Thursday, 26 February 2015

Lynfer Estate wine tasting

We have joined a wine club. Each month, a different winery hosts a tasting of their wines. This week, it was Lynfer Estate from Carterton.

Lynfer Estate is a boutique winery in the Wairarapa. Established from bare lane in 2000, the vineyard now spans 9 hectares with about 27,000 vines grown on stony terraces. Spread end to end, the vines would reach from Wellington to Paraparaumu.

Hosted by owner David Boyd, we found out about his journey around the world from his home in Northern Ireland via various army stations, through the Falkland Islands (where he met his wife) and eventually to settle in New Zealand. We learned some facts about wine and he told us more about the specific varieties we were sampling. I was interested to hear that screw caps on bottles may now mean that wines which usually are best drunk very soon after bottling (for example, sauvignon blanc produced within the last two years) can now still retain their fresh flavour for an extra couple of years.

We got to try small samples from four varieties of wine. The tasting began with the driest wine (sauvignon blanc) and progressed through to sweetest (pinot noir).

2013 Sauvignon Blanc - 54% of wine produced in New Zealand is sauvignon blanc, which suits us sav drinkers just fine. The four star 2013 sauvignon blanc is dry and not sweet with just 2 grams of residual sugar. I didn't find it particularly fruity or descriptive.

2013 Pinot Gris - This wine is a bit sweeter with 5.9 grams of residual sugar. It has a pleasant aroma and quite a tangy taste. Surprisingly (being sauvignon blanc drinkers), this was our top pick for the night.

2013 Pinot Noir Rosé - This sweeter wine (9 grams of residual sugar) gets it lovely rose colour by leaving it to soak over skins for 12 hours, then is produced like a white wine. Again, I couldn't really taste the fruity undertones with this one, much less anything like the "strawberries and cream" description we were given.

2011 Pinot Noir - Apparently grape growing conditions in the Wairarapa are as close to Burgandy as you can get, making it ideal to grow pinot noir grapes. We tried a sample from Lynfer's alternate label, Flying Penguin, which is due to be exported to the Falkland Islands shortly. The deep colour comes from being soaked over skins for 10-14 days and it looks lovely but the flavour is not for me.

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