Prime Minister John Key officially opened New Zealand’s most significant international wine conference at Te Papa this week.

Pinot Noir 2010 has taken two-and-a-half years, $1.5 million and one global recession to organise and will see almost 300 of the world’s most influential wine critics test their palates on some of our best wines selected from our top 107 Pinot Noir producers.

“A traditional Maori welcome combined with song, poi and haka from the students of Whitireia Polytech provided a fitting start to what will be four days of fine wine, fine food and great kiwi entertainment,” said Pinot Noir 2010 Communications and Marketing Manager, Robert Brewer.

After the opening delegates were lead out of Te Papa and across to one of the main venues for the event – a marquee especially erected in Odlin’s Plaza on Wellington’s waterfront. “Tuesday night was a celebration of food and wine at the Winemaker’s Party with today Wednesday beginning the more formal part of the programme with tastings and conference sessions at the TSB Bank Arena,” said Robert.

Cervena, New Zealand Pork, Regal King Salmon, fresh fish from Talley’s and Kapiti cheeses will help with appetites while palates will be satiated with a wide selection of wines – including, of course, Pinot Noir.

And, it’s official.  Our Pinot Noirs exhibit clear regional differences with the challenge now being to dig deeper and expose within-region characteristics.

That’s the key outcome from the first Formal Tasting at Pinot Noir 2010 – a gathering of some of the world’s most influential wine critics and commentators with one question on their mind – how good is our Pinot Noir? “I got the sense that we all could have tasted and then carried on debating for some time which is a clear indication that regional differences in our Pinot Noirs are there but need closer examination,” said Pinot Noir 2010 Chairman and Villa Maria Group Winemaker, Alastair Maling MW.

“It was good that the wines were tasted blind as this meant we were all put on the spot in terms of trying to get a regional sense of character and typicity,” said Alastair.

Seven wines were on show for this tasting and, as delegates move off to a lunch hosted by Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast the discussion still goes on.

“This is what Pinot Noir 2010 is all about – good debate about the quality of our Pinot Noirs – it’s why we spend two plus years planning the event,” said Alastair.

And after lunch delegates will go straight back into the tasting hall for the second Formal Tasting of the day this time testing the ability of our Pinots to age.

 

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