What’s in the glass March 8th

Stratum Chardonnay 2011

Stratum Waipara Chardonnay 2011 – $

From the Glasnevin Vineyard at Sherwood Estate, never heard of them. The website has a strong statement from one of the owners for reasons with not entering wine shows. Check it out.

This wine is their second wine, hard to tell…a lighter, flatter style of chardonnay, medium gold colour, with aromatics of pears; there was 20% oak contact and 10 months on lees to build the wine;  less intensity than I might expect from colour but some elegance.

(Pre-tasted prior to taking it to a 50th. Not sure if I would remember my notes if I left it ‘til after)…

…back from the party, and still able to type…was lucky to try a Black Barn Hawkes Bay Syrah 2008 – savoury aroma, hints of rich dark choc, leather, licorice and black plums…fantastic

Te Tasting – Te Mata Estate Showcase 2013.

te mata 2

Coleraine – The One. Wednesday 6th March St James Theatre

The Regional Wines blurb sez: Te Mata Estate’s Coleraine is this country’s most consistently reliable cellar-worthy wine with vintages from the 1980s still drinking superbly. This reliability is one of the reasons that the annual release of Coleraine and Awatea is so eagerly awaited by wine lovers.

There is a real treat at the Showcase this year. We will be tasting the new release 2011 Coleraine alongside the 2001 and 1991 vintages demonstrating, if any was needed, how well Coleraine ages. We will also be presenting the 2011 Awatea, Cape Crest, Zara Viognier as well as the newly released Estate wines.

This must be my 4th annual Te Mata tasting.  I am a creature of habit. But then again, I got to try a 10-yr  old Coleraine at the very first one, and it totally turned me on to old brown red wine…

And John Buck’s house, the Te Mata founder, is pictured above as my main blog photo.

At the door we were offered four wines:

Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – notes of melons, green capsicum, tomato stalk; long, crisp and fresh with limes

Estate Chardonnay 2011 – nuts, toast, peaches, creamy malo.

Estate Gamay Noir – 2012 – light, savoury, black fruits.

Estate Merlot Cabernets 2010 – dark ruby colour, fresh blackberry and ripe plums, lovely florals and vanilla, long and dark chocolatey – yum

For the formal sit-down tasting we were offered:

Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – 86% sauv blanc, with balance semillon and sauvignon gris – one of Te Mata’s signature wines – 3mths in bottle; pale yellow green; bouquet of sun cut vines, vanilla from the French oak, beeswax?; tastes of limes and pear and sea salt; dry, long, with good acidity; 9 mths of lees contact adds texture. Age-worthy.

Zara Viognier 2011 – a good one this – smells of sponge cake; tastes of Turkish delight and honey and apricots; oily; long peppery finish; would be great drunk with jerk chicken.

Elston Chardonnay 2011 – strong strong manuka honey aroma; rich 100% malo; the honey masks peaches and mealiness; there is some minerality evident. Age-worthy.

Awatea Cabernet Merlot 2011 – probably the least performer here – tight, closed, light aromatics, needs time to open up; fine tannins; blackcurrant, blackberry. Some length.

Then the Bordeaux-blend big guns:

Coleraine 1991 – well brown this; nougat, toffee, butterscotch, old leather, old roses; in the Bordeaux style; dark choc, less fruit, dry tannins – yum yum

Coleraine 2001 – smells of doctors and dentists surgeries (in a nice way); deep browning crimson; dark chocolate and plums and coffee; still tannic, with fruit still evident.

Coleraine 2011 – deep crimson; lively and intense; smells of blackberries and almonds; long tannins and yes, dark choc. Needs time in bottle, or some decanting. Again age-worthy definitely.

A good night; pity no Bullnose Syrah at the tasting; too little production, we have to hope for next year.

Nick Buck was excited about the upcoming vintage. Picking starts tomorrow. Lets see what turns up at the tasting in 2015!

What’s in the glass tonight March 3rd

TerraVin 2008 Sav Blanc

From the cellar: TerraVin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – ($$)

This is gooood…

Pale pale yellow with hint of green.  From the label I read 7% was matured in seasoned French oak barrels for four months, which has added complexity and bready lees characters. It is a rich and concentrated sauvignon blanc, and has improved with aging. Creamy ripe pears and tropical fruit aromas, and vanilla from the oak; mouthcoating, soft, sweet and intense fruit in the mouth, and a hint of capsicum at the back. A lovely long finish. Some yummy secondary flavours are starting to appear, so this was a good time to open. It shows the value of aging savs that have oak treatment. And my cellaring gave it a manky label, nice one..

..and it was free from Rumbles when I bought a 2004 Terravin pinot noir. I hope the pinot is as good as this!

When I grow up I want to pay NZD3000 for one bottle of wine. And after I drink it, I’ll put a candle in the bottle.


I attended a ‘fayne wayne’ auction recently. For research purposes only. And in the vain hope that everybody in the room would suddenly suffer a bout of temporary paralysis, and allow me to win Lot 84, a 1970 Margaux, for $50. Didn’t happen. It sold for $300, to someone else.

For the record, the more eye watering prices went for the following; per bottle; plus 15% buyers premium and GST:

1 magnum Ch. Petrus 2008 – $3000 (Lot 108 pictured)

1 magnum Ch. Marguax 2005 (WA 100 pts) – $3000

1 bottle Ch Mouton Rothschild 1982 (Parker 100 pts) – $1300

1 bottle Ch. Petrus 2006 – $1250

1 bottle Ch. Lafitte Rothschild 1988 – $750

1 bottle Ch. Latour 2003 (Parker 100 pts) – $700 – one of many

1 bottle Ch. Haut Brion 1985 – a modest $400

Fuck me, those top two work out at over $400 A GLASS the way I pour.

Under what circumstances would I drink a wine like this, if I ever had the chance, and could the taste ever live up to the price commanded of it? The empty bottle would only end up in the recycling bin with all the others. Or would I put a candle in it?

The guy selling this plonk never got around to drinking any of it himself, so what does that say about acquisition practices, and how that pushes prices up?

(I’m a bit grumpy; I put a cheeky low bid on a bottle of 1991 Te Mata Estate Cabernet Merlot. Didn’t get it. And I’d wanted to put a candle in it after.)

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 28th

Nikau Pt Chardonnay 2012

Nikau Point Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2012 – $

Nikau Point hails from Epsom in Auckland, an inner-city suburb not known for it’s viticulture.

The label states “The Nikau Point range was inspired by the unique influences of Pacific culture on New Zealand”. Eh? The Pacific has no indigenous culture of winemaking that I know of.  I didn’t see any coconut (if it had been matured in American oak, maybe), so it will take more than a flax-weave pattern on the label to pull that claim off.

The wine is pale yellow. A young, light and fruity chardonnay, I taste a hint of nuttiness and kids cordial; with peppery acidity to finish. Not much to the nose. After the Dashwood chardonnay I enjoyed earlier in the week, this does not appeal as much, but it offers value. I’ll should chill what’s left way down and find a pacifica-themed BBQ to knock it back at. While playing a ukelele.