Bordeaux En Primeur 2016

This year’s En Primeur campaign is just around the corner, Vintage 2016. This year fortunately looks to be following in the path of the 2015 vintage; whilst it is still early days, indications are that sensibility may just prevail. Now, if you’ve been an En Primeur customer for a while, you might be reading this and thinking ‘Yeah, right, we’ve heard that before.’ What is apparent and being confirmed day by day as the International media and trade taste in Bordeaux, the vintage is very good indeed. In fact, it appears that this vintage is one to make a song and dance about and to ensure you have in your cellar.

So what’s the talk of sensibility and comparison to the 2015 vintage? Similar to last year, whilst the vintage is looking to be exceptional, we are not seeing these statements in lights with grand claims that this is a vintage of a lifetime or such things. There is far more sensibility around how the vintage is being presented, as the reality is that the market is just not the same as when the 2009 and 2010 vintages were sold in vast quantities globally. The rise of the new markets and interest in Bordeaux through this period drove prices to new levels. Since then it has been a case of the market finding its balance once again.

Which of course leads to the next fascinating piece in this puzzle and where we need to see further sensible approaches. The prices for these wines are yet to be determined and time will tell as the Chateaux owners release their wines on the market. What we do know now is that these will need to be realistic and in line with the current market. Early conversation indicates this is where the vintage is heading.

 Putting all that aside, the 2016 by all reports is looking excellent. Of course, we are not going to take the reports for granted and will be presenting to you our views from tasting the wines. This year I will be tasting a little later in Bordeaux, tasting the week after Easter. I’m heading to Bordeaux with a full schedule of tastings over the week. I’ll be keeping you up to date with how the wines look on Twitter (#lizziewine). You’ll also be able to follow things via the Glengarry Facebook page and on our blog site – www.aboutwine.co.nz

 Our 2016 Vintage Report and recommendations will be online post my tastings and we’ll be back in touch as the wines start to be released.

If this is all new to you, do check out our En Primeur FAQ page or feel free to contact the team, who are all very happy to assist you with general En Primeur enquiries, preparing your wish list or anything else fine wine-related.

Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir 2017, what’s it all about? ‘A lot’ is the simple answer and there is just so much to talk about. So here goes, a series then of blogs all about Pinot Noir 2017, naturally starting at the beginning. The event itself was first held in 2001, the brainchild of the late Richard Riddiford and, Mr Pinot Noir himself, Larry McKenna. It’s a three-day conference all about Pinot Noir, open for all to come along with a very high proportion of trade there from NZ and abroad.

Those from abroad were generally hosted by NZ Wine Growers in what is one of the best pieces of Marketing for NZ in any sector. Our International guests were treated to a world class conference that is rightly referred to as the best Pinot Noir event on the Planet. An Aromatic Symposium before and a Classic NZ Red weekend in the bay after, together with an Air NZ flight over the NZ wine regions with MW Bob Campbell as the head steward and guide. How could they not go away spreading NZ wine love to all corners of the world.

The three days started with a welcome at the Wellington Opera house and an enlightening discussion centred around ‘our place’. Our Tūrangawaewae the overarching theme to the morning and a welcome break from how a Pinot conference would usually start, with far too much discussion of terroir. In fact, the absence of reference to Burgundy was a welcome change and one that has been a long time coming. It is a little of a bug bear with me that we stand up and talk about our wines and reference them as ‘this is my Bordeaux blend’ or ‘my Burgundy’. We are not in France; we grow grapes and make wine in one of the most amazing countries in the world and need to be more proud of what we do. I then was delighted the conference started this way and more so continued throughout the week with this theme. Off my soap box now and back to Pinot 2017.

On the three consecutive mornings we were presented an array of fascinating discussions and concepts (more on these in the following blogs). Each afternoon was then given over to a Pinot Noir road trip, mine started with Marlborough and once again reconfirmed for me how underrated Marlborough Pinot Noir is. For me there were many great wines in that afternoon tasting, a few that did stand out. Fromm – I’ve always loved Fromm Pinot Noir and was excited to try their new wine H. Named


after winemaker Hatsch, it is a blend of five of their single vineyard wines and their new flagship wine. The quality is, as expected, exceptional and a wine worth seeking out. Jules Taylor had her 2015 Pinot Noir there; the perfume was enthralling, jumping out of the glass to greet you. Touching base with Jules, I enquired as to whether there was anything different in her winemaking this year? She shrugged ‘not really, it’s what the vintage gave’. A superb wine and a clear reflection of the 2015 vintage which became evident as I tasted around the room.


 

Glengarry Wines Westmere Wine Club | Grower Champagne Tasting

Wednesday night, Westmere.
A bunch of people turned up just before 7PM and swiftly walked the stairs that took them to our tasting room upstairs. Waiting for them, a long wooden table neatly set up with champagne flutes and plates already filled with entrees.
Liz, our Champagne Guru and General Manager, and Serena, Westmere’s store manager, were the two hosts for the event.

The night cracked on with a taste of J Lassalle Preference 1er Cru Brut and a quick introduction of the reality of Grower Champagnes.

After that, the wine and food matching began.
The whole night swirled around extremely informative and captivating speeches from Liz quickly followed by notes on the flavours regarding both the wine and the food matched with it from Serena.

Lilbert-Fils Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Andre Jacquart & Fils Blanc de Blancs Brut, Paul Bara Brut Reserve, Serge Mathieu Tradition Brut and, last but not least, Henri Giraud l’Esprit de Giraud Brut were the grower champagnes starring the tasting. Liz entertained everyone with interesting facts, bucket loads of knowledge, juicy details about her trip to Champagne and the discovery journey of these absolutely wonderful grower Houses.
Food wise, Serena went through a long research process and cross referenced tasting charts, wine tasting notes, food blog reviews and personal notes and came up with a unique menu that enhanced and completed the overall experience. Veggie sushi, coriander chicken and prawn skewers, Emmental du France cream vol-au-vent were some of the dishes served to those lucky customers who attended.

Words by  Serena Cappellini | Retail Manager, Glengarry Wines Westmere

Craft Farm by Ant Mackenzie

Recalling the numbers of years I have known Ant leaves me feeling very old indeed. Ant, like many a NZ Winery professional, started working for Sir George Fistonich; for Ant it was in Hawke’s Bay, at Vidal’s Winery. The years that followed saw Ant involved with many a well-known winery: Spy Valley, Framingham, Mud House, Dry River and Te Awa. The latter now ironically owned by Sir George; how things go in circles.

Whilst still with hands in many projects, Ant has his own range of wines now. In fact, there are three ranges in total: Craft Farm, Toño and Theory & Practice. Craft Farm is the name of Ant’s small vineyard in Havelock North. Relatively new vineyards, the vines were planted by family and friends over three consecutive years, starting in 2010. The viticulture is organically minded, there’s no irrigation and organic farming is practiced (though not certified). Ant has planted a mix of clones, whether that’s because that’s what he had access to or a conscious decision, to me it’s the right decision. A contentious issue for some; the analogy that springs to mind for me is milk production. Growing a harmonious crop for cattle does produce consistency in milk. Is that though what we are looking for in wine? Not in my book; an expression of the place, translated through a variety of clones, for me, produces a far better glass of wine, a Crafted Wine.

Ant’s Craft Farm Wines (with the other ranges too) are now being sold online by Glengarry. These wines are part of a new initiative from Glengarry that sees wineries being able to sell their wines through our website. A new approach that supports wineries in New Zealand, opens doors and gives the small producers a route to market.

Krug at Glengarry

It’s often said that you never forget the first time you try Krug and until I tried Krug, I must admit I’d always dismissed this statement. It was shortly after I started with Glengarry, we had a visit from Olivier Krug and we hosted him in the cellar at Jervois Road. There’s not many better ways to be introduced to Krug. It’s a breath-taking and unique expression that you’ll never forget and you will certainly always remember the first time you try it. This week I was lucky enough to taste Krug again when we hosted an extensive Krug tasting including two wines from the legendary 2002 vintage.

There’s just so much to talk about with Krug, Regan our Fine Wine consultant at Victoria Park did a great job hosting and presenting the tasting. We started with Krug Grande Cuvee, then onto the Rose. The Rose a relatively new wine for Krug and one that was made in secret until finally the family plucked up the courage to present the new project to their father who quickly acclaimed it was all over; someone had been able to copy Krug.

In the middle of the tasting was a mini vertical of Krug Vintage, 2000, followed by 2003 then 2002. Why that order? That’s the order that the wines were released in. There’s been a few times I can recall when Krug have done this, preferring to release the wines when ready, rather than necessarily sequential. Whilst there’s a lot of hype about the 2002 (more on that shortly), the 2003 once again took my breath away. I’ve been fortunate enough to taste this many times. 2003 was very hot year in Europe, I recall it well, I was in Bulgaria at the time with another passion of mine, gymnastics and it was certainly very warm. There are not too many champagnes made from the 2003 vintage, when Krug announced they were making one, there was many a raised eyebrow. Krug 2003 is a brilliant wine, in quality and in its unique personality, I can’t wait until the next time I try it.

Onto the 2002 wines. As expected, a sensational vintage and Krug 2002 does not disappoint. Right now though it’s far too young and showing a mere glimpse of what it will be. The final wine of the night was also from the 2002 vintage, Krug Clos du Mesnil 2002. I’m not often speechless, but this wine stopped me in my tracks, what a complete wine. Made 100% from Chardonnay from the walled (clos) vineyard of Mesnil, it was simply sublime.

An excellent tasting and unique opportunity to try all but one of the wines of Krug in one tasting.

 

How relevant are Wine Awards?

An interesting question. Given everyone’s tastes are different, how relevant is it, when purchasing a wine, whether it has a Gold Medal or not? I judged at the recent Air NZ Wine Awards and was delighted to see, throughout the process, so many different expressions of the various varieties recognised. The Air NZ Wine Awards are New Zealand’s pre-eminent wine competition, owned and run by NZ Wine Growers; this year celebrates 30 years of Air New Zealand’s involvement with the competition. I believe the calibre and diversity of the team of judges is one of the instrumental keys to the success of this show. It is all too easy in the process of judging a large number of wines, for wines that have lots of oak, lots of fruit, in fact, lots of anything, to stand out in the crowd – it’s not bad judging, it’s just natural. Not so at the Air NZ Wine Awards; the award winning wines include those that clearly have great fruit, excellent oak use (where applicable) and all in perfect balance, together with those wines that are on the restrained, refined side of things and equally brilliant. Furthermore, when I look now at the results, there are a variety of styles, price points and regions represented; further impressive given the large number of entries and wines reviewed over the three days. The process itself is rigorous, with numerous stages for the wines to pass through before they end up on the Gold Medal winning list.

So back to the question at hand, are they relevant? What you can be well assured of, with any of the Air NZ Award winning wines, is that these are wines of very good quality. Particularly the Gold Medal wines; to achieve a Gold, the wine has to be very smart indeed. Within the Gold Medal wines, there’s diversity of style and character that you’ll then need to match to your palate, whether that’s through purchasing a selection, coming along to one of our tastings, or talking to the team in store. You will find on the Glengarry Website a selection of the award winning wines, and today an exceptional deal on a super smart sub $15 Pinot Noir that won Gold – well worth celebrating we believe.

The State of NZ Wines

 

Of all the wine shows out there, there are just two that are owned by NZ Winegrowers: the Air NZ
Wine Awards and the lesser known little brother, the Bragato Wine Awards. Historically lost a little
behind the Air NZ Wine Awards might (likely due to the exposure opportunities the $ of the
sponsorship brings), the Bragato Wine Awards play an important role. Named after Romeo Bragato,
the New Zealand Government Viticulturist from 1902 – 1909, the Bragato Wine Awards champion
Domain wines – where grapes are coming from owned vineyards and single vineyard sites. In
addition, the lower minimum quantity requirement (than the Air NZ Awards) results in many smaller
producers being able to enter. As the first show after new vintage releases start hitting the shelves,
it’s also a good gauge of how the vintage is looking.

 

I had the opportunity to join the judging again this year, which took place in mid August. Great to be able to see such a wide variety of wines and judge with such a talented team. The results will be out

by the time this is published and the award winning wines are well worth hunting out. The individual
results are not what I wanted to share here, but more some observations I walked away with from
the judging and the colourful discussion.

An absolute highlight was the Cabernet dominant class. We were blessed with the vintages on the table this year ‐ 2013, 2014 and 2015. It’s been widely reported that 13 and 14 are exceptionalvintages for Hawke’s Bay and Waiheke, being the two regions that Cabernet dominant wines love.

The 2015 vintage though showed exceptionally well and is right up there with the preceding
vintages; something very rare indeed, three excellent vintages in a row. I am guilty of not having
tasted a lot of NZ Cabernet of late, with my recent travels taking me to Bordeaux to taste new
vintages there. I was super impressed with the overall quality, the results when out will highlight this
further; do hunt out the award winners in store, they are well worth taking a look at.
The Pinot Noir category as you can imagine was large and diverse, the quality unmistakable; there’s
a reason the rest of the world are standing up and taking notice. The very best of the Syrah flights
were super and would leave many a Rhône producer speechless.

Within the White categories, Sauvignon Blanc (whilst not everyone’s favourite to judge, particularly
at 8am) showed why NZ Sauvignon is such a distinctive and unique style. Pinot Gris was so much
more consistent than I’ve seen it in the past, a clearer sense of a NZ Pinot Gris style emerging.
Chardonnay, as you would expect, created the most conversation amongst the judges, the differing
faces of Chardonnay pushing boundaries, which I believe is a good thing.
All in all, two days of intense judging and it’s clear that the NZ Wine industry is in good shape. Do
taste for yourself though; this month at Glengarry we take a regional road trip around NZ and
explore this great country of ours.

Babich Irongate Vertical Tasting | Glengarry Hutt Road

If there was ever a living icon in the wine industry, the title would surely have to go to Joe Babich. Joe joined the family business in 1958 and has achieved much over his career – he was awarded Winemaker of the Year in1994 and in 2014 both Peter and Joe were awarded the Sir George Fistonich Medal in recognition for services to the New Zealand wine industry. Babich is still a family-run company and are currently celebrating their 100th year anniversary. To celebrate this achievement Babich have been running a number of tastings with us, including the Irongate vertical tasting we had here at Hutt Road with Joe.

Irongate Chardonnay has been produced from the Gimblett Gravels since 1985 and for this tasting Joe decided to treat us to four vintages of this fabulous wine. It was extremely interesting to see the development of this wine over several vintages. The 2002, although still an elegant wine, was starting to show signs of attenuation; the 2008 was my favourite – this was pungent and rich and had a fabulous silken texture; the 2011 was more restrained but had beautiful balance and incredible length. The current vintage, 2014, was also elegant but a little more closed and tight; this is a wine to put away for a short time (3-5 years) and will reward handsomely.

Following on from the Chardonnay we did four Irongate Reds. These wines are composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – the Cabernet content stays pretty much the same but the Merlot and Franc varies slightly depending on vintage. For this tasting we went from the youngest wine to the oldest wine. The first off the starting block was the 2014 and what a little charmer this wine was – lifted florals and mulberry on the nose, the palate was voluptuous and rich, it had a lovely sweetness, and deserved some time to rest before consuming. Following the 2014 we had the 2013; another stunning vintage from the region. This was every bit as good as the 2014 but surprisingly different in character – it had deep rich black fruits and was a little more closed at this stage in its life. The 2008 was drinking well right now! It was dark and showed dried fruits and spices, and finely integrated tannins. The 1990 was a treat and was older than three of our staff members that attended the tasting! It had a very old nose and was the a bricky colour, but remarkably the wine was holding incredibly well and had excellent length. It was more on the savoury side now as most of the obvious fruit had fallen away but it still retained a freshness and its life was by no means over.

The tasting was an absolute treat and it was an honour to meet Joe Babich, a man that has contributed so much to the New Zealand wine industry. Here’s to the next 100 years!

Posted by Meredith Parkin | Fine Wine Account Manager, Glengarry Hutt Road, Wellington.

Trinity Hill | Homage 2014 – with John Hancock

Trinity Hill is an iconic New Zealand winery, the idea for which was formed in London in 1987. John Hancock was meeting in the restaurant Bleeding Heart, owned by Robert and Robyn Wilson. Over a bottle of John’s Morton Estate Chardonnay, the Wilson’s expressed their desire to produce their own world-class wines in the Hawkes Bay. John had already recognised the outstanding potential of the Gimblett Gravels district, and they began planting in 1993 on the barren former bed of the Ngaruroro River. Since those early days, this sub-region has become one of the most expensive and important wine growing areas in the country. We were lucky to have John himself here this week to talk us through that history, and taste their Black Label Gimblett Gravels wines from the 2014 vintage.

 The highlight of the evening was the two vintages of their flagship wine ‘Homage’. The 2014 has only just been bottled and will not be released until the end of the year. This was a real treat to be able to taste these two outstanding years side by side now. Homage was first produced in 2002, and is named as a tribute to the late Gerard Jaboulet of Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine in France’s Rhone Valley. They produced one of the world’s greatest Syrah in the form of the famous ‘La Chapelle’ Hermitage. Gerard was also a great friend of Robert and Robyn Wilson and had hosted many legendary dinners at the Bleeding Heart. John Hancock also worked alongside Gerard at Jaboulet’s cellars during the 1996 harvest, and when he left was presented with cuttings of Syrah from the La Chapelle vineyard, and Viognier from Les Jumelles in Cote Rotie. It was these cuttings that formed the basis of the plantings that now make up Homage.

2013 and 2014 are arguably the finest back to back vintages Hawkes Bay has ever seen. I haven’t tried the 2013 since last year and it is now looking much more integrated, while the 2014 is still trying to find its feet. If you prefer rich opulence, then the 2014 is the wine for you; the 2013 is a little darker and harder in character, but both are outstanding wines. Unlike some of the other ‘super premium’ Hawkes Bay Syrah, I find Homage less polished and refined on release, it just takes a lot more time to settle down into itself. This is a wine that demands at least 10 years of cellaring to really show what’s it’s made of. It’s more brutish, edgier and has tons of character. A few years back John and I also hosted a tasting where we compared 4 vintages of ‘Homage’ directly with ‘La Chapelle’ and La Petite Chapelle and they really do have a very similar character. Time and vine age will only serve to improve what Trinity Hill is producing down there. I’ve got a number of bottles in my own cellar, and so should you.

The wines tasted were:

Gimblett Gravels Marsanne / Viognier 2014, Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2014, Gimblett Gravels Tempranillo 2014, Gimblett Gravels ‘The Gimblett’ 2014 (Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc), Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2014, Homage 2014 (Pre Release), Homage 2013.

Posted by Regan McCaffery | Fine Wine Account Manager, Glengarry Wines Victoria Park, Auckland

Grant Burge of Barossa Valley – Glengarry Tasting Review by Regan McCaffery

Grant Burge is one of the Barossa Valley’s most respected producers. The Burge family’s winemaking history in the region can be traced back to 1855, when tailor John Burge, immigrated from England to the Barossa. John worked as a winemaker at Hillside Vineyards and his love of viticulture was passed onto his son Meshach, who continued the tradition making his first wine in 1865. This week we were privileged to have chief winemaker Craig Stansborough here with some of their premium range. He has just completed his 23rd vintage with the company, after Grant Burge himself offered him the job of cellar manager in 1993.

Grant Burge Cellar Door – Barossa Valley, South Australia

It’s been many years since Grant Burge had hosted an event in New Zealand, and it was extremely pleasing to see such high quality displayed across the entire range. These are also some of the best value wines I’ve tried in some time. Extremely affordable but with the capacity for good medium to long term cellaring. I was especially impressed with the pure expression of Cabernet displayed in the Cameron Vale 2013 for around $20. If you wanted something a little more mature then it was well worth stepping up to the 2010 Corryton Park, one of the highest and coolest sites in the entire Barossa. The Cabernets suit French Oak whereas the Filsell Old Vine Shiraz has a combination of French and American Oak. This wine is where Grant Burge originally made their mark in this country, and the 2013 vintage would make another great addition to a budding wine cellar. Craig commented that over time they have gradually been reducing the % of American Oak across the entire range, if you remember the wines from a decade or more ago.. these are very different.

Craig also hosted an event down at our Hutt Road store in Wellington and Meredith summed up the wines nicely.  “Looking back at my tasting notes, the words elegant and refined kept cropping up. They were also not overtly ‘Australian’ in the old sense which was very refreshing. The overwhelming impression in each of them was clearly one of great balance, and that’s what we are looking for in all of the great wines of the world. It’s a sense of harmony, where all the elements of fruit, tannin and acidity come together.”

The finest wine of the night was their icon Meschach Shiraz 2009, a great demonstrating of beautiful balanced power. Most of the fruit for this comes from small parcels around 100 years old that bring great intensity, but Craig explained that when they are tasting the lots, it is balance not concentration that is their primary concern. We double decanted this about 5 hours prior to the tasting and it really is showing well right now with beautiful complexity and great length. 2 days later it hasn’t skipped a beat, which match Craig assertion that it easily has 20 years ahead of it. For a wine that is acknowledged as one of Australia’s greatest Shiraz, it’s also great value at under $150.

The wines tasted in the night were: PinotNoir/Chardonnay Methode NV, Filsell Shiraz 2013, Distinction Balthasar Shiraz 2013, Cameron Cale Cabernet 2013 Distinction Corryton Cabernet 2013, Holy Trinity GSM 2012, Meshach Shiraz 2009, 10yr Tawny, 20yr tawny.