What’s in the glass tonight August 27th

Huntaway Reserve Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Huntaway Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2011 – $$

This has improved after a night open, and missing a glass. Yellow gold. 13.5%. It came with a dose of recommendations when I bought this bottle last year, but when I tried it at the time I didn’t think it had the legs to sleep downstairs for too long.

Warm mature nose of stonefruit.

On the palate a ripe fat style. Toasty. Secondary characters pressing through, but not too strong. Citrus finish, quite long, with oak heat on the back palate. 3+

What’s in the glass tonight August 18th


Coal Pit SV Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008

L took me away down to beautiful Queenstown for a naughty night, and for dinner with her old friend F and husband C, who flew over from Sydney for a week’s skiing. Q’town was stunning, and our meal at Josh Emmet’s Madame Woo restaurant was delish. Good call L!


I enjoyed a new wine, Coal Pit Pinot Noir 2009 from a single vineyard in the nearby Gibbston Valley. Soft mouthfeel, black cherries, herby, a touch of espresso, dates. Bottle age adds complexity. Begged a second glass. 4

& made me forget the Rabbit Ranch pinot cordial I endured earlier in the evening at another place. Too bad there was no time to ski Coronet Peak, the Remarkables or Cardrona…


What’s in the glass tonight August 16th

Dashwood Sav Blanc 2013

Dashwood Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – $

Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc is produced by Vavasour, and is part of Bill Foley’s stable of wine brands. Made from a blend of fruit from the Wairau and Awatere Valleys in Marlborough. It is quickly building a great reputation as a quality sav at a super-value price – I picked this one up for $10 a bottle.

This is the third vintage I have written about, because I have enjoyed the previous two very much. I am looking forward to seeing if it extends its run of form. Considering that this wine won a Pure-Gold award at the Air NZ Wine Awards, and from reports of the vintage, it probably will…

First off there is the light nose of cut grass, green apple and melon. Very pure and clean. Light straw colour. 13%.

Bright, fresh and dry in the mouth; as was the 2012, not as crisp as other Marl savs, being a little softer and simpler. That is not say that I don’t see some citrus and capsicum flavours, but mostly I see plenty of passionfruit and feijoa. I read elsewhere that this is an expression of the Awatere fruit. Or terroir? Balanced. A long finish. Yum. 4

I read on Cellartracker that The Drunken Cyclist, fellow wine blogger, liked it also. Good man!


Drinking & Writing

broken glass

Wine, when used exactly as directed, does what it says on the label. That’s why those Paleos invented the stuff. As a wine blogger, I tend to have a glass to hand as I write, or at the very least, have drunk one in the recent past. And it is not without psychoactive effect. So, therefore, when I am riffing about the smells of, notes of, hints of, etc, it is a little too easy to get a bit carried away. I try to be objective, but you can’t be Caesars wife every time.

A General Election is approaching and there is a lot of campaigning going on around here. Plenty of hot air rising. I try to keep abreast of the political blogs, and like a dog, I have a series of lampposts around the internet that I like to visit on a daily basis, to see what is going on, a sort of ‘beating the bounds’ , if you like. What I notice is the stream of vitriol that is spewed online in the comments section underneath the blog posts, whenever anyone dares to criticise the poster on any point. They get jumped on and severely ‘trolled’ for their temerity. I am pretty good at avoiding getting involved, but after reading some of the crap I see, my typing fingers ( both of them) develop a real itch that I battle to suppress.

I suspect those reading and writing comments have had a bit too much of the old amber liquid, or perhaps the pale straw or deep carmine liquid. Their judgement is much affected. They write things that I think in the cold light of morning they may regret. Perhaps not the sentiment, but certainly the tone…

So I say, for safety’s sake, we should all stick to safe drink-drive limits if we want to venture our opinions online…

Hammer Time


I wish

Here are a couple that got away from me at today’s Dunbar Sloan Fine Wine Auction:

An ’81 Petrus on the left, sold to someone else for $500. The ’93 on the right sold for $700. Chortle…

I left behind an cheap absentee bid for a couple of ’92 Ata Rangi Celebre’s and a 2010 Trinity Hill Homage, so we will see if I prevail…


…the next day, I didn’t…

What’s in the glass tonight August 12th


From the Cellar: Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010 – $$

Recommended by Geoff Kelly, I tried this first back in August 2012. Noted it needed time in bottle to open out more. And on the first night open today I thought exactly the same. It showed a bit closed, thin & mean. Stuck between primary and secondary. I don’t want to Thrash Decant so best to leave it to sit overnight and try again…

Which I did. Not too much of an improvement on the night before. The wine presents as largely correct. There are interesting notes and complexity. But what is lacking is the fruit weight, extract, florality and ripeness I expected. Only a 3+

What’s in the glass tonight August 8th


Leaving the reservation: Champagne Jean Marc Vigreux-Frere Brut NV

From a family owned wine grower out of Cauroy-les-Hermonville , a small village in the Champagne part of the Massif de Saint-Thierry, north of Reims. Small fruit parcels, juice sent to an Epernay establishment to “be sparkling”.

Only available via Don McLean and champagnedirect.co.nz. L bought this to celebrate her birthday, which is tomorrow. We are warming up our ski boots before the fire, as we are getting up VERY early in the morning to head up to the hill.

I enjoy Champagne perhaps once a year, so am in no position to judge this wine with any great knowledge. However this is quite good. 12% ABV. Effervescent, with nice fine lasting bubbles, French stick loaf nose; crisp apples in the mouth with a strong crusty bread finish. 3+.

What’s in the glass tonight August 5th


Main Divide Waipara Pinot Gris 2013 – $$

Sweet tropical bouquet; golden stonefruit and pears; and lots of it. 14%.

In the mouth it’s big and flavoursome. Mandarin oranges, apricots, spice & packed with sweetness. Evidence of botrytis and lees stirring. Nothing shy, retiring or anodyne about this Gris! Some great wine is emerging from of Waipara. 4

What’s in the glass tonight August 3rd


Churton Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011 – $

From an organic biodynamic winegrower. Bottle with a cork closure – becoming a rarity in the New Zealand market.

Deep ruby colour. 13.5%. A gamey, savoury nose. Red cherries; hint of glacé; some florality.

In the mouth there is rich red berry fruit flavours, packing a punch that belies the low blackmarket.co.nz price. Grippy tannins and quite muscle-y Pinot . The more it sits in the glass the more savoury this wine gets. Exhibits presence and grace.

Produce this wine from greater vine age and more dry extract and this will move into the NZ Pinot big league. 4

It’ll never catch on

Wine Loft

Wine Loft is closing down…!

I read in today’s stuff.co.nz that my fave Terrace winebar is about to be No More…

“Wine is making way for ales, stouts and lagers as craft beer bars continue to spread throughout the capital.

Williams Pub Company is starting a beer bar in The Terrace, replacing the Wine Loft, as the hospitality industry says the craft beer market is catching up with the popularity of fine wines.

The company already owns several bars in Wellington suburbs, including Gasworks in Miramar and The Khandallah Trading Company, and director Jamie Williams said its first foray into the central city would meet a gap in the market in The Terrace.

The new bar – named Bethel Woods, after the location of the Woodstock festival – would cater to the after-work trade and serve meats cooked in two specially imported smokers, Williams said.

The plan was to cater to all beer drinkers, with options from Tui through to the hardest-hitting craft creations. “You start down in something quite plain Jane and go up to a monster . . . There’s an opportunity in the market to not isolate anyone.”

There was still a demand for wine bars, but they worked better in smaller spaces, whereas the Wine Loft could hold 250 people, he said. There was also an opportunity to invite in a much wider crowd, because while wine drinkers would still visit beer bars, it often wasn’t true in reverse.

“Every day now they [the Wine Loft] have people asking is that the only beer on tap.”

Boo hoo!