What’s in the glass tonight March 8th – Shiraz Cabernet

I Am George Shiraz cabernet 2016

Off Topic: I.Am.George Shiraz Cabernet Limestone Coast Barossa 2016 – $$

14.6% alc. Inky crimson colour.

Rich and plum-y bold dark red-black fruits. Forward. Lifted.

Intense fruity flavours – very rich. Luscious, savoury and giving.  Medium-grained tannins. High and hot alcohol finish. Abso delicious drinking – front to back.

Highly Recommended 91 Points


What’s in the glass tonight Jan 4th– CdR Blanc

E Guigal Cotes Du Rhone Blanc 2015

Off Topic – E Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2015 – $$

Pale brilliant gold colour. 13.5% alc. 65% Viognier, 15% Rousanne, 8% Marsanne, balance of Bourboulenc and white Grenache

Floral nose of white peach and mandarin, with honey supporting.

Richness and body in the mouth. Flavours of apricots, the unctuousness of honey. A pure elegant and balanced wine. The weight of the Viognier is nicely moderated by the Rousanne and Marsanne.

Like a good Condrieu.

Highly Recommended 91 points

What’s in the glass tonight January 1st – Sancerre

Sancerre 2015

Off Topic: Dom. du Vieux Prêche Sancerre Blanc ASC 2016 – $$

Greenish pale straw colour. 13.5% alc.

My first ever Sancerre Blanc. A wine from one of the two spiritual homes of New Zealand’s most famous wine export, the other being Pouilly-Fumé on the other side of the Loire.

Flat aromatically, open steely and minerally. Curry spice and celery. Lightly fruited – apples, apple pip, exotic pip fruit, balanced acidity expressed on the nose.

Lean and flat in the mouth. Minerals. Funk. None of the ‘dash and splash’ I am used to with an NZ Sauvignon Blanc. No energy or verve in this wine, seems old before it’s time, too cautious. I don’t know enough about this wine to know whether this taste impression is authentic. It can be only confirmed by other bottles. And while I am interested to learn, life is short, and I may stick with what I know and love.

Looking at this wine in isolation, it is pleasant and moreish and drinkable. Like typical old world wines it improves on standing in the glass and with food, and opens up somewhat to show more fruit flavour, but it’s still thin. Emperors clothes, I feel, for this one.

Recommended 84 points

Aussie Holiday Wines

Oz - waterfall

L and I took the family on a short campervan holiday to Far North Queensland. We flew into Cairns and headed up to Cape Tribulation for a rainforest stay, then drove around the Atherton Tablelands before spending a couple of night on the coast at Ellis Beach. One of our memorable activities was swimming at Josephine Falls pictured above. Just lovely…

There wasn’t time or $$ to traverse the whole of the Australian wine styles on offer, but I thought to try a number of examples that I wouldn’t get to taste at home from the local Bottle-O.

Oz - Evans and Tate Metricup Rd Chardonnay

Evans & Tate Metricup Road Chardonnay Margaret River 2016 – $$
We have liked their Big&Buttery Chardonnay in the past. This is pale brilliantine straw colour. 13% alc. Lovely acidity and oiliness. Light and lean fruit. Crisp. Apples and melons on nose.

Oz - Langmeil Blockbuster
Langmeil Blockbuster Shiraz Barossa 2015 – $$
I really enjoyed wines from this producer from a showcase tasting a few years back. This is meaty and rich. Cacao. Cardboard box. Fine tannins. Expansive. Licorice and spice. Delicious.

Oz - Singing Rose
Mount Pleasant Singing in the Rain Rose Hunter Valley 2016 – $$
Bitter mandarine nose. Phenols. Sweet entry. Thin. Grassy note.

Oz - Devils Corner Pinot Noir
Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir Tasmania 2016 – $$
Lightly scented herby and savoury notes. Good fruit weight. Fine tannins. Drying. Simple and straightforward. Not a patch on a NZ Pinot, alas.

Oz - Leeuwin Reisling

Leeuvin Estate Art Series Riesling Margaret River 2016 – $$$
Fresh crisp and clean aromas of citrus and apples. Dry and lean and flinty. Flavours of citrus and grapes. Elegant. Short. Mouthwatering acid finish. A great wine to end our holiday

Oz - sav Blanc

We could’t escape a good clean Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. This was enjoyed with fresh prawns and Moreton Bay bugs on the Antonia, moored wharfside as the Prawn Star Cafe in the Cairns Marina. A magic meal!

Oz - Sav Blanc 2

What’s in the glass tonight September 28th – 2003 Y. Chave Hermitage

Y Chave Hermitage 2003

Off Topic: Yann Chave Hermitage Rhone 2003- $$$+

Deep ruby crimson colour. 14 % alc.

Smokey on the nose, funky, soapy, dusty, redolent of wooden-floored halls and dry grass. So much going on! It continued opening up gloriously in the glass – all tertiary character, developed dark fruit, dried blackcurrant, pink roses, lavender and pencil lead. Such exotic gorgeousness!

Opens with still primary fruit in the mouth, flavours of dark cherries, and lovely acid balance. Fine tannins. Huge length. Fat, rich and opulent, and a pure, mimeral seam throughout. A profound Rhone, just amazing.

Exceptional 98 points

What’s in the glass tonight September 14th – Marsanne

Cave de Tain Premiere Note Marsanne 2015

Off Topic: Cave de Tain Premiére Note Marsanne Collines Rhodaniennes 2015 – $$

An offering from Michael at Wineseeker to offset the Marsanne I bought a wee while back that I found oxidised and unappetising. This is made in a fruitier and more approachable style, and should be a good reflection of the grape.

13% alc. Pale greenish gold colour.

Clean and clear aromas of golden stonefruit and clover honey. Bready. No oak.

Lean fruit up front. Fresh. A bitter note on the middle palate, and finishes with a strong apple flavour. Not a juicy wine – somewhat flat, leafy and short.

Commended 85 points


What’s in the glass tonight August 17th – Crozes Hermitage Blanc

Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage Marsanne 2013

Off Topic: Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage Grand Classique Marsanne 2013 – $$$

13% alc. Golden colour.

What a shame. This wine was oxidised, and betrayed the light and aromatic fruit flavours the Marsanne grape should show. And a real shame for a special-occasion bottle costing over $30.

L called this one of my “stinky French whites”. Ugh.

Looking past the aroma, I saw thin fruit (natch), light nutty and biscuit flavours, less white peach than overripe/rotten apple. Slightly cooked. I emailed the wineseller and got a considered reply, and an offer of replacement,  so all good there.

Not Rated

What’s in the glass tonight July 31st – Shiraz

Bleeding Heart Shiraz 2015

Off Topic: Bleeding Heart Shiraz Lower Murray McLaren Vale 2015 – $

13.5% alc. Deep ruby colour.

Bright fruit on aroma, red cherries. Dusty. Some spice.

Sweet attack, and a medium heavy bodied wine to srink. Meaty. Dusty and powdery tannins. A lean finish. Short, closed.

Commended 84 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 29th – Tempranillo

Anciano Tempranillo 2012

Off Topic: Anciano Crianza Tempranillo Valdepeñas  2012 – $

I have walked past these bottles, wrapped in their fine gold wire netting, many times in the supermarket without being tempted. As Monty Python said once, “this bottle has a message in it, and that that message is ……………”

But L had stocked up wine for the ski season, and we were up the club for our first ski weekend of the season when I opened up the ski locker and saw this wine, and went,” Si. Ole!”.


L had her go-to The Ned Pinot Gris, while I had this full malo wee beastie …

Old-world characterful flavours, with enough intensity and interest to be worthwhile. Red cherries. Bright in the mouth. Nothing startling. Red in regulation.

Commended 85 points