What’s in the glass tonight November 22nd – Chenin Blanc


Millton Chenin Blanc 2007

From the Cellar: Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc Gisborne 2007 – $$$

From the foremost of the few producers of this varietal in New Zealand. I can’t say enough good things about Millton. One of the first wines I collected for the Pool Room.

Brilliant gold colour. 12% alc. A biodynamic wine.

Richly aromatic. Satisfyingly complex secondary and tertiary aromas have developed over the past 10 years under my roof – oranges and golden mangoes and honey, bready and unctuous, cardboard, a citrus tang. Lovely.

Sweet and lively to drink. Juicy and mouthwatering. Bright acid throughout, with golden fruit, mango and orange flavours which end on a slightly bitter biscuit finish, long and hot.

There is such youthful vigour here. There are years ahead for this wine. Wish I had more!

One of my Wines of the Year!

Outstanding 96 points

What’s in the glass tonight February 13th – Chenin Blanc


demorgenzon-dmz-chenin-blanc-2016

DeMorgenzon DMZ Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2016 – $$

Brilliant pale gold. 14% alc.

A DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin scored very well in a recent Decanter tasting. This isn’t that one. That one is available for quite few dollars more at my favourite independent wineseller…

This one has a warm and distinctive bouquet with toffee, oaky honey, and citrus notes.

Minerally golden fruit flavours to taste. Slightly crunchy mouthfeel. An off-bitter and dry finish. Simple and lean and quite long.

Recommended  – 86 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 27th – Chenin Blanc


DMZ Chenin Blanc 2015

Off Topic: DeMorgenzon DMZ Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch SA 2015 

On my way back home from my London OE in ‘95, I travelled overland from Kenya down through Zanzibar, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to South Africa. When I was winding things up in Cape Town, and waiting on a flight to NZ, I thought to take a train to nearby Stellenbosch for a day trip. I’d heard there were a few vineyards there, so I decided I would take a wee ambulatory tasting tour of producers within walking distance of the town. And so I did. I recall it was a wonderful day walking the lush and verdant countryside. The vineyards were very established, the wines seemed great (I had no idea what to look for) and I had a lovely lunch at one place that had a terrace overlooking the vines.

Looking back I am astonished I would have thought to do such a thing. I was a beer drinker through and through back then, with maybe the odd bourbon ‘n coke thrown in. I am not sure I drank ANY wine when I was living in the UK. Yet here I was, down at the southern tip of Africa, going for a wine tasting. Even back then, I must have had a subliminal liking for it…

Which brings me back and around the houses to this wine…Chenin Blanc is the largest grape variety grown in SA, accounting for 18% of production. I don’t drink much of this style, as NZ producers are not big on it at all. Whenever I go looking for a Vouvray, or similcra, I often get diverted away towards something else in the shop. But not this time…

Clear pale greenish-lemon straw colour. 14% alc.

My first impression:  Oh. F*kn yum!

A funky reductive nose. Further impressions of golden fruits, light citrus, sweetness, roundness and ripeness…

This funky character transitions to the palate. Quite ripe pear and orange flavours on attack, the funk expressing as gunflint, metallic and struck-match notes. There is honey in there, caramel, and a crunchy bitterness on the finish.

A really interesting wine, very attractive. Wonderful for under $20. You can’t beat SA for price point/value. 91 points

What’s in the glass tonight April 9th – Chenin Blanc


Astrolabe Chenin Blanc 2014

Astrolabe Wrekin Vineyard Chenin Blanc Marlborough 2014 – $$

I went in to an in-store tasting to try (and buy) a Vouvray. But I bought this instead from a producer well-known for making some of Marlborough’s (and NZ’s) reference Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Greenish bright sun straw colour. 13.0% alc.

Lovely clear bouquet of apple + lemon, honey, passionfruit and, funnily enough, sweaty socks.

Soft ripe white fruit flavours, lemons and limes. A dry style of wine, very graceful and appealing. Fresh acidity, quite short. You’d buy this for it’s thirst quenching quality, rather than looking for bags of flavour. That said, a good food wine, and works as an aperitif. I’d buy this again too.

92 points

What’s in the glass tonight February 25th


Jovly Vouvray Chenin Blanc 2013

Off Topic: Jovly Chenin Blanc Vouvray 2013 – $$

I had a bit of a moan my last post about the uniformly ok quality of the wine I have been drinking and writing about recently. I was challenged by a reader to try wines and producers I am unfamiliar with. So here goes…

This wine came recommended from Regional Wines: Vouvray is a wine-growing sub-region of the Loire Valley, France’s largest geographical wine growing region. The Loire River meanders from Orléans all the way to the Atlantic.  The area is known for the age-worthy white wine Chenin Blanc. I can’t find much information off the net about the producer.

The wine is very very pale greenish straw colour. 11.5%. Demi-sec style Chenin. A light bouquet that doesn’t give much away except notes of citrus and pears.

Bright citrus characters in the mouth, minerality, and astringency countered by good weight of ripe fruit flavours. I taste green apples and honey. Long. There is joyful intent in this wine, it sizzles.

BTG 3+