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

What’s in the glass tonight May 17th


Brancott Estate Merlot 2013

Brancott Estate Merlot Hawkes Bay 2013 – $

An award winner. Inky magenta. 14.5%. Dense fruit-filled nose of dark stonefruit and choc.

Rich and concentrated in the glass. Lots of fruit, fine tannins. Silky, quite sweet. Nice length.

Great red wine for the price.

VG 4

International Sauvignon Blanc Day – WITGT Friday April 24


Brancott Fume Blanc 2014

From the New Zealand Wine website:

April 24 2015 marks the sixth annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day – an online initiative that started in California with St Supery Winery as a global social media wine tasting. This year, New Zealand Winegrowers will be leading the charge and holding events across the world to celebrate the variety that awoke the world to New Zealand wine.

Celebrations kick off in New Zealand and make their way around the globe following the sun. Sauvignon Blanc tastings and events are taking place in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Germany, London, Toronto, and New York, finishing 43 hours later at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Restaurants, retailers and consumers – along with global wine brands – will be celebrating Sauvignon Blanc for the day and participating in the Twitter conversation by using the “hashtag” #SauvBlanc.

A huge number of wine consumers are active on social media and events such as Sauvignon Blanc Day provide great opportunities to raise awareness of New Zealand wine globally, said New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan. “Anyone can join the celebration by enjoying a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on April 24 and telling the world how good it is.”

I am kicking things off with a glass of Brancott Estate Special Reserve Fumé Blanc Marlborough 2014. A oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc, hence the resurrection of an old varietal name*.

Pale straw colour. 13.5% alc. Distinctive fresh Marlborough Savvy typicity on the nose, with a smokey top note. A smoother style in the mouth, less aggressive than other SBs in their range, with soft fruit flavours, green capsicum, limes, gooseberries and a short smokey finish. G 3.

*Interestingly, from Vincyclopedia:

Fumé Blanc is a made-up name, legally accepted as a synonym for wines made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Robert Mondavi deserves credit for this renaming in an effort to increase the acceptance and popularity of Sauvignon Blanc.

From the 1966 and ’67 vintages, Mondavi made sweet-style wines from this grape and labeled them “Sauvignon Blanc”. But in 1968, Mondavi changed winemaking style to produce a dry version. To denote the change to their customers, they came up with the name “Fumé Blanc”, derived from Pouilly-Fumé, one of the most popular dry-style Loire Valley wines made from Sauvignon Blanc. Rather than copyrighting or trade marking the name, Mondavi offered to allow anyone to use the Fumé Blanc name to market dry-style Sauvignon Blanc.

What’s in the glass tonight December 27th


Brancott Flight Sav Blanc 2014

Another tough summer’s day. Lawn mowing. Taking the kids to the beach. Drinking a medley of wines with friends in the sun.

Brancott Flight Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 – $

Practically no discernable colour. 9%. One of a number of low alcohol wines being brought to market in these sober drink/driving times. Interesting to see how this wine fares in the taste test…

..Not much bouquet. To taste it is light and bright and quite spritzy. I see citrus and green apple. No bold grassy notes as would be typical of a Marlborough sav. It is pleasant enough, but I wouldn’t choose it as my standard quaffage unless I knew I was likely to be called upon to perform an emergency heart operation while piloting a plane during an emergency landing, in an emergency-type situation that would require a wise and sober head: I like the buzz too much. Good 3

Ata Rangi Summer Rose 2014

Ata Rangi Summer Rose Wairarapa 2014

New Zealand Rosé royalty. Light cranberry colour. 13.5%. Sweet strawberry nose. Light strawberry fruit in the mouth, bitter in the middle palate, long tannic finish. An intense attack, quite robust for a rosé. Not sure how to rate this. Good 3 I guess.

Esk Valley

Esk Valley Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2013

Pale gold. 13.5%. Rich involving bouquet of ripe warm peaches and vanilla. Buttery and rich to drink, with cooked peaches, manuka honey and vanilla on the mid palate and a brusque fnish. Managed to be both tannic and unctuous. Better Than Good 3+

What’s not in the glass tonight


broken glass

  1. Aarrgghh! I broke one of the two Riedel glasses L just gave me! Trying to be careful. I could have wept. Quelle bugger!
  2. Continuing the theme of broken glass: last Friday I put a bottle of Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc Brut fizzy into the work freezer to chill down quickly so we could have it to celebrate the completion of an important project. I forgot all about it. It didn’t end well. The bottle exploded at some time over the weekend and sent fragments of glass flying around the interior of the freezer compartment. I managed to clean it up without getting to cut by broken glass. Interesting tho that the wine froze frothy…
  3. BTW, HRHs Kate and Wills are coming to New Zealand this April for a Royal Tour. One of the stops on their itinerary is a visit to Amisfield Vineyard for a wee wine tasting. As you do in Central Otago. The cost of royal tours are generally met by the host country, and the budget for same is much guarded before the event. The vineyard website however lists the wine tasting cost at $8 per person. So that is at least $16 we the taxpayers will have to fork out. Mind you, for our future Monarch, it will likely be free…