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


Te Mata Elston 2013

From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay 2013 – $$$

From the great Hawkes Bay vintage. 14% alc. Bright gold colour.

Perfumed. Scents of butterscotch, apricots, citrus fruit, spice, hints of menthol and peppermint, honey and white roses.

Warm and rich attack, with a smooth mouthfeel through the middle. Great balance between acid and secondary fruit. Flavours of orange and orange peel oil. Long finish, crunchy with it; lively and mouthwatering.

A fine and complex wine, sophisticated, Burgundian. I really wish i had another bottle somewhere.

Outstanding 95 Points

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What’s in the glass tonight August 31st – Pinot Noir


Peregrine PN 2012

From the Cellar: Peregrine Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – $$$

In good Pinot Noir, there is that distinctive catch at the back of the throat which is so typical of the wine varietal showing sufficient extraction, a little like the feeling I get when I think I am just coming down with a cold. This wine had that…

13.5% alc. Dark dusky browning carmine colour.

A difficult wine to assess at first. It opened up quite stinky, very savoury and overblown, but this gassed off after a while. Showed delicate and dusty dark cherry fruit aromas. Sweet and lifted oak notes, with the usual Central herbal terroir character edging the bouquet with thyme. Damp earth/heaped wet leaves.

Light and sweet fruit flavours on entry, a little thin. Although this impression might be because my red wine diet has been mostly restricted to Syrah and Shiraz this winter and I have lost the taste for a lighter style of red. Refreshing acidity on the middle palate, medium tannins, and quite persistent. The catch at the back of the throat I wrote about above.

Density and presence of nose informs every mouthful. It is what I love about good Pinot.

High Recommended 92 Points

What’s in the glass tonight August 17th – Crozes Hermitage Blanc


Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage Marsanne 2013

Off Topic: Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage Grand Classique Marsanne 2013 – $$$

13% alc. Golden colour.

What a shame. This wine was oxidised, and betrayed the light and aromatic fruit flavours the Marsanne grape should show. And a real shame for a special-occasion bottle costing over $30.

L called this one of my “stinky French whites”. Ugh.

Looking past the aroma, I saw thin fruit (natch), light nutty and biscuit flavours, less white peach than overripe/rotten apple. Slightly cooked. I emailed the wineseller and got a considered reply, and an offer of replacement,  so all good there.

Not Rated

Te Mata Estate Coleraine Library Tasting 1982 – 2015


Te Mata Coleraine 1

New Zealand’s greatest and most famous red wine?

This is the opinion of a few notable palates of the New Zealand wine scene, admittedly encouraged by the superb marketing efforts of the folks behind the winery itself, and this opinion is also shared by several overseas leading palates, namely Jamie Goode and Steven Spurrier.

I am quite partial to the wine myself, though my own palate can best be described as naïve. I was introduced to the ‘00 at a tasting of Te Mata wines back in ‘10, and was I entranced by its quality. I didn’t know a NZ wine would age so well!  Actually, until that time, I had never thought of keeping a New Zealand wine any longer than the thirty minutes it took to get it home from the bottlestore. But life is learning, isn’t it?

Now, however, I am the  proud owner of several vintages of Coleraine, all sleeping it off down in the Pool Room under the watchful gaze of kellarmausefanger Mimi until they hit the Witching Hour of ten years of age. The first cab off the rank will be the 2009. My cellar’s pride and joy is a magnum of Coleraine 2013 (ignoring its admitted rival, 750mls of Stonyridge Larose 2005. Plus a bunch of Rieslings. I could go on).

Geoff Kelly, an aficionado of aged wines, previously a wine judge, and one of the resident wine experts at Regional Wines and Spirits, organised this hugely important look at twelve of the best vintages of this great wine since its inception in 1982. There have been 31 vintages to date, with the 1992 and 1993 not being made due to the localised cool weather influenced by the Pinatubo volcanic eruption in Indonesia, and a later vintage (2011?) which was beset by rain. A large number of bottles had been collected over the years by the late founder of Regional Wines, Grant Jones, and Geoff contributed others to fill the holes. He consulted with Peter Cowley, Te Mata’s longtime winemaker, about what he thought the finest vintages were, and thus assembled a selection for tasting over two nights.

I attended the second helping.

Geoff provided an excellent set of introductory notes, which can be read via the link below, with his carefully considered reviews of the wines themselves. Spoiler alert!

http://www.geoffkellywinereviews.co.nz/index.php?ArticleID=284

Raymond Chan, another local wine reviewer and judge, also ex RW, and an expert whose writings I admire, and also a long-time fan of Coleraine, he attended the first sitting also. And his informative notes are below. Another spoiler alert!

http://www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz/blog/te-mata-coleraine-2015-1982

My good friend GN was in attendance as well, as was a couple of MS members; cracking palates all, plus me, ha! But I’m still at the Bluffing Stage of public winetasting. Again, life is learning, isn’t it?

au vins:

1982 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

1983 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

1989 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

1991 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

1995 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

1998 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

2002 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

2005 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

2007 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

2009 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

2013 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

2015 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay

Interestingly, Te Mata Estate Coleraine Hawkes Bay 1998 was named a ‘Wine Legend’ in the August Issue of UK’s wine magazine Decanter, placing it amongst the greatest wines of all time. The only New Zealand wine to receive the title to date, Decanter’s profile situates Te Mata Estate’s flagship Coleraine beside other ‘Wine Legends’ at more than ten times its price. Hmm. I take this magazine, surface mail, and haven’t seen this issue yet. It will be interesting to sup that one, then.

Time to sniff and slurp. I won’t write up all twelve wines (I leave that weighty task to Geoff and Raymond), but will rather report on my highlights. The wines were served non-blind, in age order youngest to oldest, as 30ml pours.

Te Mata Coleraine 2

The bouquet, as you would expect, showed evolution as the years progressed. Bright primary fruits to start with the later vintages, tending through secondary characters (cedar etc) in the 2000s, then landing on tertiary notes (tobacco ash etc)  as the decades weighed in from the 90s and back. Colour tended bright deep pink carmine in the young wines, through to darker hues, and tending brick for the oldies.

2015 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – $140! OMFG – This was a great start to the tasting. If I can be presumptuous, the producers are making better wine the more goes they have at doing so, and this makes sense. The vines are getting older. And thus the ‘15 is winner in the making. Bright carmine colour. Sweet red and dark fruits on the nose. Sensitive. Breathy. Fresh fruit flavours. Fresh acidity. Great intensity and length. Bracing. Plush and lush, plumpness and  balance. Three ticks.

2013 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – I have this in the Pool Room. It was a Lauded Vintage in the Bay. Bright carmine colour. More volatile than the ’15. A hint of spirit marker. Dark fruit. An impression of restrained power. There was power and crunch in the in the mouth also. Dense and packed with flavour. Some spice. Gorgeous and concentrated, fine, no oak showing. Fabulous. Three ticks.

2009 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Notable for the cassis showing, vanilla, and huge fruit profile. Hot on exit.

2007 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – I noted here floral, lifted, and tension. Baking spice.  Elusive violets. Elegant, long and lean of finish. A special wine.

2005 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Dark carmine, tending brick. A packed nose. Delightful. Cedar, chalk, dusty , and cassis. Good fruit on palate. A rich feel of the wine in my mouth. I saw neatness and harmony and symmetry. Long. Three ticks for this.

1995 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Dark carmine, tending brick. Dry and evolved, a light and leafy bouquet. Gorgeous fruit flavours again. Poised. I noted sweetness and freshness, length and persistence. A gorgeous wine. Three ticks for this too.

1991 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Dark carmine, tending brick. Evolved, with aromas of roses, spice, violets, cassis, cedar and blackcurrant jam. A lot going on here. Delicious, involving and mouthcoating. Someone called this a mature Claret. Drying a little. Harmonious. Three ticks again!

1982 Te Mata Coleraine, Hawkes Bay – Dark carmine, tending brick. Most evolved, but still holding up with freshness and intensity of fruit belieing its age. An amazing 35YO New Zealand wine, and my Wine Of The Night because of this (beating out the ’91, ’05 and ’13).

My takeaway from this tasting had to be the pleasure in seeing how the bouquet evolved through the years. And how the wine colour changed. It was also interesting to see how the later vintages showed improvements that I can only put down to greater vine age and better vineyard/winery practice which has evolved over the years. Te Mata are making better Coleraines now than they did in the past, in my opinion.

This was a masterclass. Something you get vanishingly rarely with NZ wines. And this may well be the last public tasting of this breadth of Coleraines, until the winery itself opens its cellar at the next significant anniversary. Thanks Geoff, and thanks also to the late Grant Jones.

 

What’s in the glass tonight August 9th – Party Party!


L Party wines

Happy Birthday L!

We held a quiet dinner party for a few friends for L’s birthday. Nothing too fancy on the food front, Lasagne, but good wine and cheer…

We enjoyed a few great bottles! Firstly I opened a bottle of Martinborough Vineyard Chardonnay 2012 (Decanter rated it most highly of New World Chardonnays) which showed an attractive reductive character (well, I like it anyway), then a Ch. Siaurac Pomerol 2010 that I bought en primeur a while ago, which was dense and rich. G bought a number of intriguing half bottles, including two Lakes Folly Cabernets 2009 and 2011, two very expressive Aussie cabernet blends, if a little angular in these vintages, and R and D brought over a fav – Elephant Hill Le Phant Rouge 2014. Yum!

I think there was another oaky Chardonnay in there somewhere as well, a bottle of my own beer for everyone to have a taste, and some coconut Vodka from Fiji for afters…

We didn’t finish everything, but I still felt a little dusty the next day…

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


Selaks Buttery Chardonnay 2016

Selaks Taste Collection Buttery Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2016 – $

13% alc. Gold colour.

L loves a good buttery Chard. This showed bold malo on the nose, generous apricot and peach aromas, oaky influence.

Smooth golden stonefruit flavours to taste. A big generous mouthfeel, and creamy, but not too heavy. A light touch for a heavy white, if you will, seeking balance with acidity on the mid-palate. Medium length. A cheery value winter white, and a welcome return for this expressive and bountiful style of Chardonnay.

L sez “far too drinkable”!

Recommended 88 points

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


Church Road McDonald Series Merlot 2013

Church Road McDonald Series Merlot Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$

14.5% alc. Deep carmine colour.

From the celebrated 2013 vintage in the Bay. Tasted over two nights.

First impression: complex and leafy on the nose, odd for a good year, brusqueness and drying tannin on palate, but with potential to age, the shortness on palate perhaps indicating the wine has stalled, with another 2-3 years needed to kick on to a stage when it will begin drinking really well.

Second look after a day open: dark fruits, roses, cedar and vanilla. Soft and aromatic. Unctuous and delicious in the mouth with rich flavours of dark plums, dark red roses, and tobacco to match bouquet. Balanced. Drying tannins offset by fresh acidity, and enveloped by the typical varietal softness of Merlot.

Highly Recommended  90 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 31st – Shiraz


Bleeding Heart Shiraz 2015

Off Topic: Bleeding Heart Shiraz Lower Murray McLaren Vale 2015 – $

13.5% alc. Deep ruby colour.

Bright fruit on aroma, red cherries. Dusty. Some spice.

Sweet attack, and a medium heavy bodied wine to srink. Meaty. Dusty and powdery tannins. A lean finish. Short, closed.

Commended 84 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 29th – Tempranillo


Anciano Tempranillo 2012

Off Topic: Anciano Crianza Tempranillo Valdepeñas  2012 – $

I have walked past these bottles, wrapped in their fine gold wire netting, many times in the supermarket without being tempted. As Monty Python said once, “this bottle has a message in it, and that that message is ……………”

But L had stocked up wine for the ski season, and we were up the club for our first ski weekend of the season when I opened up the ski locker and saw this wine, and went,” Si. Ole!”.

ski1

L had her go-to The Ned Pinot Gris, while I had this full malo wee beastie …

Old-world characterful flavours, with enough intensity and interest to be worthwhile. Red cherries. Bright in the mouth. Nothing startling. Red in regulation.

Commended 85 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 26th – A Calibration Shiraz


Yalumba Patchwork 2014

Off Topic: Yalumba Patchwork Barossa Shiraz Barossa 2015 – $

The June 2017 issue of Decanter included a review of Australian value Shiraz, defined by the price point spread of GBP10 – GBP20.

Aha! Now, it isn’t that common for me to be able to buy wine that this magazine usually reviews, cos geography / tyranny of distance, but in this case there were a couple of wines I saw I could pick up from my local supermarket. I recognised this was a splendid opportunity for me to compare and calibrate my scoring palate against the crack team of drinkers that the magazine assembled to do this Aussie tasting. And not too expensive either!

So I picked this Yalumba, and noted the scores given, and set about to assess the quality of the wine myself, and also see if I saw the same tastes and aromas that the judges wrote of…

Firstly tho, DWWA regional Chair Anthony rose wrote in the preamble, “Broadly speaking, there are three main styles: the traditional hot-climate inland region and Barossa style with powerful, super-ripe fruit and high alcohol; the more restrained, spicy reds of the milder regions like Mclaren Vale and Clare Valley and slightly cooler Yarra, Heathcote and Coonawarra; and the perfumed peppery intensity and blackberry elegance of Mount Barker in the west, Adelaide Hills, Canberra and the Grampians.

The latest trends reflect the objectives of creating both more refreshingly drinkable Shiraz and wines that express their origins.”

So, to the wine…served non blind, with the magazine review compared non-blind also

Deep carmine colour. 13.5% alcohol.

Soft and fruity aromas of oak and spice, dark fruits, smells bright.

Soft texture and quite Rhone-like flavour and structure, ripe fruit, good level of extract, some attractive complexity and layering on mid-palate, silky tannin, reasonably long finish. A rewarding example. L liked it.

I would have scored this a solid 88 points. Towards the lower end of the Decanter trio of scores, but certainly not a 92 as one judge called it.

Comparing the tasting notes, I was trying hard with no luck to see blueberries on the nose, and I thought the wine too dark and rich to show cherries. I did detect a slight stalk flatness, so the comment of a herbaceous top note seemed on point. On palate I saw the pepper (white) (natch, this is Shiraz..) but not the marzipan, unless this is confused for vanillin. I agreed with the Rhone-like comment.