What’s in the glass tonight March 29-April 4th – Cheap ‘n Cheerful Chardys


Over the past couple of weeks my bloggage production has approached zero.  Too much going on.  No time to write. Now is the first time I can catch up on a few value wines that perhaps do not warrant a post on their only lonesome…

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March 29th – Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $$

13.5% ABV, and a light yellow gold colour. I usually like these wines. This one shows a pleasant mealy nose, with apricots and spice and caramel, ripe and golden. To taste it opens with sweet lemon, then shows rich and full, with honey and butterscotch, slightly spicy and a mild acid finish. A touch too full and flabby. Would improve with being more crystalline and austere, but that goes against the house style somewhat.

Recommended 89 Points

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April 2nd – From the Cellar: Dashwood Chardonnay Marlborough 2012 – $

13.5% ABV, and a bright pale gold colour. This is a cheery quaffer! Fresh and pungent lifted aromas of peaches and apricots. Citrus notes add a fresh zing. Sweet attack on palate and finishes with a strong acid line. A touch of tertiary development. Worthwhile keeping, this!

Recommended 87 Points

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April 4th – Shingle Peak Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $

13.5% ABV, and a pale gold colour. Simple and fresh aroma of lemon. No discernible oak or malo. Fresh and lively in the mouth. Simple with bright acid freshness. Not austere, not fleshy, this strides the middle ground. Uncomplicated and predictable.

Commended 85 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 12th – Riesling


VM CS Riesling 2007

From the Cellar: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Riesling Marlborough 2007 – $

One of my favourite wines from one of my favourite producers. Enough said.

Pale green straw colour. 11.5% alc.

Clear and crisp and expansive aromas of citrus and apple. So open, so appealing!

So much life in the mouth! Crisp citrus and crunchy green apples. Austere and of-minerals on attack. Sweet through the mid-palate. A long finish. Still so zingy and fresh. Aging slowly under scfrewcap. There is another 10 years in this wine. Pity I don’t have another.

Highly Recommended 94 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 11th – Chardonnay


Stonelegh Chardonnay 2013

From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $

This wine was part of an experiment I started in 2014. I bought a bunch of bottom-tier ‘value brand’ wines from the lauded 2013 vintage, and put them down to see how they would develop over time, and see whether the cheaper products showed cellar improvement and made for better value for money than the more prestigious hand-made ’13 offerings.

This wine was the first out of the blocks for the tranche. Brilliant gold colour. 13.5% alc.

I like the malolactic character and the oak handling of Stoneleigh Chardonnays, especially the Latitude series on the next tier up, so this would be interesting.

Gorgeous warm and rich, buttery and biscuitty golden stonefruit aromas. This wine is showing lovely development. Butterscotch and spice; elegance and intensity.

To taste there were rich flavours bursting from the glass. Caramel, oak, so textural, and with a great acid line underpinning the ripe fruit. Not at all flabby or over-exposed. Spicy finish. Just great.

The wine is nearing a peak, and is superb value for drinking over the next 2 years.

Highly Recommended 92 Points

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk


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L and I tramped around Lake Waikaremoana in the Te Urewera national park over Christmas. Our kids were all with their other parents, so rather that sit around home by ourselves, we thought to head out into the bush for a 4-day circuit of the lake.

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Waikaremoana from Panekire

Along the way we saw some fantastic sights, and met some lovely people. The walk was strenuous in parts, but we were blessed with great weather.

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Korokoro Falls

This IS a wine blog…the evening meals in the hut were accompanied by a glass of canned wine we bought in a supermarket in Nelson for just this occasion (empty tins are MUCH lighter to carry out than glass)…

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The Charlatan Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough – $

13% alc.

Sharp nose through the plastic of the cup, with green apples and capsicum. Lightly fruited in the mouth, with a strong line of citrus. Some sweetness on attack. Astringent finish. Sharp is the key word here. Ok.

Commended – 83 points

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L crossing the Korokoro Stream

And in the Waikaremoana Club on the final day I enjoyed a good simple cool bottle of beer to celebrate the finish of the walk. Yum.

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What’s in the glass tonight November 10th – Pinot Gris


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Triplebank Pinot Gris Marlborough 2016 – $

Fresh off the fields, this. Another Awatere Valley wine.

Brilliant pale gold. 14% alc.

Nice fragrance, smells sweet and lifted, with notes of sweet apples and rock melon.

Fresh on attack, with sweet ripe golden fruit flavours up front. Lots of flavour, a creamy mouthfeel. Citrus line through the mid palate, and a slightly bitter finish. A nice spice catch on the back of the throat.

87 points

What’s in the glass tonight November 7th – Pinot Noir


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Triplebank Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 – $

A new label for me. An Awatere Valley wine from the Pernod Ricard stable of brands.

Pinot ruby. 13.5% alc.

Lightly aromatic, moderately comples on the nose, sweet red cherries, lightly spiced. Hint of stalk/whole bunch.

Simple flavours, not a lot going on. Moderate ripeness and extract, what you would expect from a Pinot at this price point. A bit sharp and metallic towards the finish.

83 points

What’s in the glass tonight October 25th – Riesling


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From the Cellar: Villa Maria Private Bin Dry Riesling Marlborough 2012 – $

Pale gold colour. 12.5% alc. This was VM’s 50th anniversary vintage.

I saw a citrus bite to the nose, some mellowness from wood ageing, and notes of apple, honey and sugar confectionery.

A mouthwatering lime + lemon attack in the mouth. Dry, and a great structure, intensity and freshness for their value/basement tier wine. A mandarin and green apple skin finish, lingering.

Very attractive.

88 points

What’s in the glass tonight October 17th – Pinot Gris


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From the Cellar: Hans Herzog Pinot Gris Marlborough 2015 – $$$

This wine comes from a long-established and committed artisan organic wine producer in Marlborough. The producer boasts 29 different grape varieties planted on the property. We enjoyed their cellar door hospitality on our last visit down south very much.

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Orange mandarin blush. 13.5% alc.

Light and savoury on nose, a little hesitant to open up. I coaxed aromas of melon, soft pear and Turkish delight from the glass. It hinted at funky, and ‘worked’.

To drink, I tasted light strawberries and baking spice, apple. A soft mouthfeel initially, with a good citrus line throughout. Medium length. Finished grassy.

An appealing Gris with an attractive colour in the glass. Although it wasn’t presented as such at their Cellar Door when we first tasted it, but this wine could well fall under the category of “orange wine”. If so, it would be my first…

89 points