RICHARD HAMILTON 'ALMOND GROVE' CHARDONNAY 2004, McLaren Vale, Australia, 13.5% D, #741009 $16.95 (Tasted November 25, 2006)
Released by Vintages November 25, 2006 and described as "Complex wine; excellent melon and stone fruit with classy barrel ferment inputs: medium bodied; impeccable balance and length, squeaky acidity. James Halliday gives it a 94/100 (Australian Wine Companion 2006)". VH of Winecurrent gives it four and one half stars (of 5) saying "The subdued nose is beguiling, offering stone fruit and vanilla aromas. This medium-bodied, well-balanced Chard has oodles of citrus and green apple flavours. It's clean and refreshing, but still manages a lovely texture. It finishes with a laser-like tang adding additional fruit flavours of white peach and apple. Very well-priced for a wine of this calibre. My notes: A distinct yellow in the glass with aromas of citrus, melon and faint orange. A touch of butter in the midst of a lemon tang softened slightly by an orange and melon medley. No butterscotch nor caramel but has a roundness that coats the palate. The long, lemon zest finish is very refreshing. Needs some time to integrate flavours with the body and hopefully develop some toffee. If you like freshness it's an OK sipper now; if not, cellar at least two years. Pair with full flavoured seafood dishes, salmon pieces or, perhaps, cold chicken breast on greens or Thai.
PETALO IL DELL'AMORE MOSCATO BOTTEGA, Veneto, Italy, 6.5% SC9 #588780 (Retasted November 24, 2006)
A General listing and last tasted June 2005. My notes: A full floral nose, a soft yeast, apple juice and orange blossoms carried along by a fine effervescence settling to a rim of fine bubbles. The effervescence lasts as long as the finish. The sweetness balances with the fruit acids to become full and succulent, the SC seems to be more like a four. Flavours of apples, light honey, and pear, smooth and full-bodied with a long finish of a succulent semi-sweet fruit blend. The sweetness builds and with low alcohol it's an alluring quaffer... or an after dinner drink with chocolate mints, white chocolate almond bark, etc. Pour over fresh fruit slices to liven up a dessert. Cellaring hasn't hurt this appetizing bubbler.
RA NUI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2005, Wairu Valley, NZ, 13.8% XD, #658542 $19.95 (Tasted November 15, 2006)
An In Store Discovery of November 11, 2006 described as "NZ wine expert Sue Courtney (Dec. 2005) adored its 'smoky aromas with gooseberry and apple fruit…' and '…the wine becomes quite vibrant as it lingers – for ages- with a touch of pineapple and lots of summer herbs'." The label says "grapes..hand picked, whole bunch pressed and slowly fermented dry to produce this full-bodied and highly aromatic wine." My notes: Let air a short while (ten minutes) for a light gooseberry and apple to develop - if rushed the nose is disappointing. A very light blond almost white colour, and flavours of gooseberry, melon, unsettling nettles with a moderate fullness. The finish is long with a balance of tropical fruit and those nettles now more prominent. Have with mild cheeses, smoked salmon on toasts with a dab of dilled cream cheese or a few capers, vegetable dip with herbed toasts or seafood dishes - was OK with grilled chicken breast. There's as much not to like as there is to like - so, at the price, there's better kiwi SB values and cellaring won't help. I'd skip it!