Wairarapa Wine Trip – Saturday, 13 February

44 people are booked to go to on this trip, which includes a tasting and then lunch at Coney Wines.

If you are one of that 44 and can no longer go, it is imperative that you text or ring Gayl on 021 040 6244 and let her know before this weekend as Coneys are seeking urgent confirmation of our numbers.

Once we do that, any subsequent cancellation is unlikely to result in a refund.
Sadly, Palliser Estate is no longer part of our itinerary as they want to focus on the operation of their new restaurant which adjoins their tasting area, much like what we will experience at Coney Wines.

Updated details including times and the replacement winery will be emailed to everyone early next month, if not beforehand.

Palliser Estate

Grave Wines

alana wines

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The Cellar Club 40th Anniversary special – Trip to Martinborough

This is the 2020 timetable and is indicative only. Some minor changes are expected for 2021

Timetable

  • 45 am, Saturday, 21 March, Wellington Railway Station – meet the rest of the group on the platform that the train leaves from (see the departures board at the station). Train departs Wellington Station at 9.55 am so please be on the platform by 9.45 am so that we can form into a group and hopefully commandeer our own carriage! Tickets (one way or return) can be purchased at the station ticket office or on the train. The cost is $25 same-day return or $19 one way. Tickets bought on the train require payment in cash only. Gold Cardholders can use those.
  • Train arrives at Featherston at 10.55 am. This is where we meet the bus.
  • On arrival in Martinborough, there will be wine tastings at Palliser Estate and Grava/Alana winery from 11.15 am. Palliser Estate will provide a flight of five wines at a cost of $10, refundable with a purchase. Grava/Alana will provide five wines and a sticky also for $10, refundable with a purchase. Group A will go to Palliser first and Group B to Grava and we’ll swap over halfway through.
  • 55 pm – the bus will commence pick-ups at Palliser with Alana/Grava pick-up shortly after that time. Please be ready!
  • It’ll then take us to Coneys for a leisurely lunch from 1.15 pm. We will start with a wine tasting (charge included with lunch cost) which will be accompanied by small taste plates. This will be followed by a lunch that includes two mains plus sides together with petit fours for dessert. A limited amount of wine will be provided with the meal. Please note that if you order any wine over and above that supplied, or tea or coffee this will be at your own expense.
  • The bus will leave Coneys in time to connect with the train at Featherston where it is due to depart at 5.25 pm.
  • 25 pm– scheduled arrival time at Wellington Station.

Some additional points to note:

  • To ensure we keep on schedule and as a courtesy to others please make sure you are ready for the bus on time. It does take a few minutes to get everyone on board and settled before it can move on.
  • Please also see the “Important things to know” sheet for further details.

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Wairarapa trip – Saturday, 13 February

Tim Coney of Coney Wines in Martinborough. Photo: Loren Dougan/Fairfax media.
Tim Coney of Coney Wines in Martinborough. Photo: Loren Dougan/Fairfax media.

As mentioned in September, the trip we had to postpone earlier this year is back on for Saturday, 13 February next year and it promises to be a great day.

To enable us to finalise the arrangements and ensure we have a big enough bus, we now need all members to read the following and then email Wayne to confirm your status for the new date.

The club is holding the payments of most of those members who’d committed to going this year (ie, those who didn’t request a refund) and of course, we welcome other members who are now in a position to join the trip.

So please email Wayne by Friday, 11 December, and advise him of one of the following options, along with all applicable names.

  1. I/we booked and paid for the March trip and will also be coming in February 2021.
  2. I/we booked and paid for the March trip but are unable to come in February 2021 so would ask you to arrange a refund.
  3. I/we were not on the list for the March trip but would now like to be added.
  4. I/we were not on the list for the March trip and will not be attending in February 2021.

Please note that if you are C, you will also need to deposit $75 into the club’s bank account 06 0541 0056031 00 before 24 December.

We plan to follow the same timetable as we’d planned for last March to save you searching your inboxes. This document is just to refresh your memory – we’ll update it closer to the date when the train times for that period are confirmed. It’s also likely that we’ll be visiting a different winery to Palliser, as they are now focusing on their new restaurant, rather than tastings. Details to follow.

Palliser Estate

Grave Wines

alana wines

Come along for a fun day and help wrap up the club’s 40th birthday celebrations in style!

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40th Anniversary dinner at Bellamy’s by Logan Brown

Turnout For the 40th Anniversary dinner at Bellamy’s by Logan Brown was excellent.

The one thing the Committee was unable to organise was the weather on the day. It was wet and windy which cast doubt on the suggested dress code of “summer wedding”, but by 6 pm the rain had substantially abated and by the time it arrived to go home, it was dry.

The venue proved to be a good choice. Negotiating the security on arrival proved not to be an issue and when guests got to the third floor of the Beehive, Bellamy’s reception and dining areas were spacious, allowing for good pre-dinner mixing over a complimentary glass of bubbles. The tables were well spaced and set very nicely.

The food was of a very high standard as would be expected from a restaurant in the Logan Brown stable. The restaurant staff was very efficient and attentive – it was nigh on impossible to fault the service. The manager, Jasper Povey, had been very accommodating in catering to the Club’s requirements and was also appreciative of what the Club was able to provide (such as the pre-ordering), which proved a winning combination.

Club President, Murray Jaspers, gave a brief address, looking over the Club’s development through the years. He noted how active it is, how its size has been maintained over an extended period and the high regard it enjoys with winemakers and suppliers. He noted too, the contribution of past presidents and committees. Anne Megget proposed a toast to absent friends – those members who are no longer with us and those who were unable to be present on the night.

Through diligent work by Robin Semmens, Gayle Gaukrodger, Anne Megget and Wayne Kennedy a memento gift bag containing a souvenir pen, some souvenir chocolate and a booklet updating the history of the Club was presented to every person present.

Feedback the Committee has received subsequently indicates the evening was much appreciated by all who were there. Good venue, good food, good wine and good company always combine to produce a winner!

Richard Taylor

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40th Anniversary dinner update – Nov 2020

Our 40th Anniversary dinner at Bellamy’s by Logan Brown at the Beehive Wednesday 18th November, 6:30 to 6.45 pm arrival for a 7:30 pm seating.

The first Club meeting was held in the month of November 1980. To recognise that historic milestone, our celebratory dinner will be held at Bellamy’s by Logan Brown at their restaurant in the Beehive.

The Beehive, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

Please arrive early as everyone attending has to clear Parliamentary security.

  • Access is through the ground floor of the Beehive, the door being on the side near the steps to Parliament Buildings.
  • On arrival, you will need to go through a security check. You will have to go through a gate – the same as at an airport – so be prepared to empty your pockets into a tray (men) and place your handbag etc in a tray (ladies). Your BYO will need to go through the scanner too!
  • After passing through security proceed to the Reception desk which is on the right at about two o’clock as you come through the electronic gate. Here the receptionists will have been supplied with a list of those attending so will be able to mark you off (if that hasn’t already been done by the security guards at the gate). You will be provided with a lift key that will allow you access to Level 3.
  • On exiting the lift go straight ahead to the large reception area in the restaurant where there will be the customary glass of bubbles, supplied by the Club.
  • You will also find lists shows your seat number and at your table, there will be cards detailing your menu choices, should you need reminding.
  • The dress code is smart casual [think summer wedding]. For women, that’s classy casual and for men, jacket with tie optional.
  • Note, the previously advised seating maximum of eight diners per table has been relaxed for our dinner and we are now confident we can accommodate our more tradition groupings.

So, bring along a favourite bottle of wine and be prepared for a very special occasion.

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40th Anniversary Dinner – Bellamys Wednesday 18th November

Sadly the delayed Wellington/Burger on a Plate has meant that the restaurant is unable to finalise our menu until after that event finishes. That means we won’t receive it until the first week of November. We have reluctantly accepted this, as it does ensure that we end up with a menu that should make the best of what is seasonally available.

But rather than leave everything to the last minute, we have decided to ask you to reply to this email by completing, as appropriate, the boxes below and at the same time crediting our bank account 06 0541 0056031 00 with $70 per person wishing to attend.

If your email software doesn’t allow you to input directly to these boxes when you go reply, we suggest you use your mouse to select the boxes and then copy and paste them into the reply section of your email.

If you don’t currently use internet banking, we can accept your cheque although this dinner is likely to be the last occasion that we can do this, as the ANZ is no longer accepting cheques for clearance after 1 June 2021

Important points

We will require the full name of each person attending [not just first and last names] as I believe this needs to be provided to Parliamentary security early in November we will provide the final menu and seek your menu choices. If the final menu is not to your liking, let us know and we will refund you immediately.

In addition to your meal choice, the table will also be served with a plate of each of the sides. These and corkage are all included in the dinner price.
Also included will be your customary glass of bubbles on arrival.
The dress code is smart casual [think summer wedding]. For women, that’s classy casual and for men, jacket with tie optional.
Table seating is either 6 or 8 places. Sorry, there can be no large groups.

Please reply before the end of October. Bellamys have limited seating and for this reason, we will be operating on a first-come basis and if the number is exceeded, we may need to add you to a waiting list. Whilst Bellamys’ limit does exceed the attendance levels of our past 10 dinners, we do think that the special nature of this dinner could prove to be a challenge so please reply as soon as possible.

We did contemplate limiting the dinner to just members but decided that this was unfair to those non-member partners who have been regular attendees at our past dinners. Nor has this ever been an approach that has been applied in the past.

Menu

Entrée

Green Onion Panisse, Layered Beetroot, And Mount Eliza Raw Milk Cheddar Emulsion

Smoked Kahawai Dip, Kapiti Seaweed, Remutaka Piko Piko, Courgette and Sourdough

Main

Braised Beef Cheek, Pumpkin Skordalia, Red Cabbage and Baby Carrots

Marlborough Hazelnut and Wild Parsley Crusted Market Fish, Yuzu Braised Fennel, Celeriac Sauce

Portobello and Pinot Noir Bourguignon, Jerusalem Artichoke and Shaved White Button Mushrooms

Dessert

Gisborne Citrus Sorbet, Meringue, Citrus and Black Sesame Crumb and Chantilly

Dark Chocolate Cremeux, Buttermilk Mint Sorbet, Cookie Crumble, Aero Chocolate and Caramel

Sides

Triple-Cooked Beef Fat Thick Cut Fries
Truffle Oil and Parmesan
Thyme and Garlic Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Balsamic
Fresh Garden Lettuce with Citrus and Tahini Dressing
Kumara and Potato Gratin

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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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