Original Smoking Loon Chardonnay 2015 – California, USA
Golden in colour with a creamy, savoury, nutty oak bouquet and soft and flowing in the mellow palate with canned apricot fruit over nutty savoury oak, a judicious touch of biscuit spices, hints of butterscotch and lingering sizzled butter notes lifted by a zing of acidity.
13.5% alc. Artificial Cork. First Glass Price: $16.99.
Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2013
Light yellow gold with a powerful bouquet that pulsates grilled stonefruit, roasted hazelnuts and wafts of smoky oak. Zesty and spicy in the full flavoured palate with touches of peach, hints of caramel, underlying gunflint and some lovely starting-to-mellow bottle age characters. It's big, it’s bright, it's a little funky from a portion of wild ferment and it sure is drinking beautifully right now.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Gris 2016
There's fruit sweetness to the scent of this oily looking wine with hints of baked apple and pear. Off dry in the palate with abundant apple and vanilla poached pear flavours balanced by a pleasing earthy savouriness. The 30% barrel ferment imparts richness to the mouthfeel and the finish is long and compounding with a bright citrus zing.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.
Loosen Dr L Riesling 2015 - Mosel, Germany
From a vintage Loosen describes as ‘close to perfect’ this is pale in hue with a reticent floral, blossomy scent that doesn't prepare for the scintillating riesling taste that's full of green apple acidity tempered by whispers of honey. It’s just on the dry side of medium with crisp, fresh, youthful vitality, a slatey mouthfeel and a persistent yet delicate finish.
8.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Miradou Cotes De Provence Rose 2015 - Provence, France
This is a fashionably ultra-pale orange-pink hue, the bouquet is a little spicy savoury with a suggestion of cherry stone and the taste is nutty and dry with a very appealing lightly oily mouthfeel and lingering slivers of strawberry and red cherry. Likely to be made from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Syrah the attractive packaging, pale colour and food friendly aura makes this very appealing.
13% alc. Artificial Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Ederra Rioja Reserva 2012 - Rioja, Spain
The earthy, tarry, leathery bouquet of this deep burgundy-hued wine whisks you to Europe while the initially sweet, slightly jammy fruit suggests a hot climate. It’s a little sappy mid palate with a firm feel to the dry tannins, an underlying gamey savouriness and a peppery bite to finish where the dark jammy sweetness re-emerges to linger. Made from 100% tempranillo with 24 months in American oak, this is a good example of a regional style that will continue to develop in the cellar.
13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Falcon Ridge Estate Nelson Pinot Noir 2015
Deep ruby garnet with a youthful aura, this looks and smells like Pinot with beguiling black cherry and earthy undertones to the smoky savoury scent. It’s silky and flowing in the palate with a juicy fruit sweetness balancing the spicy savouriness combined with youthful vibrancy, underlying herbal notes, refreshing acidity and a pleasing grip to the finish with nuances of black forest as the wine lingers. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.
The Original Smoking Loon Zinfandel 2015 – California, USA
Dark ruby red. Suggestions of chocolate and raspberries on the restrained bouquet but ripe and generous in the palate with creamy vanillin oak, hints of pepper, currants, blueberries and ‘after dinner mint’ vibes as the flavours linger. Medium bodied with masses of fruit making it an easy drinking style.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
d'Arenberg Darry's Original McLaren Vale Grenache Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
Blackberry red in colour with a bright, spicy, fruity bouquet following through to the palate where black Doris plums, blackberries, tobacco, chocolate and black pepper combine in harmony on a bed of velvety tannins. Soft and generous with a creamy finish, it’s ready to drink now or cellar several years.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
Gemtree Obsidian McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
This inky red-black hued shiraz is beautifully vibrant and powerful. The bouquet radiates vanillin oak, berries, chocolate and mint and the full-bodied, opulent flavours are crammed with cocoa, dark smoky oak, generous ripe berry fruit and a finishing flourish of mint together with firm but pliable tannins and sublime balance. From Gemtree’s oldest Shiraz vines, it has been aged for 24 months in French oak. Gold NZIWS.
14% alc. Screwcap.
Thorn Clarke William Randell Barossa Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
Concentrated black-red with smoky oak and cake spices on the bouquet then thick textured, creamy and mouthfilling in the palate with copious amounts of mint a foil to the savoury, earthy, brooding concentration with a touch of chocolate, cake spices, dark plums and a nutty, chicory finish. An opulent but still developing wine that needs more time even though the tannins already have a velvety flow.
14.5% alc. Screwcap.
Taylors St Andrews Clare Valley Shiraz 2013 – South Australia
Deep purple red with a bouquet offering up chocolate biscuits, dark chocolate and hints of mocha that carry through to the palate of this deep brooding wine that initially shows more winemaking characters than fruit. It’s a big balanced wine with a full and complex mouthfeel, huge tannins, loads of pepper, underlying touches of graphite and dried minty herbs and then concentrated blackberry fruit wells up to add to the rounded satisfying aftertaste. Loads of potential but just needs a lot more time.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $59.99.
Kirrihill Regional Selection Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – South Australia
Inky purple red, glowing in its youth. The bouquet is a little spicy with smoky vanillin oak and red berries then in the palate the wine has that classic Cabernet 'lift' with dried herbs and cassis and while the tannins are still firm they have a velvety cloak. Enjoy now with food or watch it develop over the next few years.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
Astoria “Lounge” Prosecco Extra Dry – Treviso, Italy
Straw gold in the glass with tiny bubbles and a lacy edge of foam when poured. Attractive bouquet of apples and grapes and refreshingly crisp to the taste, which is indeed extra dry, with loads of salivating apple and quince. 11% alc. Cork. First Glass Price $19.99.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2015– California, USA
Golden in hue with a smoky nuance to the nutty bouquet and a mellow buttery suggestion to the polished toasty oak flavours with hints of bubblegum and peach. It’s full-bodied and dry with a long juicy finish and while served moderately chilled for our tasting, Harvey (who opened the bottles) said, "Terrific at room temperature,” which is good to know if you forget to put your wine in the fridge. Star value. 13.5 % alc. Artificial cork. First Glass Price $14.99.
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Wild Grace Chardonnay 2014 – Hawkes Bay
Light gold with stonefruit and tropical fruit aromas and very tasty and full of flavour in the concentrated palate with spicy oak, touches of vanilla and stonefruit, and a terrifically long vibrant finish. A big bold style that has developed beautifully with time in the bottle and will definitely tick the boxes of Chardonnay lovers. Gold Medal AirNZ. Gold Medal NZIWS. 13.5% alc. Screwcap . First Glass Price $22.99.
Whitehaven Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2015
This radiates an attractive rose musk and Turkish Delight bouquet and the taste is distinctly Gewurztraminer through and through. It's just off dry with a lightly viscous texture and an incredibly long ‘hot smoker lolly’ finish. Descriptors offered up from fellow tasters on the night include lychees, muscat grapes, rose Turkish delight, Parma violets, orange water, apricots, spice and honey. Yep, absolutely. Gold NZIWS. Gold AirNZ. 13.5 % alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $19.99.
Giesen Riesling 2015
Straw in hue. Delicately floral with hints of mandarin on the nose and an off dry, spatlese-like taste with racy acidity that sends quivers down the spine and a fine nectar-like sweetness to balance it with a smile. It’s juicy and quenching and perfect to serve icy cold on hot summer days. A blend of Marlborough and Waipara grapes, this multiple gold medal and trophy winner is one of the great Riesling buys. 10% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $12.99.
Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013
Hinting of a little age with a starting-to-brick translucent garnet hue while the bouquet offers up smoked Morello cherries and the taste is gamey and savoury with touches of dried herbs, some grip to the tannins and a touch of cranberry fleshing out the incredibly dry finish. This definitely needs to be accompanied with food. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $26.99.
Angoves Long Row Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
The deep dark hue instantly seduces the eyes and while the bouquet is a little earthy the taste is generous with smooth tea-flavoured tannins, deep dark Christmas cake fruit and spicy savoury vibes. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $10.99.
The Crusher Grower’s Selection Petite Sirah 2014 – California, USA
Inky pinky-red in the glass with a creamy oak and berry bouquet and bright, concentrated juicy plum and red berry flavours. It’s rich, ripe and meaty with firm velvety tannins, chocolate, spice and a touch of pepper with a well-balanced underlying earthy savouriness and crushed chocolate biscuits and chicory emerging on the lingering, mouthfilling finish. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price $20.99.
Septima ‘Obra’ Malbec 2014 – Mendoza, Argentina
Purple red with a fine textured appearance. The bouquet offers up hints of spice, rose petals, chocolate and leather. There’s lifted acidity upfront in the palate with fine tannins, polished oak, leather, succulent plum and red berry fruit and hints of spice building to a creamy finish and while generous, it’s also food friendly dry. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price $24.99.
Grant Burge Miamba Barossa Valley Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Dark red in hue with an intriguing savoury / slightly earthy / subtle bramble berry scent. On first tasting it seems quite restrained with firm dry tannins but with coaxing it opens up in the glass revealing hints of mocha and chicory with creamy oak, dried mint and a twist of pepper then the long, fine, minute-plus finish says – “hey, I’m a baby Filsell” so it will reward much more if you decant this baby before drinking. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $19.99.
Molly Dooker ‘Carnival of Love’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
It’s a drink-with-your-eyes inky purple red, the bouquet wows with its vinous concentration and chocolate aura and the heady taste is ‘blockbuster’ in every sense. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s spicy, it's alcoholic, it’s chocolatey – it’s like a black forest chocolate log crammed with liqueur-macerated black cherries and oozing vanillin oak-infused cream – plus loads and loads of pepper and a hot fiery finish – all the while a soft, plush, velvety flow. A Sarah and Sparky Marquis creation. 15.5 % alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price $120.
Leefield Station Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Straw gold with a slightly sweaty nuance to pineapple / passionfruit / lime bouquet an the taste is pungent and full of tropical fruit, peach and tangy citrus flavours with a touch of capsicum and basil and a zesty feel to the party-in-the-mouth finish. A Brent Marris label. Gold AirzNZ. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Glossy light gold with a bouquet that offers nuances of smoky oak, pink bubblegum and grilled stonefruits. Lightly toasted oak is upfront in the palate and while initially quite zesty, concentrated fleshy white peach and nectarine flavours build up and the finish is creamy and savoury with the slightest hint of butterscotch – it will develop more of this extremely desirable character with bottle age. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Light golden hued. All gunflint, toasted oak and sizzled butter on the nose and the taste is full and fleshy yet with loads of oak, flinty characters and wild yeast funk. Seems ultra savoury but the lingering aftertaste is all grapefruit and peach. Another that will unfold magnificently with more time. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.
Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2015 - Monterey & Santa Barbara, California, USA
Quite a yellow gold in the glass and the bouquet seems quite mellow with vanilla infused cedar offering a point of difference to the norm. Savoury in the palate with brightness to the spicy oak and a soft, full-bodied, smooth flowing, creamy texture and a long pleasing finish with a suggestion of smoked panna cotta and peaches. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $30.99.
Tohu Awatere Valley Pinot Gris 2016
There's an attractive honey poached pear and apple vibe both to the bouquet and flavour that's has a smooth front and mid-palate flow with the moderately dry finish jazzed up with by freshness of citrus and a touch of ginger. Value drinking from the Awatere Valley. Gold NZIWS.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Terra Sancta Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Watermelon pink with a bouquet of wild strawberries and red cherries and quite rich flavours (for rosé) with a light viscosity to the texture. It’s somewhere between dry and medium in sweetness level with a slightly herbal / savoury nuance balancing the pinot noir fruit and a lingering tingle of spice. Must be chilled for utmost enjoyment. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
Te Awa Single Estate Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2014
Inky red black with a crimson glow to the edges. The bouquet is rich and full with a hint of chocolate, a touch of smoke and juicy brambles. It smells ripe and ready and the flavour delivers with a youthful sappy vibe, touches of cigar box, a nuance of mint, a slightly youthful firm tannin edginess underpinning juicy plum and cassis fruit and a long persistent finish. Lovely wine that begs for barbecued lamb. Gold NZIWS. Gold AirNZ.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
McManis Petite Sirah 2015 - California, USA
Youthful bright purple red in the glass with chocolate, mocha and mushrooms on the nose and a smooth creamy palate with loads of ripe redcurrant fruit, pepper, mocha, leather, roasted herbs and a terrifically fulsome and flavoursome finish with lingering hips of rosehip jelly. Heading into the irresistible category.
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Chocolate Box Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015 - South Australia
Concentrated pinky red hue. The bouquet is full of vanillin oak, chocolate and cherries and there’s noticeable spice in the palate that has a smooth velvety flow with a little bit of tension to the texture hinting of its youthful age. It's full of juicy blackberry and mulberry fruit with crushed chocolate cherry biscuits, hints of mocha, loads of pepper, savoury oak and a lingering aftertaste that’s luscious and long. 15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
Rockbare McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 - South Australia
Black red with a shiny appearance. The bouquet offers up polished oak and an intriguing floral allure (possibly violet / fresh lavender) and intense berry fruit. Very fine in texture – the fine tannins making for an elegant flow across the palate with loads of eucalypt and a heap of pepper. Polished and stylish with a mint chocolate finish. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.
Chocolate Box Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 - South Australia
There’s a fine hint of chocolate on the nose together with currants and blackberries and it is lifted in the palate with moderately firm tannins, polished oak, earth and leather and the classic combination of cassis, mint and cedar. More of a medium-bodied style (compared to the sibling shiraz) with good colour, a spicy kick to the nicely resolved finish and a lasting impression of chocolate raisins and mint. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
Villa Maria Wairau Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
This is a cracker sauv. It’s bright and fresh with pineapple, lime and capsicum aromas and juicy peach and tropical fruit salad flavours with passionfruit and pineapple accents and a citrus twist to the tangy finish. 5 stars and No.1 Cuisine Magazine. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99
Kahurangi Mt Arthur Nelson Chardonnay 2015
There’s touches of butter caramel on the nose and whispers of caramel and bolder toasty oak flavours fill the smooth, buttery, mellow palate with nutty creamy malo characters, poached apricot, citrus zest and a smoky oaky finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99
Milcrest Nelson Chardonnay 2015
The bouquet of this chardonnay oozes class - it’s nutty and creamy with hints of sizzled butter and peach and the taste is rich, textural and mouthfilling with spicy oak, hazelnuts, juicy tropical fruit, stonefruit and an expansive finish where the smokiness of the oak emerges elegantly. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99
Saint Clair Pioneer Series Block 11 Marlborough Chardonnay 2014
This has an alluring bouquet with hints of gunflint and peach and while the flavours at first seem steely and restrained possibly because the wine was quite cold on serving, it opens up beautifully in the glass on this warm January evening to reveal juicy stonefruit and nutty, creamy, toasty oak flavours surging with concentration and power. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99
Two Rivers 'Brookby Hill' Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016
The bouquet is crammed with green apple scents and the flavours, with Granny Smith to the fore, echo this suggestion. It’s crisp and dry with loads of fresh acidity and although there is 10% barrel ferment the old barrels used impart texture not taste. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99
Two Rivers L'ile de Beauté Rosé 2016
This has a pale pink hue, the light bouquet offers up raspberry and meringue and the bold taste is zingy and zesty with crisp red berry flavours. A delightful rosé on the cusp of off dry and harmonious with the cheese on the night. 5 stars and No.1 in Cuisine. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99
Tohu Awatere Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015
Youthful purple garnet. Attractive smoky aroma with hints of spiced cherries and violets. Lifted in the palate with upfront acidity, a medley of cranberries, cherries and spice, a smooth velvety texture and a creaminess to the medium to full-bodied finish. Elite Gold Air NZ Wine Awards 2016. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99
El Domador del Feugo Rioja Reserva 2011 – Rioja, Spain
The bouquet offers up ripe berry fruit mixed with dusty cedar and the juicy taste brims with jammy red berries and a touch of vanilla. Hinting of a little age with its mellow aura though the colour still has a pinky youthful lustre, it has firm and reasonably dry tannins that really need food to break them down and the 36 months in oak imparts a sappy cedary undercurrent. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99
Pirramimma Stock’s Hill Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2013 – McLaren Vale, South Australia
Inky dark red with bricking to the edges. The voluptuous bouquet offers up freshly baked jam tart, earth, spice, smoke and ripe berries and the upfront taste upfront is a little iodine and cedary with slightly grainy tannins, touches of pepper, mint, tobacco, bottled red fruits, vanilla and liquorice. I sense a hint of maturity to the wine although the lingering aftertaste is mint fresh. Gold NZIWS. 14.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99
Fantini Farnese Edizione Cinque Autoctoni 2013 – Italy
This is inky black red with a shiny appearance and on smelling and tasting it whisks you to a hot climate place with its inky depth and concentration. The earthy savoury bouquet is elevated by chocolate and berries and the succulent full-bodied taste is characterised by thick chewy tannins. It’s a harmony of savouriness and ultra ripe berry fruit sweetness with a herbal intrigue marked mostly by mint that lifts the finish. A blend of Montepulciano, Primitivo, Sangiovese, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nero from the Puglia and Abruzzo regions. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $58.99
Yalumba The Cigar Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – Coonawarra, South Australia
Rich dark red with lashings of mint and chocolate filling the bouquet and comforting and creamy in the palate with flowing velvety tannins and beautifully balanced smoky savoury oak. There’s an abundance of rich ripe sweet red and black fruit and the finish is long with flashes of youthful cedar and cigar box characters lingering. From the Menzie’s Vineyard with recommended cellaring to 2025. Outstanding value. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $23.99
Squawking Magpie Counting Crows Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
The bouquet is peach and caramel, the mouthfeel is smooth and seamless and the taste is ripe juicy stonefruit with malt and vanilla tones, underlying cedary oak, a light viscosity to the texture and citrus building up on the lingering savoury finish where there is something intriguing that makes me think of the clean, fresh, oily character of ‘brylcreem’. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
Spencer Hill Tres Elegant Nelson Chardonnay 2014
Lovely clean, ripe peachy bouquet and vibrant peaches and cream in the palate with honeyed oak, beautifully balanced mealy malo notes and a long, clean finish with a touch of smoky oak and a lingering zesty vibe. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
There’s a touch of grapefruit together with grilled peach, nutmeg and toast on the gorgeously aromatic bouquet then full-bodied and complex in the palate with stonefruit, tropical fruit, toasty oak, a rich savoury undercurrent and touches of citrus. A big, bold style with beautiful balance and flow and a long, satisfying and very juicy aftertaste. A wine to drink or cellar. Gold & Chardonnay Trophy & Champion Wine of Show NZIWS 2016. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
Villa Maria Library Release Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
The bouquet entices with subtle nuances of smoke, toast, mealy nuances and peach – it smells classy, it even smells a little Burgundian. In the palate bright acidity balances the complex, mellow, savoury notes, the texture is fine and silky, fruit is lemonade citrus and white peach, there’s gunflint in the background and a nutty oak richness to the finish and later, as the phenomenally long finish persists, bright acidity still marks the wine’s presence. A superb blend of Ngakirikiri and Keltern fruit. Multiple gold medal winner. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $54.99.
Forrest The Doctors Marlborough Riesling 2016
A vibrantly fresh, lower alcohol, spatlese-inspired, medium sweet style with apple and citrus zest aromas and spine-tingling Granny Smith apple crispness balancing the lightly honeyed sweetness and juicy tropical fruit sherbet flavours. Gold and Trophy for Champion Riesling, NZIWS 2016. 9% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Brennan Estate B2 Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014
Deep burgundy in hue with a generously perfumed pinot bouquet infused with spice and savoury notes. It’s rich, dense and almost voluptuous in the palate with spiced plums and cherry fruit, well-balanced earthy savoury vibes, a musky floral allure and touches of chocolate on the finish. Gold AirNZ 2016. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
Obsidian Waiheke Island Montepulciano 2015
The colour is a vibrant blackberry hue with just a touch of translucency to the edges. The bouquet suggests raspberry, chocolate and smoky vanillin oak but the taste is more wild brambles together with pepper, aniseed, liquorice tea, tar and deep savoury notes. The tannins are fine and supple and the finish is dry but the lingering aftertaste is long and creamy. Gold and Trophy for International Red, NZIWS 2016. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
Shingleback Davey Estate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
This big, opulent smelling, creamy flowing shiraz is inky black red in hue and flaunts its varietal character with its ripe juicy flavours of plums, mulberries and spiced bottled cherries, gobs of pepper and chocolate, smoky oak, touches of anise, chewy tannins and a spicy zing. Succulent and generous all the way through. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
Jacobs Creek Centenary Hill Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012 – South Australia
The wine oozes class from the outset. It’s deep yet bright in colour, there’s fine chocolatey oak on the nose and the fruit is lush and intense in the palate where the tannins are firm yet fine. Brimming with nut chocolate and cake spices and wonderfully harmonious stylish cedary oak – it has both French and American oak but French seems to dominate tonight and frames the blackcurrant and baked plum fruit just beautifully. 14.6% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $48.99.
Grant Burge Filsell Old Vine Barossa Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
This is a lavish wine with an inky purple red hue, a seductive bouquet brimming with chocolate biscuit, sappy oak and purple fruit and mouthfilling flavours of mint, chocolate, mulberries, spice and nutty oak with a zingy peppery vibe to the cigar box finish. The tannins are massive in this wine but so well disguised by the plush, opulent fruit and continues the excellence and expectations of the Filsell label. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
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