First Glass Wines 2023 Wine Options Competition

Wine Options as we all know it celebrated 42 years of competition last weekend. It's an achievement we are proud of - it's probably the longest run of any options anywhere and that event in 1991 at the Downtown Centre where 101 teams took part was almost certainly the largest single serious options competition held anywhere in the world. Wine Options is competitive, it's fun, challenging, has never been profitable but hopefully it will continue into it's 43rd year or more. These are the wines that confronted our teams this weekend.

Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2019
Villa Maria Library Release Chardonnay 2010
Peter Lehmann Wigan Riesling 2015
Forrest Botrytised Riesling 2019
Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir 2002
Mudbrick Reserve Syrah 2019
Yalumba Octavius Barossa Shiraz 2016
Ulisse Amaranta Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

There are always some doubts when you are opening seriously aged wines but the Villa Maria 2010 Chardonnay still retains plenty of fruit and acid - could still be active in 5 years time and while the colour of the Felton Road Block 5 Pinot 2002 has dimmed, it's still alive, a testament to the wine making and the quality of the vintage. Many of us recall the arrival of those two dark inky Pinot Noirs from 2002 - Akarua and Mt Difficulty, we had never experienced such dark, luscious Pinots, surely they wouldn't last - wrong we were, very wrong.

The competition was close all day with just a question separating several teams in the finish.

1st. Est! 147pts - Nigel Cottle, Lee Findaly, Gabor, Malcolm Meads.

2nd. Blue Nun the Wiser 142pts - Mark Ashcroft, Steve Clissold and Craig Innes.

3rd equal. Polly Rogered 138pts - Terry Anderson, Ross Anderson, Mike Mackle and John Wetherall. (Original team lineup from 30 years ago)

3rd equal. Pinot Evil 138pts - John Beaumont, Richard Grigg, Sue Olivecrona, Lloyd Olivecrona.

Best team name - Marcell Meursault
Best team costume - Marcell Meursault - terrific matching of costumes to the name, one of the best ever.
Team Costume runner up - Sparkling Queens

2023 comp winners

Our 2023 Competiton Winners Malcolm Nigel Lee & Gabor


Geri Dean Michelle & Ray


Madhu Penny Claudette & Sandra

NZ International Wine Show 2019 Trophy Winners Announced!

Following a magnificent awards night presentation on Friday 25 October, 24 Trophies were awarded for best in class wines, winemaker and wine company of the show and the Sir George Fistonich medal for a Legend of New Zealand Wine. 

The Nissan Champion Wine of the Show was awarded to the sensational Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017.  This is a sensually smoky, silky, ruby-hued pinot with bright cherry fruit cocooned by soft chocolatey oak, woodsmoke and anise-like spices with refreshing acidity adding vibrancy to the juicy, supple, super long, satisfying finish. 

All the Trophy winners and all medal results are available on the NZ International Wine Show website.

Since it’s inception in 2005, the New Zealand International Wine Show has been the largest wine judging competition in the country. Chief Judge, Bob Campbell MW is ranked as the most experienced wine judge in New Zealand. He also has a formidable team of Assistant Chief Judges – Larry Mckenna, John Hancock and Tony Bish. 

This year the team of 24 senior judges awarded 291 Gold Medals, 376 Silver and 700 Bronze Medals - the highest number of gold medals ever awarded in this competition reflecting the outstanding 2019 vintage in New Zealand, the run of excellent vintages in Australia and overall quality of entries.

The judges commented that it was the best quality line up of wines they have encountered in a wine competition. The major producers all achieved significant medal success but a large number of “smaller” first time entrants also won gold medals. These awards provide them with the opportunity to market their wines, with the public appreciating the medals awarded in a totally unbiased and professional situation.

Gold Medal Line-up

First Glass Wines 16 October 2019

Tohu Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Passionfruit, tropical fruit, a hint of fresh tomatoes, vibrant and very tasty. First Glass Price $15.99

Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Chardonnay 2018 Marlborough
The best ever under this label, powerful fruit and toasty oak statement - delicious.  First Glass Price $20.99

Askerne Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2018
Full bodied, creamy, toasty - vanilla, melon, long lingering finish.  First Glass Price $26.99

Framingham Nobodys Hero Pinot Gris 2018 Marlborough
Ripe fruit, a touch oily in the palate  with stonefruit- very appealing and popular on the night.  First Glass Price $14.99

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Riesling 2013
Six years on and now drinking superbly. The toasty / kerosene and lime characters are prominent but the acid has now mellowed giving us terrific Riesling with wide appeal.  First Glass Price $17.99

Shaky Bridge Pioneer Series Pinot Noir 2018 Central Otago
Savoury, gamey, good fruit and oak balance, easy drinking and ready now.  First Glass Price $21.99

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
A classy Pinot - cherries, black plums, smooth yet powerful - good drinking now but better with several good years of cellaring.  First Glass Price $39.99

Gran Sasso Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2018
Another Southern Italy bargain. Full fruited, smooth, tasty and good drinking with or without food.  First Glass Price $17.99

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2017
With the distinctive "leather look" label this is a terrific Shiraz. Black in the glass and full of black plum, spice, oak - dense and delicious. Highly recommended.  First Glass Price $19.99

Farnese Edizione Edition 18 - Italy
From Puglia and Abruzzo it's a blend of Montepulciano, Primitivo, Sangiovese, Negroamaro and Malvasia - all well integrated. Rich and dense but with plenty of drink now appeal. A fabulous dinner party wine.  First Glass Price $52.99

De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2016
Australia's most famous sweet wine. Smooth and luscious, an absolute treat.  First Glass Price $35.99

Southern Italy with Richard Klein

First Glass Wines 21 August 2019

Casa d’Ambra – Ischia Bianco 2016 – Campania
Pears, spice, olives, and a hint of oiliness.  This is a good aperitif style of wine. First Glass Price $21.99

Jasci & Marchesani Pecorino 2017 – Abruzzo
Pecorino has become our favourite Italian white wine – full rich flavours of stonefruit – peaches, apricots, juicy acidity – very good drinking. First Glass Price $22.99

Leone de Castris Negroamaro 2017
Mocha, a hint of sweetness, cherries and deep fruit flavours lingering on the finish. First Glass Price $15.99

Rosso Italia Pavonero NV
A multi region wine made to enjoy now. Rustic Bordeaux like flavours – smooth, very tasty – excellent presentation. First Glass Price $17.99

Jasci Marchesani Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2018 
This organic wine has a bright purple colour.  Its a brighter style, needing food. First Glass Price $18.99

Masseria Li Veli – Orion Primitivo 2017 Puglia
Spice, violets, lavender, a touch of dark chocolate, very nice wine – impressive. 

Argiolas Monica di Sardegna – Iselis Rosso 2016 Sardinia
Dark rich flavours, including black cherries, chocolate and fruit cake.  A luscious wine and very tasty. First Glass Price $33.99

Firriato Sicilia Rosso - Saint Agostino Nero D'Avola Syrah 2013 - Sicily
Powerful fruit flavours with alminds, marzipan and a touch of rusticity. Long on the finish and best with traditional food courses. First Glass Price $30.99

Masseria Li Veli – Susumaniello Askos 2017 – Puglia
Fruit cake spices, nuts, delicious wine.  First Glass Price $32.99

First Glass Wine Options 2019

The date for the 2019 First Glass Wine Options has been confirmed for Sunday 16 June, starting at 1:30 p.m. at 22 Northcroft St in Takapuna, Auckland.  

Teams of 4 can enter at a cost of $200 per team.  Team entries are limited to a total of 15, and must be received by First Glass with full payment by Friday 7 June.  There are also a limited amount of spectator seats at a cost of $30 per person.

Contact First Glass for an entry form on 09 4866415 or email

Wines for Christmas

First Glass 5 December 2018 
Last Tasting of the Year
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

Jean Josselin Cuvée des Jean Champagne NV
The bouquet is softly scented with vanilla and lemon cream and the initially crisp, steely, effervescent taste becomes rich and nutty with savoury yeast autolysis characters emerging from the depths. It's quite full bodied and the lingering complex mouthfeel evokes subtle suggestions of peach. Cuisine Best Buy. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.
Beaumet Cuvée Brut Champagne NV – Epernay, France
The alluring bouquet has a brioche / apple tart scent and it’s crisp in the yeasty, savoury palate with the depth and complexity Champagne should have. The creamy mouthfeel has a baked apple sweetness, touches of rose hip and a lingering malty richness with a persistent tingle from the fizz. Elegant. Stylish. Cuisine No. 1. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $44.99.
Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne NV – Reims, France
Attractive, lightly floral, lightly malty, lightly yeasty aroma and a tingly taste that has a suggestion of salinity. It's yeasty and nutty with a hint of blackcurrant and the lovely full, rich, toasty finish lingers with hints of caramelised apple. Gold NZIWS. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $67.99.
Kahurangi Estate Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2017 
Light yellow gold with a peach bubblegum aroma that leads into a decadently rich, toasty palate that is satisfyingly creamy and rounded. Full of tropical and stone fruit with a sliver of lime and lingering malt and burnt caramel, it is silky smooth in its flow. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
Golden coloured with buttered sizzled peach and caramel corn aromas that follow through to the seamless flowing, mouthfilling palate that’s fattening out beautifully with bottle age but underpinned nicely by refreshing acidity, nutty oak and touches of gunflint. Champion Chardonnay and Champion Wine NZIWS 2017. Gold NZIWS 2018. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.
Wrights Reserve Organic Gisborne Chardonnay 2016 
Light golden in hue with a bouquet suggesting canned peaches and apricot with a touch of passionfruit. In the mouth this is savoury and toasty with a lemon cream richness, a mealy complexity and youthful bubblegum oak, becoming more and more oaky as the flavour evolve – and the lingering aftertaste is juicy and creamy with a touch of spearmint emerging. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.
Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
Light gold in colour with subtle nuances of butter and peach infusing the toasty oak scent and bright fresh tropical fruit accented with grilled pineapple filling the palate with layers of buttery oak, malt, caramel and peach. Well balanced acidity offsets the creamy richness and there’s a lovely roundness to the mouthfilling finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
A lustrous, deep, rich, plummy red in the glass with blackberry pie aromas infused with hints of tar and leather. Firm tannins are noticeable upfront in the rich, dense palate but soon succumb to the wonderful depth of fruit sweetness. Crammed with cherry, mocha, chocolate and savoury oak with a light smattering of rose pepper and finishing full-bodied and creamy with richness and complexity, this is a stunning example of NZ Syrah. Gold & Trophy NZIWS 2018, Gold NZ Wine of the Year 2018. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
Barossa Linke Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
This is a rich deep dark red with a cranberry hue to the edges. Classically spicy on the nose with a creamy chocolate aura and a little more of the same in the plush, velvety palate. It’s big, ripe, juicy and heady with raspberries, mulberries, chocolate-coated raisins, scorched almonds, tingles of pepper, and a deliciously satisfying, long, smooth, creamy finish. 15.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Sons of Eden 'Kennedy' Barossa GSM 2016 – South Australia 
Dark crimson red with a little translucency to the edges. The bouquet smells smooth and creamy with scents of chocolate and cherry. A youthful wine hinting of plenty to offer as it unfolds with bitey acidity and tingles of pepper underpinning red and black fruit, and while the tannins are still a little firm the class of this wine shines through as it opens up nicely on the finish where it reveals juicy blackberry and menthol tobacco. A blend of 53% Grenache, 31% Shiraz and 16% Mourvedre from multiple sites in the Barossa Valley. 14.5% alc. Cork/Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.
Brown Brothers Patricia Shiraz 2013 – Victoria, Australia
This is a lovely rich dark red in the glass. The bouquet is dark and savoury with a berry fruit brightness and a gentle seductiveness. Concentrated in the full-bodied palate with touches of graphite, cigar box, cake spices, juicy mulberries and cherries, vanillin oak and cherry chocolate. A rewarding wine that five years on from vintage is smooth and velvety with beautifully resolved, svelte-textured tannins and impeccable flow. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
Riverby Noble Marlborough Riesling 2015
There’s a copper sheen to the deep golden hue. The concentrated bouquet has a heady fragrance of flower nectar, honey, beeswax and orange liqueur macerated white raisins. All this and more in the lightly viscous palate where the hedonistic and finely textured honeyed sweetness is exquisitely balanced by delicious orange marmalade acidity. Multiple golds. Trophy NZIWS 2017. 5 stars Cuisine 2018. 11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99. 375ml.


Summer Selection

First Glass 28 November 2018
Summer Selection
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

Bedin Extra Dry Prosecco NV – Treviso, Italy
Softly sweet and foamy with a light lemon colour, fine lacy bubbles, apple aromas, creamy apple and fleshy green grape flavours, and a crisp steely refreshing and slightly salted tarragon undercurrent that keeps the sweetness in check. Delightful fresh summer fizz attractively presented. 11% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Alchemy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 
Light gold in the glass with a tempting butterscotch aroma and smooth creamy peach and malt flavours framed by polished savoury oak that's bold and spicy on the finish. This has mellowed out nicely with time in the bottle and is seamless drinking now. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.
Harken Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016 – California, USA
The creamy peach bubble gum bouquet doesn’t really hint of oak and it’s initially soft in the intriguingly sweetish palate then the power of the wine takes over with nutty oak infusing canned tropical fruit flavours of pineapple and chunky papaya. Ripe and generous and terrific summer quaffing as it can be chilled to the bones. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2016 – California, USA
Yellow gold in the glass with a buttered toast and apricot jam scent that belies the savouriness of the slightly zingy palate with light viscosity to the warm, mouthfilling, lightly viscous texture and a varnishy oak and gunflint note to the incredibly long and fleshy finish where the apricot, now with custard, brims again. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $30.99.
Starborough 'Sons of the Soil' Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018 
Straw gold radiating vanilla poached pear  / pear drop scents and bright refreshing red apple, pear and zingy citrus flavours nicely balanced by a tickle of ginger on the finish. Just off dry in sweetness level, it's soft, juicy and easy to drink. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
Vavasour Awatere Valley Marlborough Rosé 2017 
A darker coloured, fuller bodied rosé with a hint of orange to the grenadine hue, fruity aromas and an off dry sense to the taste with a lightly viscous texture and a nice touch of earthy savouriness underpinning the slightly confectionary raspberry and cherry fruit, finishing dry. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
Rockburn 'Stolen Kiss' Central Otago Rosé 2018
There’s a hint of rose petal on the nose of this alluring pink sapphired-hued wine together with hints of cherry and pear, and it’s off dry to the taste tending at first towards medium in sweetness level with a light earthy savouriness underpinning the apple, pear and watermelon flavours with a lovely touch of tarragon and refreshing acidity reigning in the sweetness for a beautifully rounded and definitely more-ish finish. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
Greystone North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2016
Translucent Burgundy-hued hinting of a little age, this emanates a cherry jam scent and is spicy and savoury to the lightly tannic taste with upfront earthy, gamey, truffle-infused, savoury notes falling back to firmly support the dark cherry and Black Doris plum fruit and nicely honed savoury oak. Silky in its flow with the tannins asserting themselves again on the savoury finish with the fruit sweetness kicking in again as the fabulously long and replete flavours linger. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $36.99.
Te Awa Single Estate Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2016
Inky crimson red in the glass, this emanates Bordeaux-like scents of leather, cedar, plums, brambles and earthy complexities and ripe juicy brambly fruit fills the medium bodied palate with savoury, cedar, cigar box, pencil shavings and sweet leather characters making their presence known.  A smooth flowing, classically dry red with a silky edge to the velvety tannins and well balanced acidity completing the package. Gold Hawkes Bay Wine Awards. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
Quarisa Wines Caravan Petite Syrah 2016 – South Eastern Australia
Inky black red with a sweet heady raisin and berry scent infused with a gamey, savoury vibe. A big, plump, mouthfilling wine fill of plums, prunes, mulberries and cake spices with a light twist of pepper, this is soft and comfortable despite the power to the tannins while the fruitiness yields to the savouriness on the finish making the wine seem a little more serious than initially thought. Multi gold medal winner. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
Sevenhill Inigo Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia 
Inky crimson black with an alluring and deep winey scent infused with chocolate and dark berries and a beautifully honed palate where the firm and beautifully structured tannins are tamed by the intensity of dark berry fruits. It’s mouthfilling, plush, lush and velvety with vanillin oak, nut chocolate, liquorice, mocha and a gentle touch of spice. A blockbuster wine that punches above its price point. Gold NZIWS. 15.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.

Great Summer Bargains

First Glass 21 November 2018
Summer Selection
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

Blind River Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018 
Crammed with pungent aromas and fresh tropical fruit salad flavours that brim with pineapple, passionfruit and mango with ripples of summery herbs and a wham bang punch of quiveringly tart grapefruit that leaves behind a vibrant zing. Trophy NZ Wine of the Year Awards. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Butter tossed hazelnut and melon on the nose then bright and zesty in the palate with spicy oak underpinning juicy stonefruit and a toasty finish that increases in complexity as it lingers. Smooth, rounded and gutsy with plenty of flavour and slips down easily. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
Lawson's Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
Glinting like rays of sunshine in the glass, this has toasted grapefruit on the nose and is full of stonefruit, citrus, caramel and malt in the seamless flowing palate with vanilla and spicy cedar. A mouthfilling wine that has opened up beautifully since last tasting. Fabulous drinking now. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
Marisco Craft Series The Pioneer Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
A little shy on the nose with subtle nuances of butter caramel and tight and restrained in the palate. With noticeable acidity it is made for the long haul yet shows its class with balanced and harmonious (but not intrusive) French oak and its incredibly long and compounding length where the nougat, nutty, white peach flavours emerge and linger beautifully. One to put away.  Gold NZIWS. Gold and Trophy at the NZ Wine of the Year Awards. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $65.99.
Waipara Hills Pinot Rosé 2018 
Light salmon pink with the bouquet emanating the purity of watermelon and cherry juice with a waft of pink bubble gum and just off dry to the taste that is full of summer berries. It has pleasing concentration and palate weight and a lightly spritzy finish with a zing of peppered strawberry. Gold and Trophy at the NZ Wine of the Year Awards. Gold and Trophy Sydney International. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015
There's brightness to the deep Burgundy red hue, the bouquet offers up spiced cranberries, vanilla and nutmeg and while it seems a little mellow in the palate there are slightly furry firm tannins in the background, a typically Martinborough savoury, earthy, gamey undercurrent and bittersweet cherry fruit with tingles of orange zest and pepper and a fabulously long finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.
Akarua Rua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
There’s a touch of pink to the Burgundy hue, a sense of black cherries and plums to the scent and it’s fruit forward in the palate with christmas spices infusing the succulent red and black cherry fruit, beautifully balanced savoury notes and silky tannins. Soft, juicy and ready to drink. Best Pinot Noir, Best Red and Best Wine at Sydney International 2019. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2016
This super stylish Bordeaux-styled wine is inky vibrant purple red in the glass with leather, cedar and dark brambly fruit filling the bouquet and it’s tightly framed in the palate at first then succulent plump fleshy fruit spills through. A beautiful mouthful of plum, cassis and polished cedar on the finish. Four show golds plus Trophy NZIWS and Trophy NZWotY. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $42.99.
Giodarno Primitivo di Manduria Riserva 2015 – Torricella, Italy
Deep dark red hinting of a little age. The inviting bouquet seduces with its succulent bottled cherry and raspberry jam scent and the juicy taste is verging on porty. It’s spicy and succulent with crushed velvet tannins and a lingering raisiny sweetness. Soft, delicious and easy to drink. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
San Marzano 62 Anniversario Primitivo di Manduria Riserva 2014 – Salento, Italy
Deep dark red in colour, no indication of its four years of age. A dark juicy wine with a perfumed berry pie scent and mouthfilling flavours of plums, prunes, christmas cake spices, mellow toasty oak and a light dusting of pepper. Smooth and velvety with a fine silky edge and a finish that lingers for ages. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $51.99.
Reillys Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
This opulent wine is inky black red with black cherry and dark berry aromas laced with vanilla and more of the same in the full-bodied palate together with a red berry vibrancy, a twist of black pepper, a dusting of red clay, a smidgen of dark chocolate, and the slightest suggestion of mint emerging on the very dry finish. Big alcohol, big tannins, big pleasure. Gold NZIWS. 15.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

Summer Selection

First Glass 14 November 2018
Summer Selection
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

Huntaway Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2016
Served chilled this seems fresh and bright with lemon-infused buttery oak scents and a touch of caramel softening the palate with tropical fruit, accents of citrus and an increasing toasty richness. Gold NZIWS 2018. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
Beach House 'Selection' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
There's a hint of apricot and marzipan to the nutty oak scent and juicy stonefruit fills the palate with a creamy malo-influenced softness and savoury oak underpinning the bright, dry finish. Cuisine Best Buy. 13.5% alc.Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Radiating tantalising grapefruit and toasty oak scents that come to the fore again together with stonefruit in the full-flavoured tasty palate, this seamless-flowing wine has touches of gun smoke, hazelnut and a lingering vanilla-tinged finish. Superlative expression of chardonnay and it takes chilling well. Three gold medals so far. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $52.99.
Vavasour Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017
Bright and fruity on the nose and soft in the palate with ripe fleshy pear, a fruit salad brightness and a lemonade tingle. A touch of passionfruit emerges as the flavours linger. Easy drinking. Juicy. A crowd pleaser. Gold NZIWS 2017. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Maude Mt Maude East Block Central Otago Riesling 2018 
There’s a soft scent of apple on the nose and the crisp refreshing taste is bright and tangy with the most subtle suggestion of tarragon. Delicate to start but with increasing power and the medium sweetness is offset by racy acidity that makes it seem more dry. Gold NZIWS 2018. 9.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
Te Kano Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2018
This beautifully presented wine is watermelon pink in hue with strawberry, raspberry and pink bubble gum scents and juicy ripe berry fruit flavours that flesh out the mid palate, and the finish is crisp and dry. Two gold medals. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
Moderately deep bright pinky red, bragging of its youth. Attractively scented and full of flavour, this medium-bodied, smooth-flowing and immensely drinkable pinot gushes with chocolate-coated cherries nicely honed by the freshness of wild berries with lovely savoury notes emerging on the long tasty finish. Gold NZIWS 2018. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
Craggy Range Te Muna Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016
Dark Burgundy red with moderate colour intensity. Appealing aromas of chocolate and cherries underpinned by savoury oak follow through to the silky palate that is ultra smooth in its flow. Full of juicy cherry and raspberry fruit with touches of chocolate, vanilla and cake spices, this soft and beautifully balanced pinot is long, savoury and satisfying. Trophy for Best Wellington wine at NZ Wine of the Year. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.
Quarisa Q Malbec 2017 – South Eastern Australia
Inky crimson-edged dark red with a savoury, earthy aroma embellished with concentrated berries and the slightest suggestion of mint. Spicy and bright in the silky palate that’s crammed with dark plums, jammy blueberries, vanilla, smoky oak and leather with a sprinkle of pepper and a firm, ripe finish that lingers more-ishly. Gold NZIWS 2018.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
Quarisa The Great Bonza Shiraz Cabernet 2017 – South Eastern Australia
Dark red with the slightest suggestion of bricking to the edges. The sweet fruited scent leads into a seemingly medium-bodied palate with upfront juicy red and black currant fruit and stewed plum flavours balancing out the slight edgy and subtle herb notes with an underpinning of tar, leather and spice. Soft. Easy going. Perfect BBQ wine. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
Reillys Dry Land Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia  
Inky black red, intense, bright, deep. Seductive spices infuse the deep winey scent and it is intensely concentrated in the succulent palate. Full of black and blue berries, plums, prunes and a raspberry jam brightness with dark smoky cigar box vibes and peppery spices, this opulent wine is framed by massive tannins that will soften over time. One to buy for the cellar right now. Trophy for Champion Shiraz, NZIWS 2018. 15.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.

Cabernet Superbuy

First Glass 7 November 2018
Summer Selection
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

Vavasour Awatere Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Radiating pungent aromas of freshly picked summer herbs and capsicum with wafts of pineapple and passionfruit all overflowing into the vibrantly fruity taste. The juicy tropical fruit is laced with mandarin-like citrus and purple passionfruit lingers on the bright tangy finish. Gold NZIWS 2018. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99. 
Vavasour Marlborough Chardonnay 2017
Light buttery oak scents and more of the same in the soft, smooth, creamy palate that has a captivating coating of caramel with the voluptuous curvaceousness brought into check by soft citrus, touches of peach and spicy oak tingles. Great for socialising / ice breaker drinks. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99. Limited stocks at this great price.
Matchbook Old Head Dunnigan Hills Chardonnay 2016 - California 
Savoury oak tinged with sizzled butter, nougat and candied fig emanates from the bouquet and it's fine and silky flowing in the opulent palate with touches of caramel, ‘banana bike’ candy and lingering fleshy flavours of apricot and peach with the savoury oak more noticeable again on the seamless finish. 13.9% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
The extravagant and compelling bouquet radiates toasty oak, grapefruit, butterscotch and grilled peach and it's a complex wine in the concentrated palate with reductive characters of gun smoke and struck match together with butterscotch-coated oak framing the focussed tropical fruit and peach with the grapefruit detected on the bouquet emerging again to linger on the classy finish. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $27.99.
Archangel Lace Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2018
Like a pink sapphire gemstone in hue, the prettiness of this wine continues into the bouquet and taste. There’s red cherries on the nose and it’s initially crisp and delightfully dry in the palate that has soft creamy flavours of apple, pear, raspberry and morello cherry with unexpected richness to the texture with a touch of pepper to the lingering finish. Gold NZIWS 2018.Gold & Trophy NZWotY Awards 2018. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99. Very limited stocks.
Te Kairanga Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016 
This deep Burgundy-hued wine has an attractive and inviting bouquet of bottled cherries, berries and cream, followed by spicy, savoury flavours with Martinborough’s classic earthiness in the lightly jammy palate where the silky tannins provide a firm bed for the plump berry fruits while the finish lingers with vibrant accents of cake spice. Gold NZIWS 2017. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
Maude Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017 
This remarkably opaque hued pinot is a deep pinky red with a shiny allure. The bouquet is embellished with savoury gamey notes that carry through to the concentrated, fruit driven yet deeply profound palate with plums, black cherries, subtle woody herb notes, silky tannins and the sought after 'peacock tail' flare to the finish. An opulent and succulent pinot with a phenomenally long finish. Awarded overall Wine of the Year at the NZWotY Awards 2018. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay 2015
An inky, vibrant, purple-stained, crimson-edged hue. Plum jam fills the bouquet with a touch of smokey oak in the background and the blackcurrant, plum and blackberry fruit profile is juicy and ripe with beautifully honed savoury cedary oak, velvet-cloaked tannins, touches of vanilla, a whisper of mint and hints of Christmas cake spices. A massive wine that will continue to develop in the bottle if you can resist the urge to drink it right now. Five gold and four trophies. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $26.99.
Kirrihill Gleeson & Co Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 
This striking red black-hued wine has a touch of boot leather on the nose together with plums and the oft-found Clare Valley mint, and it's firm yet juicy in the silky palate with dark savoury leathery notes, touches of nut chocolate, creamy oak, a twist of pepper and more obvious mint on the long, succulent finish. Gold NZIWS 2018. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Mister Riggs Outpost Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
This beautifully honed cabernet is a deep black red hue and the bouquet that reveals dark chocolate, cassis and cedar gives an impression the wine will be smooth and creamy. It’s firmly framed in the palate, however. Crammed with flavours of mint, cedar, redcurrants and blackcurrants, peppermint and a lingering sense of vanilla and jaffa, it’s bright and exciting with the initial tannins seemingly dissolving with every sip. Gold NZIWS 2017. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99. Superbuy.
Piedra Negro Gran Malbec 2011 – Mendoza, Argentina
Deep dark inky red with saturated colour intensity. The jammy, almost porty bouquet hints of cranberry and plum and the taste is savoury, spicy and gamey with a tangy peppery vibe, firm tannins and concentrated plum, cherry and cranberry fruit. It's a big wine with sweetness from the alcohol and a heady sense to the finish with a lingering taste that is like Christmas cake in a glass. 15.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $38.99.