What’s in the glass tonight March 8th – Shiraz Cabernet

I Am George Shiraz cabernet 2016

Off Topic: I.Am.George Shiraz Cabernet Limestone Coast Barossa 2016 – $$

14.6% alc. Inky crimson colour.

Rich and plum-y bold dark red-black fruits. Forward. Lifted.

Intense fruity flavours – very rich. Luscious, savoury and giving.  Medium-grained tannins. High and hot alcohol finish. Abso delicious drinking – front to back.

Highly Recommended 91 Points


Straight to the Pool Room – March 2018

Pool Room March 2018

A brace of Chardonnays from Kumeu River for the Cinderella treatment:

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$ – drink 2020-2022.

I may squeeze a KR Hunting Hill Chardonnay in there too if I can afford it.

What’s in the glass tonight March 4th – Chardonnay

KR Estate Chard 2016

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$

Being the third KR Chardonnay I have tasted these past weeks, this is the flagship Estate-level blended wine, a step up from the Villages wine I enjoy and consider excellent value. Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay is drawn from six different vineyard sites in the Kumeu Region.

14% alc. Pale gold colour.

Restrained mealy and composed. Aromas of white peach and apple.

Rich and stylish on tasting. Crisp and fresh, acid prevails over fruit. Not as elegant or dense as the Coddington, nor as lively and personable as the Villages. Stuck in the middle. Will it age? Appears to have the boldness and structure to do so for another 3 years. Let’s see then…

Recommended 88 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 2nd – Riesling

RiverT Risesling

River-T Riesling Waitaki Valley 2016 – $$

It was Riesling Day one day recently down at Regional Wines, and I had a chance to taste-test a lovely dry-ish Riesling from the Waitaki Valley. The wine was River-T Riesling from the 2016 vintage. I liked it and brought a bottle home.

From RW: This wine is made with grapes grown by Murray and Karen Tweed, whose vineyard is 5 kms out of Kurow; the main town in the valley. The couple hand harvested the grapes in mid-May – very late by New Zealand standards since Waitaki Valley is the last region to harvest its grapes each year. This makes it a very cool climate wine region, which just so happens to suit the late ripening Riesling grape pretty darned well. This wine is medium dry (18.3 grams per litre of residual grape sugar – not that it tastes sweet at all). It has 13% alcohol and its natural high acidity lends beautiful balance to this refreshing, crisp, light bodied, full flavoured Riesling.

13% alc. Pale straw colour.

The Waitaki Valley is New Zealand’s smallest wine region. It is better known for generating a hefty amperage of hydroelectric power from a multitude of dams spaced down the Waitaki River, and for flying gliders out of Waimarama. A cool climate you could also say – you can ski up the top end in winter. FWIW Kurow is famous for being the home town of one our our finest All Blacks – Richie McCaw.

In addition to these many attractions I am told there are some splendid grape-growing sites that face the north sun and have great soils.

This wine is leggy. Lovely aromatics. Clear and crisp aromas – melon, grapes, green apple.

Off dry to drink. Delicious and crunchily crisp. Intense fresh fruit flavours, a crisp finish. A perfect summer aperitif wine.

Recommended 89 Points

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 28th – Chardonnay

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$

This is Kumeu River’s  single vineyard wine I generally prefer the most, right from when I first began tasting their wines. I dare say this is because this shows better when young than the more powerful cousins, Hunting Hill and Matés Vineyard Chardonnays.

13.5% alc. Light brilliant gold colour.

Like KRs usually have, a slightly reductive aroma. Fine, lightly scented, with citrus, melon, lemon, butterscotch and spice.

Crisp and fine to taste. Bold acid and golden fruit. Suppler and elegant with a crunchy punch through the mid-palate. Heat on the finish. Very approachable on one hand; this is too young, too soon, on the other…

I feel this wine is not as accomplished as the 2016 Villages blend Chardonnay I tried previously, despite the $ gulf between them

Highly Recommended 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 31st – Sauvignon Blanc

Pa Road SB 2017

te Pā Pā Road Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $

Produced by a family-owned winery with an 800-year tangata whenua connection to the land, this mid-tier wine is made from grapes grown on the McDonald home block vineyard near the Wairau River bar in Marlborough.

13% alc. Drought-pale straw colour.

Clean clear citrus aromas of golden delicious apples, light green capsicum. Very attractive.

On tasting, a simple restrained quality sav is revealed. Not an aggressive style. Balanced fruit and acid. Quite sweet throughout the mid-palate with a sharp finish.

Delicious drinking, and v good value for the price point.

Highly Recommended 92 points

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 17th– Pinot Noir

TK Pinot Noir 2016

Te Kairanga Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$

Te Kairanga Wines has recently been acquired by US billionaire and multi winery vineyards investor Bill Foley. I don’t drink hardly any of this producers wines, don’t know why.

I didn’t record any notes for this wine specifically either, but I liked it. I recall good extract and fruit intensity in the wine, a nice spicy-ness, and a good savoury quality which is not always so apparent in Pinot Noir wines of this mid price point. Nice.

Recommended 88 Points

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 13th– Riesling

Fromm Spatlese 2015

Fromm Riesling Spätlese Marlborough 2016 – $$

Joelle Thomson of Regional Wines writes of this wine:

Light and low and naturally so… this super concentrated Riesling is a wine of beauty from Marlborough’s warm days, cool nights and long growing season. Its low alcohol shows that winemaker Hatsch Kalberer intentionally stopped the fermentation well before the wine reached anything near to dryness, so it is a sweet style but, thanks to the high acidity of the Riesling grape, this wine finishes on a crisp, fresh and intensely floral note… its long succulent finish is juicy and delicious.””

8% alc. Pale green straw.

I thought it was stunning at the instore tasting so I brought a bottle home. Juicy and sweet, with such a lovely acid backbone. So so lovely. Such an Empress of wines, Riesling.

Highly Recommended 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 11th– Chardonnay

KR Village Chardonnay 2016

Kumeu River Village Chardonnay Auckland 2016 – $

Light gold colour. 13.5% alc.

Lovely elegant and expressive nose. Slighlty reductive. Crisp open lifted citris aromas, light stone fruit – unripe apricot – green apple and mint.

Lively and fresh to drink. Crips acid, tingly mouthfeel, mouthewatering, mint again, and complexly layered. Slightly bitter and spicy finish.

This is a wine that really over delivers for its price. Excellent value, just delicious.

Highly Recommended 92 points



What’s in the glass tonight January 1st – Sancerre

Sancerre 2015

Off Topic: Dom. du Vieux Prêche Sancerre Blanc ASC 2016 – $$

Greenish pale straw colour. 13.5% alc.

My first ever Sancerre Blanc. A wine from one of the two spiritual homes of New Zealand’s most famous wine export, the other being Pouilly-Fumé on the other side of the Loire.

Flat aromatically, open steely and minerally. Curry spice and celery. Lightly fruited – apples, apple pip, exotic pip fruit, balanced acidity expressed on the nose.

Lean and flat in the mouth. Minerals. Funk. None of the ‘dash and splash’ I am used to with an NZ Sauvignon Blanc. No energy or verve in this wine, seems old before it’s time, too cautious. I don’t know enough about this wine to know whether this taste impression is authentic. It can be only confirmed by other bottles. And while I am interested to learn, life is short, and I may stick with what I know and love.

Looking at this wine in isolation, it is pleasant and moreish and drinkable. Like typical old world wines it improves on standing in the glass and with food, and opens up somewhat to show more fruit flavour, but it’s still thin. Emperors clothes, I feel, for this one.

Recommended 84 points