And, just for some variety, the “Dad Joke” hater has provided me with some insults for inclusion:
“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill “A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” – Winston Churchill “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” – Oscar Wilde “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright “He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating
The AGM went well. The supper was well received and having bubbles at the supper was a hit. Good feedback was received about the supper and the wine. Your committee was returned unopposed and unchanged. I am sure that this means you are happy with the way that club activities are running. Just remember, we always welcome feedback and/or suggestions from members, so let us know what you are thinking.
You can breathe a sigh of relief. The real Editor is back.
Mind you as I sit here preparing this newsletter it is 4.50 pm yet almost dark, the rain is lashing on the roof and pouring over the side of the spouting outside the door, and the temperature is a balmy 8°, and to top it all off the Golf course was closed because of flooding. Where are the deserts of the UAE when you need them.
Just to answer Wayne’s question from the last month, yes we did have the opportunity to sample a couple of wines while we travelled. The cruise ship did not have a particularly good selection. We had a Grant Burge early in the cruise but it quickly disappeared off the wine list as did a number of others, and the selection became quite limited. We were able to sample a couple of Maltese wines, and two from Spain when we stopped in Barcelona. These were OK without being special. After paying between 9 and 12 $US for a glass (and not a particularly generous one) on the ship, we were probably overwhelmed by the significantly lesser price for bottles purchased onshore.
Events & subscription renewal
It’s that time of year again when we have several issues to deal with associated with the two upcoming tastings and renewal of subscriptions. Attached to the June dinner event you will find an attached payment advice form and the menu from Trade Kitchen.
Please complete the form and bring it to the June tasting or send to Wayne. Note that we are asking that you complete details of your requirements for the July dinner. This will make it easier for the restaurant on the night. And please check out the survey question. Of course, we are also asking you to part with some of your hard earned money but that is sort of normal for us.
See you next week, with another great tasting in store.
A newly released bottle of 156-year-old Niepoort in a Lalique crystal decanter has become the most expense Port sold at auction after fetching more than HK$1m, according to those involved in the sale.
Hong Kong’s Grand Hyatt hotel was the venue for the new Port auction record, in a sale organised by Sotheby’s.
A buyer paid HK$1.054m (US$134,000; £102,000) for the Niepoort in Lalique 1863. All proceeds will go to The Nature Conservancy charity.
The previous world record was set in November last year for a bottle of the same Port, also in Lalique, after a buyer paid HK$992,000 at an Acker, Merrall & Condit auction.
There are five Lalique demijohn decanters of the rare Niepoort 1863, each engraved with the name of one of the five generations of the van der Niepoort family, said Lalique following last weekend’s Sotheby’s auction.
Two decanters have now been sold at auction, with the second a tribute to Eduard Karel Jacob van der Niepoort.
Dirk van der Niepoort, of the fifth generation and who runs the company today, said, ‘We are thrilled to achieve another landmark price for what is the oldest Port we have ever bottled.’
Silvio Denz, chairman and CEO of Lalique, said: ‘This new world record highlights the exceptional nature of the decanters and the remarkable quality of the Niepoort 1863. We are delighted that all net proceeds from the sale will benefit a charity that carries out hugely important work to preserve nature.’
There have been several auction records in recent months.
A bottle of DRC Romanée-Conti 1945 set a new record for wine in general after selling for $558,000 at a Sotheby’s sale in October 2018.
Yet another excellent tasting with Marc Udy from Villa Maria, ably assisted by Kirsty Warbrick, presenting a range of great wines including some from their Platinum Range. Marc is one of the winemakers from Marlborough. He was a good speaker and the consensus is that the winery has been really easy to deal with.
To reiterate the tasting included the Cellar Selection Rose 2018; Reserve Wairua Sauvignon 2018; Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Gris 2018; Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016; Platinum Selection Pinot Noir 2018; Cellar Selection Grenache 2017, rounded off with the Cellar Selection Late Harvest Riesling 2015. An enjoyable night.
As I mentioned last month it is with some regret that (having said it is not to be missed) I will miss it and the AGM next month. Never mind, I will have 30 days at sea to help me get over it.
Naturally, I will not be able to put together the May Newsletter. Wayne will take care of this and will ensure that all the necessary documentation is forwarded to members as appropriate for the AGM. We would suggest you print off copies of the documentation and bring it with you as it can be difficult for committee members to provide sufficient copies on the night.
The programme for the year to come might appear to lack substance but your committee is working on a number of initiatives and you can be assured that an enjoyable year of tastings and events is being planned and confirmed. Watch this space.
Industry body New Zealand Winegrowers has teamed up with podcast creator Lawrence Francis of Interpreting Wine in order to provide in-depth coverage of its annual tasting.
The podcast series will take the form of seven episodes, featuring interviews with four winemakers and three regional masterclasses.
The first episode will be unveiled today (18 February) with all seven due to be released by 24 February.
The podcasts are available free of charge on major platforms including Spotify and iTunes. They will also be made available on the New Zealand Winegrowers website at a later date.
The episode schedule is as follows: episode one, Jamie Marfell, group winemaker at Pernod Ricard; episode two, Warren Gibson, winemaker at Trinity Hill; episode three, Sam Bennett, winemaker at Te Pa Wines; episode four, Kevin Judd, winemaker and owner at Greywacke; episode five, Rebecca Gibb MW, a masterclass on Central Otago, episode six, Ronan Sayburn MS and Kevin Judd, a masterclass on Marlborough; and episode seven, Rebecca Gibb MW, a masterclass on Hawke’s Bay
Europe marketing manager at New Zealand Winegrowers, Chris Stroud, commented: “We were delighted when Lawrence approached us to cover our annual tasting on his podcast. This series allows people who were not able to attend our tasting the opportunity to hear directly from the winemakers and learn from the regional masterclasses. We hope it brings a flavour of New Zealand to them.”
Lawrence Francis, content director at Interpreting Wine added: “Podcasting is a versatile and effective tool for wine communication. I know farmers who listen to the show on their tractors and others who play it while driving or working off their wine calories in the gym. In September 2018 Ofcom found that half of UK podcast listeners are under 35 so I think it’s an excellent way to connect with young wine drinkers.”
New Zealand Winegrowers’ annual London tasting took place on 16 January this year. You can listen to the podcast series here.
I have decided to move away from wine jokes this month. Editor’s privilege you understand. I came across an item on “lexophiles”, a play on words, and decided I would try a few.
To write with a broken pencil is pointless. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s really good, I just can’t put it down. I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, then it dawned on me. I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop anytime. A thief who stole a calendar got 12 months. A will is a dead giveaway. A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail. He had a photographic memory but it was never fully developed. Police were summoned to a day-care centre where a three year old was resisting a rest.
Another great evening with nice wines and an informative presenter. John Loughlin was a pleasure to deal with and kept the meeting running to time. A good level of orders resulted. But that all our tastings were as easy to organize as this one was. John says he would be more than happy to come back and has some interesting wines that we haven’t yet tried. We will keep this in mind.
The wines tasted included; Askerne Sauv Blanc / Sauv Gris / Semillon 2018 as the quaffer; followed by; Askerne Reserve Chardonnay 2016; Askerne Viognier 2018; Askerne Gewürztraminer 2016; Askerne Syrah 2015; Askerne Merlot Cab Franc Cab Sauv Malbec 2015; Askerne 2016 Cabernet Franc; rounded off with the Askerne Dessert Cabernet 2018.
A couple of your committee members have done some great work in sorting out tastings over the next two months. You will note that things have now been settled and we can look forward to two great evenings. Special thanks to Wayne and Murray for their efforts in putting these together. Just remains for us to enjoy them. Check out the events page.
Little bit late
This newsletter is a little bit later in the month than we would like but we wanted to have as much information available as possible. My personal regret is that I will miss Joelle as we will be embarking on a 31-night cruise. Sometimes you just have to make sacrifices. I often say that a tasting is not to be missed but, to be fair, that applies to all of them.
The ‘who’s who’ of the wine world descended on Marlborough for a three-day International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration kicking off on Monday 28 January.
“We have over 100 international wine producers, experts and key influencers visiting, giving us an exceptional opportunity to shine the spotlight on our diverse Sauvignon Blanc offerings,” said Sauvignon 2019 Chair, Patrick Materman. The event boasted a world-class line-up of speakers who are experts in the fields of science, research, journalism and gastronomy.
Internationally acclaimed wine writer Matt Kramer returned to New Zealand to explore Sauvignon Blanc’s place in the world of wine and speak on the future of Sauvignon Blanc. Nine Masters of Wine from all over the globe were among the speakers, including Debra Meiburg, founding Director of Meiburg Wine Media, and Sarah Heller, Asia Pacific’s youngest MW at 30 years of age, from Hong Kong. From the UK came Justin Howard-Sneyd, buyer and consultant for over 20 years with some of the UK’s leading distributors, and David Allen, originally from the UK and Director of WineSearcher. Dirceu Vianna Junior was the first South American male to obtain the title of Master of Wine and joined from Brazil, and Tim Hanni hailing from the US, where he is Managing Director of eCode.me and HanniCo LLC. Completing the exemplary line up were New Zealanders Emma Jenkins, Sam Harrop and Steve Smith.
Over 350 guests were expected to attend the celebration, which took attendees on a journey exploring the complexity of Sauvignon Blanc, emerging styles, vineyard practices, winemaking influences and future trends. The International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration is built around three themes; Place, Purity and Pursuit. Day one was themed Place and drew on Tūrangawaewae, the geographical places we feel empowered and connected to. Day two, with the theme of Purity, explored topics such as climate, sustainability and flavour. Finally, Day three dealt with what we should pursue domestically and globally, outlining future challenges and opportunities for the New Zealand wine industry.
The spectacular evening entertainment was also a highlight, with the sold-out gala event ‘Blanc’, a dinner-en-blanc theme, hosting 480 guests at Brancott Vineyard on the second evening of the 2019 celebration. Celebrity chef Martin Bosley was the culinary director of the gourmet feast that was matched with older vintages from the cellars of our wineries. The International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration brought this diverse, expressive and sought-after variety to centre stage for three action-packed days in Marlborough.
A man walks into a bar and ordered a glass of white wine. He took a sip of the wine, then tossed the remainder into the bartender’s face. Before the bartender could recover from the surprise, the man began weeping. “I’m really sorry. I keep doing that to bartenders. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to have a compulsion like this.”
Far from being angry, the bartender was sympathetic. Before long, he was suggesting that the man see a psychoanalyst about his problem. “I happen to have the name of a psychoanalyst,” the bartender said. “My brother and my wife have both been treated by him, and they say he’s as good as they come.” The man wrote down the name of the doctor, thanked the bartender, and left. The bartender smiled, knowing he’d done a good deed for a fellow human being.
Six months later, the man was back. “Did you do what I suggested?” the bartender asked, serving the glass of white wine. “I certainly did,” the man said. “I’ve been seeing the psychoanalyst twice a week.”
He took a sip of the wine. Then he threw the remainder into the bartender’s face. The flustered bartender wiped his face with a towel. “The doctor doesn’t seem to be doing you any good,” he spluttered. “On the contrary,” the man said,” he’s done me a world of good.”
“But you just threw the wine in my face again!” the bartender exclaimed. “Yes” the man said. “But it doesn’t embarrass me anymore!