Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aromatics Symposium

On Waitangi Day about 160 people gathered at Upper Moutere to discuss and taste the wine varieties Riesling and Gewurztraminer. As well as wine enthusiasts most local winemakers were in attendance along with winemakers and wine writers from around New Zealand.

But most importantly there were a large number of world renown wine writers, commentators, restaurateurs and buyers from most parts of the globe – Hong Kong, Singapore, London, New York, Sydney and of course the key note speaker, Ernst Loosen, from the Mosel region in Germany.

The Aromatics Symposium had a focus on learning by sharing knowledge and tasting a range of wines from here and overseas. Speakers like Andrew Caillard (Master of Wine, wine writer and author from the UK) Ernst Loosen from Weingut Dr Loosen (200 years history of winemaking in Germany) and Simon Tam (wine commentator from Hong Kong) had important messages to pass on to wine producers in this country while Alan Limmer (Stonecroft Wines) and Nick Nobilo (Vinoptima) shared their passion for producing gew├╝rztraminer.

To top the day off from an international awareness point of view TV personality and the owner of arguably one of the best palates in the world, Oz Clarke, not only shared his immense knowledge and thoughts on New Zealand’s wine and its place in the world market but he had a film crew in tow. Assuming some of the several hours of footage he took away with him appears on international television screens Nelson will be the recipient of some fantastic regional promotion – for free!

During the day and at the evening function at Neudorf I managed to spend some time talking with Clarke about wine and food in general. He makes a point of drinking and eating local produce where ever he is. He says this gives him a real ‘sense of place’ about a region and its people. He also has a deep fondness for good beer and was mightily impressed with the local brews he managed to taste here. He was particularly impressed with the things the guys at the Moutere Inn are doing in there efforts to foster the local brewing industry.

Congratulations to Nelson Winemakers for arranging an outstanding weekend.

During the day we tasted wines from New Zealand and overseas so how did our wines stack up? In the opinion of everyone there, very well indeed. A few highlights included a fleshy Greenhough Vineyards 2007 Riesling, beautifully balanced Mount Edward 2007 Riesling from Central Otago. From Germany we tasted a rich Jesutengarten 2007 Riesling delightfully balanced with piercing acidity and from Austria a Dursteiner Hollerin 2007 Riesling that had superb aroma complexity with luscious, ripe stonefruit characters.

In my next column I will tell you the Gewurztraminers we tried.

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