What’s in the glass tonight July 25th


Mulled wine made from The Pilot by Alpha Domus, Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2011

First night of the winter season at our ski club. A very cold day on the slopes. -18 deg with wind chill about the tops. Homemade mulled wine required for recovery. Very nice. Warm spicy and rich. Yum.


What’s been in the glass lately

2013 Ch-Ch-Cheap Chardys 2013 Cont’d – $

Another round of value Chardonnays wines from the 2013 vintage…

Mud House Marlborough Chard 2013

Mudhouse Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 – $

Very pale. 13%. Citrus dominates the nose. The flavours are clean and ripe and approachable, with touch of vanilla. Grapefuit acidity and green apple. Lacking a bit of character. Nothing particularly memorable. 3

Tony Bish Fat N Sassy Chardonnay 2013

Tony Bish Fat ‘N Sassy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 – $$

Pale yellow. 13.5%. Peaches, malo and oak nose; fresh. Ripe full fruit in the mouth; creaminess; butterscotch on the middle palate. This is more robust than other value ‘13s I have tasted so far. An attempt at the fatter style for a leaner price. I do see some bitterness at the finish; is this owing to less extract or is it a bit young yet? 3+

Sacred Hill Chardonnay 2013

Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 – $

This is Tony Bish’s standard Chardonnay offering out of Sacred Hill – producers of the wonderful Rifleman Chardonnay.

This is a white gold colour. 13%. Warm bouquet of tropical mangoes, peaches and citrus. Primary in the mouth. Ripe and creamy explosion of fruit to taste. Medium weight. Quite sweet. Vanilla from the French oak. Creaminess from the malolactic fermentation and lees stirring.

A bold style of chardonnay, fruit forward, with some power. There is weight in the mid-palate. I like it better than previous vintages. 3+

Stoneleigh Chardonnay 2013

Hmmm…so having tried a few of the cheaper wines of the vintage now, I have to say the clear winner so far, for taste and value, is the Stoneleigh Marlborough Chardonnay 2013. Picking this up at your local supermarket at $12 or so marks outstanding value. I will be putting a brace of these away in the Pool Room…

Straight to the Pool Room – July 2014

Churton Pinot Noir 2011

A while back, at the conclusion of an enjoyable session tasting several Burgundies, I was introduced to this Marlborough Pinot, available for a ridiculous price via Blackmarket.co.nz…

Churton Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011 – $ – drink 2015-2017. from an small organic and biodynamic producer. Various critics have given this wine 4.5 stars, 90/100 etc. Fantastic value.


Several Burgundies, a Puligny-Montrachet and an impressive Marlborough Pinot


I met HD, a fellow wine-enthusiast, and top-notch wine writer, at one of Geoff Kelly’s library tasting earlier this year. He was kind enough to invite me to various tastings he was involved with, but I always had to cry off due to family or home renovation commitments.

Embarrassed, I finally suggested we meet up for a drink. HD suggested we meet with several of his friends, and each of us bring a bottle to taste blind, and discuss and compare. So we did. I visited a local wine store beforehand, and with the help of the fine wine buyer, selected a bottle that would be interesting to the group, and popped it into a bag…

Now these guys turned out to be Burgundy obsessives, in the nicest possible way of course. They just love their burgs. They had just completed a tour together of Burgundy where they had arranged many appointments with producers, and thus tasted their way around the district. And made a souvenir booklet from the trip complete with maps and tasting notes. Wow. I was in for a treat.

We started with a white…

Domaine Vincent Giradin Puligny-Montrachet “Les Folatiers” 1er Cru 2010. 13.5% Now this was nice. Elegant and restrained. When asked, I guessed it as a Meursault. Wrong…

Then followed a brace of Burgundies. We attempted to guess the region, producer, vintage and climat. I was truly guessing now…

Domaine Faively Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Cazetiers” 1er Cru 2006. 13%. This was somewhat closed to us, but it still had that powerful pinot nose of rich fruit weight, cherries and wooded forest. The palate was largely primary, with firm tannins and bright fruit, and spicy notes.

Domaine Faively Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Cazetiers” 1er Cru 2007. 13%. This wine was very funky on the nose; open, involving and expressive. The wine of the night. Red fruits. Some secondary characters coming through with forest floor and leather. Just lovely and a treat to drink.

Then my wine. The crew all guessed Martinborough…

Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 – $$$ – 14%. By Kevin Judd, I loved this wine at the winemakers showcase a few weeks back. Not as developed as the burgs, but it shares their power. Very floral nose, and red fruit-rich in the mouth. This drank very well on the night, and superbly the following day. 5

What’s in the glass tonight at Waikuku Lodge July 19th


From the Cellar: Church Road Cuvé Syrah 2004 – $$

I took this auction bottle with me when I went with L and the kids to stay at the DOC hut Waikuku Lodge with a bunch of friends and their children. We spend the weekend cooking, eating, walking, playing pooh-sticks with homemade toy boats, playing board games, reading and keeping the fire going to keep the winter chill at bay.

The wine was a tawny dark magenta, browning around the rim. It had a rich and involving bouquet overlaid with blackberries and violets, leather, Port Royal tobacco, and white pepper.

Peppery spics continued in the mouth. Developed secondary tawny flavours added complexity and layers. The fruit has receded somewhat, and the wine’s body feels correspondingly thinner. Pleasant notes of licorice and vanilla. The wine opened up well in the glass overtime and became absolutely delicious. Opened at the right time in the right place. 4+




I visited Archives New Zealand looking for some old plans of a courthouse I am refurbishing, when I saw this item in a display case in the foyer…

Advice with pleasure; recipes how to make highly excellent and digestible Wines, from New Wine Yeast, rich in alcohol

From the language and typesetting I’d guess mid-fifties. The weather must have been better then, cos I can’t see anyone growing grapes in Taihape nowadays

What’s in the glass tonight July 4th


Delegat Crownthorpe Terraces Hawkes Bay Merlot 2012 – gift

A wine from the inland Hawkes Bay. From a box of goodies a supplier brought into the office last Christmas that we hadn’t managed to get to until now.

Delegats premium merlot. 13%. Dark ruby red. Cultured ferment. Full Malo. 10 months in French oak.

A flattish nose to start off, some berries, grows in the glass.

In the mouth, grippy with plums, blackberries, cinnamon, brambly. Good depth of fruit and intensity. Opened far too early. This would be stunning 5 – 8 years out. 4

What’s in the glass tonight July 3rd

Martinborough V Syrah Viognier 2009

From the cellar: Martinborough Vineyard Martinborough Syrah Viognier 2009 – $$$

Hey wow. I bought this back in the day at a Martinborough Vineyard tasting at Regional Wines. It stood out from the pack. Well, that and its sister Pinot, but I’m saving that for another day…

This is dark inky red in the glass. 14% and leggy with it. Browning slightly around the rim. Syrah blended with 4% Viognier.

Soft floral aromatic nose, with violets, licorice and vanilla.

Absolutely delicious in the mouth. Black Doris plums. Tannins with grip. White pepper. Licorice again. Rich, deep, mouthcoating, savoury, almost meaty. Did I mention long too?

Outstanding. 5

What’s in the glass tonight July 1st

Villa Maria CS Marlb Chardonnay 2013

Cheap 2013 Chardys: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 – $$

It had to happen eventually, like bears and woods, where I review the latest incarnation of the iconic VM CS Chardonnay from Marlborough. I have written about the previous three vintage releases, so I am not going to back out now.

High hopes for this.

Light gold. 13.5%. Strong peaches on bouquet; vanilla; oak. Warm honey touches to taste. Lots of oak too. Medium weight. Noticeable tannins. Reasonable ripe fruit weight. Elegant. Perhaps a little too much oak. Not sure it will improve over time, but I daresay I will be trying a few more bottles over the coming twelve months so I can test my theory out then.4

What’s in the glass tonight June 30th

Tohu SV Pinot Noir Marl 2012

Tohu Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 – $$

Maori-owned Tohu Wines is a great producer of Pinot Noir. I really enjoyed their 2010 and 2011 models, and was keen to try this latest release when I saw it discounted. No mucking about then…

Dusky carmine colour. Very Pinot. 13.5%. Spicy, savoury and edgy nose, with thyme. A good start I thought.

Medium weight. Good fruit intensity and depth. Flavours of black cherries. The oak and tannins are integrated. A fine structure, quite long, and with that pleasant Pinot ‘burn’ on the back palate. Cheers. 3+

The wine went really well with our dinner of coq a vin.