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North and South at the Porirua Wine Society

By August 13, 2013No Comments
The suburban wine club like any organised group is always on a membership drive. How do you attract the interest and attendance of new blood and that of younger people especially? The Porirua Wine Society is no different, but I’m pleased to report that the club is in good spirits and strong with a healthy and active membership. One of the reasons is its very long history; the Porirua Wine Society has been going over three decades. It has its beginnings in the late 1970s with keen wine people in the Porirua area getting together to taste wine, and the club was established in 1980 formalising a constitution in 1981. One of the most fondly remembered events that grew the club was a wine and food festival held at Aotea Lagoon, organised by the then progressive Porirua Licencing Trust, who sponsored much of the activity for the club with wine availability as well as the use of the ‘Blue Heron’ as a venue.

Tasting ‘North and South’ – Spade Oak and Lamont
For over 20 years, I’ve conducted tastings and presentations at the Porirua Wine Society, in association with the wine retail outlet I worked at. Now, at Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, I still head on up the coast to do so, nowadays in support of my partner Sue Davies in promoting the wines from her ‘Wine2Trade’ portfolio (click here to see). This time it was a presentation she labelled “North and South” (apologies to Elizabeth Gaskell), where she showed wines from Spade Oak, Gisborne, and Lamont, Central Otago. As usual, the interest and attention of the club members was high, and the interaction and discussion lively and thoughtful. Here are my impressions of the wines tasted and thoughts of the club members.

Sue Davies showing Spade Oak and Lamont wines

Spade Oak
The introduction to Spade Oak was based on Steve and Eileen Voyseys long time involvement in the industry, especially in Gisborne developing some of the leading wines in the country, such as ‘Lindauer’, and their development of their close-planted vineyard featuring innovative and exotic varieties. The first wine tasted was the Spade Oak ‘Voysey’ Chardonnay 2012. The cool temperature tightened the wine considerably, and I saw the 10% Viognier component adding plenty of aromatics. (It was a cold night – as well as a root day!) As it warmed up, the more expected richness and creaminess emerged. The tasters who usually didn’t drink Chardonnay found it very approachable. Next was the Spade Oak ‘Voysey’ Syrah 2012. A little surprise for most people with the amount of flavour packed into it. Distinctly peppery, but with plenty of boysenberry and red berry fruits. The acidity reflected the cooler vintage, but this was fruit-driven and supple. The third wine was the Spade Oak ‘Heart of Gold’ St Laurent 2011. The club members have really enjoyed the previous 2009 vintage of this, and again, it was well-received. Tasting like a cross between Syrah and Pinot Noir, but without the pepper of the former, and with more spice than is normally seen in the latter variety. Not quite as fulsome as the 2009, but more aromatic, and delicious. www.spadeoak.co.nz

This is one of Sue’s new agencies, and one that’s proving very popular. Sue talked about owner Craig Gasson’s viticultural input in establishing the Lamont vineyard with the McLaughlin family in 1999, and his confidence and belief in the site delivery outstanding Bendigo regional wine. The varietal matching to the soil which was mapped and profiled was innovative at the time. The wines are made by Craig at the Maude facilities in Wanaka. The first of the southern wines was the Lamont Riesling 2010. This showed beautifully, being poised between richness and slipperiness. A little toastiness adding complexing detail. I’ve tasted this many times, and this was the best I’ve seen it to date. Unfortunately, a larger proportion of the club members, quite incredibly, don’t enjoy or drink Riesling, so it didn’t get the vote. Those who are Riesling converts shared my enthusiasm. Next was the wine of the night, the Lamont Pinot Gris 2012. Sensationally classy, with subtle stonefruit and honeysuckle richness, and ideal textures. Not one dissenter in the room! Finally the Lamont Pinot Noir 2010, showing the structural qualities and tannin foundation that the vintage endowed on the region’s Pinot Noir wines. Still very primary, and bright, with the firmness to see it age very well. A high quality wine. However, one older club member felt he couldn’t buy it, as it would outlast him… www.lamontwines.com

The Porirua Wine Society
For wine interested people living in the Porirua area, it is well worth being a member of the Porirua Wine Society. There are a number of people there with a wealth of experience, such as Jim Fraser, former Department of Health who advised to the wine industry on many matters. On the night was a guest, Carmen Gray, about to join up. She’s currently doing the EIT Grapegrowing and Winemaking Course, and the daughter-in-law of long-time club members Barry and Sue Gray, so it’s into the next generation!

The Porirua Wine Society meets the second Tuesday, monthly at the historic and beautiful Gear Homestead in Papakowhai (the gardens are magnificent). The club operates a 200 bottle cellar. The annual membership is $25.00 per annum, and fee for attending each meeting is $15.00 pp. An annual Christmas function and BBQ is held. Lawrence Marks is the current president, Wayne Sharman the cellarmaster, and Cath Thomson the secretary. For enquiries about the society, contact Esma Collins on Tel: 04 236-7251 or email: [email protected]

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