Wine – New Zealand Wine Fair – Vancouver

A couple of weeks ago, Sean and I attended the New Zealand Wine Fair that has been making the circuit around North America. It turned out to be one of those intimate tastings that you could cover the room comfortably and then follow up for a second taste later. Good stuff – if a bit small.

As expected, there was a nice range of Sauvignon Blanc in both regular and reserve bottles, however the diversity of some of the other grapes was perhaps the most pleasantly surprising part of day.

Some of our favorite whites included:

  • Mount Riley Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, Savee Marlborough 2006 – A sparkling Marlborough! How cool is that, all the gooseberry, and grassy flavours with some honey and bubbles to boot.
  • Matua “Judd Estate” Chardonnay, Gisborne 2004– Beautiful toasty orange rind on the nose with some nice honey notes, a little “Oak Monster” but what a food wine.
  • Gibbiston Valley Pinot Gris, Central Otago 2006 – A really tasty Pinot Gris with lots of peach and pear with soft toasty finish.
  • Vinoptima Gerwurztraminer, Gisborne 2004 – Thick and tasty, with loads of lychee, rose and peach. Long on the palate.
  • Mud House Swan Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2006 – Another tasty food wine, this one had loads of gooseberry and grapefruit with hint of jalapeno/ green pepper.
  • Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2005 – a tonne of gooseberry, grass and citrus… the nose was so strong it was pungent, but in a fantastic way. We hope to review this wine fully in the near future.

The picks for the reds include:

  • Carrick Pinot Noir, Central Otago 2004 – Lovely cracked pepper with ripe red fruit and excellent length. Had to make a couple of visits here.
  • Quartz Reef Pinot Noir, Central Otago 2004 – Another beauty from Central Otago, this one again had nice cherry and raspberry with a nice earthy finish.
  • CJ Pask Gimblett Road Syrah, Hawkes Bay 2005 – A great value ($25) with tonnes of toasty pepper, dark plum and a nice spicy finish.
  • Te Awa Syrah, Hawkes Bay 2005 – This was a total pepper bomb, loads of fresh cracked pepper on the nose right through to the finish. My barbeque awaits!
  • Te Awa “Boundary” Cabernet Merlot, Hawkes Bay 2002 – Nice full dark blackberry on the nose with a nicely balanced earthy flavor through the finish. Grilled lamb…. mmmm….

Overall, it was a nice, casual tasting. It would have been nice to see a few more Otago Pinots, but there were some really nice surprises.