What’s in the glass tonight July 30th


Vidal Reserve Syrah 2010

From the Cellar: Vidal Reserve Syrah Hawkes Bay 2010 – $$

Champion wine at the 2012 Speiglau Wine Competition. I bought this bottle for less than $20!

Tertiary nose. Dense with vanilla and dried dark fruit. Powerful and impactful. Smells wonderful, despite being served a bit too cold from the cellar.

Dense fruit flavours. Grippy. Hint of brown paper. Sweet on the mid-palate. Showing really ripe fruit. Rhone-like. Delicious. I love it when a plan comes together!

BTVG 4+

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 tonight November 18th


Vidal HB Merlot Cab 2007

From the Cellar: Vidal Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay  2007 – $

This was recommended by The Listener wine column way back in the day. I bought a brace of bottles for $13 each at the time and tried one two years ago. My notes suggested that I open this one now.

14% alcohol. Inky black with bricking magenta at the rim. Wonder aroma lifts from the glass. Heady, warm and rich. I see plums, cassis, dark chocolate and cedar wood. Gorgeous.

In the mouth there are ripe plums, supple tannins. Chocolate. Fruit is receding. Striking acid front. Very tasty wine that improves as it sits with air. Superb value. 4+

I left a glass in the bottle overnight to see how it went the next day. It didn’t hold up well. The depth of fruit was not capable of handling the extra air. But as a value wine should have I expected it to?

Good with the roast I cooked for dinner, and the first of the summer’s rocket salad from the vege garden.

What’s in the glass tonight June 14th


Vidal Merlot Cab Sav 2008

From the Cellar: Vidal Hawkes Bay Merlot Cab Sav 2008 – $

This was cheap when I bought it, but it came recommended by a popular foodie magazine. I bought a brace of bottles, and tried the first back in January. This was what I wrote about it then:

Inky blood-black colour. 13.5%. A blend of merlot, cabernet, malbec and franc. It has a warm and enveloping bouquet. Notes of vanilla and cassis and cedar wood. Balanced mature flavours of ripe plums and blackberry wine gums, molasses and fruitcake spice to taste. Long and unctuous, with good lip-smacking tannins at the finish. 4.5

Well, what I have here in my glass now must be a bad ‘un. The wine is the same colour, and has the same bouquet notes, but it is much backed off. Thinner on the palate, reedy, some bitter characters, acidic, lack of unctuousness. The damn thing doesn’t have the breeding to ‘tunnel’, so it must be a fault. I’m gonna leave it alone for another day or so and see if what’s left in the bottle wakes up.

And I did…and for another day after. The wine got softer and rounder. The harder metallic edge evaporated and richer notes of fruit came to the fore. It got better, although not as flavourful and exemplary as the January example. 3

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 7th


Vidal HB Merlot Cab 2008

From the Cellar: Vidal Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – $

Bad News first: I’d enjoy this wine a tad more if I hadn’t bitten the inside of my cheek the night before during J’s birthday dinner at L’s. The swelling gets in the way of the Swirl ‘n Swallow. I am such a numb nut at times…

The Good News: this is one of the beautiful reasons to maintain a wine cellar…

I saw this wine given a five star review by a leading NZ food and wine magazine back in 2010. I then saw it practically given away by a large supermarket chain at $11 a bottle. So I bought a brace and put them away in the Pool Room to ripen for a few years.

And it’s turned into a Stunnah. Inky blood-black colour. 13.5%. A blend of merlot,  cabernet, malbec and franc.

It has a warm and enveloping bouquet. Notes of vanilla and cassis and cedar wood. Balanced mature flavours of ripe plums and blackberry wine gums, molasses and fruitcake spice to taste. Long and unctuous, with good lip-smacking tannins at the finish. 4.5

Superb buying! I’d best look out for the upcoming 2013’s if I don’t perish first from Stupidity.

(AND it looks like vermin have been at my cellar bottle labels! One of my Pride ‘n Joi pinots has had its label almost completely devoured while I’ve been living upstairs. Are they using grape jam as a label adhesive? Just as well I am moving!  Grrr…)

What’s in the glass tonight July 2nd


Vidal Dry Riesling 2011

Vidal White Series Marlborough Dry Riesling 2011 – $$

This is a lovely easy-drinking wine, better than the enjoyable 2010 vintage I tasted back in March. It smells like the first wine you try at a vineyard when it is all early morning summer sunshine outside: lots of promise.

Very pale and greenish-tinted; fresh light aromas of limes. Dry, with fresh citrus flavours and green apple again; acidic and delicious, a med finish this time.

A bargain. I could drink a lot of this. It handled the spicy laksa I served up for dinner quite well too – the sweetness came forward in the wine, oddly.

My message to you all – put away the pretender pinot gris, and embrace riesling as your white wine of choice, whenever you can’t get Chardonnay! 3.5

NB: Regular readers might wonder what happened to that magnum of Spanish Sangiovese I was gonna sup. Well, I did, over four nights. Not much to write about there. And the caravan travelled on, and the dogs kept barking…