What’s in the glass tonight June 20th – Chardonnay


Sacred Hill Riflemans 2015

Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2015 – $$$+

Bula!

L and I recently jetted off for a long weekend on Denarau island in Fiji. L was to attend a conference, and I was her ‘plus-1’.

The weather was sunny and warm. The pool was cool and inviting, the hotel staff were friendly and helpful, and we had a great time with her workmates and fellow professionals. Vinaka vaka levu, L!

I raided the airport duty-free store on the way and bought a bottle of Chardonnay to drink on our hotel room balcony. I chose one of NZ’s best single vineyard Chardy’s, which is only made in good years from grapes off old Mendoza clone vines. As I have written about before, it was a bottle of the ’07 that started me on my wine journey.

The nose of the Riflemans showed mealy and fine and aromatic. The wine smelled oaky and oily, quite similar to Viognier in that regard, and had that typical Riflemans intensity, buttery character, and layer of lemon curd.

To taste, the wine was finely-grained and smooth in texture, with rich and dense golden fruit flavours, and some butterscotch and spice. It finished long, with quite “tingle-y’ acid, and showed some bitterness.

This Chardonnay is an somewhat old-fashioned heavy style of wine, in its way, and was not really suited to the tropical Fijian climate at all. A winter white, this one, and best for a cold climate and roast chicken dinners. Still, couldn’t deny the quality.

Highly recommended 91 points

What’s in the glass tonight June 9th – Pinot Noir


Wild Grace Pinot Noir 2015

Wild Grace Pinot Noir Central Otago 2015

Someone at work bought this negociant wine for our Friday work drinks. I am usually suspicious of entry-level Pinots, but this was really good.

It had a good core and depth of fruit, good ripeness, and little of that bitterness I sometimes see in over-extracted cheaper Pinot Noir. The nose kept my interest, with an alluring savoury character. Yum.

Nice label design too. We are a design-led company…

Recommended 89 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 11th– Merlot Cabernets blend


IMG_9172

Craggy Range Te Kahu Hawkes Bay 2015 – $$

It’s late at night. L is away at a Chiro conference in Melbourne, LG is in bed asleep, the boys are with their father, and I am sifting at the the computer, on the internet, which turns into blogging. I’m blogging about wine, while drinking this wine. Very meta.

Dark plum red. 14% alc.

The wine is showing somewhat thin and oddly structured on the nose on opening. Perhaps it’s a keeper and needs time?

Sure enough, it softened on standing in the glass, filling out and opening up, but still showed thin. There is fruit there as a backbone, with spice and heat, grunty tannin and dark cocoa, but it isn’t as rich or dense as the ’13 or ’14. A disappointment, this bottle.

It does show distinctive terroir, so I have marked it up

Commended 85 points

What’s in the glass tonight March 21st – Cotés du Rhone


Dom Les Grands Bois Les 3 Soeurs 2015

Off Topic: Dom. Les Grands Bois les Trois Sœurs Cotés du Rhone Rouge 2014 – $$

Named for the three sisters of the producer.

Inky carmine colour. 14.5% alc.

This wine smells soft and savoury and gracious. Ripe plums and red berries. Cardboard box.

Full and fleshy, ripe and luscious to drink. There are chewy raspy tannins, a sweet finish, and pleasant heat at the death. Lovely!

Recommended 89 Points

What’s in the glass tonight February 27th – Marsanne Viognier


Rod McDonald One-Off 2015

Rod McDonald Wines ‘One Off’ Marsanne Viognier Gisborne 2015 – $$

A Rhone blend, and a one-off wine conceived and produced by Rod McDonald from the grapes he had at hand. As he says, “once it’s gone, it’s gone”. Indeed, that’s what I usually say when a good bottle goes west…as this one most certainly was.

Pale gold colour. 13.5% alc.

A nose of melon and peach. Perfumed and smoky. A very attractive and immersive floral scent filled the glass, which softened over time to a mellow lifted and savoury expression. Strongly oaked. Quite unique and sophisticated.

In the mouth there was a lovely balance of fruit flavours and spice. There was honey and ginger, citrus and heat. A winning combination of angular minerality and luscious fruity bawdiness.

Highly Recommended  – 91 points

What’s in the glass tonight February 7th – Sauvignon Blanc


grava-sb-2015

Grava Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$

Whole bunch pressed. Pale greenish straw. 12.5% alc.

Light and lifted, grassy, and finishes with a strong hint of licorice allsort

A smooth Savvy up front, slightly lean to taste, and minerally, with the expected lemon tang. Also evident is the typical lower North Island dialed-back SB acidity, but still is fresh and invigorating. Short.

Recommended  – 87 points

What’s in the glass tonight January 9th – Sauvignon Blanc


palliser-estate-sauvignon-blanc-2015

Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$

Greenish pale straw colour. 13.5% alc.

I can feel the heat of the Martinborough days and the cool of the nights in the fresh mandarin and lemon bouquet of this wine. It smells of summer sun-blanched grassy hills beside the Ruamahunga River. Light and lifted, with clover honey and pear.

Sweet upfront to taste, there is a restrained citrus character supported through the middle with bags of sweet ripe fruit and bags of flavour. Utterly delish this is. It gives Te Mata’s Cape Crest a good run for the money!

Outstanding  – 95 points

 

What’s in the glass tonight January 6th – Chardonnay


evans-tate-butterball-chardonnay-2015

Off Topic – Evans&Tate Butterball Chardonnay Margaret River WA 2015 – $$

Gold colour. 13% alc. My L likes a buttery Chardy on a sunny summer weekend afternoon. And this fitted the bill.

Ripe and flavoursome, not too heavy, with pleasant butterscotch and caramel characters, and tropical fruit flavours, with enough citrus underpinning not to have the wine collapse into a flabby mess of oak

Recommended  – 87 points

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


triplebank-pn-2015

Triplebank Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 – $

A new label for me. An Awatere Valley wine from the Pernod Ricard stable of brands.

Pinot ruby. 13.5% alc.

Lightly aromatic, moderately comples on the nose, sweet red cherries, lightly spiced. Hint of stalk/whole bunch.

Simple flavours, not a lot going on. Moderate ripeness and extract, what you would expect from a Pinot at this price point. A bit sharp and metallic towards the finish.

83 points