What are your Christmas plans this year? Holidaying? Etc
We like to avoid the rush by slipping away a week or two before Christmas. This year we are planning on going to Nelson – we’ve booked a place at Kina Beach. Apart from a little fishing and visiting a few winemaker friends we will laze around and catch up on a lot of reading. I’ve promised not to take my laptop.
We arrived in Jerez around midnight. It had been a lengthy journey from Auckland to Seville via London followed by one hour in a taxi that would have taken twice as long if the driver had obeyed the speed limit. The streets were full of people. Many were looking for restaurants. In Spain few people eat before midnight.
“I’m so over Pinot Gris”, moaned a student in my wine class recently. “Last year I hardly drank anything else but now I can’t seem to find a good one. They all seem too sweet”. Has Pinot Gris become sweeter in just a year? No it hasn’t. After some discussion my student without a sweet tooth admitted that her taste for wine had changed. And she’s not alone. Another five students, nearly one-quarter of the class, declared that their tastes had also moved from sweet to dry.
I’d worked hard to engineer a great dinner party for six guests. They’d sipped Bollinger Rosé Champagne before sitting down to an entrée of lightly grilled scampi with Felton Road 1999 Dry Riesling. I continued the Central Otago theme by serving Olssen’s prize-winning 2002 Slapjack Creek Pinot Noir with my barbecued rack of lamb before moving to a more robust Craggy Range 2002 Block 14 Syrah with a selection of French cheeses. I’d reserved a wonderfully creamy stilton for the pièce de résistance, a glass of 1963 Taylors Port.
A lot has happened in Louisa Rose’s career since she was a second-time finalist in this award in 2005. She was promoted to chief winemaker of Yalumba in 2006, taking over responsibility for all winemaking. This year Yalumba released an innovative new riesling, called Prima, a lovely light bodied, early harvested riesling from the Pewsey Vale vineyard and bottled with low alcohol and some residual sweetness, making it a fine aperitif style. The first vintage, ’07, was a tentative 700 dozen and sold out quickly following a rave reception.
It was a mammoth tasting. 271 bottles of New Zealand Pinot Noir from seven New Zealand regions. Most were from the generally excellent 2007 vintage with a small group from the very good 2006 vintage plus a handful of older wines. I expected to find many great wines. I was not disappointed.
The summer of 2008 was an absolute cracker. It was the sort of lazy, melted tar summer that I remember as a child. We basked in windless, cloudless and careless conditions from December to March when we welcomed the first gentle rain that breathed life into lawn and garden.
I recently reviewed New Zealand Syrah and plan to look at New Zealand Pinot Noir in the next issue of Taste Magazine so this feature deals with “other” red wines. That includes wines made from a single grape variety such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Pinotage, Carménère or a combination of all or any of these.
Why is the standard wine bottle size 750ml?
A) That’s as much as a couple should drink in a day
B) Wine lasts longest when stored in a bottle that size
C) A case of 12 x 750ml bottles is below the maximum carton weight approved by OSH
D) None of the above
“Great cool-climate shiraz has a warm heart.” Maybe it’s the preacher in Tim Kirk: he has a way with words. What he means is that cool-climate shiraz may be spicy to the point of peppery, and even a touch vegetal, but somehow it has an inherent warmth in it. That’s if it’s any good: there’s plenty of cool-climate Aussie shiraz that is simply green and unripe, and his diagnosis holds true: that kind of wine has a coldness in its centre and a serious lack of palate appeal.