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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."


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wine Writers of New Zealand launches

In my capacity as sometime wine scribe, and for my sins, I have been invited to join the newly formed WWNZ – Wine Writers of New Zealand.  To my knowledge, this is the first formal wine writing association in NZ. 

The formal objectives are, broadly: to uphold a high standard of wine journalism, to encourage professional development amongst members, to provide members with a common voice, and to  deliver workshops, meetings, talks and tastings. 


Jane Skilton MW
Founding members also include Jo Burzynska AIWS, Michael Cooper ONZM, Emma Jenkins MW, Yvonne Lorkin, Jane Skilton MW, Cameron Douglas MS, Charmian Smith, John Hawkesby,  and Neil Hodgson. This is a really exciting development for New Zealand wine writing, and of course, I’m delighted to be on board with such a bunch of luminaries.


The launch was held at the Roxy restaurant in Fort Street, a suitably a (ahem) colourful area for a bunch of wine writers to launch their club.
The AGM was combined with a tasting of wines from local wine importers Dhall & Nash (  a specialty fine wine importer supplying mail order and ‘on premise’ - that’s trade talk for licensed restaurants and cafés. They are a relatively new company, founded by Puneet Dhall and Brandon Nash.

Michael Cooper ONZ


The wines were in three flights of 6, including wines from France, Spain, Italy, USA, Chile, Argentina, and Australia.  They were all pretty stunning, but here’s a few highlights:


Billecart Salmon Brut Champagne NV France $160.00 This is a mouth-filling sparkler with a creamy texture and flavours of peach and nectarine with a hint of toast.

Alphonse Mellot Pouilly Fumé 2011 Loire France $45.00
From the home of Sauvignon Blanc – pale gold in colour, with a fruity but not acidic palate of white peach and apple.

Rene Mure Gewürztraminer 2011 Alsace France $28.50
Not much on the nose, but I caught a hint of lychee fruit.  However on the palate it really opened up with sweetness and flavours of crystallised ginger, lychee and sweet spices.

Domaine Albert Ponelle Mersault 2010  France $70.00
Chardonnay is the grape variety here.  Floral aromas and lengthy flavours and of peach and nectarine with a hint of spicy vanilla oak.

Cillar Des Silos Crianza 2008 Spain $39.95
Garnet red colour, with medium tannins, pot pourri aromas and flavours of black berry fruit with a hint of savoury spice.  Crianza reds have to be cellared for a minimum of two years by Spanish law.

Santa Ana La Mascota Malbec 2010 Argentina $28.50
A prime example of why South American Malbecs are so popular. Aromas of sultanas and black cherry, with ripe palate of chocolate, blueberry, and spice.

Cypres de Climens Barsac 2006 France $65.00
Barsac is very close to Sauternes, the fabled sweet wine from Bordeaux made from grapes affected by ‘noble rot’ – a fungus that extracts the water and intensifies sugar in the berries.  Orange gold in colour with intense sweet flavours of macerated dried fruit and honey.

Chambers  Rosewood Vineyards grand Muscat NV Rutherglen Australia $95.00
Rutherglen Muscat liqueurs are legendary, and this is a good example.  Deep brown in colour, very sweet with aromas and flavours of molasses, sultanas, and toasted nuts.

Phil Parker is a wine writer and operates boutique Fine Wine Tours in Auckland.

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