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 June 9th – Pinot Noir


Wild Grace Pinot Noir 2015

Wild Grace Pinot Noir Central Otago 2015

Someone at work bought this negociant wine for our Friday work drinks. I am usually suspicious of entry-level Pinots, but this was really good.

It had a good core and depth of fruit, good ripeness, and little of that bitterness I sometimes see in over-extracted cheaper Pinot Noir. The nose kept my interest, with an alluring savoury character. Yum.

Nice label design too. We are a design-led company…

Recommended 89 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 March 29-April 4th – Cheap ‘n Cheerful Chardys


Over the past couple of weeks my bloggage production has approached zero.  Too much going on.  No time to write. Now is the first time I can catch up on a few value wines that perhaps do not warrant a post on their only lonesome…

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March 29th – Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $$

13.5% ABV, and a light yellow gold colour. I usually like these wines. This one shows a pleasant mealy nose, with apricots and spice and caramel, ripe and golden. To taste it opens with sweet lemon, then shows rich and full, with honey and butterscotch, slightly spicy and a mild acid finish. A touch too full and flabby. Would improve with being more crystalline and austere, but that goes against the house style somewhat.

Recommended 89 Points

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April 2nd – From the Cellar: Dashwood Chardonnay Marlborough 2012 – $

13.5% ABV, and a bright pale gold colour. This is a cheery quaffer! Fresh and pungent lifted aromas of peaches and apricots. Citrus notes add a fresh zing. Sweet attack on palate and finishes with a strong acid line. A touch of tertiary development. Worthwhile keeping, this!

Recommended 87 Points

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April 4th – Shingle Peak Chardonnay Marlborough 2015 – $

13.5% ABV, and a pale gold colour. Simple and fresh aroma of lemon. No discernible oak or malo. Fresh and lively in the mouth. Simple with bright acid freshness. Not austere, not fleshy, this strides the middle ground. Uncomplicated and predictable.

Commended 85 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 21st – Cotés du Rhone


Dom Les Grands Bois Les 3 Soeurs 2015

Off Topic: Dom. Les Grands Bois les Trois Sœurs Cotés du Rhone Rouge 2014 – $$

Named for the three sisters of the producer.

Inky carmine colour. 14.5% alc.

This wine smells soft and savoury and gracious. Ripe plums and red berries. Cardboard box.

Full and fleshy, ripe and luscious to drink. There are chewy raspy tannins, a sweet finish, and pleasant heat at the death. Lovely!

Recommended 89 Points

What’s in the glass tonight February 13th – Chenin Blanc


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DeMorgenzon DMZ Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2016 – $$

Brilliant pale gold. 14% alc.

A DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin scored very well in a recent Decanter tasting. This isn’t that one. That one is available for quite few dollars more at my favourite independent wineseller…

This one has a warm and distinctive bouquet with toffee, oaky honey, and citrus notes.

Minerally golden fruit flavours to taste. Slightly crunchy mouthfeel. An off-bitter and dry finish. Simple and lean and quite long.

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 February 3rd – Chardonnay


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Tietjen Witters TW Reserve Chardonnay Gisborne 2013 – $$

Off the Ormond Road. Pale gold colour. 13.5% alc.

Dense and layered and very aromatic, with big, buttery and oaky characters in the bouquet. Mango and apricot fruit.

It showed some development in the mouth. Rich mouthfeel with oak and full malo. Flavours of butterscotch, lemon citrus, ginger and honey. A strong spicy oak finish.  An appealing and interesting Chardonnay.

Recommended  – 87 points