Organic Wine Tasting
Friday 22nd June 2018
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? But we haven’t been idle. We’ve been expanding our horizons, meeting new producers, volunteering on organic vineyards and selecting some New World wines to augment our European range.
And so… we return with a comparative tasting, showing how different climates and winemaking styles can create very different wines from the same grape variety.
Whilst the New Zealand wine industry is still dominated by tangy (acidic?) and herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc, there’s much more diversity on offer than we may realise. Many New Zealand winemakers I spoke to feel that their Chardonnays deserve more exposure, and we have a bold and textured offering from Walnut Block; and as a point of comparison, and another exciting new addition to the range, an old vine Chablis from Philippe Goulley.
Two innovative examples of Pinot Gris will follow. ‘Spook Light’ from Hawkes Bay producer the Supernatural Company is indeed an arresting colour, as unusually for a white wine, the juice has been left in contact with the skins – Pinot Gris turns pink (not grey!) when it is ripe. The resulting wine is complex and expressive, with flavours of wild strawberry, rose petals and black pepper. You can taste this alongside an Austrian Pinot Gris from Meinklang. This biodynamic wine has earned rave reviews from Decanter.
And for the red lovers – Syrah. Though the same grape variety as Australian Shiraz, New Zealand Syrah is a different animal, leaner and spicier, perhaps more reminiscent of Northern Rhone wines. Certainly in terms of site – Waipara Valley’s Terrace Edge have their own ‘roasted slope’, with Syrah growing up a steep north facing slope; the result marries generous fruit and good structure. Alongside this we’ll taste a Chilean Syrah from Emiliana – inky purple in hue, and full bodied, softened and lightened with a little of the white grape Roussanne.
The first four wineries are small, family owned and run enterprises. Meinklang is a large, family owned biodynamic farm, with 70 hectares under vine, the rest dedicated to grain, orchard and cattle, creating a holistic biodynamic organism, of which their 30 employees are a part.
Emiliana is the largest biodynamic vineyard in the southern hemisphere, which generates significant and employment in Valparaiso, where they teach their employees to grow organic produce, and provide them with land to do so. They also provide tools and training to allow their employees to begin their own microfinance initiatives.
Pete Chapman of Terrace Edge, meanwhile, recently set up the ’27 Seconds’ social enterprise label, the proceeds from which help people who were sold into slavery in the Pacific. The wines for our New Roots events have been chosen with the ethics of the producers in mind, as we participate in Refugee Week; and of course, for the quality of the wine.
We will also run an abbreviated version of this tasting at lunchtime, between noon and 1pm (ish) on the same day. This session of Lunchtime Tippling with Tom will feature four wines for £12, with lunch available to buy in the cafe afterwards, these sessions are ideal for those who struggle for affordable transport home in the evenings. They are intimate and dialogic affairs, and allow you to taste wine when your palate is cleaner. Reserve your place in the shop or by email.
The Evening’s Wines:
‘Nutcracker’ Chardonnay, Walnut Block 2015. Marlborough, New Zealand. 14% abv. Shop price tbc. (£19 appx)
‘Veilles Vignes’ Chablis, Philippe Goulley 2014. Burgundy, France. 12%. £22.50
Served with herby toasted cashew nuts and Biona Goats’ Cheese
‘Graupert’ Österreich, Pinot Gris Meinklang 2015. Burgenland, Austria. 13%. £18.95
‘Spook Light’ Pinot Gris, The Supernatural Wine Company 2016. Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. 12.5%. £20.
Served with a salad of seasonal leaves, red grapefruit, roasted fennel and beetroot, balsamic dressing.
Syrah, Terrace Edge, 2015. Waipara Valley, New Zealand. 14.5%. Shop price tbc (£25 appx.)
‘Salvaje’, Syrah / Roussanne, Emiliana 2015. Casablanca, Chile. 14.5%. £13.95
Served with smoked tofu, mushroom and vegetable skewers & nutty dipping sauce
All food organic
Sourced from Folland Organics, row A Norwich Market, & the Greenhouse shop. Bread from Timberhill Bakery.
Menu may vary depending on seasonal availability. Vegan alternatives available – PLEASE advise when booking.
Feedback from our last wine tasting:
‘It’s a wonderful opportunity to taste a much wider selection of wines’
‘Thank you for all your knowledge and for sharing in an accessible & enjoyable way’