What’s in the glass tonight July 11th

Pencarrow PN 2010

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

At the ski lodge. Prepping for dinner. Feeling tired from the first day on the piste for the season.

Slightly browning carmine. 14%.

Light aromatics. Maybe the altitude is getting in the way…

In the mouth, fruit forward and delicious. Dense. Fresh acidity still. Spice. Fine tannins.

VG 4

What’s in the glass tonight on Anzac Day April 25th


An important day today, for several reasons. It had a early, solemn start at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park where L and I attended the Dawn Service to mark the 100th anniversary of the Anzac invasion at Gallipoli in 1915, along with 20,000 other Wellingtonians and visitors. I wore my Grandfather’s WW1 medals. Lest we forget.

Then, later that day, after a bike ride with the Chosens and a nana-nap, L and I made some important plans, and then went off to the Museum Hotel for a nice glass of wine, before getting ready to head for D’s place for dinner with him and his partner D, and guests J and R.

Te Mata Cape Crest 2014

Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc

What a great wine this is. A complex and distinctive fresh bouquet. Delicious to drink. Great oak handling. A treat. Perfect choice for the day after International Sauvignon Blanc Day!

then off to D’s for Roast Duck. Yum!

Anzac Day dinner party April 2015

Palliser Estate Methode Traditionelle 2009 – $$$

We brought a bottle of this to share first up with the other guests. Funky aromas. Fine fresh fruity bubbles. Classic brioche flavours. Dry finish.

From the Cellar: Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir Martinborough 2008 – $$$

This was such a treat. Gorgeous red cherries and complex savoury notes on the nose. Spicy and dense and ripe fruit flavours. Rewarded decanting. Just wonderful. BTVG 4+

What’s in the glass tonight February 6th, Waitangi Day

Pencarrow PN 2013

Palliser Estate Pencarrow Pinot Noir Martinborough 2013 – $$

After a beautiful day, the sun goes down on our campsite during the annual Waitangi weekend camping trip beside the Ruamahanga River.

We went away with 6 kids. Why O why…?

I need a drink. This will do nicely.

I had the previous version the previous year I think. I drove to the close-by Martinborough Wine Centre to buy it. ‘Twas a toss up between this and the Nga Waka Three Canoes PN

BTG 3+

Morrisons Bush 2015

Who could not love these surroundings?


What’s in the glass tonight January 18th

Ohau River Sav Blanc 2012

Wellington Anniversary Weekend

There few things more enjoyable than a dinner party at home with good friends.

L and I invited several couples over for dinner in the weekend. Great food and conversation was enjoyed, washed down with delicious wine!

We enjoyed as aperitifs wines such as Sileni Cabernet Franc Rose Marlborough 2013, a favourite of L’s; the classic and perfect Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2013 provided by M&G; and a bottle of Ohau River Sauvignon Blanc Horowhenua 2012 – a softer styled, round and well balanced sav from north of Wellington.

Dry River LH Riesling 2008

With our dinner of roast chicken with olives and tarragon, D&D provided a wonderful white Burgundy – J Drouhin Macon-Villages 2012 from Beaune – lean and clean, classic restraint, a wonderful simple food wine. With the dessert of nectarines, ice cream and warm toffee sauce they treated us again with the notable Dry River Late Harvest Riesling 2008 – classic kerosene notes, golden honey and stone fruit, and that gorgeous Riesling ‘tang’. Yum.

What’s in the glass tonight December 13th

Boulders 2

Mini-tour of Martinborough Wines

L and I were pleased to attend the 50th birthday celebration of G, a good and generous friend of mine, and fellow cyclist, at the weekend just gone. He held it on a cool afternoon in the lovely environs of a Martinborough vineyard belonging to Nga Waka. Our kids were there, as were his, and they all had a great time running up and down the vines. The company was great, and he hired a fantastic singer/guitarist who knew all the songs, and played for hours!

We were treated to sumptuous food (whole pig on a spit! my fav cheesecake!), along with a broad selection of local wines. G knows and likes his wine…

50th wine

Over the course of a long day’s party, I got to taste the Ata Rangi Petrie Chardonnay (elegant, restrained), both Nga Waka and Three Paddles (the second label) Pinot Noirs (involving floral notes on the nose), Nga Waka Sauvignon Blanc (lovely, but alas Roger Parkinson has pulled out his vines to plant more PN), Margrain Pinot Gris, Palliser Riesling 2012 (stunning) and a rich Hawkes Bay Bordeaux blend which name escapes me. What a treat!

Thanks mate.


Straight to the Pool Room – October 2014 Pt.2

Pool Room Oct 2014

There was a special on one of my favourite producers, Palliser Estate, and I couldn’t resist…

Palliser Estate Riesling Martinborough 2012 – $$ – drink 2017-2022. A Riesling I love.

Palliser Estate Chardonnay Martinborough 2013$$$ – drink 2018. Critic Raymond Chan gave this 5 stars. No other invitation needed!

I’ll be back later for the Pinot Noir!

What’s in the glass tonight June 19th

Pencarrow Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Pencarrow Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – $

A confession: I like the work of the team at Palliser Estate. Alas I find their wines a bit outside my weekly budget for everything but celebratory quaffing, so I often revert to drinking Pencarrow wines, their second label.

Here is this years sav blanc, at a ridiculous discount down at my big-box grocery retailer, with such a label on it. How could I refuse?

Pale green straw colour. 12.5%. The local sav blanc character is softer and rounder than the varietal you see from the Awatere or Brancott Valley’s in Marlborough. Not so much acidity or ‘bite’. I like that for a change, especially when the nights are cooler. There are still herby characters on the nose, and red capsicum and grass and gooseberry and the usual Kiwi suspects, but they are suspended in a softer framework of ripe fruit, and dare I say, some oak (I smell vanilla)? Very ripe in the mouth. The age (2012) helps again to take the edge off the blade, but I wouldn’t keep the wine any longer lest it relax to flabbiness. I like it right now! 4

and a funny thing, a few days later, I get to try Big Sister…


Palliser Estate Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – $$

This one smells fresher and riper and claener than the Pencarrow. Quite sweet in the mouth, but with softness and major ripeness of fruit. very clean flavours. Light red capsicum notes. Love it. 4+


Straight to the Pool Room – March 2014

Pool Room March 2014

We received some cracking gifts of wine at our housewarming. Thanks friends!

I also bought a couple of trophy winners:

Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 1993 – gift from MH – drink now. Looking forward to this!

Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah 2012 – gift from K&D – drink 2015-2017. This scored 94 in Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine. Having tried it last year, I agree completely

Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2011 – gift from M&G – drink 2015. I tried the second label Unravelled last year and enjoyed it, so looking forward to this too.

Mudhouse Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 – $$ – drink 2015-2016. An Air NZ gold medal winner and Champion Commercial Red Trophy wine. Worth a swig.

BTW, in the house renovation the lurvely curtains are going…



What’s in the glass tonight over Waitangi Weekend at the Bush


Palliser Estate Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2012 – $$

I spent the weekend with L and the kids over the hill in the Wairarapa, camping beside the Ruamahanga river at Morisons Bush. ‘Twas the Annual Artists Weekend: a camping tradition deep into its second decade, a reunion of friends new and old. We get together to talk, laugh, eat, drink, swim, make art and the occasional loud bangs.


This weekend, much against type, it rained for a lot of it, so not much art was created. P curated a datashow of hynotic visuals, which was the highlight of the visual arts. N made cocktails, and M and B made an delicious paella for 40…


Afterwards we all sat around the campfire and cooked marshmallows.


I enjoyed a few glasses of my favourite second label pinot – Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2012 – bought from the winery cellar door that afternoon. It was hard to get much sense of the smell of this wine, due to the plastic glass I was drinking it out of, and me sitting mostly downwind from a smoky manuka fire. But it had good concentration, generous ripe fruit and savoury flavour. 4

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