$1 Margaret River Sauvignon / Semillon, Visit from Mel 

$1 Margaret River Sauvignon / Semillon

I never thought I would have to confess to anything along these lines, but while visiting our daughter in Sydney last week we actually drank a wine that she had only paid $1 for the bottle. To put as rosy a picture on this as is possible, it was an Australian dollar. Our daughter works for Woolworths and they have a staff store at their head office, so it was a staff discount, but still…….

As I wrote the last paragraph I thought to myself, what on earth’s name is the internet for, so I looked. The wine was a Cape Mentelle (Margaret River) Sauvignon / Semillon blend so I visited their website. It is advertised there for A$26. What a bargain, should have got a dozen.

Visit from Mel

Some of those who joined us more recently may not remember Mel Ingalls. Mel was a member of the Club for some time and a committee member with a number of those still on the committee now. He left to return to his native America. It was, therefore, quite an occasion that he was able to join us at the June tasting while he is spending a few weeks back in New Zealand. You are welcome Mel as always.

See you on Wednesday, with a lovely evening in prospect.

Cheers
Robin Semmens
Editor

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Askerne Wines – February 2019

Another great evening with nice wines and an informative presenter. John Loughlin was a pleasure to deal with and kept the meeting running to time. A good level of orders resulted. But that all our tastings were as easy to organize as this one was. John says he would be more than happy to come back and has some interesting wines that we haven’t yet tried. We will keep this in mind.

The wines tasted included; Askerne Sauv Blanc / Sauv Gris / Semillon 2018 as the quaffer; followed by; Askerne Reserve Chardonnay 2016; Askerne Viognier 2018; Askerne Gewürztraminer 2016; Askerne Syrah 2015; Askerne Merlot Cab Franc Cab Sauv Malbec 2015; Askerne 2016 Cabernet Franc; rounded off with the Askerne Dessert Cabernet 2018.

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What age can do for/to wine? – September 2017

The late Richard Gooch
The late Richard Gooch

Well our tasting for September was certainly different and a great learning experience. It’s not often you get to taste 11 wines from the period 1974 to 1996. And to help judge these wines, Wayne had organised a novel rating system that required each table to come up with a ratings that were [4] Superb -aged perfectly, [3] Still enjoyable or has interest, [2] Drinkable but dying, [1] Dead – nothing to commend it to lastly, [0] In decay – not even going to taste this.

He had also arranged for John Saker to attend the tasting and he proved to be a valuable contributor to our discussions, using his knowledge and wine judging skills to highlight things that many of us might not have considered. He particularly liked the Aussie 1990 McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon which still had some structure, fruit flavour and mouth feel.

However, it was on the decline from its probable peak 7 or 8 years ago. But still, it did show how a white wine such as a great Hunter Valley Semillon could last. Of the other 10 wines tasted, there were two 1994 wines that attracted the most support, a Leconfield Coonawara Cabernet Merlot Cabernet Franc blend and a French Cordier Sauternes. Sadly 4 of the wines were rated as a 1 or zero. Whilst the oldest of these was from 1975, there were others from the 1994-1996 period that did not measure up. The 1975 had suffered from a leaking cork and had oxidised badly whilst two of the others were white wines that in all honestly , should never had been cellared that long [because of their grape and style].

Wayne’s biggest disappointment of the night, however, was the wine that had been stored in a very large bottle dating back to 1893. The providence of this wine actually dated back to the period 1980 to 1995 and had been stored in this old bottle for later tasting. Wayne had tried to find out more about this wine from CJ Pask who was reputed to have taken it from a barrel and stored it in the bottle for Richard Gooch to taste at a later date, but Chris couldn’t recall the occasion. In any event, this wine was one to be rated a zero, having unfortunately deteriorated to such an extent that no one was prepared to suggest what it might have included, even if the suspicion was that it was once a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and maybe some Cabernet Franc, all from young vines on the Gimblett Gravels.

In conclusion, whilst this evening may have lacked a standout wine that would make the tasting memorable, it did serve to be both educational and to serve as a warning. I think most members will have gone home and looked for those forgotten wines at the back of their cupboards or cellars in order to drink them before they start their inevitable decline into mediocrity.

A special thanks to Linda Caradus, partner to the late Richard Gooch. It was her wish to give the club these very old wines so that we could use them as a learning experience and they certainly did that. It was just a shame that overseas business prevented her attending the tasting and seeing the interest that the 11 wines provided.

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Man O’ War – Oct 2015 – Looking back

2015-10-17-5621b9075e214A very enjoyable tasting We had a great evening and Ben Coles was a relaxed and entertaining presenter. The wines were more than pleasant and members were keen to make orders. Yet another top tasting, to repeat the wines offered;

  • 2013 Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
  • 2014 Valhalla Chardonnay
  • 2015 Exiled Pinot Gris
  • 2015 Pinque Rose
  • 2011 Dreadnought Syrah
  • 2012 Man O’ War Merlot Cabernet Malbec
  • 2010 Ironclad Bordeaux blend

Check out the tasting review.

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Tasting review – Man-O-War, Waiheke

There are not many times when tasting wines you come across a range that fulfils everything it promises. Duncan, the team at Man O’ War, and our presenter Ben have produced a range the would not let anyone down. Everyone had their favourite on the night right across the lineup.

  • 2013 Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
  • 2014 Valhalla Chardonnay
  • 2015 Exiled Pinot Gris
  • 2015 Pinque Rose
  • 2011 Dreadnought Syrah
  • 2012 Man O’ War Merlot Cabernet Malbec
  • 2010 Ironclad Bordeaux blend
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Ben, the GSM at Man o’ War is an ingenious speaker; knowledgeable, funny, with a great personality; a great representative for Man O’ War. I noted a few of Ben’s one-liners:

  • Berocca pee (in reference to Marlborough Sauv’s)
  • Better red than dead
  • Gotta go big or go home
  • Drink some tea (in reference to waiting for wine to ferment)
  • Global warming is John Key,s fault (needing to pick 2012 crop later than usual due to wet weather)
  • Waiheke is a piece of dirt in a big blue thing (in reference to an ideal location)

Man O’ War is 150 acres made up of 76 individual parcels of land providing great diversity in soil type, prevailing winds and temperature, allowing the winemaker to source the best of what’s on offer to make incredibly decadent wines.

The Gravestone as you’d expect was far your typical sauv. Silky with a touch of sweetness with a slight minerality finish – pleasant. 15/20

I have been drinking the ’09 and ’10 Valhalla – exceptional wines. The 2014 rendition was smokey, no malo ferment due to basalt soils, and a beautifully balanced wine. Yes needs five years but worth the wait. 19/20

The Pinot Gris bottled at 4° gave a slight tingle on the tongue. Ben mentioned this raises the CO2 levels so there’s more in the bottle – about 4 ml. 17/20

The inaugural release of Pinque, named after a  flat-bottomed ship, was gently pressed wine in the champagne style over 6 hours. A pale pink hue gives way to a savoury cranberry nose and clean dry finish. 15/20

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The white label Merlot dominant (45%) Bordeaux blend is one of my favourite wines anytime. I can recommend the ’06 and ’07 as it has aged wonderfully well so 2012 won’t let you down. Fruity, light tannin feel on the teeth, not the mouth, and a smooth rich finish. 17/20. Now for the biggies.

The Ironclad, silky elegance. Savoury mince nose, rich lingering finish. An exciting wine that I’ve laid down for at least ten years. 19/20. The Dreadnought gave a hint of bayleaf, bacon and blueberries, finished off with savoury and minerality overtones. Ben said Pinot Noir on steroids and that’s the beauty of this wine. Another for ageing. 18/20.

Tasting details

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Cost: Members $12, Guests $16

Presenter: Ben Coles, Global Sales Manager

About Man O’ War

The Winemaker at Man O’ War is Duncan McTavish. His heart and soul and enormous talent are all reflected in each of the extraordinary wines he crafts at Man O’ War. Of singular personality, they are indeed the “definitive translation of our land.”

The inaugural graduate of the Viticulture & Oenology degree at Lincoln University in 1998, Duncan spent the following three years working harvest for some of the best producers in Burgundy,
Germany, California, Australia and New Zealand. This apprenticeship culminated in 2001 when he landed a job with one of New Zealand’s best wine producers, the Waipara Valley’s inimitable
Pegasus Bay. After nearly four years under the wing of Pegasus, Duncan left to develop his winemaking ideas at Waipara Springs. In 2008, Man O’ War were fortunate enough to entice
Duncan to go north to Man O’ War. He now makes his home on Waiheke living above Onetangi Beach with his partner Vanessa, son Tommy and a baby daughter.

We look forward to sharing the Man O’ War philosophy and wines with Ben, who is the Global Sales Manager for the winery.

Man O’ War Legacy – ‘Discovered’ in 1769

The Man O’ War story begins with a special piece of land which has a rich history. Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a stunning array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and pristine beaches forming a ruggedly beautiful coastline.  Continue reading →

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Looking Forward: Feb 2014

March 2014 – Alpha Domus

Alpha Domus winery was established by two generations of the Ham family. The vision began in 1990 with the purchase of bare land and planting began in 1991. Their commitment is to produce premium quality wines that are true to varietal character and are a reflection of their unique terrior.

The vineyard lies in the renowned Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District of Hawkes Bay. From these soils, Alpha Domus winery produces world-class wines from a wide range of varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Viognier and Syrah.

Alpha Domus wines are single vineyard, estate grown, and vinted at the on site winery.

The name Alpha Domus was inspired by the first initial of each of the family’s first names from the father through to the youngest brother; Anthonius, Leonarda, Paulus, Henrikus and Anthonius (ALPHA); Domus is Latin for house. Some really good wines, we look forward to what is offered.