What’s in the glass tonight August 5th – Chardonnay

Spy Valley Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2011 – $$

Over the past few years this wine has been well rewarded in the Under-$25 New World Wine Awards. I have been collecting these wines since 2012. The latest vintage is no exception, and I’ll be acquiring a brace for the Pool Room in due course.

Blond straw colour. 13.5% alc.

The wine smells refined, poised. A fine bouquet. Aromas of oatmeal, golden stonefruit, and nutty almonds.

Great depth of fruit and acidity. Just what I want in a Chardonnay. Not too big or malolactic. Nice lemon sharpness and grit. Some secondary flavours starting to emerge like spicy ginger, butterscotch and bitters. Crunchy, lively and so expressive. Great stuff!

93 points

What’s in the glass tonight August 4th – Chardonnay

Awatere Valley Chardonnay

Awatere River by Louis Vavasour Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $$$

Blond straw colour. 13.8% alc.

Smells honeyed, reductive and flinty. Very composed.

Bracing bright acid in the mouth. A lean, clean, fresh and linear Chardonnay. Some butterscotch flavours, and lots of lemon. Short. Punchy. Mouthwatering. Very stylish. Even tho some of the reduction extends to the palate, I still thought it excellent.

91 points

What’s in the glass tonight August 3rd – Pinot Gris

Woven Stone Pinot Gris 2014

Woven Stone Pinot Gris Ohau 2014 – $$

From one of my fav local producers. Brilliant gold colour. 14% alc.

Aromatic with sweet pears, manuka honey, and golden delicious apples. Lovely.

There were apples in the mouth also, and mandarin peel. A lively and well-formed wine. Balanced acid and lightly itchy spice. Salty through the mid-palate, some pepper, with an intriguing oyster shell iodine finish. A good Gris, this.

88 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 31st – Côtes du Rhône

E Guigal CdR 2010

From the Cellar: E Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2010 – $$

Following an immersive tasting of 2007 Chateauneuf de Pape’s, I arrived home with a taste for another Rhone. I don’t have anything of the power or depth as a CdP, but I do have a few of these kicking around…

Deep dark red. 14% alc. 49% Syrah, 48% Grenache, 3% Mourvèdre. Average vine age 35 years. 3.5M bottles produced of this vintage.

The bouquet is soft and floral as you would expect, some savoury and underbrush notes, with a hint of green herb.

On drinking I tasted medium-ripe red fruit – cherries, raspberries – with chocolate and vanilla. A sweet entry. Good balance of acid, with a nice tannic structure. The dry extract is not as intense as the CdPs, not being as ripe or full. I saw it as crusty on the back palate, and with a drying finish backing off. Pleasant easy style of red, a classic of its type, needs another few years to develop some secondary characters.

88 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 29th – red wines from Minervois


Off Topic: Domaine Gros Tollot Tasting

Meredith of Glengarry Wine Beer and Spirits Thorndon hosted a free horizontal tasting of wines from the husband and wife team Anne Gros (of Burgundy fame) and Jean Paul Tollot, out of their vineyards centred around the beautiful village of Minerve in the Languedoc.

This was funny – only last week L and I were watching my recording of Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2016, and when the broadcast helicopter circled about Minerve, both of us said how much we would love to visit such a beautiful place…

Gros Tollot Glengarry tasting

I first tried their Les Combettes Marsellan 2014, their La 50/50 Vin de Tables Grenache Syrah Carignan 2014 and L’O de la Vie Syrah 2014, all were pleasant and a good intro. My general impressions of the wines were that they were poised, and showed a great sense of place. The winemaking was simple and straightforward, built on good fruit quality. This sense impression only built and built as I tasted through the wines. There were delightful aromas, the palate was packed with flavour, with great extract and really interesting.

Their La Cinso Cinsault 2014 was lovely and fragrant, their La 8 Grenache 2014 ripe and flavoursome, and their Les Fontanilles Syrah Grenache Carignan Cinsault 2014 a complete and balanced wine – Meredith’s fav – and very fine.

But the wine I had to bring home for a closer look was:

Dom Gros Tollot La Ciaude 2014

Domain Anne Gros Jean Paul Tollot La Ciaude Minervois Cazelles 2014 – $$$

Rich ruby colour. 14% alc.

Fragrant, smoky and savoury. Yum. Delightful red fruits. Showing power and complexity.

To taste, bright intense fruit, with raspy tannins. Big acid. Not very balanced, this wine needs another five years to marry up, but was still exciting and thrilling to drink now. Being young, I appreciate it as a statement of intent, rather than arrival.

Striking label colour too!

92 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 28th – Pinot Noir

Lone Goat PN 2012

Lone Goat Pinot Noir Burnham Christchurch 2012

Tasted at Christchurch Airport waiting for the plane to take me home.

Peppery and spicy on the nose. An odd bouquet. Funky at first but that blew off. Strong notes of green leaf/cut stalk mixed with perfumed pink roses

The palate shows lean and green quite tannic and edgey and acidic. The leafy component is quite unsettling. I see a lot of oxidation as the fruit dies in the glass. Pretty ghastly really.

70 points