The Deacon Tours New Zealand!
Wassup? to my Pirate Crue...
In the words of Gandalf Stormcrow:
Bite my staff!
Now let's get right into this...
Today we're talkin' about New Zealand wine, because yesterday, your humble Deacon got an eksklusive invite to the New Zealand Awesome Aromatics Trade Seminar at the Design Exchange. Now this was by invitation only, which is why I didn't see most of my loyal readers in attendance. Since I was given a special media pass, I made a point of hangin' with two of my homeys, Michael Pinkus and Dean Tudor. We were clearly the bad boyz of the room and Pinkus kept your humble Deacon entertained with his inane but hilarious comments. Dean did a really cool thing and I realize how much I have to learn about the wine industry. At the end of the seminar, we all jumped to grab the sandwiches that were totally lurch. We each grabbed only one, as we were told there wouldn't be more than one per person. Well Dean's an old hand at this, and while Pinkus and I elbowed the elderly out of our way, Dean hung out in the background and took nothing. He waited until the platters were refilled (something that apparently always happens) and then loaded up while the rest of us were still quietly eating our single sandwich, trying to make it last. The guy's a frickin' genius! When Pinkus and I headed downstairs after the seminar, Dean was refilling again and was probably eating well into the night. The seminar was conducted by David Lawrason, who did a totally lurch job. He explained that vitis vinifera grapes grow between 30 degrees and 50 degrees of latitude. New Zealand has the advantage that both their frickin' islands fit neatly into this 20 degree space, which means they can grow grapes anywhere. The dude knows his stuff and has no attitude at all. At one point he asked if anyone had any comments about a particular Riesling and your Deacon raised his hand. I said it smelled like warm petrol, like someone had opened the hood of a tank from a Panzer Division, which is what Riesling is supposed to smell like. He seemed rather uncomfortable with this, which I thought was a funny way to treat a line of such comedic brilliance.
So... we got to sample some really lurch New Zealand whites, including 3 Riesling, 3 Pinot Gris and 3 Gewurtztraminer. Now if I'd been running things, I'd have gotten the Pinot Gris out of the way first. To me, it's always a kind of nothing grape. I'm not sayin' it sux or anything, but it's just not that interesting, no matter how well it's vinified (which means "turned into wine" to you peckercrackers in Keswick). It's sort of like Snora Jones' music. Inoffensive, but so frickin' what? When did inoffensive become a positive descriptor?
Now your Deacon has waxed poetic on NZ Sauvignon Blanc for ages. I think the kiwis in general and the good folks in Marlborough make arguably the best SB on the planet. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to have his cranium examined or is on someone's payroll...Well I gots to tell you, the NZ Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers were also highly lurch! There's one wine I want to draw your attention to, which is Spy Valley Gewurtztraminer 2006! Woo hoo hoo hoo! This one's lurch with a capital L! This Marlborough wine is only $20.95 and will be at Vintages on May 26th. (Stock number 032870) This wine has everything. Put it with Thai Red Curry and give it 15 minutes out of the fridge to open up and then thank me! Otherwise, try it with stuffed pork or teriyaki salmon. If you don't like it, I recommend you stand with the bottle in front of a full length mirror and ask your reflection why you're a dick! There are only 100 cases coming into the province and I think Zoltan's ordered 99 of them, so grab this suckah!
After the seminar we headed downstairs to the huge New Zealand Wine Fair. There were 55 presenters here, and each one was showcasing between 2 and 6 wines! Do the frickin' math and then write and tell me how much you wish you were the Deacon...
Here's another phenom wine you gots to try: Mount Riley Savee Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Marlborough (# 032326) This will rock your frickin' world! Bob Campbell, New Zealand's only Master of Wine wrote about this wine in 2004 and called it "A supercharged Sauvignon Blanc". Here you have an SB that's made in the traditional Champagne method and taken off the lees really early to avoid too much yeasty flavour. This is a delicious and refreshing sparkling and only $22.95, again at Vintages on Saturday May 26th. Sparkling SB is very rare, so don't miss this opportunity to try a really interesting bubbly.
If you don't understand or think you don't like Sauvignon Blanc, I recommend you start with a good reliable one: Coopers Creek, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc at only $16.95 (#957407) This is a Vintages Essentials. Drink it really cold in a martini glass for the full effect. It's a great aperitif and will wake up your tastebuds before a big honkin' meal. Otherwise, serve it with herbed chicken and asparagus to experience the perfect food match.
I also really liked the extreme cherry flavours of Waitiri Creek Pinot Noir Central Otago 2005, although at $43.00 I found it pricey, although it is my fave Pinot from NZ to date. I've said for a year or more that New Zealand's Pinot Noir has been inconsistent and I still say it. It's a problematic grape to grow; think of Edgar Allen Poe, naked and drunk and on acid and you're trying to get him to catch eels against his will in a force 5 hurricane, and you get the idea. To my mind, it costs so much to produce this wine that you're better off with the Ontario variant. Coyote's Run and Flat Rock Cellars do an impressive job with Pinot, and so does Fielding Estates, providing real value with a VQA wine. But if you must have imported, and don't want to support Burgundy, New Zealand's coming along nicely.
As I wandered the room, pressing the flesh and checkin' out the samples, I ran into my homeys, Jono "Saskatchewan Brain Boy" Kuhling and Zoltan "Jak sie macz" Szabo. We hung out for a while and shared a few war stories. At 4 PM we split.
Kudos to the organizers. This was a really nicely presented, totally lurch event.
Your Deacon loves you.
Coming soon: Another book review and an interview with Canadian piano genius Stephan Moccio.
You heard me.
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Supportin' the kiwis and other kool birds