New Zealand Wine Fair 2014

 

In a nutshell

New Zealand and Canada share quite few similarities: we both have The Queen on our same-name-bearing bills, we both have large (also English-speaking) neighbors who influence everything we do, and (to omit multitude of other commonalities in order to get to the point) we both have young wine industries of less than half a century old. Much like a seedling shortly after germination – growing in order to establish itself; both industries are still evolving, maturing and defining their niches in the style of wine they produce. Perhaps it is for these similarities why so many Ontarian winemakers seek out this event in particular (more so than other ones), to exchange ideas with their Southern Hemisphere, cool-climate counterparts and to learn from one another.

 

Venue choice

On May 8th, Toronto’s 20th New Zealand Wine Fair’s was, for the first time, held at the newly renovated St. James Cathedral Centre with its glass extension overlooking the majestic St. James Cathedral. In prior years, the Fair took place inside the Toronto Reference Library within a spacious room also filled with southwardly facing windows that allowed the sun to come in, however patrons had to go through a good section of the library to get to it. Whatever the reason for the venue’s move, the new location makes more sense after all – Catholicism and wine have a long and productive history together.
The St. James Centre was specifically redesigned to hold receptions and as such has a spacious room, adjacent kitchen and another room separated by a hallway. For the media and trade portion of the event, the wine tasting took place within the main room, while the side room was dedicated to feature 4 selected Pinot Noirs and how they pair with New Zealand lamb served on a cracker together with a savory tart (Daniel et Daniel catering).

 

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Some Stats

New Zealand is synonymous with untouched and unreachable scenery (so well depicted in Lord of the Rings), Kiwis (though most people think of fruit) and their Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs. The wines are known so well because of the 194M litres produced, staggering 87.6% or nearly 170M were exported totaling NZ$ 1.2 billion
The statistics herein represent 2012 data, which was provided by New Zealand Winegrowers in a form of a brochure.
. The 34 thousand (K) hectares are planted with 25 varietals – mainly Sauvignon Blanc (20.4K), Pinot Noir (5.4K) and Chardonnay (3.3K). For a mountainous country, with a population nearing 4.5 million people (13% of Canada), these are impressive production and even more impressive exports stats (see how it compares to Ontario stats).

 

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‘Kiwi’ Pinot Noir

That Thursday was quite an eventful day for me, starting with a SUPPER early morning in order to tie loose ends in the biology lab prior to a long vacation, to savoring Australian wines at a luncheon (see earlier post), to tasting New Zealand wines before grabbing my already-packed luggage and heading for the airport.
All I had energy for, was to focus only on one type and one type alone – Pinot Noir. In my view, when done just right, the Pinot Noir varietal is unlike any other, but for that it has to come from a cool climate – so the two places I look to find well/reasonably priced ones (under $30) are New Zealand and Ontario, although other places make them well these end up more costly.

 

The 2013 Marisco Vineyards Ned Pinot Noir, sourced from the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough, has appealing aromas of spice, rosehip and pomegranate on the nose and cranberry and pomegranate on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, fruity wine; with forward/tangy acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. Drink this wine with food; drink now and for the next 3-5 years (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $19.95 Vintages 361261
The 2012 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir, sourced from vines aged 3-17 years from the Wairau and Awatere Valleys and then matured in seasoned French Oak for 9 months, has seductive aromas of anise, barnyard, smoke, rosehip and raspberry. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry (perceivably dry), fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, subtle tannins and a medium finish. It is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink 2014-2017 (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE, 88-89 pts.
Score 88-89 pts. $19.95 Vintages 590414
The 2012 White Haven Pinot Noir, sourced from four vineyards in the Awatere, Wairau and Southern Valley sub-regions of Marlborough and then aged in new and old French oak barrels for 11 months, has attractive mineral notes as well as aromas of raspberry and pine on the nose and pomegranate, oak and subtle vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long, smooth finish. Though food friendly, sip this wine; drink 2014-2019 (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality and value.

Awards:Gold Medal – China Wine and Spirits Awards 2014 &
Silver Medal – New Zealand International Wine Show 2013

RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $24.00 LCBO 245696
The 2011 Akarua Pinot Noir, sourced from 14-year-old vines grown in Central Otago that was then aged for 10 months in 30% new French Oak barriques, has lifted aromas of cranberry, subtle smoke, clove and barnyard on the nose and cranberry and pomegranate on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, fruity wine; with fresh acidity, refined tannins and a long finish. Sip this wine on-its-own; drink 2014-2018 (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 91-92 pts. $37.95 Vintages 79541
The 2012 Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir, sourced from Awatere and Wairau Valleys in Marlborough, has intense aromas of pomegranate, toast and vanilla on the nose and pomegranate, red currant, subtle vanilla and oak on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, refined tannins and a clean finish that is long and smooth. This is a sipping wine as well as food friendly; drink for the next 3-5 years (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value.

Awards:Silver – New Zealand International Wine Show 2013

RECOMMENDED Score 89 pts. $21.95 LCBO 146548
The 2010 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir, sourced from selected vineyards in Awatere and Wairau Valleys in Marlborough and aged in French Oak for 10 months, has elegant aromas of vanilla, stables, pomegranate and red currant. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with excellent acidity, refined tannins and long finish. This is a food friendly wine but will reward on its own; drink for the next 5+ years (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for its quality.

Awards:Gold Medal winner at the 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards.

RECOMMENDED Score 90-91 pts. $32.95 Vintages 285361
The 2011 Te Pā Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, sourced from a 10-year-old vines, has alluring aromas of smoke, wood, vanilla, cedar, barnyard, red currant and raspberry on the nose and pomegranate, red currant and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity, subtle/refined tannins and a medium to long finish. This is a food friendly as well as sipping wine; drink for the next 3-5+ years (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality.
RECOMMENDED Score 89 pts. $35.95 Family Wine Merchants
The 2012 LoveBlock Vintners Pinot Noir, a 100% organic wine sourced from a vineyard in Central Otago, has attractive aromas of stables, barnyard, stems and red currant. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, subtle to refined tannins and a medium to long finish. This is a food friendly wine; drink now to 2020 (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE, 90 pts.
Score 90 pts. $47.95 Trialto
The 2010 Saint Clair Family Estate Pioneer Block 15 Pinot Noir, sourced from a single vineyard in Waihopai Valley from clones 115 and 777 that was aged for 10 months in seasoned French Oak barriques, has seductive aromas of toast, cigar box, stables, vanilla, vegetal notes and red currant and cherry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged wine; with refreshing acidity, subtle tannins and a medium to long, clean finish. This is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now to 2018+ (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 90 pts. $29.95 PMA agency
The 2012 Saint Clair Family Estate Pioneer Block 23 Strip Block Pinot Noir, sourced from a single vineyard in Southern Valleys from clones 115, 114, Able, & 777 and aged in seasoned French Oak barriques for 10 months, has desirable aromas of smoke, oak, smoked meat, barnyard, vanilla and pomegranate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with crisp acidity, subtle tannins and a clean finish that lasts. This is a food friendly as well as sipping wine; drink now to 2022+ (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE, 91 pts – recommended for its quality and value.
RECOMMENDED Score 91 pts. $28.95 PMA agency

 

 

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Special Thanks to Anik Gaumon and Robert Ketchin for the invitation to this event despite my repeated lateness in publication.
The event was supported by New Zealand Wine and
Catering was provided by Daniel et Daniel

 

The two faces behind this event – Robert Ketchin and cheerful Anik Gaumon.
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Please click on the links for New Zealand Fair 2013 or other EVENTS in the wine country or in Toronto.

 

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