What’s in the glass tonight March 31st – Dry Riesling

Villa Maria Dry Riesling 2016

Villa Maria Dry Riesling Marlborough Bay 2016 – $

12% alc. Pale greenish straw colour.

Earlier vintages have been my “WOTY” previously.

This one is not so stellar. Sharp citrus on nose, befitting a drier style of Riesling. Aromas of crisp apple and grapes.

Fresh entry on palate, with soft-ish texture. Quite linear fruit and an acid finish. Moderate intensity. Lacking some focus and intensity. An underwhelming example this time around.

Commended 85 Points

What’s in the glass tonight November 22nd – Chenin Blanc

Millton Chenin Blanc 2007

From the Cellar: Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc Gisborne 2007 – $$$

From the foremost of the few producers of this varietal in New Zealand. I can’t say enough good things about Millton. One of the first wines I collected for the Pool Room.

Brilliant gold colour. 12% alc. A biodynamic wine.

Richly aromatic. Satisfyingly complex secondary and tertiary aromas have developed over the past 10 years under my roof – oranges and golden mangoes and honey, bready and unctuous, cardboard, a citrus tang. Lovely.

Sweet and lively to drink. Juicy and mouthwatering. Bright acid throughout, with golden fruit, mango and orange flavours which end on a slightly bitter biscuit finish, long and hot.

There is such youthful vigour here. There are years ahead for this wine. Wish I had more!

One of my Wines of the Year!

Outstanding 96 points

What’s in the glass tonight October 19th – Sauvignon Blanc

Grove Mill SB 2016

Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $

The weather is turning warmer, and sunnier, and my palate cravings are in turn turning towards cool, crisp, craven Kiwi savs. To every season, turn, turn, etc.

This one should be a good’un – rated 96 points in a recent review in Decanter.

Pale straw colour. 12% alc.

Crisp apple and lemons on the nose. Green grass and crushed tomato leaf aromas, but not overbearing. Smells cool and clean.

Crisp and acidic on palate. Lively, intense zesty limes and gooseberries Lengthy, big, mouthwatering. This is a new benchmark for a value Sav. I have to agree with Decanter.

Outstanding 95 points

What’s in the glass tonight September 23rd – Riesling

Bishops Head Riesling 2007

Bishops Head Reserve Riesling Waipara 2007- $$$

An aged Riesling from Wineseeker. Tasted instore; bottle bought to take up to the ski club for our last ski weekend and the Club Championships.

12% alc. Gold green straw colour.

Developed volitiles, lifted ripe apples, some grapey-ness and kero notes.

Sharp and acidic entry. Lean and brisk fruit, tart, with green apple flavours. A layer of secondary development. Bitter finish.

Recommended 88 points

Not my trophies, alas. I trailed the field in both the Slalom and GS races.


What’s in the glass tonight May 23rd – Riesling

Escarpment Riesling

Escarpment Riesling Martinborough 2013

This was a generous gift from MM for me being chauffeur at the recent biking weekend. Much appreciated, mate.

Brilliant pale greenish straw colour. 12% alc.

The nose was delightfully aromatic and phenolic, showing lean and crisp acidity, with a layered note of honey.

Natch, the wine was dry/off-dry, lean, and angular to taste as well. Salty, and sharp through the mid palate, with a short crisp mineral finish. I loved the mouthwatering acidity. An arresting wine, cerebral even (if I err into weinwank for a moment…J )

Very enjoyable. I liked seeing the sweetness dialled back in this white.

Highly Recommended – 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight January 1st – Crémant de Bourgogne


Off Topic: Charles Ninot Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc Brut NV 

Cremant de Bourgogne is the appellation for the white and rose sparkling wines of Burgundy, made predominantly from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes in the methode traditionelle. Created in October 1975 to complement Bourgogne Mousseux (the title for sparkling red wines), the appellation is now applied to more than 13 million bottles of wine every vintage. I can’t find any information online about the producer.

Pale gold colour. 12% alc.

This was my first opportunity to taste this sparkling wine style. It showed a bready yeasty nose, quite lively, not so ripe. There were soft fine bubbles, with a strong line of citrus on the palate, with underlying bread notes. There was the expected sweet and fresh entry, but the balance and ripeness of the wine was spoiled somewhat by a bitter finish reminiscent of spoiled apple. To my taste not an aperitif wine, but could accompany shellfish.

Fair  – 80 points

What’s in the glass tonight March 20th

Framingham Classic Riesling 2009

From the Cellar: Framingham Classic Riesling Marlborough 2009 – $$$

A single-vineyard wine from 28-year old vines. Bright green gold. 12%.

Lifted aromatic bouquet. I see age volatiles, TCN, and also pure and fruity qualities. Honeysuckle and my home-made lemon cordial.

A light-bodied off-dry wine, with ripe golden fruit in the mouth. I can taste honey, lemon-curd, Golden Delicious apples, ginger and mandarins. Good acidity on the finish with a zing on the tongue. Very long.

Went very well with tonight’s chicken curry – the sweetness lifted above the curry heat.

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight August 8th


Leaving the reservation: Champagne Jean Marc Vigreux-Frere Brut NV

From a family owned wine grower out of Cauroy-les-Hermonville , a small village in the Champagne part of the Massif de Saint-Thierry, north of Reims. Small fruit parcels, juice sent to an Epernay establishment to “be sparkling”.

Only available via Don McLean and champagnedirect.co.nz. L bought this to celebrate her birthday, which is tomorrow. We are warming up our ski boots before the fire, as we are getting up VERY early in the morning to head up to the hill.

I enjoy Champagne perhaps once a year, so am in no position to judge this wine with any great knowledge. However this is quite good. 12% ABV. Effervescent, with nice fine lasting bubbles, French stick loaf nose; crisp apples in the mouth with a strong crusty bread finish. 3+.

What’s in the glass tonight Nov 15th

Mount Riley Riesling 2013

Mount Riley Marlborough Riesling 2013 -$

Spring-y nose of lemons and pears. 12%. Straw colour in the glass. Young, bright, fresh and zesty in the mouth with light lemon crisp varietal flavours. Off dry. To my taste, the absence of weight detracts to begin with, but after a short while the light touch of the wine grows on me. Gold Medal at the NW Wine Awards 2013.

For those who love Savs and Pinot Gris, drink this instead. 3.5