What’s in the glass tonight October 22nd


Oyster Bay PG 2014

Oyster Bay Pinot Gris Hawkes Bay 2014

A regional HB blend. 13% alc. Pale straw.

Clean clear aromas. Pears, light apples. Smells like summer 🙂

An off dry style in the mouth. Crisp pear flavours, slightly bitter. A light, approachable and agreeable fruit-full quaffer.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight October 13th


27 Acres Pinot Noir 2012

Lynfer Estate 27 Acres Pinot Noir Gladstone 2012 – $

Produced by Lynfer Estate out of Gladstone, Wairarapa. I know nothing about these winemakers. Nothing on their website about this label, either. Just the ‘13s and ‘14s feature…

Light pinot ruby. 12.2% alc.

Dumb, somewhat underdeveloped nose. Slightly stalky. Some light and savoury fruit trying to break thru.

Same comments as above on palate. Light/dumb. Has some charm, but I tend to give any pinot a pass mark regardless, cos I like the variety A LOT, unless it is red lolly-water. Which this isn’t. I just kind of had hoped for a revelatory bargain with this bottle.

They can only get better tho. Gladstone is an up and coming area for P’Noir.

OK 2+

NEXT DAY UPDATE: The half-bottle held up really well overnight and was showed more bouquet – red roses, cherries, & that pinot florality I love. More flavour in the mouth too. Obv needed decanting.

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight October 12th


Black Cottage PN 2013

Black Cottage Reserve Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013

A much-appreciated wedding gift wine. I drank it out of one of the new Eisch pinot wine glasses we were also given.

13.5%. Dark carmine, slightly cloudy.

Closed, dumb nose. Some red cherries. Over time it became more piquant.

Good fruit weight, lots of mouth-filling flavours of soft ripe red fruits. Tannic mid-palate, spicy finish. Long and expansive. Great with dinner.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight October 6th


Kirky Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Kirkpatrick Estate Wines Kirky (Ian Kirkpatrick) Signature Series Reserve Chardonnay 2011 – $$$

I bought this wine at the Gisborne Wine Centre in 2012, following a tasting of this and other Gizzy Chardys. Probably the last of the bottles collected on that visit.

The backstory of this wine: Owner Simon Kirkpatrick said it was an opportune time to pay tribute to his famous uncle and All Black –  Ian Kirkpatrick – and showcase some of the best wine Gisborne and the Patutahi Plateau has to offer.

“The Rugby World Cup 2011 was an historic occasion for us all and we thought it was a great time to commemorate Ian’s contribution to the sport. He amassed 113 matches for the All Blacks, 43 as captain. and is considered one of New Zealand rugby’s all-time greats having played for the All Blacks from 1967 to 1977. He is still held in high regard for his exploits against the Springboks, Australia, France and the British and Irish Lions. For a forward, and playing in an era where only the backs were meant to score tries, his ability to beat players with strength, speed and athleticism saw him score an incredible 50 tries for the All Blacks over his 10-year career.”

I am not 100% sure what vintage this is. Probably a 2011, but it also says 2010 on the back label.

High-carat gold colour. 13.4% alc. Developed, tertiary aromas of butter and almonds. Strong wiff of phenols.

Quite a big wine in the mouth too. Round and soft. Receding fruit – golden peaches and dried apricots. My cellaring has been poor and has done the wine a disservice. It oxidised and lost freshness and charm, and really fell apart in the glass the next day. A real shame as it had tasted great in ’12.

A quality drop mis-handled by me. 3+

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 21st


Saints Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Saints Chardonnay Gisborne 2011 – $

This wine is from the bottom shelf. Or near enough to it. It is not a wine you pull out to impress people. Indeed, to even write about it on my blog might encourage comments that I am slumming it. It will certainly not keep the vignerons of Corton-Charlemagne awake at night fearing another Judgement of Paris…

However, it was one of the first wines I ever wrote about on my blog. It started me on my journey of wine writing. I feel a bit sentimental about this product. It is cheap and one-dimensional, but I liked once. I have also learned that a wine has to really bad to be totally irredeemable, and it is also kinda hard to make a really bad wine (blame poor cellaring instead). With a bottle like this, all that can really be expected is perhaps a lack of expectation.

So, when I was building my cellar, with the idea of aging wines and seeing what a bit of age does, I thought, well, why don’t I lay down some $10 cheapies and see if it improves them? Would they oxidise and fall over? Or would they develop an interesting character? Not much to lose, I thought.

2011 wasn’t a great vintage in Gisborne. This bottle has slept long enough.

12.5% alc. Bright yellow; this might be the first hint of trouble ahead?

Funky nose. Bit burnt. Very tertiary bouquet. Toffee and caramel. Oxidative. Hard to pin down individual scents, but it is not unpleasant. It turned out to be a rewarding wine, as the effects of aging were well advanced and visible, but not faulty. It became somewhat of an intellectual exercise to try to figure it out whether it was any good.

It tasted fresher than it smelled. Golden apricots, some crisp acid character. Fine tannins. Long finish. It was more than ok.

This wine has been well-made despite the poor vintage. It will hold perhaps another year.

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight September 4th


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Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Avery Vineyard Marlborough 2014 – $$

This is an interesting experiment.

I opened this wine a week ago. I took only a tiny glass from it, then sealed it up, left it in the work fridge, and walked away. And now I’m back. Stool pigeon! Cha cha cha cha…

Pale green brilliantine straw. 13% alc.

The wine is clearly not in its full flush of youth – i.e. just opened. But it is good. It comes across as a softer style of Sauvignon Blanc, very food-friendly. Aromas of cut grass, red capsicum, boiled confectionery. Flavours of limes, green apples, passionfruit. Very clean, very linear.

Not sure what it is like really. For those who buy this wine to drink immediately, it may appear fresher, more lively, more acidic. But my memory tells me it stayed pretty close to what I remembered a week ago.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight Aug 26th


Ara Pathway PN 2011

From the Cellar: Ara Pathway Single Estate Pinot Noir Marlborough 2011

Ara Wines say on their website, “As if New Zealand wasn’t already on the edge of the earth, welcome to Wairau Valley, Marlborough. At 41.38S 173.57E, we’re literally on the edge of the edge. Slightly elevated, with rugged mountains on either side and two icy rivers cutting through, it’s a pretty extreme place. The very definition of raw, cool climate conditions. It’s even hard to get here, unless you know roads that aren’t on any map. To say this presents challenges to grape and man, would be an understatement. But in winemaking as in life, challenges build character – and strong character makes great wines.”

This wine is their first tier Pinot Noir. A gift from S.

Deep carmine crimson. 13.5%.

An involving floral nose, with aromas of buddleia, cherries, and dusty earth. More savoury the second night…

In the mouth, a lighter-weight wine with moderate intensity and fine tannins. A raspy acid line on attack. Black cherries and a bit of herbaceous leafiness on the back palate. Medium length.

Rewarding, easy drinking.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight Aug 7th


Ch. Bellevue

Off Topic: Ch. Bellevue Bordeaux SupĂŠrieur Sauveterre de Guyenne 2012 – $$

Stephen Brook writing recently in Decanter said of the 2012 Bordeaux vintage, “ Extreme weather made 2012 a tricky vintage to handle in Bordeaux, but a selective buyer can find quality”.

We don’t get much selection down in this part of the world, if we choose to select from the levels below grand cru, but my local wine store rated this wine quite highly.

Dark crimson. 12.5%. Savoury, muscular, almost meaty nose. I smell warm bread, dark fruit, figs.

It is lively in the glass, with structure and supple tannins, and a good level of fruit flavour and intensity. A good drop for less that a twenty. Would look even better in a couple of years.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight July 20th


Big Bunch Rose 2014

Big Bunch RosĂŠ Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$

L liked the artwork on the label – by Kiwi artist Dick Frizzell – and she bought it from Moore Wilson’s on that basis alone.

This RosÊ is made by John Kemble, a Californian native who learnt his trade in Sonoma, who co-founded Kemblefield Wines in Hawkes Bay in 1992.

It has a nose of lollies, strawbs and pink roses. Strawberry flavours carry through on the palate – it’s a big, fresh, forward RosĂŠ.

BTG 3+

Dick Frizzell

I am lucky to have three of Frizzell’s artworks myself…

What’s in the glass tonight July 17th


Esk Valley Syrah 2013

Esk Valley Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$

I have been really enjoying wines from this label this year. The 2013 Cab Merlot has been stunning, the Chardonnay has delivered beyond its price point. I thought I’d get this wine in the office order to give it a go.

Inky scarlet colour. 13.5% alc. A fresh and approachable, un-challenging red wine. Fruity on the nose, mildly earthy too with some vanilla. Soft ripe blackberry flavours, with a medium tannin profile and concentration. Mild spice.

Not wowed with this one. No faults, but a bit soft and lacking personality.

Mild is the word. G 3