The Lord of the Wines

Maybe, like me, you’ve come to associate New Zealand with The Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit Trilogy movies. After all, the rolling green hills, lush forests, mysterious caves and even active volcanoes make the idyllic setting for “Middle Earth.”

At the Oyster Bay Launch at the Trinidad Hilton, hosted by Massy Distribution, I discovered though, that New Zealand also plays home to some of the world’s most distinguished wines. In fact, many wine connoisseurs attribute this to New Zealand’s unique terrain and climate.

At the event last night, guests were treated to a wine tasting and education facilitated by my friend Francis Ragbir ( one of T&T’s very own wine experts and also an all round jolly fellow!).

I was surprised to find out that Oyster Bay is the #1 premium New Zealand wine brand in the USA and is ranked #7 in terms of premium wine brands imported into the US. The last two years in a row, has also seen Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc being listed as a Top 200 wine brand in Wine and Spirits Magazine.

Even the Wall Street Journal has poured ( pun intended!) accolades onto Oyster Bay, citing that “Every seafood restaurant should have a Sauvignon Blanc from Oyster Bay.” Across the pond, it’s also the most consumed merlot in the UK. Interesting facts, indeed.

We were asked to sample four wines in turn and each came with a food pairing.

Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc – My favourite of the four! This was a medium-bodied, aromatic, spicy wine. I would even say that for me, I detected herbal notes. Definitely a type of wine that you can savour. We were asked to sample it with a tuna taster wrapped in cucumber.

Oyster Bay Marlborough Chardonnay  – This was a crisp, tart wine that you could perhaps start dinner off with and continue drinking, since it’s light bodied. At first whiff, I got hints of peach. We were asked to sample this with the salmon cake.

Oyster Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir – This was very fruity and fragrant – with notes of vanilla and cherries. We were asked to try it with brie cheese wrapped in filo pastry. This wine would also pair well with chicken and fish.

Oyster Bay Hawke’s Bay Merlot – This medium-bodied wine had big, rich flavour. I’m actually not keen on red wine but I would definitely have this another time; since I found its acidity level perfect for me. This was my second favourite of the four.

We were asked to try it with beef brisket. I certainly think, as a red wine option, that this would be a crowd pleaser for weddings

All in all, my table had so many interesting people and blogger friends that I felt quite at home. Every one left with a gift bag with this nifty wine opener!

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