Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind
Brancott Letter Series ‘O’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
This is a glorious Chardonnay that immediately tempts with its creamy, mealy, slightly citrussy, barrel ferment aromas and it’s smooth and seamless as it flows across the palate with nougat and hazelnut flavours together with grilled peach, toasty oak and a zesty brightness to the mouthfilling and lingering finish. 5 star wine at 5 star value. Gold AirNZ, NZIWS, Marlborough and Sydney. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Vasse Felix Heytesbury Margaret River Chardonnay 2016 – Western Australia
This is very tight and youthful at this stage of its life. The bouquet is savoury and just a little reductive and it’s dry and citrussy in the full-bodied palate – what some would call an ‘elegant’ wine – but as the flavours linger and flesh out in the mouth with touches of nectarine joining more primary lemongrass, you can sense the potential. An icon wine that’s made to last and will offer so much more with at least 12 months cellaring time. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $81.99.
Mount Riley Marlborough Riesling 2017
This is refreshingly fragrant with its scent of lemon zest, honey and flower nectar and the flavours are bright, clean and aromatic with light viscosity to the texture, juicy citrus and apricot fruit, just a touch of sweetness and refreshing apple acidity to the bright zesty finish. Well-balanced and drinkable. Gold NZIWS. Gold & Trophy Air NZ. Gold and Trophy Marlborough Wine Show. 12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.
Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017
This is a soft and fairly dry pinot gris with a lightly aromatic pear and apple skin scent and flavours of poached quince and peach with a hint of ginger adding a spicy vibe to the zingy finish. Made by Peregrine. Gold and Trophy AirNZ. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
Rockburn Stolen Kiss Central Otago Pinot Rosé 2017
This is seriously pale pink and while the bouquet seems delicately scented it emanates wild cherry with a beguiling exotic flare. It’s full of flavour in the palate with off dry to medium sweetness, touches of strawberry floss and a zesty vibrancy to the quenching finish that's very long and tasty. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99.
Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
This has a translucent and slightly fading ruby hue. The bouquet is smoky and savoury with a floral allure and it’s dry in the savoury, slightly gamey palate where the aromatics infuse to give a sense of dried roses and polished oak furniture. The tannins are silky yet still quite firm with cherry and cranberry fruit and while it seems like a lovely lighter elegant style to start it has understated stamina and power. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
This has a rich ruby saturation to the deeply translucent hue. The colour is in sync with the succulence of the fruit-driven, spice-infused aroma and the fullness of the flavours that are crammed with juicy cherry and plum fruit, touches of rose hip, hints of vanilla and woody spices. A generous pinot with a velvety flow and a lasting finish that leaves an aura of mouthfilling satisfaction. Gold AirNZ. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $38.99.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Organic Merlot 2016
This is a vibrant crimson-edged black red hue. There's a leathery, dusty, woody herb, Bordeaux character to the bouquet and it’s dry and firm in the initially savoury, cedary, cigar box palate that opens up with plum and cherry fruit and a lingering succulence to the creamy finish. Smooth and elegantly poised in a medium to full-bodied style and very well received on the night. Gold and Trophy AirNZ. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
Coopers Creek Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2016
The colour is a bright pinky / crimson cherry jam red. The bouquet is concentrated and generous with succulent, almost jammy, berry fruit infused with chocolatey oak. It seems quite dry on first tasting with toasted spices and a slight hint of pepper but becomes more and more succulent as the berry and plum fruit pushes through to tame the tannins to leave a mouth-coating, vibrantly lifted finish. Gold and Trophy AirNZ Wine Awards. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
Giordano Primitivo Di Manduria Reserva 2014 – Puglia, Italy
There's a tawny aura to the bricking red hue hinting of a little age. The bouquet is full of sweet fruit and it’s full-bodied and sweet-fruited in the opulent, velvety-textured palate with rich raisin, date and prune-like fruit, Xmas cake spices, hints of almonds and marzipan and vibrant almost peppery tingles. Rich, warm, full-bodied and smooth-flowing and while the fruit is sweet there’s a beautifully balanced savoury undercurrent and the wine finishes satisfyingly dry. Hard to resist. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
St Johns Road Blood and Courage Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
The colour is a fresh, youthful, deep dark red. Chocolate biscuits, creamy oak and shiraz spices fill the bouquet and it’s typically shiraz in the creamy, spicy palate that’s full of luscious berry fruit with integrated oak, fine smooth tannins and a long, succulent finish with a little flourish of mint. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.