AUCKLAND | The City Lane was recently flown to Auckland by Emirates to participate in a very special lunch. The purpose of this lunch? To showcase the Australian and New Zealand wines that are available on Trans-Tasman Emirates First and Business Class cabins, as well as the First and Business class cabins of several other Emirates flight legs around the world.
Out of the USD$140 million spent by Emirates on wine in 2015, USD$4 million was spent on Australian wines and USD$2 million on New Zealand wines. The focus of the Australian wines is on Shiraz and whites, while the New Zealand range spans a wider selection, including some very highly regarded Pinot Noirs. It was interesting to discover that on the average Emirates flight in the world, there are around 70 different Champagnes, wines and ports on board.
Joining us at this “Taste of the Tasman” lunch was Bob Campbell, New Zealand’s world renowned Master of Wine. Just how well does Bob know his wine? Well just to scratch the surface he’s the New Zealand editor for Gourmet Traveller Wine, has taught over 22,000 people at wine courses and seminars around the world, founded The Wine Gallery, Auckland’s premier wine school, and is the chairman of the New Zealand section of the London-based Decanter World Wine Awards. Yeah, Bob knows a few things about wine.
The best part about having Bob guide us through the tasting was just how down to earth he was. There’s a conception that everyone involved in the higher echelons of wine is a bit wanky, but Bob was fantastic, and spoke about the wines in ways that everyone at the table could relate to. He guided us through the flavours, and shared stories about the wines, and his own experiences in general.
The food itself was fantastic. The lunch was held at Ostro, a modern New Zealand restaurant that focuses on fresh, seasonal, local produce. Directed by Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett, in conjunction with head chef Cobus Klopper, the food that came out made everyone at the table very happy, and of course, complimented the wines perfectly. Personal favourites of ours were the grilled duck breast with savoury granola, spiced date and sunchoke crisps, and the Slow roasted beef cheek with carrot and gremolata.
Moving back to the wines themselves, and it will be no surprise to regular readers of The City Lane that we really enjoyed the Chablis Premier Cru La Chantrerie, Michel Laroche 2014 from France. Its citrus aromas and mineral overtones are classic Chablis and it matched beautifully with the Parsnip Tortellini, which was one of the starters. We also loved the Burn Cottage Pinot Noir 2014, and not just for its great label. The red berry fruit flavours and rich savoury notes really complimented the duck and beef cheek. The full list of wines that we tried included:
- Moet & Chandon NV, France
- Pierro Chardonnay 2011, Australia
- Chablis Premier Cru La Chantrerie, Michel Laroche 2014, France
- Burn Cottage Pinot Noir 2014, New Zealand
- Jamshed Seville Syrah 2013, Australia
- Taylor’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal
- Niepoort Tawny 10 Year Old, Portugal
We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Ostro. The amazing food was complimented perfectly by the fantastic Australian and New Zealand wines, and having Bob Campbell at the event made learning about the wines, and world of wine writing and judging, a treat.