What’s in the glass tonight March 17th – Chardonnay

Palliser Chardonnay 2013

From The Cellar: Palliser Estate Chardonnay Martinborough 2013 – $$$

14% alc. Pale gold colour.

Very aromatic. Warm and rich mealy notes. Oak and bread, apricots and rock melon. Vanilla.

Sharp entry. Lean fruit to taste, fading. Steely brittleness on the mid palate, fruit flavours showing retreat of age or tunnelling. I don’t know enough about this wine to have an informed opinion. Hot finish, medium length. Attractive, still.

Tow nights later, the wine has softened and filled in, showing far more generosity of fruit than was first expressed. Shows the value of decanting!

Recommended 89 Points


Straight to the Pool Room – January 2018

Pool Room Jan 2018

A trio of some favourite wines for laying down to sleep:

Elephant Hill Viognier Hawkes Bay 2016 – $$ – drink 2019-2021. A great producer.

Elephant Hill Syrah Hawkes Bay 2015 – $$$ – drink 2018-2020. A favourite Syrah for me. Delivers.

Palliser Estate Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016 – $$$ – drink 2019-2022. This shone at a recent cellar door tasting.

What’s in the glass tonight December 28th– Sauvignon Blanc

Palliser SB 2017

Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2017 – $$

As it appears on the tin, a ‘serious sav’. 12.5% alcohol. Palest clear straw colour.

Intensely aromatic with scents of apples, honey, gooseberries, pavlova (!) and passionfruit. Hints of grass and yellow capsicum.

Sweet and fresh entry, citrus flavours, bone-dry finish, short and stopping/must reload! Intensity again, green apples to the fore, apple pip, lemon pith, gorgeous and layered. Anyone who says that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can be a one-chord-wonder should try this wine. And it’s barely pupped from the tank!!

Highly Recommended 93 points

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


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


What’s in the glass tonight July 19th – Pinot Noir

The Luminary PN 2013

The Luminary Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013

Another wine beginning with The…

Pinot Ruby. 14% alc. Ex Palliser Estate, tho it doesn’t show up on the website. Probably third tier.

At first look the wine was aromatic, tending stalky. Red cherries and brown paper. Slight notes of spice and savouryness.

Slightly under-ripe red fruits, lean and tannic. Bright and brash mouthfeel. Unbalanced with too much acid. This will probably look much better tomorrow, or with vigorous decanting….

…and it did. I saw on the second night more attractive, smoky savoury expression and fruit on the nose that masked the green tinge somewhat. This fruit then showed through on the palate. Much better, although I’d say this is a wine priced for immediate quaffage straight from bottle to glass.

Even if this wine does somewhat under-deliver, it goes to prove that it is hard to make a bad wine from Martinborough grapes.

85 points

What’s in the glass tonight May 6th – Catch Pinot

Catch Pinot

Catch Pinot Martinborough Tasting with Joelle Thompson at RW

I rocked up at Regional Wines for a free instore tasting of Martinborough Pinot Noirs hosted by the very engaging and knowledgeable Joelle Thompson, wine writer and journalist.

Catch Pinot is a month-long harvest celebration of red Pinots from Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton in the Wairarapa. 25 wineries are offering their wines through 47 of Wellington’s best eateries, with menus that match the wines. Several local bottlestores are also in on the deal, and the whole shebang culminates in a big Pinot Celebration dinner at Te Papa on May 28.

There was much anticipate at the tasting. I saw my mate GN standing around the barrel, and what with chatting to him, and talking to Joelle, and having a laugh, I didn’t make too many notes. It’s a hard road to a perfect wine review, but someone’s gotta do it!

Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir Martinborough 2015 – bright, ripe, one-note

Julicher Estate 99 Rows Pinot Noir Martinborough 2012 – This has the ‘stuffing’ I am looking for, slightly vegetal, floral

Cambridge Road Hillside Project Pinot Noir Martinborough 2015 – luscious, floral & young; an innovative bottle and label!

Palliser Estate Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 –  serene &  classy in this company

Johner Gladstone Pinot Noir 2014 – Lovely, savoury, peppery

Urlar Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – poise, density and grace. Best wine of the flight!

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 26th – Sauvignon Blanc

Palliser SB 15

Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2015 – $$

Time to down tools after a long work week!

Lightest greenish straw. 13% alc.

Delicate bouquet; a waft of green apple, Turkish delight, and capsicum across the nostrils.

Soft in the mouth too, agreeable ripeness, less acidity than I might expect, perhaps a bit too soft and light, it taste like there is some oak handling, but surely not. This is lacking the usual Kiwi Sav flavour horsepower. Typical for North Island examples, but not to this degree. Could be sharper.

G 3


What’s in the glass tonight – Waitangi Day 2016 – Pinot Noir

Morrisons Bush small

From the Cellar: Palliser Estate Pencarrow Pinot Noir Martinborough 2010 – $$

Back again camping at Morrison’s Bush for the annual Waitangi Day Art Weekend. Had to open the last of my Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2010’s…

Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2010

This wine did spectacularly well at the Air NZ wine awards on release and with reviews. I have drunk a bit of it since, and this time the wine really lived up to its potential: ripe, soft, full; smokily floral; with depth and heft. Beautifully integrated. Long. Damn tasty.


Wedding Week Wines

This has been the most wonderful weekend where I was privileged to marry the loving, gorgeous, kind and clever L in front of our loving families and the best and most warm and generous friends anyone could ever have. I am feeling blessed in every way!

We drank some great wines before and after the great event. Here are some that I recall. There were many:

Martinborough PN 2009

From the Cellar: Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009 – $$$+

Brown carmine colour. Savoury nose, typical of Martinbo/Wairarapa. Dense and ticklish with spice and dust. Intensely aromatic. Gorgeous. Burgundian characters, with heft and presence.

In the mouth, black cherries, drying. Spicy and fine grained tannins. A defined line of red fruit acid. A savoury finish with heat on the back palate. Beautiful balance.  BTVG 4+.

Palliser PN 2009

From the Cellar: Palliser Estate Pinot Noir 2009 – $$$

I drank this with my old mate DT. I did’nt make any notes while we caught up but it tasted like this:  Dark carmine colour. Dense fruit, deep and savoury, & spicy, on the nose. Savoury flavours and red cherry fruit flavours, white pepper and star anise bitterness delivering on the finish. A delicious wine. BTVG 4+

Bollinger NV

Wedding Gift: Bollinger NV

My First Bolly. I am no Champagne expert, but here is what I noticed: Brioche, bready notes, bright acid attack and lively, fine bubbles, and a bitter finish. Party time. 3+

Babich Organic Chardonnay 2014

Babich Headwaters Vineyard Organic Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 

13%. Pale gold. Complex & honeyed; vanilla, oak, with white flower florality;  rich in a European style. Yum.

Ripe white stonefruit flavours with a nice acid line of lemon and grapefruit pith. Generous mouth feel and weight; creamy; but not too big on it. Nice oak buzz on thre back. VG 4