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Tagged with 'rioja'

Outstanding Tasting Line-ups

First Glass 5 September 2018 
Theme: New and Not So New
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind

 
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2017 – California, USA
Lightly toasted nutty oak fills the bouquet and it's full of caramel and citrus in the creamy, lightly honeyed palate that has a nice little savoury twist and a lingering butterscotch taste. Value plus. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $14.99.
 
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 – Hawkes Bay
Grilled peaches and cream tantalise the nose and toasty oak and creamed nut flavours fill the warm, rounded, mouthfilling palate. It's savoury, spicy and zesty with nicely balanced peach and nectarine fruit and a tangy and satisfying finish.  13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $32.99.
 
Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Albarino 2016
The bouquet radiates pear and tropical fruit, and there's mouthwatering pineapple-laced tropical fruit and honeydew melon in the palate with a touch of honey and beeswax to the just off dry and slightly salty and salivating finish. Refreshing and summery and while seemingly light to start there’s increasing complexity to the texture. Gold Medal Sydney Top 100. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Millton Riverpoint Vineyard Gisborne Viognier 2015 
Moderately gold in hue with a bouquet of apricot and honey following through to the rich, oily palate with a bees-waxy sweetness beautifully balanced by a nutty savouriness, a zing of exotic spices and a juicy green melon aftertaste. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Conde Valdemar Rioja Reserva 2010 – Rioja, Spain 
Starting to show bricking to the burgundy hue, this has spiced cherries and vanillin oak on the soft bouquet and an edgy bite and slightly furry tannins to the upfront savoury taste, then cherry and blueberry fruit comes to the fore and the mellow finish is creamy and satisfying with touches of cake spices, oak and anise.  13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $35.99.
 
Chateau Loudenne Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2012 – Bordeaux, France 
Dark red in the glass with signs of bricking. Smoky and brambly on the nose and strong and moderately tannic to the taste. A savoury wine embellished with smoke, spices, pencil box and leather with a refreshing undercurrent of acidity and a juicy berry sweetness on the velvety, almost creamy finish. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet. 13.5 % alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Paritua Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Black red with crimson edges. Dark berry fruit wafts through the savoury bouquet that has a faint suggestion of barnyard and game. Full-bodied and mouthfilling in the silky palate crammed with dark berry fruit and layered with Black Doris plum chocolate with a sprinkling of cake spice and pepper and a savoury oak frame. Soft and velvety as the flavours linger. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $41.99.
 
Matua Single Vineyard Matheson Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Purple red with crimson edges. Hints of Black Forest chocolate on the nose and nicely honed peppery notes in the palate with plump plum and berry fruit, harmonious nutty savoury oak and sweet spices.  Velvety and long with enveloping fruit sweetness. Drinking beautifully. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
 
Cape Barren Native Goose McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016
Purple red with crimson edges. The bouquet is reminiscent of chocolate chip biscuits and the taste is rich and smooth with a savoury spine, a vibrancy of pepper and spice, mulberry and plum fruit and touches of menthol emerging as the wine lingers. A juicy wine with a velvety flow. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Grant Burge Barossa Ink Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Inky black red. Dusty on the nose with concentrated cherry jam and blackcurrant fruit, hints of tar and leather. Deep and dark at first in the soft juicy palate, the brambly fruit infusing almost milk chocolate-like notes with touches of praline and brightness to the lingering finish with subtle nuances of mint. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $16.99.
 
Linke Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015
Inky black red in the glass. Crushed chocolate biscuits, plum, cherry and savoury vanillin oak laced with mint fill the bouquet and there is all this and more in the velvet cloaked palate. This is a massive wine, a heady wine, an opulent wine with a smooth seamless flow, raisined cherry fruit, pepper, anise, nut chocolate, cedar and vanilla with a touch of mint adding to the bright lifted finish. Kapow! 15.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.

New Arrivals, New Vintages

First Glass 11 July 2018
New Arrivals, New Vintages
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were mostly tasted blind

 
Beach House Hawkes Bay Selection Chardonnay 2016
Golden hued with toasty oak and a just out-of-the-oven nut biscuit scent. Nutty and creamy in the palate with peach and polished toasty oak. Smooth and long with a bright tasty finish. Terrific socialising wine. 13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $18.99.
 
Champagne Delaplace Brut NV
Straw yellow with a frothy foam when poured. Quite a broad yeasty scent. Vibrantly effervescent at first in the mouth but when the bubbles subside the texture is creamy. A mouthfilling, nutty, mellow Champagne with attractive yeast autolysis and richness to the lingering finish. Gold NZIWS. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $42.99.
 
Lawson Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 
Lemon yellow in hue with a full-on rich, fat, mealy, inviting Chardonnay scent then toasty and savoury in the mouthfilling palate that's layered with gunsmoke, spicy oak, lemon biscuit, peach and a touch of caramel and culminates in a long, dry, roasted nut finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Vega del Rayo Rioja Reserva 2011 – Rioja, Spain 
There’s a touch of tawny to the fading ruby hue. The bouquet offers up cherry and blueberry jam and it’s quite dry at first in the savoury palate with earth, game, mushroom and leather then juicy succulent redcurrant jelly-like fruit wells up from within with a whisper of spice and soft mellow oak. Subtle, understated and long with well-structured silky tannins and a linger hint of jaffa. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
Honoro Vera Garnacha 2016 – Calatayud, Spain 
Bright ruby in the glass with touches of crimson. Fresh, bright and youthful both on the nose and in the silky-textured palate where cherry and raspberry fruit is framed with red pepper, leather and spice and the finish lingers with succulence and charm. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $22.99.
 
Giordano Reserva Primitivo Di Manduria Riserva 2015 – Puglia, Italy
Inky black red with crimson edges. Sweet smoky oak fills the bouquet with blueberry and chocolate coasted raisins. Full-bodied, powerful, succulent and juicy with a curvaceous body and a velvet cloak texture. Full of ripe fruit, sweet oak and underpinned with spice and pepper, it is definitely seductive at this stage in the tasting. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $24.99.
 
I Muri Primitivo 2017 – Puglia Italy 
Bright red black in the glass. Crushed dark chocolate biscuits and jammy red fruits shimmy through the slightly rustic scent with underlying savouriness, a touch of earth and plum and dark cherry fruit in the fine silky-textured palate. Oozing with succulence and flavour, a new vintage of a perennial favourite that delivers what you expect from this label. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Red Knot Classified McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 – South Australia 
Inky purple red in the glass. Blackberry and dark chocolate fill the bouquet then in the firmly structured, full-bodied, mouthfilling palate there’s savoury oak, vanilla, touches of pepper, hints of anise, concentrated mulberry and black cherry fruit and succulence to the spicy finish. Made by Shingleback. Winestate Shiraz Wine of the Year. 14% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Reilly's Clare Valley Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
Inky black red with crimson edges. There’s a floral allure to the sweet nutty oak and spice-infused scent with spice quite prominent in the silk-edged velvety textured palate with dry (but not drying) tannins and a juicy succulence to the bright creamy finish. A dense, concentrated, tight-knit wine that would benefit from cellaring at this stage of its life. 15.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Mouton Cadet Reserve Sauternes 2014 – Bordeaux, France
Deep yellow in the glass with a nectar-like scent and lightly viscous and honeyed in the palate with an intriguing earthy savouriness that brings the delectable sweetness into check. Orange honey, candied orange peel, candied fennel seeds, dried tropical fruits and lanolin all combine for a glorious finish. Made from 90% Semillon and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Delicious. 13% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99 for a 750-ml bottle. 

Italian & Spanish Wine Festival

First Glass 16 May 2018
A selection from the Italian and Spanish wine tasting
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
Astoria Treviso Butterfly Prosecco 2017 - Treviso, Italy
Pale straw with a lacy mousse. Ripe orchard apple scents fill the bouquet and it’s vivaciously fizzy in the mouth with a myriad of apple flavours and hints of musk. Fairly dry with a long creamy finish. 11% alc. $19.99.
 
Vilarnau Cava Brut Reserva NV - d’Espiells, Penedes, Spain
A dry, creamy cuvee of Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada grapes with secondary fermentation in the bottle that introduces complex yeast aromas and flavours to the fresh grapey taste. Served in a painted bottle that would look fabulous at any occasion. 11.5% alc. $20.99.
 
Tenuta Ulisse Pecorino 2016 - Terre di Chieti, Italy 
Luminous gold in the glass, aromatic, and rich and oily to the taste with a hint of apricot. A mouthfilling, textural white that’s a little reminiscent of Viognier with fresh acidity pushing through on the long, full, satisfying finish. 13% alc. $22.99.
 
Castello Del Poggio Moscato - Provinca de Pavia, Italy
Grapey, musky, floral aromas and a sweet, light and frothy taste full of muscat grape flavours with a green apple bite to balance the flirty sweetness. To be served very chilled as an aperitif or at the end of a feast. 7% alc. Screwcap. $18.99.
 
I Muri Puglia Primitivo 2016 - Salento, Italy
A rich garnet red (cherry juice) hue with light, savoury aromas with hints of raspberry jam adding brightness, and medium-bodied to the spicy taste with firm tannins, hints of nut chocolate and cherry with a juicy fruit sweetness to the finish and lingering touches of anise. 13.5% alc. $16.99.
 
Gran Sasso Colline Teramane Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2012 - Abruzzo, Italy
Deep black red in hue with a leathery overtone to the concentrated red and black jammy fruit aromas then in the mouth a profound vinosity frames the black cherry and plum fruit with a hint of liquorice and vanilla and beautifully integrated tannins. Svelte yet with understated power. Outstanding on the night. 13.5% alc. $30.99.
 
Fantini Edizione 2014 - Puglia & Abruzzo, Italy
A sumptuous, smooth, mouthfilling blend of Montepulciano, Primitivo, Sangiovese, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera with a youthful saturated black-red colour, a fragrant aroma reminiscent of chocolate-coated violets and a big, rich, ripe, almost sweet taste with loads of fruit, spice, vanilla, musk, chocolate and mocha. $57.99.
 
Banfi Bolgheri Aska 2013 - Italy 
There’s a little browning to the red garnet hue, the aroma evokes a mellow old world style with subtle barnyard and woody herb notes and the taste is initially dry, sappy, savoury and herbal with increasing vinosity that imparts a juiciness to the finish. A bit like leftover fruit cake with dried cakey bits and sweetness from the fruit. Very much a food wine. 13.5% alc. $29.99.
 
Rocce delle Macie Chianti Classico 2015 - Italy
Deep ruby red with a dark centre. The aroma is savoury with barnyard and leather then sweet herbs and glace cherries. Medium-bodied, dry and spicy with juicy cherry, plum and cranberry fruit, well-balanced underlying savouriness, freshness and lingering anise vibes. Accompany with antipasto nibbles or BBQ. 13.5% alc. $22.99.
 
Castelforte Valpolicella Superiore 2014 - Italy
Rich garnet red with the slightest suggestion of browning. Savoury aromatics with the blood of fresh game and hints of liquorice and anise, then touches of ironstone, bottled plums and green herb tones to the taste. An interesting wine in a rustic, old world style with pleasing vinosity and texture and rounded tannins. 13% alc. $20.99.
 
Castello Tricerchi Brunello Di Montalcino 2012 - Italy
Dark orange garnet. Lifted fine, mellow aromatics with a hint of orange cordial / orange pomander. Silky in the palate with old world savoury gamey notes, fine dry tannins and mellow dried orange tones. A little understated/delicate to start but builds in complexity and vinosity with an almost floral lift to the bright and extra long finish and just a touch of salinity. A thinking wine to savour with food. 14% alc. $69.99.
 
Muga Rioja Reserva 2012 - Rioja, Spain
Dark red, browning on edges. The bouquet is a little dusty with hints of baked chocolate plum tart - the scent becoming more and more intriguing over the course of the tasting. Lovely concentration to the taste with fine tannins, sweetness to the mulberry and cherry fruit, touches of anise and an aura of complexity that comes with bottle age while the dusty oak is an alluring feature to the finish. 14% alc. $35.99
 
Torres Celeste Crianza Tempranillo 2014 - Ribero del Duero, Spain
Bright deep red. Concentrated fruit and fine oak aromas with a hint of cigar box. Smooth and flowing in the mouth with red fruit, nicely framed vanillin oak, pillowy tannins and plumpness to the long, creamy finish. A youthful wine with brightness to its astral aura. 14.5% alc. $29.99
 
Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserve 2010 - Rioja, Spain
Dark red black with orange tones to the edges. Aromatic, a little dusty with sweet oak and baked fruit pie. Firm in the mouth with tannins still quite pronounced. Savoury, gamey and just a little meaty with a softness/mellowness coming through and while it is still unfolding the vinosity/fruit sweetness that emerges shows the promise of the future. 13.5% alc. $29.99.
 
Castillo Armado Tempranillo Reserva 2009 - Valdepenas, Spain
Dark garnet red. The bouquet is of drying / baking red fruit with a touch of herb and spice. Flowing seamlessly across the palate it is medium-bodied with mellow plum fruit and a sprinkle of spice, perhaps a hint of oxidation but it is nine years old - or maybe it is rusticity. 13% alc. $17.99.
 
Carlos Serres Rioja Reserva 2011 - Rioja, Spain
Dark burnished red with a black core. Aromatic scents of plum and mulberry pie with sweet spices and perhaps even a suggestion of mint. Savoury, dusty and earthy to the taste with touches of red berry, vanilla and mint with smooth silky tannins and a long mellow finish with a brightness as it lingers. Rioja’s acidity is holding this wine nicely. 14% alc. $25.99.
 
Costers Del Priorat Petit Pissares 2015 - Priorat, Spain
Bright black red. Aromas of brambles bushes (juicy berries, sappy leaves and stems) on the side of a dusty road. A big wine. A full-bodied wine. An earthy, savoury, spicy, gamey wine with powerful yet rounded tannins, juicy drupelets of blackberry that pop in the mouth, a touch of pepper and a dark chocolatey oak finish. Fulfilling, modern and memorable. A crowd favourite on the night. 14.5% alc. $28.99.
 
Gran Familia Rioja Reserva 2012 - Rioja, Spain
Fading black red garnet. Fragrant aromas of cherry jam with a touch of rosehip and sweet spices. Lifted in the medium-bodied palate with moderately firm tannins to start, juicy red fruits, a touch of vanilla creaminess, a rose petal muskiness and subtle anise spices finishing smooth with the tannins dissolving to leave behind a pleasing roundness and well-balanced sweetness and savouriness. Star buy. 13.5% alc. $19.99.

A Journey through France, Italy and Spain with Stephen Bennett MW

First Glass 21 March 2018
A Journey through France, Italy and Spain with Stephen Bennett MW
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were not tasted blind

 
 
The Cup & Rings Godello 2015 – Monterrei, Spain
There’s an oily appearance to the yellow hue, the bouquet is lightly honeyed with hints of almond, savoury leesy notes and loquat, and the taste is steely with texture and vinosity, hints of green apple, apricot and peach and refreshing acidity on the bone dry finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Champagne Charles de Cazanove NV – Reims, France 
Light yellow gold with striking snow white mousse that froths and subsides. The enticing yeasty bouquet hints of freshly baked lemon bread and touches of malt and it’s vibrantly fizzy in the fairly dry palate with a steely undercurrent to the rich, toasty, creamy leesy finish. A tasty cuvée made from 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $39.99.
 
Tesouro Segredo Albarino 2016 – Rias Baixas, Spain
Citrine gold in hue with a rich inviting fragrance  of apricots and orange blossom that’s almost heady. Concentrated and oily textured in the palate that’s dry and just a little spicy with apple, apricots and almond notes and a long finish with salivating salinity that makes you want to take another sip. This oak free wine was aged on its yeast lees that adds to the textural complexity and Stephen had us drooling over his descriptions of seafood matches. 12.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Mont Rocher Viognier Vieilles Vignes 2016 – Pays d'Oc, France
Glossy citrine gold. Ethereally fragrant with apricot kernel and an intriguing savoury earthy nuance. Very appealing lift and brightness in the warm, rounded, oily textured palate that hints of apricot, nuts, a touch of musky spice and a hint of honeysuckle that implies sweetness although the wine finishes dry. A smooth, curvaceous, textural wine to accompany rich buttery foods.13% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Viento Aliseo Tempranillo Petit Verdot 2016 – Las Perdronas, Spain
Purple red in hue with an intensely fruity, winey bouquet. Full of flavour in the palate with warm gravelly tannins, vibrant red and purple fruit, earth and mushroom notes and a long dry finish with accents of tobacco and spice. A young biodynamic organic wine without any oak, which lets the fruit sing. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $17.99.
 
Gran Familia Rioja Reserve 2012 – Rioja Alta, Spain
Rich ruby garnet with watery edges indicating some age. Red ‘jelly baby’ candy on the nose with just the slightest suggestion of barnyard and leather. A mellow wine that’s soft, supple and gentle in its flow caressing the palate with its fine, velvet-fringed, silky tannins with harmonious touches of vanilla-tinged savoury oak, red summer berries and a succulent finish. This current release, aged in barrel then in the bottle before we see it, is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 10% Garnacha with 50% American oak. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $19.99.
 
Il Mandorlo Negroamaro 2015 – Puglia, Italy
Dark red black in the glass. Savoury on the nose with leather and spice and hints of rosehip jelly and brimming with flavour in the juicy powerful palate with firm almost teeth-coating tannins, succulent purple and black fruit and a lovely violet-like fragrance floating through then later, as the bright finish lingers, hints of anise and crushed chocolate biscuits. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $15.99.
 
Soprasasso Valpolicella Ripasso 2014 – Veneto, Italy
Rich red black with moderate density. Savoury on the nose with hints of barnyard and leather that follow through to the medium-bodied, firm-tannined palate but overall bright to the taste with woody herb characters, slightly confectionary red fruit flavours, mouthfilling vinosity and spiciness, and a warm fresh finish. Made predominantly from the dark coloured Corvina grape using the Ripasso method, it’s best enjoyed with food. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $23.99.
 
Chateau Loudenne AOC Cru Bourgeois 2011 – Medoc, France
Deep dark red with a very enticing bouquet that’s a harmony of mellow fruit and cedar with earthy savoury accents. Classically earthy, savoury flavours with subtle plum and currant fruit and hints of cigar box, cedar, leather and thyme. What’s very striking, however is the fine but still unresolved and slightly tongue coating tannins and the very dry finish. A blend of 52% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc that has the elegance and class of top quality Bordeaux at a fraction of the price. 13.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Pietra Primitivo Susumaniello 2015 – Puglia, Italy
Susumaniello is a grape variety that’s blended with 60% Primitivo in this brightly hued black red wine. The concentrated bouquet has cigar box-like woody notes infusing the luscious red berries and the taste is succulent and heady. It seems super ripe and luscious with ripe berries, creamy oak, chocolate, anise, sweet spices, a sprinkle of pepper and big tannins that sit in well with the overall opulence that’s underpinned by fresh acidity. Plush and flirtatious. Fabulous with cheese. 14% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $28.99.
 
Piqueras 100 Anos Limited Edition 2011 – Alamansa, Spain
Made primarily from Monastrell and Garnacha Tinitoreo with a little Syrah and Grenache from 100 year old vines at 900 asl, this deeply hued wine is totally different. The wonderfully fragrant bouquet is full of winey extract with salty, saline, leathery notes and the taste suggests dusty gravel roads, graphite (pencil lead), earth, clay and possibly even a suggestion of mint. The vinosity of the red fruit is deep, like every last drop of juice has been squeezed out of the grapes and the tannins are dry and mouth-coating. Fantastic wine to muse over with vinously minded friends. 14.5% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $38.99.
 
Soprasasso Amarone della Valpolicella Ripasso 2014 – Veneto, Italy
This has a fairly saturated dark red hue and a sweet, grapey, biscuity scent laced with raspberry, plum and cherry. Made from sun-dried grapes this smooth flowing, mouthfilling wine is concentrated, heady, warm, spicy, almost peppery. A big wine, yet a harmonious wine with succulent berries and noticeable tannins that are more noticeable on the finish. Superb with rich dishes like casseroles or to enjoy after dinner with cheeses. “Decant in the morning, drink at night,” says Stephen. Good advice. 15% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $47.99.