What’s in the glass tonight March 29th

Te Mata Coleraine 1990

From the Cellar: Te Mata Coleraine Hawkes Bay 1990 – $$$ (Hammer time)

To celebrate/commiserate over the Black Caps performance in the ICC Cricket World Cup Final against Australia, i thought I would knock the top off this auction purchase and share with L, and with D and R over at their place…

Dark crimson to look at. 12%

I smelled brambles, age evolved blackcurrants and plums, and old woodshed.

Thinnish fruit in the mouth as expected (25 year old wine), but it opened up well in the glass and showed great quality, character and class. It stayed true in the glass over time. Lots to think about when nosing it. Leather and cedar notes. Worth opening, no faults I could see beyond age. Decanting worked well, we caught a lot of sediment.

Score it Outstanding 5 for longevity.

…and alas we were thrashed by Australia. What a glorious run to get to the final although 🙂

What’s in the glass tonight March 24th

Grant elliot 1 (2)

From the Cellar: Te Mata Estate Awatea Cab Merlot Hawkes Bay 2005 – bought at auction $$$

I tapped up the cellar for one of my old reds to drink with our Spaghetti Bol dinner, and to soothe the nerves afterwards as I watched the NZ cricket team on TV contest the semi-final of the Cricket World Cup against the mighty South Africans.

It did the trick.

A 10-year old wine. Nudging it’s best-before date. Although Te Mata’s website did say still evolving, drink or hold. The vintage was a high quality one by reports. Best since ’98 or 2000.

Deep dark magenta. 13.5%. Soft bouquet. Leather. Black plums. Smelt well evolved and inviting.

In the mouth I first saw that the tannins were still grippy. A base of dense fruit flavours. A little dry.  A real delight to drink. It got better in the glass as the evening wore on. So expressive and upstanding for a mature NZ red. No faults I could ascertain. Long.  Fantastic.


Te Mata Awatea 2005 - 3

And we beat South Africa with 1 ball remaining when Grant Elliot smashed a six over long on off the bowling of Dale Steyn. We are off to Sunday’s final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground!

Grant elliot 1


Hammer Time


I wish

Here are a couple that got away from me at today’s Dunbar Sloan Fine Wine Auction:

An ’81 Petrus on the left, sold to someone else for $500. The ’93 on the right sold for $700. Chortle…

I left behind an cheap absentee bid for a couple of ’92 Ata Rangi Celebre’s and a 2010 Trinity Hill Homage, so we will see if I prevail…


…the next day, I didn’t…

Hammer Time


I attended another fayne wayne auction at Dunbar’s today. I had my eye on picking up an old Te Mata Coleraine.

I ended up sitting next to a mature gent who was intent on buying up all the Coleraine on offer. This wasn’t looking good I thought. Still, I held my nerve and outbid him on one bottle of Te Mata Estate Coleraine 1990. So there. And I didn’t really pay much more than I would have for a new one.

Afterwards, while up at the counter when paying, I started talking to him. Turns out he is one of the directors of Te Mata Estate, and he was at the auction buying the Coleraines to plug gaps in the estate’s wine library. Funny.

I showed him mine and said it was for drinking, soon.

I also won an old Te Mata Awatea Cab Merlot 1992 for $20. The gent told me that was made in the Pinatubo year (when that volcano exploded and cooled global temperatures) and they didn’t make Coleraine– it all went into the Awatea. So he reckoned it might be a bit green. I reckon it will more likely be just old.


What’s in the glass tonight Jan 20th

Palliser Estate PN 2003

Hammer Time: Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 – $$$

Hah. I had been looking forward to this one, ever since I bought it at the Dunbar Sloan wine auction late last year. Wanted to compare it with the excellent 2005 L and I had a while back.

I love it. 13%. Pinot ruby colour, browning at the edge a little. Gorgeous nose, all shroomy with floral violets. To drink, it is smooooth, with buckets of red cherries and spice. An excellent balance of age and fruit. 4.5

What’s in the glass tonight Nov 28th

Te Mata Awatea 2005

Hammer Time: Te Mata Awatea Hawkes Bay Cab / Merlot 2005 – $$$

This is one of the ‘05 Awateas I bought at the recent Dunbar Sloan auction.

I’ve been looking forward to opening this. Awatea ‘05 is a blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 43% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. It is the lesser stablemate of Coleraine. It’s also a wine made for aging; up to 10 years according to the producer.  Let’s see what this 8yo is can do…

I’m taking my time with this one. Dark garnet in the glass, quite clear, no visible brick colouring to the edges. 13.5%. Black fruits aged bouquet, with medicinal hints, earth, wood,  and fruitcake; quite lovely when it opens up to the air. I love the nose.

Light tasting, at first I thought almost frail in the mouth, but over time I see there is more going on than that. Fruit weight has retreated from first release, licorice, some white pepper, and refined mature flavours. The tannins have softened but it is still ‘tacky’. I think it holds together well. Good length. A fine wine. 4

What’s in the glass tonight Nov 13th

Penthouse Chardonnay 2009

Hammer Time: Palliser Estate Pencarrow Chardonnay 2009 – $

It’s not often I get another go at an old(er) wine I have reviewed before. But I have the opportunity with this one, courtesy of my recent auction win of a brace of bottles.

Earlier I posited that this wine had jumped the shark. Having another look now, I can confirm that it is still a mature wine. But oxidation is not evident in this bottle.

Light gold colour. Old vanilla and oak aromas. Mellow, round and creamy and quite smooth to taste. Lots of golden stonefruit and honey. I am intrigued by the smell of this wine – it reminds me of fresh bandages. Funny that. 3.5

Hammer Time

DS Fine Wine Auction Oct 2013

What am I bid? Dunbar Sloane Auctioneers ran another fayne wayne auction last week, and I won a few lots.

Other bidders were after the Chateau Haut Margaux Rothschild Latour and other French filth, but I only had eyes for Olde Kiwi.

New Zealand wines back in the day typically came off relatively young vines and were made for drinking rather than keeping. There are of course exceptions, but this is as I understand it. I therefore suspected that some of the ‘second-hand’ wines on offer at the auction might well turn out to be really second-hand, so I was not prepared to pay more than $14 each.

I missed out on a few really early examples that were bought for $16 and $18 and more. Shame. I would have liked a Coleraine from the mid-80s but not at the prices they went for. The audience must have been drinking. And what was going on with those old Cornerstone’s selling for $60 a bottle…!

When no-one was looking I scored a 2003 Palliser Estate Pinot Noir for $14; two Palliser Pencarrow 2009 Chards for $10 each (forgetting that I dissed said wine from my cellar only a short time ago – I’m hoping [hoping!] these will be better…) and two Te Mata 2005 Awatea cab merlots for $$$ (I couldn’t resist)…Not as old as I’d hoped, but there is always another auction around the corner.

I’ll put one of the Awateas away in the Pool Room for next year, but everything else will go south over the next month or two and I’ll write them up.