What’s in the glass tonight July 16th – Chardonnay


Te Mata Chardonnay 2016

Te Mata Estate Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2016  – $$

13.5% alc. Pale gold colour.

Light and citrusy nose. Sweet. Hints of apple, white peach

Sweet entry, with medium fruit weight through the middle palate. Finely textured also, with a refreshing line of acid throughout, extending  to a long finish.

This wine can be available for as little as $18 a bottle, so great value for it.

Recommended 88 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 5th – Zinfandel, under cork.


Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma 2013

Off Topic: Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma County 2013 – $$

Nice to pull a cork every now and then…

14.6% alc. Inky ruby. This may be a monster….

Sumptuous and rich bouquet, with strong aromas of black fruit, vanilla and cedar…

..and a mouthful of the stuff shows it’s packed with flavour – luscious dark fruits, plums,  prunes – and with a really hot finish.  Spicy through the mid palate, and finished very fleshy, and scratchy.

A showstopping, car-crash of a wine, this. Too much alcohol. It may have suited the beef stroganoff we ate for dinner, but it’s no good as an aperitif. A firestarter maybe, not a fireside drinker…

Too bad. An earlier vintage really impressed me up the skifield three years ago. Perhaps the high altitude dulled my senses? The grunty and forward fruit flavours really showed well up there in the cold.

However, I still mark this wine Highly Recommended and score it 90 points, as I reckon you gotta give a belter like this it’s due. But this wine would be even better if it were a point and a bit less alcoholic!

A drought wine?

Highly recommended 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 4th – Viognier


Elephant Hill Viognier 2016

Elephant Hill Viognier Te Awanga Hawkes Bay 2016 – $$

13.5% alc. Pale gold colour.

Nose of spice, licorice allsorts, and ripe luscious golden stonefruit and melon. Cheery and fine.

Sweet and dense in the mouth, rich fruit. Long luscious honeyed finish. Flavours of pear and navel orange. Peppery and gritty in character and texture.

Recommended 88 points

 

What’s in the glass tonight July 2nd – Syrah blend


Kloof Street 2014

Off Topic: Kloof Street Swartland Rouge Swartland SA 2014 – $$

This is a rouge blend from the Swartland region of South Africa, a province in the Western Cape some 50km north of Cape Town. Swartland is the anglicised name for “Het Zwarte Land” (the Black Land) named for the colour of the endemic Renosterbos flowering shrub (Elytropappus rhinocerotis).

The wine consists of 86% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 4% Carignan, 2% Mourvedre, 2% Tinta barocca and 1% Cinsault. A proper southern Rhone-style blend, this.

13.5 % alc. Deep ruby colour.

Lightly floral to the nose, with dusty dark fruits, spice, vanilla, and bush honey.

A rustic honest red to taste, somewhat lean and angula in the fruit department. There was acid freshness at the death. Quite long, and hot on the back of the throat. Persistent note of tobacco leaf. I expect this will soften over the next 24 hours and round out.

An attractive wine.

Recommended 87 points

What’s in the glass tonight June 30th – Viognier


Stonecroft Viognier 2016

Stonecroft Gimblett Gravels Viognier Hawkes Bay 2016 – $$

The bottle’s label states that this is the third vintage of this wine, and the production volume comprised three barrels worth from the producer’s Roy’s Hill vineyard on the Gravels.  A boutique release, then.

12.5% alc. Clear pale lemon / straw colour.

Aromatic, with pip fruit aromas up front, then showing melon, peach and honey, and soft and very sweet strawberries.

With such a nose, there were no surprises on palate. A sweet entry, with a creamy texture and ripe fruit through the middle, and a soft acid finish. Long.

Simple and nice.

Commended 85 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 21st – Nebbiolo Barbera


Hihi Nebbiolo 2010 2011

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

What’s in the glass tonight May 11th– Merlot Cabernets blend


IMG_9172

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

What’s in the glass tonight May 10th– Sauvignon Blanc


IMG_9160

The Luminary Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2016 – $$

Simple and uncomplicated, with a calm nose. Very typical of the restrained form of Kiwi savvy hailing from Martinborough. There is freshness and acidity as you would expect, and quality fruit weight . It has presence. But a little boring.

Recommended 88 points

What’s in the glass tonight April 28th – Merlot


IMG_9069

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.

Not rated.

What’s in the glass tonight April 18th – Shiraz


Serenity

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.

IMG_8994

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