New Zealand Wine Fair

 

This year, Toronto’s New Zealand Wine Fair’s public tasting will be held at the St. James Cathedral Centre from 7 pm to 9:30 pm on Thursday May 8th. Running in city of Toronto for the past 20 years, the New Zealand Wine Fair is moving its location from Toronto Reference Library to the Centre that has recently been renovated and had a glass extension attached to its side in order to modernize its space dedicated to conferences and receptions.
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Often, the wine fair begins with an hour to hour-and-a-half long seminar that focuses on educating sommeliers, media and wine shop (LCBO) buyers on new directions or trends the winemaking community is heading in, or concentrates on any given varietal and advancements achieved that make the wines distinct from other regions. The trade session that follows is designed for restaurateurs etc. to find potential buys; for unrepresented wineries to find prospective agents; and for the media to familiarize themselves with what is out there and accordingly inform the wider population. The public event follows after a break and though organized much like the trade session, patron’s intentions are much different.

 

2013 Wines of New Zealand IMG_5551
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Educational Seminars.

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This year’s seminar will place emphasis on Pinot Noir, New Zealand’s most planted red variety. Last year, the featured grape was Sauvignon Blanc, the most abundant white variety that has been planted since 1973, and the seminar focused on ‘terroir’ and wine making practices across the different growing regions. Large map of New Zealand was laid out on the table and had each of the 10 major growing regions highlighted on which representative bottles of wine stood. The invitees were allowed to freely sample any and all the wines and to chart down their tasting notes and impressions.
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Dating nearly a year ago, I must confess, was my first serious introduction to Sauvignon Blanc where I finally gained the understanding of what makes Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc. Not having much previous experience with this variety, my reviews are limited to a mere subset of aroma descriptors usually associated with this grape and are not as complete as they normally are. Nonetheless, the listing of wines and my impressions may still prove valuable even a year later if not only to simply highlight which wines are available in Ontario.
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The 2011 Coal Pit Sauvignon Blanc, sourced from vines planted in 1994 in Central Otago, has intense mineral, petrol and gooseberry notes. It is a medium to full bodied, dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity and a medium to long, slightly oaky finish. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts.
Score 90 pts. $19.00 Coal Pit Vineyard
The 2012 Seifried Sauvignon Blanc, from Nelson, has intense notes of light leechie and passion fruit. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity and a medium finish. It is food friendly; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE, 88-89 pts.
Score 88-89 pts. $19.00 Terra Fine Wines
The 2012 Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc, from Martinborough, has appealing notes of quince and light leechie. It is medium bodied wine with refreshing acidity and a subdued finish of medium length. My impression: NICE, 87 pts.
Score 87 pts. $19.95 Family Wine Merchants
The 2011 Craggy Range Te Nuna Road Sauvignon Blanc, sourced from Martinborough and then matured in French Oak barriques for 3 months, has intense gooseberry aromas. It is medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine with forward acidity and a medium finish. My impression: NOTHING SPECIAL, 87 pts.
Score 87 pts. $27.95 Lifford Wine Agency
The 2012 Te Mata Estate Sauvignon Blanc, from Hawke’s Bay, has intense aromas of ripe gooseberry and subtle tropical fruit. It is mineral, dry wine with light to medium body, good acidity and a medium finish. My impression: NICE, 88-89 pts
Score 88-89 pts. Ponte Wines and Spirits
The 2012 Man O’ War Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, from Waiheke Island, has appealing aromas of subtle petrol, wood and unripe fruit. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with forward acidity and a medium finish. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. Man O’ War Vineyards
The 2012 Giesen The Brothers Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough, has appealing aromas of subtle petrol and leechie. It is a medium bodied, fruity wine; with forward acidity and a medium finish. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $19.95 Michael Andrew Brands
The 2011 Giesen The Brothers Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough – Wairau and Rapaura Valleys, has subdued aromas of wood, light fruit and vanilla. It is a light bodied, integrated wine; with good acidity and a long finish. My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $19.95 Michael Andrew Brands
The 2012 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc, from Southern and Waihopai Valleys in Marlborough, has intense aromas of petrol and leechie on both the nose and palate. It is a medium to full bodied, dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, soft tannins and a lightly oaked, medium finish. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts.
Score 90 pts. $18.95 Kylix Wines
The 2012 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough – Wairau/Awatere Valleys, has appealing aromas of leechie and gooseberry. It is a light to medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with good acidity and a medium finish. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $18.95 Constellation Brands Canada
The 2012 Yealands Estate Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough – Awatere Valley, has subtle aromas of lees, petrol and passion fruit. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward, slightly tangy acidity and a medium finish. My impression: NICE, 88-89 pts.
Score 88-89 pts. $21.95 Trialto Wine Group
The 2012 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc, from Lower Wairau Valley in Marlborough, has appealing aromas of wood, petrol and gooseberry. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with forward acidity, subtle tannins and a medium, lightly woody finish. My impression: NICE, 88 pts.
Score 88 pts. $24.95 Wine World
The 2012 Invivo Bella Low Alcohol Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough, has pungent aromas of petrol and leechie. It is a light bodied, dry wine; with good acidity and a medium finish. My impression: NOTHING SPECIAL, 86 pts.
Score 86 pts. $19.99 Cult Classics Wine Co.
The 2012 Nautilus Estate Unoaked Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough, has appealing aromas of fresh fruit, gooseberry and subtle steaminess. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; nicely balanced with good acidity and a medium finish. My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $24.99 B&W Wines
The 2011 Auntsfield ‘South Oaks’ Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc, fruit sourced from Marlborough and aged in French Oak barrels on lees for 10 month, has intense aromas of vanilla and wood (missing fruit on both the nose and palate). It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with good acidity and a long finish. My impression: NICE, 89-90 pts.
Score 89-90 pts. $39.00 Dan Barrett Wine & Spirits (Dan.barrett@rogers.com)

 

 

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Tutored Tasting with Stoneleigh Winemaker Jamie Marfell.

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Organizing a wine fair representing an entire country, state or region, is no small feat and does not begin (nor end) with the event itself. As these fairs take place in several cities across Canada and many winemakers are flown in, agents representing those wineries must utilize their time effectively as to maximize the time available to promote the winery and their wines and harness the winemaker’s knowledge and star power. Outside of the wine fair, the winemaker’s schedule is usually filled with public receptions (luncheons or dinners) and media or business meetings – all focusing on promoting newly released wines or wines that are currently available on the market.
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Just the night prior to the New Zealand Wine Fair, I’ve attended a tutored tasting (+dinner) with Stoneleigh Winemaker Jamie Marfell, an event organized by WineAlign. Wines featured included Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noirs and a vertical of two Chardonnays and complimenting foods provided by Crush Wine Bar.

 

Images are a gift from my friend Ken Ku (iPhone compilation).

 

Stoneleigh wine reviews.

The 2012 Stoneleigh Latitude Sauvignon Blanc, aged in large 4,000L oak vats, has intense, lifted aromas of citrus, green leechie and subtle oak. It is a medium bodied, fruity wine; with good, forward acidity and a medium to long finish. Enjoy with food or on-its-own; drink now and for the next 3-5 years. My impression: NICE, 90 pts.
Score 90 pts. $21.95 Vintages 324228
The 2012 Stoneleigh Rapaura Sauvignon Blanc, 50% of which was oak aged, has subtle passion fruit notes. It is a light to medium bodied, dry, fruity wine, with unbalanced, forward acidity and a long, oak dominated finish (decant for 30-60 min). Drink with food; now to 2016. My impression: NOTHING SPECIAL, 87-88 pts.
Score 87-88 pts.
The 2012 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir, of which 15% was oak aged for 6 months, has intense aromas of ripe dates, light raspberry, smoked meat and band-aid. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with forward acidity, subtle tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium to long, oak influenced finish. Enjoy on-its-own or pair with any non-dominant food; drink now – 2016+. My impression: NICE, 89 pts.
Score 89 pts. $19.95 LCBO 54353
The 2012 Stoneleigh Latitude Pinot Noir, aged for 10 months in French and Hungarian oak, has intense bouquet of pomegranate, dates, smoke and subtle nutmeg and clove. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with balanced acidity, subtle-refined tannins and a long, vanilla filled finish. Sip on its own; drink now or keep for the next 5+ years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts.
Score 91 pts. $25.95 Vintages 325654
The 2012 Stoneleigh Rapaura Pinot Noir, aged in French and Hungarian Oak for 12 months, has intense pomegranate, ripe fig, smoked meat and vanilla aromas. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good acidity, soft tannins and a long, vanilla dominated finish. Enjoy by itself; drink now – 2017. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts.
Score 90-91 pts.
The 2003 Stoneleigh Rapaura Chardonnay, aged in French and Hungarian Oak for 12 months, has intense scents of quince, butter and oak. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with balanced acidity, soft tannins and a long, oaky/buttery, smooth finish. Cherish with a close companion; still has few or more years left. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts.
Score 91-92 pts.

 

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For other EVENTS in the wine country or in Toronto
link here.

 

 

My thanks to New Zealand Winegrowers
for the invitation to this years and last years events.

 

 

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