What’s in the glass tonight on Valentine’s Day – Chardonnay


Kingfisher Bay Chardonnay 2014

Kingfisher Bay Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

This is a cheap wine. Thru blackmarket.co.nz you can pick this up for $9.99 a bottle. But it punches above that weight…

L and I were heading back home from Mt Ruapehu, where we had spent the weekend on a skiclub working bee. L had spent two days scraping old paint off cedar boards, ready for oiling, an horrifically hard job, whereas I had only swanned about inside, painting. Merely because I put my hand up at the beginning to claim I could “paint a bit”. Ha!

It was Val’s Day, so L hunted out a dinner reservation on the drive home. She found The Office, a café on the beachfront at Raumati Beach. And lovely it was too… Gorgeous late evening sun, delicious blue cod for dinner, and my beautiful Valentine by my side.

The wine: mealy with pleasant citrus notes, and a most interesting line of Pinot Gris flavour throughout this wine. I could almost be convinced it was a blend. Intriguing, and it hit the spot.

G 3

Other interesting wines savoured this weekend: an aromatic, clean and grassy Charles Wiffen Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 that I enjoyed at the Café Telephonique in Taihape on the drive up to the Bee (although L won the round with her Charles Wiffen Chardonnay); and the very elegant, mealy and lightly buttery Paddy Borthwick Chardonnay Wairarapa 2014 we drank at the clubhouse on Saturday night.

Straight to the Pool Room – December 2015


Pool Room Dec 2015

A couple of Marlborough Rieslings. I chose these bottles on price (low), label design (high), the experiences I have with other wines from this producer (good), and the fact that this wine already has a bit of bottle age…

Wiffen Riesling Marlborough 2011 – $$ – Drink 2016-2019.

What’s in the glass tonight Aug 22nd


Wiffen Pinot Noir 2009

From the Cellar: Charles Wiffen Pinot Noir Marlborough 2009 – $$

This wine commended itself to me for two reasons:

Firstly, it bears one of the best-looking wine labels in all of NZ, in my opinion. Elegant and sophisticated, bearing an elegant crux mark, and the use of the colour burgundy sets it apart from the competition.

Secondly, this wine came out very well-reviewed at an Under-$30 NZ Pinot Noir tasting tutored by Geoff Kelly that I attended a couple of years ago. On the strength if how it showed then, and being great value for money, I bought this bottle and stowed it away under the house…

From their website, “The Wiffen family have owned their Marlborough property, St. Clair, since 1907. [ ] Situated on the southern side of the Wairau Valley floor, the property has free draining alluvial soils with some pockets of richer soil. [ ] The vineyard now totals 50 hectares, producing Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Noir and we have new plantings of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.”

And here it is…

Carmine colour…14% alc.

Lovely and floral aromas in the glass. Savoury, with black cherries and dark chocolate notes. This savoury nose developed further on the second night, with a pleasant meaty character underpinning the whole. Nice.

In the mouth, black cherries again, good ripeness and body, with a spicy pepper and fine tannin finish. Not particularly long.

Good varietal expression from Marlborough. A lovely wine.

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight May 22nd


Charles Wiffen Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 – $$

I really liked this wine at a NZ Pinot Noir review tasting I attended a couple of years back. I got paid, wanted a payday treat, and here was a chance to have another look, courtesy of the specials bin at Regional Wines…

Dusky carmine in the glass. 13.5%. Light floral nose, red fruits.

Red cherries in the mouth; good weight, balanced tannins. Smooth mouthfeel, slight spice. Well-built, and cellaring well. Buy this if you can’t find any Johner. 4

What’s in the glass tonight June 4th


Charles Wiffen Marlborough Sauv Blanc 2012

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – $$

I bought this wine from Regional because it has the coolest label.

I also like their pinot noir: I tasted a good bottle last year, and bought one for the Pool Room.

The proprietor’s family have owned the land in the Wairau Valley since 1907. It was first planted in grapes in 1980, which were contract-grown for other wineries, before the first release under the Wiffen brand was issued in 1997.

It’s the palest straw in the light. The wine is leggy when swirled.  The nose is definitely Marlborough varietal with green apple and grass and gooseberry notes. It’s warmer on the palate than the smell would indicate. I taste citrus, and there is the crisp acidity we should see. It hangs around the back of the throat nicely.

Give this one a go, peeps, and support the smaller grower. 3.5