|Anne Krebiehl: her take on the New Zealand Medal Winners tasting|
|Wednesday, 01 August 2012 16:09|
As the men and women of the beach volleyball teams fought it out in the preliminary matches on Horse Guards Parade below us, another measuring up took place at the Penthouse of New Zealand House: The New Zealand Medal Winners Tasting.
While the promise of the excellent view from the penthouse drew many - so much so that there seemed to be a scrum around the Pinot Noir bottles - the wines certainly managed to hold everyone's attention, despite the buff beach volleyball bodies in skimpy dress. As occasional cheers from the spectating crowd floated into the Penthouse, I was trying to match the varietal line-up of 99 bottles with Olympic disciplines and pick out the performers I would put on the podium:
Pinot Gris = Weightlifting: here muscle and weight were evident. Some contestants came across as heavy-set, rather phenolic and not very nimble, some had smoky overtones but lacked tone. Yealands Estate Pinot Gris Awatere Valley 2010 stood out for elegance, with a lighter, apricot-scented edge and pleasing zing. Greystone Sand Dollar Pinot Gris 2011 was a little rounder but also managed to preserve a slender silhouette.
Viognier = Rhythmic Gymnastics: a lone contestant here, but one destined for the podium: Millton's Riverpoint Vineyard Viognier 2010 was svelte, lovely and inspiring with its suggestion of varietal perfume, an acidic backbone, a touch of creamy oak and inherent poise. Gold medal!
Pinot Noir = Athletics: in this category, there were lightweight sprinters and some well-proportioned long-distance runners, often with just a pretty, confected but soon waning outfit while some of the star performers we know and love did not turn up. I would have to watch more of Cambridge Road Pinot Noir 2010 from Martinborough and see how it fares once it has digested more of its oak, but it was intriguing with some earthy layers. Fromm La Strada 2007 from Marlborough bucked the confected trend and remained a true varietal and honest, mature and un-drugged contestant. Surveyor Thompson Pinot Noir 2009 had some of Central Otago's wild thyme aroma and a lovely, completely non-butch elegance that would qualify it as a decathlete. Athletes arriving from Waitaki are ones to watch: slender, elegant and almost tender with an aromatic quality: both Dr John Forrest Collection 2009 and Ostler's Caroline 2010 fit the bill and will no doubt be seen in future competitions.