What’s in the glass tonight March 23rd – Pinot Noir


 

The Edge PN 2016

Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$

This is the value tier PN product for this producer.

Peter Richards MW in Decanter magazine included this wine in his February 2018 article “30 great New World buys under GDP30, and rated it 91 points.  He wrote, “brilliant, great value example. Elegantly bittersweet, poised, spicy and engaging.”

14.2% alc. Dark carmine colour.

Aromatic, soft and fruity. Black cherries, savouriness and spice and soap.

Soft in the mouth, with dark fruits and spice evident. A soapy finish and hot. Real generous fruit weight with no bitterness or thinness on the rear palate that I see in other NZ pinots at this price point.

My only fault with this wine is that it is too alcoholic. Loses grace.

Recommended 88 Points

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What’s in the glass tonight March 11th – Chardonnay


Spy Valley Chardonnay 2012

From The Cellar: Spy Valley Chardonnay Waihopai Marlborough 2012 – $$

A consistently top Chardonnay from a great producer. I have been collecting and drinking these wines for a few years now. And riding out to the site on the Sunday morning following the Graperide. This example is from the stellar NZ 2013 vintage.

13.5% alc. Pale Gold colour.

Nutty almond on the nose. Mealy. Citrus notes. Complex secondary notes. Divine.

Pure fruit in the mouth. Freshness. Mealy nuttiness flavours, balanced acid, warmth, finishes long. Powerful and intense, and shows real grace. Roughness on the finish adds character.

Highly Recommended 94 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 2nd – Riesling


RiverT Risesling

River-T Riesling Waitaki Valley 2016 – $$

It was Riesling Day one day recently down at Regional Wines, and I had a chance to taste-test a lovely dry-ish Riesling from the Waitaki Valley. The wine was River-T Riesling from the 2016 vintage. I liked it and brought a bottle home.

From RW: This wine is made with grapes grown by Murray and Karen Tweed, whose vineyard is 5 kms out of Kurow; the main town in the valley. The couple hand harvested the grapes in mid-May – very late by New Zealand standards since Waitaki Valley is the last region to harvest its grapes each year. This makes it a very cool climate wine region, which just so happens to suit the late ripening Riesling grape pretty darned well. This wine is medium dry (18.3 grams per litre of residual grape sugar – not that it tastes sweet at all). It has 13% alcohol and its natural high acidity lends beautiful balance to this refreshing, crisp, light bodied, full flavoured Riesling.

13% alc. Pale straw colour.

The Waitaki Valley is New Zealand’s smallest wine region. It is better known for generating a hefty amperage of hydroelectric power from a multitude of dams spaced down the Waitaki River, and for flying gliders out of Waimarama. A cool climate you could also say – you can ski up the top end in winter. FWIW Kurow is famous for being the home town of one our our finest All Blacks – Richie McCaw.

In addition to these many attractions I am told there are some splendid grape-growing sites that face the north sun and have great soils.

This wine is leggy. Lovely aromatics. Clear and crisp aromas – melon, grapes, green apple.

Off dry to drink. Delicious and crunchily crisp. Intense fresh fruit flavours, a crisp finish. A perfect summer aperitif wine.

Recommended 89 Points

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 25th – Pinot Noir


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Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir Waipara 2013 – $$

This was a wine I served at my 50th a few years ago. The outlaws brought a bottle over when clearing out their house and offered it to us cos they don’t drinks reds. I was chuffed at the chance to see how this wine had developed in the interim.

Dark carmine colour, tending brick around the rim. 13.5% alc. This wine was recommended in it’s day.

A savoury, dense and luscious nose, with sandalwood, leather, dark fruits and spice. Promising.

This is holding up well in the glass. Good acidity and body. Flavours of dark red plums. Balanced, fresh, with a spicy finish, long. Very attractive.

Very good drinking now. Has enough acid and fruit weight to last longer, and will look even better 1n 2-3 years time.

Highly Recommended 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 17th– Pinot Noir


TK Pinot Noir 2016

Te Kairanga Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$

Te Kairanga Wines has recently been acquired by US billionaire and multi winery vineyards investor Bill Foley. I don’t drink hardly any of this producers wines, don’t know why.

I didn’t record any notes for this wine specifically either, but I liked it. I recall good extract and fruit intensity in the wine, a nice spicy-ness, and a good savoury quality which is not always so apparent in Pinot Noir wines of this mid price point. Nice.

Recommended 88 Points

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 13th– Riesling


Fromm Spatlese 2015

Fromm Riesling Spätlese Marlborough 2016 – $$

Joelle Thomson of Regional Wines writes of this wine:

Light and low and naturally so… this super concentrated Riesling is a wine of beauty from Marlborough’s warm days, cool nights and long growing season. Its low alcohol shows that winemaker Hatsch Kalberer intentionally stopped the fermentation well before the wine reached anything near to dryness, so it is a sweet style but, thanks to the high acidity of the Riesling grape, this wine finishes on a crisp, fresh and intensely floral note… its long succulent finish is juicy and delicious.””

8% alc. Pale green straw.

I thought it was stunning at the instore tasting so I brought a bottle home. Juicy and sweet, with such a lovely acid backbone. So so lovely. Such an Empress of wines, Riesling.

Highly Recommended 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 4th– CdR Blanc


E Guigal Cotes Du Rhone Blanc 2015

Off Topic – E Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2015 – $$

Pale brilliant gold colour. 13.5% alc. 65% Viognier, 15% Rousanne, 8% Marsanne, balance of Bourboulenc and white Grenache

Floral nose of white peach and mandarin, with honey supporting.

Richness and body in the mouth. Flavours of apricots, the unctuousness of honey. A pure elegant and balanced wine. The weight of the Viognier is nicely moderated by the Rousanne and Marsanne.

Like a good Condrieu.

Highly Recommended 91 points

What’s in the glass tonight January 1st – Sancerre


Sancerre 2015

Off Topic: Dom. du Vieux Prêche Sancerre Blanc ASC 2016 – $$

Greenish pale straw colour. 13.5% alc.

My first ever Sancerre Blanc. A wine from one of the two spiritual homes of New Zealand’s most famous wine export, the other being Pouilly-Fumé on the other side of the Loire.

Flat aromatically, open steely and minerally. Curry spice and celery. Lightly fruited – apples, apple pip, exotic pip fruit, balanced acidity expressed on the nose.

Lean and flat in the mouth. Minerals. Funk. None of the ‘dash and splash’ I am used to with an NZ Sauvignon Blanc. No energy or verve in this wine, seems old before it’s time, too cautious. I don’t know enough about this wine to know whether this taste impression is authentic. It can be only confirmed by other bottles. And while I am interested to learn, life is short, and I may stick with what I know and love.

Looking at this wine in isolation, it is pleasant and moreish and drinkable. Like typical old world wines it improves on standing in the glass and with food, and opens up somewhat to show more fruit flavour, but it’s still thin. Emperors clothes, I feel, for this one.

Recommended 84 points

What’s in the glass tonight December 28th– Sauvignon Blanc


Palliser SB 2017

Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2017 – $$

As it appears on the tin, a ‘serious sav’. 12.5% alcohol. Palest clear straw colour.

Intensely aromatic with scents of apples, honey, gooseberries, pavlova (!) and passionfruit. Hints of grass and yellow capsicum.

Sweet and fresh entry, citrus flavours, bone-dry finish, short and stopping/must reload! Intensity again, green apples to the fore, apple pip, lemon pith, gorgeous and layered. Anyone who says that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can be a one-chord-wonder should try this wine. And it’s barely pupped from the tank!!

Highly Recommended 93 points

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


Astrolabe Kekerengu Sav B 2015

Astrolabe Kekerengu Coast Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 – $$

From a reference producer of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, this wine is one of their series of wines exploring sub-regional expressions of the varietal, this example from near the southern coast of Marlborough.

Pale green straw colour. 13% alc.

Grassy and green on the nose. Green capsicum and gooseberries. Apples. A lichen salinity. Ascetic and austere.

Intense and long flavours. Limes and citrus, green tomatoes. Astringent. A grassy long note. Yet still full-flavoured within the confines of the style. Liking the expression of austerity very much!

Highly Recommended 91 points