What’s in the glass tonight April 5th – Graciano


Oveja Tinta Graciano 2016

Off Topic: Oveja Tinta Graciano Cuenca Espana 2016 – $

Graciano is one of Spain’s best kept wine secrets – a red grape with thick skins that is a tricky customer to grow, which means there’s precious little of it, even in the vineyards of the Rioja, where it is often called ‘the virtual grape’- and is a traditional ingredient in the wine of the same name.

Deep carmine colour. 14.5% alc.

Fruity and opulent.

High acid, refreshing and juicy. Great fruit depth and ripeness. Potential to age. Grunty.

Highly Recommended 90 Points

 

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What’s in the glass tonight April 1st – Chardonnay


Spy Valley Chard 15

Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $

In my opinion, this wine is consistently one of NZs best Chardonnays, vintage on vintage. Must be the site. I have ridden out there a few times. A lovely part of the world.

13% alc. Pale gold colour.

Mealy, golden fruit, aromatic and fine. Notes of oak, vanilla, apricot and mandarin orange and peel.

Fresh and crunchy to taste. Crispness, oak complexity, malo note on the back palate, and meal. Great structure and body. A wine for aging.

Highly Recommended 90 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 26th – Côtes du Rhône


E Guigal CdR 2013

Off Topic: E Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2013 – $

14% alc. Dark ruby.

This is the world’s foremost high-volume quality red wine. Here is this year’s vintage release, eagerly anticipated:

Earthy, spicy note. Dark red plums. Fresh.

Supple ripe dark red fruit flavours, medium tannins, grippy spicy finish. Zippy and spirited. Luscious mouthfeel. Strong, long. Quite striking.

This wine will last another 10+ years easy. Drinking so well now.

Highly Recommended 90 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 3rd– Sauvignon Blanc


Allan Scott Generations SB 2015

Allan Scott Generations Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 – $$

Pale gold colour – warmer looking than your typical Marlborough Sav. 12.5% alc.

Prescence of oak on the nose. Open and fresh, complex and aromatic. Soft golden fruit aromas, with a hint of flint.

Sweet front on the palate. Full of flavour. Crisp complex acid mouthfeel and a fine fruit finish of apples and lemons and orange peel. A delicious example.

Highly Recommended 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight August 4th – Merlot


Church Road McDonald Series Merlot 2013

Church Road McDonald Series Merlot Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$

14.5% alc. Deep carmine colour.

From the celebrated 2013 vintage in the Bay. Tasted over two nights.

First impression: complex and leafy on the nose, odd for a good year, brusqueness and drying tannin on palate, but with potential to age, the shortness on palate perhaps indicating the wine has stalled, with another 2-3 years needed to kick on to a stage when it will begin drinking really well.

Second look after a day open: dark fruits, roses, cedar and vanilla. Soft and aromatic. Unctuous and delicious in the mouth with rich flavours of dark plums, dark red roses, and tobacco to match bouquet. Balanced. Drying tannins offset by fresh acidity, and enveloped by the typical varietal softness of Merlot.

Highly Recommended  90 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 5th – Zinfandel, under cork.


Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma 2013

Off Topic: Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma County 2013 – $$

Nice to pull a cork every now and then…

14.6% alc. Inky ruby. This may be a monster….

Sumptuous and rich bouquet, with strong aromas of black fruit, vanilla and cedar…

..and a mouthful of the stuff shows it’s packed with flavour – luscious dark fruits, plums,  prunes – and with a really hot finish.  Spicy through the mid palate, and finished very fleshy, and scratchy.

A showstopping, car-crash of a wine, this. Too much alcohol. It may have suited the beef stroganoff we ate for dinner, but it’s no good as an aperitif. A firestarter maybe, not a fireside drinker…

Too bad. An earlier vintage really impressed me up the skifield three years ago. Perhaps the high altitude dulled my senses? The grunty and forward fruit flavours really showed well up there in the cold.

However, I still mark this wine Highly Recommended and score it 90 points, as I reckon you gotta give a belter like this it’s due. But this wine would be even better if it were a point and a bit less alcoholic!

A drought wine?

Highly recommended 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight June 9th – White Burgundy


Olivier Leflaive Les Setilles Bourgogne 2013

Off Topic: Olivier Leflaive Les Sétilles Bourgogne 2013 – $$$+

I bought this bottle to take to a friend’s 70th and share with L. I thought it was a bit funky at first, and perhaps faulty, but friends who have a good nose tried it and agreed that this wine was pretty good. Fine minerality, a steely austere quality, and crisp acidity. Delish!

Unfortunately L didn’t like it much. I have my eye on a Marsanne/Rousanne Northern Rhone blend for next time – she might like that better!

Highly recommended 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 23rd – Riesling


Escarpment Riesling

Escarpment Riesling Martinborough 2013

This was a generous gift from MM for me being chauffeur at the recent biking weekend. Much appreciated, mate.

Brilliant pale greenish straw colour. 12% alc.

The nose was delightfully aromatic and phenolic, showing lean and crisp acidity, with a layered note of honey.

Natch, the wine was dry/off-dry, lean, and angular to taste as well. Salty, and sharp through the mid palate, with a short crisp mineral finish. I loved the mouthwatering acidity. An arresting wine, cerebral even (if I err into weinwank for a moment…J )

Very enjoyable. I liked seeing the sweetness dialled back in this white.

Highly Recommended – 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight February 22nd – Nebbiolo


GD Vajra Nebbiolo Langhe 2013

Off Topic: GD Vajra Nebbiolo Langhe 2013 – $$$

Dark carmine. 13.5% alc. From a Barolo producer, tho this isn’t one of those stellar wines. Bought from a new Wgtn supplier (for me) – Truffle Imports.

Savoury and spicy, aromatic, chunky and big. Meaty and expressive, with scents of dark plums and cherries.

The wine was smooth and sweet on the palate, with ripe, rich and vivacious fruit flavours. A fresh finish. Really delightful and delicious.

Highly Recommended  – 90 points