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