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


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.


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 September 5th – Chardonnay


From the Cellar: Sacred Hill Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2012 – $$

Gold colour. 12.5%

Mealy secondary aromas. Cashews, butterscotch, apricots. Interesting.

I taste dulled fruit, a bit thin at first look, and citrus. This wine died in the glass in a relatively short time, and became unrewarding. Some wines improve with a bit of age, but this was not one of them. Oh well.

79 points

What’s in the glass tonight August 9th – Chardonnay

Gibbston Gold River Chardonnay 2012

Gibbston Valley Gold River Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2012 – $

I am always a sucker when I see an older wine for sale on the shelves of my local supermarket. This one bore a 60% reduction in price, which indicated there may be a  problem here, but I took a punt on it nonetheless. The producer has a good reputation.

Golden yellow colour, looking developed. 12.5% alc.

It smelled like it was almost on the turn, with oxidation on the nose, and showing in the colour.

Some acid to taste, butterscotch and almonds, apricots and peaches and lemons. Perhaps a bit soft on attack, but it got leaner and crisper through the mid-palate and finish. Below average. I must avoid heavily discounted older wines…

80 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 28th – Pinot Noir

Lone Goat PN 2012

Lone Goat Pinot Noir Burnham Christchurch 2012

Tasted at Christchurch Airport waiting for the plane to take me home.

Peppery and spicy on the nose. An odd bouquet. Funky at first but that blew off. Strong notes of green leaf/cut stalk mixed with perfumed pink roses

The palate shows lean and green quite tannic and edgey and acidic. The leafy component is quite unsettling. I see a lot of oxidation as the fruit dies in the glass. Pretty ghastly really.

70 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 1st – Shiraz

d'Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz 2012

Off Topic: d’Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz McLaren Vale 2012 – $$

It’s a new month. The year is moving on, but winter is still lagging behind, much to the chagrin of us skiers (the season was meant to start on Mt Ruapehu on the 2nd…). No matter what is happening on Game of Thrones…

And, in honour of the upcoming Game of Rhones celebration, and to take the edge off my working week, I chose a value wine from one of the featured producers – d’Arenberg.

D’Arenberg write on the label that their name pays homage to a significant South Australian invention – the Stump Jump plough, designed to ride over stumps and roots saving time and energy. It is rumoured that the inventor of the plough had poor eyesight and required regular tests to ensure he could still operate machinery. The design of this label is inspired by an optometrist’s eyechart and serves as a makeshift sobriety test. If you can hold the bottle at arm’s length and still read the front label, you can enjoy another glass.

Deep dark ruby colour. 14.4% alc.

Attractive leafy nose, savoury notes, warm enticing black cherries and vanilla. It has a Rhone-like presence.

In the mouth, the wine is full bodied, with nutty black fruits & chewy tannins. It shows juicy acidity on the finish, hot and tannic at the death. Good length. This is drinking really well after four years.

88 Points

What’s in the glass tonight June 19th – Methode Traditionelle

Man O War Tulia 2012

Man O’War Tulia Methode Traditionelle Blanc de Blanc 2012 – $$$

100% Chardonnay from the ‘Pururi’ vineyard on Waiheke Island. Bought at Akl Duty free, consumed in Fiji…

11.9% alc., 6 g/L dosage. Yellow gold, with moderate bubbles.

Lifted bouquet of peach, apple, nuts and (strong) yeasty brioche lead into a palate of firm stone fruit flavours and citrus. Lees and oak backbone. Grapefruit finish. A lively, racy sparkler. 89 points


What’s in the glass tonight May 7th – Pinot Noir.


Julicher Estate 99 Rows Pinot Noir Martinborough 2012 – $$.

Bright dark carmine. 13.5% alc.

A Te Muna Road native, and showing the class of its terroir. The second wine of Julicher Estate.

Opened previous night after the Catch Pinot tasting, and one glass taken. Showing so well now the next day, in the sunshine, outside our unit at Peppers Parehua in Martinborough.

99 Rows PN 2012

Floral and red cherries and lifted aromas. Sweet red fruits in the mouth. Luscious and savoury. Some brambly characters. Spicy on the finish. Hot and long. Very fine for a second wine. I like this wine a lot. And it’s at a great price.  92 points

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

Martinborough SB 2012

From the Cellar: Martinborough Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – $$

13.5% Bright straw colour.

A softer style of Sav. Aromatic with marine metallic notes of cut grass, cooking apple, red capsicum and rock melon.

Light & off dry to taste. Austere, steely sharp & textured and salty. Nice development. Framed by elegance and quality.


What’s in the glass tonight – October 24th

Three Wizards of Oz

A big beautiful grab-bag of wines today!! Feeling very fortunate.

A and OB1 gave us a lovely bottle of Aussie Shiraz as a wedding present. After Saturday’s ride, I asked OB1 whether I should ‘drink or hold’? He must have asked A, cos she then came back to me to say that L and I must come over to try a glass and decide for ourselves! And so we did….

Joseph Angel Glly 2011

Joseph Angel Gully Shiraz Clarendon McLaren Vale 2011

Enjoyed on their deck bathed in the sun. The best way to drink a wine from the Lucky Country!

Deep dark carmine. Primo vino. 14.5%. Floral, big, aromatic, licorice, cedar, choc mocha. Superb. Made in an Amarone style – intense berries, soft ripe fruit.

Amazeballs. Outstanding 5

Then we were able to try this beauty…

Joseph Cab Cav Merl Moda 2011

Joseph Moda Cab Sav Merlot McLaren Vale 2011

Deep dark carmine. 15% alc. Somewhat closed nose, eucalyptus, pencil shavings and graphite.

Mushrooms, underbrush, wild thyme. Wants another year or two to open out. Amazing fruit. A gorgeous food wine.

Sibling of Amazeballs. BTVG 4+

Pra Otto Soave

Then we headed off to J and B’s house for dinner. I brought along a bottle of Pra Otto Soave 2013 which served as a light and pretty aperitif, but this was the star of the meal:

Jacobs Creek Double Barrel Shiraz

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz  2012

Finished in aged whiskey barrels. First vintage.

Heady bouquet liquorice, spice, and dark plums.

Generous and rich on palate with red fruits and dark choc, vanilla, nutty notes and soft dense fine tannins.

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight – Oct 16th

Fiano 2012

Off Topic: Castellani Fiano Beneventano IGT – Sanvito Campagnia 2012 – $$

Friday was warm and sunny. I went out looking for a Picpoul to toast the end of the working week, but came back with this wine instead. It comes from the Campagnian region of Italy, via the bottlestore down the street from my work.

Wikipedia sez about the grape, “According to Jancis Robinson, Fiano can produce an age-worthy wine that has to potential to develop in the bottle for several years after the vintage date. In its youth Fiano is often intensely flavored and aromatic with honey notes that over time develop more spicy and nutty notes. The advent of modern winemaking techniques with its emphasis on limiting oxidation and preserving freshness, have improved the overall quality of Fiano wines over the years. However, some producers that still practice more traditional winemaking techniques can still produce wines that come across as heavy and be prone to premature oxidation.”

12.5%. Pale straw colour.

On bouquet, strong aromas of spice, florals, honey and nutty notes, & rolling tobacco.

To taste, fresh & structured & textured, with citrus, honey and hazelnut flavours. Grapefruit finish. I liked it.

BTW the Roman wine Apianum was produced by a grape known as vitis apiana, whose name is related to the Latin word for “bees” which were strongly attracted to the sugary pulp of the grapes. Some wine historians believe that the grape behind Apianum may have been Fiano.