Big-scale wine events abound in Hong Kong, including the annual Wine & Dine Festival, Taste Hong Kong and various country-generic tastings such as Discover South Africa, Riesling Weeks and the James Suckling Great Wines series. But, as far as I’m aware, there has not been a big-scale single-varietal tasting event – until now.
Organising a single-varietal tasting at such a large scale can be challenging because there is not a lot of differentiation in most single-varietal wines. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon may taste different depending on where the grapes are grown and the winemaking techniques used, but the style of wine is quite similar. In my view, there are only two varietals that can push this boundary: Riesling and Pinot Noir.
Riesling is a white grape with many faces, from sparkling and dry to off-dry and sweet, while Pinot Noir is similarly diversified and can be made into sparkling, rosé and red wines. Both grape varieties are used in Canada to make ice wine.
Now, we have the chance to experience one of these two multifaceted grape varieties – Pinot Noir – at Pinot Palooza on Saturday, 1 December 2018 along Central Harbourfront. First launched in Melbourne back in 2012, Pinot Palooza has since extended to 11 cities in five countries, with Hong Kong being the latest addition.
You might have heard that Pinot Noir is a temperamental grape variety (remember the movie Sideways?), and winemakers can’t help but talk about soil and clones. However, don’t be intimidated by this. Pinot Palooza is all about Pinot Noir and music. Founder Dan Sims likens wine to music, explaining, “It’s not meant to be intimidating because, like music, wine has so many different artists and genres, countries and labels.” He suggests that we should approach Pinot Palooza as we would a music festival. Spend time at the Main Stage for the classics, but also explore the Fringe and Emerging Stages for the new and non-mainstream. There is also the Dance Tent for fun, easy-going and, in my words, everyday-drinking, good-quality Pinots.
I am totally with Dan. Wine should be accessible. We can enjoy a glass or two and, at the same time, learn about it, preferably in a social setting. Pinot Noir may be temperamental, but it is also diverse, attractive, inspiring and fun. Its low tannin makes it particularly suitable for Chinese cuisine as tannin often clashes with the soy sauce and herbs used in the dishes. The lighter-style Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Adelaide Hills goes well with lighter Guangdong dishes, while the more fruity and structured style from Central Otago and South Africa is perfect with roasted meats and Peking duck. Martinborough Pinot Noir has a savoury and earthy character that can stand up to even richer dishes.
Get your Pinot Palooza tickets now and enjoy a day of fun and music while sipping and exploring everything about Pinot. Hope to see you there!
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