What’s in the glass tonight March 17th – Chardonnay

Palliser Chardonnay 2013

From The Cellar: Palliser Estate Chardonnay Martinborough 2013 – $$$

14% alc. Pale gold colour.

Very aromatic. Warm and rich mealy notes. Oak and bread, apricots and rock melon. Vanilla.

Sharp entry. Lean fruit to taste, fading. Steely brittleness on the mid palate, fruit flavours showing retreat of age or tunnelling. I don’t know enough about this wine to have an informed opinion. Hot finish, medium length. Attractive, still.

Tow nights later, the wine has softened and filled in, showing far more generosity of fruit than was first expressed. Shows the value of decanting!

Recommended 89 Points


What’s in the glass tonight March 15th – Sauvignon Blanc

Te Mata Cape Crest 2013

From The Cellar: Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2013 – $$$

I keep banging on about this favourite wine. Vintage to vintage, one of NZ’s finest. Full stop.

14% alc. Greenish straw colour.

An absolutely lovely and unique nose. That’ll be the barrel ferment, in part. Bouquet of orange citrus blossom, gooseberry, and broken tomato vine. Pure and very elegant and refined. Distinctive aroma. So fragrant. Divine.

Smooth, dense and mouthfilling to drink. Such a fantastic expression of NZ Savignon Blanc – complex, layered, and delicious. There is softness and texture from the barrel ferment, generous flavours of golden stonefruit, a touch of tomato sauce. Citrus acid on the finish. A luscious wine, long and long.

I expect to recall this as one of the finest wines I have tasted this year.

Outstanding 98 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 11th – Chardonnay

Spy Valley Chardonnay 2012

From The Cellar: Spy Valley Chardonnay Waihopai Marlborough 2012 – $$

A consistently top Chardonnay from a great producer. I have been collecting and drinking these wines for a few years now. And riding out to the site on the Sunday morning following the Graperide. This example is from the stellar NZ 2013 vintage.

13.5% alc. Pale Gold colour.

Nutty almond on the nose. Mealy. Citrus notes. Complex secondary notes. Divine.

Pure fruit in the mouth. Freshness. Mealy nuttiness flavours, balanced acid, warmth, finishes long. Powerful and intense, and shows real grace. Roughness on the finish adds character.

Highly Recommended 94 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 4th – Chardonnay

KR Estate Chard 2016

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$

Being the third KR Chardonnay I have tasted these past weeks, this is the flagship Estate-level blended wine, a step up from the Villages wine I enjoy and consider excellent value. Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay is drawn from six different vineyard sites in the Kumeu Region.

14% alc. Pale gold colour.

Restrained mealy and composed. Aromas of white peach and apple.

Rich and stylish on tasting. Crisp and fresh, acid prevails over fruit. Not as elegant or dense as the Coddington, nor as lively and personable as the Villages. Stuck in the middle. Will it age? Appears to have the boldness and structure to do so for another 3 years. Let’s see then…

Recommended 88 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 2nd – Riesling

RiverT Risesling

River-T Riesling Waitaki Valley 2016 – $$

It was Riesling Day one day recently down at Regional Wines, and I had a chance to taste-test a lovely dry-ish Riesling from the Waitaki Valley. The wine was River-T Riesling from the 2016 vintage. I liked it and brought a bottle home.

From RW: This wine is made with grapes grown by Murray and Karen Tweed, whose vineyard is 5 kms out of Kurow; the main town in the valley. The couple hand harvested the grapes in mid-May – very late by New Zealand standards since Waitaki Valley is the last region to harvest its grapes each year. This makes it a very cool climate wine region, which just so happens to suit the late ripening Riesling grape pretty darned well. This wine is medium dry (18.3 grams per litre of residual grape sugar – not that it tastes sweet at all). It has 13% alcohol and its natural high acidity lends beautiful balance to this refreshing, crisp, light bodied, full flavoured Riesling.

13% alc. Pale straw colour.

The Waitaki Valley is New Zealand’s smallest wine region. It is better known for generating a hefty amperage of hydroelectric power from a multitude of dams spaced down the Waitaki River, and for flying gliders out of Waimarama. A cool climate you could also say – you can ski up the top end in winter. FWIW Kurow is famous for being the home town of one our our finest All Blacks – Richie McCaw.

In addition to these many attractions I am told there are some splendid grape-growing sites that face the north sun and have great soils.

This wine is leggy. Lovely aromatics. Clear and crisp aromas – melon, grapes, green apple.

Off dry to drink. Delicious and crunchily crisp. Intense fresh fruit flavours, a crisp finish. A perfect summer aperitif wine.

Recommended 89 Points

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 28th – Chardonnay

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay Kumeu 2016 – $$$

This is Kumeu River’s  single vineyard wine I generally prefer the most, right from when I first began tasting their wines. I dare say this is because this shows better when young than the more powerful cousins, Hunting Hill and Matés Vineyard Chardonnays.

13.5% alc. Light brilliant gold colour.

Like KRs usually have, a slightly reductive aroma. Fine, lightly scented, with citrus, melon, lemon, butterscotch and spice.

Crisp and fine to taste. Bold acid and golden fruit. Suppler and elegant with a crunchy punch through the mid-palate. Heat on the finish. Very approachable on one hand; this is too young, too soon, on the other…

I feel this wine is not as accomplished as the 2016 Villages blend Chardonnay I tried previously, despite the $ gulf between them

Highly Recommended 90 points

It Begins

Ata Rangi NZV18

From Ata Rangi:

First Pinot Noir pick of #nzv2018 – old Abel on the Home Block in Martinborough Village, Wellington Wine Country

What’s in the glass tonight Feb 25th – Pinot Noir


Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir Waipara 2013 – $$

This was a wine I served at my 50th a few years ago. The outlaws brought a bottle over when clearing out their house and offered it to us cos they don’t drinks reds. I was chuffed at the chance to see how this wine had developed in the interim.

Dark carmine colour, tending brick around the rim. 13.5% alc. This wine was recommended in it’s day.

A savoury, dense and luscious nose, with sandalwood, leather, dark fruits and spice. Promising.

This is holding up well in the glass. Good acidity and body. Flavours of dark red plums. Balanced, fresh, with a spicy finish, long. Very attractive.

Very good drinking now. Has enough acid and fruit weight to last longer, and will look even better 1n 2-3 years time.

Highly Recommended 93 points

What’s in the glass tonight Jan 31st – Sauvignon Blanc

Pa Road SB 2017

te Pā Pā Road Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016 – $

Produced by a family-owned winery with an 800-year tangata whenua connection to the land, this mid-tier wine is made from grapes grown on the McDonald home block vineyard near the Wairau River bar in Marlborough.

13% alc. Drought-pale straw colour.

Clean clear citrus aromas of golden delicious apples, light green capsicum. Very attractive.

On tasting, a simple restrained quality sav is revealed. Not an aggressive style. Balanced fruit and acid. Quite sweet throughout the mid-palate with a sharp finish.

Delicious drinking, and v good value for the price point.

Highly Recommended 92 points