Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Events and new releases

We are getting to the time of the year where all sorts of interesting things are happening. I know it is early but we can feel spring in the air as the days get noticeably longer and the temperatures are warming up. There is bound to be a sting in winter’s tail but a bit more sunshine makes us feel a bit more positive and encourages us to get out and about a bit.

We are seeing 2010 vintage wines on the shelves with some exciting new wines, there are dinners to attend, courses to gather information from and of course wine to enjoy.

NMIT’s restaurant, The Rata Room, has a number of events coming up. On the 1st September they have a degustation dinner with Fleur Sullivan from the well known and highly regarded Fleur’s Place at Moeraki on the east coast near Oamaru. Located in the most stunning location on the wharf at Moeraki Fleur’s is one of the best places to enjoy New Zealand’s great seafood. The last dinner Fleur created at The Rata Room was outstanding and this is an event not to be missed.

Also at The Rata Room NMIT’s hospitality training team have joined forces with Nelson Wine Art to deliver a series of seminars to help you learn about wine. The first session in the series of six is on the 31st August 7.00pm – 9.00pm where I will host an introduction to wine tasting then each Tuesday for the following five weeks a different winemaker will help you explore a range of wine varieties. The cost is $150 for the whole series and you get to taste about six wines at each session. Book your space by calling 0800-422-733.

On the new release front one of the most exciting new wines to be released in Nelson for some time is a variety new to this region, Muscat. Blackenbrook Vineyards planted what they believe to be the first Muscat vines in the South Island a few years ago and this first release is stunning. Most people are familiar with Muscat as a dessert wine produced widely in Australian and European warmer climates.

As the Nelson region is considered a cool climate region for grape growing planting the vines was very much experimental but the results have been outstanding and reinforce this region’s ability to extract wonderful flavours from aromatic style wine varieties.

Finally a few days ago I had the somewhat dubious pleasure of judging a cooking and wine and food matching competition at the Katrina Gordon Trade Show. Local celebrities were asked to recreate a dish prepared by a chef and then match a wine with the dish. A lot of fun was had by everyone, the results were somewhat mixed and Jonathan Poff and Afeleki Pelenisi from the Makos emerged from the carnage as the winner by making a fine job of recreating NMIT Tutor Matt Fahie’s Venison dish and matching it with Kaimira Estate 2008 Pinot Noir.

I have been drinking
Blackenbrook Vineyard 2010 Muscat - $23 from Casa del Vino and Mediterranean Foods
This is a highly aromatic wine with aromas that excite the senses. It is bursting with rich, floral and spicy Turkish delight and orange blossom aromas that are reflected in the sweet, intense flavours. Delightfully balanced with soft minerality and tantalising ginger spice flavours in the very long finish with ripe acidity that leaves your mouth watering for more of this luscious delight. I will be drinking plenty of this fantastic wine in the coming summer months.
Millton Opou Vineyard 2008 Riesling - $27.50 but look for it on special for about $20
8.5% alcohol, plenty of succulent residual sugar and delicately balanced acidity make this the perfect aperitif. Luscious honeyed citrus flavours mean it will also work very well with seafood.

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