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Top drops under $20 (and over) and wine news from Joelle Thomson

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Pegasus Bay fun run fundraiser for brain research

One of New Zealand’s most beautifully landscaped wineries and vineyards is launching a new fun run, which doubles as a fundraiser for the NZ Brain Research Institute, and is to be held on Sunday 28 January 2018.

It’s the brainchild, if you’ll forgive the pun, of the Donaldson family, who founded and own Pegasus Bay Winery in North Canterbury.

On having fun while running…

While the words fun and run may not always be uttered in the same breath, both are key to the success of the inaugural event on Sunday 28 January 2018, says Mike Donaldson, one of the organisers. He and his co-organiser and sister in law, Di Donaldson, are encouraging people to dress up and pack a picnic to enjoy on the expansive lawns of the winery, following the run. Wine will be available for purchase following the run and all participants of the run who are 18 years of age and over, will receive a bottle of Pegasus Bay wine to take home; it’s part of the ticket price.

The run or walk options…

The initial run at Pegasus Bay includes a 6 kilometre and a 10 kilometre run / walk. It may grow into a half marathon in the future.

Where the run will go… 

The run will wind its way through the Pegasus Bay Winery’s vineyard and landscaped  gardens, which are planted extensively in flowers, natives, around a lake and a vegetable garden.

The future… 

Di and Mike hope to grow the event in the future, adding other run options (possibly a half marathon) and increasing numbers. They want the first run to attract modest numbers to enable them to host a successful and fun event, which they can build up over time.

“We want to make it a great experience for everyone involved and to raise money for the BRI and then we can build it up over time, in a similar way to how Saint Clair winery in Marlborough has built up their annual marathon.”

On fund raising…

The fundraiser aspect is another key component of the run, which is important to the family because winery co-founder Ivan Donaldson has had an extensive career as an associate professor and consultant neurologist.

His book The Truant from Medicine also raised funds for the New Zealand BRI and is available from www.pegasusbay.com

The details… Vine run…

Sunday 28 January 2018, 10am

Pegasus Bay Winery front lawns – participants can choose to run or walk 6kms or 10kms

Find out more at www.vinerun.co.nz

 

Bridge Pa Wine Fest’ tickets on sale…

Tickets are officially on sale for the annual Bridge Pa Wine Festival on Saturday, 20 January 2018.

The day long festival features eight wineries as well as food and local entertainment at each one. Wineries include Abbey Estate, Alpha Domus, Ash Ridge, Ngatarawa, Oak Estate, Paritua, Redmetal Vineyards and Sileni Estates, each with wine tastings, food and local entertainment.

The Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District extends over more than 2,000 hectares on the western side of the Heretaunga Plains in Hawke’s Bay. It is characterised by three different soil types, each free draining, overlying red metal alluvial gravels, which are recognised for producing some of New Zealand’s top red wines.

Buses will operate connections between each of the wineries in the Bridge Pa Triangle throughout the day, allowing festival goers to visit as many wineries as they choose. Each of the wineries is located less than five minutes’ drive apart.  

“We are thrilled to present this annual event to wine lovers in the region – and visitors – once again. With eight mini festivals in one, what better way to spend a day out with friends or visit the region during Wellington’s anniversary weekend,” says festival spokesperson Paul Ham.

Festival details…

The 2018 Bridge Pa Wine Festival begins at 10am and finishes at 6pm. Tickets are available from Eventfinda from $38 per person and include access to all wineries, a festival glass and use of the hop on/ hop off buses throughout the day. Tickets are also available from Napier, Taradale, Havelock North and Hastings with transport beginning at 9.30am from each of the areas.

The Bridge Pa Festival Facebook page @bridgepawinefestival will provide regular updates and full details of the day .

New steel matrix sculpture lands on NZ’s biggest vineyard

Meet Marlborough’s massive new giant wine rack… The 8 metre high sculpture was officially unveiled yesterday along with two new high priced wines with labels that reflect the design by New York based Dror Benshetrit, who has been working on the project for the past 18 months.

The sculpture was craned onto Brancott Estate Vineyard last week as an interlocking concertina frame, comprised of 52 individual components, which locked into place once the flat matrix was unfolded. It’s welded to the ground and is a permanent fixture on the vast vineyard.

Dror also designed a mini version of the matrix as a wine rack (available from Brancott Estate’s Heritage Centre in Marlborough for purchase for $350) and the wine labels for the new Reflection wines.

Form and function combine in the mini version of the Understanding sculpture; a wine rack, pictured above.

The 8 metre high sculpture is titled Under/standing and the wines are called Reflection; a reference to both the sculpture and the wines, says Pernod Ricard chief winemaker Patrick Materman, who worked with Dror on the logistics of the new artwork – and the labels.

Great wine can be a reflection of the vineyard on which their grapes grew, which was the inspiration for the name and represents what he wants to achieve in these wines.

Reflection… Two new wines with labels which reflect the giant wine rack sculpture by Dror and also reflect the country’s largest wine region’s two major strengths – dry white Sauvignon and full bodied Pinot Noir.

Here are my notes on the new Reflection wines

2016 Brancott Estate Reflection $60

Here it is… and it’s tasty stuff too. This first new Brancott Estate Reflection white is a blend of 52% Sauvignon Blanc and 48% Sauvignon Gris (a natural mutation of Sauvignon Blanc, only grassier in taste). The aim was to make something that had some oak shining through, tastes good with food and can age, which meant the winemaking process was a few-expenses-spared process from hand picking the grapes to raging the wine in 4000 litre oak ‘fuder’ barrels. The result is a dry, full bodied white with flavours of lemon grass, grapefruit and notes of smoky complexity; it’s delicious but restrained rather than out there when it comes to fruit flavour, and its zesty acidity adds a long finish. A stunner.

How much was made? About 100-150 cases.

What does it taste like? Smoky and oaky on the nose but in a pretty restrained style. It tastes of fresh citrusy lemon grass and a touch of green apple and it’s dry, zesty, full bodied

What type of oak was used? Large 4000 litre oak fuder for fermentation and maturation, post ferment. The wine spent the best part of a year in that oak sitting on its lees – the decomposing yeast cells left over after fermentation, which protects wine from oxidation and also adds yeasty complex flavours.

What are the links between the wine and the sculpture? “The steel plates on the sculpture go in two different directions on the sculpture and together they form a structure and strength; the same is true of the two different grapes in the wine, which work together,” says chief winemaker Patrick Materman.

Will it be made again? It’s an ongoing brand which will sell only at the cellar door.

And it’s available… in standard 750ml bottles for $60 and magnums (1500 mls) for $130.

2015 Brancott Reflections Dror Pinot Noir $80

This is a powerful statement of a wine with bold, powerful aromas of cloves, orange peel and dried cherries; it’s 14.5% ABV, so it’s not shy on the alcohol front but this is nicely balanced by intense red cherry, plum and smoky flavours. It’s a blend of the best components of Pinot Noir from hand selected barrels, says Materman.

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