What’s in the glass tonight March 5th – Aussie Shiraz

Kaitoke Camping

Off Topic: Koonunga Hill Shiraz 2014 – $$

14.5% alc. Dark red.

There has to be a first time for everything: Camping at Kaitoke Regional Park & trying this eponymous mid-level value Penfolds Shiraz.

Koonunga Hill Shiraz

I was surprised by the quality and depth of this wine. Soft and fruity and savoury oak and vanilla and blueberries and choc.

In the mouth it is muscular with grippy tannins and strong fruit flavours – prunes and matchbox. Long savoury finish. Very rewarding as a full red, less so if you want a Rhone expression.

BTG 3+


What’s in the glass tonight March 4th – Chardonnay

Goldwater Chardonnay 2014

Goldwater Chardonnay Wairau Valley Marlborough 2014 – $$

14% alc. Light gold colour. Quite hot for a Chardonnay…

Rich butter mealy nose packed with oak and golden stone fruit & some citrus intrusion.

Soft round and bitter finish, cashew and peach, tart acids, burnt caramel, long and intense.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 26th – Riesling

Lamont Riesling 2013

Lamont Riesling Bendigo Central Otago 2013 – $$$

Mum and Dad came to stay the weekend. After a catchup we decided to head to Café Polo for dinner. I selected this wine for the table:

Light straw. 11.04% alc.

Very refined and elegant in expression with mineral citrus bouquet with a delicate phenolic tang. Dry, dry, dry, to taste, with light and tight fruit flavours, and a preponderance of mineral character. A quality drop, but also a somewhat challenging expression of Riesling, due to its shortage of apparent sweetness.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight February 11th – Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon

Villa Maria CS Merlot Cab Sav 2010

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2010  – $

This is one of my favourite New Zealand wines. It is reliable, interesting, flavoursome and great value. Amongst our best wines dollar-for-dollar. And I bought a bunch back in ’12 and have started to open them up…

Dark plum magenta. 13.5% alc.

Savoury dark fruit aromas. Vanilla and spice, pine boxwood, faded dark red roses.

Warm red fruits to taste. Soft, lots of vanillin, chocolate and licorice. Still fiery medium-grained tannins. Hot on the back palate. A long and smoky finish.

Enveloping, rewarding. A good entry-level red cellarable wine.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight January 24th – Albariño

Aronui Albarino 2014

Aronui Single Vineyard Albariño Nelson 2014 – $$

Pale straw colour, 13%.

This wine smells forward and crisp, very attractive apple & citrus.

A refreshing dry wine to drink as well. Bracing acidity, salinity, and hard white peach flavours. A grunty, strong finish. Long and mouthwatering. Perhaps a little too dry for my taste.

Good for a summer’s evening on the grass listening to an outdoor concert.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight November 8th – Merlot Cab Malbec

Church Road Merlot Cab Malbec 2013

Church Road Merlot Cabernet Malbec Hawkes Bay 2013 – $

Another value red ’13 that I haven’t yet had the chance to taste. Their ’13 Chardonnays were fab, and their ‘14’s even better. This should be better than ok.

Deep, dark carmine colour. 14.5% alc – a hot one for a New Zealand wine.

On the nose, soft gentle aromas of fallen red orchard stonefruit. Vanilla and jam. A touch of matchbox and graphite pencil. A complex nose for its age.

Melodious sweet ripe fruit to first taste, with flavours of black plums, and soft on the mid-palate. Medium-weighted tannins towards the rear. Cocoa and again, matchbox, at the death.

A good BBQ wine for the early summer evening Wellington chill. A bit too soft for me, I prefer a greater cabernet component for more tannins.

BTG 3+

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

Hunters Chardonnay 2013

Hunter’s Jane Hunter Chardonnay Marlborough 2013

Jane Hunter, founder of Hunter’s Wines, has been described by the London Sunday Times as the First Lady of New Zealand wine and was awarded an OBE for service to the wine industry in 1993. Jane has an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Massey University, she received the inaugural Wine & Spirit Competition Women in Wine Award and in 2009 was awarded the Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM). Bob Campbell even credits her with starting the international story that is Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

L and I have previously visited the vineyard and cellar door during one of our Graperide weekends. A lovely place with an attractive garden.

The wine: light gold colour. 13% alc.

Soft with a big golden stonefruit nose. Oaky, mealy. Lots of nutty characters – almonds and cashews, and a good dash of vanilla thrown in.

The nose does not carry through on palate. I saw a racy bright texture in the mouth, a strong line of citrus acidity and grapefruit flavour running through the wine, culminating in a mouth-watering finish. The style is lean and minerally. Yet there is prominent oak on the palate. Perhaps a bit too lean and over oaky for my preference? You can’t have it both ways. Long finish.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight November 12th – a Pinot Noir

Last Shepherd 2013

The Last Shepherd Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013 – $$

Very dark inky ruby colour. 13% alc.

Light and soft savoury nose.

On palate – fruity, fleshy, tannic, brassy and brusque straight out of the bottle. This somewhat angular ands thin first impression changed, softened and rounded out over time, and into the second day. I saw typical Central red cherry flavours, ripeness a touch on the herbaceous side, with a line of straw at the back. A nice, long finish.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight October 22nd

Oyster Bay PG 2014

Oyster Bay Pinot Gris Hawkes Bay 2014

A regional HB blend. 13% alc. Pale straw.

Clean clear aromas. Pears, light apples. Smells like summer 🙂

An off dry style in the mouth. Crisp pear flavours, slightly bitter. A light, approachable and agreeable fruit-full quaffer.

BTG 3+