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Murray Almond's "From the Left Island"
Taste of New Zealand Wine Fair 2002 - Part 4
This column summarises the Pinot Noir Seminar held in conjunction with the Taste of New Zealand Wine Fair when it passed through Melbourne in February.
One feature for me of the New Zealand Wine Expo was the Pinot Noir Seminar that enabled a closer look at one of the feature styles of the New Zealand Wine Industry.
Held in the stunning Amcor Studio, with it's lit mural consisting of glass beads, cassette tape, jelly beans and spider encased in perspex, the seminar presented 8 Pinot Noirs from across New Zealand, each presenting by a winemaker or representative of the winery.
The Seminar was hosted by Lois Mills of Rippon Vineyard in Central Otago. Her introduction covered the dramatic growth of plantings in Pinot noir, from 500 hectares (ha) in 1994 to 1700 ha in 2002, this is to further expected to grow to over 2600 ha in 2004. Nevertheless New Zealand remains a small player in the global Pinot Noir market. Accordingly it competes as a niche player. in the world market. The advantage here is that the market has plenty of room to grow.
The discussion on each wine included information on clone selection and vine trellising, as well as the picking and making processes. This level of detail was greatly appreciated by the attendees. The notes below are my notes from the wines presented, with winemaker comments. The dollar values are those stated and are in Australian dollars.
2000 Kumeu River Pinot Noir, Kumeu $36.00
2000 Palliser Estate Pinot Noir, Martinborough $38.90
2000 Te Kairanga Pinot Noir Martinborough $38.00
2000 Seifried Estate Pinot Noir Nelson $23.99
2000 Highfield Pinot Noir Martinborough $25.00
2000 Montana Reserve Pinot Noir Martinborough $19.95
2000 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir Marlborough $32.40
1999 Rippon Pinot Noir Central Otago $42.00
At the end of the session I had a great discussion with James Healy of Cloudy Bay and Tony Hooper of Highfield while sampling the leftovers. Discussion ranged from the cellaring capabilities of Sauvignon Blanc, "sure it ages, but why bother when it tastes so good now", terroir and selection the right grapes and clones for the right places, and effective marketing and positioning of New Zealand wine in overseas markets.
The two days of the New Zealand Wine Expo where highly educational and enjoyable and my congratulations and thanks to the New Zealand Wine Institute and Elmira Curin for their efforts.
From the Left Island
© Murray Almond
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