In February, we unveiled our latest vintages – our 2013 aromatic white wines, our 2010 The High Note Pinot Noir and 2012 Impromptu by Misha’s Vineyard Pinot Noir – 7 wines in all. It was our 6th Annual Misha’s Vineyard New Release Tasting – and it’s certainly now become a regular event that everyone looks forward to. These days we just host the events in Auckland as most of the wine media is there, it’s where many of our trade customers are based, and it’s also where our distributor, Negociants NZ, has their NZ headquarters.
For the first 4 years of our ‘new release’ media events we hosted lunches at The Grove. It’s one of the country’s best restaurants and owner and chief sommelier, Michael Dearth, ensures things work seamlessly and match perfectly. However in the past two years, we’ve ventured out of the ‘safe’ harbour of western food matches and moved in a more easterly direction! Last year our new release event was held at Cafe Hanoi – a downtown Auckland restaurant renowned for its Vietnamese food. We had fun with the food matches and generally everything worked brilliantly. This year, we went Chinese and descended into Mandarin Dumpling and Bar for some seriously good modern Chinese food. Both last year and this year, our venues were dark and moody subterranean basements with Mandarin’s private dining space resembling an old opium den.
We sent samples of all the new releases off to Mandarin a few weeks prior to the events and we let the kitchen team come up with what they thought would be the best food matches – and we weren’t disappointed! I think we surprised many of our guests with how well the food went with the wine. Given we have so many export markets around the various countries in Asia, we know how well our aromatic white wines and Pinot Noirs can match exotic food flavours of the East. Mandarin describes their food as “fiercely spicy or elegantly subtle’ – and they found perfect wine partners for both ends of the spectrum and a range in between!
As well as hosting a media only event, over the last couple of years, we have also extended these ‘new release’ events to include trade lunches and we had a lovely group of customers join us to learn a little more about the Misha’s Vineyard story and to hear Olly talk about how he crafts the wines and about the new vintages.
After the events, we also spent some one-on-one time with two of New Zealand’s best known and most acclaimed wine critics, Bob Campbell MW and Michael Cooper, so Olly could take them through the new wines and talk about the technicalities of winemaking and vintage specifics. We’re constantly amazed at how hard-working and focussed both Bob and Michael are – both incredibly professional yet imbued with that typical Kiwi casualness and calm.
Next we were out to the Negociants NZ office to go through a Misha’s Vineyard update and to take the team through the new vintages. What we love about our distributor Negociants, is their incredible professionalism as a company. They have a wonderful meeting room at their Greenlane office and that’s where we present our formal powerpoint update about our company news and updates, and then Olly takes the team through each of the new wines, discussing them in detail as we go.
Judging by the looks on everyone’s faces at all our new release events, I don’t think anyone is disappointed with the new vintages – in fact quite the opposite. Olly will never say it’s the best vintage yet, he’s too understated for that, but judging from the media reviews coming in from the new vintages, it seems some people think it’s the best ‘new release’ yet!