What’s in the glass tonight June 22nd – Merlot Syrah Cabernets


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Ata Rangi Celebre Martinborough 2014 – $$$

This is a long-time favourite local red for me. A bright red blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc fruit grown on the Martinborough Terrace, and matured in 20% new oak.

Deep plum purple colour. 13% alc.

Soft, round and opulent on the nose. A savoury character up front, then opens to reveals oak, plums, and spice.

Sweetness on entry, fine-grained tannins in the mid-palate, and fresh acidity on the finish. Fruit flavours are restrained, not as ripe as the ’13, and slightly leafy.

A fine, expressive wine.

Recommended 89 points

Straight to the Pool Room – May 2017


Pool Room May 2017

Three additions for slumberland under the watchful gaze of KellerMäusefänger Mimi.

Wynns Michael Ltd Release Shiraz Coonawarra 2012- $$$ – drink 2020-2027. A gift from lovely L. High hopes for this classy Aussie.

Man O’War Ironclad Cabernet Waiheke 2012 – $$$ – drink 2020-2022. Odd to think that despite me having enjoyed wines from this producer for a few years now, there isn’t any in the Pool Room. There is now – this great cab!

Man O’War Valhalla Chardonnay Waiheke 2016 – $$$ – drink 2021-2024. And this one too.

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


CR McDonald Cab Sav 2009

From the Cellar: Church Road McDonald Series Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2009 – $$

Dark garnet claret.  13.5% alc.

Warm dense black fruit, with secondary aroma characters emerging from the mix. Red rose florals, oak and vanilla notes. This wine expresses brooding power.

There is great power and structure on the palate. It is tannic and weighty, and not too joined up yet. Flavours of licorice and cassis as you would expect. I am used to the richness that Merlot would have given to a blend, so on it’s own the Cabernet is somewhat angular, flinty and biscuit-y, with a drying finish. Is there enough body to balance the power? Just.

The structure helped the wine hang together better and soften markedly the next day, when it drank very well, and I drained the bottle to the last. I could have held this for another eight years… 90 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 Nov 28th


Te Mata Awatea 2005

Hammer Time: Te Mata Awatea Hawkes Bay Cab / Merlot 2005 – $$$

This is one of the ‘05 Awateas I bought at the recent Dunbar Sloan auction.

I’ve been looking forward to opening this. Awatea ‘05 is a blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 43% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. It is the lesser stablemate of Coleraine. It’s also a wine made for aging; up to 10 years according to the producer.  Let’s see what this 8yo is can do…

I’m taking my time with this one. Dark garnet in the glass, quite clear, no visible brick colouring to the edges. 13.5%. Black fruits aged bouquet, with medicinal hints, earth, wood,  and fruitcake; quite lovely when it opens up to the air. I love the nose.

Light tasting, at first I thought almost frail in the mouth, but over time I see there is more going on than that. Fruit weight has retreated from first release, licorice, some white pepper, and refined mature flavours. The tannins have softened but it is still ‘tacky’. I think it holds together well. Good length. A fine wine. 4

What’s in the glass tonight Nov 10th


Te Mata Coleraine 2007

From the Cellar: Te Mata Coleraine (Cab Sav/Merlot/Cab Franc) 2007 – $$$

This is another of my heavyweights, on reputation alone perhaps the heaviest. This is arguably New Zealand’s most famous wine. Its reputation is based on both the quality of the wine, the length of its pedigree, and the marketing abilities of the producer.

I was first introduced to the 2000 vintage at a 2010 tasting, and I was blown away. I had never tasted an old wine before (at best, most of the wine I bought aged only a couple of hours from time of purchase), and I thought the depth and richness and complexity in the mouth and on the nose was a revelation. I was sold on the concept right then and there.

This version is dark carmine in colour. 14% and leggy.  I opened it to share with L over a nice roast of venison. Deep nose of black fruits, aniseed, raisins, pencil shavings. Black plums to taste. Firm tannins, good concentration, lots of life here for cellaring on.

I thought it seemed a bit thin to start with, but as the wine opened out in the air I could see the finesse, and appreciate the length, so I suspect I opened this bottle a couple of years too soon. I have a second bottle which I’ll keep to ‘17. Lovely drop. Reminds me of the Craggy Range Te Kahu 2010. 4

What’s in the glass tonight August 3rd


Corbans Select MerCabSav 1998

From back in the day: Corbans Select Marlborough/Hawkes Bay Merlot Cab Sauvignon 1998

I bought a half-case of this at auction this week for $30. If it wasn’t palatable, I’d be looking at cooking loads of beef bourguignon to use it up!

The signs were positive: the wine won a silver medal at a wine comp in 2000, a contemporary review gave it 88 points, the bottle closures looked in good shape, and the ullage were all at ok levels.

The cork from the first bottle pulled clean, and looked and smelled fine…

Colour is deep carmine, tending to brick.

It is tawny and funky on the nose, with suggestion of warm leather. To drink, the wine still has lashings of fruit. It is surprisingly fresh and vigorous – must be the merlot. I taste blackberries and cocoa. The tannins are firm and a little coarse.

I wouldn’t know that this wine was 15 years old without the label telling me. It must have been well kept. I am glad I have another 5 bottles left.

And costing $5 each doesn’t hurt much either. Quite nice. 3.5