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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Yesterday there was a large tasting of wines that are under the umbrella of Negociants NZ - a significant player in our NZ wine retail industry.  In addition to distribution of local brands, they also import wines from around the world, e.g. Australia, Spain, Italy and France.

Thursday's tasting was a good sample of Negociants' stable of wines and fermented liquors. On offer were: AUSTRALIA - d'Arenberg, Henschke, Jim Barry, Langmeil, Peter Lehmann and Yalumba. 
NEW ZEALAND  - Antipodes water, Apple Tree Cider, Alpha Domus, Auntsfield, Black Barn, Dry River, Fromm, Greywacke, Huia, Kingsmill, Misha's Vineyard, Nautilus, Opawa, Palliser, Rippon, Saint Clair, Two Paddocks, Urlar, Vinoptima, Waipara Springs. 
Then from all over - Galbraith's Beer, Paulanger Beer (Germany), Singha (Thailand), Delamain Cognac (France), Glenrothes Single Malt (Speyside), Gonzales Byass Sherries (Spain) No 3. London Gin (UK), and Warre's Port (Portugal).

Now, the temptation at these events (speshly for newbies) is to run from booth to booth sampling everything on offer from whites to reds, over and over, and getting rat-arsed drunk in short order.  We seasoned tasters are a tad more discerning.  I decided to focus on three grapes - compare and contrast Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.  And Okay some Aussie Shiraz.  And, oh, alright, some Cognac and Single Malt whiskey.

So I started out very organised.  I wrote notes in the folder.  I spat out all samples.  I sniffed and swirled; looked perky and asked questions - and looked informed, dashing and thoughtful.  That's they way we all start out - but somewhere along the line, alcohol gets absorbed and you get a wee bit loose about the whole process and things become somewhat unfocused.
For some reason the thin stream of wine doesn't quite stay linear or hit the centre of the spittoon. The free pen and tasting notes seem to be mislaid between samples and searing insights into vinous structure and longevity.  Consonants become difficult to pronounce.

Anyway by the time my charming assistant picked me up in her car I was ready to go home.
The Winners are ...

Dry River 2009 $NZ48.00
Huia 2009 $NZ26.00
Nautilus 2011 $NZ20.00
Vinoptima 2006 Reserve $63.00

Auntsfield Estate 2009 $24.00
Black Barn Reserve 2009 $NZ19.00
Nautilus 2011 $NZ22.00

Pinot Noir:
Kingsmill Tippet's Dam 2008 $NZ25.00
Misha's Vineyard Verisimo $NZ2009
Nautilus 2010
Palliser Estate 2009 $33.75
Saint Clair Pioneeer Block 12 2010 $NZ15.08
Saint Clair Marlborough 2011 $NZ14.29
Urlar 2010 $NZ24.00

d'Arenberg Shiraz Grenache d'Arrys Original 2009  $NZ18.00
Jim Barry Cover Drive 2010 $NZ18.00
Jim Barry The Armagh 2007 $NZ156.00
Langhmeil Orphan Bank 2009 $NZ36.00
Peter Lehman Portrait Barossa 2008 and 2009 $18.00
Yalumba Y Series 2010 $12.00

Phil runs wine tours in Auckland New Zealand

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