It’s a word you’re more likely to see in the context of the art-filled drawing room of a Henry James novel than in today’s world of instant obsolescence, but ‘curio’, defined as something unusual and worthy of collecting, was unearthed as the name of a new range of exclusive, single-estate and at times single-block wines from the Mud House Wine Group in 2009.
The inaugural Curio Collection, hailing from five different vineyards in Marlborough, Nelson and Central Otago, launched with five varietals. Each wine was carefully selected on the blending table from a myriad of single-vineyard fruit parcels, from which only the stand-out examples were deemed worthy of the Curio label.
The wines were launched into some of the best restaurants and fine wine retailers around the country, including Bisque, Circa, Capitol, Museum Hotel and Ambeli in Wellington; Sticky Fingers and Annies in Christchurch; and in Auckland, O’Connell Street Bistro, The Engine Room, Rocco, Cibo and Soul Bar & Bistro.
The unique and artistic label design was a distinct characteristic of this young, stylish and carefully considered range of wines.
AC was asked to help launch the new Curio brand and connect the range with wine writers and consumers to help make it jump out on restaurant wine lists and on the shelf.
Curio partnered with a number of key events around the launch to connect with the artistic elements of the collection.
First, it came on board as a key supporter of the spectacular Breast Cancer Research Trust’s Art for a Cure exhibition. Held at Hopetoun Alpha, the exhibition featured artworks created by some of New Zealand’s most preeminent artists inspired by leading Kiwi musicians. The artworks were auctioned for the charity and complementary glasses of Curio wine were served to guests at the opening function and final auction.
In addition, Curio was the wine sponsor at one of central Auckland’s most stylish art spaces, the Gus Fisher Gallery. Curio partnered with the gallery to serve the wine at two highly successful New Zealand art exhibitions, Marti Friedlander Looking Closely and Len Lye Art that Moves. A special wine tasting with Curio wines was also held for the public at the gallery during the exhibition.
AC focused on boosting the profile on the new wine and getting it in front of the leading wine writers in New Zealand to swirl, sniff, and sip to their hearts’ content!
The Curio Collection was well received by the wine writers, with reviews featuring in nearly all of the country’s major provincial daily publications. This included the NZ Herald’s Viva magazine and the Herald on Sunday’s Detours as well as The Press, the Otago Daily Times and the Marlborough Express.
Special promotions were also set up with Life & Leisure and Mindfood magazines to promote the wine.
2008 CURIO d’Auvergne Vineyard Wairau Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer reviews:
Viva Wine Columnist Jo Burzynska described the Curio d’Auvergne Vineyard Wairau Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer as a “gorgeously textured wine, with layers of mineral and hints of rose petals, seasoned with savoury spice and finishing with a fresh twist of citrus peel.” NZ Herald 4 November 2009
”A perfectly balanced, delicate and slippery gewurztraminer that sings turkish delight, ginger, rose petal and soft citrus. Musky, fruit-laden flavours enhanced by wild yeast ferments and time in oak give it a sexy, spicy finish. Available from fine wine stores and selected restaurants and bars”. Bay of Plenty Times 9 November 2009
”…My pick of the bunch is Curio d’Auvergne Vineyard Wairau Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2008. It smells so good you don’t want to stop sniffing the harmonious mix of musk rose, mango and cloves. On the palate it’s like sucking on Turkish delight before it sets; luscious fruit flavours with silky texture made all the more interesting from barrel fermentation and wild yeast.” Capital Times – Wellington 21 October 2009
2008 CURIO Bendigo Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir reviews:
“Great packaging is one of the appeals of this spicy young Central Otago pinot noir.” Joelle Thomson, Herald on Sunday Detours, 13 December 2009
“Ah, that’s what a good pinot noir is all about – it’s light, ruby-red translucent colour belies its rich and full flavoured character, with satisfying length. Currants and vanilla were evident. This pinot is velvety smooth, with no furry tannin feeling. Ideal with piquant cheeses and scrummy appetizers.” David Killick, The Press, 11 January 2010
”An attractive, lush wine with soft, overly ripe, sweet fruit, oozing cherries, strawberries and boysenberries, supported by darker tones of toasty oak, and finishing with a firm, spicy grip”. Charmian Smith, the Otago Daily Times, 18 November 2009
2008 CURIO Ganes Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc review:
”Despite its tender age, this lovely wine is full of personality. It does what classic sauvignon blanc does best – slightly acidic and bursting with apricot, passionfruit and gooseberry flavours. There’s a weight and complexity underpinning all these delights which stamps this as an outstanding wine.” Chris Moore, The Press – Christchurch, 27 January 2010
“Juicy, tangy, with tingly acids and some underlying warmth. The aroma rolls on through to the palate – we enjoyed the pleasant grassy/tropical blend in this full-bodied wine. The flavours are quite intense out to the finish, which is herbal, drying and warming. A really nice example of Wairau Valley sauvignon blanc.”Deborah Walton and Peter Morice – The Marlborough Express 18 February 2010
Curio Castles Vineyard Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2008 review:
“Quite a ripe Awatere style though it shows typical concentration. Green capsicum and mineral flavours with a stone fruit influence. A bold and appealing wine with character.”
Bob Campbell, December 2009 www.bobswinereviews.com
“Typically funky, pungent Awatere sauvignon, with wonderfully exuberant fruit oozing herbs, salad leaves, and mineral, complex, and textural makes a definite statement.” Charmian Smith, the Otago Daily Times, 21 October 2009