Wine 101: what did we taste?

It’s been a long time (three weeks) between drinks for those who came along to Wine 101 at Regional Wines in Wellington last month (May 2016). Here is the drinks list – the wines we tried total approximately $1100, which cost each person $120 all up, which equates to $40 per night. Pretty good value for such a vast range of wines.

I taught the course. We covered tasting concepts, winemaking geography and even aimed to debunk some of the mystery surrounding wine. The aim of Wine 101 is to provide knowledge, have fun and remove the intimidation that can surround wine.

The three night course saw us travel in our glasses from France’s Loire Valley where we tasted Chenin Blanc from Savennieres, a small appellation controlee (AC – French for legally defined wine production area) to the northern Rhone Valley to Saint Joseph (Syrah) followed by a stint in the Cotes-du-Rhone, taking in Sicily, Spain and Australia on the way to one of the world’s wine giants – Argentina, home to Malbec made from grapes grown in the foothills of the massive Andes mountains.
We then headed back north to try a Barbaresco DOCG from Produttori, a quality focussed winemaking cooperative in north west Italy’s Piemonte region, which takes its name from its geography. Piemonte literally means ‘foot of the mountains’.

We promised to publish the list of wines we tasted over the three night course. Prices and vintages listed are taken from what was available on the store shelves, however, if anyone is aware of any inconsistencies, let me know and I will amend the list.
Grape varieties are in brackets beneath those wines whose identities may not be clear; for instance, it may be obvious to some tasters that Saint Joseph is a 100% Syrah from the northern Rhone but not everyone knows this. And few wine drinkers have heard of Nerello Mascalese from Mount Etna, that active volcano on Sicily.  Nerello Mascalese is a black grape from the chilly volcanic slopes of Mount Etna and it was one of the most popular reds of the course. All wines were tasted with their identities concealed.

All of these wines are available at Regional Wines in Wellington.


The whites

2014 Zephyr Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc $16.95

2013 Dog Point Marlborough Section 94 $35.20

2012 Baumard Savennieres Clos du Saint Yves, France $35.40

2014 Denis Race Chablis, France $26.95

2014 Vasse Felix Margaret River Filius Chardonnay, Australia $29.35

2013 Ansgar Clusserath Vom Schiefer Feinherb, Germany $30.25

2013 Clemensbusch Marienburg Kabinett, Germany $38.25

2015 Mahana Nelson Riesling $23.25

2014 Anne-Laure Alsace Pinot Gris, France $25.80

2008 Umani Ronchi Classico Riserva Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Italia $34.20

The reds

2014 Allegrini Valpolicella DOC, Italia $32.60
(Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella)

2014 Pierre-Marie Clermette Les Griottes Beaujolais, France $24.55 (Gamay) 

2013 Te Mania Nelson Pinot Noir $23.75

2014 Two Paddocks The Fusilier Pinot Noir Central Otago $75

2013 Giolamo Russo a Rina Etna Rosso Sicilia, Italia $42.10
(Nerello Mascallese)

2013 Saint-Francois Xavier Cotes-du-Rhone, France $18.85

(Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre)

2003 Lopez de Heredia Rioja Alta Vina Tondonia Reserva, Spain $67.25

(Tempranillo 75%, Garnacha 15%, Graciano 10% and Mazuelo 10%)

2012 Montachez Mendoza Malbec, Argentina $29.65

2013 Domaine Equis Saint-Joseph Graillot, France $44.95

2013 McDonald Series Hawke’s Bay Syrah $29.95

2010 Produttori del Barbaresceo DOCG, Italia $57.95

Sparkling wines

Castello del Poggio Moscato, Italia $25.95

(Moscato; aka Muscat)

Riodo Prosecco, Italia $14.95


Dibon Cava $16.95

(Macabeo, Parellada and Xarello)

Cambridge Road The Naturalist, Martinborough $28.50

(Pinot Gris 48%, Pinot Noir 39% and Chardonnay 13%)

2012 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Calistoga, California $59.45


Champagne Perrier-Jouet NV, France $99

Champagne Gatinois Ay Grand Cru, France $54.95


Fortified wines

Lustau Almacenista Oloroso Pata de Gallina, Spain $39.95


Graham’s Fine Tawny Port, Portugal $43.25

(Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo)

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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