NZ Wine

Syrah Wine Tasting @ Regional Wine and Spirits, Wellington

Last week I went to my first wine tasting at Regional Wine and Spirits- the Syrah ‘Tri-Nations Challenge’ with Andrew Parkinson.  It was a fantastic evening consisting of four flights of blind tasting various Syrahs’ from NZ, Australia and France.

After each tasting we commented on the wines and tried to place what country they were from.  I have to say by the end of the evening I was definitely improving and could start to pick up on the typical characteristics of the wines from the various countries!

I have discovered a real love for Syrah in this country.  My first introduction to it was during my first visit to Hawke’s Bay stumbling across the Alpha Domus cellar door.  This particular wine featured on the second flight during the wine tasting evening and was really enjoyed by all! It’s also exceptional value for money considering how popular it was.

Other stand out wines for me during the evening were the French Guigal St Joseph 2011 Syrah and the Australian Henschke Mt Edelston 2008 Shiraz which had the most fantastic aroma! Henschke are also bringing in some very interesting glass stopper bottles which could start to prove very popular.  When you think that cork has a failure rate of between 10 and 50%, it makes sense that wineries are looking for ways to improve this statistic, whilst still keeping to tradition.  You can read more about Henschke and the glass stoppers here:

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Retail Prices as of May 2014:

Guigal Saint-Joseph Red 2011 $57.95

Alpha Domus Syrah Barn Stormer 2012 $29.40

Henschke Mt Edelston Shiraz 2008 $163.35

Check out Regional Wine and Spirits website for more information on further in store tastings and wine recommendations



Wine of The Week


Let’s be honest….for most of us there are times where our wine purchase of choice is purely based on the label design.  We are told to not judge a book by it’s cover….but at the end of a long week I have a ten minute patience threshold for supermarket aisles and a strong label design will always grab my eye.  Which is why I wanted to feature this quirky Pinot Noir as this week’s wine of the week.

Amongst a supermarket shelf of very serious NZ Pinot Noirs this label stood out to me as so fun and different and I couldn’t resist giving it a try.

The blurb on the back of the label states

‘Pinot Noir is fickle but she is charming, she is temperamental but bewitching.  She is the Fickle Mistress’.

 A new label out of the Treasury Wine Estates stable this wine is being marketed as an affordable Central Otago pinot noir. It is intended – this is a wonderful sentence – to “appeal to consumers with its quirky and niche NZ branding that is visually engaging and will prove to be a wonderful conversation starter when dining and drinking.” Pinot Noir is a cool climate red grape, producing a light to medium red wine with intense flavours.  The grapes are very sensitive and require constant care.  Therefore the name refers to the fact that pinot noir is generally considered to be a “fickle mistress” – in the vineyard. Nikolai St George is credited as the winemaker in the corporate release but the wine is actually made by Greg Rowdon.  

It got me thinking about many years ago travelling on the train from London to Bournemouth with some University friends one Friday night.  We had treated ourselves to a bottle of M&S wine and some nibbles from Waterloo station to while away the three hour train journey after work.  Sharing our four seater table with a stranger, we got talking bout wine labels as he mentioned he worked in the area of wine marketing.  We had an interesting discussion about how wine labels really don’t branch out much at all.  In recent years the advertising on wine bottles has certainly got more interesting, but I am curious to see what the general consensus is on this topic.  Would you take a bottle of wine with a modern illustrative design on it as a less ‘serious’ bottle than a text based design?  Do you think a more modern quirky design cheapens the perceived value of the bottle? Working in visual effects and design myself, this is an area I find really interesting as I think we could start to see a lot more innovation in years to come.

It may be fickle and tricky to grow but it’s certainly very easy to drink! Deep red, this wine has flavours of dark cherries, blackberry and cocoa aromas.  A lovely bottle of wine with a unique selling point makes Fickle Mistress Central Otago 2012 Pinot Noir this week’s NZ Wine of The Week.