CELEBRATING AUCKLAND’S VOLCANIC TERROIR
An intriguing wine tasting took place recently to contemplate the influence of Auckland’s unique volcanic geology on its wines. Members of the New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals met with Bob Campbell MW and Michael Brajkovich MW to taste and discuss wines submitted as part of an Auckland Wine of Origin initiative at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine. Internationally there has been a surge of interest in wines from volcanic regions such as Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius, Sardinia, the Canary Islands, the Azores and the slopes of Mount Fuji. Here, the highlight in the whites was the range and depth of chardonnays. Styles included the ripe peach and rockmelon from Passage Rock Reserve Chardonnay 2017 from Waiheke Island to the lean, crisp characteristics of Westbrook and Soljans. Waiheke Island dominated the red wines and there was broad appreciation from the group of their exceptional quality including the Bordeaux blends of Destiny Bay’s Destinae 2014, Frenchmans Hill Blood Creek Eight 2013, Te Motu 2013 and Goldie Reserve 2013. The aromatic wines of viognier, gewurztraminer and the Portuguese grape, verdelho are less well known and Villa Maria’s Ihumatao vineyard, next to Auckland International Airport and the Mount Mangere volcano, shows this location can achieve a purity of fruit and aromatics that is world class.