A packed future for club events

Future event for the club in late 2020 and into 2021 is packed with a range of presenters and no less than three food and wine events .

  • November 18th – – Our 40th Anniversary dinner at Bellamy’s (run by Logan Brown) at the Beehive

The first Club meeting was held in the month of November. To recognise that historic milestone, a celebratory dinner has been arranged, to be held at Bellamy’s by Logan Brown at their restaurant in the Beehive. This is set down for Wednesday 18 November, so check your diaries for availability.

Details will be sent out shortly, asking for your registration and to make your selection from the accompanying menu. As for any such venue, there will be a limit on numbers which means you should register quickly to secure your place.

The food promises to be of very high quality. So, book your place and go dig around in your wine stocks to find the special bottle (or two) that you think will go best with your selection to bring with you.

Your Committee is excited about this event and is sure you will be too.

  • December 9th –A Fun evening with CoLab, Simon Bell
  • January: BBQ at Derek’s
  • February: Coney’s for the 13th February 2021 – our postponed 40thanniversary outing to the Wairarapa [to include visits to Palliser and
    Grave/Alana]
  • March: Hawkesridge Winery (Hawkes Bay)
  • April: Del Mundo – Seaview – TBC
  • May: AGM
  • June: Mahi Wines (Marlborough) – tbc
  • July: Mid-year dinner
  • August: Aussie evening – TBC
  • September: Gordon Russell of Esk Valley
  • October: Sherwood from Waipara – TBC.

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Cellar club celebration

Gerald Rillstone, Independent Hearld | Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lover of wine Alan Evans with one of his favourites a bottle of 1997 Chateau Troplong Mondot.
Lover of wine Alan Evans with one of his favourites a bottle of 1997 Chateau Troplong Mondot.

What better way to celebrate four decades of tasting great wine than to have Wellingtons best-known champion of the grape present a special selection from his own cellar.

And that’s what they did to celebrate the 40th birthday of the Cellar Club in Johnsonville with Alan Evans presenting a range of wines from his own collection.

It was, some say, one of the most prestigious tastings in the 40 years of the club’s existence.

Alan joined the club in 1987 and has held the roles of Editor 10 years and President 8 years and was made a life member in 2010 and still attends the dinners and the occasional tasting.

2017 Troplong Mondot St Emilion Grand Cru
2017 Troplong Mondot St Emilion Grand Cru

He is also a Past President of the Magnum Society that was a Wellington-based wine group founded in 1972. “We buy wines that we will be drinking in about ten years time or whatever the drinking window is he says which is a lot of fun and a bit of a gamble too,” Alan says.

“We have tastings going up to around 2034.”

He is also the cellar master for the Tinakori branch of the International Beef Steak and Burgundy Club.

Alan’s love of wine was a natural progression, he says, from an interest in ciders in the 1960s to the wines of Henderson in the mid-1970s. He has an extensive temperature-controlled cellar and over the years has developed a love of European wines which he augments with premium NZ and Australian varietals.

He says these days he has the luxury of having access to a plethora of online reviews so he has a fair idea of what a wine is going to be like before he tastes it.

“I do a lot of reading about what’s new and what to expect from the wine and I am not as surprised as I used to be but there are still surprises,” he says.

Alan says the Troplong Mondot they were tasting for the celebration, according to reviews, is best consumed around 2020 to 2022 and he has tried it and it is perfect.

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Alan Evans tasting in review – August 2020

It’s excellent now we’re in COVID19 Level One! Well done everyone!

“One of the most prestigious tastings in the 40 years of the club’s existence”. That’s what the Independent Herald wrote in their 17th September issue when reviewing last month’s tasting. And what a night it was. For those of you fortunate enough to attend our second (and last?) meeting under COVID Level 2, I am sure you will agree it was impressive.

Celebrating 40 years of tastings 2001 Penfolds 389 1991 Te Mata Estate Coleraine

Presented by Life Member and former President, Alan Evans, this carefully curated (by Alan and Wayne) selection was sourced from Alan’s temperature-controlled cellar and the Club’s cellar. This is what they came up with:

  • 2016 Ogier Cotes du Rhone Blanc
  • 2016 Askerne Semillon
  • 2017 Dom. Vincent Careme Vouvray Le Clos
  • 2011 Penfolds 389
  • 2001 Penfolds 389
  • 1991 Coleraine
  • 2017 Troplong Mondot St Emilion Grand Cru

It is difficult to pick favourites as all the wines were superb. However, there was some consensus at our table, so I will highlight a couple. Of the whites, the Ogier Cotes du Rhone Blanc was our pick. This bargain-priced (under $20) blend contains five grapes: Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bouroulene, Roussane and Viognier. Produced without any oak at all, it showcases the region’s fruit above all else. Alan has become an expert in that region since, as he explained, at the Magnum Society the popular areas of France, i.e. Bordeaux and Burgundy, had already been taken. No one wanted Cotes du Rhone, so he took it!

Of the reds, it was the two Penfolds 389’s, their classic and much sought after Cabernet Shiraz wine, that was favoured at our table. Opinion differed as to which was the best but to me, it was 2001. Deep colour and very concentrated, it showed the benefits of keeping this wine for almost two decades. Alan explained that Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Poor Man’s Grange’ or ‘Baby Grange’ because the wine is said to be matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. Interestingly 2001 was under cork while 2011 had a screw cap. Alan gave us the latest thinking on screw caps where there have been some disappointing results for cellared wines: the sulfur dioxide levels can be too high and produce rotten egg aromas. Some producers are returning to cork now that they can get guaranteed taint-free products like the Diam. The majority of Penfolds’ top-end red wines are now 100 per cent cork-sealed. They are also looking into the use of glass closures. Alan’s tip on removing that sulphur rotten egg smell: dip a copper penny into the wine and it will convert it to odourless copper sulphide!

This meeting was a highlight of our 40th Anniversary year and was a good opportunity to taste older cellared wines. A huge thanks go to Alan who indicated he is happy to do a similar tasting at some stage in the future.

Author – Terry Friel 

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Wairarapa here we come!!

We have good news for our many members who’d booked to spend a day wining and dining in the Wairarapa back in March before COVID19 scuttled our plans.

This trip is now rescheduled for Saturday, 13 February 2021 so lock that into your calendars!. Read more about the trip.

Some of you were unable to come on the March trip because you’d booked overseas holidays (remember when we used to do that?!) Of course we still welcome any members who weren’t on the original list – please email Wayne to have your name added and organise payment of the $75 per head.

Palliser Estate

Grave Wines

alana wines

We plan to follow the same schedule as we’d planned for last March. We’ll update it closer to the date when the train times for that period have been loaded onto the Metlink website.

Instead of launching the club’s 40th birthday celebrations, this event will wrap them up so come along and make it a great day to mark this special milestone.

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Alan Evans presenting – Sept 2020

Celebrating 40 years of tastings
Celebrating 40 years of tastings

Without a doubt, this would be one of the most prestigious tastings in the 40 years of the club’s existence.

And who better to present these wines, than one of our life members, Alan Evans.

Alan joined the club in 1987 and has held the roles of Editor [10 years] and President [8 years]. He was made a life member in 2010 and still attends our dinners and the occasional tasting.

He is also a Past President of the Magnum Society that was a Wellington-based wine group founded in 1972 and currently is the Cellar Master of the Tinakori branch of the international Beefsteak and Burgundy Club.

Alan’s love of wine was a natural progression, he says, from an interest in ciders in the 1960s to the wines of Henderson in the mid-1970s. He has an extensive temperature-controlled cellar and over the years has developed a love of European wines which he augments with premium NZ and Australian varietals.

2001 Penfolds 389
2001 Penfolds 389

The committee approached Alan to see if he would be prepared to present some of his premium cellared wines as one of our marquee events to celebrate our 40 years of tastings and he has not disappointed. The following list of wines is stunning.

  • 2016 Ogier Cote du Rhone White [Introductory wine]
  • 2016 Askerne Semillon
  • Loire Chenin Blanc
  • 2011 Penfolds 389 [from our own cellar]
  • 2001 Penfolds 389
  • 1991 Coleraine
  • 2017 Troplong Mondot [St Emilion Grand Cru]
1991 Te Mata Estate Coleraine
1991 Te Mata Estate Coleraine

The ’91 Coleraine was rated by a group of wine experts three years ago as the 5th best Coleraine ever made and is a personal favourite of John Buck, winemaker and Chairman of Te Mata Estate Winery. It was also rated by Geoff Kelly, alongside the 1987 Stonyridge Larose, as “one of the few great achievements in the first 26 years or so of cabernet and cabernet/merlot wine styles, in the modern phase of New Zealand viticulture”.

And if that isn’t enough to wet your taste buds, go and google our last wine.

As I said at the outset, this is a prestigious tasting of premium wines which I suspect, many of us have never tasted before. We are indeed lucky to have that opportunity this month.

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March & future events

Clearly, as we had no Club activity during March looking back has little value. As it happens it is equally difficult to look forward in our current environment. Suffice it to say that your committee will keep abreast of developments and will make appropriate plans when things become clearer. The Wairarapa trip and The Crater Rim will be foremost in our future arrangements.

Palliser Estate Wines
grava Martinborough
Alana Wines
Coney Wines

The Crater Rim

Clearly COVID-19 has forgotten to consider our club’s 40th-anniversary celebrations.  Your committee is still focused on holding these events as we can and planning is well underway for a dinner at a pretty special venue in November.  So let’s hope the lockdown is a distant memory by then and we can all make up for lost time with a great night out.  In the meantime, we trust all of us are doing our bit to help wineries stay financially afloat.

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2020 is a very special year for our club

2020 is a very special year for our club. We will celebrate 40 years of activity and tastings as the year progresses. Because of special events being organised, you will note that this newsletter has a slightly different approach in that we are setting out activities for the first three months rather than one month at a time. I am sure that for many of you this is your favourite read but don’t be alarmed, so much is happening that we will continue to come at you monthly.

Please find the proposed events for the year and a Payment Advice for the February meeting.

A very interesting start to the year and we intend to keep the pressure on throughout the year.

Cheers
Robin Semmens
Editor

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Newsletter, Save the Date, Dinner

Newsletter

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.

Dinner

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.

See you there Wednesday,

Cheers
Robin Semmens
Editor

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Save the date – Saturday 21st March 2020

This is the date of our planned day trip to the Wairarapa, the highlight of which will be a wine tasting and a lunch at Coney Wines.

A full itinerary for the day is being prepared and we will let you know the information once it is finalised.

In the meantime, please put this date on your fridge, in your diaries or use whatever favourite way of remembering you have. You will not want to miss this event.

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Your news fix, Save the date

From the Acting Editor,

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.

See you there next week,

Cheers Wayne Kennedy, Acting Editor

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