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


Stonelegh Chardonnay 2013

From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $

This wine was part of an experiment I started in 2014. I bought a bunch of bottom-tier ‘value brand’ wines from the lauded 2013 vintage, and put them down to see how they would develop over time, and see whether the cheaper products showed cellar improvement and made for better value for money than the more prestigious hand-made ’13 offerings.

This wine was the first out of the blocks for the tranche. Brilliant gold colour. 13.5% alc.

I like the malolactic character and the oak handling of Stoneleigh Chardonnays, especially the Latitude series on the next tier up, so this would be interesting.

Gorgeous warm and rich, buttery and biscuitty golden stonefruit aromas. This wine is showing lovely development. Butterscotch and spice; elegance and intensity.

To taste there were rich flavours bursting from the glass. Caramel, oak, so textural, and with a great acid line underpinning the ripe fruit. Not at all flabby or over-exposed. Spicy finish. Just great.

The wine is nearing a peak, and is superb value for drinking over the next 2 years.

Highly Recommended 92 Points

What’s in the glass tonight February 11th – Nero d’Avola


santagostina-nero-davola-21012

Santagostino Nero d’Avola Syrah Firriata 2012

L and I went to dinner Saturday night at the fantastic Cicio Cacio Osteria in Newtown. I love the food there, and the atmosphere. They like their salt – you are warned!

I had this fantastic wine there. On special. A 50/50 Nero d’Avola/Syrah blend from Sicilia.

Opulent and perfumed and engaging. Totally delicious.

Highly Recommended  – 92  points

What’s in the glass tonight December 8th – Syrah


church-road-syrah-2014

Church Road Syrah Hawkes Bay 2014 – $

Inky carmine colour. 13.5% alc.

Michael Cooper rated this wine his best red buy for 2017. He wrote of it, “sturdy, richly flavoured, sharply priced red is not to be missed.  ‘Serious’ but highly approachable, it is mouthfilling, with an array of blackcurrant, plum, spice and nut flavours, hints of black pepper and licorice, and excellent concentration, ripeness and complexity”.

I have to agree. This wine has a beautiful nose, layered, fruity and savoury in equal parts. Softness, with plums and white pepper, vanilla and chocolate. Lots going on, and ‘serious’.

The wine tasted soft and robust, with dense rich fruit, mid-weighted with medium tannin and spice. Well-built, mouth-filling and long, with unctuous umami components and a white pepper finish. The best CR base-level Syrah yet. Superb.

Highly Recommended – 92 points

What’s in the glass tonight Nov 4th- Chardonnay


cr-kv-sv-chardonnay-2014

Craggy Range SV Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$

I reckon that the 2014 vintage in the Bay was just as good for Chardonnay as the much-heralded 2013 vintage. And this wine is a good reference point for that claim.

Medium brilliant straw colour. 13% alc. From Te Awanga near Cape Kidnappers.

Toasty oak and mealy aromas. Ripe golden stonefruit. Good density. Elegance and lightness of touch.

Plenty of ripe fruit flavours, extract and sweetness on entry. The citrus freshness you need to see in a good modern oaked Chardonnay is balanced and provides the necessary structure on the mid-palate to avoid flabbiness and bland-ness. Good length in the finish, and no bitterness that might indicate a lack of extract. A delicious and rewarding drop.

92 points

What’s in the glass tonight Oct 11th – Pinot Noir


te-hera-kiritea-pn-2013

Te Hera Estate Kiritea Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$

A find this was! Showing intense perfume, layered, with savoury characters so typical of M’bo pinots.  Dark cherries, heady spic, powerful. Perfect ripeness allowing for a hint of cool climate leafiness to aid florality.

Could sniff this all day…

The promise on nose extended to the mouth. Great fruit weight and body. Robust and textural, acid through the mid-palate, with a grainy finish. Heat and length at the death.

Perhaps off young vines, as it died a little in the glass over time.

Still, fabulous, & a bargain.

92 points

What’s in the glass tonight September 27th – Merlot Cabernets


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From the cellar: Trinity Hill The Gimblett 2010 – $$

We are all up at the ski club for the Spring school holiday ski week. A bit of rain and snow and hail about, but it isn’t dampening the fun too much. We are waiting for a spell of better weather in the later half of the week. In the meantime, we ferry baggage loads up the hill when the chairlift isn’t running…

trinity-hill-the-gimblett-2010

2010 was a sensational vintage in Hawkes Bay – a perfect summer followed by an Indian summer for autumn ripening. This wine was picked as a keeper…

A blend of five varieties – 60% merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit verdot, 3% Malbec. A melange

14% alc. Inky carmine colour. Soft oaky vanilla on the nose, with secondary aromas of rich black fruit, plums and raisins.

A great balance of fruit, tannins and acid in the mouth. A very complete wine, and lovely drinking over both nights the bottle was open. Great structure, and long. Stood up well to the altitude as well. Yum.

92 points

 

 

What’s in the glass tonight August 22nd – Chardonnay


Spy Valley Chardonnay 2014

Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $$

One of my favourite Chardonnays which I don’t get to drink nearly enough because it isn’t sold in my local supermarket. This latest vintage was rated in the top 5 of a Chardonnay tasting hosted by Dish Magazine earlier this year. I bought a couple for the Pool Room and another for the table…

Pale gold. 13% alc.

Mealy and refined nose. Touch of burnt match, flint. Lemon, pear & apples. Quite lovely.

Fresh and lean and intense in the mouth. Quite linear, just enough fruit to avoid being thin. Zesty citrus grapefruit. Austere and minerally, and mouthcoating. A long finish.

Overall there is a hard edge to this wine, but I say it is terrific, and will be very special in a few years time.

92 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 29th – red wines from Minervois


minerve

Off Topic: Domaine Gros Tollot Tasting

Meredith of Glengarry Wine Beer and Spirits Thorndon hosted a free horizontal tasting of wines from the husband and wife team Anne Gros (of Burgundy fame) and Jean Paul Tollot, out of their vineyards centred around the beautiful village of Minerve in the Languedoc.

This was funny – only last week L and I were watching my recording of Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2016, and when the broadcast helicopter circled about Minerve, both of us said how much we would love to visit such a beautiful place…

Gros Tollot Glengarry tasting

I first tried their Les Combettes Marsellan 2014, their La 50/50 Vin de Tables Grenache Syrah Carignan 2014 and L’O de la Vie Syrah 2014, all were pleasant and a good intro. My general impressions of the wines were that they were poised, and showed a great sense of place. The winemaking was simple and straightforward, built on good fruit quality. This sense impression only built and built as I tasted through the wines. There were delightful aromas, the palate was packed with flavour, with great extract and really interesting.

Their La Cinso Cinsault 2014 was lovely and fragrant, their La 8 Grenache 2014 ripe and flavoursome, and their Les Fontanilles Syrah Grenache Carignan Cinsault 2014 a complete and balanced wine – Meredith’s fav – and very fine.

But the wine I had to bring home for a closer look was:

Dom Gros Tollot La Ciaude 2014

Domain Anne Gros Jean Paul Tollot La Ciaude Minervois Cazelles 2014 – $$$

Rich ruby colour. 14% alc.

Fragrant, smoky and savoury. Yum. Delightful red fruits. Showing power and complexity.

To taste, bright intense fruit, with raspy tannins. Big acid. Not very balanced, this wine needs another five years to marry up, but was still exciting and thrilling to drink now. Being young, I appreciate it as a statement of intent, rather than arrival.

Striking label colour too!

92 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 30th – St-Julien


Sarget 2010

Off Topic: Sarget de Gruard Larose St-Emilion 2010

The night before I was fortunate to enjoy a superlative tasting of 2005 Bordeaux’s. My nose and head was still full of sense-memories of the wonderful wines I had experienced from that part of the world*.  I had to keep the feeling going…

So then, this is the second wine of the Second Growth property Ch. Gruard Larose from the appellation of St-Julien in Bordeaux. 70% of the growers grape crop goes into the Sarget.  I bought this bottle en primeur in 2011 from Glengarry, solely on the glowing tasting notes accompanying the offer.

Dark garnet colour. 14% alcohol

Big expressive nose of black cherry, plum, spice and cassis. It smelt perfect.

Sweet entry. Black cherry and pepper  showing on the mid-palate. Firm and tannic, this wine is a hefty delight in the mouth. Young too, probably opened 2-3 years too early. Supple and chewy. Showing some tar and tobacco notes also. Drying finish.

This hit the sweet-spot alright!  92 Points

*Tasting notes to come

What’s in the glass tonight May 7th – Pinot Noir.


Parehua

Julicher Estate 99 Rows Pinot Noir Martinborough 2012 – $$.

Bright dark carmine. 13.5% alc.

A Te Muna Road native, and showing the class of its terroir. The second wine of Julicher Estate.

Opened previous night after the Catch Pinot tasting, and one glass taken. Showing so well now the next day, in the sunshine, outside our unit at Peppers Parehua in Martinborough.

99 Rows PN 2012

Floral and red cherries and lifted aromas. Sweet red fruits in the mouth. Luscious and savoury. Some brambly characters. Spicy on the finish. Hot and long. Very fine for a second wine. I like this wine a lot. And it’s at a great price.  92 points