What’s in the glass tonight June 28th

Fromm Brancott Pinot Noir 2009

From the Cellar: Fromm Brancott Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 – $$$

I bought this at the winery on a visit after the Graperide in 2013. The native Wine Label Weevil has since had a good go at the label front and back. Weird, that hasn’t happened before…

Dark carmine. 14%.

Beautifully aromatic with forward, elegant florality. Dense fruit character, red cherries, and hints of oak and vanilla and spice.

On palate; red cherries, very smooth mouthfeel, fine tannins, well integrated with balance and dense fruit weight. A long finish with that typical Pinot ‘burr’. Abso superb.

FYI James Suckling gave this a 95.


What’s in the glass tonight June 27th

Pecorino Biologico 2013

Off Topic: Jasci & Marchesani Pecorino Biologico Abruzzo 2013 – $$

Abruzzo Pecorino Superiore. Brilliant yellow gold. 13.5%.

The Pecorino grape was brought back from extinction in the ’80’s, much like the dinosaurs were by the scientists working at Jurassic Park. It is named for the wandering sheep pecor rather than the cheese..

This Italian wine is imported by an old acquaintance of mine. I tried it at an instore tasting, liked, and thought it might appeal to L and wean her off the rosé…

Distinctive nose of apricots, spice, austere minerals and blue cheese.

In the mouth it is sweet and slightly spritzy. There are strong flavours of oranges and mandarins, dried apricots, golden apples and spic. Really nice.

VG 4

Straight to the Pool Room – June 2015

Le Sol 2013

This has been lauded by a few critics as the outstanding wine from an outstanding vintage. It may well prove to be the finest bottle of plonk I possess in my cellar:

Craggy Range Le Sol Gimblett Gravels Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$$+ – Drink 2018-21

I’m not gonna let the vagaries of my cellar affect this wine. It’s getting necked in ’18.

NZ wine critic Raymond Chan sez, The depth and penetration is a feature. The wine follows a very flowery tannin line, the extraction significant, but refined. The acidity is perfectly integrated, and the palate has tension and drive that carries the flavours to a very long, rich and elegant finish. This is the most beautifully refined ‘Le Sol’ to date. It has elegance and finesse, with intense black fruits, minerals, florals, earth and spices.”



L surprised me with a short holiday in Fiji. Well, not really a surprise – I had known that we were going somewhere, just not where. I had suspected Sydney…

…And the reason wasn’t a surprise either. I asked L to marry me, and she said yes! I am a very proud man. And so, this trip was a short one in celebration, in advance of the wedding itself.

A good friend gifted us cash for a bottle of Champagne to take along with us. L chose a bottle of Ruinart…

Ruinart Blanc de Blanc

Off Topic: Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Brut NV Rheims

Fresh citrus nose, toastiness, fine bubbles and creaminess. Yum.

Fiji Beer

Otherwise I drank Fiji Premium lager beer. 5.2%. Works with oysters.

Broken Shackle Dry White

One night I had a glass of Broken Shackle Dry White Wine. A blend of perhaps NZ Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  Sounds like it should have been terrible, but everything tastes great on holiday on the Western shore of Viti Levu.

Fire Dance Fiji

I even had a couple of cups of Grog, or Fijian Kava. Happy clappy. It made my lips go numb.

Happy days.

Alas, I was also fed a local strain of Campylobacter, so my time since back in NZ has been somewhat uncomfortable for me, and for those close by…

Gone Fishing

Fishing trip 1

Wairau Valley Wines cellar door tasting

A bunch of mates and I went fishing down the Marlborough Sounds recently. I had an absolute blast!

We took the Bluebridge ferry over on the Friday, and checked out Wairau Valley Family Estate, a Marlborough vineyard, for lunch and a wine tasting before getting on the MV Tory for the run out to Furneaux Lodge on Endeavour Inlet.

The staff at Wairau Valley were very hospitable. The ferry was late leaving Wellington and so we were late getting out to the vineyard. Nevertheless we were made welcome and had a great meal and got to taste a whole bunch of attractive wines. Some of my highlights:

From their Estate range:

2014 Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc – elegant, refined, with fresh fruit and bracing acids, a classic Marlb. Savvy. Good served at room temp.

2014 Wairau Valley Albarino – I loved this: delicate floral characters, lemon blossom, green apples, white peach, citrus and elegant minerality.

2014 Wairau Valley Pinot Gris – nice: steely, light fruit, but flavoursome with pears and vanilla.

From their Reserve Range:

2014 Wairau Valley Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – clean and fresh and more complex that the Estate, fresh herbs, passionfruit. An intriguing salt note.

2013 Wairau Valley Reserve Syrah – Dense, tannic, with blackberries and notes of grapefruit and lemon, leather, and black pepper.

2013 Wairau Valley Reserve Pinot Noir – My fav: complexity. Generous fruit. Lovely floral nose. Soft and elegant. Black cherries. Long finish. I drank this with lunch. Yum.

2012 Wairau Valley Botrytised Riesling – sweet delight, Turkish delight. Long nd sweet and warm. Delish.

We then went to a bottlestore, bought a few boxes of beers, and jumped in the boat. The next day we went fishing and caught a boat load of Blue Cod, Tarakihi, Gurnard, Red Cod and a few Barracudas, Carpet Sharks, Parrotfish and a Spotty!

Good times!

Fishing trip 2

What’s in the glass tonight June 17th

Oyster Bay Chardonnay 2013

Oyster Bay Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $

I can’t believe that I haven’t reviewed this supermarket staple and export leader yet. L asked me before, haven’t you blogged about every wine by now? Ummm, not yet. That’s all the  fun…

Bright brilliant gold. 13.5% alc. A slight nose.

Light, fresh and fruity bouquet. Lots of citrus leading on the palate, and notes of Golden Delicious apples and oranges. Luscious and mouthwatering. Toffee finish. Approachable, dependable. Good value for the $.

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight June 15th

Te Motu PN 2009

From the Cellar: Te Motu Pinot Noir Waiheke 2009

This bottle was a business Christmas gift to me from a firm who went belly-up not to much later. A shame, that.

This wine is produced by the Dunleavy family out of their vineyard in the Onetangi Valley on Waiheke Island situated off the coast of Auckland.

The vineyard’s name ‘Te Motu’ comes from the original Maori name for Waiheke, Te Motu­Arai­Roa (‘island of long shelter’).One of Te Motu vineyard’s boundaries is formed by the Rangihoua creek, which flows into an inlet of Putiki Bay.The inlet was named by Tamatekapua – captain of the Maori canoe Te Arawa – because it was his first landfall in the long voyage from Hawaiiki. There, Te Arawa was re-­lashed before continuing on to its final landing place at Maketu in the Bay of Plenty.

This Pinot Noir is a light carmine colour. 14% alc.

It was very floral. I saw Boronia, red cherries, Rewa Rewa flowers, honey, salt and raspberry lollies. Lovely.

In the mouth I tasted dense fruit flavours of red cherries. It was spicy on the mid palate, with good acid, silky tannins and a long finish. In a word, luscious.

It did start out a bit oxidised and i thought, uh-oh, I have left this alone for too long. But it opened out in the glass during the evening (and in the bottle overnight) and sorted itself out very nicely.

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight June 14th

Babich Family Reserve Chardonnay 2014

Babich Wines Family Reserve Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2014

The Babich family will be celebrating 100 years of winemaking in New Zealand in 2016. Also, the patriarch, Joe Babich, became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 for his services to the New Zealand wine industry. They have much to be very happy about at the mo.

This is an un-oaked Chardonnay. I expected Chablis-esque characters, thusly…

And so it was. Citrus and melons on the nose. Fresh peach and nectarine flavours. And a toffee finish (I have been looking for the description for the type of ‘bitter’ flavours I see jumping off the high diving board at the end). Good length. Happily quaffed.

Thanks R for leaving this bottle behind!

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight June 14th

Tuatara Iti

Tuatara Iti APA 3.3%

Imbibed while updating my cellar book. An Aotearoa Pale Ale – Apa. 3.3%.

Iti is Te reo Maori for ‘small’. This beer is a New World hop-slammin ale incorporating Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Cascade hops in the brew. Lots of hoppy characters and malt, but in a low alcohol beer (a lot of big hopped beers around here come at widow-making levels of alcohol).

A perfect session beer for when I am craving larger flavours.

What’s in the glass tonight June 10

Le Plant du Roy Malbec cahors Off Topic: Le Plant du Roy Malbec Cahors – $$

I couldn’t determine so easily what vintage this was. The award label sez 2009.

It tasted old. And thin. A bit oxidative. Red fruits but not overly fruity. Not at all as pleasurable as the last Cahors Malbec I had. A disappointment. Quelle bugger.

Not So Good 2