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Tagged with 'pinot noir'

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.
 

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.
 

Glorious Gold Medal Wines

First Glass Wine Education Evening
Glorious Gold Medal Wines
Wednesday 3 October 2018


This week’s line-up included descriptions by Sue Courtney and Sam Kim.
 
Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 $19.99.
Sweet nutty oak and subtle orange zest fills the bouquet and its full of juicy peach and nectarine in the rich, creamy palate with a delectable nutty oak undercurrent that lets the vibrant fruit sing.
 
Clearview Beachhead Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017 $25.99
The bouquet is nutty and toasty with touches of vanilla and the seamless creamy nutty flavours are crammed with juicy peach and nectarine with a touch of oak spice and orange zest.
 
Mills Reef Elspeth Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015 $35.99
Beautifully harmonious with alluring scents of vanilla pod, hazelnut, gentle oak spice and sandalwood joining poached peach in the creamy, smoky, rounded, complex and mouthfilling palate.
 
Domain Road Defiance Central Otago Pinot Gris 2018 $21.99
A little steely on the nose with aromas of apple and pear and honeysuckle flowing through the creamy apple and peach flavours with the beautifully rounded lingering taste accented with orange zest.
 
Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2017 $27.99
Super concentrated flower nectar and beeswax scents and expressive flavours of violet, hokey pokey, orange toffee, lychee and peach with tingly five spice and ginger infusing the lightly viscous flow.
 
 
Domain Road Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 $21.99
Delectably dry with plum and nectarine scents and zingy fresh summer berry flavours melding beautifully. Tasty, juicy and deliciously refreshing with a soft creamy flow.
 
El Burro Kickass Garnacha 2017 – Spain $16.99.
A full-flavoured Garnacha, showing ripe plum, dark cherry, warm spice and subtle chocolate notes, backed by juicy and rounded palate that’s delightfully smooth and sweetly tasty. Great value.
 
Varvaglione Linea Oro Papale Primitivo Di Manduria 2015 $45.99
Powerful and sturdy, this substantial red delivers loads of black/blueberry, chocolate tart, spice and vanilla flavours with a firmly structured palate. It’s engaging with gratifying fruit flavours and an impressively long energetic finish.
 
Farmers Leap Random Shot Padthaway Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 $16.99
True to variety, exhibiting blackcurrant, juicy bramble, cigar box and spicy oak notes with succulent palate that’s flavoursome and filled with dark fruit flavours and rounded mouthfeel, well structured by chalky tannins. Very drinkable.
 
Alpha Crucis Titan McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 $29.99.
Captivating aromas of crème de cassis, plum jam, cigar and toasty oak lead to a superbly ripe and silky palate that offers outstanding depth and punchy flavours. Solid and persistent with dazzling richness. An outstanding Cabernet. Cellar 5-8 years.
 
Shingleback Davey Estate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 $22.99
Perfumed and compelling, this gratifying Shiraz displays gorgeous dark fruit, cranberry jelly, toasty oak and mixed spice notes with a concentrated and plush palate, finishing impressively long and sturdy. Drink now or cellar 5 years.
 

Wine & Chocolate

First Glass 15 August 2018
Wine with Chocolate
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017
Light gold with an attractive fragrant aroma of poached pear and a soft citrussy zing to the off dry flavours that are full of delicious honey poached pear.  
Choc match: Whittaker’s Nelson Pear and Manuka Honey in Milk Chocolate. Enhances the freshness of the wine but the sweet milky creamy chocolate is the overall lingering taste.
13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Main Divide North Canterbury Gewurztraminer 2016 
Crisp, dry and oily smelling and strong and spicy to the taste with tingles of ginger and candied lime with abundant musk flavours in a full-bodied, off dry style. 
Choc match: Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish Delight. A sweet sugary chocolate that needs the wine to balance it out, which it does with a peppery vibe and the musky taste of Turkish Delight lingers.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Archangel Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013
Rich ruby red in the glass with an alluring earthy savoury scent infused with leather and spice yet surprisingly fruity to the taste with still fresh acidity, lightly firm tannins, spiced tamarillo and bittersweet berries.  
Choc match: Whittaker’s West Coast Buttermilk Caramelised White Chocolate. The chocolate is quite sweet and cloying on its own but makes the wine seem silky smooth and rich with a lingering creamy caramel taste. A winning match.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $35.99.
 
Zolla Primitivo Di Manduria 2016 – Salento, Italy 
A vibrant black red. The bouquet is rich and ripe with wisps of cocoa powder and black cherries and the taste is sweet, ripe, gutsy and full-bodied with prunes and cherries, an earthy savoury undercurrent and smooth tannins that make it seem almost seamless in its flow.
Choc match: Cadbury Dairy Milk - Milk Chocolate. This old favourite seems dry on its own compared to the voluptuous wine but it balances the wine’s sweetness beautifully and introduces a fresh acid zing. 
14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
McManis  Family Vineyards Petite Sirah 2016 – California, USA 
Vibrant purple red with crimson edges. The leathery bouquet hints of a savoury wine but there's a juicy plum and mulberry sweetness to the taste with earth, straps of leather and a sprinkle of pepper on a bed of fine tannins.
Choc match: Cadbury Old Gold Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate. Makes the wine seem full, smooth and seamless. Good match. 
13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Chocoholic Pinotage 2016 – Darling, South Africa
Dark ruby red with garnet edges. Aromas of cherry jam and spice and quite peppery in the savoury palate with lightly firm tannins and a smoky touch to the finish.   
Choc match: Cadbury Dairy Milk Black Forest. The chocolate is milky and sweet but the sweetness is toned down by the wine and the glace cherry in the chocolate is the lingering taste. Good match.
14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Mister Riggs The Truant McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Deep dark red. Ripe and fruity smelling with touches of vanillin oak, chocolate and cherry then spicy and peppery to the taste with velvety tannins, plums and cherries, irresistibly smooth in its flow. 
Choc match: Cadbury Dairy Milk packed with Crunchie. This is a milky chocolate and not overly sweet, but makes the wine seem a little more earthy and savoury and drier than it seemed on its own. 
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Chocolate Box Dark Chocolate Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia 
Inky black red. Deep intense scent of cedar and leather with hints of red berries.  Beautiful fine tannin structure, fresh acidity, purity of plum and raspberry fruit, a tingle of pepper and a silky chocolate-like smoothness to the finish.   
Choc match: Cadbury Dark Milk with Roasted and Caramelised Hazelnuts. The nut flavours are strong and the match brings out a bitterness in the wine. Not a good match.
15% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
Grant Burge Barossa Ink Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky black red with vibrant crimson edges. The chocolate and plum bouquet is cloaked with vanilla and the taste is ripe and voluptuous with fine velvet tannins, juicy plum, prune and bottled cherry fruit, a sprinkle of pepper and a well-balanced nutty oak note to the creamy finish. 
Choc match: Whittaker’s Black Doris Plum and Roasted Almonds in Dark Chocolate. This is a silky smooth chocolate, not overly sweet, not overpoweringly nutty, nice on its own and an excellent match to this wine.
14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
St Hugo Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – South Australia
Deep dark red hinting of a little age. There's mint wafting through the bouquet and heaps more in the taste. A firmly structured wine, quite dry with savoury oak and plum and cassis fruit that is starting to fade as bottle developed earthy leathery characters take over yet the cabernet fruit sweetness still signs off the finish.  
Choc match: Cadbury Old Gold Dark Chocolate with Peppermint. While the mint is complimentary, the chocolate brings out a bitterness in the wine. 
14.1% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Villa Maria Reserve Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2016
Sunshine gold. Candied orange fills the bouquet and the sticky, delicious, nectar-like taste is crammed with luscious liquid honey and candied tropical fruit with a vibrant and beautifully balanced citrussy zing.
Choc match: Whittaker’s Fijian Ginger and Kerikeri Mandarin in Dark Chocolate. This is a excellent chocolate on its own and goes beautifully with the wine, foiling the sweetness a little. The chocolate is subtle in the match, the ginger and mandarin flavours are complimentary and the wine’s flavours are the lasting memory. Excellent combo.
10% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99. 375ml.

New In Store

First Glass Fine Wine Wednesday - 8 August 2018
New In Store
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
 
Goldwater Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 
Lustrous straw gold. Aromas of peach oil and cape gooseberry with more peach together with tropical fruit in the fresh lively palate that's overflowing with juicy citrus acidity and a quenching tangy finish where a delightful touch of Thai basil emerges. Trophy Winner Air NZ Wine Awards 2017. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Tiki Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Light yellow gold. Aromas of spicy oak, nuts and peach and boldly flavoured in the silky palate with bright sweet citrus underpinning the savoury oak with touches of  gunflint, butterscotch and spice, becoming quite creamy and peachy as the flavours linger. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Ra Nui Marlborough Chardonnay  2014
Moderate gold in hue. Soft nutty aromas fill the bouquet with a suggestion of honeydew melon that recurs in the rounded, mellow, seamless flowing palate with lingering nutty oak, touches of nashi pear and mandarin brightening the finish. Nicely developed and ready to go. 13.8% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2018 
Straw gold in hue with a bright fruity aroma and refreshing flavours full of gooseberry, lime, tropical guava and Packham pears poached in wine framed by soft acidity with a tickle of ginger and slivers of sweetness. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.
 
Bond Block Wines Ormond Gisborne Gewurztraminer 2017
Light gold in hue. Fragrant scents of old fashioned roses and candied violets and a light spritzy, spicy upfront feel to the texture like tingles of white pepper and ginger yet mouthcoating and long in an off dry style with rose oil and orange water and touches of Turkish delight. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Mount Riley The Bonnie Marlborough Pinot Rosé 2018 
Like a spinel gemstone in hue, this blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris is fragrant and fruity with a bright spritzy texture and just off dry flavours reminiscent of early season plums and cherries with lingering flavours of tarragon and watermelon. Juicy and refreshing and verging on irresistible even on a cold winters night. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $12.99.
 
Summerhouse Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
This is an intense ruby / magenta with a deep aroma of earth and herbs and chocolate-coated black cherries. Showing its youth as it is quite firm in the initially earthy savoury palate with classical herbaceous tones, then a bittersweet berry sweetness ripples through with hints of rosehips and smoky bacon. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Doctors Flat Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 
Bright translucent ruby with pinky edges. The shy bouquet is floral yet meaty and it’s silky in its flow across the palate with a juicy sweetness to the bright cherry and strawberry fruit that’s underpinned by a beautifully balanced savouriness, a salivating salinity, and a long rounded mouthcoating finish with increasing complexity and touches of anise. Tasty and totally on song at the tasting. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $44.99.
 
Pesquera Crianza Ribera del Duero Tempranillo 2014
This is a shiny blackish red in the glass. The slightly charry, cedary bouquet has intensity and depth of fruit with wafts of barnyard and leather and it’s dark and dusty in the savoury meaty palate where succulent and opulent prune-like fruit ripples through with touches of peppery spices and slightly chalky tannins that impart a very dry finish yet all the while refreshing underlying acidity. True to the region but does need food. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Aramis White Label McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015
Dark blackish red with chocolate and spiced berry aromatics and succulent plum and raspberry flavours with an underlying earthy, leathery savouriness, moderately firm tannins, peppery spices, touches of cacao and a dry yet fruity finish. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Sandalford Reserve Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Bright red black with crimson edges, the bouquet of this big oaky wine is laced with vanilla and mint that's a little more discreet in the dark, brooding, firmly structured, chewy palate that has lashings of leather, tar and smoke with touches of chocolate and a berry fruit brightness to the lifted and lingering finish. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 

NZ versus the Rest of the World

Tasting Notes 18 July 2018
New Zealand versus the Rest of the World
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Simonnet Febvre Petite Chablis 2013 - France 
The fresh, steely, orchard fruit bouquet of this light matte gold hued wine hints of Chardonnay, which indeed it is and the taste is crisp, malic, earthy and lemony with a suggestion of mountain pawpaw and honeydew melon. It's unoaked yet pleasingly textural with a chalky dryness and a long lasting finish. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $25.99.
 
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Light yellow gold in the glass. Inviting aromas of ripe peach, toasty oak, and vanilla. Tasty, mouthfilling, malty, mealy flavours with gunsmoke, spicy oak, underlying flint and gobs of juicy tropical fruit that lingers tantalisingly. Exudes class all the way through. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $31.99.
 
Sebastiani North Coast Chardonnay 2015 – California, USA
Citrine gold. Restrained at first on the nose but later tropical fruit rises to the fore. Full, fat and juicy in the palate with sizzled butter, vanillin oak, caramel and cream brûlée. Mouthfilling, easy to open with the screwcap and easy to drink. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Framingham Classic Marlborough Riesling 2016
Light gold hued with an initial whiff of rubber band that succumbs to more intensely aromatic yellow citrus, heritage apple and delicate floral scents. Bright and zesty in the palate with refreshing tart apple acidity that's tempered by a touch of sweetness on the juicy quenching finish. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Kerpen Alte Reben Wehlener Sonnenhur Spatlese Feinherb Riesling 2015 – Mosel, Germany 
Light gold in the glass. The fragrant bouquet of honey and botrytis has a fascinating earthy aura like wet potters clay and flavours full of tropical and citrus fruits with a tickle of spritz to the texture and only moderate sweetness. A classic example of the great wines of this region. 10.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $33.99.
 
Guigal Côte du Rhône 2014 – Rhone, France
Dark tamarillo skin red. The bouquet is earthy, a little rustic and slightly metallic with  a hint of cranberry, liquorice and tobacco. Fine flowing and vinous in the mouth with silky tannins, a suggestion of leather and a long savoury finish underpinned by well balanced acidity with fruit sweetness lingering. Made from predominantly Syrah with Garnacha and Mourvedre, this is excellent value. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Hawks Bay Syrah 2016
Deep crimson black. Warm comforting chocolate cake and cherry bouquet. Full-bodied, mouthfilling, spicy and peppery with juicy blackberry, mulberry and cherry fruit framed by savoury oak. The firmly structured tannins are still tight and youthful but the potential is clearly there. Patience will reward. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.
 
Pepperjack Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky black red with crimson edges. A rich berry chocolate nose and more chocolate in the sweet-fruited, creamy, silky-tannined, succulent palate together with cherry, vanilla, mocha, liquorice and hazelnut that meld into a mouthfilling delight. The firm finish is accented with spice and pepper and dry savoury notes linger. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Rockbare Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – South Australia  
Dark pinky red with moderate density. Eucalypt and chocolate dust fill the bouquet and there's a warm fine chocolatey coating to the texture with fine tannins, mint, leather, cedar, vanilla and ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruit underpinned by nicely balanced acidity. Smooth and velvety all the way through. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Crossroads Talisman 2014 – Hawkes Bay
Glossy rich dark red with an intense and attractive bouquet of cedar and brambles laced with chocolate and cherry. Beautifully poised as it floats across the palate. Finely structured tannins, concentrated red and black berries, savoury oak and cake spice are some of the descriptors that come to mind. A classy wine made from a secret blend of classic and rare red varieties that grow in Hawkes Bay. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $44.99.
 
Beach House Noble Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 
Deep yellow gold. Citrus blossom and honeysuckle nectar fill the bouquet and sweet honeyed citrus of the mandarin / orange spectrum in the palate with grapey muscat-like notes and a zingy brightness. A sweet yet refreshing desert wine that’s lightly viscous with a silky smooth flow. 12% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.

Ten Reds

First Glass 23 May 2018
Ten Reds
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
 
Clearview White Caps Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2017
Yellow diamonds sparkle in the glass, the enticing bouquet is suggestive of manuka woodsmoke in the distance together with sizzled butter and bacon and there is a toasty veneer to the mouthfilling flavour crammed full of butterscotch and grilled peach and a smooth seamless flow. First wine of the night and pretty hard to resist. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Esk Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016
Translucent pinky red. A touch of smoke and a waft of roasted rhubarb infuse the cranberry cordial-like scent and there's a light touch to the savoury, gamey, earthy flavours with spiced bittersweet red berries, silky tannins and a lingering finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Ant McKenzie Wines Tono Hawkes Bay Tempranillo 2016 
There's richness and vibrancy to the shiny magenta hue and a creamy note to the sappy spicy bouquet with a lovely array of anise-like spices and a touch of salinity. Dry at first in the palate with a dark tarry savoury note, more of those lovely spices, a touch of rose hip and increasing summer berry juiciness to the long bright finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
La Consulta Reserva Malbec 2014 – Mendoza, Argentina
The deeply translucent hue is a tamarillo skin colour, there’s a hint of fruit cake to the scent with almonds and cherries and increasing sweetness in the silky palate with a touch of woodsmoke emerging on the ripe juicy finish where the tannins seem a little more assertive, then lingering hints of violet. Not as dark in colour as some Malbecs can be but very tasty. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
 
Quarisa Caravan Petite Sirah 2016 – South Eastern Australia 
Deep dark crimson red, intense aromas of musk and boysenberry, and ripe juicy flavours crammed with opulent berry fruit, firm tannins, underlying leather and tar, a touch of spice and strawberry chocolate on the lingering finish. Youthful but expressive. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Te Mata Awatea 2016 – Hawkes Bay 
Bordeaux character is the first aromatic sense of this bright crimson-tinged Cabernet-dominant red with cigar box, leather, earth, herb, polished French oak and harmonious berry fruit scents. Dry at first in the fine-tannined palate with all those lovely savoury, cigar box, leather and spice characters to the fore then a mouthfilling burst of succulent berry fruit and a slight herbal note to the sappy finish where the tannins are a little more assertive. Long and persistent.  13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $34.99.
 
Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2013 – Sonoma, California, USA
Dark red in hue with a hint of liquorice infusing the bright berry fruit scent that leads into a succulent, juicy, flavoursome palate. It’s soft and creamy with velvety tannins and tingles of peppery spices and lingering touches of musk, nut chocolate and currants. Despite the alcohol it doesn’t seem heavy. Nice wine. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
Sons of Eden Kennedy Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2016 – Barossa, South Australia
Bright youthful red black in the glass with aromas of spiced cherry, vanilla and soft cedar. Juicy and bright in the palate with succulent red fruits, a peppery tingle, fine silky tannins, underlying savoury notes and touches of mocha. Rich and chewy yet beautifully poised without overpowering. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
Chalk Hill Blue Lotus McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Dark pinky red. A little smoky and savoury on the nose with red berries and vanillin oak emerging.
Seemingly medium-bodied in the initially dark savoury palate with a medicine-masking fruitiness that becomes more obviously plummy, it’s fine and silky smooth in its flow, spicy and chocolate biscuit chocolatey, with increasing vinosity and richness that builds to a very fulfilling finish with smoky vanillin oak and a lifted floral allure. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Chalk Hill Alpha Crucis Titan McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia 
Deep crimson red black with a generous and expressive aroma of mulberries, mint, chocolate, vanilla and cedar. Full-bodied and meaty to the taste with firm tannins, spicy vibes, jammy red fruit, mocha, chocolate and vanilla with harmonious savoury oak and leather and a lingering suggestion of mint. Rich, smooth, succulent and mouthfilling. In a word, delicious. Gold medal - NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Cape Barren Old Vine Reserve Release McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
Dark purple red, fine in appearance. There’s purity of red fruit on the nose while a very appealing smoky oak regime introduces the taste that quickly bursts with magnificent red and purple fruit together with touches of sumac, touches of mint, touches of chocolate and touches of ironstone. Fine and silky in its flow with a sense of vinous sweetness to the lingering finish. 14.7% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $44.99.

Value Wines Shine

First Glass 9 May 2018
High Price Low Price
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind




Sebastiani North Coast Chardonnay 2015 – California, USA
A  medley of tropical fruit, roasted persimmon and pannacotta fills the bouquet and it’s creamy and buttery in the palate with bright, fresh, almost pineapple-like acidity and a smooth, lingering aftertaste reminiscent of Macintosh Harrogate toffees. 13.9% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Simonsig Chardonnay 2016 – Stellenbosch, South Africa
The bouquet is fresh, acid driven and there are hints of apricot to the citrussy taste that's very dry with a dusty, mellow note and a mealy savoury undercurrent to the fruity finish. 13.5% alc. Cork/Screwcap. First Glass Price: $20.99.
 
Bogle Reserve Chardonnay 2016 - Clarksburg, California, USA
There’s a suggestion of crushed brazil nut and hazelnut on the opulent, rich, toasty bouquet and the creamy taste is seamless with an ornate frame of spicy oak encapsulating  juicy stonefruit and a flamboyant caramel-coated finish that lingers for ages. A meal in a glass. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Greystone Sand Dollar Waipara Pinot Gris 2016
Scents of poached pear and peach crumble radiate from the glass and it’s cool and fresh in the steely palate that slowly reveals its textural complexity with touches of tarragon and spice lingering. Technically dry (just 3 g/l residual sugar) with a wild yeast, barrel component, it recently came 3rd in Decanter’s World’s best Pinot Gris buys. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017
Bright and tropical fruity with a light tingle of spritz, hints of musk and Turkish delight. An off-dry to medium style that hits the sweet spot with fleshy stonefruit and a brightness to the attractive finish.  Ripe, lush and immediately likeable. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Riesling 2015
The bouquet is like classic dry Riesling with lime, talc and a vague suggestion of kero. Searingly dry in the slightly spritzy palate with racy apple and citrus acidity nicely rounded out by a touch of toastiness that’s accrued with bottle age. Drinking beautifully now. Multi awarded. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Pegasus Bay Waipara Riesling 2015
There’s a suggestion of grapefruit and mandarin zest on the nose and loads more in the palate that has a lightly viscous texture. It’s ripe and zesty with well balanced sweetness and suggestions of hokey-pokey on the lingering finish. Fulfilling and expressive. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $29.99.
 
Te Kairanga Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016 
Bright ruby with pinky edges. The bouquet is sweet-fruited, inviting, with spiced cherries and a hint of cedar and the firm, dry taste is foremost savoury and gamey than fruity – but the fruit is of course there – bittersweet fruit – wild strawberries, morello cherries - and its silky in its flow with mouthfilling richness to the finish. Gold NZIWS & NWWA. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Pegasus Bay Waipara Pinot Noir 2014
Garnet red, a little browning on the edges. The bouquet is savoury with woody herb notes and a touch of chocolate-coated cherry and the wine as a whole has a mellow aura and complexity that comes with a little age. Fruit is reminiscent of stewed tamarillo with underlying prickly acidity and savoury bretty / leathery notes giving a European impression. Tannins still noticeable on the magnanimous finish with hints of chocolate and rounded mouth-coating pinosity as it lingers. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $47.99.
 
Cape Barren Native Goose McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 – South Australia 
Shiny black red in the glass. Juicy red berry scents laced with vanillin oak fill the bouquet and its lifted and spicy in the palate that seems so velvety smooth and flowing. Full of dark plums and chocolate, it is immediately approachable with a mouth-coating finish.  14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
E & E Limited Release Black Pepper Barossa Shiraz 2014 – South Australia
Rich red black with translucent edges hinting of a little age. The bouquet is overflowing with opulent dark berries, spice and savoury notes and the taste is rich, creamy and velvety. It's voluptuous yet structured with a tantalising vanilla and nut chocolate oak frame, underlying savouriness, touches of chicory and anise, lots of pepper and a long firm finish that leaves a memorable impression. 15.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $99.

Ceres Wines with James Dicey

First Glass 2 May 2018
Ceres Wines with James Dicey
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
 
Fifth Bridge Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017
Beautifully aromatic with a bright apple and citrus blossom scent and a very appealing off dry to medium taste that’s textural and lightly viscous. A delicate spiciness mingles into the apricot, custard apple and honey poached pear flavours and there’s a sense of spritz to the finish. A touch of late harvest Riesling adds an x-factor to the enticing taste. Impressive. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Ceres Swansong Central Otago Pinot Gris 2016
Served lightly chilled which gives a sense of coolness, this has a classic poached pear and apple strudel scent and it tastes fairly dry and crisp with a savoury, slightly mushroomy note, a zingy apple brightness and an attractive rose petal nuance on the lingering finish. A gris with palate weight and texture, it’s made from a vineyard ‘field blend’ where every 10th vine is Gewurztraminer. 14% alc.Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Fifth Bridge Central Otago Riesling 2017
This is a slatey smelling riesling with a soapy floral nuance, maybe, and cut lime most definitely. It smells dry but tastes medium with soft apple acidity and an initial light delicate impression that increases in power with more emphatic green apple and lime flavours balanced by honey and apricot, and a pleasing persistent finish. 10.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Ceres Black Rabbit Central Otago Riesling 2017
The attractive bouquet radiates honeysuckle, sweet citrus and tropical fruit and the taste is a masterful balance of scintillating acidity and medium sweetness. It’s juicy, tingly and delicately spritzy with tropical fruit sherbet, lime, tangelo, honeysuckle and apple skin. An expressive wine oozing deliciousness and finesse with the structure to cellar for decades. Multiple gold medals and Easter Show Trophy. 10.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Fifth Bridge Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017
Deeply translucent bright purple violet. There’s a sense of chocolate, roasted spice and concentrated purple-coloured berries to the scent and it’s initially savoury to the taste with velvet-edged silky tannins, chocolate-coated bitter-sweet cherry then a more concentrated berry fruit sweetness and anise-like spices lingering. Soft, supple and easy drinking. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Ceres Composition Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
A moderately translucent purple violet. Fragrantly scented with cherry, plum and sweet herb notations. Bright and intense in the silky-textured palate where bittersweet red fruit, oak, spice and savoury notes combine in harmony. Dense and concentrated with a vinous sweetness and touches of anise infusing the persistent finish where the tannins become more noticeable. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $34.99.
 
Ceres Artists Collection Inlet Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
There’s a little hint of pink to the purple hue. A touch of rosehip radiates out of the glass with an amalgam of cherry, a hint of spice and expressive pinosity. Concentrated in the silky, velvety, firm, structured palate that’s spicy, meaty and savoury with chewy red fruit jellies and glace cherries and captivating briar rose notes to the fabulously long mouth-enveloping finish.  14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $75.99.
 
Mr Riggs Three Corner Jack McLaren Vale Shiraz Cabernet Merlot 2015 – South Australia
Rich red black with ripe plum and black cherry scents and savoury, meaty, tarry notes underpinning juicy plum and black currant fruit flavours with just the merest hint of liquorice. The texture is firm and velvety in this seemingly more medium bodied Aussie red with lingering cake spices and cherries. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Mr Riggs The Truant McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015 – South Australia
This shiny red black-hued wine has a fascinating bouquet that’s like the scent in the kitchen when cooking spicy plum sauce – plus hints of crushed chocolate biscuits, cigar leaf and leather that follow through to the initially quite dark tarry palate that quickly bursts with succulent plum and blackberry fruit while red pepper spices lift the powerful, plush-tannined finish. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Mr Riggs Outpost Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – South Australia
Black red in the glass. The bouquet is smoky and sensual with hints of crushed iron, chocolate, mint and cedar and it’s deliciously bright and minty in the palate (mint sauce rather than peppermint) with concentrated blackcurrant, plum and boysenberry fruit, a spicy brightness, and a long silky, mouthfilling finish. It’s an incredibly smooth, delicious and memorable wine that’s concentrated and meaty with lingering mint chocolate, cassis and cedar. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.