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

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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

What’s in the glass tonight February 20th – Pinot Noir


mudhouse-pn-2012

From the Cellar: Mudhouse Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – $$$

Dark carmine. 12.5% alc.

This was recommended to me a while back by some writer, so I bought a brace for the Pool Room. Opening time…!

I saw a savoury and spicy note under a carpet of herb. Dark fruit, showing depth and intensity of bouquet, with cardboard and boiled lolly.

In the mouth the wine was full and rich. Ripe black cherries carried through to the end with no bitterness or loss of extract. Heat on the back palate. Just lovely.

Highly Recommended  – 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight November 24th – Shiraz


barossa-valley-estate-cab-sav-2014

Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia 2014

A gift from the outlaws on my birthday. Thanks!

Inky carmine. 14% alc.

A rich nose, with scents of dark chocolate, vanilla and oak, ripe black plums, and a brace of boxes – cigar and cardboard.

Big in the mouth, and very attractive. Rich flavours, fresh, with a deep fruit intensity, and a sweet finish.

Very nice.

Highly Recommended – 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight September 2nd – Merlot


Villa Maria CS Organic Merlot 2014

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Organic Merlot Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$

This wine was awarded a gold medal at the recent 2016 Bragato Wine Awards. Geoff Kelly highly praised the previous vintage, which I never managed to hunt down to taste, so when this appeared in the shops I defo wanted to give it a go.

The fruit was sourced from the certified organic Joseph Soler vineyard in Hawkes Bay.

Inky scarlet colour. 13% alc.

Soft taut savoury dark fruit on the nose. Dense, with cedar and boxwood and cardboard. Smells sweet with vanilla.

Soft fruit in the mouth. Ripe enough. Good fruit weight and depth. Fine tannins. Enough acid to keep things interesting. Other thoughts – warmth, elegance, studied ripeness. I suspect not as ripe as the lauded ’13.

Far too young now, this will look really good from another 3-4 years in bottle, benefitting from the time for the flavours to develop and marry up together. Ideally wait until 2024 and appreciate its class.

90 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 27th – Viognier


Yalumba Y-Series Viognier 2015

Off Topic: Yalumba Y-Series Viognier 2015 – $

L is drinking a bit of Viognier now. She liked this so I had to try.

Greenish straw colour. 14% alc.

Very floral. Apples. Spice. Turkish delight. Grape-y. Honey notes. Perfumed

Fine and sweet and ripe to taste. Gorgeous depth of fruit and flavour. Quite refined. Pleasant bitter biscuit notes in there too, with a ginger spice finish.

90 points