What’s in the glass tonight April 10th – Cabernet Merlot


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Bell Bird Bay Cabernet Merlot Hawkes Bay 2011 – $

Raymond Chan writes in his review of this wine, “70% Merlot, 13% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bridge Pa Triangle district”

Deep ruby colour. 13% alc.

Depp fruit aromas, softness, oak, vanilla, somewhat secondary.

The merlot component imbues softness and luscious dark fruits on palate, with structure from the cabernet components. Slight herbiness. Harmonious.

This wine harbours no faults from age or storage which I have found is rare with aged wines at this price point. A great aged example in this case.

Recommended 86 Points

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What’s in the glass tonight April 5th – Graciano


Oveja Tinta Graciano 2016

Off Topic: Oveja Tinta Graciano Cuenca Espana 2016 – $

Graciano is one of Spain’s best kept wine secrets – a red grape with thick skins that is a tricky customer to grow, which means there’s precious little of it, even in the vineyards of the Rioja, where it is often called ‘the virtual grape’- and is a traditional ingredient in the wine of the same name.

Deep carmine colour. 14.5% alc.

Fruity and opulent.

High acid, refreshing and juicy. Great fruit depth and ripeness. Potential to age. Grunty.

Highly Recommended 90 Points

 

What’s in the glass tonight April 1st – Chardonnay


Spy Valley Chard 15

Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $

In my opinion, this wine is consistently one of NZs best Chardonnays, vintage on vintage. Must be the site. I have ridden out there a few times. A lovely part of the world.

13% alc. Pale gold colour.

Mealy, golden fruit, aromatic and fine. Notes of oak, vanilla, apricot and mandarin orange and peel.

Fresh and crunchy to taste. Crispness, oak complexity, malo note on the back palate, and meal. Great structure and body. A wine for aging.

Highly Recommended 90 Points

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 March 29th – Syrah


Bell Bird Bay Syrah 2014

Bell Bird Bay Reserve Syrah Hawkes Bay 2014 – $

13.5% alc. Deep ruby.

Soft and savoury dark red fruit aromas. Prominent vanilla note to start then this largely blew off. Hint of oxidation. Hint of spice.

Soft and full entry, dry sweetness, sharp and spicy finish. Medium tannins, grippy. Vanilla on the palate with strong oak character. Showing reserve fruit depth and body. Long on the tongue.

I see this wine as quite out of balance re oak/tannin/acid, but it has good bones and delivers a characterful and rewarding drop for the (very little) money. A party wine, this

Recommended 87 Points

 

What’s in the glass tonight March 26th – Côtes du Rhône


E Guigal CdR 2013

Off Topic: E Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2013 – $

14% alc. Dark ruby.

This is the world’s foremost high-volume quality red wine. Here is this year’s vintage release, eagerly anticipated:

Earthy, spicy note. Dark red plums. Fresh.

Supple ripe dark red fruit flavours, medium tannins, grippy spicy finish. Zippy and spirited. Luscious mouthfeel. Strong, long. Quite striking.

This wine will last another 10+ years easy. Drinking so well now.

Highly Recommended 90 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 22nd – Sauvignon Blanc


Sacred Hill SB 2017

Sacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2017 – $

I have never been in love with this value tier of Sacred Hill wines (orange label). For several years I have found the Chardonnay wines all a bit underdone and bitter and it put me off.

However, this vintage of Savvy earned itself a Decanter Gold Medal at the 2017 Asia Wine Awards, and Winestate gave this 5 Stars, so something sincere must be going on in this bottle…

12.5% alc. Clearest pale straw colour.

Nice grassy and tomato-y and capsicum-y aromas lifting from the glass. Crispness and a sense of open space. Sharp apple.

Sharp and fresh fruit flavours to taste up front. A pleasant citrus tang. Short, bold. Agreeable fruit density.

Recommended 88 Points

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 31st – Sauvignon Blanc


Pa Road SB 2017

te Pā Pā Road Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $

Produced by a family-owned winery with an 800-year tangata whenua connection to the land, this mid-tier wine is made from grapes grown on the McDonald home block vineyard near the Wairau River bar in Marlborough.

13% alc. Drought-pale straw colour.

Clean clear citrus aromas of golden delicious apples, light green capsicum. Very attractive.

On tasting, a simple restrained quality sav is revealed. Not an aggressive style. Balanced fruit and acid. Quite sweet throughout the mid-palate with a sharp finish.

Delicious drinking, and v good value for the price point.

Highly Recommended 92 points

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


KR Village Chardonnay 2016

Kumeu River Village Chardonnay Auckland 2016 – $

Light gold colour. 13.5% alc.

Lovely elegant and expressive nose. Slighlty reductive. Crisp open lifted citris aromas, light stone fruit – unripe apricot – green apple and mint.

Lively and fresh to drink. Crips acid, tingly mouthfeel, mouthewatering, mint again, and complexly layered. Slightly bitter and spicy finish.

This is a wine that really over delivers for its price. Excellent value, just delicious.

Highly Recommended 92 points

 

 

What’s in the glass tonight November 2nd – Sauvignon Blanc


Dashwood SB 2016

Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $

Another fantastic Savvy, and cheap too!

Pale straw colour. 13% alc.

A cheery and lively nose, this wine boasted the strongest expression of passionfruit I have ever smelt in a Sauvignon Blanc. There was more to smell every time I went back to the glass: lemons, limes, green apples, hops. Remarkable.

It was crisp and full-flavoured to drink, with a dry apple pip finish.

Highly Recommended 94 points