On Sunday my husband and I went to the Craft’d Wine and Spirit Festival, part of Auckland’s Elemental AKL, Auckland’s winter festival. It was a chance to taste (and buy!) a bunch of wine and spirits from smaller wineries and distilleries around New Zealand, and even take some classes.
We only did one ‘masterclass’, but it was quite interesting. It was called ‘Demystifying Wine for Newbies with The Imbibe Tribe’, run by Renée Dale. She taught us about primary, secondary and tertiary flavours that can be found in wines, but she did it by giving us small samples of those foods to smell. So we had things like basil, red licorice, cherries, ginger and dried apricots on the primary plate, aniseed, chocolate and cream on the secondary plate and star anise, cinnamon and coffee on the tertiary plate. We were asked to design a wine with a combination of flavours from each plate, which was a fun and interesting experiment. Then Renée spoke about how winemakers try to design wines with the perfect flavour combinations using just grapes, the fermentation process and the aging process.
Then we got to try some wines and see how different foods (cheese, chocolate, potato crisps and lemon) affect their flavours. I didn’t have pen and paper, but I made some rudimentary notes.
Moi Rosé 2018 – I’m not a fan of rosé, but this was okay. I thought the chocolate went best with it.
Untitled White Blend – It’s not that I don’t know the name of this white wine, it’s actually called Untitled and they have a white blend, pink blend and red blend. I don’t like white wines, but I found this better with the lemon.
Untitled Pinot3 – The Red Edition – I thought this had a fruity smell and was quite light. I didn’t like the aftertaste. Hubby thought this went best with the cheese, but I don’t like soft cheese, so I didn’t try that combo and I thought it went best with chocolate.
There was a red called Filigree, which I thought was by Moi, but I can’t see it on their website.
After the masterclass, we just went around the different stalls trying any wines that grabbed our attention. We got two tastes each for free (we didn’t get to choose which ones they were, so we ended up trying some more rosé which we normally wouldn’t) and after that we had to pay for each tasting. A taste ranged between $3-$6.
Mon Cheval Rosé – Again, I don’t like rosé. This wasn’t bad, but not for me.
Mon Cheval Pinot Noir 2011 – I didn’t like the smell. The taste was okay, but didn’t wow me.
Aitken’s Folly Pinot Rosé – Not too bad, better than the Mon Cheval I thought.
Aitken’s Folly Pinot Noir 2015 – This was quite nice. Definitely drinkable.
Luna Estate Blue Rock Pinot Noir 2016 – I really enjoyed this. It had a peppery smell. We bought a bottle to take home.
Luna Estate Eclipse Pinot Noir 2016 – This was too sharp for me, but hubby really liked it, and we bought a bottle to take home.
Little Wing Methode Ancestrale 2018 – I really didn’t like this. Ugh. Fizzy and ugh. But if you like champagne or white sparkling wine (which I don’t), you might like it.
Little Wing Syrah 2016 – This was quite peppery. I wasn’t wowed though.
Tupari Pinot Noir 2014 – We thought this was quite nice and bought a bottle to take home.
Tupari Kabinett Riesling 2016 – I found it quite drinkable, which surprised me because it was white. Sweeter than a regular white, but not too high in alcohol.
Tupari Late Harvest Riesling 2017 – This was very sweet and had a syrupy mouth feel with a definite honey flavour.
Silver Wing Jay Flight Pinot Noir 2016 – I really liked it.
Silver Wing Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 – Hubby really liked this and wanted to buy a bottle, but they didn’t have any available. I thought it wasn’t quite as good as the one above it.
Silver Wing Late Harvest Riesling 2018 – I liked it. Nicer than the Tupari late harvest reisling I tried.
Silver Wing Tawny Port 2014 – I found it too raisin-y. NZ ports seems to be a bit hit and miss for me, and so far I’ve found all Australian ports to be too raisin-y. My port collection is mostly Portuguese with a few NZ ones in there.
Hopes Grove Syrah 2015 – Quite nice. We bought a bottle to take home.
Hopes Grove Silver Lining Syrah 2014 – We thought this was quite nice, and the guy said that it would cellar well for up to 12 years. We bought a bottle to take home.
Crown Range Cellar China Girl Pinot Noir – This was delicious, and we bought a bottle to take home.
So altogether we bought six bottles to take home. We didn’t try any of the spirits. We’re not gin drinkers. Hubby does like whisky, but the distillery that was there was Thomson, and he has already tried all their whiskies and owns most of them!
If we go again next year, I’ll definitely take pen and paper, and I’ll take some crackers! It was hard to try so many without anything except water to cleanse the palate in between. Nice to restock the wine rack with some nice wines though!