What’s in the glass tonight July 19th – Gewurtztraminer


Peregrine Gewurtztraminer 2009

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

What’s in the glass tonight July 7th – Sticky


Murdoch James Blue Rock Trafalgar

From the Cellar: Murdoch James Blue Rock Trafalgar Martinborough 2009 – $$$

L bought this bottle on our first weekend away to the Wairarapa, when we first started going out. We stayed on the first floor of Turley Red, a pub in Greytown, above the karaoke bar, with non-sound-insulated floors. While trying to sleep the first night we heard every song. We were practically in the bar with the singers…It was a GrabOne deal. We look back and laugh about it now.

Anyway, we did a vineyard crawl one day, and ended up at Murdoch James perched above the old river escarpment, east of Martinborough. I recall gorgeous gardens, and a singularly unique approach to winemaking styles, aimed at the Asian market, for Martinborough.

This wine is a blend of noble Sauvignon Blanc, and late harvest Riesling, a ‘sticky’.

13% alc. Golden colour.

Delicious, evolved, and volatile. A sticky in a big bottle. Fantastic aromas of mandarins, honey, and citrus freshness.

Very sweet on attack (natch), with fresh citrus character throughout the mid-palate, and kero energy at the finish. So good!

Highly recommended 92 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 2nd – Syrah


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From the Cellar: Millton Clos Ste Anne The Crucible Syrah Gisborne 2009 – $$$

As I have said many, many times – biodynamic Millton Vineyard is one of my favourite producers. James and Annie possess one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in one of the most special parts of New Zealand (disclosure:  a branch of my family immigrated into NZ through Gisborne two centuries ago, and I love the place, so I’m biased). And they treat their land so well and with so much respect through their viticultural stewardship. To open one of their wines is always a treat and an occasion to savour.

Now, having talked up the wine incredibly….

Inky red black colour, slightly browning at the rim. 14.5% alc. Whole berry in the maceration, with some Viognier in the blend.

Floral, spicy and perfumed nose. Lifted.  Soft rich black fruit, and white pepper.

In the mouth there was an absolute abundance of sweet rich black fruit, with perfect ripeness and weight. Apparent oak and vanilla, but it didn’t detract. Smooth and deep, with notes of port and raisin and dark chocolate. Balanced acid, fruit and tannin. A long peppery finish. Superb, just delicious.

Outstanding 97 points

What’s in the glass tonight June 11th – Cabernet Sauvignon


CR McDonald Cab Sav 2009

From the Cellar: Church Road McDonald Series Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2009 – $$

Dark garnet claret.  13.5% alc.

Warm dense black fruit, with secondary aroma characters emerging from the mix. Red rose florals, oak and vanilla notes. This wine expresses brooding power.

There is great power and structure on the palate. It is tannic and weighty, and not too joined up yet. Flavours of licorice and cassis as you would expect. I am used to the richness that Merlot would have given to a blend, so on it’s own the Cabernet is somewhat angular, flinty and biscuit-y, with a drying finish. Is there enough body to balance the power? Just.

The structure helped the wine hang together better and soften markedly the next day, when it drank very well, and I drained the bottle to the last. I could have held this for another eight years… 90 points.

 

Wedding Week Wines


This has been the most wonderful weekend where I was privileged to marry the loving, gorgeous, kind and clever L in front of our loving families and the best and most warm and generous friends anyone could ever have. I am feeling blessed in every way!

We drank some great wines before and after the great event. Here are some that I recall. There were many:

Martinborough PN 2009

From the Cellar: Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009 – $$$+

Brown carmine colour. Savoury nose, typical of Martinbo/Wairarapa. Dense and ticklish with spice and dust. Intensely aromatic. Gorgeous. Burgundian characters, with heft and presence.

In the mouth, black cherries, drying. Spicy and fine grained tannins. A defined line of red fruit acid. A savoury finish with heat on the back palate. Beautiful balance.  BTVG 4+.

Palliser PN 2009

From the Cellar: Palliser Estate Pinot Noir 2009 – $$$

I drank this with my old mate DT. I did’nt make any notes while we caught up but it tasted like this:  Dark carmine colour. Dense fruit, deep and savoury, & spicy, on the nose. Savoury flavours and red cherry fruit flavours, white pepper and star anise bitterness delivering on the finish. A delicious wine. BTVG 4+

Bollinger NV

Wedding Gift: Bollinger NV

My First Bolly. I am no Champagne expert, but here is what I noticed: Brioche, bready notes, bright acid attack and lively, fine bubbles, and a bitter finish. Party time. 3+

Babich Organic Chardonnay 2014

Babich Headwaters Vineyard Organic Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 

13%. Pale gold. Complex & honeyed; vanilla, oak, with white flower florality;  rich in a European style. Yum.

Ripe white stonefruit flavours with a nice acid line of lemon and grapefruit pith. Generous mouth feel and weight; creamy; but not too big on it. Nice oak buzz on thre back. VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight Aug 22nd


Wiffen Pinot Noir 2009

From the Cellar: Charles Wiffen Pinot Noir Marlborough 2009 – $$

This wine commended itself to me for two reasons:

Firstly, it bears one of the best-looking wine labels in all of NZ, in my opinion. Elegant and sophisticated, bearing an elegant crux mark, and the use of the colour burgundy sets it apart from the competition.

Secondly, this wine came out very well-reviewed at an Under-$30 NZ Pinot Noir tasting tutored by Geoff Kelly that I attended a couple of years ago. On the strength if how it showed then, and being great value for money, I bought this bottle and stowed it away under the house…

From their website, “The Wiffen family have owned their Marlborough property, St. Clair, since 1907. [ ] Situated on the southern side of the Wairau Valley floor, the property has free draining alluvial soils with some pockets of richer soil. [ ] The vineyard now totals 50 hectares, producing Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Noir and we have new plantings of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.”

And here it is…

Carmine colour…14% alc.

Lovely and floral aromas in the glass. Savoury, with black cherries and dark chocolate notes. This savoury nose developed further on the second night, with a pleasant meaty character underpinning the whole. Nice.

In the mouth, black cherries again, good ripeness and body, with a spicy pepper and fine tannin finish. Not particularly long.

Good varietal expression from Marlborough. A lovely wine.

VG 4

Que Syrah, Syrah


French Dinner

L and I were invited to share a delicious rustic French meal at M & G’s house in the weekend. Cured meats, fine cheeses to start, then a hearty cassoulet. Yum!

I raided the Pool Room and came away with a Dom. des Espiers Gigondas 2011 I rated highly from a tasting last year, and a Bridge Pa Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2009. I loved both – the older Bridge Pa just shaded the Gigondas, even though the latter had the advantage of Gallic charm. BTVG 4+

M shared a fantastic Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the other guests brought a nice Pinot Noir, and after starting the evening with a nice glass or two of M’s home-brew beer brewed at the Occasional Brewer, I was feeling no pain by the end of the evening.

Good times with friends 🙂

What’s in the glass tonight July 9th


Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2009

From the Cellar: Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – $$$+

We are super excited tonight.

The two youngest kids are crawling around pretending to be cats. The eldest is at a birthday party. It is very cold out. A southerly storm is blowing up the country and snow is falling everywhere.

We are packing to go on the first ski weekend of the new season…yay! Thursday nights at this time are always a bit stressful. We have to haul the ski gear out from under the house. Fit the roofbox to the car. Make sure everyone has packed everything they need for a weekend on the slopes. And we need A LOT OF STUFF…

So, get this treasured bottle out from the cellar and toast the season!

L and I bought it a few years ago from the cellar door when we were down in Marlborough for the Graperide. 14%. Sunlit golden colour. Magic.

Brilliant bouquet of gooseberry, lemon zest, lime and crisp apple.

Oaked and age-softened in the mouth. Balanced acidity and fresh fruit. Mouthwatering and zesty, but shows perfect restraint. Not too brash. A burst of sunshine smiles on an auspicious night.

Outstanding 5

What’s in the glass tonight June 28th


Fromm Brancott Pinot Noir 2009

From the Cellar: Fromm Brancott Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 – $$$

I bought this at the winery on a visit after the Graperide in 2013. The native Wine Label Weevil has since had a good go at the label front and back. Weird, that hasn’t happened before…

Dark carmine. 14%.

Beautifully aromatic with forward, elegant florality. Dense fruit character, red cherries, and hints of oak and vanilla and spice.

On palate; red cherries, very smooth mouthfeel, fine tannins, well integrated with balance and dense fruit weight. A long finish with that typical Pinot ‘burr’. Abso superb.

FYI James Suckling gave this a 95.

BTVG 4+

What’s in the glass tonight June 15th


Te Motu PN 2009

From the Cellar: Te Motu Pinot Noir Waiheke 2009

This bottle was a business Christmas gift to me from a firm who went belly-up not to much later. A shame, that.

This wine is produced by the Dunleavy family out of their vineyard in the Onetangi Valley on Waiheke Island situated off the coast of Auckland.

The vineyard’s name ‘Te Motu’ comes from the original Maori name for Waiheke, Te Motu­Arai­Roa (‘island of long shelter’).One of Te Motu vineyard’s boundaries is formed by the Rangihoua creek, which flows into an inlet of Putiki Bay.The inlet was named by Tamatekapua – captain of the Maori canoe Te Arawa – because it was his first landfall in the long voyage from Hawaiiki. There, Te Arawa was re-­lashed before continuing on to its final landing place at Maketu in the Bay of Plenty.

This Pinot Noir is a light carmine colour. 14% alc.

It was very floral. I saw Boronia, red cherries, Rewa Rewa flowers, honey, salt and raspberry lollies. Lovely.

In the mouth I tasted dense fruit flavours of red cherries. It was spicy on the mid palate, with good acid, silky tannins and a long finish. In a word, luscious.

It did start out a bit oxidised and i thought, uh-oh, I have left this alone for too long. But it opened out in the glass during the evening (and in the bottle overnight) and sorted itself out very nicely.

VG 4