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

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What’s in the glass tonight September 27th – Merlot Cabernets


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From the cellar: Trinity Hill The Gimblett 2010 – $$

We are all up at the ski club for the Spring school holiday ski week. A bit of rain and snow and hail about, but it isn’t dampening the fun too much. We are waiting for a spell of better weather in the later half of the week. In the meantime, we ferry baggage loads up the hill when the chairlift isn’t running…

trinity-hill-the-gimblett-2010

2010 was a sensational vintage in Hawkes Bay – a perfect summer followed by an Indian summer for autumn ripening. This wine was picked as a keeper…

A blend of five varieties – 60% merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit verdot, 3% Malbec. A melange

14% alc. Inky carmine colour. Soft oaky vanilla on the nose, with secondary aromas of rich black fruit, plums and raisins.

A great balance of fruit, tannins and acid in the mouth. A very complete wine, and lovely drinking over both nights the bottle was open. Great structure, and long. Stood up well to the altitude as well. Yum.

92 points

 

 

What’s in the glass tonight September 10th – E.Guigal Rhône reds


eguigal-cdr-2012

D and R came around for a pre-dinner drink and snack. We polished off my open bottle of E.Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2012 , then I cracked open a E.Guigal Gigondas 2010.

eguigal-gigondas-2010

The CdR 2012 was excellent, and looks a great bet for the cellar (Decanter July 2016 rated it 87 pts, saying, “Bright aromas of crisp red fruits, with smoky roasted undertones. Soft notes of creamy vanilla [] fine tannins [] fresh mineral finish [] poised and polished”) (I would score a few pts higher than that), while the Gigondas 2010 appealed to me greatly for its extra concentration, ripe fruit, density and all-round superyumminess (to be scientific).

Good times. Good company!

What’s in the glass tonight – Pinot Noir


worth cellaring PN 2016 3jpg

Kusuda Pinot Noir Martinborough 2010 Bottle no. 4862 – $$$+

I have never drunk a Kusuda Pinot Noir. I have heard of the producer, read the odd review, seen a few pricey bottles in the shops, but never had the spare readies and access to buy at the same time. Known for high quality and made in Lilliputian quantities, and somewhat of a “cult wine” in these parts.

Proprietor and Winemaker Hiro Kusuda was profiled by Tim Atkin MW in the March edition of Decanter alongside other small producers who were all “Tearing up the Rule Book”. Hiro left the Japanese Foreign Office to stuffy Oenology in Germany, despite not knowing the language.

Atkin writes, “Perfectionism characterises everything that Kusuda does. Working at the sorting table, he and his team wear gloves to handle the grapes, inspecting every berry for the slightest imperfection, discarding anything that isn’t porcelain perfect”. The 2014 Pinot Noir is “drinkable, focused and beautifully refined, reflecting the values of the man who made it”.

And then, Stephen Spurrier in the June edition of Decanter tasted Kusuda’s 2015 Riesling (“beautiful expression of flowers, fruit and minerals”), 2014 Pinot Noir (“incredible purity”), 2013 Syrah (“a superb modern classic”). Great stuff. Makes me want…

Imagined how pleased I was when AS generously brought out a bottle of the 2010 Kusuda Pinot Noir to share with those of us taking part in the recent Worth Cellaring Pinot Noir tasting I wrote about in early September, to bookend and to illuminate the preceding flight.

This was a real treat. The wine had wonderful weight and persistence, preceded by a gorgeous bouquet. I saw a sweet attack, paired with superb weight and extract.

The bottle age and fine cellaring set it apart from the other wines, and showed them all up. Thrilling!

95 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 31st – Côtes du Rhône


E Guigal CdR 2010

From the Cellar: E Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2010 – $$

Following an immersive tasting of 2007 Chateauneuf de Pape’s, I arrived home with a taste for another Rhone. I don’t have anything of the power or depth as a CdP, but I do have a few of these kicking around…

Deep dark red. 14% alc. 49% Syrah, 48% Grenache, 3% Mourvèdre. Average vine age 35 years. 3.5M bottles produced of this vintage.

The bouquet is soft and floral as you would expect, some savoury and underbrush notes, with a hint of green herb.

On drinking I tasted medium-ripe red fruit – cherries, raspberries – with chocolate and vanilla. A sweet entry. Good balance of acid, with a nice tannic structure. The dry extract is not as intense as the CdPs, not being as ripe or full. I saw it as crusty on the back palate, and with a drying finish backing off. Pleasant easy style of red, a classic of its type, needs another few years to develop some secondary characters.

88 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 30th – St-Julien


Sarget 2010

Off Topic: Sarget de Gruard Larose St-Emilion 2010

The night before I was fortunate to enjoy a superlative tasting of 2005 Bordeaux’s. My nose and head was still full of sense-memories of the wonderful wines I had experienced from that part of the world*.  I had to keep the feeling going…

So then, this is the second wine of the Second Growth property Ch. Gruard Larose from the appellation of St-Julien in Bordeaux. 70% of the growers grape crop goes into the Sarget.  I bought this bottle en primeur in 2011 from Glengarry, solely on the glowing tasting notes accompanying the offer.

Dark garnet colour. 14% alcohol

Big expressive nose of black cherry, plum, spice and cassis. It smelt perfect.

Sweet entry. Black cherry and pepper  showing on the mid-palate. Firm and tannic, this wine is a hefty delight in the mouth. Young too, probably opened 2-3 years too early. Supple and chewy. Showing some tar and tobacco notes also. Drying finish.

This hit the sweet-spot alright!  92 Points

*Tasting notes to come

What’s in the glass tonight May 11th – St. Emilion.


Ch. Teyssier 2010

Ch. Teyssier St. Emilion Grand Cru 2010

Deep dark red. 14% alc. A house-warming gift from GC and CM.

Lovely nose of red fruits, cedar, vanilla, tending secondary now. A bit brambly. Warmth and spice.  Enticing bouquet.

Sweet red fruit to taste, bright acid line, medium body, medium acid, hot finish. Very engaging wine, showing well now.  90 points.

Four Syrahs


 

Bilancia Syrah 2010

From the Cellar: Bilancia Syrah Hawkes Bay 2010 – $$$

This is from one of New Zealand’s reference Syrah producers. Their La Collina Syrah is lauded, but like Trinity Hills Homage and Missions Huchet, out of my price range. This is the first wine of theirs I have tried – I bought it for the Pool Room on reputation alone.

Deep deep scarlet colour, tending brick.

At first it was closed and somewhat dumb on the nose, a fail mark against my presentation. Then after a short time it showed soft and fragrant , and built on, with vanilla and dark berries. A beguiling savoury secondary bouquet emerged. A tickle of pepper. Lovely to inhale.

With some standing, it tasted soft & supple, with Rhone characters. Ripe fruit, and restrained. Fine tannins, a hint of green stalk, but that is not a negative here – it adds to grace. Strong white pepper on the finish. Long and involving, this is a terrific, terrific wine, and worth careful consideration. 97 points.

 

Forrest tasting 2016 2

Forrest Syrah John Forrest Collection Gimblett Gravels 2013 – $$$

Tasted instore. This wine is from Dr Forrest’s premium collection. Single vineyard site on the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay. Hand harvested. Aged before release.

Deep carmine colour,  13.5% alc. A gorgeous nose – a rich bouquet, floral with dark boysenberry and plum fruit, black pepper, some oak and vanilla. Simply superb.

To taste: fresh, vibrant ripe dark stonefruit flavours, juicy texture, supple tannins to finish. Young, needs time to soften and knit together the component parts. A great NZ Syrah. 95 points

 

VM CS Syrah 2014

Villa Maria CS Syrah Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$.

Inky black scarlet, 13.5% alc. Light bouquet, cool climate fruit aromas –  blackberries; the usual box wood top notes and light spice. Straightforward flavours, not overly ripe or lush, black pepper, blackberry nose carrying through on palate, drying tannins, licorice on the finish. 88 points

 

3 Roads Syrah Hawkes Bay 2015

From the vineyard of my mate GW, as seen at his ‘release tasting’ last weekend. The wine was made by Tim Turvey at Clearview.

Bright deep scarlet colour. Cut with 15% Merlot. Soft and with bright floral notes.  Less spice and depth and pepper than the ‘14. Needs another year or two to integrate and show the style better. As for the ’14, it is well on the way. Needs two years more to open out and become lusher.  Both too soon to rate appreciably.

Thanks for the invite!

What’s in the glass tonight March 27th – Various reds


Escarpment Pahi PN 2010

From the Cellar: Escarpment Pahi SV Pinot Noir Martinborough 2010 – $$$

G came around tonight for dinner with L and I. As promised, I cracked a bottle of Pinot Noir from the cellar to match the bottle he bought for our wedding last year. It was, alas, not up to the occasion…

…Vegetal, stalky, angular & thin. A true cool climate example, but showed light fruit, less than ripe, certainly not luscious, and showed green. A MAJOR disappointment. I do recall, at the 2012 tasting from which I bought this wine, that I was charmed by the floral femininity of the wine, but that I was the only one in the room thus charmed…therefore; lesson: note the ‘ wisdom of crowds’ in future…

82 points

Te Mata Various reds - Graeme N

Te Mata Woodthorpe Vineyard Syrah Viognier Hawkes Bay 2003

G supplied two bottles for dinner, ex an auction he had recently bought at. What a treat!

This wine was savoury and spicy, with white pepper notes, sweet ripe fruit, balanced tannins and fruit. Yum. A total delight!

94 points

Te Mata Woodthorpe Vineyard Merlot / Cabernet Hawkes Bay 2006

An upfront nose of vanilla and baking spice. Balanced fruit, structured tannins, licorice and cocoa. Dense and flavoursome.

91 points

What’s in the glass tonight March 10th – Nebbiolo Barbera


Hihi Nebbiolo 2010 2011

Hihi Wines Nebbiolo Gisborne 2010/2011 – $$

This is a new variety for me (if I discount the incredible 1975 Barolo I tasted a couple of years ago).

Jancis Robinson writes about Nebbiolo on her website – www.jancisrobinson.com/learn/grape-varieties/red/nebbiolo: “If Pinot Noir is the world’s most tantalising grape, Nebbiolo runs it a close second []so uniquely delicious that winemakers all over the world are enticed to give it a try.[] Nebbiolo is exceptionally finicky about where it will happily grow and ripen. The Nebbiolo heartland is the tiny Barolo region, a cluster of fog-prone hills around the village of the same []it is not only late-ripening but also early flowering, so there is no point in planting it anywhere that might suffer from spring frosts. []Perhaps the most wonderful thing about Nebbiolo is its perfume. The wine is typically intensely aromatic, developing the most extraordinarily haunting bouquet in which, variously, roses, autumn undergrowth, woodsmoke, violets and tar can often be found – together with a greater variety of other ingredients than most other grapes. On the palate, the wine is typically high in acidity and, until after many years in bottle, tannins.”

14% alc. Carmine colour, tending brick. Leggy.

This is a blend of Nebbiolo and the vigorous, tart and less flavoursome Barbera grape from the 2010 and 2011 vintages. I have no idea from the bottle or the website as to the relative percentages.

2010 was a good vintage, whereas 2011 was more variable with cooler periods and rainfall and smaller yields.

I saw a very tantalising bouquet on the nose, quite lifted and distinctive, showing cool-climate fruit, forest floor, smoke,  and some green characters. Vanilla and oak are dominant, but there is that beguiling perfume too. Perhaps faulty, but I really liked it.

On palate there a firm tannins, quite dry, with light fruit tending blackberry. There is a slight lack of fruit ripeness, so the wine is not as rich as I had expected, and bears some stalky notes. You could even say it’s a bit rough. Too bad, but not too bad – I think a rough(er) red is a lot more appealing than a soft fruit bomb any day anyway. The nose shows there is definite promise for this variety under the tutelage of Andy Nimmo, winemaker.

Nebbiolo’s are a slow maturing wine. The acidity and tannins here could hold this wine for another 5 years, if the fruit can support it. I’ve got a couple of bottles – I’ll give it a go.

I’ll give it a day to see how it softens in the bottle with some air contact.

The 2013 vintage was a cracker, and 2014 looked good too, so I’d expect a riper example to come rolling down the track in due course.

BTG 3+

After two days left alone on the bench, then wine showed remarkably well. The acidity had softened, and allowed the tannins to come forward. Good news for me wanting to keep the other two bottles in the Pool Room for a few more years.