Well, December already team. It has been a strange year with a few downs to go along with the ups for some of us on a personal level.
That is not to say that it has been a bad year for our Cellar Club, quite the contrary in fact. Let’s review our year. By a long-established tradition, we began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and we continue to appreciate that Derek makes his premises available. February saw us heading to Askerne Estate in Hawkes Bay. The Hawkes Bay wineries never let you down. March was with the very well established Villa Maria presenting. While the winery originated in Auckland, the company has expanded over the years and produces wines from most of the major regions in New Zealand.
April saw something of a coup for the club with Joelle Thomson presenting. Joelle is a well-recognised personality in the New Zealand wine world as an author, wine writer and tutor. Another great tasting. May is the inevitable AGM then in June Simon Bell from Colab Wine Merchants took us on a tour of Europe. Simon brought along some large wine glasses and some time was spent on discussing the virtues and differences that wine glasses can make to your wine experience. On to July for the mid-year dinner at the Trade Kitchen.
Off to Nelson for the August tasting with Waimea Estate. Over the years Waimea has gathered 150+ Gold Medals and 26 Trophies across nine different wine styles. Nelson producers are right up there as a wine region. Cenna Lloyd for Negociants presented in September. She presented wines from two wineries, Misha’s Vineyard and Two Paddocks, both from Central Otago. Much enjoyed by those who attended and really great orders from a smaller group attending.
In October we celebrated the Rugby World Cup with a selection of wines from countries competing in the Cup. Keith Tibble was the presenter. November saw the very early return of Cenna Lloyd for the South American wine and food match evening outlined below. Cenna had been to South American after presenting in September and was keen to share her experience.
It only remains to anticipate yet another December Dinner. We have been to Cashmere Lounge before and we are sure you will not be disappointed.
Rest easy team, I am back. I would like to follow up on Wayne‘s message re the bit of disorganisation over the newsletter. Much has been happening in the last couple of months and Pat and I have spent six weeks in Sydney and are still getting back into a groove. Overseas visitors and other activities have further impacted. Please bear with us, things will come right in time. Some really excellent events coming up over the next year so there is much to look forward to.
Save the Date
This feature will continue over the next few months with the March event being the first of 3 special themed events your committee is planning in 2020 to celebrate our 40th anniversary. A full calendar of events will be sent out separately so you can update your diaries.
Please find attached the menu for the December Dinner. The second attachment is the payment advice for the November tasting. This includes a section allowing you to indicate preferences for the Dinner. The ability to let the restaurant know our requirements in advance is of benefit in keeping costs down.
Let me begin by again apologising for no newsletter last month. As I think I said in an email, Robin and Pat had to fly to Sydney suddenly and there simply wasn’t enough time to get it out. There is still no word as to when they may return, so please direct any communications to myself of another of the committee in the meantime.
Your news fix
Hopefully, this month’s newsletter will provide you with your news fix. That said, the objective of this newsletter is to dissimilate information, often with a generous sprinkling of humour. Given there is much information for you to read in this issue, please don’t just put it to one side after a quick scan. You may miss something.
Save the date
I would especially draw your attention to the section on Save the Date – Saturday 21st March 2020. This is the first of 3 special themed events your committee is planning in 2020 to celebrate our 40th anniversary. A full calendar of events will be sent out separately so you can update your diaries. These last 2 months has been a funny old one for your committee with much drama going on in our lives, interspersed with overseas travel for 3 or us and a couple of major knee ops for another. Sadly included in all this, was the passing of Anne’s mum very recently. The club did deliver some flowers and card to Anne expressing our condolences on behalf of you all.
The issue of the missing coat remains unsolved. Can I ask those who attended the Dinner to check their wardrobes? Someone has mistakenly taken Mary Taylor’s coat and left their own. If you have the wrong coat please let me know and I will arrange a transfer.
Regional Wines newsletter
Members might be interested in the Regional Wines newsletter. This is really a low key weekly prompt about their tastings and specials, rather than a full-blown newsletter. Members who may be interested in some of the events that Regional run can go online to Regional’s website – the prompt comes out mid-week each week.
A reminder to members that we are keen to attract new members. With this in mind, we have two membership deals. 1) If a member brings along a guest the member gets 50% of the door price. 2) if two guests come to the meeting then they pay one door price. Bring along friends etc who are interested in wine.
Report back from Saigon Van Grill
Many of you will have attended the Saigon Van Grill dinner last year. The servings were somewhat disappointing and there were complaints. Your committee has been in contact with the restaurant over a period of time resulting in an eventual small refund. Not enough to share around those attending so we used it to purchase the Prosecco for this year’s July dinner. Went down well we thought.
See you on Wednesday for yet another great tasting.
I never thought I would have to confess to anything along these lines, but while visiting our daughter in Sydney last week we actually drank a wine that she had only paid $1 for the bottle. To put as rosy a picture on this as is possible, it was an Australian dollar. Our daughter works for Woolworths and they have a staff store at their head office, so it was a staff discount, but still…….
As I wrote the last paragraph I thought to myself, what on earth’s name is the internet for, so I looked. The wine was a Cape Mentelle (Margaret River) Sauvignon / Semillon blend so I visited their website. It is advertised there for A$26. What a bargain, should have got a dozen.
Visit from Mel
Some of those who joined us more recently may not remember Mel Ingalls. Mel was a member of the Club for some time and a committee member with a number of those still on the committee now. He left to return to his native America. It was, therefore, quite an occasion that he was able to join us at the June tasting while he is spending a few weeks back in New Zealand. You are welcome Mel as always.
See you on Wednesday, with a lovely evening in prospect.
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.
Well, Robin and Pat are off on their cruise. I’m not sure their itinerary allows much chance to try local wines, but I’m sure that they will have fun working their way through the selection provided by their cruise liner.
I was sorry that I missed our last tasting, but as fortune would have it, I did get to taste some of the left-over wines at our committee meeting the following week and I particularly enjoyed the Montepulciano D’Abrusso, I have even made a mental note to call by Regional wines and grab a bottle or two.
Preparing the AGM
Your committee has been busy preparing for the AGM and finalising our calendar for the rest of the year. Have a look later in this newsletter to see the exciting events that are now all in flight.
Attached to this Newsletter you will find the minutes from the 2018 AGM. The President and Treasurer will present their reports on the night and details will subsequently be made available on the Club’s website for those who might be interested.
This is your club and the AGM does offer an opportunity to have your say and/or raise matters of interest. If you have ideas or thoughts to offer please don’t be shy to raise them.
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.
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.
It’s the start of another year with much to look forward to.
Now it may seem like a strange thing to say if you glance ahead to the coming events section, but things are quite well advanced with planning for the year. Just a small issue with the March tasting which might affect April. Don’t worry, as they say, it will all be right on the night.
Some interest has been expressed about recipes for the food matches which we occasionally prepare (or provide) for tastings. For those interested, the recipes for the matches we did back in November for the Portuguese tasting are available on the website. Also, Wayne is collating the 2017 Spanish recipes for inclusion on the website. We will look to include future recipes as tastings progress.
There were a few dishes etc left at Derek’s after the BBQ and I think these have been returned to their owners. If you have an item that you might have left there, let me know and we can pursue through Derek.
As I sit to prepare this newsletter Celine Dion is singing “Another year has gone by” in the background. Surely not, I say, but it is so. Where has it gone? We can start by reviewing our year. We began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and thanks to Derek for continuing to make his premises available. February saw us heading on a “Summer Romance – a love affair with Wine” where some of your committee members presented their favourite summer wines. In March Mark and Susan Haythornthwaite presented some of their “Haythornthwaite” wines and told us of the success they have had adding platters to the tasting experience at their premises.
In April Simon Bell from MacVine took us on a tour of Europe embracing France, Italy and Germany. May was the usual AGM then in June Unison Vineyards from the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay presented some lovely wines. July was something of a disappointment when we went to Saigon Van Grill Bar. The meal was lacking, particularly in quantity, and subsequent efforts to redress the problem have been futile. Never mind, we were back on track in August with a great tasting from Clearview.
September saw a continuation with European wines when Maison Vauron gave us a taste of French wine with some cheese matches. Then who could forget Negociants presentation from that iconic Barossa winery, Yalumba.
The tastings for the year finished with a return to Europe, this time Portugal with Confidant Wines, and some great wine with food matches. All this travel and we haven’t had to leave home.
As I finish this Celine has moved on to “Holy Night” and is singing about a night divine. I can’t quite work out if she means Christmas Eve or the December Dinner at Juniper. You be the judge.
I raised the issue of letting the committee know of your intentions when it came to tastings involving the preparation of food to enhance your tasting experience. Clearly, you will already have noticed that we are seeking your assistance with this again for the November tasting. Grateful if you can let Richard know if you will be attending.
We have had a great reaction to our request for members to take home the glasses used at Club tastings for those attending who do not have their own. We have about 5 names already and would like to thank those that have offered. Would love to have more names however so please let us know if you can assist. We are arranging the purchase of a container which will fit about 16 glasses. This should make the task of carrying and cleaning very manageable.
Negotiations with Saigon Van Grill Bar over some level of compensation concerning the July dinner seem to have stalled and we are not hopeful of getting a result for members. If this situation changes we will let you know but we are not holding our collective breaths.
For goodness sake, surely it can’t be November already.