What’s in the glass tonight Feb 26th – Sauvignon Blanc

Palliser SB 15

Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$

Time to down tools after a long work week!

Lightest greenish straw. 13% alc.

Delicate bouquet; a waft of green apple, Turkish delight, and capsicum across the nostrils.

Soft in the mouth too, agreeable ripeness, less acidity than I might expect, perhaps a bit too soft and light, it taste like there is some oak handling, but surely not. This is lacking the usual Kiwi Sav flavour horsepower. Typical for North Island examples, but not to this degree. Could be sharper.

G 3


What’s in the glass tonight October 13th

27 Acres Pinot Noir 2012

Lynfer Estate 27 Acres Pinot Noir Gladstone 2012 – $

Produced by Lynfer Estate out of Gladstone, Wairarapa. I know nothing about these winemakers. Nothing on their website about this label, either. Just the ‘13s and ‘14s feature…

Light pinot ruby. 12.2% alc.

Dumb, somewhat underdeveloped nose. Slightly stalky. Some light and savoury fruit trying to break thru.

Same comments as above on palate. Light/dumb. Has some charm, but I tend to give any pinot a pass mark regardless, cos I like the variety A LOT, unless it is red lolly-water. Which this isn’t. I just kind of had hoped for a revelatory bargain with this bottle.

They can only get better tho. Gladstone is an up and coming area for P’Noir.

OK 2+

NEXT DAY UPDATE: The half-bottle held up really well overnight and was showed more bouquet – red roses, cherries, & that pinot florality I love. More flavour in the mouth too. Obv needed decanting.

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 21st

Saints Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Saints Chardonnay Gisborne 2011 – $

This wine is from the bottom shelf. Or near enough to it. It is not a wine you pull out to impress people. Indeed, to even write about it on my blog might encourage comments that I am slumming it. It will certainly not keep the vignerons of Corton-Charlemagne awake at night fearing another Judgement of Paris…

However, it was one of the first wines I ever wrote about on my blog. It started me on my journey of wine writing. I feel a bit sentimental about this product. It is cheap and one-dimensional, but I liked once. I have also learned that a wine has to really bad to be totally irredeemable, and it is also kinda hard to make a really bad wine (blame poor cellaring instead). With a bottle like this, all that can really be expected is perhaps a lack of expectation.

So, when I was building my cellar, with the idea of aging wines and seeing what a bit of age does, I thought, well, why don’t I lay down some $10 cheapies and see if it improves them? Would they oxidise and fall over? Or would they develop an interesting character? Not much to lose, I thought.

2011 wasn’t a great vintage in Gisborne. This bottle has slept long enough.

12.5% alc. Bright yellow; this might be the first hint of trouble ahead?

Funky nose. Bit burnt. Very tertiary bouquet. Toffee and caramel. Oxidative. Hard to pin down individual scents, but it is not unpleasant. It turned out to be a rewarding wine, as the effects of aging were well advanced and visible, but not faulty. It became somewhat of an intellectual exercise to try to figure it out whether it was any good.

It tasted fresher than it smelled. Golden apricots, some crisp acid character. Fine tannins. Long finish. It was more than ok.

This wine has been well-made despite the poor vintage. It will hold perhaps another year.

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight July 17th

Esk Valley Syrah 2013

Esk Valley Syrah Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$

I have been really enjoying wines from this label this year. The 2013 Cab Merlot has been stunning, the Chardonnay has delivered beyond its price point. I thought I’d get this wine in the office order to give it a go.

Inky scarlet colour. 13.5% alc. A fresh and approachable, un-challenging red wine. Fruity on the nose, mildly earthy too with some vanilla. Soft ripe blackberry flavours, with a medium tannin profile and concentration. Mild spice.

Not wowed with this one. No faults, but a bit soft and lacking personality.

Mild is the word. G 3

What’s in the glass tonight June 17th

Oyster Bay Chardonnay 2013

Oyster Bay Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $

I can’t believe that I haven’t reviewed this supermarket staple and export leader yet. L asked me before, haven’t you blogged about every wine by now? Ummm, not yet. That’s all the  fun…

Bright brilliant gold. 13.5% alc. A slight nose.

Light, fresh and fruity bouquet. Lots of citrus leading on the palate, and notes of Golden Delicious apples and oranges. Luscious and mouthwatering. Toffee finish. Approachable, dependable. Good value for the $.

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight June 14th

Babich Family Reserve Chardonnay 2014

Babich Wines Family Reserve Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2014

The Babich family will be celebrating 100 years of winemaking in New Zealand in 2016. Also, the patriarch, Joe Babich, became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 for his services to the New Zealand wine industry. They have much to be very happy about at the mo.

This is an un-oaked Chardonnay. I expected Chablis-esque characters, thusly…

And so it was. Citrus and melons on the nose. Fresh peach and nectarine flavours. And a toffee finish (I have been looking for the description for the type of ‘bitter’ flavours I see jumping off the high diving board at the end). Good length. Happily quaffed.

Thanks R for leaving this bottle behind!

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight May 28th

Ch De Feslers Rose 2014

Off Topic: Ch. De Fesles Rosé d’Anjou “La Chapelle” 2014 – $$

Another rosé for L to try. From the Loire, made from Grolleau grapes.

I tried it as an aperitif – wouldn’t trust it against the Murgh Khorma i was cooking.

12%. Salmon blush.

Lifted fruity aromatics of strawbs, pears, rock melon and golden delicious apples. Very sweet in the mouth. The bouquet carries through on the palate. Luscious. Long slightly bitter finish.

G 3

What’s in the glass tonight May 13th

Escarpment Chardonnay 2011

Escarpment Vineyard Chardonnay Martinborough 2011 – $$$

From grapes grown during a good year from a vineyard at Te Muna Road on the escarpment behind Martinborough township.

Light gold. 13.5% alc. Burgundian, powerful, opulent bouquet.

Partial malolactic fermentation and lees stirring adds complexity. Soft mouthfeel. White peach flavours. A mineral character.

A touch astringent at the finish. This bottle was nearing the end of its drinking window. Nowhere near as enjoyable as I was expecting, due its provenance.

G 3

International Sauvignon Blanc Day – WITGT Friday April 24

Brancott Fume Blanc 2014

From the New Zealand Wine website:

April 24 2015 marks the sixth annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day – an online initiative that started in California with St Supery Winery as a global social media wine tasting. This year, New Zealand Winegrowers will be leading the charge and holding events across the world to celebrate the variety that awoke the world to New Zealand wine.

Celebrations kick off in New Zealand and make their way around the globe following the sun. Sauvignon Blanc tastings and events are taking place in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Germany, London, Toronto, and New York, finishing 43 hours later at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Restaurants, retailers and consumers – along with global wine brands – will be celebrating Sauvignon Blanc for the day and participating in the Twitter conversation by using the “hashtag” #SauvBlanc.

A huge number of wine consumers are active on social media and events such as Sauvignon Blanc Day provide great opportunities to raise awareness of New Zealand wine globally, said New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan. “Anyone can join the celebration by enjoying a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on April 24 and telling the world how good it is.”

I am kicking things off with a glass of Brancott Estate Special Reserve Fumé Blanc Marlborough 2014. A oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc, hence the resurrection of an old varietal name*.

Pale straw colour. 13.5% alc. Distinctive fresh Marlborough Savvy typicity on the nose, with a smokey top note. A smoother style in the mouth, less aggressive than other SBs in their range, with soft fruit flavours, green capsicum, limes, gooseberries and a short smokey finish. G 3.

*Interestingly, from Vincyclopedia:

Fumé Blanc is a made-up name, legally accepted as a synonym for wines made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Robert Mondavi deserves credit for this renaming in an effort to increase the acceptance and popularity of Sauvignon Blanc.

From the 1966 and ’67 vintages, Mondavi made sweet-style wines from this grape and labeled them “Sauvignon Blanc”. But in 1968, Mondavi changed winemaking style to produce a dry version. To denote the change to their customers, they came up with the name “Fumé Blanc”, derived from Pouilly-Fumé, one of the most popular dry-style Loire Valley wines made from Sauvignon Blanc. Rather than copyrighting or trade marking the name, Mondavi offered to allow anyone to use the Fumé Blanc name to market dry-style Sauvignon Blanc.

Two nights I won’t ever get back – what’s in the glass tonight April 11th

Dom Anne Gros Bourgogne 2011

Off Topic: Dom. Anne Gros Bourgogne 2011 – $$$+

I popped into my local bottlestore to get another good pinot. I had my head set on a Greywacke from Marlborough, because I knew it would rock my world.

But, while there I looked over the French wines on offer, and was too-easily persuaded to give this wine a try instead. I was told Domaine Anne Gros was a great producer, and although this was just a Bourgogne-level wine, was great value for it. Still, it cost me more than the Greywacke would have…

Ruby colour. 12.5%. Earthy ordinaire nose.

On palate the wine is solid and well-structured, robust for a Pinot Noir, tasting of red berries and plums, with drying tannins. Pleasant drinking, and it had enough depth and fruit to hold the second night without fading. So that was good. More B-side than A-side tho.

What wasn’t so good was that the bottle still cost more than a quality brand NZ pinot would have, and I didn’t learn much about Bourgogne wine from drinking it, other than it wasn’t that special. It wasn’t perfumed, it wasn’t floral, it wasn’t that earthy earthy either. I’m not convinced it even tasted foreign.

I know that if I spend $200 on a ‘name’ Burgundy like Faively I would get a great drop. But I don’t want to spend that much. So what I am left with is the knowledge that that was two nights of wine appreciation and $50+ that I won’t ever get back. I won’t fall into the trap again. If I want a good Pinot, I must remember, buy local; buy local: Buy Local.

G 3