Westmere Wine Club: Rockburn with Rebecca Poynter

Last night we held our April Wine Club at the Glengarry Westmere store and were delighted to host Rebecca from Rockburn who presented a fantastic line up. Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the Sauvignon Blanc, stunned by the Tigermoth Riesling (which we learnt has an interesting naming history) and the favourite of the night was Rockburn’s delicious Seven Barrels Pinot Noir. The night also included many entertaining stories of the wine industry from over the years, from both Rebecca and our customers! Thank you to everyone for coming along and braving the Auckland weather for a wonderful night of wine, cheese and stories. We look forward to seeing you at the next one!

Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration 2018

Set in the jaw dropping beauty of Queenstown, the 13th Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration was a three-day exploratory journey into the culture, passion and diversity of Central Otago Pinot Noir. Hosted in one of the world’s most dramatic and awe-inspiring wine regions, this is a unique opportunity to engage with the region’s top winemakers and other leading wine personalities and enthusiasts from all over the world. Glengarry Wines‘ Sophie Delich writes about her experience.


Day One

The theme for 2018 was ‘connections’ and this was explored on Day One with the Discovery Tasting. Hosted by three winemakers (each with a background wine making in an international region not dissimilar to Central Otago) the tasting was an opportunity to taste their version and understand what goes into making wine in a new and challenging region.

Wines Tasted

Littorai The Pivot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2015 (California)

Burn Cottage Pinot Noir 2015 (Central Otago)

Domaine Gilbert et Christine Felettig Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Combottes (Burgundy)

Prophets Rock Cuvee Aux Antipodes 2015 (Central Otago)

Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2015 (Australia)

Charteris Te Tahi Pinot Noir 2015 (Central Otago)


Day Two

Off to the Grand Tasting held at the spectacular Amisfield Winery. This tasting is where all of the producers involved are in one place, giving everybody the chance to talk one on one with them and get answers to any questions they have. Each producer presented two wines; most chose their current vintage and also an older example. This was an amazing opportunity to taste some very rare and exciting wines.

Wines Tasted

Too many to name 😉


Day Three

The tasting today was one of the most interesting and engaging I have attended.

Hosted by Elaine Chukan Brown (one of the world’s most respected communicators of wine) alongside winemakers from the region, the focus of the tasting was the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the diverse appellations within.  Elaine has spent a lot of time with the winemakers from this region and as she explained the characters and traits of the winemakers and vineyards, you could really see their personalities coming out in the wine. Fantastic wines and fantastic speakers, this tasting will be remembered as a highlight of the trip for many attendees.

Wines Tasted

Eyrie Outcrop Pinot Noir 2014 (Dundee Hills)

Elk Cove Mount Richmond Pinot Noir 2014 (Yamhill-Carlton)

Bergstrom Silice Pinot Noir 2015 (Chehalem Mountains)

Francis Tannahill The Hermit Pinot Noir 2014 (Dundee Hills)

Brooks Janus Pinot Noir 2014 (Willamette Valley)

Antica Terra Antikythera Pinot Noir 2014 (Eola-Amity Hills)

Day Johan Vineyards Pinot Noir 2015 (Willamette Valley)


Pinot 2014 the final fling

The final day of the event started a little too early for some, with the formal tasting, an opportunity to look at a serious collection of Burgundy and explore ‘Les Climats of Burgundy’. The wines themselves made for an interesting tasting, to have on the panel Aubert de Villane, made it a once in a lifetime moment. The line up;

Domaine Chevrot Maranges Villages Sur le Chene 2010
Domaine Chevrot Maranges Villages 1er Cru Le Clos Roussots 2010
Domaine Marquis d Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds 2008
Domaine Marquis d Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs 2008
Domaine Dujac Echezeaux Grand Cru 2008
DRC Echezeaux Grand Cru 2008

The two Maranges wines up first punched well above their class, showing not only the brilliance of the 2010 vintage but reminding of the quality of a somewhat lesser known village and the value you can still find in burgundy. Each pair had a similar voice and character, the Volnays pretty fragrant and although both 1er Cru are positioned relatively close to each other, clearly demonstrating the individuality of the climat. The last pair were both superb wines- as you’d expect, whilst showing a similarity in character from place, the role of the winemaker was significant in the character of these wines. Whilst the 2010 vintage wines were a lovely start to this tasting, the 2008’s reminded one not to right off a so called lesser vintage, or as Aubert de Villane put it a more difficult year, these wines were sensational.

There was much discussion on the wines, climat and a bunch of conversation that you’d wonder firstly how it translates from kiwi and secondly the relevance – Public toilets and thinking time – really? Anyway, as always thought provoking and stimulating. There was comparison to Burgundy and thankfully agreement that Central Otago as a wine growing region does not have similarities to Burgundy, it is it’s own special part if the world and a magical one at that. Maybe we are one step closer to being proud of nz made wines without feeling a great desire to compare ourselves to and strive to be French. An analogy that I did enjoy was the similarity of the people behind the great wines of Burgundy and Central Otago, all driven by that same passion for great wine.

Pinot celebration 2014

Following a mornings tasting of the 2012 wines of the region, we headed to Akarua in Bannockburn for lunch. A marque nestled in the vines greeted us, as did a glass of Akarua’s excellent rose bubbly, delicate, just the right color pink, gentle yet rich. The menu was superb, starting with whitebait fritters matched with the Akarua Vintage brut. The main course was really well done, a set of platters of venison, merino lamb racks, boiled potatoes, plenty of vegetables and an excellent Israeli couscous salad. The reds, a Pinot and Syrah – not a typo here, the Syrah was from Lowburn Ferry, a spicy little number it went very well with the curried eggplant that accompanied the venison. For dessert, Malcom Rees Francis’s Tigermoth Riesling – brilliant wine on its own, it sang magically with the lemon dessert. A brilliant lunch and what a view. We then stopped (all 45 of us) at Matt Connell and Matt Dicey’s local, the Cromwell pub. The poor girl behind the bar was slightly over whelmed, a glass of Emerson’s Pilsner and then it was back to Queenstown for a rest before an evening at Jacks Point. The wines for the evening were varied as the wineries showed some of their whites, older reds, larger formats, in fact you name it and it was definitely there. Highlights for me; Peregrine Chardonnay, Mount Edward Pinot Blanc, Terra Sancta Rose, Quartz Reef Pinot 2004 from magnum and Chard Farm Viper Pinot 2002.

Pinot Celebration 2014

The Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration is celebrating it’s 10th event this year. It’s a great occasion, an opportunity to explore the region and see the latest releases from the every expanding number of wineries here.

Pinot 2014 started last night with an official opening at Rata, before I get to the wine, the goats cheese and honey in choux at Rata are to die for, I can see why they’ve been on the menu since they opened.

Following the official part of the evening, we were hosted by the Mud House team at Botswana Butchery. Doing my bit, in a very small way for Central, there’s one less rabbit, the Bendigo rabbit, bacon and mustard pie was outstanding. The meal at Botswana was very good, great wines and company, a nice way to start.

An early start today and a good thing that was, with the opportunity to taste over 30 producers 2012 Pinot Noir and an older wine of their choice – my picks? There were lots of excellent wines, a few stood out;

Mud House 431 Pinot Noir 2012
Terra Sancta Slapjack Pinot Noir 2011
Wooing Tree Sandstorm Pinot Noir 2009
Aurum Madeleine Pinot Noir 2012
Akarua Pinot Noir 2012
Burn Cottage Pinot Noir 2012
Chard Farm Viper Pinot Noir 2012
Doctors Flat Pinot Noir 2012
Ellero Pinot Noir 2011
Felton Road Calvert  Noir 2012
Gibbston Glenlee Pinot Noir 2011
Mt Edward Morrison Pinot Noir 2011
Rippon Pinot Noir 2011
Rockburn Pinot Noir 2012

Quite an extensive list really, but in the context of the number I tried, a small subset of some very smart wines. Following the tasting we headed to Akarua for a stunning lunch, more on that in the next post.

E’Sensual Central

It’s been too long between visits and boy am I pleased to be here, flying into Queenstown on a clear winter day is just magic. I am here for a Central Otago event, E’Sensual Central Otago, joined by a vibrant group of hospo folk from many corners of the world, a wine writer from Germany and a retailer from across the ditch.

The schedule has us look at central sub regionally, day one is all about Gibbston Valley – including a bungy for those brave enough (not for me). We started the day at Mt Edward where Duncan Forsyth and Grant Taylor shared their vast combined knowledge of the area. The tasting looked in pairs at the various subregions from 2006 through to 2011, the stand outs for me were the Rippon 2008 (Wanaka) Burn Cottage 2010 (Lowburn) and Mount Edward Morrison 2011 (Wanaka road). Whilst an interesting look at the sub regions, this tasting showed for me the difference of the vintages clearly and the vast improvements in winemaking skill and experience.

Lunch was at Peregrine, where we were treated to a viticulture talk and compost visit – great smell. Prior to lunch Nadine Cross has prepared three wines, same vintage and all crafted by her, yet all from different sub regions – Bendigo, Gibbston and Lowburn – this was a fascinating look at the sub regions taking vintage and winemaker out of the equation.

20130729-234258.jpgPrior to dinner, we had a Gibbston tasting presented by Chris Keys in the back of the Gibbston Winery Cave. The biggest learning was the different aspects primarily due to altitude within this sub region, the higher the more florals and herbal notes, the lower the firmer tannin structure ( generalizations, but interesting)

Dinner at Gibbston winery was a lovely finish to the day, tomorrow we move to review Cromwell’s delights.