What’s in the glass tonight Nov 19th – a Merlot


CJ Pask Merlot 2008

From the Cellar: CJ Pask Gimblett Road Merlot Hawkes Bay 2008 – $$

Browning dark magenta. 14% alc.

This took a day to open up in the bottle once the stelvin was cracked.

On bouquet – soft and lush, spicy and savoury. Matchbox and cardboard. Licorice.

In the mouth – rich fruit, backing off a touch now, but not as tertiary as I might have expected. I saw prune, fig and dark chocolate flavours. Dusty tannins. Long finish. Bags of character.

VG 4

What else was in the glass on my ski holiday

CJ Pask Gimblett Syrah 2008

From the cellar: CJ Pask Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2009 – $$

An apres-ski tipple with my fellow RSC club members out on our sunny deck. Note the snow level, and compare to previous post…

Some wines prove not meant for keeping. They are meant to be consumed young. This turned out to be one of those for me. The wine was ok, and the quality fruit and winemaking that went into it meant the aging did it no harm. But neither did cellar time move it along much.

Deep scarlet. 12%. Medium-weight. The wine was unremarkable with little nose and only red fruits to taste. It had dried out a little, and not developed any pronounced age characters to replace the fruit freshness. It would have been better in 2011 I think, though the winery website says it was good for another couple of years yet. 3

Sebastiani Zinfandel 2009 in the snow

Sebastiani Sonoma County Zinfandel 2009 – $$

See my post Sept 9th – more US deliciousness…and see the snow level lessen. This has not been a stellar season up at Whakapapa skifield. 4.5

Dashwood Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 – $

This was consumed at L’s ski-club lower down the mountain another night. This was the real deal as far as cheap, light, fresh, fragrant PNs go. A treat. Bright pinot ruby. 14%. Good bouquet. Ripe red cherries in the mouth. Yum, drink it young and in the sun. Gold medal winner. 3.5

And all the snow melted around my lodge..

What’s in the glass tonight July 16th

CJ Pask Dec Chardonnay 2007

From the cellar: CJ Pask Declaration Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 – $$$

This has bottle age and more.

When I first opened it, I thought it was a year or two too old. Now that I have sat with it a bit longer, and using the smaller-pour xl5, I see it is opening up, and rather than it coming to me, I am going over to it. I suppose it takes time and effort to ‘get’ a mature wine like this. To say too quickly, oh, this one’s gone off, is doing the aging process of wine a real dis-service. This was an expensive bottle, produced with a lot of new French oak. It was made to handle age. But how much age? Don’t know yet. I’ll know better after I work through a few more of the sleeping Chardys I have in the Pool Room…

I can say with assurance it is light straw in colour. It’s dense and structured, with bitter oak and nut and wholemeal aromas and flavours. Grapefruit, nutty, pepper, intense. A ‘learner’, I think. I wish I had another for next year. 4



What’s in the glass tonight July 7th

CJ Pask Syrah 2006

From the cellar: CJ Pask Gimblett Road Hawkes Bay Syrah  2006 – $$$

L was returning from her skiclub working bee for a Sunday dinner at mine of slow-cooked beef shin and mushrooms with bay, cinnamon and star anise. Here was another good bottle from winemaker Kate Radburnd to enjoy with our meal…

CJ Pask is one of the pioneers of the Gimblett Gravels, the sub-region or terroir in the Hawke’s Bay wine region that produces great NZ red wine. Chris Pask was the first to plant here back in 1981.

I don’t know yet whether this style of wine should be drunk young, for florality and fruit acid, or be kept to settle down to a level of easy smoothness like this has…

Deep dark ruby, with light spicy floral notes on the nose, and a touch of forest floor. It is medium-weight, and still fruit dominated with black plums and blackberries. Some ageing complexity stops the wine from being too simple, as it may have been in its early days. Dry, soft and smooth. 4

The weight of their bottles gives an impression of quality. The downside is that I think the bottle still has some wine left in it, when alas it doesn’t..

What’s in the glass tonight May 18th

CJ Pask Cab Mer Mal 2006

From the cellar – CJ Pask Gimblett Road Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2006 – $$

Super yay. This is another great bottle from one of my favourite producers. I should really just shut up shop and only buy from winemaker Kate Radburnd and co.: job done.

The wine is dark dark dark dark purple red in the glass. On the nose: lifted savoury vanilla and baking spice. In the mouth: fruity and firm and silky, with doris plums, licorice and dark choc. It’s a ripe and ready red, with strength and depth and bottle age. Very moorish. The wait was worth it.

I could have opened one of their ’06 Syrahs, but I thought this would go better with Jamie Oliver’s 15min Sausage and Rosemary Fusilli I made for LG and I tonight. It may be an imported recipe, but I am feeling good about using the rosemary I grew in my garden and the tinned Hawkes Bay tomatoes I chose over the cheap Italian toms that the supermarket crowd on their eye-level shelves.

Rather than decant the wine, I used a cool toy that L gave me for Christmas. It’s a moulded clear plastic tube thing with a wide funnel mouth and narrow spout, with several small air tubes moulded into the side of it that connect to the central funnel. You hold it over your wine glass, and pour wine into the top.  When the wine is poured in and it flows down the tube, the liquid draws in fine air bubbles from each side as it passes, and is aerated before it falls into the glass below. There is a rushed gurgling noise as the thing works. Quite odd.

But I think it airs the wine well, and mimics decanting without me acting like a poseur. The one I use is designed for red wine, and there is a white wine version. It’s NZ-designed and made, but I threw away the box and can’t recall what it is called, alas. ‘ Wine-something’, I expect.