For the fourth year running, Framingham’s winemaker Andrew Hedley and his wife Debra, general manager at Pacific Rim Oenology Services, are offering a unique selection of European wines to curious enthusiasts. Their ‘Oh So Pretty’ selection must be one of the most eclectic seen in the country, being based on the wines they’ve enjoyed in their travels, mainly in the Alpine regions of Europe. The uptake of the wines has grown due the interesting nature of the wines and their relative scarcity in New Zealand, and because of Andrew and Debra taking care of the intricacies and logistics of bringing them into the country. Originally, it was their colleagues that purchased the wines, but a number of high profile restaurants and wine retailers are taking on the wines.
In the ‘Oh So Pretty’ #4, there are wines from 21 producers in Italy, from the Sudtirol, Trentino, Friuli, Val d’Aosta to Sicily, Sardinia, Campania and more, plus 7 producers from Austria, and a Luxembourg winery. There are 8 from France, including wines from Cotes du Jura, Savoie, Burgundy and the Loire, as well as wines from Greece, Spain, Portugal and Georgia. The selection includes many who are organic and biodynamic, and this offer has a greater number of ‘natural’ wines. There is also a ‘Supplementary List’ where the Hedleys have sourced specific wines for friends. They haven’t necessarily tried them personally.
Andrew and Debra are not evangelists of ‘natural’ wines per se, but rather, advocates of interesting wines, and recognise that the natural or real wine movement is putting forward many very enjoyable wines. Good and bad wines are made according to ‘conventional’ as well as ‘natural’ methods, and even though they are wine professionals at the technical end, they make no judgement on the debate around the issues of ‘natural’ wines. The inclusion of these wines is primarily to provide wines of styles that extend the comfort boundaries of interested drinkers, so that they can better define what is enjoyable.
Having tasted a number of these wines with Andrew and Debra, I can see their open-minded approach has led them to discover many new wines that give much pleasure. I know they have found wines that they do not like, and wines that have gone past their criteria for what is acceptable, but they recognise that other people will see positives. In the main, the wines they don’t enjoy don’t make it on the list! However, their research of such cutting edge wines has meant they are certainly considered for inclusion in the ‘Oh So Pretty’ catalogue, and thus the opportunity for us in New Zealand of sampling them, and making our own minds about then can be done.
The logistical success of the ‘Oh So Pretty’ wine offer is based on the requirement for purchases to place forward orders. Andrew and Debra collate the orders and ship them to New Zealand, adding on the freight after that has been determined. The catalogue gives approximate, but a fairly accurate indication of the costs. My experience is that the wines always arrive at slightly less that my estimation, but considering the rarity and unusual nature of the wines, a bit of leeway is more than acceptable. The Hedleys prefer orders with a minimum of 6 bottles (the freight for less than that is the same as for 6 anyway). And orders for this latest offer must be in by the middle of September, with the wines coming into New Zealand “before Christmas Eve” as Andrew puts it. I imagine a delivery date late in November or early December is on the cards.
I recommend you contact Andrew and Debra Hedley for a copy of their ‘Oh So Pretty’ #4 European Wine Offer. You’ll be amazed at the selection, which will have something to perk the interest of any keen wine drinker. Andrew’s email is [email protected]