edited by Sue Courtney
e-mail address: email@example.com
© Sue Courtney
Tasted 27 Jan 2001, posted 18 Feb 2001
The panel for the New Zealand tasting from left to right Blair Walter (Otago), Matthew Donaldson (Pegasus Bay), Larry McKenna (Escarpment Vineyards), Steve Smith MW (Craggy Range), Tim Finn (Neudorf), Brian Bicknell (Seresin), Neil McCallum (Dry River), Rob McDonald (Vidal), Michael Brajkovich (Kumeu River).
It must have been a mammoth task organising the formal tastings for Pinot Noir 2001 but after it was all over Raymond Chan, the tasting coordinator, said he was very pleased with the way it ran and everthing went like clockwork.
Each day, about 3,500 wines had to be poured into the correct glass on the labelled tasting mat to be ready for the delegates as they emerged from the lecture sessions. This necessitated the wines being poured well in advance and some tasters may have had wines that were sitting in the glass for two to three hours. All, except one wine, held up extremely well in the period they were exposed to oxidation in the warm tasting rooms.There were two venues for the seated tastings - one for about 320 tasters plus the panel and the other for about 150 tasters plus the panel. On the first day the International Tasting was held in the large venue, while the New Zealand tasting was held in the small venue. The following day the New Zealand tasting was held in the large venue while the International Tasting was held in the small venue. I attended the sessions in the larger venue.
The New Zealand Tasting
These wines represent some of the best New Zealand has to offer. Wines from the producers attending the conference were put forward to a panel and the following wines were the ones selected to represent their region. These are my personal notes and the scores I gave on the day.Auckland: Kumeu River Pinot Noir 1999
Winemaker presenter: Michael Brajkovich MW
Lightish colour. Vibrant lifted aroma with a hint of tar and savoury developing to a funky earthiness as it sits in the glass. Rich, dry, meaty (bacon), oaky, sour cherry flavours with a splash of citrus. Oak hardness quite dominating but sweet nuances emerge and linger. The flavour is long with a sweet meatiness and a developed fruit spectrum of cherry and plum. 17.5/20
Hawkes Bay: Vidal Estate Pinot Noir 1998
Martinborough: Dry River Amaranth Pinot Noir 1999
Marlborough: Seresin Pinot Noir 1999
Nelson: Neudorf Pinot Noir 1999
Canterbury: Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir 1999
Central Otago: Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir 1999
All in all, an excellent selection of New Zealand wines. Some were delightful, forward approachable examples that would offer immediate delicious drinking while a couple really needed cellaring time to show their potential at its best.
Sue Courtney attended Pinot Noir 2001 courtesy of the "Courtney Retirement Fund". Thanks Neil.
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