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Geoff Kelly Library Tasting: Aged Sweet Wines - Thursday 22 November, 6pm, $55pp

DO SWEET WINES AGE 48 YEARS / CAN CHENIN BLANC MEASURE UP? 

Wines from Australia (3),  California (1),  France (2) and New Zealand (6)

Time:  Thursday 22 November,  2018,  6.00 pm start 

Venue:  Upstairs Tasting Room,  Regional Wines & Spirits,  Basin Reserve,  Wellington               

Cost:  $55 per person       

Bookings:  on-line via https://www.regionalwines.co.nz/collections/events (scroll down) primarily;  or phone Tastings @ 385 6952 Wellington prefix 04,  or email:  online@regionalwines.co.nz  

Places:  21 places – please note Booking Conditions …

Booking Conditions:  There will be no refunds for cancellations with less than 48 hours prior notice.  However,  if space allows,  bookings after that time will be accepted.  IMPORTANT:  if this tasting sells out,  and because   there are always cancellations,  please contact Regional Wines,  contact details as given above,  and ask to be wait-listed. 

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Old sweet wines can develop quite deep colours,  yet still be gloriously exciting to taste and drink.  Its a bit like our old chardonnay tasting:  accustomed as we are to lemongreen hues - one just needs to ‘adjust the set’.  Notwithstanding the more mature flavours,  provided the wine still smells and tastes ‘fresh’ and fragrant,  with an appropriate acid balance,  there is much pleasure to be had. 

There are several goals in this tasting:  since we have looked at German rieslings in depth in the last couple of years,  in this tasting we will (I hope, corks willing) compare sweet / dessert Rieslings from Australia,  California,  and New Zealand.  At the same time we will check one of the first / perhaps the first botrytised Riesling commercialised in New Zealand,  a wine panned in its day by local wine critics unaccustomed to natural sweet wines. It is 1983, matching two other wines.  We will have a sweet muller-thurgau too,  a modest grape now much-patronised,  to see if its subtle charms have survived 30 years.  It was made by Larry McKenna,  so it got off to a good start.

We will also have three vintages of sweet chenin blanc,  spanning 32 years,  to see if that (like muller-thurgau, modest) grape can in fact produce wines of excitement … other than very occasionally in the Loire Valley.  We have new-world wines.

And then there is one of Australia's rare wines, a 1983 Lindeman’s Hunter River Porphyry 4-number Bin wine, back when Lindemans was a noble name on the Australian wine scene. It is matched vintage for vintage with 1983 Ch Rieussec,  regarded by some as second to d’Yquem in the Sauternes hierarchy.  And to conclude,  a 1970 Ch Coutet from Barsac, next door to Sauternes, to add perspective to the whole exercise.

The wines will be:                                                             

Chenin blanc:                                                              

2013  Esk Valley Chenin Blanc Late-Harvest, Hawkes Bay

1993 Esk Valley Chenin Blanc Botrytis Bunch Selection Reserve, Hawkes Bay

1981 St Leonard’s Chenin Blanc Late-Harvest, Victoria

Riesling / Rhine Riesling / Muller-Thurgau:

1984  Seville Estate Riesling Beerenauslese, Yarra Valley,

One of the following two:

1979  Felton Empire White Riesling, Santa Barbara

1979 Joseph Phelps Vineyard Johannisberg Riesling Selected Late-Harvest,  Napa Valley

1987  Martinborough Vineyard Muller-Thurgau Late-Harvest, Martinborough 

1986  Millton Vineyard Rhine Riesling Late-Harvest Individual Bunch Selection, Gisborne

1983  Saint Helena Rhine Riesling Late-Harvest Botrytised Selection, Canterbury    

1994  Villa Maria Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection Reserve, Hawkes Bay 

Semillon  or Semillon / Sauvignon:

1970  Ch Coutet, Barsac      

1983  Lindemans Hunter River Porphyry Bin 6680, New South Wales

1983  Ch Rieussec, Sauternes  

Reserve wines:

1986  Peter Lehmann Botrytis Semillon Sauternes,  Barossa Valley

2008  Riverby Estate Noble Riesling,  Marlborough  

1987  Rongopai [ Muller-Thurgau & Riesling ] Late-Harvest,  Te Kauwhata