What’s in the glass tonight June 20th – Chardonnay


Sacred Hill Riflemans 2015

Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2015 – $$$+

Bula!

L and I recently jetted off for a long weekend on Denarau island in Fiji. L was to attend a conference, and I was her ‘plus-1’.

The weather was sunny and warm. The pool was cool and inviting, the hotel staff were friendly and helpful, and we had a great time with her workmates and fellow professionals. Vinaka vaka levu, L!

I raided the airport duty-free store on the way and bought a bottle of Chardonnay to drink on our hotel room balcony. I chose one of NZ’s best single vineyard Chardy’s, which is only made in good years from grapes off old Mendoza clone vines. As I have written about before, it was a bottle of the ’07 that started me on my wine journey.

The nose of the Riflemans showed mealy and fine and aromatic. The wine smelled oaky and oily, quite similar to Viognier in that regard, and had that typical Riflemans intensity, buttery character, and layer of lemon curd.

To taste, the wine was finely-grained and smooth in texture, with rich and dense golden fruit flavours, and some butterscotch and spice. It finished long, with quite “tingle-y’ acid, and showed some bitterness.

This Chardonnay is an somewhat old-fashioned heavy style of wine, in its way, and was not really suited to the tropical Fijian climate at all. A winter white, this one, and best for a cold climate and roast chicken dinners. Still, couldn’t deny the quality.

Highly recommended 91 points

What’s in the glass tonight June 7th – Chardonnay


Montana Reserve Chardonnay 2016

Montana Reserve Chardonnay Gisborne 2016 – $

I’m really confused by this volume value brand of wine. First it was named Montana. For years and years and years. Then the owners wanted to sell more wine into the States. But suffered buyer confusion about its name. Wine from Montana? They don’t make wine in Montana! So the powers-that-be switched names to Brancott, after one of the original vineyards in Marlborough. Which makes sense. And we move on. Then I see this wine in the supermarket, and they are back to selling wine under the name Montana. WTF?

Anyway, this is a simple wine. Soft ripe golden fruit, lightly aromatic, a core of ripe fruit to taste, nothing memorable, but serves as an acceptable aperitif and smoothes the days rough edges…

Commended 85 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 April 16th – Chardonnay


IMG_8984

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2011 – $$$

Pale gold colour. 13.5 % alc. Single vineyard wine. I have been fortunate to have drunk a few vintages of this great wine.

This version smells delightfully aromatic. Poised and elegant. Light meal. Lean and restrained. A lovely nose.

An off-dry attack in the mouth. Fresh crunchy acidity throughout. Attractive austere mineral character. Long and incredibly powerful. Lemon finish. Long and long. Sooo good.

A real show wine, this. A cellar-door show-stopper, and a wine that rewards cellaring. One of the best wines I have had this year so far.

Outstanding 97 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 29-April 4th – Cheap ‘n Cheerful Chardys


Over the past couple of weeks my bloggage production has approached zero.  Too much going on.  No time to write. Now is the first time I can catch up on a few value wines that perhaps do not warrant a post on their only lonesome…

IMG_8832

March 29th – Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $$

13.5% ABV, and a light yellow gold colour. I usually like these wines. This one shows a pleasant mealy nose, with apricots and spice and caramel, ripe and golden. To taste it opens with sweet lemon, then shows rich and full, with honey and butterscotch, slightly spicy and a mild acid finish. A touch too full and flabby. Would improve with being more crystalline and austere, but that goes against the house style somewhat.

Recommended 89 Points

IMG_8912

April 2nd – From the Cellar: Dashwood Chardonnay Marlborough 2012 – $

13.5% ABV, and a bright pale gold colour. This is a cheery quaffer! Fresh and pungent lifted aromas of peaches and apricots. Citrus notes add a fresh zing. Sweet attack on palate and finishes with a strong acid line. A touch of tertiary development. Worthwhile keeping, this!

Recommended 87 Points

IMG_8913

April 4th – Shingle Peak Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $

13.5% ABV, and a pale gold colour. Simple and fresh aroma of lemon. No discernible oak or malo. Fresh and lively in the mouth. Simple with bright acid freshness. Not austere, not fleshy, this strides the middle ground. Uncomplicated and predictable.

Commended 85 Points

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

MS Dinner 2017


Mag1

L and I went to the wonderful Matterhorn for the annual dinner with fellow members of the Magnum Society. Encouraged to raid our cellars for suitable bottles of wine to bring along for sharing, we would be assured of a taste or two of some very good drops from fellow diners. And so it was.

Mag5

I brought a brace of older Craggy Range wines, along with an aperitif Prosecco. The Les Beaux Cailloux Chardonnay 2011 was amazing and totally delicious. It lived up to GK’s billing as one of NZs best Chards. The Aroha Pinot Noir 2007 was less good. It had not aged well, and was showing thin and confected.

Mag3

Of the wines I got to taste, the Volnays stood out as very good. I don’t remember much of the rest. I must say one table had a very impressive selection of Gevrey Chambertins. Not jealous, much.

Mag4

The meal was fabulous, and I hope we eat there again next time.

What’s in the glass tonight February 3rd – Chardonnay


Februarytw-chardonnay-2013-2

Tietjen Witters TW Reserve Chardonnay Gisborne 2013 – $$

Off the Ormond Road. Pale gold colour. 13.5% alc.

Dense and layered and very aromatic, with big, buttery and oaky characters in the bouquet. Mango and apricot fruit.

It showed some development in the mouth. Rich mouthfeel with oak and full malo. Flavours of butterscotch, lemon citrus, ginger and honey. A strong spicy oak finish.  An appealing and interesting Chardonnay.

Recommended  – 87 points

Hawkes Bay Holiday Wines


hb1

L and I and the fam had a week’s break in Havelock North in the heart of Hawkes Bay wine country. In between swimming, tennis-playing, cycling, and tractor-riding to the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony, we enjoyed the sun and views and a few local wines…

clearview-estate-te-awanga-sauvignon-blanc-hawkes-bay-2015

Clearview Estate Winery Te Awanga Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2015 -13% straw

Sweet tropical nose, mild grass and acidity, clover Restrained acidity in mouth sweet ripe flavours luscious fine mouthfeel finishes sweet and lively. Main impression is sweetness. 89 points

te-awanga-estate-rod-mcdonald-chardonnay-hawkes-bay-2015

Rod McDonald Wines Te Awanga Estate Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2015 – 13.5% pale brilliant gold Clear and crisp nose. Lemon. Peach.  Iinear. Minerally. Salty. Spicyfg Lean. Simple.  Linear, Citrus. Refreshing. Long. 90 points

elephant-hill-le-phant-hb-2014

Elephant Hill Le Phant Te Awanga 2014 – A Merlot-predominant blend with 26% Syrah and 13% Cab Sav. Perfumed and smoky,  blackcurrants, brown paper, sweet on the nose. Evocative. I keep returning to sniff.  Sweet and grippy, the wine opens up to show supple tannins, dark plums and berries, vanilla, smoky oak, & spicy finish, really moreish and very good. A very distinctive blend. 95 points

spencer-hill-latitude-41-chardonnay-moutere-nelson-2015

Spencer Hill Estate Latitude 41 Moutere Chardonnay Nelson 2015 – 12.5% pale gold. A variation from the Hawkes Bay theme… Oaky vanilla, buttery & rich. A developed golden stone fruit bouquet. Full of flavour on attack. Great line of citrus balanced with ripe fruit. Creamy Complexity on palate that is very appealing. 92 points

What’s in the glass tonight January 6th – Chardonnay


evans-tate-butterball-chardonnay-2015

Off Topic – Evans&Tate Butterball Chardonnay Margaret River WA 2015 – $$

Gold colour. 13% alc. My L likes a buttery Chardy on a sunny summer weekend afternoon. And this fitted the bill.

Ripe and flavoursome, not too heavy, with pleasant butterscotch and caramel characters, and tropical fruit flavours, with enough citrus underpinning not to have the wine collapse into a flabby mess of oak

Recommended  – 87 points