What’s in the glass tonight July 5th – Zinfandel, under cork.


Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma 2013

Off Topic: Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma County 2013 – $$

Nice to pull a cork every now and then…

14.6% alc. Inky ruby. This may be a monster….

Sumptuous and rich bouquet, with strong aromas of black fruit, vanilla and cedar…

..and a mouthful of the stuff shows it’s packed with flavour – luscious dark fruits, plums,  prunes – and with a really hot finish.  Spicy through the mid palate, and finished very fleshy, and scratchy.

A showstopping, car-crash of a wine, this. Too much alcohol. It may have suited the beef stroganoff we ate for dinner, but it’s no good as an aperitif. A firestarter maybe, not a fireside drinker…

Too bad. An earlier vintage really impressed me up the skifield three years ago. Perhaps the high altitude dulled my senses? The grunty and forward fruit flavours really showed well up there in the cold.

However, I still mark this wine Highly Recommended and score it 90 points, as I reckon you gotta give a belter like this it’s due. But this wine would be even better if it were a point and a bit less alcoholic!

A drought wine?

Highly recommended 90 points

What else was in the glass on my ski holiday


CJ Pask Gimblett Syrah 2008

From the cellar: CJ Pask Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2009 – $$

An apres-ski tipple with my fellow RSC club members out on our sunny deck. Note the snow level, and compare to previous post…

Some wines prove not meant for keeping. They are meant to be consumed young. This turned out to be one of those for me. The wine was ok, and the quality fruit and winemaking that went into it meant the aging did it no harm. But neither did cellar time move it along much.

Deep scarlet. 12%. Medium-weight. The wine was unremarkable with little nose and only red fruits to taste. It had dried out a little, and not developed any pronounced age characters to replace the fruit freshness. It would have been better in 2011 I think, though the winery website says it was good for another couple of years yet. 3

Sebastiani Zinfandel 2009 in the snow

Sebastiani Sonoma County Zinfandel 2009 – $$

See my post Sept 9th – more US deliciousness…and see the snow level lessen. This has not been a stellar season up at Whakapapa skifield. 4.5

Dashwood Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 – $

This was consumed at L’s ski-club lower down the mountain another night. This was the real deal as far as cheap, light, fresh, fragrant PNs go. A treat. Bright pinot ruby. 14%. Good bouquet. Ripe red cherries in the mouth. Yum, drink it young and in the sun. Gold medal winner. 3.5

And all the snow melted around my lodge..

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 9th


Sebastiani Zinfandel 2009

Leaving the Reservation: Sebastiani Sonoma County Zinfandel 2009 – $$

I have never tried a Zinfandel. I’ve never bought a wine from the United States of  America, either. Here I hit two Goliath’s with one rock.

USA wines we get ‘round here are somewhat rare, and expensive with it. We are part of the New World, so I am not in a big hurry to get acquainted with other new world suppliers unless they happen to be close, like Aussie. I save my overseas dollars for Bordeaux…

But I do have a desire to try an Oregon Pinot Noir, a good Californian Chardonnay, and a Zinfandel, just to see what the fuss is about…

Why is this particular wine so affordable? Caros Wine Merchants offers a clue: The weakness in the USD and with Bill Foley being the owner ( he owns Vavasour, Clifford Bay, Te Kairanga etc ) these wines are now being imported into NZ. Ahhh…

This wine is 79% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Syrah, 2% Syrah, 2% Barbera. From three areas Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River.

The wine looks scarlet black in the glass. 14.5% and very leggy. Lovely rich nose of blackcurrants/black plums and black tea, like nothing I have ever smelled in a NZ wine. The syrah component really lifts the bouquet here.

In the mouth there is dense packed ripe black fruit. I taste liquorice, vanilla, cedar, and dark chocolate. It’s a straightforward wine given weight of 4 years in bottle. Long and very moreish.

Sensational. I am buying more. 4.5