Wednesday 28 November 2018

Pinot Palooza - Welcome to the world of Pinot

Big scale wine events are 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 also James Suckling Great Wines series. But as far as I’m aware, there has not been a big scale single varietal tasting event yet.

Organising a single varietal tasting in such a scale is challenging as there is not enough differentiation in single varietal wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, like all other grapes, may taste different depending on where the grapes are grown and winemaking techniques but the style of wine is pretty much 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 delicious sweet wine, while Pinot Noir is similarly diversified and can be made into sparkling, rosé and of course red wine. Both grape varieties are used in Canada for ice wine.

Finally, we have the chance to experience one of these two multifaceted grape varieties, Pinot Noir, at Pinot Palooza on coming Saturday (1st December). First launched in Melbourne back in 2012, Pinot Palooza has since extended to 11 cities in 5 countries with Hong Kong being the latest addition.

You might have read or 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, “It’s not meant to be intimidating because like music, wine has so many different artists and genres, countries and labels.” He suggested that we should approach Pinot Palooza as we would a music festival. Spend time at the Main Stage for the classic but also explore the Fringe and Emerging Stages for something new and non-mainstream, and 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 maybe temperamental but it is also diverse, attractive, inspiring and fun. Its low tannin makes it particular suitable for Chinese cuisine as tannin often clashes with soy sauce and Chinese herbs. The lighter style Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Adelaide Hills goes well with the lighter Guangdong dishes while the more fruity and structured style from Central Otago and South Africa is perfect with roasted meat and Peking Duck. Martinborough Pinot Noir has a savoury and earthy character that can stand up to heavier dishes.

Get your ticket now and enjoy a day of fun and music, while sipping and exploring everything about Pinot. See you there.