What’s in the glass tonight November 14th – an Orvieto


Off Topic: Cerquetta Orvieto Classico DOC – $$

A tough day in the shit (literally). A week ago our house sewer drain broke and our toilet backed up. Me and my mate M dug down and exposed the broken earthenware pipe so that our plumber could replace it, which was hard enough work on its own, but now we had two tonne of surplus concrete, clay and ‘decaying’ earth from the excavations to dispose of…

…So, me, L and the kids spent most of the day filling up a wheelbarrow, pushing it out to a trailer on the street, shoveling the stuff out of the barrow, hauling the full trailer to the local landfill, and shoveling the stuff back out. Every kilo of earth was touched four times on its journey from hole to landfill. Groan.

I needed a drink to finish. L kindly bought a bottle of this wine for us to try for the first time.

Cerquetta Orvieto

Brilliant gold colour. 12.5%. No vintage specified on the label.

Somewhat angular phenolic nose. Citrus, almonds and golden stonefruit. Bready.

Fruit flavours were a bit thin. Toasted nuts, almonds, vaguely burnt. Minerality, honey and citrus acidity.

A ‘famous’ wine it says on the label. Not to my taste. I’ll pass.


What’s in the glass tonight Sept 15th

VM Merlot Malbec 2011

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot Malbec Hawkes Bay 2011 – $

This bottle was really cheap at P&S. I added it to my monthly Pool Room selection back in the day. Should have Walked On By…

Deep scarlet colour. 12.5%.

Slight vegetal nose, indicates unripeness, with grass notes. Some soft red plum fruit aromas.

Red fruits in the mouth; a bit thin, light. Fine tannins, not much structure, no boldness. Malbec typicity does show, but not enough. A cooking wine.


What’s in the glass tonight June 10

Le Plant du Roy Malbec cahors Off Topic: Le Plant du Roy Malbec Cahors – $$

I couldn’t determine so easily what vintage this was. The award label sez 2009.

It tasted old. And thin. A bit oxidative. Red fruits but not overly fruity. Not at all as pleasurable as the last Cahors Malbec I had. A disappointment. Quelle bugger.

Not So Good 2

What’s in the glass tonight May 8th

Hawkhurst Merlot Malbec 2007

Hawkhurst Estate Vineyard Reserve Merlot Malbec Hawkes Bay 2007 – $$

Wow, I saw this 2007 sitting on the shelf at a local convenience store. I thought, what’s this doing here?  It’s a bit old I thought…’07 was a good year for reds in the Bay…Bio-dynamic producer…I wonder what it tastes like…?

I bought a bottle. The label was that kind of label that is a bit old-skool. Almost anti-design, with odd typeface choices and justification, and the colours, and gold trim. I’ve seen this wine around a few times, but have never been tempted to buy. It was often priced cheap-ish, and kinda looked cheap too. But maybe it’s like those old European wines that have old-fashioned labels, and are hiding a magical taste behind a boring exterior? Let’s see…

12.5%. The wine looked quite light-coloured in the glass. Rhone-like. Tawny. It displayed an old nose too. Again Rhone-like. This is looking up! I thought.

Then I drank some. Soft, stalky and thin in the mouth. Oxidised. Unwelcome tertiary characters. There was some beauty to be seen, but the bottle was way past its best. Badly cellared? I tipped it down the sink. Ho-hum.


What’s in the glass tonight April 5th

Hatten Anggur Rose Bali NV

Off Topic: Hatten Wines Anggur Rosé Bali NV – $$$+

This is a wine from Bali. I didn’t know they made wine in Bali. L ordered this bottle of Rosé with dinner at our hotel in Leggian. I hadn’t drunk a glass of wine in-country up to that point, as the choice was either Wolf Blass Yellow Label or…nothing. Bintang pils became my default drink of choice. We didn’t finish it at dinner (L thought it was undrinkable) so I brought I back to our room and did my own assessment the following evening.

Salmon Blush. 11%

Light approachable Rosé aromatic character.

Very light-bodied wine, almost no discernable fruit. Thin but not bitter. Just an absence of flavour. Slightly odd. Does this mean dry heat is best for good grapes? Cos Bali has not much of that…

Gotta give marks for trying. Not sure how it got a CSWA Award in 2013 tho. 2

What’s in the glass tonight March 25th

Saints Chardonnay 2013

Saints Vineyard Selection Chardonnay Gisborne 2013 – $

This is a value wine. 10 bucks gets you a bottle. I haven’t had one of these since I blogged about a 2011 back in the early days of this blog. I thought it was ok then, but I suspect my tastes have moved on and upwards since, and this beauty would likely not have done the same. I thought to review the latest vintage. We’ll see…

First off it looks too yellow for a ’13. Something wrong here. Looks advanced. Smells advanced too. Creamy and apricot-y for sure, but also oxidative characters. What a shame. There should be clean approachable fruit here on the nose.

In the mouth it is a basic wine. No nuance. I can expect that. Nothing too interesting. The usual citrus and stonefruit thing. Shows some bitterness at the death. But it is going downhill and that’s either a fault with this bottle or the range. Again what a shame. I used to drink this back in the day.

Thanks for the memories.  2+

What’s in the glass tonight December 5th

Mouton Cadet 2011

Off Topic: Mouton Cadet Bordeaux 2011 – $$

I have never seen this wine for sale here before, at least not where I shop. A historical wine created by Baron Philippe de Rothschild in the 1930s, I understand it is produced by the brimming lake-full as a second second wine blend from grapes sourced from all over Bordeaux – from the limestone soils of the Entre-Deux-Mers and Côtes de Bordeaux to the clay soils around Blaye and the gravels of  Côtes de Bourg.

It was an odd coincidence but I had just read the Baroness Phillipine’s obit in the latest Decanter, so when I saw this bottle in Central City Wines I thought I had better give it a try. For the record, I am very unlikely to ever spare the readies to try any other wine that bears the Baroness Philippine’s signature…

A deep ruby colour. 13.5%. Euro aroma of fruit and savoury notes, spice and oak.

Quite strong acidity, ok fruit – mostly blackcurrants. Not a big wine.  Simplicity concealed by assertive tannins. Would like to see this in a couple of years to see if the wine balances out, but will settle for re-corking the bottle and leaving it a couple of days instead. Will continue this later…

…which I did. The wine didn’t improve any. Fell over more like. Not much depth. Semi vege. Shows at that bargain price the Baroness is not giving anything away. The gushing hype on the website is overrated. I can find better wine elsewhere for less.

 Ok 2+


What’s in the glass tonight October 28th

Ostler PN 2011a

Ostler Pinot Noir Waitaki 2011

I’m in Twizel in the South Island on business. Just had a delicious meal of pork belly washed down with a great glass of 8-Wired IPA beer (3+) and then a glass of Mysterious Diggings Pinot Noir Central Otago. (3+)

Back at the hotel room now with a nightcap of Ostler Pinot Noir Waitaki 2011. Smells stalky and thin. Lean fruit in the mouth. Too acidic, grasping, vegetal. Not good. 2

Spinyback PN 2012

Spinyback Waimea Pinot Noir Nelson 2012

13.5%.I had a bit better luck with this one while at Chch airport waiting to fly home the next day. Lightly aromatic. Soft ripe fruit. Not much tannin grip. Ok. 3

What’s in the glass tonight June 27th

Sileni HB Chardonnay 2013

2013 Cheap Chardys: Sileni Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 – $

Pale gold. 12.5% alcohol. Light nose of pip fruit. Not much weight in the mouth. Ripe enough, but a little thin, with citrus. Again, uninspiring in such a vintage as this. There are better examples out there to be had at the same price. 2+

What’s in the glass tonight April 28th

Johner Pinot Noir Rose 2013

Johner Wairarapa Pinot Noir Rosé 2013 – $$

I really like the current pinot noir from this producer. I have tried it a couple of times and rate it as a winner in the value category. So I was intrigued to buy this pinot rosé for L, who is a rosé enthusiast.

She didn’t like it much. Her comment was ‘astringent’.

It shows a pinot character on the nose. 14.5% gives it a kick, and contributes to a level of heat in the mouth. I taste interesting cucumber, and cranberry, in the glass, but it is a deeper pink colour, and stronger flavoured than the style I am used to. There is also a bitter finish that I feel stops it being an easy-drinking rosé. Which of course is the point of rosé, really. 2