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New Zealand wine is more than the grassy, highly acidic Sauvignon Blancs they are so famous for. There is alot of quality wine and importer NZ Wine Navigator, with the help of Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas, has hand-picked some of these wines for the US market. I had the pleasure to meet Cameron Douglas when he was in LA for a lunch with wines from the NZ Wine Navigator portfolio which I wrote about in my column in the Napa Valley Register. Sharing the story below. There is more to New Zealand wine than Sauvignon Blanc and the first few labels that come to mind. Of course, that may be hard to believe when Sauvignon Blanc makes up approximately 84 percent of New Zealand’s exports.
But, New Zealand offers breadth and depth beyond the grassy, citrusy Sauvignon Blancs. An afternoon with Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas demonstrated that as he introduced 10 wineries from throughout New Zealand that represent higher quality wines at competitive prices.
The wines are part of NZ Wine Navigator, America’s New Zealand wine specialist. NZ Wine Navigator was founded by Graham Painter who, during a visit to the U.S., was disappointed by the selection of New Zealand wines available on our retail shelves.
The Tre Bicchieri World Tour came to San Francisco to showcase the 2012 Tre Bicchieri winners, the top-rated Italian wines of the past year.  Organized by Gambero Rosso, which began in 1986, more than 20,000 wines were tasted by the panels, who awarded one, two, or three "Bicchieri" (or "glasses") to wines of exceptional character and quality.  This year every style of Italian wine and every region was represented among the 375 that received the highest rating of Tre Bicchieri (three glasses). As I typically organize events of this kind, I rarely have the opportunity to spend the entire afternoon tasting and learning and not running around keeping everything organized.  Walking into a room with more than 130 producers (and 300+ wines) can be rather overwhelming.  Where do you start?  Should you taste by varietal?  by region?  all whites and then reds?  By the time you figure out how you are going to approach the tasting, you have lost valuable tasting time.  Luckily, I had the great pleasure to taste the wines alongside Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson, wine educator and author of books such as Great Wine Made Simple. Andrea recommends jumping back and forth between varietals, styles and regions so that your palate doesn't get fatigued quickly.  With her guidance, we tasted through more than half the tasting in just over two hours.