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.
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.
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.
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.
Prior 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.