What’s in the glass tonight Feb 25th

Dashwood Marl Chardonnay 2011

Dashwood Marlborough Chardonnay 2011 – $

From Wikipedia: Malolactic fermentation (or sometimes malolactic conversion or MLF) is a process in winemaking where tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid. Malolactic fermentation tends to create a rounder, fuller mouthfeel. It has been said that malic acid tastes of green apples. By contrast, lactic acid is richer and more buttery tasting.

I had been thinking I’d enjoy a buttery style of chardonnay about now. I‘ve been drinking a bit of bite-y sav and minerally chards lately, so I was hankering for something smoother and more-ish.

This wine was a big surprise. I only bought it cos it was a sister wine to the Sauvignon Blanc I had reviewed earlier, and wondered what it might be like. And it was well-priced.

The wine – classic chardonnay gold colour. Creamy and buttery, it is medium-bodied+, with full nose of vanilla and white peaches. The smoothness from the malolactic fermentation, not over-present, balances the fruit flavours. The return from this drop belies the price. Not flawless, but excellent value.

The Dashwood brand is owned by American wine magnate Bill Foley, along with Grove Mill, Goldwater, Vavasour and Clifford Bay. He also owns the Wharekauhau luxury lodge near where that guy who made Titanic and Avatar lives. He appears to want to produce approachable ‘value’ wines that have varietal backbone.

The wine wears a bit of age as a 2011, but it would benefit from a couple more years in the Pool Room I reckon. It’s a great candidate for an everyday cellar-filler.

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 23rd

Haha Marlb SB 2011

“A horse walks into a bar, the barman says, why the long face?”

Ha ha…

Haha Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – $

No long face here…In the sun, this wine is the lightest, lightest of yellows, with the clarity of a brilliant-cut diamond. It shows precise varietal aromas of pear and melon; and later, dew grass and tomato stalk. It is at first crisp and sharp in the mouth; then dry, and mouthfilling with granny smith apple and honey flavours. Generous finish, perfect with Tarakihi.

No joke. On a sunny late afternoon like today, stunning.

Hat tip: Yvonne Yorkin

Straight to the Pool Room Feb 2013

Bought for the cellar this month:

Pegasus Bay Waipara Riesling 2009 – $$$ – drink 2014-2017

Huntaway Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2011 – $$ – drink 2015-2016

Ara Pathway Malborough Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 – $$ – drink 2015-2017

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 19th

Waipara Hills MarlB SB 2011

One of the many pleasures of having someone to stay is the chance to try new wines they bring along!

Waipara Hills MarlboroughSauvignon Blanc 2011 – $$

Lightest green straw. Lifted open varietal aromas of green apples. Fresh and fruity and crisp, but not bite-y. Flavours of grapefruit and melon. Generous finish. A good Marlb example and perfect for a hot day. Enjoyed with ready salted Bluebird chips and good company!

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 18th

Cumulus  Orange Climbing Shiraz 2011

From the cellar: Cumulus Climbing Orange Shiraz 2007 – $$

Stepping away from the NZ focus of this blog: an Aussie treat. This was one of the first wines I bought for my nascent cellar back in ’09. Recommended by Cuisine. Lots of medals on the label, big up the chest. Rated 92 points by James Halliday. $16 bargain.

A browning deep claret colour. Lots of warming spice on the nose; white pepper, black berries and dark chocolate in mouth; dry, medium-bodied. The tannins are well balanced, soft but still with enough grip for texture. It went really well with the English beefsteak pie, and the great company. Welcome back to Wellington, S!

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 17th

Mud House Marlborough Chard 2011

Mud House Marlborough Chardonnay 2011 – $

I gave the Riesling a taste a week or so back, and today I saw the stablemate Chardy was on special:

The wine is light straw. Unoaked. There are clean white peach notes on the nose. Fruit is fresh and tangy on palate, with hints of honey, but little complexity. The lack of oak here does remove one of the pillars of a good chardonnay – structure. Without the oak the sweet fruit flavours are front and centre, and there is less balance of the natural acidity. If the idea is to produce unoaked chardonnays, then I’d like more minerality in the Chablis style.

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 10th

Shingle Peak Pinot Gris 2012

Shingle Peak Pinot Gris 2012 – $

I have never been a big fan of pinot gris. To me, it doesn’t taste much of anything. It’s like sauvignon blanc with the good bits taken out.

But, for folks for whom a sav is too astringent, and a chard too sweet, this variety appeals, and it currently lies third in NZ in popularity of white wine styles.

L brought this wine over last night. Bright straw. Lifted aroma of pears and nuts. Though typically varietal, flinty and austere, L reckoned it was bigger and softer that others she had tried. I agree with her.

No location on the label. The website is ‘coming soon’. Glengarrys sez it is a Marlborough producer but the address says Waimauku, near Auckland. Linked to Matua? Perhaps a blend? But it is being pushed at a low price, and offers great value.


What’s in the glass Waitangi Day Feb 6th

Clifford Bay PN 2011

Clifford Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011 – $

Buying a $-level NZ pinot often sets me up for disappointment. At this price, expect red cordial with alcohol added.

But not this charmer: it is a Regional Wines Summer Selection wine, chosen for flavour and value, and it delivers. I have bought Clifford Bay PNs a few times. It is not a big NZ pinot noir, but one that is pretty and floral and very appealing. Bright pinot ruby in colour, with an easy savoury florality I like. The palate is fresh ripe red fruits, cherries. It lingers too.

This wine was one of the ‘Worth Cellaring’ pinots in the RW tasting that Geoff Kelly MC’ed last year, and it outperformed others at a much higher price. It is a light $ delight. Enjoy with a lunch of pate and camembert.

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 5th

VM PB Dry Riesling 2012

Viewed from the cramped, stooped, budget-end of the wine-buying spectrum, it is good to see quality producers like Villa Maria pitching some wares. Without them I’d I have to buy stuff like Longridge all the time. Would almost turn me back to DB Draught

So it is always pleasing when my local supermarket loss-leads with a riesling like this:

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Dry Riesling 2012 – $

Pale straw in the glass, light and floral on the nose, with melon and pear. In the mouth the wine is dry, light, fresh and crisp; all fruit, with none of the secondary characters of the previous wine. There is well balanced acidity with the residual sugar. This drop won Gold in the 2012 Spiegelau Wine Comp – I can see why.

I have had the Cellar Selection version before, and that was a step up, but this will be a fave for the rest of the summer. Too dry for the roast chicken I ate, but the florals were worth it.

With affordable and appealing wines like this out there, I can’t understand why riesling is so hard to sell to kiwis. Buy this!

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 3rd

Mud House Waipara Riesling 2011

Mud House Waipara Riesling 2011 – $

The name ‘Mud House’ is a little off-putting for a wine I think. This is why I have been resistant to trying this brand, but hey, can’t buy the same stuff all the time, eh? Their wines have won a few trophies, and Mud House is an official wine supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand, so it must go well with salt water..

The wine is palest straw. Smells of lime and wild honey. I like the notes of age complexity at the back. Medium-bodied, with typical oily Riesling beading on the insides of the glass. Fresh citrus flavours, off dry. Very clean, very appealing. A good aperitif wine, and held up against the pasta I ate ok. Would buy again.