We would be grateful if you could give Anne an indication as to whether or not you are likely to be attending the tasting. This will ensure that we can share out the very nice cheeses as evenly as possible. You wouldn’t want to miss out now, would you? Anne’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local beer over NZ wine
As I prepare this newsletter our President is also trying for some balmy weather, though in Bali rather than France. What he will not be doing though is matching the warmth with some good New Zealand wine. He reports that at a restaurant a bottle of Matua Sauvignon Blanc (generally available for about $13 a bottle on our supermarket shelves) was on offer for the NZ equivalent of $80.00 phew. He and Dinah have been reduced to drinking the local beer.
We will be visiting the wines of France, Australia and Portugal over the latter part of the year. Much to be enjoyed.
As you will note from the “looking back” item we have taken on board the complaint from a number of those attending the July dinner re the quantity of food provided. We will be taking this up with Saigon Van.
You may remember tasting the Seifried Zweigelt at the Seifried tasting back in August 2017.
You may be interested that the wine has been mentioned by Jancis Robinson in an article about some of the different wines now being tried by New Zealand producers.
The accent on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir is well established but there is an increasing move towards different varietals and the article comments on a number of these. Anne Seifried was rapt to get a message from Jancis telling her how good their Zweigelt is.
Belinda Feek | NZ Herald reporter based in Hamilton | email@example.com | @ought2bee
A Kiwi wine reviewer has slammed one of the country’s best-known wine labels for its decision to start using Australian grapes in some of its wines.
Montana has ditched its award-winning Marlborough grapes for those from across the ditch to keep it cheap for consumers.
And many consumers looking for a well-priced New Zealand wine will not be aware of the change unless they check the back of the bottle.
At this stage, the move is just for its Montana Classic 2017 sauvignon blanc and Montana Classic 2016 pinot noir. Wine aficionado Bob Campbell wrote about his disgust in the move in his latest column online.
He dubs the move legal but “deceptive” and says the Montana brand is “as Kiwi as Buzzy Bee, Jaffas and Fred Dagg”.
Montana’s classic range has been selling for $9.99 recently, a price Campbell believed now justly depicts the quality of the wine.
Campbell said that although he is yet to taste the drop, there was a reason for the price difference.
“Australian sauvignon blanc is, by and large, inferior.”
Campbell told the Herald Montana wine was close to his heart as he was working for it in 1973 when it planted its first grapes.
“I began my wine industry career in 1973 as an accountant with Montana so I guess it’s kind of personal. I might be overstating the case but it’s just that, to me, Montana and Marlborough are inextricably linked.”
The sauvignon blanc was due to be released this month, he said.
He described Marlborough sauvignon grapes typically producing “punchy, aromatic, zesty, tropical” flavours, as opposed to Australian grapes having “much less” character.
He’d been in touch with Pernod Ricard, which had confirmed the company had been trialling Australian grapes for two of its wines last year. It was also keen to keep delivering good wines in the under-$10 category.
Pernod Ricard New Zealand managing director Kevin Mapson said increased demand and the rising costs of New Zealand grapes meant it was increasingly challenging to produce New Zealand-sourced wine that could be sold for under $10.
“By sourcing grapes from Australia, we can continue to make wines of the quality that Montana consumers expect at the same price point. This sourcing transition only applies to the Montana Classics and Montana Affinity ranges. All the other Montana ranges will continue to be made from New Zealand grapes,” Mapson said.
He said the company had worked hard to minimise the change in style but said it was true Australian sauvignon blanc was less “aromatic” than that from Marlborough so would seem more “subdued” but disagreed the grapes were inferior to New Zealand’s.
Mapson said the company had adhered to all the legal requirements for labelling so consumers were aware of the country of origin and were communicating the change to trade customers.
Over time most of the Montana Classic and Affinity wines would be made from Australian grapes, he said.
But he maintained the company was committed to its Kiwi heritage and had recently invested in the Montana Reserve range and that, along with its Montana Festival Block and Winemaker Series, would all continue to be sourced from New Zealand grapes.
Marcus Pickens, the general manager of Wine Marlborough, said they were aware of the move and it would be discussed at their next board meeting.
He said there were rules in New Zealand around the labelling of wine, which Montana would be aware of, as there was evidence it caused confusion for customers.
NZ Wine Growers Association declined to comment.
When Montana wines made with Australian grapes will hit the shelves:
Montana Classic pinot noir 2016 – December 2017
Montana Classic sauvignon blanc 2017 – January 2018
Montana Classic chardonnay 2017 – August 2018
Montana Classic merlot cabernet – August 2018
Montana Affinity sauvignon blanc 2018 – November 2018
New Zealand’s wine export values continue to rise thanks to strong United States demand, reaching $1.66 billion for the year, up 6 per cent on the year before.
While the percentage increase is lower than the average yearly growth of 17 per cent for the last 20 years, the industry was still on track to reach $2b worth of exports by 2020, chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers Steve Green said.
The latest NZ Winegrowers annual report shows to the end of June this year, the US market is worth $517 million, up 12 per cent. New Zealand wine became the third most valuable wine import into the US, behind only France and Italy.
Green forecast next year’s export volumes would be “more muted” because of the smaller harvest of 396,000 tonnes, down 9 per cent on 2016, but wineries were confident quality would remain high.
While the US provided the best returns, more litres of wine (74 million) were exported to the United Kingdom for a much smaller return of $389m. Traditionally more bulk wine has been sent into the UK market. Behind the US and the UK came Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and China.
The most exported variety was sauvignon blanc, followed by pinot noir and chardonnay.
The recently passed Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act would offer improved protection of New Zealand’s regional identities. The industry had also launched the sustainable winegrowing New Zealand continuous improvement extension programme to enhance the reputation of wines.
Of a total growing area of 37,129 hectares, sauvignon dominates at 22,085 ha, an increase of 685 ha from the year before. The second most popular variety was pinot noir, with 5653 ha, followed by chardonnay at 3203 ha and pinot gris (2469 ha).
Marlborough is overwhelmingly the largest region with 25,135 ha planted in vines, followed by Hawke’s Bay (4694 ha), Central Otago (1896 ha) and Canterbury/Waipara (1425 ha).
The number of wineries was 677; they reached a peak of 703 in 2012.
New Zealanders drank 40 million litres of imported wine during the past year, most of it Australian (29m litres), with the next two most popular French and Chilean.
The November Kaikoura earthquake damaged an estimated 20 per cent of Marlborough’s tank capacity, but by harvest time all of the lost capacity had been restored or replaced.
Green said the industry consulted with members on possible changes to export tasting requirements, with responses suggesting a rethink of export requirements was needed.
“We continue to believe more needs to be done in our export legislation to ensure that the same standards apply to every bottle of New Zealand wine, no matter where it is bottled,” Green said.
NZ Winegrowers were concerned at the Ministry for Primary Industries’ plan to take part of New Zealand Winegrowers’ wine export certification service contract in-house.
“We fought hard to retain the status quo, which has served our members well, and are disappointed with the level of industry consultation in MPI’s decision making process. If the service changes, we will be seeking guarantees from the government that the current speedy issuance of export eligibility statements will be protected, at no additional cost to members,” Green said.
In June the New Zealand Grape Growers Council and the Wine Institute of New Zealand finished as entities, replaced by a unified New Zealand Winegrowers.
New Zealand is now the only major wine producing nation with a single industry body, representing and advocating for the interests of its entire grape and wine industry.
The industry and the Government are working through a Primary Growth Partnership on research into lighter wine production and marketing. Last year retail sales reached $33.5m. The programme runs through to 2021, by which time $16.97m would have been spent on the partnership.
Organic wine production continues to flourish with more than 60 New Zealand wineries now making fully certified organic wines, and more still in the organic conversion process.
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.
Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 2:34 pm | Press Release: New Zealand Winegrowers
Wine exports to the USA surpass $500 million for the first time
The latest data from Statistics New Zealand show wine exports to the USA have surpassed $500 million for the first time, up 11% in the last year.
As the wine industry advances towards its goal of $2 billion of exports in 2020, there is significant potential for further growth in North America said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.
“New Zealand wine, especially Sauvignon Blanc, is very popular in the US and we expect consumer demand to continue to grow.”
“The new record level of wine exports into the world’s largest and most competitive market is an outstanding achievement for New Zealand wine exporters and testifies to the strong global demand for our wines.”
New Zealand wine exports reached a new record of $1.63 billion in March year end 2017. Wine is now New Zealand’s fifth largest export good by value.
The announcement of the new export records come at a busy time for the wine sector with the 2017 vintage nearing completion and the advent of International Sauvignon Blanc Day celebrations on Friday 5 May.
The evening went very well and what a great turnout.
Jane Hunter presented well and at the right level for the club. The turnout included some members from Western Hills Wine Club, and it was lovely to be their hosts for the evening. The wines were good and at a good price resulting in a very high number of orders. Jane enjoyed the evening and commented that next time she would present bubbles and a Gewürztraminer as part of the programme. Feedback from members indicated that they enjoyed the evening and it was a great tasting. It was useful that although a bit reluctant, and there was an issue of the batteries having flattened, Jane used the microphone headset and we were all able to hear what was being said.
The wines presented on the night included; Hunters Pinot Gris – 2016 (quaffer), Hunters Riesling 2012, Hunters Chardonnay 2015, Hunters Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Hunters Rose 2016, Hunters Pinot Noir 2014, and the Hukapapa Dessert Wine 2014.
Wine 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
John Belsham was a very interesting speaker and presented a great tasting. The wines were excellent, especially the aged Sauvignon Blanc La Lapine. Although low numbers attended (27 members, 1 guest) John enjoyed the event and was very pleased with the level of wine orders arising. A top tasting for the Club. To repeat the wines offered were;
2014 FOX Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Foxes Island Dry Riesling 2014 Foxes Island Sur Lie Aged Sauvignon Blanc (new release) 2012 Foxes Island Icon La Lapine white 2011 Foxes Island Chardonnay 2014 FOX Pinot Noir 2009 Foxes Island Pinot Noir
Festivities celebrating the seventh annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day will kick off on Friday, May 6 in New Zealand, home to some of the world’s most coveted Sauvignon Blanc wines, before continuing around the globe, following the sun.
Wine brands, restaurants, bars, retailers and Sauvignon Blanc fanatics are encouraged to post video clips, photographs and messages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram showing their passion for New Zealand’s most popular drop by using the “hashtags”: #SauvBlanc and #nzwine.
New Zealand Winegrowers are celebrating the variety that awoke the world to New Zealand wine by running promotions with international retailers, hosting tasting events and holding online competitions around the globe.
“2016 has already been a huge year for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc,” said Chris Yorke, Global Marketing Director for New Zealand Winegrowers. “Our inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration took place in Marlborough in early February, and saw 300 international guests from 18 countries attending, with over 400 wines available to taste.” “We’ve seen amazing international coverage as a result of the Celebration, and International Sauvignon Blanc Day provides another great opportunity to raise awareness about New Zealand’s most popular wine, which makes up 85% of wine exported from New Zealand,” said Mr Yorke. “#SauvBlanc trended at number one on Twitter last year in New Zealand on International Sauvignon Blanc Day, and we’d love to build on that success this year and see how well we can do internationally!”
John Belsham founded Foxes Island in 1992 to focus on exquisitely made, regionally expressive wines; exactly what he had learned to do in France. He initially made the wines for Foxes Island from his Raupara vineyard on the Wairau Plains and produced the very first Foxes Island wine; Chardonnay, vintage 1992.
In search of a Pinot Noir site, Belsham identified the overgrown and neglected 20-hectare Awatere property in 1998 and envisaged the Belsham Awatere Estate. With seven distinct terraces and exceptional soil profiles the land was planted primarily to Pinot Noir.
There were also select blocks dedicated to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, 24 Years on Belsham’s passion for producing exceptional wines has yet to wane.
Limited in production and genuinely hand crafted, all the wines hold pride of place at the Fox House.
Not sure of the wines to be presented yet but rest assured, this will be another quality tasting.