Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. A tour of Italy – Part 2 comes from The Sunday Sediment Issue 6.
The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily boasts the greatest number of wineries of any Italian region. Leading light on the island is the fortified DOC wine, Marsala; so brilliant for cooking and superb when served with a hard cheese like Pecorino. While there are some impressive DOC wines here, there is also great value being offered by top quality producers making very good IGT wines from native varieties.
Generally, the south of Italy is all about value and generous, forward wine styles. Abruzzo is located on the coast north and east of Rome, the region home to Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Historically significant as the place the vine first arrived in Italy from Greece, Apulia (or Puglia) is located in the middle of the heel of Italy’s boot. Known as a large volume producer, there are now top-rated DOCG, an impressive 25 DOC zones and a chariot-full of great Italian foods.
Produced largely in the north, Prosecco is the current high-flier of Italy’s respected sparkling wine industry. In 2009 it was awarded DOCG status, that important ‘G’ on the end adding a rock-solid guarantee to the quality of the wine. Franciacorta is both a highly-rated DOCG area and a sparkling wine with a huge reputation, produced a la champagne, but with even more stringent aging requirements than its French cousins.
The Italians have been perfecting their heady spirit known as Grappa since the Middle Ages. A unique concoction produced from grape pomace (the skins, pulp, seeds and stems left over after the juice has been extracted for winemaking), Grappa began life as a coarse, home-made drink enjoyed by farmers after a hard day’s work. From these humble beginnings it has evolved into a highly refined spirit. By EU law, Grappa must be produced in Italy, without any added water, from fermented and distilled pomace. To produce it, the pomace is heated in a bain-marie (also known as a water bath or double boiler) to create steam, which is forced through a distillation column. The resulting colourless, filtered distillation can be enjoyed immediately, but the finest Grappas are aged in glass or wood, which changes the colour and adds complexity. Flavours, too, can vary considerably depending on the origin of the grape pomace, the blending and the aging process. Great post-prandial, or added to espresso.
Read more in the Glengarry Wineletter – #232 August 2017.
If you needed another excuse to have some cheese with your wine tonight, we are hooking you up!
Because it turns out that cheese may not be so bad for you after all…
A recent study by the Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and Dairy Australia has found that consuming cheese doesn’t increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
“There’s quite as widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but that’s a misconception,” Ian Givens, a nutrition professor at Reading University told The Guardian. “While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that that’s wrong.”
And red wine, in moderation, can help your heart and your brain, according to a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.
The study showed that when wine residue passed through the gut it has the ability to prevent cells from dying, and therefore delay potential neurodegenerative diseases.
The Committee was looking to arrange the always-popular Cuba Street Bistro once again. But as the saying goes, the best laid plans of best-laid men oft gang awry. The building’s owner decided the chosen date would be a good time to undertake earthquake strengthening so the evening had to be scrapped.
However do not despair! Bistro 52 has been selected as the replacement. This is located in Lower Cuba Street and the Club has been there previously – and it very good it was too. The venue has been booked for Wednesday 19 July, with a 6.00pm start for a 6.30pm ordering of your meal. You will be welcomed with a glass of bubbles! Attached to this Newsletter is a Payment Advice for June 2017 (for both the dinner and your subscriptions). Price for the dinner is $52 per person including corkage – it’s BYO of course.
Note the date – this is a week later than the Club’s usual meeting evening. It’s the first week of the students’ new semester and they are still finalising the menu, but they have never let us down before!
This looks even now as though it will be a definite winner!
As always we commenced our festivities for this new year with the BBQ at Derek Thompson’s house. On the agenda for the year we have Ata Rangi, and after the success of the last quiz evening, we have decided to try it again.
Your committee is working on options for the latter part of the year, but these will include the AGM in May, the mid-year dinner in July and the second dinner in December. As a definite, we have Seifried’s from Nelson booked in for August and other projects. We have found that a downside of arranging tastings too far in advance is that situations can change. These have resulted in late withdrawals necessitating urgent substitutes. We are trying not to work too far in advance. As always, we are happy for input from members on future events and tastings.
Cangrande proudly presents the widest and highest quality range of Italian wines in New Zealand.
They have chosen to focus on excellence in order to ensure the exceptional standard reached in the last few years by Italian winemakers is fully represented in their catalogue. They currently offer several product lines, based on value, which can meet and satisfy the demands of mass retailers, restaurateurs, caterers, wine shops and any kind of wine traders in New Zealand. However, for all of these ranges, the price/quality ratio remains outstanding. For those interested in Italian wines, Cangrande is opening a shop in Petone, keep your eye out.
Cangrande stepped in late in August 2014 to give us a delightful taste of the wines of Italy and we are sure that they will produce a great range of wines to fit the festive theme. Work on this tasting is progressing but we have not quite finalised details as yet. Suffice it to say that it will be a great experience with a clear Italian theme.
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.
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.
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
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
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)
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.
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.
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
We are coming into a great second half of the year for club members. With the line-up over the next few months including Foxes Island, dinner at Logan Brown, and then Peter Lehmann, Squawking Magpie and Jane Hunter. Phew.
Dinner & subs
There are a couple of attachments to this newsletter. There is a payment advice which includes the June meeting, the July dinner and, it’s that time of year again, subscriptions. Please print off the form and bring it to next week’s tasting. Alternatively, you can arrange payment direct to the Club bank account as set out on the form.
Also attached is the menu for the July dinner. No point trying to resist it, just come along.
Josefina Telleria from South2South introduced herself and the wines of her homeland Argentina with that endearing Argentinian accent and a great personality to match.
Josefina spoke with such passion and enthusiasm for the home of Malbec where half is exported to the US with the remaining wines scattered predominately throughout the UK, China, and a small amount to New Zealand.
Josefina spoke with such passion of the home of Malbec where half is exported to the US with the remaining wines scattered predominately throughout the UK, China, and a small amount to New Zealand.
Noted for the vineyards high altitude, crisp clean air and microclimates, extremely hot 50 degrees days, pure melted water from the Andes, the wines represent these elements outstandingly. The wines came from as far north as Famatina and Mendoza in the south.
The two Torrontes wines, only grown in Argentina, represent a cross between Sauv. Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer but then nothing like any of them. They are distinctive to Argentina. Both have a clear crisp colour, slightly floral bouquet and an almost creamy texture on the front of the mouth with a long slightly acidic finish making it a refreshing and vibrant drink. 15/20.
If you’re into chardonnay like me, then this chardonnay was very different. After being in new American barrels for six months, the wine is purposefully produced with high acidity and woody oak notes. This was very dry but not mouth-puckering, with a rich acidic finish. 17/20.
Onto the Malbec’s. I’ve sampled Malbec’s from around the world and I now see why Argentina produces standout Malbec. The La Celia and Montechez are both deeply intense purple in colour with intense flavour and soft tannins that do not overpower the subtleness of the fruit.
The La Celia has a sweet & slight liquorice nose, very dry, and a much smoother finish than the Montechez. 18/20. The Montechez give an almost mushroom/ forest floor nose at first, grape sweetness with young plum fruit, and an extremely rich smooth finish. 17/20.
Finally, the Cabernet Franc for which Argentina is noted for completed the tasting. Given the terroir, this is a big bold complex wine developing a headier spicy nose, cedar and medium tannin to tempt the taste buds and a very rich finish. 19/20.
As a comparison, Argentina has more than 220,000 hectares under vine with New Zealand a meagre 36,000. Wanting to know more about Wines of Argentina?
Tasting – Wines of Argentina
Wed. 09 MAR, 2016 – 7:45 – 9:45 pm
Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 –Directions.
Cost: Members $12, Guests $16
Presenter: Josefina Telleria
“From humble beginnings and a passion for everything the Argentine wine and food culture has to offer, South2South has now become a company with a clear mission to provide Kiwis with an opportunity to enjoy the unique flavours and memorable experiences Argentine wines bring to the palate. Our vision is to become New Zealand’s premier Argentine fine wine importer.”
Chris Emmett and Josefina Telleria form South2South. Chris is a kiwi who has been converted to wine through his association with the wines of Argentina. Josefina was born and raised in Argentina and is the Argentine connection. She has a strong family connection to vines and wines in and around Mendoza. They are keen to introduce us to their passion for wines from the region.
Let’s enjoy. The wines on the night will be:
Introductory – La Consulta Reserva Torrontes or La Consulta Reserva Malbec
Caleb Harris/Fairfax NZ | Last updated February 10, 2016.
After 113 years in a farmhouse cellar, a bottle of wine believed to be the oldest ever opened in New Zealand has astonished critics by still tasting great.
“It’s superb. Amazing, really … It’s still hanging on, shaking its fist at you out of the glass,” was how wine writer John Saker summed up the 1903 Landsdowne Claret opened in Wairarapa on Wednesday.
Early Wairarapa settler William Beetham made the wine on land the family owned in Masterton, after his homesick French wife Hermance planted vines.
The 1903 blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and syrah is poured at Brancepeth Station in Wairarapa.
The vineyard stopped producing around 1908, but some bottles have been cellared ever since in the Edwardian homestead at Brancepeth Station, east of Masterton, which Beetham’s descendants still own.
On Wednesday, Saker convened a panel of 12 other local and international wine writers at Brancepeth to sample the valuable vintage, a bottle of which once sold for $14,000.
Beetham’s Masterton vineyard was revived under new owner Derek Hagar in 2009 and won an international pinot noir award, so the tasters compared Beetham’s 1903 wine with a contemporary bottle produced by Hagar on the same land.
Brancepeth’s current custodian, Edward Beetham, said seeing his forebear’s pioneering role in Wairarapa winemaking acknowledged was “a great occasion”. “We’ve always sort of dreamt of doing this.”
Although called a claret, the wine is actually a blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and syrah.
Breaths were bated as the crumbling cork was pulled, but once the venerable wine was swished, sniffed and sipped, the consensus was that age had not wearied it.
“This wine is like … a 100-year-old human which is still not ready to die,” German sommelier Markus Berlinghof said.
“There was this sort of dried citrus-peel acidity that just made it feel alive, still, and that completely shocked me,” American wine writer Sara Schneider said.
Saker found the wine not only surprisingly fault-free for its age, but also redolent of an “Edwardian summer” at the dawn of New Zealand’s wine industry. “That’s what makes it wonderful.”
BETTER WITH AGE?
1. John Saker, Wine editor Cuisine magazine
Tasting notes: “Slight faded rose, a hint of reduction … that lovely elegant passage across the palate, just a suggestion of sweetness. This is a Wairarapa pinot to be proud of.”
What about compared with the 2009 Landsdowne wine? “I thought there was a family resemblance … both have a finer, lighter, red fruit notes and a steely acidity.”
Rating (1903): 5 out of 5
2. German sommelier Markus Berlinghof
Tasting notes: “A lot of dried fruit character, dried orange zest. Elegant, a very feminine mouth feel. The colour is still in very good condition, a deep garnet, very fresh.”
What about compared with the 2009 Landsdowne wine? “I wasn’t a friend of drinking the other wine afterward, I don’t want to compare them.”
Rating: Doesn’t believe in ratings, but in a word: “Superb”.
3. American wine writer Sara Schneider
Tasting notes: “That first red fruit is really gone by now, but has sort of turned into a dried fig character, kind of an earthy tang, with the tannin texture … dried rose petals … a terrific wine.”
What about compared with the 2009 Landsdowne wine? “There’s a wet loam, forest floor, mushroomy, savoury character in both wines.”
Rating: High 19 out of 20 (1903); low 19 out of 20 (2009).
Registrations open today for the biggest event of its kind on the planet! Click here to secure your spot now.
Pinot Noir NZ 2017 will be “the place” for Pinot Noir lovers, like your fine self, wanting to discover why New Zealand is at the forefront of New World Pinot Noir. It’s where you’ll get an unparalleled insight into New Zealand’s explosive Pinot Noir scene.
Talk of the Pinot Noir NZ 2017 celebration is already creating a huge buzz and gaining worldwide exposure. We’re hearing from media, trade, wine enthusiasts and pinotphiles from all corners of the globe that want to come and be part of it.
As you’ve heard, we’ve already announced three big divergent personalities that will be leading our guest speaker list. The world’s most influential wine commentator Jancis Robinson, OBE, MW; Japan’s most eminent wine and sake expert Ken Ohashi, MW and Grammy Award-winning Tool frontman and winemaker Maynard James Keenan (MJK), from Arizona US are confirmed for the all-star line up.
At Pinot 2017 you’ll mix, mingle and rub shoulders with the greatest wine minds in the world, improve your knowledge about NZ Pinot Noir and meet the winemakers behind the brands, all in the one place. You’ll also be served some fantastic cuisine, and have insanely good kiwi entertainment thrown in for good measure.
If you’ve been part of Pinot Noir NZ before, you’ll know that it will be, without question, the place to be in the wine world. Together there will be 120 producers from New Zealand’s diverse Pinot producing regions, showcasing over 300 wines, over 3 days on the Wellington Waterfront. There will be intellectual discussion, world-class keynotes, and plenty of tasting sessions to stimulate all your senses.
Registrations for Pinot Noir NZ 2017 are now open. Spaces are limited. Visit www.pinotnz.co.nz
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