Firstly, congratulations to Diana Thompson, who runs these wine events, she has just been crowned Best Wine Event Organiser of the Year 2018 at the SME Scottish Enterprise Awards. Well deserved.
I love going along to these events run by Diana, as I’ve said before they are so relaxed and informative, and you get to taste some unusual and different wines that you would never usually choose or come across.
I love a good Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir – many do, but New Zealand is home to so many more wines and this evening we got to taste a few, 9 to be precise.
New Zealand currently have over 500 winemakers and over 200 of these are boutique and family owned vineyards.
In the white and sparkling wines you;ll recognise a few – Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay but how about Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer.
In the red corner we all know Pinot Noir and will have heard of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon Blends but how about Syrah.
Wine number 1 – Sparkling. Aotea ‘Methode Traditionnelle’ from Nelson by Richard Granger.
Nelson benefits from lots of sunshine in a sheltered, moderate coastal climate with free-draining semi-fertile soil. It’s a boutique wine region producing producing some of the best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines.
The Aotea is made with 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay grapes. It’s quite creamy with a heavy buttery and biscuity richness. A fresh sparkling wine.
Wine Number 2 – Waimea Family Estate Wine, Sauvignon Gris from Nelson.
Family-owned Waimea Estates is one of Nelson’s oldest and most successful producers. They have 140 hectares of vineyards are certified sustainable. Waimea Estates wines are vibrant, and fruit-focused and their wines are produced from overripe grapes.
If you are a Sauvignon Blanc lover, then you’ll like this. It tastes similar but slightly richer. You’ll pick up hints of honeysuckle and melon.
Wine Number 3 – Aronui Albarino, Single Vineyard from Nelson. Unfortunately this wine isn’t available in the UK but great to be able to taste it; and I liked it.
Aronui grapes are grown in Nelson’s Upper Moutere area (another boutique region) but this one is located on tribal land and has remained in the ownership of its traditional owners.
I picked up hints of petrol or beeswax but with an after taste of floral. It’s a very light wine and very fresh.
Wine Number 4 – Kim Crawford Pinot Gris from Marlborough.
Malborough’s climate is cool at night with lots of sunshine during the day, low rainfall and free-draining, moderately fertile soil and it produces 77% of all of New Zealands wine.
An organic wine where the vines grow like trees, so that the grapes are higher up. This wine is a fruit cocktail and you’ll taste pear, passion fruit and apples. It’s clean and fresh.
Wine Number 5 – Tinpot Hut Gruner Veltliner, McKee Vineyard from Marlborough.
Grown in the Blind river sub-region of Awatere Valley which is cooler, drier and windier which produce bright, aromatic Pinot Noir and dramatic, distinctive Sauvignons.
For me this wine tasted very herby, quite green with an aroma of fermenting leaves – almost the same aroma you get just after a rain storm. It has a really long dry finish.
Wine Number 6 – Zephyr Gewuztraminer, Glover Family Vineyards from Marlborough.
My overall favourite of the night, but Gewurztraminer is my white wine of choice. It’s slightly sweet, with a heavy aroma of perfume, think Turkish Delight. You’ll also pick up hints of ginger and has a long aftertaste of spices, lychees and musk.
Wine Number 7 – Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot/Cabernet/Malbec, Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay.
Hawke’s Bay produce high quality Cabernet & Merlot blends, Syrah, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They have a warm climate and the area of Gimblett Gravels means that it has stony soil and terraces. Days are hot, nights are cooler meaning that the grapes ripen slower yielding superb grapes ideal for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varieties.
This is a deep red wine hinting at black fruits and dark cherries. For me it’s aroma was better than the taste; it’s very dry and quite spicy.
Wine Number 8 – Craggy Range Syrah, Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay.
Again you’ll pick up the black fruits and spices of black pepper. It’s rich and full bodied.
Wine Number 9 – Quarter Acre Syrah, Rod McDonald Wines from Hawkes Bay. Not available in the UK.
You’ll pick up cinnamon, sandelwood and a hint of lavender on the nose with rich fruits on the palate and fine tannins. It’s a complex wine! No wonder it’s won several awards.
After the masterclass, you get to tuck into some seriously good cheese, crackers, fruits and meats whilst pouring yourself an extra glass or two of some of your favourites from the evening.
The next wine event is Monday 8th October – Alsace Rieslings “Taste the Terroir” – £22 per person. www.wineeventsscotland.co.uk/events/tasting-the-terroir-of-alsace
Genuinely a great way to spend a Monday night!