A Colab view of Europe – Review June 2019

Simon Bell, the Representative for Colab Wine Merchants, presented a taste of Europe. There was a good turnout of 33 members and 3 guests. Everyone enjoyed the evening. It was a different style of meeting with lots of member interaction. Simon gave out larger glasses to demonstrate the difference using a large glass versus a small glass. It was an interesting evening with the tasting aimed for the layperson. There were 14 orders with a total of 96 bottles. Simon was pleased with the meeting and is keen to do another meeting. To revisit the wines included:q

Alpha Domus Collection Sauvignon Blanc (NZ)
Vivanco White Rioja (Spain)
Guerrieri Rizzardi Pinot Grigio IGP Veneto (Italy)
Domaine Dupre Bourgogne Chardonnay (France)
Vivanco Rioja Crianza (Spain)
Vivanco Rioja Reserva (Spain)
Chateau Mauciol Cotes du Rhone Villages Red (France)

One of the prospects he discussed, and would be happy to run, would be a non-threatening “Wine Options” evening. Your committee will consider this.

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European wines presented by Simon Bell, Colab Wine Merchants Limited

Members may recognise Simon’s name. He presented to the club back in April 2018 but has recently moved to a new company in wine and spirit wholesaling, Colab Wine Merchants Limited.

This company is interesting in that its 2 principal shareholders are 2 well-known wineries:

But of equal importance to us, Colab also handles 3 South Australian brands:

As you can see, all 3 of these areas are in the state of South Australia which is one of the iconic new world wine regions and so we are really looking forward to tasting some great wines from this area.

More details next month.

News just in

CoLab is now presenting a range of European wines from their portfolio. The wines to be presented include:

  • Alpha Domus Collection Sauvignon Blanc, NZ
  • Vivanco White Rioja, Spain
  • Guerrieri Rizzardi Pinot Grigio IGP Veneto, Italy
  • Domaine Dupre Bourgogne Chardonnay, France
  • Vivanco Rioja Crianza, Spain
  • Vivanco Rioja Reserva, Spain
  • Chateau Mauciol Cotes du Rhone Villages Red, France

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Another great year

As I sit to prepare this newsletter Celine Dion is singing “Another year has gone by” in the background. Surely not, I say, but it is so. Where has it gone?
We can start by reviewing our year. We began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and thanks to Derek for continuing to make his premises available. February saw us heading on a “Summer Romance – a love affair with Wine” where some of your committee members presented their favourite summer wines. In March Mark and Susan Haythornthwaite presented some of their “Haythornthwaite” wines and told us of the success they have had adding platters to the tasting experience at their premises.

Unison Wines

In April Simon Bell from MacVine took us on a tour of Europe embracing France, Italy and Germany. May was the usual AGM then in June Unison Vineyards from the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay presented some lovely wines. July was something of a disappointment when we went to Saigon Van Grill Bar. The meal was lacking, particularly in quantity, and subsequent efforts to redress the problem have been futile. Never mind, we were back on track in August with a great tasting from Clearview.

September saw a continuation with European wines when Maison Vauron gave us a taste of French wine with some cheese matches. Then who could forget Negociants presentation from that iconic Barossa winery, Yalumba.

The tastings for the year finished with a return to Europe, this time Portugal with Confidant Wines, and some great wine with food matches. All this travel and we haven’t had to leave home.

As I finish this Celine has moved on to “Holy Night” and is singing about a night divine. I can’t quite work out if she means Christmas Eve or the December Dinner at Juniper. You be the judge.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor

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A tour of Europe through wines – Macvine International – April 2018

A ghastly night weather wise and a long list of apologies through autumn ailments meant that the turnout for this tasting was a little lower than we had hoped for. Despite that, those who braved the conditions enjoyed an excellent presentation and some great wines. Simon Bell and Craig O’Donnell from Macvine International presented for this tour around Europe. The tasting was a little different from the usual but was done with great style and enthusiasm. The wines presented were not necessarily well-known wines from Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. Simon and Craig enjoyed the evening and expressed a keenness to return in the future.

The tour included the following wines:

Andre Delorme Methode BDB (France)
Pazo Cilleiro Albarino (Spain)
Bernard Defaix 2015 Cote de Lechet Chablis (France)
Cantina Terlan Lagrein (Italy)
Dourthe No 1 Rouge (France)
Alpha Zeta “V” Valpolicella Ripaso Superiore (Italy)
1994 Burgermeister Lauer Drohner Hofberger Riesling (Germany)

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Looking Back – February 2015 – Ash Ridge

ashridge-logoThe evening was excellent and the presenter was superb. Simon Bell’s style of presenting a tasting was the right balance showing that he knew about wine and was enthusiastic about what they were doing at Ash Ridge. We were rapt with the turnout and the response to orders. In addition a number of members joined up to the Ash Ridge Wine Club. A great evening, and a bonus at such short notice.

Simon presented Ash Ridge’s Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Chardonnay 2013, Viognier 2013, Vintners Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Rose 2014, Syrah 2013 and the Vintners Reserve “The Blend” 2013 (a bottle of which landed on the floor when one of the tables collapsed. Fortunately no-one went without.)

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Ash Ridge Wines – Feb 2015

Date: Wednesday 11 February, 2015

Time: 7:45 – 9:45 pm

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

Cost: Members or guests $10, member with a guest $14.

Presenter: Simon Bell, Sales Manager. An EIT graduate, Simon spends his time ensuring that the public has access to Ash Ridge wines whether through the cellar door or charming the wine trade to ensure that you can enjoy our wines in restaurants and shops around the country.

Wines offered at the tasting are likely to include:

  • 2014 Ash Ridge Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Chardonnay
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Viognier
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Vintners Reserve Chardonnay
  • 2014 Ash Ridge Rosé
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Syrah
  • 2013 Ash Ridge Vintners Reserve “The Blend”

Background

In January 2014, in their biggest step to date, Ash Ridge opened a brand new Winery on their home site in Maraekakaho. The 100 tonne winery was designed to offer all modern winemaking facilities in a boutique size, allowing them to be truly hands on in their winemaking. The small winemaking team can nurture the process from vineyard to bottle.

Ash Ridge wines are all hand-crafted, single estate wines which reflect the unique vineyard location, the passion for winemaking and the premium quality that they make. Ash Ridge produce premium Hawkes Bay Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

In order to create a range of Bridge Pa Triangle wines they have partnered with the Peet Vineyard. The vineyard is based on an ash pumice ridge of soil, and is planted in sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon. In more recent years they have also partnered with neighbour Shawn Hill, of Raptor Rise Vineyard, to source Malbec and Viognier grapes. With the vineyard being over the fence and on the same soil they are truly staying local.

Tasting review

Anne opened the evening with a thud and spilt wine. One of the tables with Ash Ridge wines broke sending bottles all over the place. What an introduction for Simon to the Cellar Club. Anne went on to thank Simon and Ash Ridge Wines for their effort in replacing Man O’ War at short notice. We’ll have Man O’ War presenting in October.

A gifted and passionate speaker, Simon spoke in some detail about the Bridge Pa Triangle convincing even the most steadfast Gimblett Gravels supporter that wines from Bridge Pa are worth more than a passing sip. In fact it’s those differences that gives Ash Ridge wines that expression of the terroir in which the grapes are grown. This was expressed exquisitely across the range of wines tasted.

Read Yvonne Lorkin's review of Ash Ridge Wines
Read Yvonne Lorkin’s review of Ash Ridge Wines

Simon had obviously presented Ash Ridge Wines a few times before because his knowledge of the winery, the wines being produced and allround wine knowledge was outstanding.

After a brief history lesson of Ash Ridge Wines, it wasn’t that bad in fact it made you realise just how much effort has gone into developing the vineyard since 2000, Simon got into his stride with the tasting. Simon’s wine knowledge allowed members to understand nuances between Ash Ridge and other regions in New Zealand and around the world. This made interesting listening and even taught us a thing or two.

The wines selected for the night showcased all Ash Ridge wine styles. The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was definitely Hawkes Bay, tropical rather than grassy. The Chardonnays were very fruit driven with the Estate making an exceptional replacement for non-savvy drinkers with its acidity just right for seafood and salads but would go just as well with most meats. The Viognier was elegant and true to its style.

The Syrah was well rounded needing several years, I’d suggest five to seven, to reach its potential so well worth stocking up on.

The showstopper of the night for most members was the first release of five varietals that make-up “The Blend”. Well balanced with great mouth feel now just wait ten to fifteen years for it to develop further. We were privileged to be the first outside Ash Ridge’s own cellar club to taste this wine.

A great evening with wines representative of the terror from a winery voted Winery of the Year 2014 at the Hawkes Bay Bayleys A&P. The only truly boutique winery to do so.

Tip: Start collecting “The Blend” as I’m sure overtime it will get as great a following as similar wine styles like Quintology, Sophia, Talisman and others.

When next visiting Ash Ridge Wines, ask about joining the Cellar Club.

Cheers Steve

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