1 Mar 2015

Wine Review - 2012 Stoneleigh Latitude Pinot Noir: Elegant And Unique Pinot Noir

2012 Stoneleigh Latitude Pinot Noir
New Zealand was the first table we visited at the 2014 NSLC Port of Wines Festival so our palates were fresh.  We have had good luck with Stoneleigh Wines and this one truly delivers.  The price point for Kiwi wines was a bit higher than in previous years but the quality of wines were very high.  Both the whites and the reds were very solid across the board.  This wine however, was a stand out among them.  It is not a typical NZ Pinot Noir in many respects but holds true to the region in others.  The one adjective that stands out for this wine overall is "Elegance".  There is a refinement that other Pinot Noirs just don't have.

In the glass the most noticeable variance from typical is that the wine, though ‎still quite light, is a much darker purple on the colour wheel.  The wine remains watery and this looking as one might expect but if the picture does it any justice at all it should the purple that you can see.

The nose is full of strawberry‎ jelly and raisins.  It holds a very full bodied nose and is not at all grassy as we might see from a 'typical' version of the grape.  Layered under that are cloves and vanilla that make this a really nice wine to smell.  In a blind tasting we think this wine might trip up some talented sniffers with the unconventional smells.

The elegance truly shines on the tongue where the strawberries continue and the tasting is much more Pinot Noir with a thin mouthfeel.  The tongue coating nature is an interesting spin and is followed by an earthy mid-palate.  All along the wine remains balanced with a beautiful and extended finish.  Juicy and luscious are what we get and we love it,

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Light bodied and watery but a much darker purple than normal for NZ Pinot Noir. 4.5
Smell (0-5) Strawberry jelly and raisins with cloves and vanilla. 4.25
Taste (0-10) Elegant wine with strawberries and earthy notes and an extended finish. 9.25
  Total: 18 / 20 (90%)

This is a $30 Pinot Noir locally and it is worth that price, no doubt.  It's not often we get unique and elegant wrapped up into one and it is awesome.

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon

30 Jan 2015

Wine Review - 2013 Donnafugata Sherazade Nero D'Avola: A Smokey Italian Red With Punch

2013 Donnafugata Sherazade Nero D'Avola
As we go through our roster of wines from the 2014 NSLC Port of Wines Festival we get to try wines that stood out on the day.  The Italian table was a bit of a hit and miss group of wines wrapped up with a lot of really nice but expensive Amarones and Barolos.  This Sicilian wine came in at the middle of our price point at $21.79 which is a little high for Nero d'Avola but this is a nice wine.  According to Wikipedia this grape is the most important grape for the island at the tip of the boot of Italy.

In the glass this wine is a lighter bodied red which is typical of this grape.  It is very purple in colour and in the glass you see it has a slight transparency for a darker red.  Again this is typical of the grape.

The nose is very smokey and has a strong leather sensation when you breathe deeply.  There is a very plummy undertone to things and it makes it an enticing smell.  Really quite nice.

Nero has Pinot Noir tendencies and this wine lives up to that and is quite thin on the palate.  It is also very dry and very tannic which really hits us in the mouth in the right way.  The tannins also turn what would normally be plum notes into plum skin notes.  The pucker is full on with this wine and it is quite tasty with not so much balance but mouth watering flavours.

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Lighter bodied and transparent for a darker red wine. 4.0
Smell (0-5) Smokey nose with leather and plums. 4.25
Taste (0-10) Mouth watering wine with strong tannins and a very dry profile with plum skin notes. 8.25
  Total: 16.5 / 20 (82.5%)

As we mentioned at just over $21 this is a somewhat pricey Nero.  We have had quality versions for  probably $5 - $7 less.  That said it is a solid wine and it is a perfect pairing with spaghetti or pizza but works well on its own.

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon

5 Jan 2015

Wine Review - 2013 Paringa Cabernet Sauvignon: Tongue Coating Cab

This is yet another selection from the 2014 NSLC Port of Wines Festival.  We didn't get to a lot of the Australia table overall but there were some highlights and we felt like this wine was one of them.  Australia gets a lot of attention during the show with very drinkable and palate friendly wines but for a few years we didn't feel like they deserved the hype.  We found a lot of over ripe and hot wines with too much jam in their reds and over-oaked whites.  We think Aussie wineries are getting the message that some jam and oak are great but too much doesn't keep people coming back for more.

This Cabernet has a deep purple verging on black colour in the glass.
The wine is very thick in the glass though the legs on the swirl are super speedy. It looks like a rich, thick luscious wine.

The nose on this wine is pure strawberry jam. We're wary of that jam smell but it is combined with blackberries and black cherries and is quite attractive. There is a clean smell to the wine where the alcohol freshens the nose.  Finally there is an oak component that rounds out the smells in the glass.

As for flavours we found that jam again but you know what it's not bad. Shiraz takes that jam sweetness and structure a bit more readily than Cabernet but it's okay.  It is slightly sweet at the start but the familiar essence of Cabernet comes through pretty quickly.  The violets and vanilla hit your tongue on the mid-palate and it definitely has a tongue coating finish that walks up to being bitter but stays just on the right side of bold.

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Deep purple verging on black with a thickness and speedy legs in the glass. 4.0
Smell (0-5) Strawberry Jam combined with blackberries and black cherries with a clean and oaky finish. 4.0
Taste (0-10) Jammy for a Cab with a sweet start and a violets and vanilla mid-palate and a bold and tongue coating finish. 8.0
  Total: 16 / 20 (80%)

At $21 we feel like this is just a hair high for the price. It's tasty but if it were $17 or $18 we would say no question it's a buy.  Good to drink on it's own but that jamminess makes it a less food friendly than we would expect from a Cab.

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon