Pinot Palooza was a bonanza for pinot lovers in Melbourne last weekend – an opportunity to meet wine makers and taste some of Australia and NZ’s best pinot noirs. My only problem was with the number of people attending and the limited time I had to sample the wines on offer. This is not a criticism of the organizers, as clearly they needed this level of exposure to justify the expense in staging such an ambitious event. In fact I need to congratulate the organisers on managing to get such a great group of producers together. Well done, Dan Sims and Ben Edwards from The Wine Guide.
I took the opportunity to catch-up with old acquaintances, colleagues & friends including George Mihaly, Lindsay McCall, Clive Paton, Larry McKenna and many others. I also had the opportunity to experience some great pinots and make some new contacts. I intend adding some reviews of the pinots I tried here in future posts.
I particularly enjoyed meeting Mary Zurakowski (picture above) and sampling her Archangel pinot noir from the Upper Clutha Valley of Central Otago, NZ. I also loved the story behind the Archangel name, which is a true story of “hope, love and survival. Destiny at work”. It began in1940 when two young girls, Stefania and Halina paths crossed in difficult circumstances. They had been forced from their homes in war-torn Poland and found themselves in a labour camp in Arkhangel’sk, Siberia. (Arkhangle’sk translates as Archangel in English). Here they began a courageous journey that takes them across many continents, where they encounter similar experiences as refugees. Sometime later they meet up serving in the Air Force Auxiliary during the Second World War and became life long friends bonded in common experiences. Anyway to cut a long but fascinating story to an end, Mary and her husband, Ian are descendants of the two young girls and the two Polish pilots they meet during the war. You can read the full story on their website http://www.archangelwines.co.nz/stefania-halin. By the way, their wines are as interesting as their story. I hope to review them in depth in a subsequent post. In the meantime thank you, Mary, for sharing such a beautiful and interesting story.