What’s in the glass tonight Sept 21st

Saints Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Saints Chardonnay Gisborne 2011 – $

This wine is from the bottom shelf. Or near enough to it. It is not a wine you pull out to impress people. Indeed, to even write about it on my blog might encourage comments that I am slumming it. It will certainly not keep the vignerons of Corton-Charlemagne awake at night fearing another Judgement of Paris…

However, it was one of the first wines I ever wrote about on my blog. It started me on my journey of wine writing. I feel a bit sentimental about this product. It is cheap and one-dimensional, but I liked once. I have also learned that a wine has to really bad to be totally irredeemable, and it is also kinda hard to make a really bad wine (blame poor cellaring instead). With a bottle like this, all that can really be expected is perhaps a lack of expectation.

So, when I was building my cellar, with the idea of aging wines and seeing what a bit of age does, I thought, well, why don’t I lay down some $10 cheapies and see if it improves them? Would they oxidise and fall over? Or would they develop an interesting character? Not much to lose, I thought.

2011 wasn’t a great vintage in Gisborne. This bottle has slept long enough.

12.5% alc. Bright yellow; this might be the first hint of trouble ahead?

Funky nose. Bit burnt. Very tertiary bouquet. Toffee and caramel. Oxidative. Hard to pin down individual scents, but it is not unpleasant. It turned out to be a rewarding wine, as the effects of aging were well advanced and visible, but not faulty. It became somewhat of an intellectual exercise to try to figure it out whether it was any good.

It tasted fresher than it smelled. Golden apricots, some crisp acid character. Fine tannins. Long finish. It was more than ok.

This wine has been well-made despite the poor vintage. It will hold perhaps another year.

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 19th

Woven Stone PB 2014

Woven Stone Pinot Noir Ohau 2014 – $$

I picked this bottle up at a Levin supermarket for a bargain price of $17. The Ohau vineyard is only a few k’s south of there. Good to buy local.

We were all driving up to the snow for a weekend’s skiing, and to compete in the annual Ruapehu Ski Club Champs. LG medalled in silver, and so did N. J, L and I managed to finish safely and upright, but outside the prizes.


I recall enjoying an earlier vintage of this wine. Those grapes were sourced from a Wairarapa grower. Not sure about the provenance of these grapes, as the wine smelt like a Wairarapa pinot – savoury, with some heft – but it said Ohau on the label, The website is silent on the matter, but did report that the site was chosen due to the soil’s similarity to those of Martinborough lying on the other side of the Tararua ranges that loom up behind the vineyard.

13.5% alc. Medium carmine and brownish. A great colour.

An really attractive savoury nose with red fruits and spice.

Great to drink too. Red cherries on the front and a peppery finish. Good weight of fruit and ripeness. Fine grained tannins. Great value!

This is another wine that points to the quality of the ’14 vintage in the North Island…

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 17th

Thornbury PG 2015

Thornbury Pinot Gris Waipara 2015 – $$

Pale green-gold. 13.5%.

Pears and apples on the nose. Spicy, lifted aromatics. Quite a bold style. Nice.

Off-dry. Rich flavours of apricots and pears, fresh and sweet. Slight spicy/bitter finish – typical of PG. Once the glass warmed up I got a lovely hit of mandarin.

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 15th

VM Merlot Malbec 2011

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot Malbec Hawkes Bay 2011 – $

This bottle was really cheap at P&S. I added it to my monthly Pool Room selection back in the day. Should have Walked On By…

Deep scarlet colour. 12.5%.

Slight vegetal nose, indicates unripeness, with grass notes. Some soft red plum fruit aromas.

Red fruits in the mouth; a bit thin, light. Fine tannins, not much structure, no boldness. Malbec typicity does show, but not enough. A cooking wine.


What’s in the glass tonight September 12th

Rolling Shiraz 2013

Rolling Cool Climate Shiraz Central Ranges NSW 2013 – $

Spring? Jeez, it’s a bit too cold around the parts to be called ‘spring’ just yet. It’s still woodfires and red wine season…

So I bought some salmon steaks to grill with marmalade and serve with hand-cut home chips and steamed broccoli, and bought a bottle of Aussie Shiraz.

A much awarded wine it sez on the tin. 13.5%. Purple-black colour.

Smells of boysenberries and blackberries, vanilla and oak. Savoury and lush.

Soft in the mouth, rich black stonefruit flavours, hint of the Northern Rhone in style. But the Aussie giveaway is the brusque tannins, fresh attack and spicy finish. Pleasant tobacco notes and spicy pepper lengthy finish. Great value!

VG 4

The 4 Horsemen of the Hopocalypse

4 Horseman 2

I re-visited Goldings Free Dive, one of the best craft beer bars in Wellington, and therefore the world 🙂 , with R and M and a bunch of mates on Friday. Supped back on a few IPAs and APAs. Finished the night with a 150ml serve of this widowmaker…

4 Horseman 1

4 Horsemen of the Hopocalypse – 14.4%

OMG. Rocket fuel. Beer, but not as I usually know it. A product of the fevered imagination of four brewers from four different breweries. This was hewed from lava at the Hallertau Brewery. Hops plus. Marmalade flavours. Marmalade with sherry flavours. Over alc’d and cloying. Too sweet. Worth a try but it won’t divert me from my love of a bitter hop’d brew 🙂

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 5th

Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2010

An old boss of L’s was over from Aussie on holiday with a mate of his. They came to our house for dinner. P had been the food and beverage manager at an exclusive Sydney golf club where L worked back in the day before golfers all became cyclists.

He taught L all he knew about wine. He ran tasting courses. And was doing a bit of a wine tour of NZ. So I was under a bit of notice you could imagine…

…therefore, I started things off by serving us all Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2013 before dinner. My WOTY for 2014. And again it was stellar as usual. Singular, distinctive nose.  So elegant. Beautiful on palate. O for awesome.

I then followed this up with a bottle from the cellar: Kumeu River Village Chardonnay Auckland 2010. This had rounded and softened nicely, but with a great acid base. Great drinking. Top value. Funnily enough I am off to a KR vs White Burgundy tasting soon. Keen to see how the 2013s are shaping up…

L had a great evening catching up with her friend. She misses Australia at times, and her friends over there, so I was really pleased seeing her happy.

P left us with a nice bottle of Eight Carat Shiraz McLaren Vale 2012 for opening another time…thanks! See you the next time you are over I hope.

What’s in the glass tonight September 4th


Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Avery Vineyard Marlborough 2014 – $$

This is an interesting experiment.

I opened this wine a week ago. I took only a tiny glass from it, then sealed it up, left it in the work fridge, and walked away. And now I’m back. Stool pigeon! Cha cha cha cha…

Pale green brilliantine straw. 13% alc.

The wine is clearly not in its full flush of youth – i.e. just opened. But it is good. It comes across as a softer style of Sauvignon Blanc, very food-friendly. Aromas of cut grass, red capsicum, boiled confectionery. Flavours of limes, green apples, passionfruit. Very clean, very linear.

Not sure what it is like really. For those who buy this wine to drink immediately, it may appear fresher, more lively, more acidic. But my memory tells me it stayed pretty close to what I remembered a week ago.

BTG 3+