At the weekend my partner, a couple of friends, and I – travelled up to the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival. Sixteen wineries, nine eateries, live music and best of all, sunshine.
I arrived at the festival under the misapprehension that those manning the stalls would happily share information about their wines and their winery. The folks at Wycroft Estate, Cottier Estate and Mebus Estate were all willing and able to oblige my inquisitive nature. However, with 2000 thirsty festival goers, there just wasn’t time for chit chat.
The things I did manage to take away with me:
1. Wycroft Estates, a small winery making about 200 cases of their ready-to-drink pinot noir and another 50 cases of their reserve, on Saturday they were showcasing the 2009 reserve and the 2010 Forbury Pinot Noir. By the end of the day they were coming to their last two bottles of the 09. Not the last two bottles of the day, but the last two bottles, period. Friendly chaps.
2. The 2009 Hudson Vineyard Late Harvest Riesling was an absolute delight for such a scorcher of a day. I stole a sip of my mate’s glass. Encouraged him to buy another and then stole another taste. Do yourself a favour and seek this one out. Highly viscous, richly textured, honey and fruit on the nose. A long, lingering finish.
3. After trying the Fairmont Estate Block One Pinot Noir 2009 we were as a group all tempted to not sample anything else. Such a lavishly, complex wine with lots of dark red fruits, chocolate and spice. Yum.
4. Cottier Estate, another small winery, making about 1000 cases a year, mostly Pinot Noir, offered up a light Chardonnay named for the winemaker’s mother, Emily, initially smelled of vegemite. This broke down to nutty spice and mineral elements.
5. Two new definitions also that I didn’t know at the start of the day, tribianco is a white comprised of three varietals, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Müller-Thurgau. And sur lie translates to on the yeast and is a term for wines that spend more time in contact with the yeast.
There was plenty more of note on offer, what’s above are those wines that I couldn’t get out of my head. They were the ones that would not be ignored. There was also plenty I didn’t get a chance to try. Even trying a single taste from each winery was too much of a good thing. I've got the programme from the day so I can keep sampling from those showcased wines.