What’s in the glass today November 29th


Trinity Hill Chardonnay Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay 2012 – $$$

Sitting on the deck of our Motel overlooking Lake Taupo. I finished this years 160km Cycle Challenge in a time of 4hrs 55mins. A PB. I am very happy. And tired. So won’t say much about this wine except it is deserved!

What’s in the glass tonight November 24th, 25th

Ogier Heritage CdR 2012

Off Topic: Ogier Heritages Cotes du Rhone 2012 – $$

Just in case a bunch of friends wanted to come over to ours after the party, I laid in a couple of extra bottles. This was one. I’m certainly no expert on CdRs, but I am getting to like ‘em.

This wine presented in the glass the colour of black purple, the sort of colour you might get in water used to rinse the brushes your daughter uses when she spends the whole afternoon painting watercolour pictures of flowers, bees, and My Little Ponies.

14%. Somewhat fleshy nose, savoury, reductive.

Soft rounded ripe fruit. A Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre blend. Easy, pleasant drinking. Magic with our meaty pasta. It held up well over two days without thinning out. 3+

And the picture was some random, somewhat ugly Japanese picture I found in an opshop for a few $. Office party Secret Santa ahoy!

Straight to the Pool Room – November 2014

Pool Room Nov 2014

A small selection of leftovers from the big party, and a couple of gifts:

Moët & Chandon NV – drink 2015-2017. Gift. Not sure of the disgorgement date. Going to hold on to it until Christmas Day I expect and share it with L and our parents. I don’t drink enough good bubbles!

Chateau Teyssier St Emilion Grand Cru 2010 – drink 2015-2020. A gift from a good friend. High 80s points I think.

Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir Waipara 2013 – drink 2016-2017. Not built for that long a hibernation I think but worth a punt.

Framingham Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 – drink 2015-2017.

I have a short list of value NZ 2013s I still want to collect before the year is out, so may add to the Pool Room shortly.


What’s in the glass tonight November 23rd

Pedro Ximenez

Leaving the Reservation: Barbadillo Pedro Ximenez Cherry Jerez

Last night was my 50th birthday celebration. I was very lucky to have so many of my wonderful family and friends there to help me celebrate it. It was a blast – great food, great music, wine, dancing and lots of laughs. My lovely L was there to support me, with her two boys, and also my own gorgeous daughter LG was there too, who gave a lovely speech with the cutest joke, “what did the burglar do at the birthday party: he stole the show”. Heh.

The day after, I am surveying a couple of gifts I was given by very generous friends who chose to ignore the “presence; no presents” rule.

First up the Pedro Ximinez sherry. At 19% it conceals a fist in a calfskin glove. Super sweet. Strong taste of dried dates. Very nice. This I will keep coming back to as an after dinner digestif.


Patron XO Cafe Dark Coffee Liqueur with Silver Patron Tequila, Mexico

At 30%, this one has a message in the bottle, and to quote Monty Python, that message is beware.

Lots of dark choc on the nose and on the palate. Tequila bursts through the cocoa and delivers quite a punch. Warmth spreads through the mouth. Similar to Baileys but stronger.

Great with coffee and ice cream.

What’s in the glass tonight November 18th

Vidal HB Merlot Cab 2007

From the Cellar: Vidal Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay  2007 – $

This was recommended by The Listener wine column way back in the day. I bought a brace of bottles for $13 each at the time and tried one two years ago. My notes suggested that I open this one now.

14% alcohol. Inky black with bricking magenta at the rim. Wonder aroma lifts from the glass. Heady, warm and rich. I see plums, cassis, dark chocolate and cedar wood. Gorgeous.

In the mouth there are ripe plums, supple tannins. Chocolate. Fruit is receding. Striking acid front. Very tasty wine that improves as it sits with air. Superb value. 4+

I left a glass in the bottle overnight to see how it went the next day. It didn’t hold up well. The depth of fruit was not capable of handling the extra air. But as a value wine should have I expected it to?

Good with the roast I cooked for dinner, and the first of the summer’s rocket salad from the vege garden.

What’s in the glass tonight November 9th

Blackenbrook Nelson Muscat 2011

Blackenbrook Muscat Nelson 2011 – $$

This was the second bottle I bought at the instore tasting of Blackenbrook wines hosted by proprietor Ursula Schwarzenbach. It was the last bottle in the shop, left over from last year’s tasting. I remarked to Ursula that I recalled tasting the wine a year ago and really liking it. So I had to take it when it was brought out.

The wine is produced from the Muscat Ottonel clone. I know zero about this grape variety.

Jancis Robinson sheds some light: The Muscat grape may not be thought of as one of the great international classics but its history is many times longer than that of such newcomers as Cabernet Sauvignon for example. It was almost certainly the grape variety referred to by writers in classical times as being particularly attractive to insects for its heady smell and impressive ripeness. Muscat grapes are also distinguished by, uniquely, producing wines that actually taste and smell of grapes. But, as one might expect of a grape variety known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Muscat family is particularly diverse and ramified.

[ ] the third member of the Muscat family, Muscat Ottonel, predominates in the old Hapsburg empire in eastern Europe (whereas Muscat Blanc or Tamyanka in Russian was the Muscat of choice in the old Russian empire, as ancient and long-lived Muscats of several colours from the Massandra imperial winery in Yalta attest).”

We opened this bottle as we pored over new car brochures and finalised the drinks order for my birthday party.

14%. Light Gold. Picked at 23.4 Brix.

Refreshly aromatic with essences of pears and field honey. In the mouth it was light and spicy, medium-dry, bursting with joyful ripe grape-y flavours. A real delight. It went really well with L’s stir-fry prawns. 4



What’s in the glass tonight November 8th

Blackenbrook Nelson Pinot Gris 2014

Blackenbrook Pinot Gris Nelson 2013 – $$

In the weekend I checked out an instore tasting of Blackenbrook wines hosted by proprietor Ursula Schwarzenbach. They are building a nice rep for aromatic white wines – I tried their current releases of sav blanc, gewurtz, chard, rose and pinot noir, but selected this wine for the table tonight…

Pale yellow in the glass. 14.5% and very long legged.

Lovely lifted aromatics. Hints of spice, peach and stone fruit blossom.

This is a powerful Gris. Loads of flavour, fresh, and really packs a fruit punch. Peaches, pears in the mouth, along with golden delicious apples. Honey and spice tickle the back of the throat. Long. Really good. 4+

This was awarded Champion Wine in Class at the Bragato Wine Awards 2014.


What’s in the glass tonight November 7th

Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2013

Waimea Estate Chardonnay Nelson 2013 – $

This was picked up from the Realm bottlestore, where I had a spirited conversation with the friendly proprietor about the thin selection of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs on sale. This wine looked the best bet for the evening’s quaffage:

13.5%. Bright yellow gold. The label’s claims are quite florid: Aromas of jasmine, lemon meringue, and a whisper of oak draw you in and are followed on the palate by fleshy, ripe citrus and a hint of peach. Meshed together, and drawn out to a long finish by a fine minerality and a pleasing creaminess.

In my opinion: simple, and somewhat fat. You couldn’t get much more oak in it if you’d nailed a plank to the side of the glass. More of a shout that a whisper. And it’s very bold on the malo. If I’d wanted as much dairy character I’d drink yoghurt. And I didn’t see as much minerality as was claimed. I don’t know how Wine Orbit scored this 93 points.

But anyway, I’m thirsty, and it shows pleasing apricots and some tannins and it’s ok to drink. 3.

It also looked much better the following day with some of the bolder notes rubbed out by in-bottle exposure to more air.


What’s in the glass tonight November 2nd

Kumeu Villages Chardonnay 2012

Kumeu Villages Chardonnay Kumeu 2012 – $

Here I am taking for a test-drive another wine selected for serving at my 50th birthday party:

From Kumeu River. Hand-harvested. 13% alcohol. Pale gold.

Honeyed-malo notes and fresh apricots on bouquet. There is enough citrus character to prevent the solid body evident in the aroma from being cloying or fat. It feels simply-handled in the winery.

Medium-weight to drink, with typical ripe golden stonefruit flavours. There is plenty of oak influence which shows itself on the back of the palate. Easy and rewarding to drink, well put together as I expected, and a good bet. 3+