What’s in the glass tonight Feb 25th – Pinot Noir


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Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir Waipara 2013 – $$

This was a wine I served at my 50th a few years ago. The outlaws brought a bottle over when clearing out their house and offered it to us cos they don’t drinks reds. I was chuffed at the chance to see how this wine had developed in the interim.

Dark carmine colour, tending brick around the rim. 13.5% alc. This wine was recommended in it’s day.

A savoury, dense and luscious nose, with sandalwood, leather, dark fruits and spice. Promising.

This is holding up well in the glass. Good acidity and body. Flavours of dark red plums. Balanced, fresh, with a spicy finish, long. Very attractive.

Very good drinking now. Has enough acid and fruit weight to last longer, and will look even better 1n 2-3 years time.

Highly Recommended 93 points

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What’s in the glass tonight Jan 13th– Riesling


Fromm Spatlese 2015

Fromm Riesling Spätlese Marlborough 2016 – $$

Joelle Thomson of Regional Wines writes of this wine:

Light and low and naturally so… this super concentrated Riesling is a wine of beauty from Marlborough’s warm days, cool nights and long growing season. Its low alcohol shows that winemaker Hatsch Kalberer intentionally stopped the fermentation well before the wine reached anything near to dryness, so it is a sweet style but, thanks to the high acidity of the Riesling grape, this wine finishes on a crisp, fresh and intensely floral note… its long succulent finish is juicy and delicious.””

8% alc. Pale green straw.

I thought it was stunning at the instore tasting so I brought a bottle home. Juicy and sweet, with such a lovely acid backbone. So so lovely. Such an Empress of wines, Riesling.

Highly Recommended 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight December 28th– Sauvignon Blanc


Palliser SB 2017

Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2017 – $$

As it appears on the tin, a ‘serious sav’. 12.5% alcohol. Palest clear straw colour.

Intensely aromatic with scents of apples, honey, gooseberries, pavlova (!) and passionfruit. Hints of grass and yellow capsicum.

Sweet and fresh entry, citrus flavours, bone-dry finish, short and stopping/must reload! Intensity again, green apples to the fore, apple pip, lemon pith, gorgeous and layered. Anyone who says that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can be a one-chord-wonder should try this wine. And it’s barely pupped from the tank!!

Highly Recommended 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight January 7th – Syrah


elephant-hill-syrah-2014

Elephant Hill Syrah Te Awanga Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$

Deep dark carmine. 13.5% alc.

A big, rich and expressive aroma. Plums, savoury with vanilla and white pepper, balsa wood and spice, and a hint of funk.

The flavours show sweet on entry, with rich dark fruit through themed-palate and supple tannins with just enough grip to balance the floral nose, and heat and length at the finish.

This is such a good wine I can really see the kinship this grape has with Pinot Noir. A heady nose paired with a feminine quality on the palate. Sophisticated, delicate fruit with a good core of weight.

Highly Recommended  – 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight November 29th – Pinot Noir


locharburn-pn-2013

Locharburn Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013 – gift

The grapes for this wine were grown beside Lake Dunstan in the Cromwell basin from a single vineyard overlooking the Locharburn stream. It is not a label I am at all familiar with.

Dark carmine – a particularly dense-coloured Pinot. 14% alc.

It showed quite dumb the first night, but opened up beautifully graceful the second night

Soft savoury notes on the nose, I smelled dried herbs, very perfumed. There were strong fruit scents of dark cherries, touches of oak and vanilla, red roses, soap and crayon wax. Verging on being a Rhone…

A classic Cromwell Pinot Noir in the mouth. Reminds me of Wooing Tree, Beetlejuice and Mt Difficulty wines from that part of the country.  Sweet, rich and ripe. Flavours of dark cherries and plums. Fine-grained tannins. Raspy and textural. Long and hot, with a spicy finish.

Not at all a shrinking violet! I loved it.

Highly Recommended – 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight October 31st – Syrah


church-road-syrah-2013

Church Road Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $

From the superlative 2013 HB vintage. Inky crimson colour. 13% alc.

Lots of wood on the nose, intense vanilla, and sweet oak. Perfumed soap and violets! Spice, dark cherries and plums. Pencil shavings. Confected deliriousness. Perfect cool-climate ripeness. So much going on!

Soft and fruit-driven on palate. Sweet oak and vanilla. Not so balanced due to so much wood evident, but so expressive. So much character! Medium tannins, verging on chewy, and drying. White pepper, chocolate, nutmeg and herbs towards the finish. Long. I have slight questions about ripeness but that is quibbling. This is sooo terrifically good for a base tier Syrah. Buy up!

93 points

What’s in the glass tonight August 5th – Chardonnay


Spy Valley Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2011 – $$

Over the past few years this wine has been well rewarded in the Under-$25 New World Wine Awards. I have been collecting these wines since 2012. The latest vintage is no exception, and I’ll be acquiring a brace for the Pool Room in due course.

Blond straw colour. 13.5% alc.

The wine smells refined, poised. A fine bouquet. Aromas of oatmeal, golden stonefruit, and nutty almonds.

Great depth of fruit and acidity. Just what I want in a Chardonnay. Not too big or malolactic. Nice lemon sharpness and grit. Some secondary flavours starting to emerge like spicy ginger, butterscotch and bitters. Crunchy, lively and so expressive. Great stuff!

93 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 21st –Chardonnay


Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2014

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2014 – $$$

Brilliant Pale gold. 13.5% alc.

Smells fine and refined, mealy, light golden stonefruit characters with the warmth of oak and vanilla. Bounty and restraint in one. European in style.

Soft and full up front on palate.  Smooth mouthfeel lovely integration of fruit and acid with complexity in the mid palate. Great depth.  Citrus and golden apples at the finish

Totally moreish and immersive. Makes me want to come back to the glass. 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight April 30th – The John Forrest Collection


Forrest tasting 2016

I hooned down to RW to check out the JF Collection, mostly for the promise of tasting the Syrah.

However, I was blown away by the quality of all the other wines on offer at this instore tasting. The good Doctor was in attendance, and he shared some interesting stories from his many years in the wine-making game. One story was that he was offered first pick of the very first parcel of land in what was to become the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay, land that he still farms today…

I started off with the John Forrest Collection The White 2009 – A multi varietal white blend. Dr John didn’t divulge what grape varieties were in it, alas.  It was aromatic, elegant, with good fruit concentration, complexity and acidity.  Citrus, golden stonefruit. Dry with minerality. Very intriguing.  90 points

I also tried the John Forrest Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2013 –  A bold textured bouquet, layered, gorgeous. Ripe with great blackberry fruit flavours, fine tannins, heaps of depth and purity. A stunningly good Bordeaux-style red. 93 points

The came the John Forrest Collection Pinot Noir Bannockburn 2012 – Floral and herbaceous, dense, ripe and fine. 90 points

Forrest Collection Chardonnay 2011

I bought a bottle of this for dinner – John Forrest Collection Chardonnay Wairau Valley 2011 – Pale straw, 13%. Minerals, soft and refined with citrus and golden fruits. Mealy notes on palate also, and cucumber. 90 points

Forrest Collection Pinot Noir 2011

I bought a bottle of this for another dinner – John Forrest Collection Pinot Noir Waitaki Valley 2011 – I liked the florality and expression a lot more than the Bannockburn. This vineyard is one of the Doctor’s passion projects, and it shows. Dark carmine, tending brick. 13.5%. Black cherries, soap, lightly oaked on nose. Light fruit, soft tannins, a herbal lift. Plum to taste, blackberries, a chalky finish. Complex and very rewarding. 95 points

Photo Credit: the top photo featuring Dr Forrest and guests – courtesy Regional Wines and Spirits website

What’s in the glass tonight April 15th – Chardonnay


Brancott O Letter Series Chardonnay Omaka Marlborough 2015

Brancott Estate Letter Series “O” Omaka Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $$

Wow this was great! Fragrant, toasty, refined and big! Involved and enveloping nose, with a reductive note (must be a stylistic thing cos I am seeing a bit of this in premium NZ Chardonnay’s). Not that I mind – it adds a veneer of complexity and aromatic intrigue that I like, not to mention a touch of foreign sophistication. Fine wine is as much about marketing as about how it tastes…

And this tasted really good. The reductive notes did not mask the linear and elegant ripe fruit expression of this wine.

93 points