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New Zealands Premier Pinot Noir Event.

New Zealands Premier Pinot Noir Event.

New Zealand’s Pinot Noir has – rightly – won international recognition in recent years for its quality, its nuances and its potential to be the best of the best. A leading wine retailer is offering New Zealanders a unique opportunity to taste over 60 new release Pinot Noirs from the 2003 vintage, with several winemakers on hand to talk not only about their own wines but also to discuss their regions’ vintage characteristics.

Questioning of the winemakers and debate during the tastings will be encouraged.

Exclusive tastings and dinners will be held in Auckland (Monday October 18), Wellington (Tuesday October 19), Queenstown (Wednesday October 20) and Christchurch (Thursday October 21).

They are organised by the Fine Wine Delivery Company, the innovative fine wine retailer which also operates a hugely successful online wine sales, education and appreciation service.

Jeff Poole, the managing director of the Fine Wine Delivery Company and of the Fine Wine Online internet operation, explained that the tastings are complemented by a special Pinot Dinner in each centre.

Iconic chef David Griffiths from Vinnies Restaurant in Auckland has created the menu for these dinners and will personally oversee food preparation and presentation. Dishes have been structured to match each of the Pinot Noirs chosen for the dinners.

“The tasting and dinner can be booked separately or together,” said Poole. “We already have bookings for both from several enthusiasts.”

The events are suited equally to those who already have a good knowledge of Pinot Noir and people keen to understand what might be a relatively new style for them, said Poole.

“By presenting more than 60 different wines, we’ll all benefit from appreciating more about regional characteristics and local styles,” he said. “There’s as much scope for differentiation within the Pinot Noir category as there is in that other leading New Zealand variety, sauvignon blanc.”

The 60 wines were selected from more than 200 submitted by producers around New Zealand.

The Fine Wine Delivery Company launched the new vintage tastings last year in its role as the country’s leading fine wine retailer and the top sales channel for Pinot Noir, Poole explained. The company was official retailer for the acclaimed Pinot Noir celebrations held earlier this year and in 2001, drawing strong international attendance.

Underlying this, said Poole, was “the unbridled passion and belief our team share for this wonderful grape variety”.

The tastings were organised because “we believed it was timely for quality New Zealand Pinot Noir producers to have a platform where they could showcase their product directly to a targeted audience of focused wine buyers”.

Reaction to the inaugural tastings of the 2002 vintage was excellent, with positive feedback from both the public and winemakers. “I feel this is one of the premier industry-wide tastings in the country as the people attending were wine-focused and knowledgeable,” said Seresin Estate winemaker Brian Bicknell.

Strat Canning of Margrain Vineyards described the “extravaganza” as “an uplifting and unqualified success”.

Winemakers participating this year in all venues are Lynnette Hudson and Matt Donaldson of Pegasus Bay Wines (Waipara), Jeff Sinnott of Amisfield Wines (Central Otago), Brent Marris and Ben Glover from Wither Hills Wines (Marlborough) and Doug Wisor from Craggy Range Wines (Martinborough).

Other regional winemakers are likely to attend individual events, especially in Wellington, Queenstown and Christchurch.

“We’re putting a lot of work into ensuring the tastings and dinners will be even better this year,” said Poole. “We are absolutely confident in promising a memorable, fulfilling event.”

Those taking part in the dinner would savour David Griffiths’ “fabulous dishes” matching the 2003 Craggy Range, Pegasus Bay, Wither Hills and Amisfield Pinot Noirs, he promised. “The dinner will prove conclusively the affinity Pinot Noir has with food.”

Further information (including venues and times) and booking details can be obtained by phoning the Fine Wine Delivery Company on 0800 346 394 or emailing Alternatively, visit and go to the wine tastings and events page to book tickets.

Tickets for the tastings cost $30 each in all venues while the all-inclusive dinner is $125 per person. A combined ticket costs only $140. All prices include GST.

The Fine Wine Delivery Company, September 22nd 2004

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