What’s in the glass tonight May 22nd

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 – $$

I really liked this wine at a NZ Pinot Noir review tasting I attended a couple of years back. I got paid, wanted a payday treat, and here was a chance to have another look, courtesy of the specials bin at Regional Wines…

Dusky carmine in the glass. 13.5%. Light floral nose, red fruits.

Red cherries in the mouth; good weight, balanced tannins. Smooth mouthfeel, slight spice. Well-built, and cellaring well. Buy this if you can’t find any Johner. 4

What’s in the glass tonight May 27th

Mission Estate HB Chardonnay 2013

2013 Cheap Chardys: Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 – $

I recall early last year listening to Nick Buck at the 2013 Te Mata showcase telling us attendees how good the 2013 Hawkes Bay vintage was looking. Commentators since have been saying the same thing:

“Some are calling the Hawke’s Bay wine vintage of 2013 the best ever, a once-in-a-lifetime vintage created by an exceptional summer. Roger Moroney asked Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association chairman Nicholas Buck what the stunning vintage meant to the wine industry and the region. Buck says, “The 2013 wine growing season is certainly a 10 out of 10 vintage for Hawke’s Bay. The long, dry, settled summer provided ideal conditions and 2013 will undoubtedly produce some of the greatest wines in Hawke’s Bay’s wine history.”

“For Tim Turvey of Clearview Estate Winery, this was the best vintage in his 30 years of winemaking. “2013 will be the Hawke’s Bay vintage of the century; it’s been perfect across all varieties.”

Tony Bish of Sacred Hill makes the same claim for his 32 years’ winemaking in New Zealand. He believes the 2013 vintage will be one that “people drink and talk about for the next 20 years.. the ‘best in living memory… the stuff legends are made of’..”

“Overall, the wines that will be rolling out in two to four years’ time will have people talking about Hawke’s Bay, and our suitability for producing later ripening reds and chardonnays, for years. It’s going to be good for wine drinkers who will be accessing better wines across the board,” says McDonald.”

So, hencely, I’ve been eagerly waiting for the ‘13s to arrive on the shelves.

However, I think it’s easy to imagine that the top wines will be good. Hell, they are often great in average years. So how about the sub-$20 drops? Will this top vintage improve some of them to the point that they could be collected in bulk, and stored for later, and for longer, and provide more rewarding enjoyment, for mere pennies? I’m going to take a good look at this category over the next few months, starting with this supermarket standard…

13%. Light yellow. Fresh nose of peaches and apricots, with a citrus zing. In the mouth the wine exhibits a light body, with freshness and ripe fruit, but shows enough austerity and acidity to give it a nice character. It’s not a fruit bomb, nor a butterball, and that’s good.

It’s a keeper. 3+

The quotes above have come via Hawkes Bay Today, The New Zealand Herald, and Decanter.com. Thanks and hat tip.

Burgundy 2011 Tasting


Burgundy 2011 Tasting with Jean-Christophe Poizat

Way back in March, I attended this tasting of 2011 Burgundy wines hosted by Regional Wines. It was tutored by the importer and negotiant Jean-Christophe Poizat, out of Auckland.

My knowledge of Burgundian wines lies somewhere between ‘bugger-all’ and ‘non- zero’, so I was very keen to get into this tasting, and educate my palate. I love Pinot Noir, but this love is parochial, and is built on my experience and tasting of only NZ wines. Therefore, I was very interested to see how local wines compare to those from the ‘home block’, so to speak, and the addition of White Burgundy to the tasting only increased the opportunity for learnings make benefit glorious nation of Kazakstan..

Jean-Christophe started off the introduction…the wines presented tonight were not to be viewed as a review of the style of B-2011, but rather an impression of 2011. We are fortunate to be seeing wines from the top 20 appellations from the region this evening…

The wines being shown tonight exhibit ‘charm and purity of expression’ (now that could mean anything). Things to consider when talking of ‘terroir’ in Burgundy is that it is a very sophisticated wine region of France. Parcels are small. The rock limestone is very close to the surface. This can impart tightness and focus to the wines. Whites can be citrusy and forward. Masculinity and austerity can be the result.

2011 was a roller coaster vintage – summer in winter and winter in summer. Ripening was all over the place, and it was a worry that pyrozine characters might be introduced by the maceration of too many ladybirds in the winery…eh? The reds do show some vegetal characters so beware…

White Flight 

Ch de Puligny Montrachet Clos du Chateau – the producer used a bulldozer to change the profile of the terroir and was de-classified down to Bourgogne Blanc for his trouble! I saw a light bouquet, fruity, tight focused and astringent, light straw colour, fresh citrus, minerality. Limestone, huh. 4

Bernard Moreau Chassagne Montrachet – Light yellow gold. Warmer, fleshier bouquet. Tropical nose. Bright fruit in mouth, precise finish, dry, clean, modern, showing delightful transparency. 4+

Sauzet Puligny Montrachet Champs Canet 1er Cru – light gold. Layered beguiling nose. Hint of spicy complexity in glass, herby, leggy. Citrus. In mouth shows austerity, skinny-ness. Old vines 55 yrs. very sophisticated. Needs food to sing. 4+

Boillot Criots-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru – Light gold. Wow. Amazing nose of licorice and Turkish delight. What power in this wine. Big, rich, bracing, clean acids, tropical notes, long finish. Quality. 4++

Red Flight

Camille Giroud Hates-Cote de Beune Au Cretot – 12%. Entry level, simple and pure, nose of sweet red fruit. Cherries primary fruit on palate. Short finish. 3.

Michel Ecard Savigny les Beaune Serpentiers 1er Cru – 13%. Herby nose. Bramble greenness. More greenness in mouth; some fruit; modern, fleshy, opens up in glass to show good extraction. 3+

Arlaud Morey St Denis – nose of sweet vanilla. A pure B. In mouth I see fruit delicacy, softness, with a backbone of tannic support. Lovely primary fruit. Rich and delicious. 4+

Drouhin-Laroze Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru – Savoury, cassis, quality. Cherries in mouth. Delicious fruit, elegant, good concentration, intensity and exuberance. 4+

Well, there you have it. Some very nice wines. Some long finishes and intense mouthfeels. The 2011 whites were good, but the reds were disappointing.

For the $$ being asked for, and the return on investment, I would have to say that kiwi wines deliver better flavour profiles and intensity, and for a much lower price. Old world wines do offer beguiling and unique bouquets and flavours, which I attribute to terroir, but I have to say, once again, that I live in a slice of paradise where I can enjoy the quality of wines we have here without bankrupting myself!





What’s in the glass tonight May 13th

Church Road HB Chardonnay 2009

From the Cellar: Church Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 – $

No wine in the house proper. Luckily we have a cellar, and this value-based purchase called out, “Drink me!

The fruit has backed off cos the oak is carrying a gun. I also see warming creamy buttery old nutty spicy characters in mouth. Butterscotch toffee. Full-bodied.

Mature biscuity nose. Vanilla. Apricots. French wood.

Bright yellow in the glass, showing some oxi evidence. 14% and leggy.

Excellent drop for the paltry sum I was extorted for back when. A big satisfied yum-thumbs-up.

Yet another bottle with a hole in the bottom… 4

What’s in the glass tonight May 7th

Millton Estate Chardonnay 2013
Millton Estate Gisborne Chardonnay 2013 – $$
I haven’t written for ages.  Been working on the house, hanging with the family, and drinking wine I have written about already. For example I’ve been enjoying Ohau Gravels Sav Blanc, Johner Pinot Noir and the go-to Church Road Chard…and procrastinating about writing up a big Burgundy tasting I attended.

In the interim, here’s something from the organic and bio-dynamic Millton Estate out of Poverty Bay. I really should buy more from these guys. The flavours they get from their wines are very appealing. But when I see the wines on the shelf I often lack the grocery budget to justify the purchase, and when I do have the cash I don’t see the wine on the shelf…typical.

Pale yellow in the glass. 13%. This is something new to me: 86% Chardonnay, 10% Viognier, 4% Marsanne. The Viognier comes through bold with the usual pears and honey but thankfully not the oiliness. I am not convinced of the success of this varietal combo.

In the mouth the wine starts off luscious and juicy, quite ripe, before showing an angular mouthdrying lemony character, with spice at the back palate. Again, not sure the heat and dryness of Viognier and the creaminess of Chardonnay are complimentary. The wine flavours want to tell me two different stories, and neither ring quite true. The wine is not big enough and lacks the ripe fruit flavours I would expect to see from a Gisborne Chardonnay. A mis-step in my opinion. I’d like to calibrate this against a single vineyard Chardonnay from them. 2+

What’s in the glass tonight April 30th

Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc 2011-2

Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – $$

I’ve written this before but I really like this wine. Good to have another bottle to see how another year has treated it.

It is starting the slow slide south, but on the plus side is showing pleasant age characters. For a start the wine is a lovely green gold colour. Open airy bouquet of pears and pink grapefruit and even Turkish delight. A feeling of sunshine and rain.

Ripe citrus on palate. Dry. Good weight and structure and acidity for this varietal.Not aggressively wince-y or grassy, which I like.  A wine suited for food or as an aperitif. 4

Stop off at the cellar door this side of Levin, people, and buy.