Saturday, April 26, 2008

A secret wine

We found this Fareham Lane Marlborough Pinot Blanc 2005 in a bin end sale and snapped it up. $10 and an adventurous, happy grape variety so seldom found in Nu Zillund. Pyramid Valley make one in their 'growers series' and Greenhough from Nelson also but that's the end of the list.

Not only that but I'm guessing, due to the complete absence of mention about it on the Boundary Vineyards website, that this is no longer in production. Which is a shame as it's good stuff. So a secret wine and if I can find any more I'll snap it up.

Zesty and pale despite the bottle age. It's all Scarlett Johanson voluptuous on the nose but the palate gives up lemon sherbet overlaying a core of striking red delicious apple. Soft and embracingly long.

The bottle gives more wine-making information than most, which is nice as it's not available anywhere else.
Apparently the vineyard sits on an upper terrace of the Wairau River with semi-alluvial glacial outwash soils. Grapes were harvested and gently pressed. Light pressings were oxidised and reblended with the free run to add flavour and fatness to the wine. All that careful attention has certainly paid off and and uhappily it's probably just starting to show at its best now when it's languishing at the end of the bin end table unloved and unsold.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mesh Eden Valley Riesling 2006

Initial impression is of savoury fruit?? An oily palate with a yeasty soy character along with kerosene and manuka honey.

And. Ta Da. Tart tamarillo (it took a while but we got there in the end). A savoury fruit. This is an intellectual wine and takes some getting used to. Dry and interesting (is that like a girl being 'pale and interesting'?). Bone dry with a granite core.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pinot Gris and Chardonnay

When you're looking to rejuvenate your wine-list sometimes the request for certain bottles and styles means you end up trying quite random wines, as is the case in this instance.

The Greystone Waipara Pinot Gris 2007 came with a number of accolades and a recommendation from a colleague.

Straw gold with a delicate nose of apricot, honey and minerals. Tinned apricot and pear on the palate with layers of spice and bright citrus acidity keeping the wine balanced. There is a little viscosity but this wine is not as luscious in style as the Johanneshof Trocken Pinot Gris and plays more with a lovely baking spice character. Plus it's not too hot. Yay! Fleshy finesse.

The Sleeping Giant Hill Block Chardonnay 2006 must have arrived for tasting due to the lack of robust Chardonnay on our list. I have to confess a penchant for the more austere style and as a consequence the 'blockbuster' malolactic and oak numbers are a bit absent (much to the dismay of many patrons, and best give the patrons at least a little of what they want).

Bright gold. The nose hits with smoke and vanilla, not so much a fruit driven wine but there are hints of banana, stonefruit and hibiscus. The palate displays layers of pineapple with a sweet, toasty character bearing out the nose. This is a full on Hawke's Bay style, big with lee-sy weight, grippy and long. At this point in its life, however, a little disjointed.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

'Te Muna'

Sometimes being a waiter has its advantages. Advantages like getting to try special, new, limited release wines without having to pay for a seat at the winemakers dinner. Advantages like getting to hear the viticulturist speak about the wines, when said viticulturist is huge, rigorously intellectual and funny to boot.

Craggy Range make some lovely wines and Steve Smith is an interesting listen. Of everything poured the other night I think the 'Te Muna' Sauvignon Blanc 2006 was my favourite. This is Craggy Range doing the Te Koko walk, fermenting the Martinborough juice in French oak and using only cellar yeasts. There's no Malolactic however so the wines is less brulee-like.

Pale in the glass despite the oak and bottle age. The nose is confusingly full of summer fruit, tart apricot and a hint of flint. (This is a wine that had, normally, Sauvignon Blanc haters going yum). A Chardonnay-esque Sauvignon Blanc. For all the full, softness of the nose the palate is citrus overlaying guava. Taut and graceful. A ballet dancer of a wine.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Welcome Back

to after work drinks...

With a slight change of form here we are drinking red after work. A peculiar red. The
Maximus Mahurangi River Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec 2006 to be precise and at only 11.5% strange in Nu Zillund's super charged alcohol laden atmosphere.

The epitomy of 'Claret' in the glass with a wine you could read through. A familiar pongy Matakana nose that conjures up wet clay overlaying mulberry fruit and nutmeg. The palate is very light but persistent yet lacking texture.

Monday, April 14, 2008

An embarrassment of riches

My long absence from posting would suggest that there's been a dearth of wine in my life when the opposite is, infact, true.

There's been an extended range of Larry McKenna's Kupe at the bar and a very extensive afternoon in the snug where Koru, Pyramid Valley and various vintages of Providence were ferried in through rush hour traffic.

There has been a revelation of a Pinot Gris at table 20 one afternoon whilst the sun was still shining on our Indian summer and 'The King of Spain' brought along the new vintage of my favourite New Zilund oak aged Sauvignon Blanc just last week (amongst other things).

And I've got notes, now all I need is the time to write them up....