What’s in the glass tonight May 19th – Chardonnay


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From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $$

Golden colour. 14% alc. From the lauded ’13 vintage. I like this dependable value producer’s wines very much, and the Latitiude is a step up in quality of fruit from the standard offering, but not greatly more expensive when on special.

Strongly aromatic – apricot, melon and peach, bags of oak, mealy ‘buzz’. A heavy style of Chardonnay.

Golden fruit entry, with a rich and creamy texture in the mouth. Good acid line. Shows fruit sweetness and ripeness through the mid-palate. Heavy finish. Strong oaking dominates. Overall impression is opulence and density, with a surprisingly striking lean mineral quality on the finish obscured somewhat by the heavy oak styling.

Although bruised by the oak, this wine is still a remarkable value wine from a remarkable vintage.

Highly Recommended 91 points.

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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 11th – Chardonnay


Stonelegh Chardonnay 2013

From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $

This wine was part of an experiment I started in 2014. I bought a bunch of bottom-tier ‘value brand’ wines from the lauded 2013 vintage, and put them down to see how they would develop over time, and see whether the cheaper products showed cellar improvement and made for better value for money than the more prestigious hand-made ’13 offerings.

This wine was the first out of the blocks for the tranche. Brilliant gold colour. 13.5% alc.

I like the malolactic character and the oak handling of Stoneleigh Chardonnays, especially the Latitude series on the next tier up, so this would be interesting.

Gorgeous warm and rich, buttery and biscuitty golden stonefruit aromas. This wine is showing lovely development. Butterscotch and spice; elegance and intensity.

To taste there were rich flavours bursting from the glass. Caramel, oak, so textural, and with a great acid line underpinning the ripe fruit. Not at all flabby or over-exposed. Spicy finish. Just great.

The wine is nearing a peak, and is superb value for drinking over the next 2 years.

Highly Recommended 92 Points

What’s in the glass tonight April 20th – Chardonnay


Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay 2014

Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $$

This is the reserve Chardonnay from the vineyards that line Rapaura Road in Marlbrough. I really liked the 2013, and expect the ’14 to be just as enjoyable…

Pale gold. 13.5% alc.

Reductive, oaky nose. Vanilla and spice. Big, warm and attractive.

Creamy and rich in the mouth. Crunchy mouth feel. Bold stonefruit flavours with brusque acid underpinnings. Long.

91 points

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…

Straight to the Pool Room – August 2014


Pool Room August 2014

This month I am laying down and avoiding two cheapies, a belter and a legend…

Stoneleigh Malborough Chardonnay 2013 – $ – drink 2015-2016. This came out tops in my informal survey of value 2013 Chardonnays, so down into the Valley Of The Dolls they go!

Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah 2013 – $$$ – drink 2018-2028. GK scored this 18.5. ‘Twas also recommended by the good folk at RW. I loved last years model, and it was a good vintage in the Bay.

Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Rifleman 2013 – $$$+ – drink 2018. I have adored this wine from earlier vintages – the 2007 started me on my wine journey. It has been a few years since the weather gods have allowed this wine to be made. Can’t hardly wait…

What’s in the glass tonight June 22nd


Stoneleigh Chardonnay 2013

Stoneleigh Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 – $

Continuing the theme of cheap ’13 Chardonnays, but this time from Marlborough: L & I have been rocking a few bottles of the middle-tier Stoneleigh Latitude Chard 2013 this past week, which have been great drinking and showing interestingly dense ripe fruit, mealy and buttery characters, so I thought best see how the bottom wine compares…

Firstly I see a nice yellow colour in the glass. 13.5% alcohol, where The Latitude is 14%. Ripe fruit, peaches and light oak on the nose. Very ripe and luscious in the mouth, lipsmacking. A hint of creaminess. Not the complexity of the Latitude Chard, but freshness is the key here, with generous fruit weight on palate – not forced or thin. A very tasty quaffer. 3+. It could handle a few years sabbatical as well.

Some of these 2013s are starting to shape up well..

What’s in the glass tonight Sept 20th


Stoneleigh Latitude PN 2012

Friday Work Drinks: Stoneleigh Latitude Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 – $$

The Latitude series represents the mid-tier offering of this Pernod Ricard producer. The 2010 and 2011 vintages got pretty good reviews. Not sure that this vintage scales the same heights, perhaps due to the difficult cool and wet season that year.

13.5%. Dark ruby colour, with a savoury nose, white pepper.

Bit thin to taste, lightly fruited, slightly bitter on the back palate, with grippy tannins and a short finish. I don’t see the ripe fruit flavour I like, so it falls short on my GPI (good pinot index) 2.5