Saturday was a fairly grey, rainy day here in Blenheim. So what better way to pass the day, than holed up in the barrel hall at Cloudy Bay with various wine industry colleagues and customers, tasting a selection of the best 2009 pinots, followed by a fantastic meal created by chef Des Harris from Auckland’s Clooney Restaurant.
The tasting was led by Cloudy Bay winemaker Nick Lane, with fellow panelists Bob Campbell MW, and Ralph Kyte Powell. The panel was rounded out by Cloudy Bay’s Sarah Burton who has recently been promoted to senior judge at the Air New Zealand wine awards.
The burgundies in the line up were all from Corton and there were some pretty powerful ones that would certainly benefit from some further aging. Overall the NZ selection (including Pyramid Valley, Neudorf, Ata Rangi and of course Cloudy Bay) looked great – well balanced with elegance and power. Also included were a selection from California and Tasmania and a lone pinot noir from Austria.
It was a great tasting, although I have to say the wine regions were not as easy to pick as they were at the previous year’s event. There was plenty of discussion from the floor and some interesting descriptions from the panel.
The highlight of the day was the amazing meal cooked up by Des Harris however. Des cooked last year at the Marlborough Wine Weekend and until now, that was one of my all-time greatest food and wine experiences. I have to say though, I think Des surpassed himself this time. The food was absolutely superb with an amazing riot of flavours and textures in each dish, but nothing overdone or overwhelming.
Have a look for yourself…