What’s in the glass tonight July 7th – Sticky


Murdoch James Blue Rock Trafalgar

From the Cellar: Murdoch James Blue Rock Trafalgar Martinborough 2009 – $$$

L bought this bottle on our first weekend away to the Wairarapa, when we first started going out. We stayed on the first floor of Turley Red, a pub in Greytown, above the karaoke bar, with non-sound-insulated floors. While trying to sleep the first night we heard every song. We were practically in the bar with the singers…It was a GrabOne deal. We look back and laugh about it now.

Anyway, we did a vineyard crawl one day, and ended up at Murdoch James perched above the old river escarpment, east of Martinborough. I recall gorgeous gardens, and a singularly unique approach to winemaking styles, aimed at the Asian market, for Martinborough.

This wine is a blend of noble Sauvignon Blanc, and late harvest Riesling, a ‘sticky’.

13% alc. Golden colour.

Delicious, evolved, and volatile. A sticky in a big bottle. Fantastic aromas of mandarins, honey, and citrus freshness.

Very sweet on attack (natch), with fresh citrus character throughout the mid-palate, and kero energy at the finish. So good!

Highly recommended 92 points

What’s in the glass tonight June 22nd – Merlot Syrah Cabernets


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Ata Rangi Celebre Martinborough 2014 – $$$

This is a long-time favourite local red for me. A bright red blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc fruit grown on the Martinborough Terrace, and matured in 20% new oak.

Deep plum purple colour. 13% alc.

Soft, round and opulent on the nose. A savoury character up front, then opens to reveals oak, plums, and spice.

Sweetness on entry, fine-grained tannins in the mid-palate, and fresh acidity on the finish. Fruit flavours are restrained, not as ripe as the ’13, and slightly leafy.

A fine, expressive wine.

Recommended 89 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 23rd – Riesling


Escarpment Riesling

Escarpment Riesling Martinborough 2013

This was a generous gift from MM for me being chauffeur at the recent biking weekend. Much appreciated, mate.

Brilliant pale greenish straw colour. 12% alc.

The nose was delightfully aromatic and phenolic, showing lean and crisp acidity, with a layered note of honey.

Natch, the wine was dry/off-dry, lean, and angular to taste as well. Salty, and sharp through the mid palate, with a short crisp mineral finish. I loved the mouthwatering acidity. An arresting wine, cerebral even (if I err into weinwank for a moment…J )

Very enjoyable. I liked seeing the sweetness dialled back in this white.

Highly Recommended – 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 10th– Sauvignon Blanc


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The Luminary Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2016 – $$

Simple and uncomplicated, with a calm nose. Very typical of the restrained form of Kiwi savvy hailing from Martinborough. There is freshness and acidity as you would expect, and quality fruit weight . It has presence. But a little boring.

Recommended 88 points

What’s in the glass tonight April 11th – Pinot Noir


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Alexander Dusty Road Pinot Noir Martinborough 2011 – $$

Tawny carmine colour. 13.5 % alc.

A heady bouquet – floral and savoury. Dark red fruits and spice, and a scent of honeysuckle.

Bright acid on the front of the palate.  Lashings of vanilla. A touch thin and austere. A metallic edge leading to a bitter and hot and spicy finish. An acceptable pinot for the age and price, redeemed by its nose.

Recommended 86 Points

What’s in the glass tonight February 7th – Sauvignon Blanc


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Grava Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$

Whole bunch pressed. Pale greenish straw. 12.5% alc.

Light and lifted, grassy, and finishes with a strong hint of licorice allsort

A smooth Savvy up front, slightly lean to taste, and minerally, with the expected lemon tang. Also evident is the typical lower North Island dialed-back SB acidity, but still is fresh and invigorating. Short.

Recommended  – 87 points

What’s in the glass tonight January 31st – Riesling


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Craggy Range Te Muna Road Riesling Martinborough 2014 – $$

Pale gold colour. 11.5% alc.

Steely cut-thru on the nose, crisp and ticklish, with scents of lemon and apple and a bit of clover honey.

Off dry. Austere and linear, with crisp citrus fruit flavours, short and sharp. Young and somewhat one-dimensional, but good for the heat of a summer’s afternoon, something that this season has been in short supply of.

Commended  – 84 points

Regional Wines In-Store Mini NZ Pinot Noir Tasting – Jan 2017


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Clos Henri ‘Petit Clos’ Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 -$23.55 Juicy & approachable, with structure and depth.

Kiritea ‘ Te Hera’ Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013  -$21.65 – savoury, peppery  & aromatic. A layered, typical Wairarapa style.

Folding Hill Pinot Noir, Bendigo Central Otago 2013 -$28.95 – Elegant, wild thyme notes

Neudorf ‘Tom’s Block’ Pinot Noir Nelson 2014 -$30.25 – A quality quaffer.

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Greystone Pinot Noir Waipara 2014 – $33.95 – Hand-harvested from the Omihi Vineyard. Wild yeast ferment with 15% whole bunch to add complexity.

This wine was commented at the tasting as being ‘cerebral’. If you think about anything long enough it becomes cerebral. I thought it had a velvet quality on the nose, with spice, some herbal character, and scents of red roses. So there!

Smooth mouthfeel, with a powerful and dense core of statement fruit. Elegant. It finished hot. No thinness or metallic notes, just deliciousness throughout.

Highly Recommended. 91 Points

What’s in the glass tonight January 9th – Sauvignon Blanc


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Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$

Greenish pale straw colour. 13.5% alc.

I can feel the heat of the Martinborough days and the cool of the nights in the fresh mandarin and lemon bouquet of this wine. It smells of summer sun-blanched grassy hills beside the Ruamahunga River. Light and lifted, with clover honey and pear.

Sweet upfront to taste, there is a restrained citrus character supported through the middle with bags of sweet ripe fruit and bags of flavour. Utterly delish this is. It gives Te Mata’s Cape Crest a good run for the money!

Outstanding  – 95 points