North Island, New Zealand – first stop – Auckland

9.41pm, Wednesday 21st July, Federal Street, Auckland central, North Island, New Zealand

Evening folks, and it’s night two of three in Auckland….and terribly exciting as we find ourselves in town at the same time as the US Vice President is visiting, and it looks like we’re neighbours for a couple of days! First things first though…..this was our last look at the South Island as we hopped across the Cook Strait to the North Island…..rugged mountains straight down to the sea……

Our first job in town was our annual consumer tasting with local national Wine Options competition superstar Kingsley Wood… his new First Glass Wine & Spirits store on the North Side of Auckland in Takapuna. Picture this – 95 wine fans cheerfully turning up on a cold school night to take their place on their chairs with a wine set sheet on a clipboard, to taste through 12 wines with some cheese & baguette snacks on the side. Never fails to impress me, and last night was no exception. With about a third of the folks new to the wine class, I went for a very high fact content, a bit more Barossa history than usual, and a lot of food and wine matching winners seen around the traps so far this year on our travels through England, Scotland, the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, the USA, and across Australia from Perth to Brisbane during our recent Rare & Fine tour. Eg  the whole slow cooked lamb shoulder from Matt Moran’s conservatory style restaurant complete with kitchen garden ‘Chiswick’ amongst the leafy green side streets of Woollahra in Sydney …..with our Cabernets The Menzies and The Cigar, and our top Cabernet Shiraz blend The Signature…..

A top night had by all…..and a traditional exchange of gifts between Kingsley and myself – I got an All Blacks flag – might store that at work  in the Clocktower, under the flagpole……with our collection of flags of the world…..ready for the day that Richie McCaw visits the winery, and we can run it up! Thanks Kingsley, Harvey & Sam, and all the First Glass faithful that come along to the tastings……not forgetting Sue who puts together all the tasting notes from the sessions. See you all next year – roughly when the British Lions are touring

OK, it’s lights out now, as we have a massive day tomorrow with ‘The Professionals’ Consumer lunch …..ill let you know how it goes, plus catch up today’s super Auckland trade session at Banque Oyster Bar & Eatery, Remuera. See ya when it’s Friday in The City Of Sails.

8.25am, Friday 22nd July, Depot Eatery, Federal Street, still Auckland Central, North Island, New Zealand

Morning folks, and I’ll have to get my skates on, as I’m due over the road at Sky City to start decanting the multitude of bottles of big reds on show today at our “The Professionals Long Business Lunch”. But first, whilst I plough through probably what’s going to be the healthiest moment of my day…..a quick catch up on yesterday’s local trade event, because if I don’t do it straight away, if just doesn’t get done! 

Thanks Depot Eatery, whenever I’m in town, I’m powered by their magic muesli!

Yesterday’s trade event was at Banque Oyster Bar and Restaurant, on the other side of town on Remuera Road……run by their top in house version of the energiser bunny – Aki – he genuinely just never stops!…..complete attention to what’s going out on the plates, the set of the room, the sparkling finish on the wine glasses, the presentation of the oysters in the raw bar….the consummate professional wine and food man – we were in very good hands indeed!

The plan was a good one – fortunately we have some organisational superstars in our business, and my tour of New Zealand  logistically was sorted from Auckland by Tina Rutherford…..and we tasted our way through ten wines showcasing our new release wine world just now – from the worker bee 2015 Y Series ‘baby’ Viognier through to the muscular new release 2013 Signature Cabernet Shiraz and the ‘moving right now from primary fruit to some nice aromatic pipe tobacco secondary development’ 2006 The Reserve Cabernet Shiraz…..yep! There’s definitely an old Australian Claret (that’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blended together folks) theme going on in our wine house. Then Aki and the boys sent out some fab taster canapé things to complement the wines, and we just got to mix and match and chat at will! Some days are diamonds folks! My star combos for the day?

The shredded spanner crab lettuce cups with the 2015 Y Viognier and 2014 Roussanne…

The Peking style duck with house made hoisin ‘with a slight sting’ style sauce and the 2013 ‘Strapper’ Grenache Shiraz Mataro blend…

And the rare beef on a roasted – but cold and firm – kumara slice – with the bigger reds…..

So there you have it…..thanks to everyone for coming over to Banque, including the fab crew wine selling road warriors from Negociants New Zealand here in Auckland….yesterday was a treat! See ya next year when the British Lions are touring! This will be me, all rugged up, in my Highlanders colours…….

One response to “North Island, New Zealand – first stop – Auckland

  1. Andrew Gibb Twist Club

    nite Jane,

    please see w a Ray Jordans top 100 list when you get a chance,

    An old bloke said once to me , ” its all a matter of Taste “,only two Smith and sons, ” patchwork ” !!!


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