not serious wine chats

not serious wine chats has landed in new zealand, and our first event is set to be fizzer (the good kind). 

we've gathered a panel of knockout speakers to help us unpack one of the wine world's most intriguing topics - sparkling wine. 

riddle me this: is new zealand sparkling as good as champagne? wtf is prosecco anyway and isn't cava from fiji?

champagne is often described as the nectar of the gods (clearly the gods are cashed up). truth is, you think champagne, you think celebration and dollar dollar bills, right?  

but why? why is it so damn expensive (and why is it so damn cool?). is all the magic just very clever marketing, or is there more to it? most of the big champagne houses are centuries old, so what's tradition got to do with it? isn't the wine world evolving? 

importantly, we want to know how nz stacks up in the sparkling stakes - we produce a few cracker sparklings and we want to know: do we hold our own with the big guys? in a blind tasting alongside some of the giants, could you tell a nz sparkling from a frenchie? how are they different?

and while we're at it, what's this prosecco juice all about? is it any good? expect a quick 101 on cava too - (turns out, it's not that muddy drink you sip on holiday in fiji).

there's some great chat to be had as we unravel the mysteries of fizz. join us!

the panel:

claire allan, winemaker, huia
a legend in the nz winemaking scene, claire's been at the helm of huia since 1996 alongside husband mike. having studied winemaking at roseworthy in adelaide (the harvard school of winemaking, no less), claire went on to make the good stuff at corbans and lawson's dry hills. after spending time at champagne taittinger, claire's desire to make bubbles led her to establish her own label (and we're so glad she did). the huia sparkling has become a flagship wine for her winery. huia vineyard is farmed organically and when claire isn't mucking about with compost, she's practising her bass guitar alongside mike who's on acoustic.

jean-christophe poizat, french wine expert & retailer, maison vauron
originally from lyon, france's capital of 'gastronomie', jean-christophe comes from a family who's been in the wine business since his great-great-grandpa antoine became a wine merchant in 1879. now a much revered expert of french wine and a merchant himself, you'd argue wine runs through jean-christophe's veins. we figure this line of ancestry qualifies him to fly the french flag on this chat - that, and his mad passion for french and nz wine, especially from producers who pour a little 'le coeur' and 'ame' (heart and soul) into their winemaking. salut to that!

ismo (mo) koski, sommelier and restaurateur, apéro
it was around the time tom cruise became something of a rockstar mixing a vodka martini with a pernod flip to the tune of hippy hippy shake, that a young 14yo ismo koski made the decision to get into hospitality and become a hotshot bartender. it wasn't too long before mo (and the rest of the world) realised his true talents were tableside, sharing his knowledge and skills with his effortless cool (and his head full of knowledge). mo's worked at some of nz's top dining joints, honing his skills as a class-act sommelier. he's the face at the door of apéro, his wine bar opened with partner (and chef) les hottiaux in 2014, where he runs a fast changing wine list with an authoritative yet friendly hand.

rebecca smidt, sommelier and restaurateur, cazador 
rebecca smidt is the lady by your side at cazador. she's worked hospo for 18 years, most of them at her beloved family restaurant which she now owns with her husband and family. when it comes to wine, rebecca's training was on-the-job. she began stealing leftovers for extravagant nights of hummus, pita bread and byo thrills at midnight express, before finishing her studies in art history, then travelling the world visiting vineyards and art galleries, before finally settling down (and paying for her own wine). she now writes the wine list at cazador, hosts their much anticipated beverage matching events and works alongside industry colleagues on her side project, artdego. 

what we're drinking:
champagne collet cuvee art deco nv
huia method traditional
clos henri pinot noir 2016

did we mention there'll also be fried chicken? snacks courtesy of our pals at culprit & lowbrow


monday 23rd of july | culprit | 6pm for a 6.30pm kick-off

tickets $40 at eventbrite


see you there!