What’s in the glass tonight April 28th

Johner Pinot Noir Rose 2013

Johner Wairarapa Pinot Noir Rosé 2013 – $$

I really like the current pinot noir from this producer. I have tried it a couple of times and rate it as a winner in the value category. So I was intrigued to buy this pinot rosé for L, who is a rosé enthusiast.

She didn’t like it much. Her comment was ‘astringent’.

It shows a pinot character on the nose. 14.5% gives it a kick, and contributes to a level of heat in the mouth. I taste interesting cucumber, and cranberry, in the glass, but it is a deeper pink colour, and stronger flavoured than the style I am used to. There is also a bitter finish that I feel stops it being an easy-drinking rosé. Which of course is the point of rosé, really. 2


The word above is Te Reo Maori for two hundred.

This is the 200th post on my blog site whatsintheglasstonight.com. Deux centième.

Two hundred times I have sat here thinking about what to write, and wondering who I am writing for.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff, and thanks for following my site! I really appreciate it.

He konei ra.

d d b

What’s in the glass on ANZAC Day, Lest We Forget

Te Mata Bullnose 2008

From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Bullnose Syrah Hawkes Bay 2008 – $$$+

J+R invited L and I to their house tonight for dinner, and to check out progress on the building of an extension on the back of their house. I raided the cellar to select their preference – a syrah.

The extension was nicely planned. I really liked the big sliding doors they have opening out on to a new deck area. They face the rising sun, and will admit lovely morning light into a new lounge area in front of the girl’s bedrooms.

The dinner was delicious too – med rare lamb rack, mash and beans. With gluten free bread pudding and vanilla bean icecream for afters!

This wine was superb with dinner. Dark inky carmine colour. Intense aromatics, all smoky and brambly fruit. Dense in the mouth, packed with mature dark berry flavours and spice. Balanced and even structure, not textural or tannic. Mouthcoating. Plenty of depth and length. A grunty syrah. 5

Straight to the Pool Room – April 2014

Pool Room April 2014

A couple of bottles of a wine I liked at the Te Mata Showcase Tasting 2014 (see March 28), on special at Glengarry:

Te Mata Estate Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$ – having just opened a bottle, I’d say this wine would improve for laying down ‘til 2016/2017

What’s in the glass tonight April 24th

Te Mata Estate Syrah 2013

Te Mata Estate Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$

I first tasted this wine at this year’s Te Mata Showcase. I enjoyed it more than the feted Bullnose Syrah of the same vintage from the same producer served later at the same tasting.

The wine is coloured a quite lovely shade of dark pinky-purple. 13%. Lightly scented. Ripe dark berries. Licorice. In the mouth more dark berry flavours, hint of smoke and pepper, drying tannins, not a blockbuster but a good weighted syrah for this price. The longer the wine sat in the glass the more it opened up, got fruitier, and gained a smoother mouthfeel. It went really well with L’ s homemade pizzas!

I would buy this again for the colour alone.  4

A special tasting of 1978 Red Wines


In early April, Geoff Kelly presided over a library tasting of wines from 1978, plucked from his own cellar, and hosted by Regional Wines. Mainly from France, the list included Ch. Margaux, Ch. Palmer and Vieux Telegraphe, and there were two wines from California and Italy also.

I know very little about French wines, never mind from the very fine end of the spectrum, and so I was looking forward to it very much. I am beginning to truly love and appreciate old wine, so this opportunity was one to greatly anticipate beforehand, and treasure in the memory afterwards. As a bonus L was able to come along to share the experience with me.

Geoff presented all the wines blind, and decanted them into bagged bottles. He arranged them in order stylistically so that the wines followed each other in the most complimentary fashion possible.

The bottles were then passed from hand to hand around the room in a stately procession for us to measure and pour into our tasting glasses. We were asked to examine the wines at leisure, then discuss our impressions, and vote for our best and worst wines, and guess what region they hailed from.

What I write below is collated from what I thought of them, and what others thought, before and after the wines were finally identified. I’m not going to embarrass myself by attempting a score or valuation, other than to identify the wines I thought were wonderful.

And so the fun began…


1978 Ch Montrose, Second Growth, St Estephe, Bordeaux – burnt brick red colour; on the nose – musty, dappled, dusty barn, hints of cassis and cedar throughout; light and metallic in the mouth, running out of fruit. An inauspicious start?

1978 Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy – dark brown-orange burnt brick; strong nose of mature fruit, soft bouquet, fading florals; lovely and crisp and elegant and mouthwatering to taste, burnt caramel. This was more like it!

1978 Pio Cesare Barolo, Piedmont, Italy – dark brown red; bouquet of black fruit with touch of aniseed, peppermint balls, star anise; to drink: bracing and tannic with spicy rich fruit, casserole notes, and tar. I loved this wine. Rated it my favourite of the night. Others agreed. More please. 5

1978 Ch Trotanoy, top few of Pomerol, Bordeaux – brown red; musty rich nose, tawny, burgundian pinot noir characters, lots of bouquet; in the mouth it was savoury and gamey, long and rich, mouthcoating, with spice at the finish. Merlot dominant, fine texture. Very good. I could get to like this.

1978 Guigal Gigondas, Southern Rhone Valley – magenta brown brick; lighter nose of pink blossom, peppermint. It was delicious in the mouth – balanced and fruity. Amazing for 35yrs! Included a proportion of the very tannic mourvedre grape. GK liked this very much also.

1978 Ch Leoville Las Cases, Second Growth, St Julien, Bordeaux – scarlet brick; herbaceous, vegetal bouquet, with cedar; thin and backward, metallic where the fruit has receded, acidic finish. Too much acid / oak. I would say no to a refill of this one.

1978 Cuvaison Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California – GK bought this off the proprietor before that years labels were printed – hence the hand-written year date on the bottle! Deep brown magenta colour; a bold dark fruit bouquet showing hints of chalk and empty schoolrooms; strong rich fruit flavours, almost jammy, but in a good way, dark plums and prunes, absolutely first rate. 5

1978 Ch Pichon Lalande, Second Growth, Pauillac, Bordeaux – hints of biscuits and a certain degree of oxidation, leathery bouquet; in the mouth, along with delicious fruit, I saw meaty casserole characters here.

1978 Jaboulet Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cedres, Southern Rhone Valley – Gorgeous aged fruit bouquet on this one; fruit-rich, elegant, poised, very delicious to taste. A pretty wine, one of the highlights of the tasting. One of the top wines in the room, and my second-equal favourite. 5

1978 Ch Palmer, Third Growth, Margaux, Bordeaux – Gorgeous, restrained mature nose; balanced, lovely fruit is retained here, no dustiness at all. Superb. 5

1978 Ch Margaux, First Growth, Margaux, Bordeaux – dark magenta brown brick; nose of dense red fruits, soap and wood shavings; this wine was delicious and zingy and fruitful, with red fruits on palate, and cassis. Amazingly still youthful to taste! And I could have smelled it all night (along with the Barolo!). A wonder, and my second favourite wine. From Wikipedia: By the time of Mentzelopoulos’ death in 1980, Château Margaux was considered substantially restored to its former reputation, with the 1978 and 1979 vintages declared “exceptional” No surprises here really, eh? 5

1978 Dom. Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Southern Rhone Valley – Dark red brick; meaty bouquet, hint of doctors waiting room; rich fruit character, lovely and vibrant, with lots of tannins and structure, some casserole characters later. What a good way to finish!

Wow. What an experience. These wines, to my mind, were mostly amazing. A real education for my palate. I’d never think wines of such age (35 years) could still taste so fresh, and delicious, yet have the complexity from all that age to complement and enhance the fruit character. Now I know why writers make such a big deal about some of these wines. I was really glad to drink the Margaux – my first premier cru.

To Geoff Kelly: thanks very much!

For Geoff’s own recording of the evening please see his website:


What’s in the glass tonight April 20th


From the Cellar: Haha Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 -$

We are back from my ski club working bee. A hard weekend of work. L is new to the club and was thrown in at the deep end of cleaning…I was in the kitchen pretending to be a Masterchef contestant and helping feed 40-odd workers…Lots of fun and the kids all has a blast.

And we still have another day of Easter holiday to enjoy!

No wine in the house save what’s in the cellar…the supermarkets are closed what with it being Easter Sunday. L cooked a lovely chicken dish with Moroccan sauce, spinach and pasta. Here’s a treat…

And my beloved Liverpool is playing Norwich as I write…one hand on the Premier League title? And Sterling scores inside 4mins!!!!

This wine is pale pale green yellow. 13.6%. Eh? .6 is a bit precise counting, what?

An enveloping and very engaging open nose of Packham pears, grass and Golden Delicious apples.

Bold citrus and apples and tom stalk in the mouth. Green dew-wet grass at the back. I recalled I reviewed this wine when it first emerged from the cocoon back in the day. The zingy-ness and exuberance I saw then has sat back, but is more than replaced with, and improved by, balance and good mouthfeel. I should keep a few more savs under anaeshetic…4

What’s in the glass tonight April 17th


From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Dry Riesling 2010 – $

This wine was lauded back in the day. I bought a brace or three. First bottle opened. I haven’t picked the best night to drink this. Outside blows the first of Wellington’s early winter storms…

Pale green straw. 12.5%. Pears meet melons meet citrus on nose. Emerging Riesling ‘chem-trail’ age characters starting to show. Classy.

Bright fresh fruit acidity on palate. Bracing and zippy. Pleasant weight and finish. Moreish. Went surprisingly well with the fruit and butter of my Hot X Buns. 3+

Happy Easter!

What’s in the glass tonight April 14th


From the Cellar: Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2008 – $$$

One of the best wines from the Pool Room. I’ve been saving it for a proper occasion and nothing gets more proper than marking the time when L and I completed our first DIY project together!

i tried this wine last year at an Ata Rangi tasting and was blown away by its purity and strong expression of premium Mbo Pinot.

Almost black carmine colour. 13.5%. Dense bouquet of spice, dark cherries and wet forest. Wonderful concentration of rich fruit flavours, black currants . Perfect balance of spice notes and ripe fruit and catchy tannins. Long finish. Top drop. 



What’s in the glass tonight April 13th



Framingham Marlborough Montepulciano 2009 – $$$

The wheels came off this one I fear. I have no experience with this variety so it’s difficult to know what to expect. I had high hopes though…

The colour looked promising. Black plum colour. 13%. But there was no enticing aroma from the glass.

The wine was thin and watery in the mouth. Even after sitting it a while to open up it remained lifeless and metallic. No richness. No ripeness.

I kept the bottle for a few days and it wasn’t until the third day that it started showing some of the cherries, tar and spice it claimed on the tin. Too little too late. 2