Constellation Brands with Chief Winemaker Wendy Stuckey
Notes by Sue Courtney
Ruffino Momenti Prosecco Brut NV – Treviso DOC, Italy
This is a white gold hue with an attractive lacy edge. The bouquet is lightly floral and the taste is crisp and tingly fresh with tiny bubbles, underlying savoury slightly salty notes and lingering flavours of tart apples laced with vanilla creaming soda. 11% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Emperical Central Otago Gewurztraminer 2016
Made from grapes grown at Charcoal Gully in the Lowburn subregion, this light golden wine has a fine elegant bouquet of violet, spun sugar and spice and it’s warm in the mouth with a silky flow. It seems fairly dry with a primary flavour of ripe musky grapes and the merest suggestion of lychee with a lovely spicy lift and violets again together with liquid orange blossom honey on the fine lingering finish. Understated with a nod to Alsace.13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.
Emperical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Glossy citrine in the glass with a bouquet that is surprisingly quite toasty and full of butterscotch and creamy malo notes with the toastiness quite noticeable in the palate. A beautiful and subtle ‘alternative’ wild yeast barrel fermented style with warm spices, grilled peach, a fresh lemon verbena-like lift and underlying flint. From a trial that used all sorts of winemaking processes, this is from a single barrel selected from the six that survived the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Rapaura fruit. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $39.99.
Emperical Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Light yellow gold in the glass with a full on tantalising leesy bouquet filled with toasty, biscuity, nutty, lemony, mealy notes and powerful in the seamless palate yet not overpowering. It’s decadently toasty with peaches and cream, flint and gunsmoke notes and a beautifully balanced dry savoury oak finish that's long and persistent with a touch of cedary salinity. Clone 15 grapes from the Corner 50 area adjacent to the famed Keltern Vineyard. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
Selaks Founders Limited Edition Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
This light gold wine smells dry, leesy and flinty with hints of grapefruit and nougat and it’s lifted, lemony and nutty in the smooth flowing palate with wild yeast nuances, lemon meringue and mellow toasty oak underpinned with gunsmoke. While it seems a little tight at first this long term potential wine has increasing layers of complexity and a light touch of caramel on the finish. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016
A wrap around the tongue wine thats light gemmy gold in the glass with a malty richness to the bouquet together with leesy, nutty, wild yeast and spicy savoury oak notes and full-bodied and powerful in the palate with toasty oak, touches of gunflint, dried hay, tropical fruit, citrus and juicy nectarine with a creamy malo softness and touches of caramel in harmony. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014 – California, USA
Bright lemon gold in the glass with subtle buttery notes to the bouquet and restrained toasty oak floating around the fruit that seems more in the fig and melon spectrum but as the wine warms up flavours of bottled peach come through. It’s different and understated with textural complexity, refreshing acidity, a touch of salinity and a lingering savoury finish. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $23.99.
Wild Grace Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016
A saturated deep ruby in the glass, the generous bouquet emanates rich cherry notes with roasted sappy woody herbs like thyme and rosemary and a nice touch of woodsmoke there too – all this and more in the savoury palate that has youthful velvety tannins and a peppery heat with blue-red fruit on the finish. From grapes grown around the Bendigo subregion, this pinot is still evolving and worth cellaring for a while. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012 – Tuscany, Italy
Garnet red with some bricking to the hue. The bouquet is mellow and savoury with a touch of redcurrant jelly, leather and game and it’s savoury and firm in the palate where the mellow cherry-like fruit is underpinned with lifted orange-like acidity that’s in harmony with the savoury gamey notes and seasoned oak. Evolving in the glass this dry wine has a very long finish but does need to be served with rich flavoursome food – a duck ragu will do. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $38.99.
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Corner 50 Vineyard Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2013
Inky blackcurrant red in the glass looking so youthful for its 5 years of age. The bouquet is positively creamy with a chocolate box scent that recurs in the soft fine-tannined palate where pencil box oak and graphite frames the mellowing fruit that’s an amalgam of plums and bramble berries with just a smidgen of mint that adds brightness. 2013 is one of the greatest vintages ever in Hawkes Bay and this stellar wine is an absolute steal. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – California, USA
The bouquet of this deep blackberry red hued offering promises a deep rich wine and the palate delivers. There's lifted woody scents that follow through to the taste – more sandalwood than cedar laced with woody herbs and spices that infuse the sumptuous blackcurrant, boysenberry and plum fruit with well balanced acidity and warmth while the tannins just meld. A heady, high alcohol wine that finishes a little sweet, it begs for a juicy rare steak. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $31.99.