This tasting was hosted by the New Zealand Winegrowers Association. A mass of Kiwi wine was available for swilling and spitting, but unfortunately, I treated it as a social event. More was drunk rather than spat out, so what follows is only a partial account of what was on offer there. The notes are presented sequentially, as I tasted them, and any notes added after the tasting are in [square brackets].
Sauvignon Blanc, 02 - Clean, gooseberries, green peppers, zesty grapefruit. Slight over-acidity? Fresh, long lemony finish. Minerals? Possibly needs time to develop? [I'll get crucified for this, I'm sure, but I found this wine a bit unbalanced, and wasn't alone in this opinion]
Chardonnay, 00 - Pleasantly restrained, tropical fruit, good depth, complex (although predominantly fruity)
Pinot Gris, 01 - Lovely fruity aroma (bit heavy?), pears, melony, herbal (bay leaf?). Really good depth on the palate, fruity, slightly thick on the tongue, a real treat, possibly better served quite cold?
Drylands Winemakers Reserve Dry Riesling, 01 - Classic riesling! Massive waft of petrol, vanilla, tropical fruits restrained. Smoky (lapsang souchong tea) and complex, kiwi fruit. A real treat.
Drylands Winemakers Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 02 - FANTASTIC complex nose, goosseberry, green pepper, good, complex, slight farmyard whiff. Fantastically clean and fresh on the palate, although strangely a bit of a let down after the huge tease from the aroma
Drylands Winemakers Reserve Pinot Noir, 01 - Smoky and oaky, red fruits, clean, summer pudding fresh, long creamy finish, elderberries and cream, lovely to drink, although perhaps lacking a bit of gutsiness?
Pelorus Non-vintage - Cloudy Bay's traditional method sparkler. Slight yeastiness, hints of tropical fruit, but also a really marzipany aroma. Slight burgundian farmyard aroma (?). A lot smoother more and refined than I remember [had it for christmas 02, found it quite rough, dry and yeasty]. Long fruity finish
Sauvignon Blanc, 02 - The classic benchmark sauvignon blanc, upon which Cloudy Bay have built their reputation. Classic. Gooseberry, green pepper, grassy, clean, and very easy to drink. Quite moreish, not really a food wine (?). [This was only the 4th sauvignon blanc tried, and while it was obviously one of the best there, and while I'm a huge fan of the whole per se, the lack of difference between them was starting to grate a bit]
Te Koko, 00 - CB's barrel aged sauvignon blanc. Intense elderflower on the nose, really tempting, but initially slightly odd on the tongue; quite thick/unctuous. Second mouthful better - well structured, quite a lot of depth, long long vanilla (oaky) finish. Definitely would be better with food. [Really good to see a different treatment, and a point of difference with sauv. blanc, and also nice that it isn't an emulation of French technique]
Chardonnay, 01 Lots of burgundy-style character, palate intially tropical fruity, giving way to pleasant (slightly soapy?), long, passion fruit finish. Quite restrained, but very skillful treatment [In all honesty, I spent far too long on the Cloudy Bay stand, at one point leaving to fetch clean glasses, and starting again from the beginning. I guess this says something about the quality of their wines, or my lack of discipline. As you can see from the following notes, this was really where I should have stopped]
Pinot Noir, 01 - Light, neither excitingly fresh [as in the Selaks above] nor hearty [Forrest Estate below]. Sadly, nothing special.
Homestead Block Dry Riesling, 01 - Off dry? Petrol and socks? Restrained tropical fruit
Hunters Sauvignon Blanc, 02 - spicy, capsicum, gooseberry, cumin, barbecue? jerk seasoning?
Forrest Estate, Marlborough
Rose, 02 - Excellent, off-dry, raspberries, not French-style, definitely a New World interpretation
Dry Riesling, 01 - Fairly restrained.
Pinot Noir, 01 - Really good, hearty, burgundian pinot noir
[Apologies to their agents, Adnams , and their engaging and charming chap on the stand, for this shambles of review]
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