What’s in the glass tonight August 31st – Pinot Noir


Peregrine PN 2012

From the Cellar: Peregrine Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – $$$

In good Pinot Noir, there is that distinctive catch at the back of the throat which is so typical of the wine varietal showing sufficient extraction, a little like the feeling I get when I think I am just coming down with a cold. This wine had that…

13.5% alc. Dark dusky browning carmine colour.

A difficult wine to assess at first. It opened up quite stinky, very savoury and overblown, but this gassed off after a while. Showed delicate and dusty dark cherry fruit aromas. Sweet and lifted oak notes, with the usual Central herbal terroir character edging the bouquet with thyme. Damp earth/heaped wet leaves.

Light and sweet fruit flavours on entry, a little thin. Although this impression might be because my red wine diet has been mostly restricted to Syrah and Shiraz this winter and I have lost the taste for a lighter style of red. Refreshing acidity on the middle palate, medium tannins, and quite persistent. The catch at the back of the throat I wrote about above.

Density and presence of nose informs every mouthful. It is what I love about good Pinot.

High Recommended 92 Points

What’s in the glass tonight July 19th – Gewurtztraminer


Peregrine Gewurtztraminer 2009

From the Cellar: Peregrine Gewurtztraminer Central Otago 2009 – $$

14% alc. Brilliant gold colour.

Geoff Kelly wrote of this wine in late 2013, “When Greg Hay was here from Peregrine, he dumbfounded us by showing what is one of the greatest gewurztraminers ever made in New Zealand, and then in the latter part of the discussion casually mentioned this 2009 was the last of the line. The vines had all been pulled out, he said, due to the low and alternate-year cropping. The wine is just beautiful, fragrant and fruit-rich, wonderful acid balance, great freshness and cellar potential, the gewurz spice building in mouth, a dryish wine. It should cellar for another eight years or so. It is essential in any cellar hoping to showcase the diversity New Zealand wines can achieve.”

So when I read this I went and bought the last two bottles on the shelves at Regional Wines…

An envelopingly aromatic and sweet bouquet:  developed, warm and ripe, with sweet notes of honey and toffee, and touches of mandarin and apple.

Sweet, smooth and ripe to taste. Toffee and caramel flavours. Saline. Fine flinty texture. A long, hot and spicy finish.

So poised and balanced and memorable. A few years ahead for this wine I think – I’ll probably open the second bottle in 2019.

Outstanding 95 points

Straight to the Pool Room – January 2015


Pool Room Jan 2015

According to Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Vintage Chart, their experts scored the 2013 vintage of Hawkes Bay reds as a 96, the highest score in the world. Wow. In comparison, the Old World barely came close that year…

’13 HB reds are starting to hit the shelves now. Better get some into my cellar, starting with this value favourite:

Vidal Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2013 – $ – drink 2018-2021 – Always there or thereabouts as a good go to wine, and cellars well for the price. An award-winner in the past.

Peregrine Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – $$$ – drink 2017-2020 – An extra bottle to make up a brace for the cellar. I’d love to be able to buy by the half or full case, but the budget does not extend that far. And that’s ok. There are better things to do with my spare dollars than spend it all on fancy booze.

What’s in the glass October 26th


Peregrine PN 2009

From the Cellar: Peregrine Pinot Noir Central Otago 2009 – $$$

This was top wine at the 2010 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, so I bought a bottle back then. Thinking on Geoff Kelly’s words recently I have to say I had better institute buying a minimum of two bottles per wine, so I can have a chance at tracking their evolution (if only in a small way). My limited budget will always be a handbrake on buying wines by the half or case lot…

So to this singularity: the wine is tending tawny in the glass, deep blush colour, leggy. 14%.

Pleasing bouquet – thyme, dark roses, black plums, cherries, vanilla, spice, oak.

Strong dark plums in the mouth, bright acidity, balanced with tannins at the fore. The wine is lean, taut, spicy on the back palate. Mouthwatering, even.

Really interesting that I can see the wild thyme notes that some say characterise Central Otago pinots. Interesting also that I served the wine at first a bit cold from the cellar. It really improved with walking up closer to room temp.

I really wish I had a second bottle! Oh well… 4+

Straight to the Pool Room Sept 2014


Pool Room Sept 2014

Two more bottles destined to nestle in the arms of Morpheus:

Peregrine Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – $$$ – drink 2015-2020. I scored this a 4+ at the Pinot Noir Worth Cellaring tasting and needed no prompting to acquire a bottle.

Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $$ – drink 2017. L and I really enjoyed this Reserve Chardonnay a few times earlier this year. From the great 2013 vintage. I would have bought it earlier but couldn’t find any on the shelves when I was looking. This will age dependably.

Now to save up for the 2012 Greystone and Ata Rangi Pinots…

What’s in the glass tonight Dec 21st


20131221_182517

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011 – $$$

I have been fortunate to enjoy a few different pinots this Christmas. There was the moreish Tohu Marlborough 2011 at The Laundry bar on Cuba St (3.5) and the Urlar Gladstone 2011 at St John’s Bar (2.75). There was the Brodie Estate I posted about earlier too.

Now I get to taste a pinot from the top shelf of Central Otago. A birthday gift from my folks. From one of my favourite producers.

Carmine colour. 13.5%. Richly floral bouquet with herby notes and wood. Dense and flavoursome in the mouth with rich cherries and black plums. Tannic. Long finish. Good on the first night, and the leftovers the following day were even better. 4

Straight to the Pool Room – November 2013


Pool Room Nov 2013

Geoff Kelly sez of this wine, “When Greg Hay was here from Peregrine, he dumbfounded us by showing what is one of the greatest gewurztraminers ever made in New Zealand, and then in the latter part of the discussion casually mentioned this 2009 was the last of the line. The vines had all been pulled out, he said, due to the low and alternate-year cropping. The wine is just beautiful, fragrant and fruit-rich, wonderful acid balance, great freshness and cellar potential, the gewurz spice building in mouth, a dryish wine. It should cellar for another eight years or so. It is essential in any cellar hoping to showcase the diversity New Zealand wines can achieve.

I haven’t had a gewurz in yonks. I’d better grab a couple then!

Peregrine Central Otago Gewurztraminer 2009 – $$ – drink 2014-2019

What’s in the glass tonight Oct 21st


Saddleback Pinot Noir 2011

Peregrine Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011 – $$

This wine’s been winning a few friends lately. I have a bottle in the Pool Room, but I thought I’d get in early and see what the fuss is about.

First impressions, it’s pretty good. Lighter that the Peregrine big sister, but also half the price. Deep bright magenta. 13.5%.

Light floral top note, some foxglove. Definite mushroom/forest floor bottom note, and slightly herby. Nice one. I could sniff it all night.

In the mouth there are red fruits, sweetness, fine tannins, balanced with body and depth. Lovely weight in the mouth for a sub-$25 pinot. Bit o’length as well.

Like any lighter pinot it doesn’t like being left alone in the glass for too long, and will develop that metallic tang thing. Just as well I’m thirsty. Solves that problem. It will improve in bottle two years I think.

Alas I am ruined for this level of pinot noir, it makes me want to drink the real thing… 3.75

What’s in the glass tonight March 31st


Saddleback Pinot Noir 2008

From the cellar: Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008 – $$$

This is the second wine from Peregrine, a producer of one of my favourite Pinots Noir. It was given to me as a xmas gift from a supplier a few years back.

From Wikipedia:  The Saddleback or Tieke (Philesturnus carunculatus) is a previously rare and endangered New Zealand bird of the family Callaeidae. It is glossy black with a chestnut saddle. Its taxonomic family is also known as that of the (New Zealand) “wattlebirds” and includes the two subspecies (one for each main island) of the Kokako as well as the extinct Huia. All members of this family have coloured fleshy appendages on either side of the beak known as “wattles”. In the case of Saddleback, they are a vivid red in colour.

The Saddleback traditionally held a strong place in Maori superstitious belief; its cries were viewed as good omens when they came from the right, and bad omens when they came from the left. Its cheeky nature is reflected in the Maori legend that tells of how the bird acquired its distinctive chestnut saddle of colour. Fresh from his battle to ensnare the sun, a thirsty Maui (a virtual demi-god in Maori folklore) asked the Tieke to bring him some water. The bird rudely pretended not to hear his request, at which Maui, becoming angry, seized it with his still fiery hand, leaving a brown scorch mark across its back.

The wine is purple-hued ruby. The bottle age has lifted the savoury aromas, and reduced the violet notes that I would usually see in this Central pinot. The palate shows developed brambly blackberries and plums, with light spice and drying tannins. Some complexity now, with oak structure. It was superb with the roast lamb tonight,