Last Tasting of the Year
Notes by Sue Courtney
Wines were tasted blind
Jean Josselin Cuvée des Jean Champagne NV
The bouquet is softly scented with vanilla and lemon cream and the initially crisp, steely, effervescent taste becomes rich and nutty with savoury yeast autolysis characters emerging from the depths. It's quite full bodied and the lingering complex mouthfeel evokes subtle suggestions of peach. Cuisine Best Buy. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $49.99.
Beaumet Cuvée Brut Champagne NV – Epernay, France
The alluring bouquet has a brioche / apple tart scent and it’s crisp in the yeasty, savoury palate with the depth and complexity Champagne should have. The creamy mouthfeel has a baked apple sweetness, touches of rose hip and a lingering malty richness with a persistent tingle from the fizz. Elegant. Stylish. Cuisine No. 1. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $44.99.
Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne NV – Reims, France
Attractive, lightly floral, lightly malty, lightly yeasty aroma and a tingly taste that has a suggestion of salinity. It's yeasty and nutty with a hint of blackcurrant and the lovely full, rich, toasty finish lingers with hints of caramelised apple. Gold NZIWS. 12% alc. Cork. First Glass Price: $67.99.
Kahurangi Estate Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2017
Light yellow gold with a peach bubblegum aroma that leads into a decadently rich, toasty palate that is satisfyingly creamy and rounded. Full of tropical and stone fruit with a sliver of lime and lingering malt and burnt caramel, it is silky smooth in its flow. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $21.99.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
Golden coloured with buttered sizzled peach and caramel corn aromas that follow through to the seamless flowing, mouthfilling palate that’s fattening out beautifully with bottle age but underpinned nicely by refreshing acidity, nutty oak and touches of gunflint. Champion Chardonnay and Champion Wine NZIWS 2017. Gold NZIWS 2018. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $30.99.
Wrights Reserve Organic Gisborne Chardonnay 2016
Light golden in hue with a bouquet suggesting canned peaches and apricot with a touch of passionfruit. In the mouth this is savoury and toasty with a lemon cream richness, a mealy complexity and youthful bubblegum oak, becoming more and more oaky as the flavour evolve – and the lingering aftertaste is juicy and creamy with a touch of spearmint emerging. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $33.99.
Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
Light gold in colour with subtle nuances of butter and peach infusing the toasty oak scent and bright fresh tropical fruit accented with grilled pineapple filling the palate with layers of buttery oak, malt, caramel and peach. Well balanced acidity offsets the creamy richness and there’s a lovely roundness to the mouthfilling finish. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
A lustrous, deep, rich, plummy red in the glass with blackberry pie aromas infused with hints of tar and leather. Firm tannins are noticeable upfront in the rich, dense palate but soon succumb to the wonderful depth of fruit sweetness. Crammed with cherry, mocha, chocolate and savoury oak with a light smattering of rose pepper and finishing full-bodied and creamy with richness and complexity, this is a stunning example of NZ Syrah. Gold & Trophy NZIWS 2018, Gold NZ Wine of the Year 2018. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
Barossa Linke Barossa Shiraz 2016 – South Australia
This is a rich deep dark red with a cranberry hue to the edges. Classically spicy on the nose with a creamy chocolate aura and a little more of the same in the plush, velvety palate. It’s big, ripe, juicy and heady with raspberries, mulberries, chocolate-coated raisins, scorched almonds, tingles of pepper, and a deliciously satisfying, long, smooth, creamy finish. 15.7% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $19.99.
Sons of Eden 'Kennedy' Barossa GSM 2016 – South Australia
Dark crimson red with a little translucency to the edges. The bouquet smells smooth and creamy with scents of chocolate and cherry. A youthful wine hinting of plenty to offer as it unfolds with bitey acidity and tingles of pepper underpinning red and black fruit, and while the tannins are still a little firm the class of this wine shines through as it opens up nicely on the finish where it reveals juicy blackberry and menthol tobacco. A blend of 53% Grenache, 31% Shiraz and 16% Mourvedre from multiple sites in the Barossa Valley. 14.5% alc. Cork/Screwcap. First Glass Price: $28.99.
Brown Brothers Patricia Shiraz 2013 – Victoria, Australia
This is a lovely rich dark red in the glass. The bouquet is dark and savoury with a berry fruit brightness and a gentle seductiveness. Concentrated in the full-bodied palate with touches of graphite, cigar box, cake spices, juicy mulberries and cherries, vanillin oak and cherry chocolate. A rewarding wine that five years on from vintage is smooth and velvety with beautifully resolved, svelte-textured tannins and impeccable flow. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $49.99.
Riverby Noble Marlborough Riesling 2015
There’s a copper sheen to the deep golden hue. The concentrated bouquet has a heady fragrance of flower nectar, honey, beeswax and orange liqueur macerated white raisins. All this and more in the lightly viscous palate where the hedonistic and finely textured honeyed sweetness is exquisitely balanced by delicious orange marmalade acidity. Multiple golds. Trophy NZIWS 2017. 5 stars Cuisine 2018. 11% alc. Screwcap. First Glass Price: $25.99. 375ml.