Monday, June 1, 2009

New Zealand Wine Fair

We got the chance to see, close up, the new Trade and Convention Centre. Just recently opened to the public, this was the first event that I've had occasion to attend there. Having seen the building slowly take shape and having read reams about over-blown cost expenditures, it was nice to head off with Boo and Mister D. (a regular drinking and one time running buddy) to see that the New Zealand Wine Fair was set up in one of the new meeting rooms.

It was a small event in a big building, so the full potential of the Convention Centre wasn't on show, but I trust they'll be able to throw some pretty impressive events there. If the Olympic broadcasters get a couple of sunny days to showcase the views, there won't be any denying the beauty of the city.

For me (and likely most others), the first wines that come to mind, with the mention of New Zealand, are sauvignon blanc and pinot noir - and there was plenty of those wines to try this evening. However, it was interesting to try some of the "newer" varietals seeing some growth along with the Kiwi stalwarts. We tried a handful of rieslings, pinot gris and even a couple of syrah/shiraz.

Despite the handful of new wines to try, I think the favourites of the night were still the sauvignon blancs and the pinot noirs. Perhaps there's a reason those are the wines the New Zealanders are best known for.

I had gone with a goal of trying all the wines from the Central Otago region. I haven't tried that many wines from the area - as many of them take a bigger hit from the wallet than I can manage on a regular basis. But my recollection is that I've always thoroughly enjoyed those wines that we've sampled. The wineries weren't organized by area - in fact, I haven't the foggiest as to how they were organized - but I think I managed to find all the Central Otago wines. Most of them were worth the effort to find them.

It seemed like the regulars to the Vancouver scene that I know were all there - particularly Kim Crawford and Babich - but I especially liked trying some of the producers that aren't fully established in the city yet. I'll definitely keep an eye open for wines from Amisfield, Auntsfield, Churton, and Waitiri Creek. I want to give them all another go. And then, Boo and I were both quite fond of a sparkling sauvignon blanc from Mount Riley that was quite unique for us.

No picture and no wine to add to The List this time around; but a good time all the same.

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