My friend Miss A and I attended the first Auckland Pinot Palooza on Saturday at Shed 10. This celebration of pinot noir is aimed specifically at wine drinkers rather than wine snobs. There was very little else aside from pinot noir so it was eye-opening to try pinot noir from different climates and vintages all one after the other. Pinot Palooza has been running in Australia for 5 years and has a cult following of feel good wine drinking over there.
With over 60 pinot noir producers on site, each offering an average of 3 bottles each, there was no way we would get through them all. Not even close and especially since we weren’t spitting.
Sauvignon Blanc are the number one planting in our vineyards taking a massive 72% of our production but Pinot Noir is (a very distant but growing) second with 8% of NZ wine production (Source: NZ Wine).
After starting with a couple of wines from Wine Australia followed by Framingham in Marlborough, we quickly devised our plan of action which I’ve dubbed “Pinot Pinball”. The rules are simple: After sampling their wines, ask each wine expert whose wines we should try next. This challenge had us pinballing around the room, trying only wines that had been recommended to us and considered the best by others in the industry. This put us in a great direction and several producers such as Valli, Ata Rangi, Rippon and Mt Edward were suggested by many other experts. All up, we sampled around 30 wines from 10 producers and got a great feel for what others are looking for in a pinot noir and also what qualities we enjoyed.
The producers that came highly recommended by their peers were:
- Valli, Central Otago www.valliwine.com
- Ata Rangi, Martinborough www.atarangi.co.nz
- Rippon, Central Otago www.rippon.co.nz
- Mt Edward, Central Otago www.mountedward.co.nz
- Maude, Central Otago www.maudewines.com
- Black Estate, Waipara www.blackestate.co.nz
- Pegasus Bay, Waipara www.pegasusbay.com
- Greywacke, Marlborough www.greywacke.com
- Nanny Goat, Central Otago www.nannygoatvineyard.co.nz
Nanny Goat won the People’s Choice award!
The food by Bird On A Wire was delightful as always and being fairly indecisive, we requested a sampling of their sliders, which really hit the spot. If meat and cheese is your thing, there was also an impressive cheeseboard selection available for purchase.
Our VIP passes allowed early access to the event, but due to a couple of European reds the night before, it took as a while to get mentally prepped and didn’t arrive at the festival until midday. By the time we left, several hours later, the festival was in high spirits with music pumping, wine flowing and even dancing. Bottled water was free and easily available, and plenty of amenities (which is important for drinking events). Any queuing done on the day was short and sweet. A very smoothly run event. An impressive first Pinot Palooza in Auckland. Well done.
We were invited as guests of Bottle Shop Concepts, though all opinions are my own. For more information on this event and for future wine events, visit Pinot Palooza’s website here or their Facebook page here. The first Pinot Palooza in Wellington has just been announced and will be their biggest show yet with 127 wineries in January 2017.