What’s in the glass tonight July 27th

Little Penguin Chardonnay 2011

The Little Penguin Chardonnay New Zealand 2011 

The brainchild of our current Prime Minister, we are currently going through the quixotic process of devising and selecting an alternative design for national ensign to replace our current flag. Apparently it is too similar to the Australian one, even though ours came into being slightly before theirs. We need a new one according to the Great and Good! We aren’t planning to ditch the Queen as Head of State, but that doesn’t seem to be an impediment. And never mind the diggers who fought and died under it either, so it seems.

I suspect it is all a ruse to distract us from the current TPPA negotiations, anyway. They aren’t going well for us – we are being sold a lemon I fear.

Anyway, the primary difficulty I see in this flag-change process is attempting to distill the essence of our national identity, and express it in simple shapes and colours upon a piece of rectangular cloth, the same on both sides, when we still don’t know ourselves, and are still growing as a nation, dammit. How can one thing be all things to all people?

Which brings me to this cheeky little Chardy from Treasury Wine Estates. I see no region identified on the label. Just “New Zealand”. Is this wine just a whole-of-country blend? Or is it attempting to express the very essence of NZ winemaking craft within one slender bottle? A bold idea, but it didn’t work out. We can do much better than this…

It’s yellow for a start. As piss. More than a hint of oxidation on bouquet. I would blame poor cellaring by someone for that. 12.5% alc.

It is soft in the mouth. A bit thin. A bit biscuity. Some bright citrus flavours and burnt caramel. But distinctly average.

Just Ok 2+



Church Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 – $

I have to say the CR 14 is the best yet – a really fine wine.

Great Chardy colour. Elegant nose. Robust golden stone fruit flavours. Evocative Oak burr on the mid palate.

A fantastic wine for the price. I love it.

VG 4

BTW the tasting glass pictured was lifted from from a fresh ‘n free box of 6 glasses I was given when I bought the Negociants bundle. A nice glass for sure, but better suited to more aromatic floral wines like Pinot Noir, Syrah, Riesling and S.Blanc I think.

Straight to the Pool Room – July 2015

Pool Room July 2015

Here are a selection of wines I scored from the Negociants tasting of earlier in the month:

Pra Soave Classico 2013 – $$ – Italy – Drink now, maybe next year.

Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore 2011 – $$ – Spain – Drink 2015-2018.

Beronia Rioja Reserva 2008 – $$$ – Spain – Drink 2015-2018.

Dom. Faiveley Gevrey Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er Cru 2011 – $$$+ – Drink 2015-2021

I am really excited to possess my first 1er cru Burgundy. Berry Bros & Rudd website notes sez of this wine: “Faiveley are the talk of Burgundy at the moment, a change of generation with Erwan Faiveley now in charge has resulted in a change of style since 2007 (the old style was often very tannic). I have to say I love the new style and the famous Gevrey Premier Cru vineyard of Cazetiers epitomises it. Beautiful lifted nose, with red cherry and some bramble fruits. The palate is seamless, seductive almost, with the same red fruits showing and a lovely pepper spice finish. Burgundy of the very highest order”

What’s in the glass tonight July 20th

Big Bunch Rose 2014

Big Bunch Rosé Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$

L liked the artwork on the label – by Kiwi artist Dick Frizzell – and she bought it from Moore Wilson’s on that basis alone.

This Rosé is made by John Kemble, a Californian native who learnt his trade in Sonoma, who co-founded Kemblefield Wines in Hawkes Bay in 1992.

It has a nose of lollies, strawbs and pink roses. Strawberry flavours carry through on the palate – it’s a big, fresh, forward Rosé.

BTG 3+

Dick Frizzell

I am lucky to have three of Frizzell’s artworks myself…

Que Syrah, Syrah

French Dinner

L and I were invited to share a delicious rustic French meal at M & G’s house in the weekend. Cured meats, fine cheeses to start, then a hearty cassoulet. Yum!

I raided the Pool Room and came away with a Dom. des Espiers Gigondas 2011 I rated highly from a tasting last year, and a Bridge Pa Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2009. I loved both – the older Bridge Pa just shaded the Gigondas, even though the latter had the advantage of Gallic charm. BTVG 4+

M shared a fantastic Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the other guests brought a nice Pinot Noir, and after starting the evening with a nice glass or two of M’s home-brew beer brewed at the Occasional Brewer, I was feeling no pain by the end of the evening.

Good times with friends 🙂

What’s in the glass tonight July 17th

Esk Valley Syrah 2013

Esk Valley Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$

I have been really enjoying wines from this label this year. The 2013 Cab Merlot has been stunning, the Chardonnay has delivered beyond its price point. I thought I’d get this wine in the office order to give it a go.

Inky scarlet colour. 13.5% alc. A fresh and approachable, un-challenging red wine. Fruity on the nose, mildly earthy too with some vanilla. Soft ripe blackberry flavours, with a medium tannin profile and concentration. Mild spice.

Not wowed with this one. No faults, but a bit soft and lacking personality.

Mild is the word. G 3

What’s in the glass tonight July 11th

Pencarrow PN 2010

From the Cellar: Palliser Estate Pencarrow Pinot Noir Martinborough 2010 – $$

At the ski lodge. Prepping for dinner. Feeling tired from the first day on the piste for the season.

Slightly browning carmine. 14%.

Light aromatics. Maybe the altitude is getting in the way…

In the mouth, fruit forward and delicious. Dense. Fresh acidity still. Spice. Fine tannins.

VG 4

Drunken Laughter


From the website concreteplayground.com:

These Hard-Hitting Wine Labels Tell It Like It Is

And you thought the hangover was brutal.

Ah vino. Best paired with a fine cheese or a hearty meal, or enjoyed around the fireplace with your oh-so-classy friends. Or at least, that’s how it works in your mind. In reality, we’re more likely to be inhaling a $6 vintage straight from the goon sack, or using the discarded bottle as a microphone in our solo rendition of ‘All By Myself’ – all before stumbling woozily off to bed.

Hopefully your experience lies somewhere in the middle of those two scenarios. But the reality is that, for every bona fide sommelier out there, a large portion of the rest of us are more likely to pick our poison based on the price and how nice the label looks, as opposed to things like acidity, provenance or bouquet. And something about tannins. Those are a thing, right?

Embracing this fact, VinePair co-founder Adam Teeter (which is an excellent surname for a wine buff, by the way) has teamed up with illustrator Jeff Licciardo to produce 26 hypothetical wine labels that better reflect the average wine drinker’s true experience. Forget about drinking to forget: these vintages know you better than you know yourself, offering everything from handy pairing suggestions (“drink me with post-break-up anger and takeaway”) to positive affirmations (“yes, you’re definitely on key”) to nuggets of brutal honesty (“you’re turning into your mother”).

Look, somebody needed to tell you. At least this way you can get drunk immediately after hearing it.

For the full story follow these links:




Tri-Nations Wine Tasting

Tri nations revisited

Tri-Nations Wine Tasting with Andrew Parkinson – 1 July 2015

My mate D and I rocked up to Regional Wines for an evening tasting of fine Euro wines. Billed as a ‘Tri-nations’ tasting, we would be supping drops from France, Spain and Italy. We were hosted by Andrew Parkinson from wine importers Negociants and Richard Sherriff from RW.

A large selection of wines were pre-poured blind, starting with a flight of whites. The selection included:

Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2013, Pra Soave Classico 2013, Vinas del Vero Garnacha Blanca, Finca Constancia Tempranillo Parcela 23 ’13, Santa Christina Chianti Sup. 2011, Dom. Lafite Bordeaux Rouge 2013, Guigal Crozes Hermitage 2011, Beronia Roioja Reserva 2008, Prunotto Nebiolo 2010, Isole o Olena Cepparello 2010, Faiveley Gevrey Chamb. Les Caz. PC 2011, Pintia Vega Sicilia 2008

Here are my favs, and what were ordered for the Pool Room:

Pra Soave Classico 2013 – $$ – Italy – A smokey oaky mealy nose, like a Chardonnay. Fruity and light. Citrus flavours. It builds on the palate, textural. Fairly smelly to start, but it blows off. Very pleasant. I like.

Finca Constancia Tempranillo Parcela 23 2013 – $$ – Spain – A lovely purple wine. Choc and vanilla. Lots of black fruits and plums. Rich and enveloping. Tempranillo fruit in 100% new oak. Age-worthy.

Beronia Rioja Reserva 2008 – $$$ – Spain – Sweet lovely licorice flavours. Vanilla. Lifted aromas. Tannic. Rich and fruit-filled. Some coconut. Yum. Cos Tempranillo.

Dom. Faiveley Gevrey Chamb. Les Cazietiers 1er Cru 2011 – $$$+ – France – I was proud to guess this as a Burgundy. I even thought it was a Faiveley Les Caz as well…Delicious. Pretty. Soft and supple. Very expressive wine. Dark cherries. Beautifully perfumed. Nice tannic line. Happy to have.

What a fun tasting. Glad to have tried a Soave for the first time, and the powerful amazing Pintia from Vega Sicilia, and be re-acquainted with the delish Faiveley Les Caz…

What’s in the glass tonight July 9th

Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2009

From the Cellar: Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – $$$+

We are super excited tonight.

The two youngest kids are crawling around pretending to be cats. The eldest is at a birthday party. It is very cold out. A southerly storm is blowing up the country and snow is falling everywhere.

We are packing to go on the first ski weekend of the new season…yay! Thursday nights at this time are always a bit stressful. We have to haul the ski gear out from under the house. Fit the roofbox to the car. Make sure everyone has packed everything they need for a weekend on the slopes. And we need A LOT OF STUFF…

So, get this treasured bottle out from the cellar and toast the season!

L and I bought it a few years ago from the cellar door when we were down in Marlborough for the Graperide. 14%. Sunlit golden colour. Magic.

Brilliant bouquet of gooseberry, lemon zest, lime and crisp apple.

Oaked and age-softened in the mouth. Balanced acidity and fresh fruit. Mouthwatering and zesty, but shows perfect restraint. Not too brash. A burst of sunshine smiles on an auspicious night.

Outstanding 5