Off Topic: Koonunga Hill Shiraz 2014 – $$
14.5% alc. Dark red.
There has to be a first time for everything: Camping at Kaitoke Regional Park & trying this eponymous mid-level value Penfolds Shiraz.
I was surprised by the quality and depth of this wine. Soft and fruity and savoury oak and vanilla and blueberries and choc.
In the mouth it is muscular with grippy tannins and strong fruit flavours – prunes and matchbox. Long savoury finish. Very rewarding as a full red, less so if you want a Rhone expression.
Goldwater Chardonnay Wairau Valley Marlborough 2014 – $$
14% alc. Light gold colour. Quite hot for a Chardonnay…
Rich butter mealy nose packed with oak and golden stone fruit & some citrus intrusion.
Soft round and bitter finish, cashew and peach, tart acids, burnt caramel, long and intense.
Lamont Riesling Bendigo Central Otago 2013 – $$$
Mum and Dad came to stay the weekend. After a catchup we decided to head to Café Polo for dinner. I selected this wine for the table:
Light straw. 11.04% alc.
Very refined and elegant in expression with mineral citrus bouquet with a delicate phenolic tang. Dry, dry, dry, to taste, with light and tight fruit flavours, and a preponderance of mineral character. A quality drop, but also a somewhat challenging expression of Riesling, due to its shortage of apparent sweetness.
Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$
Time to down tools after a long work week!
Lightest greenish straw. 13% alc.
Delicate bouquet; a waft of green apple, Turkish delight, and capsicum across the nostrils.
Soft in the mouth too, agreeable ripeness, less acidity than I might expect, perhaps a bit too soft and light, it taste like there is some oak handling, but surely not. This is lacking the usual Kiwi Sav flavour horsepower. Typical for North Island examples, but not to this degree. Could be sharper.
From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2010 – $
This is one of my favourite New Zealand wines. It is reliable, interesting, flavoursome and great value. Amongst our best wines dollar-for-dollar. And I bought a bunch back in ’12 and have started to open them up…
Dark plum magenta. 13.5% alc.
Savoury dark fruit aromas. Vanilla and spice, pine boxwood, faded dark red roses.
Warm red fruits to taste. Soft, lots of vanillin, chocolate and licorice. Still fiery medium-grained tannins. Hot on the back palate. A long and smoky finish.
Enveloping, rewarding. A good entry-level red cellarable wine.
Aronui Single Vineyard Albariño Nelson 2014 – $$
Pale straw colour, 13%.
This wine smells forward and crisp, very attractive apple & citrus.
A refreshing dry wine to drink as well. Bracing acidity, salinity, and hard white peach flavours. A grunty, strong finish. Long and mouthwatering. Perhaps a little too dry for my taste.
Good for a summer’s evening on the grass listening to an outdoor concert.
Church Road Merlot Cabernet Malbec Hawkes Bay 2013 – $
Another value red ’13 that I haven’t yet had the chance to taste. Their ’13 Chardonnays were fab, and their ‘14’s even better. This should be better than ok.
Deep, dark carmine colour. 14.5% alc – a hot one for a New Zealand wine.
On the nose, soft gentle aromas of fallen red orchard stonefruit. Vanilla and jam. A touch of matchbox and graphite pencil. A complex nose for its age.
Melodious sweet ripe fruit to first taste, with flavours of black plums, and soft on the mid-palate. Medium-weighted tannins towards the rear. Cocoa and again, matchbox, at the death.
A good BBQ wine for the early summer evening Wellington chill. A bit too soft for me, I prefer a greater cabernet component for more tannins.
Hunter’s Jane Hunter Chardonnay Marlborough 2013
Jane Hunter, founder of Hunter’s Wines, has been described by the London Sunday Times as the First Lady of New Zealand wine and was awarded an OBE for service to the wine industry in 1993. Jane has an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Massey University, she received the inaugural Wine & Spirit Competition Women in Wine Award and in 2009 was awarded the Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM). Bob Campbell even credits her with starting the international story that is Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
L and I have previously visited the vineyard and cellar door during one of our Graperide weekends. A lovely place with an attractive garden.
The wine: light gold colour. 13% alc.
Soft with a big golden stonefruit nose. Oaky, mealy. Lots of nutty characters – almonds and cashews, and a good dash of vanilla thrown in.
The nose does not carry through on palate. I saw a racy bright texture in the mouth, a strong line of citrus acidity and grapefruit flavour running through the wine, culminating in a mouth-watering finish. The style is lean and minerally. Yet there is prominent oak on the palate. Perhaps a bit too lean and over oaky for my preference? You can’t have it both ways. Long finish.
The Last Shepherd Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013 – $$
Very dark inky ruby colour. 13% alc.
Light and soft savoury nose.
On palate – fruity, fleshy, tannic, brassy and brusque straight out of the bottle. This somewhat angular ands thin first impression changed, softened and rounded out over time, and into the second day. I saw typical Central red cherry flavours, ripeness a touch on the herbaceous side, with a line of straw at the back. A nice, long finish.
Allan Scott Riesling Marlborough 2014 – $
10.5% alc, greening pale straw colour.
Sweet apples, sweet apples, sweet apples…!
Tropical fruit aromas, medium-sweet on palate, crisp citrus bookending the sweetness for a fresh attack and mouth-watering finish. A cracking aperitif wine with cheese, crackers and gherkins.