Trade Masterclass Tastings
Negociants also organised up to four masterclass tastings which ran during the event. These were free for trade to attend and a great opportunity to increase wine knowledge. Each masterclass is led by a panel of winemakers who present and discuss the topic and plenty of questions from the participants is encouraged.
This year’s themes were:
Pinot Gris is loved by the masses but often scorned by the ‘experts’. Can this grape make more than just a beverage wine? We take a look at a number of aged examples and discuss the merits of this popular variety with the relevant winemakers. Moderator Andrew Parkinson comments:
“So it turns out that the trade has a quiet respect for Pinot Gris and after tasting through a range of quality aged examples that respect became a bit louder. Good Pinot Gris does age gracefully but the point made across the panel was that only ‘good’ Pinot Gris should be held back. There is a lot of ‘beverage’ Pinot Gris in the market giving the grape a sour name and the press is not helping by focussing their vitriol on these wines alone and not giving praise where it is deserved. The media needs to be more balanced in their reporting of this grape and its wines. The public is on side and the trade sees its worth. Media - give Pinot Gris a chance!
Wine, Water & Palate perception – a look at just how delicate our palate sense is. Moderator Morven McAuley comments:
“Mineral water is a regular feature on the restaurant table. It plays a supporting but nonetheless vital role when it comes to catering to the diner’s needs for refreshment and cleansing the palate for food and wine. But what do we really know about how the mineralty of water affects the palate? Does it even have any flavour or make any impact? It turns out it does. This masterclass around wine, water and palate perception was designed to showcase how different mineral waters taste and where that taste comes from. Subsequently, if we can taste a flavour in water due to minute traces of dissolved minerals then how does that impact the palate and consequently, how we enjoy our wine? At both Auckland and Wellington trade sessions, we sat with Sommeliers, Winemakers, Masters of Wine, Restaurateurs and Retailers alike to taste and talk about what they experienced. Turns out that water high in calcium isn’t such a great water for Bordeaux style wines. The fruit disappears, the wine becomes linear and there is a distinct, almost oxidised taste left on the palate. When it comes to the most commonly sold wine, our national grape, Sauvignon Blanc, any water high in sodium dilutes the very essence of what makes a quintessential NZ Sauvignon Blanc great and it becomes bland, dull and lacking the vibrancy we know and love from this variety.
Everyone has their own opinions – that’s what is great about the world of fine wine and beautiful food but based on the discussion from this masterclass, the supporting act deserves a little more time in the spotlight.
Antipodes Water Company would like to acknowledge, Rebecca Smidt of Cazador, Clive Jones of Nautilus Estate and Stephen Wong, Master of Wine for taking the time to join in on these classes.”
Sweeties – an exploration of the range of different varietals used in the making of sweet wines including the opportunity to taste some iconic European examples alongside some great NZ sweet wines. Moderator Martin McManus comments:
“The great thing about sweet wines is that there are very few people who don’t enjoy them! There’s nothing quite like that velvety, honeyed, apricot sensation when you take that first sip of a sweet wine. Yet, the category is often an after-thought, typically an infrequent selection at the end of a meal. Whilst the ‘sweeties’ master class discussed the varietals, the wine making techniques and tried to define what makes a great sweet wine we also debated how to reinvigorate the category. Whilst sweet wine is mostly matched with a dessert or cheese at the end of a meal, we explored and discussed other food matching options, especially earlier in the meal. Some thoughts…how about with dry cured ham as a starter, with prawns in a Thai sauce or even roast poultry! For a degustation meal perhaps a sweetie can be a surprising food matching element early on? One thing is for sure, we all agreed that we should definitely drink sweet wine more often, there’s nothing quite like it!”
Food & Wine matching – we take “a cheese” and ask out panel to bring and pour its perfect match. The floor will vote the winner. An interesting look at the impact of food on the flavour of wine. Moderator Andrew Parkinson comments:
“Aged Gouda was the medium used at this most fascinating exploration of people’s palates, the chemistry behind food and wine matching and the competitive nature of winemakers. Two sherries, a Marlborough Syrah and a couple of Aussie reds were the panel’s chosen matches and each winemaker fought for food and wine glory. Topics ranged from fats and proteins and their ability to tame bold wines to whether or not a wine that overpowers the food is a better result than a food that overpowers the wine… Aussie Cabernet was the winner on the day, tipping a gentle nod to those in the bold wine/meeker food camp. A special mention must go to Sam Barry from Jim Barry wines whose ability to carry the same piece of cheese through two sets of airport security and three masterclass tastings became a thing of legend!”
The 2017 tour will take place week commencing 24th July 2017 with venues yet to be confirmed. This is a free event for trade customers, so make sure you get your invitation or contact us at Negociants to enquire. We also run an evening consumer event for the general public to be able to purchase a ticket and taste the superb range of wines on offer. More information will be on the website in due course.