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Thursdays 9 & 16 September 2021
Two part tasting. Fee covers both weeks.
Sauvignon Blanc has become the hero grape for New Zealand, possibly more famous now than in the wines of its Loire Valley homeland. The vibrant, fruity and explosive style of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc – memorably described as smelling like ‘Cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush,’ by Oz Clarke – has won legions of fans.
Some superb examples of this style do exist, but we will explore how the New Zealand story really has moved on, to explore different styles, different grapes and different regions. We’ll discover that New Zealand is far from a one trick pony, with excitement across its twin islands, in both white and red wines.
Sauvignon Blanc accounts for over 70% of New Zealand’s entire wine production, but winemakers have long understood the need to diversify, and we’ll focus on that for part of this tasting. First, a ‘new style’ Sauvignon Blanc from North Canterbury: organic, fermented in French oak barrels with wild yeasts, and absolutely superb. Other white grapes have lived in the shadow of Sauvignon for too long, especially in Marlborough, the powerhouse of the wine industry.
There has always been fabulous Chardonnay in Marlborough, and we’ll taste one of them from a cracking vintage, and we’ll also taste an absolutely beautiful Riesling,with slightly lower alcohol acheived by a newly-developed pruning technique that reduces photosynthesis while preserving all the flavour. Demonstrating Marlborough’s genuine diversity, we’ll round off our tour with a Lagrein. This red variety from the far north of Italy is one of a small number of ‘alternative’ varieties showing huge promise.
Marlborough is on the South Island and accounts for a massive 77% of New Zealand’s entire wine production, but there’s masses of exctitement in other areas too of course. We’ll visit two of the North Island’s hottest spots: Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough. From here we’ll taste two Pinots: a ripe and beautifully balanced Pinot Gris, somewhat remisinscent of an Alsace style, and a Pinot Noir, arguably New Zealand’s leading red variety, but with huge potential still.
This tasting runs over two sessions, from 7pm – 8pm each evening. The ticket price of £25 covers both sessions and is per household, not per person.
We’ll open three wines each night, but they’ll drink just as well over the next couple of days so nothing will be wasted. You may also attend without purchasing the wines.