Off Topic: Yann Chave Hermitage Rhone 2003- $$$+
Deep ruby crimson colour. 14 % alc.
Smokey on the nose, funky, soapy, dusty, redolent of wooden-floored halls and dry grass. So much going on! It continued opening up gloriously in the glass – all tertiary character, developed dark fruit, dried blackcurrant, pink roses, lavender and pencil lead. Such exotic gorgeousness!
Opens with still primary fruit in the mouth, flavours of dark cherries, and lovely acid balance. Fine tannins. Huge length. Fat, rich and opulent, and a pure, mimeral seam throughout. A profound Rhone, just amazing.
Exceptional 98 points
From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay 2013 – $$$
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
Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2015 – $$$
14% alc. Pale gold colour.
Clear, clean yet complex citrus on the nose, layered and sweet. Stonefruit. Fine and elegant.
The bouquet translates to fresh and crisp sweet citrus flavours, racey acidity, mouthwatering. Ripe peach and lemon sharpness, a brusque finish. Very moreish. Very long, with alcohol heat producing tingling in my gums.
This is a good food wine, and a great aperitif.
BTW this is the best photo that the Prisma app has produced for me so far. Do you agree?
Highly Recommended 91 points
From the Cellar: Peregrine Gewurtztraminer Central Otago 2009 – $$
14% alc. Brilliant gold colour.
Geoff Kelly wrote of this wine in late 2013, “When Greg Hay was here from Peregrine, he dumbfounded us by showing what is one of the greatest gewurztraminers ever made in New Zealand, and then in the latter part of the discussion casually mentioned this 2009 was the last of the line. The vines had all been pulled out, he said, due to the low and alternate-year cropping. The wine is just beautiful, fragrant and fruit-rich, wonderful acid balance, great freshness and cellar potential, the gewurz spice building in mouth, a dryish wine. It should cellar for another eight years or so. It is essential in any cellar hoping to showcase the diversity New Zealand wines can achieve.”
So when I read this I went and bought the last two bottles on the shelves at Regional Wines…
An envelopingly aromatic and sweet bouquet: developed, warm and ripe, with sweet notes of honey and toffee, and touches of mandarin and apple.
Sweet, smooth and ripe to taste. Toffee and caramel flavours. Saline. Fine flinty texture. A long, hot and spicy finish.
So poised and balanced and memorable. A few years ahead for this wine I think – I’ll probably open the second bottle in 2019.
Outstanding 95 points
From the Cellar: Hihi Nebbiolo Barbera Gisborne 2010/2011 – $$
There is an MS Barolo tasting approaching, so I thought to open a NZ Nebbiolo from my cellar, and get an early run at the variety. Not that I was expecting a wine of the quality that will be tasted with the Society, nevertheless I was still looking forward to seeing how a year in the cellar has affected it since I lasted tasted a bottle.
14% alc. Deep dusty carmine. The colour is right.
Light dusty florals on the nose,a savoury note, dark fruits, smells hot, no trace of tar.
Cheery sweet entry on the palate, juicy fruit, medium body, a tannic edge, and not a long finish. An intriguing blend, this. Tending towards green, and with less body, intensity and fullness that I was hoping for. I recall that this vintage in Gisborne was wet and cold, and the finished wine shows this.
Nevertheless, it is a wine to keep an eye out for, and I remain hopeful to try one from a warmer vintage if a bottle ever becomes available. I am watching the producer’s website, and waiting…
In the meantime, I have one more bottle left, which I will keep the full ten years. And we’ll see how that looks then.
Commended 85 points
Craggy Range Te Kahu Hawkes Bay 2015 – $$
It’s late at night. L is away at a Chiro conference in Melbourne, LG is in bed asleep, the boys are with their father, and I am sifting at the the computer, on the internet, which turns into blogging. I’m blogging about wine, while drinking this wine. Very meta.
Dark plum red. 14% alc.
The wine is showing somewhat thin and oddly structured on the nose on opening. Perhaps it’s a keeper and needs time?
Sure enough, it softened on standing in the glass, filling out and opening up, but still showed thin. There is fruit there as a backbone, with spice and heat, grunty tannin and dark cocoa, but it isn’t as rich or dense as the ’13 or ’14. A disappointment, this bottle.
It does show distinctive terroir, so I have marked it up
Commended 85 points
Abbey Cellars Rapture Merlot Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$
Dark plum red colour. 14% alc.
A layered and chunky nose, soft ripe sweet black fruit, big on vanilla, and a bit funky. The funkiness got stronger as the wine got air.
Full and soft to drink. Medium tannins. A structural feel in the mouth, a soapy and spicy finish. I could feel the alcohol heat.
The wine then alarmingly wilted in the glass after time, and unpleasantly. I have rarely seen this. It either lacks the extract or fruit weight to sustain itself in contact with air, or it had been poorly stored. A very odd wine to work out – it opened so promising, and then fell over almost completely. A real shame.
Off Topic: Take It To The Grave Shiraz Barossa 2016 – $$
How’s the serenity?
Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of my favourite movies – The Castle. In it, a working-class family from Melbourne, Australia, fights the city council after being told they must vacate their beloved family home to allow for infrastructural expansion. This comedy film became a cult hit, and spawned endless quotes – “it’s the vibe”, “suffer in your jocks”, and my personal favourite, “ this is going straight to the pool room”… Sound familiar?
I love it. And my darling L has never seen it, and she’s Australian!
So, in honour of the occasion, we opened a Shiraz. L bought it. I asked her to get me a Brown Brothers Heathcote Shiraz down the supermarket but they didn’t have any, so she bought this one on the strength of the striking label.
Inky black plum colour. 14 % alc.
Smells soft and fruity, simple. Quite Rhone-like for an Aussie.
Soft rich fruit flavours. Simple and uncomplicated. White pepper, dark chocolate, fine tannins to finish. A classic BBQ quaffer..
Commended 85 Points
Off Topic: Famille Quiot Jerome Quiot Cotés du Rhone Rouge 2014 – $$
I am off on a Rhone Rouge bender…Deep carmine. 14% alc.
A rustic fruit nose, with a little savoury note.
This was a cheapie. It showed simple and thin at first opening. It softened on standing to show some fruity lusciousness, but not enough. Continued to improve with air. Best for French barbecues, or beef with wine.
Commended 83 Points
Abbey Cellars Eden Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$
L and I and kids headed out to a friends beach house to stay the night in the weekend. I bought this wine at an outlet on the way.
Deep carmine. 14%.
Reduction on the nose. Savoury. Oak. Black fruits. Cherries. Perfumed. Roses. A gorgeous nose, with very intriguing and complex notes.
Smoky to taste. Great fruit weight. Plums, figs, ginger & chocolate. Black and white pepper. Spicy. Complex tannins and long.
Outstanding – 95 points
Things got a little confused after this, and few more reds. At one point we were comparing an single malt out of Auckland with a Dalwhinnie. I don’t recall much more after this photo was taken. A very generous host lead me willingly astray, and the next day was pretty much a write-off…