Pinot Noir NZ
the curly girl and lipstick club, aka the best club
Our travels through New Zealand revolved around the Pinot Noir NZ event – a three day extravaganza focused primarily on Pinot Noir with wine professionals from 20 countries, wine lovers from all over the world, and New Zealand’s top winemakers from across the country. The event occurs every four years and while it celebrates wine it also offers truly Kiwi hospitality and talent. It honestly was the most well planned and gracefully executed wine event I have ever attended and it was not only an honor to attend but also to speak. The organizers asked if I would give the closing address looking specifically at the question of future communication while also tying together threads and themes from across the three days. Duncan Forsyth, who extended the invitation to me, asked if I would use it as an opportunity to inspire people to really dig in and commit passionately to whatever their projects – winemaking or otherwise. (If you want to see my talk you can watch it or read the transcript here. If you have any interest though you should really check out those given by others across the three days. There were incredible speakers present from across all aspects of the wine industry including internationally known celebrities. The keynotes from the first and third days are available here.) In truth though the event was utterly inspiring for me as well. The caliber of talent we were surrounded by professionally was mind blowing and best of all the entire time was full of truly good and caring people. Here’s a look at the festivities in photos as shared to Instagram at the time.
New Zealand is one of the only countries in the world that has established a shared healthy relationship between its First Nations Maori people and the subsequent settlers. While my Indigenous heritage serves as the foundation of who I am it is largely unseen in a US context where recognition of Native American communities is essentially non existent. To be asked then to be part of a Maori welcoming ceremony to open Pinot Noir NZ 2017 was not only a huge honor but also overwhelming. After the initial arrival and greeting portions of the ceremony I sat on stage with Dame Anne Salmond seated beside me at my left and Jancis Robinson at my right as we progressed through a series of Maori blessings and songs honoring our ancestors, our land and each other. The depth of gratitude for the experience is more than I could explain. Thank you to Pinot Noir NZ for making it possible. #nzwine #pinotnoirnz @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @pinotnoirnz Thank you to @yrmom_safoodie for the photo.
Again and again and again, what an honor. It has been a total pleasure to travel, study, taste and laugh with these people. Thank you, David, very much for the photo. #Repost @yrmom_safoodie ・・・ It’s rare that you see this much awesome in one photo! @stenwrethMW @janeskiltonmw @paulpujol @hawk_wakawaka @winediviner – @pinotnoirnz #pinotnoirnz @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @nzwineaus @nzwineeurope @mastersofwine #icons #mentors #badasses
Truly remarkable morning. #Repost @nzwinegrowers ・・・ REPOST: A wonderful line up of speakers in the first session this morning, including Ben Glover of Zephyr, @rachel_taulelei, Rapota Taylor, Miriana Stevens, Kerensa Johnson, Dame Anne Salmond & Nick Mills from Rippon. Their ability to communicate our connection to this place resonated deeply. 📷: @pinotnoirnz @nzwineusa #pinotnoirnz #nzwine
Excited about the morning session. A dig into greatness in Pinot Noir looking at examples from all the world (excluding New Zealand) selected and discussed by an international panel of experts – guided by Helen Masters with master tasters Jancis Robinson OBE MW of England, Mike Bennie of Australia, Kenichi Ohashi MW of Japan, Marcel Giesen of New Zealand. This is one of those dream opportunities in tasting panels. #nzwine #pinotnoirnz @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @pinotnoirnz
Marcel Giesen discusses how the Sta Rita Hills defines greatness through simultaneous persistence and reinventing itself. How greatness in Pinot comes from farming that respects the land, and that quality from the right site will come in time “with unwavering passion and commitment” in a relationship “between land and winegrower of humility and honesty” over time. From the choice of essentially any two Pinots in the world Marcel selected the Au Bon Climat 2005 Larmes de Grappe Pinot Noir from the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard and the Domaine de la Cote 2014 Bloom’s Field describing both as exemplary cases of balance, power, finesse, purity, complexity length and authenticity. “Power isn’t size. It’s persistence. There should be sinew, movement, aliveness, energy.” #nzwine #sashimoorman @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @pinotnoirnz Excited, humbled and impressed to see one of the regions I love most – the Sta Rita Hills and Santa Barbara County – and two wines I have great admiration for showcased into such a prestigious international tasting. @rajatparr @sashimoorman @sbcwinelady
What wines do four of the world’s best tasters select to represent greatness in Pinot Noir from around the world? An intriguing global selection. Interestingly tasting these blind it was easy to identify the taster palate before identifying region though the wines do each speak to place. #nzwine #pinotnoirnz @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @pinotnoirnz
Ken Ohishi MW from Japan shares how a Kyoto temple built in 1397, also a Unesco World Heritage site, represents a Japanese world view of balance while discussing too how understatement, purity, clarity, humility and harmony serve as the markers of greatness in Pinot Noir. He compares great Pinot Noir to the attributes of premium drinking water, not in the sense of being watery but in the sense of carrying transparency, pure clean aroma and flavor, smoothness never asserting itself too strongly instead with a sense of silence and understatement. For Ken silence is not absolute but instead closer to the experience of sitting in a quiet room with only the quiet, steady tick tock of a single clock. The simple experience of the clock helps define the time and space of the silence. The temple too gives insight into the balance of wine. The pure stillness of the pond showing an almost perfect reflection of the temple that even so is not the actual temple – the water expands what we experience and balances it without increasing the literal substance, weight or detail of the actual temple. It instead reverberates in an understated while still complex image of the original expanding our experience of the majesty of the structure. #nzwine #pinotnoirnz @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @pinotnoirnz Wonderfully insightful and perspective shifting discussion.
To what extent is wine tasting a multisensory experience? How does sound impact our taste experience? Jo Burzynska guides us through a Pinot tasting accompanied by four types of music based on recent studies of perception and her own work in oenosthesia. Here the dubstep’s deep bass notes emphasize body and lessen perception of acidity (click video to hear). Lifted, bright, high tones sounds like bird chirps or bells intensify the perception of elevated, bright acidity. Intense, multisound music like rock subdued perception of complexity while also increasing experience of umami. #nzwine #pinotnoirnz @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @pinotnoirnz
Liam Malone, New Zealand Paralympic sprinter who won two gold medals in the 2016 Rio Men’s 200 meters and 400 meters and a silver in the 100 meters, speaking on what it means to live personal greatness having surpassed a bone growth birth defect and become a world record holder after hitting rock bottom drunk driving while dealing with both leg amputation. Inspiring, comical, well thought testimonial also crediting his mom for being the rock that got him through. #nzwine #pinotnoirnz @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @pinotnoirnz
The curly girl lipstick club. (I’ve met my favorite people in New Zealand. Here’s a set of them here.) From left: Helen Masters, Jane Skelton MW, Emma Jenkins MW, Madeline Stenwreth MW, Veronica Williams, me. #pinotnoirnz #nzwineusa @pinotnoirnz @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @helenatatarangi @janeskiltonmw @emmajenkinsmw @madsmw
Wine professionals for Australia, China, Japan, England, Ireland, Scotland, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, Venezuela and New Zealand take over every seat in a special Air New Zealand wine flight touring and tasting Nelson, Marlborough, Martinborough and Hawke’s Bay at low elevation air borne. #nzwine @nzwinegrowers @nzwineusa @chrisnzwine Huge thanks to Air New Zealand! @air_new_zealand
It was an unbelievable honor to give the final speech at Pinot Noir NZ this week. Today I woke up to my photo and mention on the front page of the weekly newsletter from Jancis Robinson via her eponymous website. Deeply grateful. So grateful to my family and dearest friends for their helping me be here and to @pinotnoirnz and @nzwinegrowers for having me. Thank you. #nzwine #pinotnoirnz @nzwineusa
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