What’s in the glass tonight October 6th

Kirky Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Kirkpatrick Estate Wines Kirky (Ian Kirkpatrick) Signature Series Reserve Chardonnay 2011 – $$$

I bought this wine at the Gisborne Wine Centre in 2012, following a tasting of this and other Gizzy Chardys. Probably the last of the bottles collected on that visit.

The backstory of this wine: Owner Simon Kirkpatrick said it was an opportune time to pay tribute to his famous uncle and All Black –  Ian Kirkpatrick – and showcase some of the best wine Gisborne and the Patutahi Plateau has to offer.

“The Rugby World Cup 2011 was an historic occasion for us all and we thought it was a great time to commemorate Ian’s contribution to the sport. He amassed 113 matches for the All Blacks, 43 as captain. and is considered one of New Zealand rugby’s all-time greats having played for the All Blacks from 1967 to 1977. He is still held in high regard for his exploits against the Springboks, Australia, France and the British and Irish Lions. For a forward, and playing in an era where only the backs were meant to score tries, his ability to beat players with strength, speed and athleticism saw him score an incredible 50 tries for the All Blacks over his 10-year career.”

I am not 100% sure what vintage this is. Probably a 2011, but it also says 2010 on the back label.

High-carat gold colour. 13.4% alc. Developed, tertiary aromas of butter and almonds. Strong wiff of phenols.

Quite a big wine in the mouth too. Round and soft. Receding fruit – golden peaches and dried apricots. My cellaring has been poor and has done the wine a disservice. It oxidised and lost freshness and charm, and really fell apart in the glass the next day. A real shame as it had tasted great in ’12.

A quality drop mis-handled by me. 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 March 25th

Saints Chardonnay 2013

Saints Vineyard Selection Chardonnay Gisborne 2013 – $

This is a value wine. 10 bucks gets you a bottle. I haven’t had one of these since I blogged about a 2011 back in the early days of this blog. I thought it was ok then, but I suspect my tastes have moved on and upwards since, and this beauty would likely not have done the same. I thought to review the latest vintage. We’ll see…

First off it looks too yellow for a ’13. Something wrong here. Looks advanced. Smells advanced too. Creamy and apricot-y for sure, but also oxidative characters. What a shame. There should be clean approachable fruit here on the nose.

In the mouth it is a basic wine. No nuance. I can expect that. Nothing too interesting. The usual citrus and stonefruit thing. Shows some bitterness at the death. But it is going downhill and that’s either a fault with this bottle or the range. Again what a shame. I used to drink this back in the day.

Thanks for the memories.  2+

What’s in the glass tonight October 18th

Coopers Creek SR Chard 2013

Coopers Creek Chardonnay Limited Release Gisborne 2013

L’s friend R came around for a wine with us, and brought this welcome bottle. I have really liked the odd glass of their top Swamp Reserve Chardonnay in the past, so was keen to record my impressions of this wine while I knocked up a meal of the finest home-made mix-tape Margherita pizzas this side of Italy…

Light gold. 13.5%.

Vanilla nose, elegant and aromatic. Citrus fruits, orange blossom.

Golden fruits to taste, with oak and vanilla, almonds and cashews and oatmeal. Balanced acidity. Some secondary characters.

Lovely. 4

Margherita pizza



What’s in the glass tonight August 30th


From the Cellar: Clos St Anne Gisborne Chardonnay 2009 – $$$

From Millton’s Naboth Vineyard in Gizzy. The 2007 edition of this wine came this close to being my wine of the year last year. I recall buying this particular bottle at the cellar door when LG and I went up to Gisborne for a week’s holiday the year after I broke up with her mother. We two stayed in a cabin at the camping ground on Waikanae Beach. It was such a great time. We swam in the sea and in rivers. Toured about the land. LG scaled the local playgrounds, the Olympic pools and waterslide. I recall I fixated on food. I was calorie-counting and trying desperately to lose weight. And trying all this great wine, but keeping it down to only two glasses a day. And NO beer. While on HOLIDAY.

My efforts worked and I lost 10kgs over the next four months. Yay. A bit has crept back on since tho…

So, I hauled little sister 2009 out of the cellar to share with R and J who came over for dinner with L and I. Then I found out R was not a Chardonnay fan. And J was driving. Oh well. More for me!

Pale gold. 14%. Lovely almonds/cashews/general nuttiness on the nose. In the mouth it was balanced, rich (tho no MLF) and round, with gorgeous citrus on the mid-palate. Medium weight. A lingering finish. There were secondary age-flavours of burnt caramel, nougat and hokey pokey. It had all the qualities I expected and more. Again, shame the bottle emptied so fast. 5

We then cracked a sticky to go with dessert…


Beach House Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2009

This was a great wine too. Packed full of sweetness and fruit flavour. Interesting, complex phenolics. A sav ‘edge’ in there as well. Complimented the fruit compote and meringues. 4+

What’s in the glass tonight August 27th

Huntaway Reserve Chardonnay 2011

From the Cellar: Huntaway Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2011 – $$

This has improved after a night open, and missing a glass. Yellow gold. 13.5%. It came with a dose of recommendations when I bought this bottle last year, but when I tried it at the time I didn’t think it had the legs to sleep downstairs for too long.

Warm mature nose of stonefruit.

On the palate a ripe fat style. Toasty. Secondary characters pressing through, but not too strong. Citrus finish, quite long, with oak heat on the back palate. 3+

What’s in the glass tonight May 7th

Millton Estate Chardonnay 2013
Millton Estate Gisborne Chardonnay 2013 – $$
I haven’t written for ages.  Been working on the house, hanging with the family, and drinking wine I have written about already. For example I’ve been enjoying Ohau Gravels Sav Blanc, Johner Pinot Noir and the go-to Church Road Chard…and procrastinating about writing up a big Burgundy tasting I attended.

In the interim, here’s something from the organic and bio-dynamic Millton Estate out of Poverty Bay. I really should buy more from these guys. The flavours they get from their wines are very appealing. But when I see the wines on the shelf I often lack the grocery budget to justify the purchase, and when I do have the cash I don’t see the wine on the shelf…typical.

Pale yellow in the glass. 13%. This is something new to me: 86% Chardonnay, 10% Viognier, 4% Marsanne. The Viognier comes through bold with the usual pears and honey but thankfully not the oiliness. I am not convinced of the success of this varietal combo.

In the mouth the wine starts off luscious and juicy, quite ripe, before showing an angular mouthdrying lemony character, with spice at the back palate. Again, not sure the heat and dryness of Viognier and the creaminess of Chardonnay are complimentary. The wine flavours want to tell me two different stories, and neither ring quite true. The wine is not big enough and lacks the ripe fruit flavours I would expect to see from a Gisborne Chardonnay. A mis-step in my opinion. I’d like to calibrate this against a single vineyard Chardonnay from them. 2+

What’s in the glass tonight April 9th


Brunton Road Gisborne Chardonnay 2009 – $ $ $

In the summer (ha!) Of 2012, LG and I holidayed up in Gisborne. We had a fun, if damp, time. If you ever visit the G, make sure you check out the Rere Falls rockslide. Bring a boogie board and wear rock shoes…sliding down the smooth plate of rock is a blast!

One day I visited the Gisborne Wine Centre for a tasting and picked this bottle out amongst others for the Pool Room.

It’s a bright yellow Chard. 13%. A mature,  honeyed nose. Nutty, buttery, big  and fleshy in the mouth. Strongly oaked. Showing attractive age qualities. Typical Gizzy I reckon.  I like a muscley chardonnay. A warming white for when the first chill winds of autumn bite!  4

And for when we have finishing staining and clearcoating our wooden floors…!

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 25th

Tiritiri Gisborne Chardonnay 2008

From the Cellar: Tiritiri Estate Gisborne Chardonnay 2008 – $$$

I could kick myself. This one slept a couple of years too long I regret to say. Yellow gold. 13%. Mature nose, taint of oxidation. The oxidation carries through to the wine, and clouds the appealing nutty and sunny character of the wine. I bought it after a tasting at the Gisborne Wine Centre a few years back, and should really have opened it earlier. The wine is better than how it shows here, and to be fair, would be close to a 4 if I’d kept it in better nick. L liked it, so the quality was in there.

An organic producer too, and they claim to be NZ’s smallest vineyard.  500 rows, producing 50-100 cases. Damn, that makes me feel stink.

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 29th

Saints Pinot Gris 2012

Saints Gisborne Pinot Gris 2012 – $

A budget glassful. Bought more for L’s taste than for mine. Easy on the pocket, easy on the palate. Easy to do if the wine is P-G…

From a corporate maker that I admit to having a sub-tenner soft spot for. Good value glugging. If they’d only sort their labels out. My opinion sez too old-fashioned-looking for the fresh n’ fruity style of wines they specialise in producing.

The wine is light, undemanding, but quite elegant. I am probably being harsh, but it doesn’t smell much of anything, nor taste much of anything, bar pears. But that is not a bad thing here.

I much prefer this wine to the Tohu Chardonnay from the same region. 3.25