Glass a day keeps the doc away: Wines to boost your immunity

Mia Russell 14-12-2020 | thesouthafrican.comWine

A glass of good red can actually be beneficial as long as it's really just one glass. Image: Pixabay
A glass of good red can actually be beneficial as long as it’s really just one glass. Image: Pixabay

South Africans love their wine, and rightly so, as we have some of the best wines in the world.

And now we may have even more reason to love our favourite drink – studies have shown a compound found in red wine could be linked to boosting the immune system.

Researchers at the University of Florida in the US have found that, unlike many other alcoholic beverages, red wine does not suppress the immune system. In fact, it may help to boost it.

Many studies have shown that red wine in moderation may have some health benefits, including helping with longevity, lower blood pressure, and preventing coronary heart disease and some cancers.

Could red wine actually be healthy? Thankfully, yes, and enjoying a glass of wine can be part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, moderation is key and it is also important to realise that not all red wine is the same. Different reds have different levels of antioxidants.

How red wines can boost the immune system

Red wine contains naturally occurring compounds called polyphenols, which are found in the skins of berries, specifically grape skins. There are different kinds of polyphenols, including antioxidants like procyanidins and resveratrol, each of which has its own health benefits.

Resveratrol enhances the body’s ability to create anti-inflammatory molecules, which may lead to an improvement in the immune system. This antioxidant helps healthy gut bacteria to flourish by stimulating T-cell production and enhancing the body’s immune response.

Best wines to boost your immunity

Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo grapes from the Langhe wine region in Piemonte, Italy. Image: Adobe Stock
Nebbiolo grapes from the Langhe wine region in Piemonte, Italy. Image: Adobe Stock

The best wines for boosting the immune system are wines high in resveratrol and procyanidins, and low in residual sugar – the natural sugars left behind from the fermentation process.

Dry red wines with high levels of tannins and antioxidants should be your go-to varietals during cold and flu season. Some wines with high tannin levels may have an astringent or slightly bitter taste, so if you get headaches from the tannins, go for a low-tannin red with high levels of resveratrol like Pinot Noir.

Merlot

Merlot is the most planted of all grapes in France and the fourth most planted grape after Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Shiraz. It’s plummy, cassis-like flavours make it one of the more popular drinking wines with a softer, more seductive flavour than Cabernet.

And it’s good for you as it has high levels of the antioxidant procyanidin. Studies have shown that Merlot has demonstrated positive effects on the immune system.

Malbec

Malbec is a full-bodied red grape that grows mostly in Argentina. It is renowned for its plump, dark fruit flavours and smoky finish. The thick-skinned wine grape produces a bold red wine with rich notes of plum and cocoa, and is packed with resveratrol, making it a good choice to boost your immune system.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned grape with particularly high levels of resveratrol. This fruity, light-bodied, easy-drinking red has been linked to heart health and may help boost your immune system.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most widely recognised red wine grape varieties. This highly adaptable grape produces a full-bodied red wine with high tannins, and notes of dark fruit and baking spices.

It is packed with high levels of antioxidants that enhance immunity and help to protect cells against free radicals.

Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo is an Italian red wine from the Piedmont region that contains high levels of polyphenols like procyanidin. This varietal also contains melatonin, which helps to set the body’s circadian rhythm and may help with relaxation.

Petite Syrah

Also known as Durif, Petite Syrah is a full-bodied wine with rich flavours of blueberry, chocolate, plums, and black pepper, and notably high tannins. Due to its high levels of antioxidants like resveratrol, this varietal has demonstrated cardiovascular and metabolic benefits.

Despite its popularity, Petite Syrah is a relatively rare grape grown mainly in California.

Tannat

Tannat is a red wine grape historically grown in south-west France. It is a full-bodied, tannin-rich wine jam-packed with antioxidants, making it one of the healthiest red wines out there. It is also one of the most prominent grapes in Uruguay, where it is considered the national grape.

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Happy Accidents: Three Wineries Turn Mistakes into Unexpected Successes

By Natasha Bazika | November 10, 2020

Photo by Jens Johnson

No one likes mistakes, but not all blunders are bad ones. Straying from the plan can sometimes lead to something better. This is especially true in wine, where trial and error are essential, and so many changes during hands-off processes like ageing.

The Prisoner

California winemaker Dave Phinney is one of the more legendary examples. Using an ad hoc mix of grapes, he created The Prisoner, a Zinfandel-driven red blend that proved unexpectedly popular, consistently selling out and establishing a new quality benchmark for blended wines altogether.

A rare blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, & Charbono.
A rare blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, & Charbono.

Phinney’s not the only vintner who’s made the most from a fluke in the cellar or vineyard, however.

For John and Stacey Reinert of Napa Valley’s Brilliant Mistake Wines, it was a fleeting impulse that brought success. In 2014, they sought to create a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant red blend. They enlisted Maayan Koschitzky, winemaker at Screaming Eagle and Atelier Melka by Philippe Melka, and sourced Cab from two of Napa’s most acclaimed vineyards. When other varieties were added, however, nothing worked.

“We tried all kinds of measurements and different grapes, but it still didn’t taste right,” says John. “That is until Stacey poured two samples [Cab] bottles into one wine glass on a whim. It was mind-blowing.”

They changed course and chose to instead make a 100% Cab Sauvignon. Delicious already, but with the structure to age, the wine earned high praise and established the label’s reputation. “[It] turned out to be a phenomenal wine for us,” he says.

An Intuitive Vinification

In New York’s Finger Lakes, winemaker Thomas Pastuszak also found fortune by chance. A sommelier and wine director at NoMad New York, Pastuszak started Empire Estate winery with Kelby James Russell, winemaker at Red Newt Cellars, in 2014.

Hoping to showcase the region’s dynamic terroir, he set out to create a Riesling from multiple vineyards. But impressed by one particular organic site, he followed his gut and left the grapes apart from the others.

“We harvested the site a month after the others and…it was such a unique expression that it demanded to be on its own,” he says.

Pastuszak believes the result, Empire’s Reserve Dry Riesling, is what set the brand apart from others.

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F.A.W.C. [Food and Wine Classic] Night In – August 15th 2020

An exclusive evening of excellent wines, delicious canapés and fantastic banter beaming right into your living room
An exclusive evening of excellent wines, delicious canapés and fantastic banter beaming right into your living room

As COVID-19 has altered the way both businesses and functions operate NZ-wide this year and next, the Hawkes Bay’s Winter FAWC celebrations were altered too.

FAWC notified all their regular attendees of a new event which was ‘FAWC Night In’. This was to be for an hour, 5-6 pm, on Saturday 15th August.

‘Gather up to 10 of our friends for an exclusive evening of excellent wine, delicious canapes and fantastic banter beaming right into your living room.’

The cost for people joining in for the virtual wine tasting was $250.00 for the hamper that held the contents for the tasting – this included five bottles of wine and the ingredients for the carefully matched canapes from the iconic Hawkes’s Bay Farmers’ Market and suppliers.

‘To discover the flavours of each of the wines, why different varietals have excelled in the varied terrain of Hawke’s Bay and to enjoy the witty tete-a-tete from the industry insiders.’

Our hamper arrived the Thursday before the event, and we refrigerated what contents needed to be in anticipation of Saturday! Along with the zoom meeting invite for the event.

So, we had:

  • 5 x 75ml pours of wine
  • 5 x bite-sized canapes

We had a lot of fun with this new format being tried out by region’s leading wineries and winemakers, the getting together with friends and the sharing:

  • Richard Painter – Te Awa Estate 2020 Cabernet Franc Rose’ – matching canape Origin Earth Takenga Gold Cheese with Berry Bees Manuka Comb Honey
    Tasting: strawberries, almost sweet but not too much Visually: blush in colour Canape brought out the saltiness in the wine – a really interesting match
  • Amy Hopkinson-Styles – Halcyon Days Wines 2019 Kotare Sauvignon Blanc/Gewurztraminer – matching canape Nieuwenhuis Goats Cheese on crackers
    Tasting: smooth on the palate, not the usual green apple taste, but pleasantly gooseberry-ish; had a small measure of pinot noir and gertz combined in it! Was quite a savoury taste Visually: pale yellow Canape was a well-matched selection.
  • Matt Kirby – Clearview Estate 2019 Chardonnay – matching canape Pig & Salt Pork Rillettes, Preserve & Co. Peach Chutney on Hapi Paelo Bread
    Tasting: highly anticipated as the last time we had this one at the Club is was from the first batch in new American Oak and tasted strongly of coffee! This brew was completely different and most enjoyable. It smelled and tasted like a buttery chardonnay – vegan friendly! Hand-harvested from their own block and naturally fermented Canape was a nice compliment to the wine.
  • Michael Henley – Smith and Sheth 2017 CRU Heretaunga Syrah – matching canape Pig & Salt Lamb Terrine with Hapi Paleo Bread
    Tasting: dark berries came through with a smooth-dry-ish after taste on the tongue – this had been a difficult vintage in the Bay to work with, but this could successfully be cellared for 7 years Visually: lovely dark red Canape was a nice compliment.
  • Julianne Brogden – Collaboration Wines 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon – matching canape Hapi Harore Cheese with OMG Cracker
    Tasting: blackberries on the tongue, most pleasant, this wine is 100% Cab Sauv from two sites Bridge Pa and Gravels and the grape variety is the last to ripen in the Bay. It has had two years in oak barrels and was very pleasant while being more sophisticated than the old Cab Sauv’s we remembered! This can be cellared for 10-12 years Visually: dark red Canape didn’t really enhance the wine any but was pleasant.

This was a strictly limited ticket numbers event, but I think we all felt it could have been a bit longer, as we enjoyed it so much! Would definitely recommend any upcoming events to members.

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The Perfect Wine Pairing for Every Classic BBQ Dish

Betty Gold Updated June 29, 2020 | RealSimple

To get the scoop on the best way to bring your barbecue fare to life with wine
To get the scoop on the best way to bring your barbecue fare to life with wine

Picking wines that complement all of the tangy, salty, and sweet flavours of our favourite grilled foods can be a challenge. So many different types of palates to please! But before you throw in the towel and settle for a case of Bud Light and a few bottles of pinot grigio, we’re here to eliminate all of that intimidation. Seriously, you’ll be pairing burgers with Beaujolais like a sommelier just in time for the Fourth.

To get the scoop on the best way to bring your barbecue fare to life with wine, we consulted the experts at Vivino, the world’s largest online wine marketplace. Their vino pros helped us round up these recommendations for the top varietals for every type of grill fare. Whether you’re cooking pulled pork or tofu, we have something here that’ll sizzle harmoniously.

Hamburgers + Beaujolais

How to make the perfect burger. The Gentleman's Journal
How to make the perfect burger. The Gentleman’s Journal

Burgers are summer grilling staples, so it’s only fitting that they pair with the number one summer barbecue wine: Beaujolais. Light, fresh, and fun, Beaujolais is extremely food-friendly. Expect peppy red cherry and strawberry flavors with a touch of earthy undertones.

Hot Dogs + Rosé

Pedernales Cellars Viognier and Rosé are perfect with hot dogs
Pedernales Cellars Viognier and Rosé are perfect with hot dogs

The toppings make the hot dog, so the key is to find a wine versatile enough to pair with anything you can eat on a dog. It’s hard to go wrong with a dry rosé, but look for one with some character to it: minerality, acidity, or unique, savoury flavours.

Grilled Corn + Chardonnay

Sweet, salty, buttery grilled corn needs a wine that will accent—but not overwhelm—its flavours, which is why Chardonnay aged in steel or old oak is a natural match. Most unoaked Chardonnays still go through malolactic fermentation, which creates a creamy, buttery texture without oaky flavours of vanilla and baking spice (that would overwhelm the corn).

Grilled Seafood + Sicilian White

Rinazzu Etna Rosso Selezione Speciale
Rinazzu Etna Rosso Selezione Speciale

Embrace the essence of grilled seafood with a salty, zesty Sicilian white. Sicilian white wines, particularly those grown on the slopes of Mount Etna, have distinct volcanic minerality, lemon acidity, and a touch of salinity, which makes for an ocean-reminiscent flavour.

Grilled Tofu + Champagne

Vegetarians need barbecue options too, and creatively prepared tofu can be an excellent substitute for otherwise meat-heavy festivities. The bubbles in Champagne provide a nice contrast to the texture of tofu, while tart citrus flavours and focused acidity make it perfect for pairing with almost any flavour profile.

Pork Chops + Pinot Noir

Wine Pairings With Pork by Cut and Cuisine. LoveToKnow
Best Wine Pairings With Pork by Cut and Cuisine. LoveToKnow

Pork chops pair well with both red and white wine, but with a dry rub on the grill, red wine has the edge. Medium-bodied Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon has a little bit of everything that pork chops call for, flavour-wise, melding lush New World cherry cola-esque fruit with Old World earthiness.

North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork + Riesling

For a wine to stand up to North Carolina-style pulled pork’s vinegar-based sauce, two things are crucial: sugar and acid. Off-dry Riesling is the answer, with mouthwatering acidity and just a touch of residual sugar to keep the wine from seeming too austere.

Memphis-Style Pulled Pork + Zinfandel

Slightly sweeter than the North Carolina-style, smoky, spiced Memphis-style pulled pork calls for a wine with juicy, round fruit, like a classic California Zinfandel. While Zinfandel can be overly jammy and high-alcohol, the best examples balance body with acidity, allowing fresh red and blackberry fruit to burst onto the palate and complement the pork.

Ribs + Syrah

The full bodied intensity of Shiraz pairs well with fatty grilled meats like pork ribs, beef short rib, and sausages of all kinds. Joie de Vivre
The full-bodied intensity of Shiraz pairs well with fatty grilled meats like pork ribs, beef short rib, and sausages of all kinds. Joie de Vivre

For a knock-out baby back rib pairing, embrace the flavours that make ribs so good with a wine that carries them. Full of smoke, meat, and black peppery goodness, Syrah from the northern Rhône is right on the money—as if someone took the smoked ribs themselves and put them into the wine.

Steak + Cabernet Sauvignon

Matching steak and Napa Cab is a no-brainer, but to take the pairing to a new level, look up the mountain. Vineyards situated within the mountain ranges that form the Napa Valley—such as Spring Mountain District or Chiles Valley—have the added benefit of elevation, creating a more restrained and elegant style of wine.

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Two NZ vineyards make top 50 global list: Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay estates crack top 20

A list of the world’s 50 best vineyards for wine tourism has named a Central Otago and a Hawke’s Bay estate as being among the best.

And those two Kiwi vineyards rank in the top 20 in the world in the list out today.

The global list of wine tourism destinations named Argentina’s Zuccardi Valle de Uco in the top spot for the second year running.

Bodega Garzón in Uruguay was second for a consecutive year and Domäne Wachau in Austria jumped 16 places to claim the third spot this year.

But Central Otago’s Rippon, on the Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Rd, placed 13th and was also named the best vineyard in Australasia. The Hawke’s Bay’s Craggy Range was 17th best on the list. Last year, the biodynamic Rippon was in eighth place and Craggy Range was 11th.

13 AT A GLANCE:

THE BEST VINEYARD IN AUSTRALASIA

Name of wine estate: Rippon
Country: New Zealand
Wine region: Central Otago
Standout points: Jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka; stunningly sleek biodynamic wines
Winemaker: Nick Mills
Wine style: Precise, site-specific noble varieties (Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewürztraminer)

Rippon, 2020 World's Best Vineyard (13th)
Rippon, 2020 World’s Best Vineyard (13th)

The list said Rippon had “jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka, stunningly sleek biodynamic wines” from winemaker Nick Mills and “precise, site-specific noble varieties of Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer”.

Winter at Rippon
Winter at Rippon

“What makes Rippon one of the most desirable estates in the world to visit? The wines, the views and the people – in equal measure. Lake Wanaka, an ancient moraine lake, shimmering under the crystal light of a sunny Central Otago day must count as one of the most Instagrammable images on the planet. That Rippon maintains 15ha of vines in this immaculate landscape is wonder enough, but the quality and sense of place of its wholly estate-grown wines gives this little corner of heaven an extra special appeal,” the citation said.

Burgundy-trained fourth-generation Mills and his team were praised along with the organic and biodynamic methods and intensive handwork on display. “Rippon’s cellar door is open for small group tastings by uncharged appointment throughout the year. Expect to enjoy an informal yet informed tasting of some of the best wines of Central Otago as you’re guided through a selection of five or six Rippon wines by a switched-on member of the Rippon team, who will talk you through the farm, the family’s history and if you’re game, the arcane world of biodynamics,” the list said.

17 AT A GLANCE

Name of wine estate: Craggy Range
Country: New Zealand
Wine region: Hawke’s Bay
Standout points: Stunning location in the shadow of Te Mata Peak; luxury boutique accommodation; award-winning restaurant
Winemaker: Julian Grounds
Wine style: Multi-region, site-specific wines, everything from aromatic whites to Bordeaux blends, and terroir Syrahs and Chardonnays

Craggy Range, 2020 World's Best Vineyard (17th)
Craggy Range, 2020 World’s Best Vineyard (17th)

On the 17th-ranked Craggy Range, the list said it was in a “stunning location in the shadow of Te Mata Peak, luxury boutique accommodation; award-winning restaurant”. It cited winemaker: Julian Grounds and said wines were “everything from aromatic whites to Bordeaux blends, and terroir Syrahs and Chardonnays.

Terry and Mary Peabody & family
Terry and Mary Peabody & family

“Over the past 20 years, Terry and Mary Peabody have expended every possible effort to make Craggy Range an exceptional visitor experience. Whether it’s the cellar door, inspired by some of the Napa Valley’s leading wineries, the award-winning restaurant with 360-degree views of the local landscape, or Craggy Range’s exceptional boutique accommodation, expect nothing but the best in this beautiful little corner of Hawke’s Bay,” the list said of that operation established in 1998.

“When it came to establishing their vineyards, from the off Terry and Mary pursued an innovative multi-regional approach, focusing on the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay, ideally suited to high-quality reds including Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and Te Muna Rd in Martinborough – better for Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc – to produce a range of wines that speak eloquently of their place,” the list said.

“On a typical cellar visit, former New Zealand sommelier of the year Michael Bancks greets guests at the door and begins the tour in the main cellar building, Sophia, where you learn the history of Craggy Range. Then it’s on to the subterranean barrel hall, The Quarry, where you will taste from the estate’s unreleased prestige collection wines still in the barrel.

The award-winning Craggy Range Restaurant
The award-winning Craggy Range Restaurant

“From there, the tour moves on to the restaurant garden in the shadow of Te Mata peak. At the award-winning Craggy Range Restaurant, head chef Casey McDonald has devised a menu inspired by the elements and produce abundant in Hawke’s Bay. Finally, it’s on to the sun terrace to enjoy a guided tasting of Craggy Range’s diverse multi-region range, with a variety of flight options available to suit each guest’s tastes,” the citation said.

The world’s best vineyards list is based on nominations from a voting academy made up of more than 500 wine experts, sommeliers and travel correspondents from around the world. It aims to raise the profile of wine tourism and encourage travellers to enjoy wine-related experiences globally.

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South American Wine & Food Matchings, November 2019 – Cenna Lloyd – Negociants

Another great night with some lovely South American wines tasted. Must also say thank you to the committee members who prepared food matches. The combination of food with the wines gave the evening an interesting perspective.

The wines tasted with food matches are repeated below:

  • 2018 Vina Aquitina Rose (Chile)
  • 2018 Casa Marin Cartagena Sauvignon Blanc (Chile) – South American Ceviche
  • 2018 Tilia Mendoza Chardonnay (Argentina) – Brazilian Cinnamon ‘Raindrop’ Doughnuts
  • 2018 Alamos Malbec (Argentina) – Argentinian Fried Bread
  • 2015 Catena Alta Malbec (Argentina) – Red Wine Chorizo Bites
  • 2012 Queulat Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile) – Brazilian Beef Croquettes
  • 2014 Queulat Carménère (Chile) – Steak with a Chimichurri sauce

If anyone is interested in any of the recipes used on the night, let me or Wayne know. We can provide. May I just point out though, that if anyone believes it is only 5 minutes preparation time for the Argentinian Fried Bread, they are delusional.

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New Zealand wines and the question of age

Buy my book
Buy my book

Rebecca Gibb MW- 3 August 2018

These words were uttered by the French-born English wine merchant and author André Simon in 1964 when tasting Hawke’s Bay winery Te Mata’s 1912 red blend.  More than half a century after it was first made – the same year as the sinking of the Titanic – the red wine was still very much alive, so why has New Zealand not developed a reputation for making age worthy wines?

Two words: Sauvignon Blanc.

The New Zealand wine industry is dominated by a grape variety that is typically fermented and put into bottle within months – or even weeks – of being harvested. ‘Picked, pressed and pissed before Christmas’ is the life cycle of Sauvignon Blanc in some winemakers’ view.  Why wait for Christmas when you can drink the wine before Easter?  Moana Park winery has released a Sauvignon Blanc on April 1 and that was no April Fools.  If the previous vintage has been small and stocks are running low, a few blocks might be picked early to produce a wine to bridge the gap between vintages, such as Villa Maria’s Early Release Sauvignon Blanc.

However, there are a growing number of smaller, quality focused producers that are holding back their Sauvignon Blancs before releasing, giving them time on lees and time in bottle.  Having tasted some of Marlborough’s finest Sauvignon Blancs at seven or eight years old, drinkers need not be in such a hurry.  Putting the brakes on wineries releasing wines doesn’t help their cash flow and with grape growers to pay and bank repayments due, accountants can overrule winemakers, putting the onus on drinkers to put the wines in their usually non-existent cellars.

It is partly a matter of wine culture: New Zealand does not have a long-standing tradition of making and drinking wine.  Having rejected Prohibition in 1919, the country continued to operate under a cloud of abstemiousness, promoted by restrictive licensing laws.  Until 1961, New Zealanders couldn’t enjoy a glass of wine with a meal in a restaurant.  The 1960s brought licensing change with more and more restaurant licences granted, a rise in the number of wine shops while a rise in tax on beer and spirits in the 1958 ‘Black Budget’ gave wine an encouraging bump.

The 1950s witnessed the birth of aspirational winemakers and pioneers seeking to move away from fortified wine and hybrids to quality table wine made from vitis vinifera, which gained increasing momentum, culminating in legislation outlawing a sugar and water culture and a state-sponsored vine pull in the 1980s.  In the 1970s, regular wine columns had appeared in several newspapers, catering for an educated population who had done their ‘OE’ (overseas experience), travelling around Europe, experiencing wine and food culture.  From just 174ml of wine per capita in the early 1960s, wine consumption increased to 5.3 litres by the end of the 1970s.  In 2016, the figure stood at 20.2 litres but has remained stagnant for a decade.  (Come on team, get drinking, we have to lift this again – Ed)

Red wines in New Zealand, like whites, are all too often released early and consumed early, meaning there are few older vintages available to purchase and enjoy.  There are relatively few wine collectors and fine dining restaurants with cellars and mature stocks of New Zealand wine and thus some wineries are starting to take responsibility for ageing their wines until they approach their drinking window.  Judy Fowler, owner of Puriri Hills Vineyard in Clevedon, Auckland, which specialises in Bordeaux blends, has a Brunello di Montalcino approach to releasing her reds.  “My late release policy is based on the fact that we attempt to produce Bordeaux-blended wines made in the longstanding traditions of Bordeaux.  The great Bordeaux generally benefit from ageing five to 10 years or longer. Our wines are built to age well. However, we are a small, newer vineyard [established 1998] with perhaps another 300 years to earn the reputation for quality that the grands crus of Bordeaux have.  As such, we do not expect our customers all to want to wait for five or more years to taste our wines at their best, so we do the ageing here at the vineyard before release.”   While Fowler is not alone, most wineries don’t apply the release-when-ready-to-drink policy across the entire range, as it can leave suppliers wine-less and raise the prospect of delisting.

It is difficult to judge the ageability of New Zealand wines with so little precedent. In the past decade, young vines have matured, viticulture has evolved, winemaking has become more refined: a Pinot Noir produced 10 years ago from young vines by winemakers that were still getting to know their site will be quite different today than a current vintage opened in a decade’s time. When asked to provide drinking windows for a recent Central Otago Pinot Noir or Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a case of pinning the tail on the donkey.

However, there’s no doubting the country’s best wines have the components to age gracefully: intensity of fruit, richness of ripe tannins, acidity (and pH), alcohol and magic all play their part in the development of a red wine. In whites, high levels of acidity and flavour precursors elongate their shelf life.

There’s also a small matter of the closure: screwcaps are omnipotent in New Zealand. Although a small but significant number of producers continue to seal their top Bordeaux blends under cork (while putting the rest of their range under screwcap), it is likely that the wines will age more slowly, because of the lower rate of oxygen ingress compared with a natural cork.

What is clear, is that far too many New Zealand wines are being consumed before they are out of nappies. It’s time to let them grow up.

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Negociants present Yalumba Wines – Cenna Lloyd – October 2018

This was a very enjoyable tasting. Cenna was a very knowledgeable presenter with a great relaxed style. She admitted to a few nerves to start with but was soon interacting nicely with the members. The wines presented were great wines at a good value for money. The tasting was a good night.

Whilst we haven’t used Negociants before, the fact that we are now licensed means we can deal with this type of operation in the future. We will keep it in mind to pencil Negociants in for another tasting soon, as they have a really good provider base.

To reiterate, the wines tasted were the:

  • 2017/2018 Sangiovese Rosé
  • 2017 Organic Chardonnay
  • 2014 Eden Valley Roussanne
  • 2017 Eden Valley Viognier
  • 2017 Old Bush Vine Grenache
  • 2015 Paradox Shiraz
  • 2014 The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz

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What age can do for/to wine? – September 2017

The late Richard Gooch
The late Richard Gooch

Well our tasting for September was certainly different and a great learning experience. It’s not often you get to taste 11 wines from the period 1974 to 1996. And to help judge these wines, Wayne had organised a novel rating system that required each table to come up with a ratings that were [4] Superb -aged perfectly, [3] Still enjoyable or has interest, [2] Drinkable but dying, [1] Dead – nothing to commend it to lastly, [0] In decay – not even going to taste this.

He had also arranged for John Saker to attend the tasting and he proved to be a valuable contributor to our discussions, using his knowledge and wine judging skills to highlight things that many of us might not have considered. He particularly liked the Aussie 1990 McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon which still had some structure, fruit flavour and mouth feel.

However, it was on the decline from its probable peak 7 or 8 years ago. But still, it did show how a white wine such as a great Hunter Valley Semillon could last. Of the other 10 wines tasted, there were two 1994 wines that attracted the most support, a Leconfield Coonawara Cabernet Merlot Cabernet Franc blend and a French Cordier Sauternes. Sadly 4 of the wines were rated as a 1 or zero. Whilst the oldest of these was from 1975, there were others from the 1994-1996 period that did not measure up. The 1975 had suffered from a leaking cork and had oxidised badly whilst two of the others were white wines that in all honestly , should never had been cellared that long [because of their grape and style].

Wayne’s biggest disappointment of the night, however, was the wine that had been stored in a very large bottle dating back to 1893. The providence of this wine actually dated back to the period 1980 to 1995 and had been stored in this old bottle for later tasting. Wayne had tried to find out more about this wine from CJ Pask who was reputed to have taken it from a barrel and stored it in the bottle for Richard Gooch to taste at a later date, but Chris couldn’t recall the occasion. In any event, this wine was one to be rated a zero, having unfortunately deteriorated to such an extent that no one was prepared to suggest what it might have included, even if the suspicion was that it was once a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and maybe some Cabernet Franc, all from young vines on the Gimblett Gravels.

In conclusion, whilst this evening may have lacked a standout wine that would make the tasting memorable, it did serve to be both educational and to serve as a warning. I think most members will have gone home and looked for those forgotten wines at the back of their cupboards or cellars in order to drink them before they start their inevitable decline into mediocrity.

A special thanks to Linda Caradus, partner to the late Richard Gooch. It was her wish to give the club these very old wines so that we could use them as a learning experience and they certainly did that. It was just a shame that overseas business prevented her attending the tasting and seeing the interest that the 11 wines provided.

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Wine industry recognises shining examples at 2016 Romeo Bragato Wine Awards

wine-industry-recognises-shining-examples-at-2016-romeo-bragato-wine-awards57c78fee4e31d25 August 2016 | bragato.org.nz

An Auckland Chardonnay and a Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot both shone at this year’s Romeo Bragato Wine Awards.

Grown by Brett Donaldson, the Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014 won the coveted Bragato Champion Wine of the Show Trophy – Champion Single Vineyard and the Bill Irwin Trophy for Champion Chardonnay.

“This Chardonnay demonstrated exceptional respect to the variety and is a shining example of what hard graft in the vineyard and soft touch in the winery can achieve. It shows wonderful expression and captures the essence of the Ihumatao vineyard. Simply stunning!,” said Chairman of Judges Ben Glover.

The Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014, made from grapes grown on the Vidal vineyard by Phil Holden, won the Richard Smart Trophy – Champion Domaine Wine.

“High quality, perfectly ripened fruit was allowed to shine through in this expertly crafted wine. It had superb balance and respect for the fruit, providing seamless delicacy, acidity and palate weight,” said Mr Glover.

The Bragato Wine Awards are held each year as part of the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference, and recognise the grower for viticultural excellence. The competition acknowledges that growing excellent grapes is the foundation of making wines of true quality. The Trophies were presented at the Bragato Dinner in Marlborough last night.

-ENDS-

Editor’s notes:

To be awarded the Bragato Champion Wine of the Show Trophy – Champion Single Vineyard Wine, a minimum of 95% of the grape juice content must come from a single vineyard.

To be awarded the Richard Smart Trophy – Champion Domaine Wine, a minimum of 85% of the grape juice content must come from a single vineyard.

For further information, please contact:

Ben Glover
Chair of Judges
Bragato Wine Awards
029 520 8288
ben.glover@accolade-wines.co.nz

Bragato Wine Awards 2016 Trophy Results

Bragato Champion Wine of the Show Trophy and Champion Single Vineyard Wine

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014
Ihumatao Vineyard, Auckland
Brett Donaldson

Richard Smart Trophy and Champion Domaine Wine

Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014
Vidal Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay
Phil Holden

Friedrich Wohnsiedler Trophy Winner and Champion Riesling

Maude, Mt Maude Vineyard East Block Riesling Central Otago 2016
Mt Maude Vineyard, Central Otago
Dawn and Terry Wilson

Brother Cyprian Trophy Winner and Champion Pinot Gris

Aronui Pinot Gris Single Vineyard Nelson 2016
Whenua Matua Vineyard, Nelson
Jonny Hiscox

Champion Gewürztraminer

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Gewürztraminer 2014
Ihumatao Vineyard, Auckland
Brett Donaldson

Champion Other Red Wine

Coopers Creek SV Hawke’s Bay Malbec ‘Saint John’ 2013
Saint John Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay
Wayne Morrow

Champion Sweet Wine

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2015
Rocenvin Vineyard, Marlborough
Chris Fletcher

New Zealand Wine Cellars Spence Brothers Trophy Winner and Champion Sauvignon Blanc

Tohu Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016
Tohu Awatere Vineyard, Marlborough
Mondo Kopua

Bill Irwin Trophy Winner and Champion Chardonnay

Brett Donaldson
Ihumatao Vineyard, Auckland
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014

Champion Rosé

Wooing Tree Rosé Central Otago 2016
Wooing Tree Vineyard, Central Otago
Geoff Bews

Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy Winner and Champion Pinot Noir

Black Quail Estate Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013
Keillor Vineyard, Central Otago
Rod and Mirani Kellior

Tom McDonald Memorial Trophy Winner and Champion Classical Red Wine

Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2014
Vidal Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay
Phil Holden

Alan Limmer Trophy Winner and Champion Syrah

Falcon Ridge Estate Syrah Nelson 2015
Falcon Ridge Estate, Nelson
Alan J Eggers

Judges gearing up for Bragato Wine Awards 2016

(9 August 2016)

wine-industry-recognises-shining-examples-at-2016-romeo-bragato-wine-awards57c78dccd5e83
International Judge Andrea Frost

A 13 strong judging team, including international judges Andrea Frost and Nick Ryan, is gearing up to judge over 600 entries for this year’s Bragato Wine Awards in Auckland on 16 and 17 August.

Andrea Frost is an award-winning wine writer, columnist and author based in Melbourne, Australia. In 2013, Andrea was named Wine Communicator of the Year and her first book, ‘Through a Sparkling Glass, an A-Z of the Wonderland of Wine’, was awarded Best Wine Publication. In 2012 and 2013, Andrea was named Wine Business Monthly’s ‘50 Stars’ of the year.

Fellow countryman Nick Ryan is a wine writer, judge and educator based in Adelaide. Nick used the knowledge he had gained from raiding his father’s wine cellar to land a job with one of Sydney’s leading wine merchants. Realising that writing about it was easier than lifting it has led him to where he is now. Nick is a regular contributor to Men’s Style Australia and Gourmet Traveller Wine and has judged in many Australian and international wine shows.

wine-industry-recognises-shining-examples-at-2016-romeo-bragato-wine-awards57c78dcdde01f
Iinternational judge Nick Ryan

Leading the Bragato Wine Awards team is Chair of Judges Ben Glover, Group Winemaker for Accolade Wines New Zealand.

“This is always a wonderful opportunity and privilege to view, assess and reward our industry peers’ wines”, said Mr Glover. “The Bragato Wine Awards is a unique forum on the wine industry calendar that champions the grape grower, recognises the vineyard and awards viticultural excellence.”

The Bragato Wine Awards, held each year as part of the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference, recognises that exceptional grape growing is the foundation of making wines that express true quality of place. Judging takes place on 16 and 17 August at AUT in Auckland City. The trophy winning wines will be revealed at the Bragato Dinner at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Marlborough on 25 August.

-ENDS-

Judging Team:
Chair of Judges – Ben Glover
Judges – Rod Easthope, Helen Masters, James Millton, Helen Morrison, Simon Nunns, Barry Riwai, John Saker
International Judges – Andrea Frost (Australia), Nick Ryan (Australia)
Associate Judges – Lauren Swift, Liz Wheadon, Stephen Wong MW

For further information contact:
Ben Glover
Chair of Judges
Bragato Wine Awards
029 520 8288
ben.glover@accolade-wines.co.nz

Angela Willis
Manager – Global Events
New Zealand Winegrowers
021 552 071
angela@nzwine.com

Air New Zealand’s reveals new wine list

air-new-zealands-reveals-new-wine-list579a9c159e2afWine experts have settled on a list of close to 50 wines, some costing more than $100 a bottle, for Air New Zealand to select from for its business class passengers.

Six of the nation’s leading independent wine experts have selected “The Fine Wines of New Zealand” – to serve in planes from September.

A selection panel comprising Masters of Wine Alastair Maling, Michael Brajkovich, Sam Harrop, Simon Nash and Steve Smith along with Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas has agreed on the list for 2016 which includes 47 wines representing seven varietals.

One of the key criteria was consistency, with a wine having had to have been produced to an ”exceptional standard” for a minimum of five consecutive years.

Air New Zealand chief operations officer Bruce Parton says the airline had been a longstanding supporter of New Zealand’s wine industry.

It spends about $6 million a year on wine for passengers throughout aircraft.

“We believe we can help further build awareness and appreciation of these world class wines with international travellers and propel leading New Zealand wineries to even greater commercial success,” Parton said.

The wines would be promoted through its inflight entertainment system, at offshore events and using contacts internationally to help open up key export markets for the wineries should they need this support.

The airline’s specialist inflight wine consultants, who are based in New Zealand, China and the United States, will select wines from the list for serving in business premier cabins. Not all on the list of 47 would make it on board as some do not react well to high altitudes or are available in sufficient quantities.

Parton said it was important that the wines were selected independently of its existing wine programme.

”We look forward to working closely with the wine masters in the coming years to compile this list annually.”

In 2014 Air New Zealand moved to a three-year deal with a single supplier, Villa Maria, in its economy section which upset some in the wine industry, but which the airline said had been part of simplifying the supply chain.

The Fine Wines of New Zealand for 2016:

Aromatics
Felton Road Dry Riesling 2014
Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2015
Framingham F series Riesling Kabinett 2015
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer 2014
Stonecroft Gewürztraminer 2015
Te Whare Ra Toru SV5182 2014
Millton Vineyards Clos de Ste Anne Chenin Blanc 2014
Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris 2014
Dry River Pinot Gris 2014

Pinot Noir
Felton Road Block 3 2013
Burn Cottage 2014
Valli Bannockburn 2014
Rippon Vineyards Tinkers Field 2012
Bell Hill 2012
Ata Rangi 2013
Dry River 2013
Craggy Range Aroha 2013
Kusuda 2013

Bordeaux style
Te Mata Coleraine 2014
Craggy Range Sophia 2013
Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013
Esk Valley The Terraces 2013
Stonyridge Vineyard Larose 2014
Church Road Tom 2013

Sauvignon Blanc
Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2011
Astrolabe Province 2015
Dog Point 2015
Greywacke 2015
Saint Clair Reserve Wairau 2015
Vavasour 2015

Chardonnay
Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard 2014
Neudorf Moutere 2011
Sacred Hill Riflemans 2014
Dog Point 2013
Felton Road Block 2 2010
Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard 2014

Sparkling
Nautilus NV
Akarua Vintage Brut 2010
Deutz Blanc de Blanc Vintage 2011
Quartz Reef Vintage 2010

Dessert wines
Forrest Wines Botrytised Riesling 2012
Framingham Wines Noble Riesling 2013
Framingham Wines ‘F’ Gewürztraminer 2014

Syrah
Craggy Range Le Sol 2013
Trinity Hill Homage 2013
Bilancia La Collina 2013
Te Mata Bullnose 2014

6:30 AM Friday Jul 29, 2016 | Read more by Grant Bradley, NZ Herald

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Catch up on Stonecroft News

stonecroft-logoA note from our friends at Stonecroft who last visited March 2012. Let us know if it’s about time you want them back.

Hi,

Welcome to our new form of newsletter. We understand that some of you have been missing out on our emails which is upsetting for us (but has probably gone unnoticed at your end). Hopefully this new system will work better for everyone…

In case you are one of those who has not been kept up-to-date (and otherwise apologies for duplicating), here are a few highlights from the last couple of months:

Family owned and operated boutique vineyard and winery business
  • We recently released our 2015 Old Vine Chardonnay, see here for details.
  • Our 2014 reds have been getting some excellent reviews, including 5 stars from Bob Campbell for our Ruhanui, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve Syrah and The Original Syrah.
  • Supply of our Undressed Syrah and Chardonnay is now running low.
  • Dr. Gerald Atkinson has written an interesting piece on the origins of Syrah in NZ and how it was first planted at Stonecroft.
  • The cellar door will be open for Queen’s Birthday weekend and we will then be closed until spring, but please contact us if you would like to visit over the winter or you can purchase through our Online Shop.

If you do have any problems with this email format, please let us know.

Kind regards
Andria and Dermot

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