Another year means more resolutions we try our utmost to adhere to before falling back into the pattern of our past familiar ways. While hitting the gym more regularly and that healthier lifestyle you are after may not be something we can help with (although the French paradox does to some extent provide evidence of the health benefits of a glass of red wine), we can make recommendations about altering your mindset when it comes to trying new wines.
There are most likely varieties that you are adamant you cannot stand and believe there are no examples of that will appeal to your palate. But each variety is so different depending on a plethora of factors, including: the region it was grown, the way the grapes were picked, the methods and the yeast used in producing the wine, whether tanks or barrels were used throughout the process and the winemaker themselves. The exact same grapes could be handed to one hundred winemakers and the result would be that no two wines were the same.
It therefore may not be the grape variety itself you are turned off by, but the methods used in its production in the winery. If you are not a Chardonnay fan because of the effects on the wine of the barrel fermentation, you could try an unoaked variety. The fruit is the star in this case and the fresh, fruity characters should shine through a lot more clearly.
A lot of people seem more reluctant to try the Aromatic varieties: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Viognier. Perhaps the fact they are harder to pronounce means restaurant goers do not want to mispronounce their order and appear ignorant about their wine knowledge. But these are the varieties that showcase the complexity of grapes without the aid of barrel fermentation. The fruit is allowed and expected to speak for itself. There may be a lot going on in the glass, aromas that you are unable to identify, but the beauty of wine is that by drinking more and by just paying a little bit more attention to the nose and each mouthful of wine, you can train your palate to identify what each aroma is.
And you don’t have to be alone in your search for a new wine variety to try. Instead of overwhelming your senses without knowing what to make of each individual aroma- how to separate each aroma from the others- Winoceros is able to help you. We have packs of wine that are specially designed to help you try new varieties, including one that solely contains aromatic wines. This allows you to try new wines while being guided through the different aromas that each contains. You will learn some of the jargon of the connoisseurs and learn what exactly it is that you do and don’t particularly like in certain varieties. The consequence being that when you next go into the bottle shop you will be able to ask for advice while still showing off your newly acquired knowledge.
So go on, we dare you. Try new wines, different varieties. Add a new exercise regime into your schedule- giving your palate a workout!
By Emma Dodd
I recently tasted 130 samples of New Zealand wines labelled as “Pinot Gris” and one example labelled as “Pinot Grigio”. When a wine is labelled as Pinot Gris I expect it to be modelled after the luscious, opulent and rich wines from the Alsace region of France. When the wine is described as “Pinot Grigio” I anticipate it being crisp, lean and racy like a typical Italian Pinot Grigio.
The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) carried out a study of both models and, after tasting a large number of wines labelled as both Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, they arrived at a 10-tier range of styles from pure Pinot Grigio (1 point) to pure Pinot Gris (10 points). Following the study, the AWRI launched a website www.pinotg.com.au and encouraged wine producers to send them wine samples which they will analyse and rate according to style. A wine that is half way between the two extremes, for example, would get a rating of 5 points. That rating can then be displayed on the back label as a style guide for consumers.
I think that the rating is a good idea in the same way that the International Riesling Foundation (IRF) offers a useful scale showing each wine’s sweetness calculated from residual sugar, acidity level and pH. The IRF scale allows the winemaker to make the calculation rather than having to send samples for analysis. It is also simpler to understand. For those reasons it is likely to be more widely adopted and understood than the AWRI Pinot Gris/Grigio scale.
Pinot Gris has a higher perceived value in the eyes of consumers, which probably explains why only one producer, Poderi Crisci, has chosen to make Grigio (tastings) rather than Gris. The wine, incidentally, is too rich and weighty to be classified as a Pinot Grigio in my view. Although it is dry, I found it to be more Pinot Gris-like perhaps 6-points (full, round and silky) on the scale.
While most of the wines labelled Pinot Gris did conform to my definition of that style, a few leaned toward the Pinot Grigio end of the style spectrum.
Church Road 2014 McDonald Series Pinot Gris, Hawke’s Bay (tasting) and Bilancia 2013 Reserve Pinot Gris (tasting) are both classic examples of the rich and spicy Alsace model. Astrolabe 2013 Kekerengu Coast Pinot Gris, Marlborough (tasting) and Black Barn 2014 Pinot Gris, Hawke’s Bay (tasting) are more Pinot Grigio-like.
Welcome to the official launch of Winoceros. We are excited to have our website properly up and running and look forward to being able to keep the Herd updated. We also look forward to hearing from you: what you think and what you would like to know about the wine industry.
Given that New Zealand’s wine industry is so strong and exports overseas continue to increase in volume, we think it is important that Kiwis know about the industry that earns their country such a prestigious reputation abroad. Wine is New Zealand’s sixth biggest source of revenue overseas, so it is important that we appreciate what we have right on our doorstep.
The problem is that wine is such a complex beverage and often consumers know what they smell but cannot put it into words. Alternatively, the only aroma determined in the wine is, well, “wine”. That’s where Winoceros comes in. Our game packs all come with Master of Wine Bob Campbell’s own tasting notes. And if you want, we do private tastings too so you can arrange to have our team take you through the game either in the comfort of your own home with friends or with your colleagues after work. Our aim is to help you learn about wine through tasting, social media and our website without overwhelming or boring you. Hopefully we can instil the same passion that we feel about wine in you, our Winoceros Herdies.
But if you feel like getting out of the house there is nothing more relaxing than going to a winery with friends and loved ones and sampling their varieties. The views are usually incredible and make you feel so removed from the stress and busyness of everyday life. Wineries can be the perfect excuse for a day trip or weekend away, the perfect escape. You can even class each tasting as educational as they will all help you to broaden your palate and learn which styles of wine you prefer. And with so many varieties to choose from there is something for everyone and every occasion.
Let us know of your favourite varieties and vineyards and any questions you have. We are happy to answer whatever you would like to know. Check out our contact details on our website and please get in touch if you want more information about booking a tasting event with us or if you would like any more information about them. We are here to enhance your wine tasting experience.
Here’s to vinous promiscuity!