Pinot Noir 2010, day one
So Pinot 2010 is now in full flow. The event opened by a welcome from New Zealand PM John Key (top). Pretty cool that the PM should open a wine conference - can't see it happening in the UK! He has a good vintage, too - 1961. Seems like a smart guy with a great common touch and his speech was perfectly judged.
Today's proceedings went pretty smoothly, although in the tasting sessions I felt that the panels were being a little too polite and not saying what they thought in a more direct and helpful manner. We had a rather futile session trying to distinguish regionality in a bunch of just seven 2007 wines; this was followed with a vertical of nine 2003 Pinots from around New Zealand, most of which had lost more with age than they'd gained. The panel didn't really say this, but Neal Martin did rather bravely from the floor.
The tasting that followed was really good - I ran out of time a bit, but still managed to catch some very nice wines, including one of the home block Pinot Noirs from Pyramid Valley (Mike and Claudia Weersing are pictured; very serious wine) and some lovely single-vineyard Marlborough wines from Seresin (Michael Seresin, the film maker, is pictured below). Also appreciated the TerraVin wines from Marlborough.
This evening we had a really fun social event, which finished around 2030, and I then went for a beer with Angus Thompson of Urlar and Damian Martin of Ara. I avoided the lure of several of my colleagues who were clearly planning a big night out at Matterhorn, which sounded very dangerous and potentially messy.
I'm amazed by how big and well organized this NZ Pinot 2010 conference is. It's absolutely enormous, taking over the whole TSB Arena here in Wellington. Only a few days ago AC/DC played here! And Diana Krall is due to play here on Friday 19th - she of the amazing wine-list containing rider.