Haythornthwaite Wines – March 2018

What a great evening with Mark and Susan. A nice blend of where they have come from and an outline of where the business is going now. Their business in Martinborough has taken an upturn with the introduction of platters at their tasting room. This has guided them into the tourism area and is looking very promising for them.

To recoup on the wines we started with the Rose 2017 as the quaffer. It is a dry style rose but with huge fruit sweetness and flavours of strawberries and raspberries. That was followed by the dry Pinot Gris and the two drier Gewurtztraminer’s. After a break we tasted the 2012 Pinot Noir, followed by the Reserve Pinot from 2013, which was a superb wine. It won a gold medal from the Air NZ Wine Awards. We then finished with the sweet Auslese Gewurztraminer 2013 (Pamela) that is a luscious wine.

Some good orders which was very pleasing for Susan and Mark. There were two things following from the evening. With harvest fast approaching there is often a need for pickers. If you are interested please let them know. Secondly, Haythornthwaite will give Club members a 10% discount at the tasting room. Give it a try, a trip to the Wairarapa, a platter and a tasting of some really nice wines. What more could you want?

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Summer Romance – March 2018

A love affair with wine

Our summer has been truly magnificent this year and so was this tasting. What better way to celebrate Valentines Day than through “a love affair with wine”. The committee has thanked the presenters for this tasting and for their preparation that went into their offering. It was a varied line up with both well-known wines and boutique wines. Each presentation offered a different slant on what was presented. It appears that a bit different is popular with our members. The only issue was with the pacing of the evening as there was not much space between each presentation. It was a great night with the chocolate being a highlight. Feedback from the attendees has been very positive.

Just to repeat the selection went something like this.

  • Quaffer – Pol Remy – Wayne
  • Aotea Sparkling Wine – Wayne
  • Landsdowne Pinot Gris – Robin
  • Spy Valley Gewürztraminer – Anne
  • Fickle Mistress Pinot Rose – Murray
  • Clearview Blush – Jenny
  • Dorrien Estate Lockwood Smith Sparkling Shiraz – Steve

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Spanish Festive Wines, November 2017

Wayne reports, Olé indeed. From arriving to Spanish music to being seated in a horseshoe and enjoying some tapas with the wines, this was truly a night with a difference.

The meet and greet wine was the very affordable Torres Sangre de Toro Rosado 2016. I’ve always liked this wine because of the red bull that hangs from the neck of each bottle. But the contents weren’t bad either with the Rose being a bright raspberry colour with good fruit flavour. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to try a Rose that was made from grapes we don’t find here in NZ, namely Carnena and Garnacha (known respectively as Carignan and Grenache in other parts of the world).

The first tasting wine was a delightful white sherry, Lustau Puerto Fino.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve tasted this light dry sherry that is famous around the world, so I particularly loved the match with the Crumbed Olive tapas that showed the versatility of this wine when matched with salty briny foods. And Keith’s comments about Sherry’s famous solera system added to our appreciation of this wonderful wine style which seems to have fallen out of favour here in NZ.

Next to follow were the Vina Esmeralda Moscatel-Gewurztraminer 2016 and the 2013 Gran Vina Sol Chardonnay.  The first was matched with a delicious Serrano ham and honeydew melon tapas which matched perfectly the wonderful floral aromas of the 85% dominant Moscatel grape.  The Chardonnay was a nice addition to the whites being tasted.  It was fermented in stainless steel with a third of the wine fermented and aged for 5 months in new oak.

I enjoyed the freshness of this wine and its lingering aftertaste, and given the tasting notes suggest that this is excellent with fish, paella and turkey, it’s hardly surprising that the match on the night with the warm Spanish shrimp dish was excellent.

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Seifried, Nelson – August 2017

Anna Seifried gave a presentation about the history of her family and the vineyard, where the wines were not the focus of the tasting, leaving the wines to speak for themselves.  It was an enjoyable, fascinating presentation which was well received by those who attended the meeting.  Anna was a confident and polished speaker and the presentation was well supported by a slide show.  She intends to use the presentation in the near future on a planned overseas trip to potential markets.  The weather was not the best on the night and a number of people were away due to sickness and other reasons.

24 people attended the tasting which was slightly lower than we had hoped for but despite these orders were good and Anna was pleased with how the meeting had gone.

Just to recap, the wines tasted included; the Old Coach Road Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (pre-release) as a quaffer and was followed with;

  • Seifried Nelson Gewürztraminer 2016
  • Seifried Nelson Würzer 2016
  • Seifried Winemakers Collection Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2015
  • Seifried Nelson Pinot Noir 2015
  • Seifried Nelson Zweigelt 2014
  • Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling 2016

A most enjoyable tasting.

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Giesen’s Wines – June 2017

June is always a challenging month for arranging a wine tasting as the weather can be adverse and once we get home, often means that we can be reluctant to leave again. Last month’s tasting was like that with a really unpleasant Wellington day.

Still, 28 hearty souls made it to our tasting that night and were rewarded with an excellent presentation from Richard Macdonald. Richard’s knowledge of Giesen and their product was insightful as he led us through 3 whites, 3 reds and a Rose.

This Rose was delightful, even on a cold wintery night with good fruit and a soft lingering taste. Interestingly it was also the wine most ordered on the night. Other wines enjoyed, if the orders are anything to go by, were the 2014 Brothers Gewürztraminer and 2013 Brothers Pinot Noir. This latter wine also provided a reminder that Marlborough vineyards with a touch of age are now beginning to provide pinots that a real value for money as their quality begins to match their cousins from Martinborough and Central Otago.

Another wine to surprise on the night was the Organic Sauvignon Blanc that was used as our meet and greet wine. This had great fruit flavour without that aggressive grassy nose that many other SBs from this region often have, well to me anyway, and consequently, I very much enjoyed it as our starter for the evening.

The whites ended with the much celebrated 2014 Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay. Fuder, refers to the type of barrel used. It’s much larger than what we normally see in NZ and its purpose to evolve the texture of the wine without overpowering it with oak. It certainly did this for me and with its full body and slightly citrus notes, it was a wine that I had been really looking forward to tasting, given it had won Elite Gold at the 2016 Air NZ Wine Awards. The only disappointment was that I could not afford the $50 order form cost, despite its discounted value, as I decided to purchase the 2012 Eight Songs Shiraz instead.

Giesens are also the NZ agent for a small range of Peter Lehman reds. Richard ended our tasting with two of these, the 2014 Hills & Valley Shiraz and the 2012 Eight Songs Shiraz. The latter, if I’m not wrong, was probably the most expensive Shiraz the club has tasted, although last year’s 2013 Elderton Neil Ashmead Grand Tourer Shiraz did come close.

The 2012 Eight Songs was named after one of Peter Lehman’s favourite vocal ensemble musical works, loved for its soft harmonies. Apparently, this inspired Peter Lehman to emulate that artistry in a wine and it has resulted in a very soft stylish wine that is quite foreboding with its very black core, yet elegant with its lovely integration of mocha chocolate and dark plum characteristics.
A great tasting from Richard Macdonald and one that I think many would be sad that they missed.

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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 BradleyNZ Herald

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Glancing Back – October 2014 – Villa Maria

villamariaThis meeting was excellent with Jonathan (Jono) Hamlet being an interesting and enthusiastic speaker concentrating on the organic viticulture rather than the wine. It was a very informative balanced presentation, leading to a good level of orders. A good follow up with the newspaper item included in the newsletter.

To recap, the wines presented included; a Gerwurtz quaffer, then two wines from the Private Bin range, two Cellar Selections and two single vineyard wines, all organic offerings. In order to show some more ‘interesting’ varieties, Jono arranged for some barrel samples of wines produced from grapes from their organic vineyards ie Chenin Blanc.

A good tasting, could be interesting to follow up at a later date to follow the development of organic wines.

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Villa Maria wines – Oct 2014

villamariaDate: Wednesday 8 October 2014

Time: 7:45 – 9:45 pm

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Cost: Members $12 Guests $16

Presenter: Jonathan (Jono) Hamlet, Manager and Viticulturist, Joseph Soler Vineyard

Details: Villa Maria Estate Viticulturist Jono Hamlet presented a range of VM’s organic range of wines including:

  • 2011 Private Bin Organic Gewürztraminer
  • 2013 Private Bin Organic Merlot
  • 2013 Cellar Selection Organic Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2013 Cellar Selection Organic Merlot
  • 2012 Single Vineyard Ihumatao Organic Verdelho
  • 2013 Single Vineyard Templar Sauvignon Blanc

We were also be treated to some more interesting varieties from some of the 15 varieties of ‘barrel samples’ produced across the Hawkes Bay. We won’t be tasting them all on the night but these will provide us with an interesting wine experience.

A bit about Jono

Jono plays an integral part in managing Villa Maria’s 65 hectare Joseph Soler Vineyard in the Hawkes Bay, 21 hectares of which are fully certified with BioGro. His role involves the challenge of managing the vineyards organically, while meeting the economic and quality parameters set out by the company and industry.

The Joseph Soler Vineyard currently produces 15 grape varieties and supplies to all three company wineries, Villa Maria Estate (Auckland), Vidal (Hawkes Bay), and Esk Valley (Hawkes Bay).

Over the next five to seven years, Jonathan will take the lead role in bringing the entire Joseph Soler Vineyard (44 hectares remaining) into organic production.

Seeing the opportunities in viticulture, he spent several years growing grapes on Waiheke Island before migrating south to the Hawkes Bay, to work for CJ Pask and Ngatarawa wineries. He was later employed by Villa Maria to manage the organic vineyard, Joseph Soler.

Jono is the vice president of the NZ Organic Winegrowers Association.

Tasting review

Jono’s roadshow show was a polished display of art, chemistry, showmanship combined with facts and superb organic wines.

What was of great interest was the breadth of Jono’s knowledge of viticulture, winemaking and the impacts and trends he is apart of at Villa Maria. This includes moving the Joseph Soler Vineyard from a traditional vineyard to organic, about 5% of total Villa Maria wine production, and the biodynamic trends Villa Maria have set in the wine industry.

Passionate about his role at Villa Maria, Jono expressed the impact that terroir has on vine growth and took his time in explaining in some detail how this has impacted on the various Villa Maria vineyards in all wine growing regions of New Zealand.

The wines selected for the night showcased a small proportion of Villa Maria’s stable of wines. The quaffer, Gewürztraminer, was fairly typical of the varietal. The two Sauvignon Blancs again typical except the Templar very refined and is a likable type for those not as passionate about Sauv’s as some. Villa Maria is one of only a few vineyards to produce Verdelho in New Zealand. Another vineyard is Esk Valley, one of Villa Maria’s other brands.

Jono then produced two barrel samples, a Chenin Blanc and a Merlot, which were both unfined and cloudy. For many members it was their first taste of barrel samples and a great way to understand the development of wine from barrel to bottle to glass to lips. A unique and a great touch to the night. The night wasn’t finished there.

From Jono’s box of tricks he produced a beautiful Chenin Blanc sticky. Superb considering where it came from. After a wet summer in 2012 left the Chenin Blanc underdeveloped Jono left the grapes on the vine until May. By this time there was not a lot left to the grapes but wow what depth of flavour. Shame it was in such a small amount.

Thanks Jono and Villa Maria.

 

Want to find more about Villa Maria? Have a look at the playlist.

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Have you Heard – Oct 2014

Warren and Eunice Thessman, long-time members and friends of the Cellar Club, have been enjoying their Villa Maria Gewürztraminer but wondered why some of the bottles seemed to be disappearing.

The problem was solved when they went out to do some gardening recently.

hyh-oct2014

Clearly topical with this month’s meeting, perhaps Jono will have an explanation.

In the meantime Warren you need to check the security of your cellar.

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Looking Forward – Oct 2014 – Villa Maria

villamariaThe presenter for this Villa Maria tasting will be Jonathan (Jono) Hamlet of the Joseph Solar Vineyard (manager and viticulturist) in Hawkes Bay – he manages the organics programme for V M nationwide, and this tasting will concentrate on their organic portfolio. Amongst other achievements, Jono is the vice president of the NZ Organic Winegrowers Association. More detail next month.

On offer will be a Gewürztraminer quaffer, then two wines from the Private Bin range, two Cellar Selections and two single vineyard wines, all organic offerings. In order to show some more ‘interesting’ varieties, Villa Maria will arrange for some barrel samples of wines produced from grapes from their organic vineyards i.e. Chenin Blanc. They have over 15 varieties planted in their Hawkes Bay organic vineyard alone so this shouldn’t be a problem!

View Jono’s profile.

 

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Wrights Vineyard (Gisborne) with Geoff Wright

wrightsDate: Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Time: 7.45 for 8 pm start

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions

Cost: Members $12 Guests $16

Details:

Wrights Vineyard and Winery came to fruition when Geoff Wright followed a dream which changed his life. At the beginning of 2000, Geoff packed up his bags from Auckland and enrolled in a Winemaking and Viticulture course in Gisborne. Fourteen years on – married, 3 boys aged 6, 4, 2 and a wife pregnant, 18 hectares of grapes, certified organic, our own winery and new cellar door opened in 2013.

They now manage 45 acres organically and biodynamically. The land is certified organic with Asure Quality. They own and operate three vineyards – The Terrace and Valley Vineyards are located in the renowned grape growing region of Ormond Valley, Gisborne, while the Coastal Vineyard is located in Manutuke, overlooking the iconic landmark – Young Nick’s Head.

The wines Geoff will be showcasing include the Methode Traditionnelle, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer (from vines over 30 years old), Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Verjuice.

Wrights have been featured in a recent item in the Gisborne Herald.

Next Event: Wrights Vineyard & Winery w/ Geoff Wright

Wednesday 12 February 2014, 7.45 for 8 pm start

ohnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Members: $12, Guests: $16

Presenter: Geoff Wright

Wrights Vineyard and Winery came to fruition when Geoff Wright followed a dream which changed his life. At the beginning of 2000, Geoff packed up his bags from Auckland and enrolled in a Winemaking and Viticulture course in Gisborne. Fourteen years on – married, 3 boys aged 6, 4, 2 and a wife pregnant, 18 hectares of grapes, certified organic, our own winery and new cellar door opened in 2013.

They now manage 45 acres organically and biodynamically. The land is certified organic with Asure Quality. They own and operate three vineyards – The Terrace and Valley Vineyards are located in the renowned grape growing region of Ormond Valley, Gisborne, while the Coastal Vineyard is located in Manutuke, overlooking the iconic landmark – Young Nick’s Head.

The wines Geoff will be showcasing include the Methode Traditionnelle, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer (from vines over 30 years old), Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Verjuice.

Wrights have been featured in a recent item in the Gisborne Herald.

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