I have been cursed with the realisation that I like expensive wine.
Last Saturday, my friend and I attended Winetopia, an expo for wine lovers. Set upstairs at the expansive Shed 10 on Queens Wharf, in Auckland CBD, the event was bursting at the seams with well behaved but jovial attendees, wine exhibitors, food stalls and plenty of free wine talks (with tastings).
We’d already enjoyed a leisurely feast of a lunch (to line the stomach) but I couldn’t go past freshly shucked Mahurangi Oysters and my friend enjoyed a Food Snob cheese platter. There’s a decent array of food if you want or need it, but we were here for wine.
Entry included a tasting wine glass and 5 tokens, though more tokens could be purchased for $2 each. Most wine tastings cost 1 token, though there were 2 and 3 token tastings for the more expensive bottles. For an extra $20pp you could also choose to attend various Masterclasses with guaranteed tastings.
The King of Pinot Noir
We were lucky to swing a couple of seats to the Pinot Noir Masterclass headed by wine royalty, the ever dapper, Bob Campbell MW.
We arrived early to class and got nerdy seats at the front, though the tables were arranged in a ring facing the centre meaning everyone got a front row view. Each setting had four stunning Central Otago Pinot Noir glasses made by Riedel, that’s right, the glasses were design just for one region’s wine. Bob’s selection of wines each came from a different region of New Zealand and going by Bob’s expert nose, each region should have a distinct style. Bob talked us through the tastings as we examined them for colour, nose and taste. The wines were from Martinborough, Malborough, Waipara and Central Otago and vintage ranged from 2011 to 2014.
I love red wine and while pinot noir isn’t my first choice (I prefer syrah), I can very happily enjoy a glass (or bottle) of pinot. I couldn’t tell you where or when a wine was produced based on colour, smell or taste alone. I’d have to read the label.
Wine tasting is extremely personal and I liked that Bob asked for a show of hands to see wines we preferred. What I think about wine might not match what you think and that’s OK.
Things I have learned (about myself) YMMV:
- I like expensive wine
- 2014 was a great year
- The 2011 wine tasted over developed
- In terms of colour, purple tastes better than brick
- Wines don’t always taste like they smell
The Crown Range Cellar ‘Signature Selection – Grant Taylor’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 was delicious. The best in the pack. Retailing at $172.50 per bottle (if you can find it) and I later found it on a restaurant menu for $235 per bottle, it better be good. And it is.
I was both delighted and dismayed that the favourite wine turned out to be the most expensive wine. The majority can recognise a good wine when they taste it, but it means the best wine is out of budget for many. Is that a surprise? Not really. I think I would have been happier to find out I liked the taste of cheaper wine.
I usually buy wine on special in the $12 to $16 price range. I’ll splurge up to $25 if I’m bringing a bottle to dinner and most of the time, I’m choosing wine based on labels and gold medallions. I don’t think I’m unique in doing this. Now, I will pay more attention to vintage, though I’m still not sure what region is my favourite.
I didn’t think I have expensive tastes but I am glad I can appreciate a $172.50 wine. What I’m going to do with that information, I’m not entirely sure. I’m not the kind of girl to spend $30+ a single glass of wine (even if I had the money) but if someone else is pouring, I’ll be there in a flash.