Wednesday 22 April 2009


On my last flight back from the US, I watched Bottleshock, a film of the story behind the famous blind tasting in which California surprised the French. I enjoyed it more than the raters over at Rotten Tomatoes, but most movies seem better on flights.

New Zealand seems to have just pulled its own version of the same. Or, at least has come close. At a blind tasting in London, a couple of Kiwi reds made the top six.
Then the bombshell. The wines' identities are revealed and we gasp when we discover who was playing for the Bordeaux team. The three medal positions go to: 2005 Château Lafite-Rothschild (£975 a bottle), 2005 Château Mouton-Rothschild (£675) and 2005 Château Angélus (£295). Just off the podium, in fourth, is 2006 Sacred Hill "Helmsman" at – wait for it – a staggeringly modest £17.95 a bottle. We sit open-mouthed. 2005 Château Haut-Brion (£700) is fifth and 2006 Newton Forrest "Cornerstone" – at just £15 a bottle for heaven's sake – is sixth.
"You've opened my eyes," declares Robinson, speaking for us all. "I think this is the closest to Bordeaux you can get."
"I knew exciting things were happening in Hawke's Bay, but had no idea how exciting," murmurs Alun Griffiths of Berrys. "I need to get some on our list fast."
Utils per dollar spent: advantage Kiwi.

The funniest for me is that our local ratings guide, Michael Cooper's New Zealand Wine Guide, puts the Helmsman as not being worth the money at NZ$65 (though still a five-star wine); the Newton/Forrest Cornerstone rates an average value 5* at NZ$50. Cooper's wine of the year is Mission's Hawke's Bay Reserve Syrah 2007 at NZ$23 and 5*.

Guess it's time to cellar some Hawke's Bay reds before you lot go and bid the prices up.

HT: National Business Review

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