Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Italian Connection in Clevedon

Vin Alto Pinot Grigio Clevedon 2006

(Heaving a sigh of relief..)

Finally. A dry Gris. A food friendly Gris. A Gris made with eyes firmly on Italy hence the Grigio in the title. But it's more than that. This is a refreshing wine to enjoy with lunch. Unashamedly fresh.

Greeny straw in the glass and green apple on the nose. A palate of peach skin and nashi, pineapple and hay make this simple without being simplistic. There's some lovely underlying minerality and crisp acidity which is gentle yet fresh. Approachable, defined and varietal.
a 3 glass wine.

(and might I add that my resident Pinot Gris detestee rather likes this).

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I was very blessed on Thursday (yes the slightly squiffy day of the Riedel tasting) to be invited to lunch with Martin Shaw from Shaw + Smith Wines. I've long been a fan of their elegant chardonnay so an opportunity to meet the winemaker and eat some excellent food paired with these Adelaide Hills wines was a gift.

Of the three wines available to the New Zealand market the Chardonnay was still the standout although the cool climate Sauvignon Blanc had more than one local restauranteur wondering aloud if Nu Zillund patrons were ready for Ozzie Savvy on their winelists.

Shaw + Smith Chardonnay Adelaide Hills 2007 is a remarkable combination of exhuberance and restraint. It manages to sit defiantly in the New World stylistically without sacrificing fine citrus elegance. The winemakers handling of oak lends a smoked cashew element to a creamy palate without ever dominating the lovely grapefruit and lemon core. Lovely and lovely.
a 1 bottle wine.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

is it seem-ly

or seam-ly to admit to a certan drunkeness given that I've spent the entire day with wine on my mind and palate.

I've tried just the right Pinot Noir out of just the right glass, and ditto with the Cabernet. God bless Mr Riedel.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Untypical Pinot Gris and Classic Chardonnay

The TW Gisborne Pinot Gris 2007 is remarkable for many reasons.... Mainly though it is remarkable for being quaffed with so much verve by Rich, who professes to hate Gris. The TW is also an oak aged Pinot Gris and as such has more of a Chardonnay-Viognier swing about it...

Brilliant gold and spun sugar. Honey, orange flower and apricots in the air with fullness and vanilla on the creamy palate. Very full without being typically oily from low acid and residual sugar. There's a baking spice element to the finish but whether that originates in the barrel influence or from the variety itself isn't obvious. It's a good food style of Gris for all the un-typicity and went very well with an octopus salad.
a 2 glass wine (but that was all I was allowed as Rich scoffed the rest).

Fiddlers Green Waipara Chardonnay 2006 deserves mention for its out and out yuminess, which doesn't in the least bit compete with its almost quaint old world/old school style.

Green flecked gold tells the story of a youthful Chardonnay just about to hit its straps. The fig and quince nose overlays a lovely cashew and meal character which itself overlays a sexy, pongy clay minerality. The palate is classic and refined with fine green olive acidity
and tangelo. Balanced and elaborate.
a 3 glass wine (but only because...)

Friday, September 19, 2008

silly tasting note generator

I'm sure everyone but me has already seen this but hey... It made me giggle
For example

Hopped-up but equally complex and stunning Chenin Blanc. Throws out dried berry, hopeless honey and hopeful prune. Drink now through whenever the cows come home.

What would that be? Hopefully at least a 2 glass wine.. Possibly more

Silly Tasting Note Generator

Search Out Stonecroft

Sometimes affection for a wine is predictated by a love for the place it is grown and the philosophy of the winemaker.

Mostly I try and divorce myself from these fuzzy emotions and concentrate on what is in the bottle as my guests at the restaurant won't have the advantage of tasting the wine through rose (or golden or garnet or violet) tinted goggles.

Luckily for me, although I was hopelessly, romantically swayed by the rustic, boutique cellar door manned by the family itself (well their son) in the first instance I am sure that the wines deserve affection for themselves. In particular the Stonecroft Old Vine Gewurztraminer 2007 which was just as intoxicating as it should be. Weighty, oily, soft and full with the lightness of rose petals and honeysuckle and dappled light on a gravel driveway. The winery remarks " moody and multifaceted" and I agree.

It's not widely available but search it out. Good Gewurztraminer is such a joy.
A 4 glass wine.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Awa Valley Chardonnay 2006

Greenish gold and smelling of fresh figs, geen apples and pandan leaf this is a pleasant, sunny Chardonnay hailing from Kumeu.

With vinyards so close to the lauded Kumeu River Chardonnay it isn't surprising that this is so eminently drinkable. There'e a whiff of oyster shell about the nose and something in the palate that puts me in mind of Macon. A hint of smokey minerality entwined with grapefruit and and beautifully integrated oak. Piquant, developing and subtle with just enough finesse.

A 3 glass wine.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

3 Pinots in a Row

We started with the Koura Bay Blue Duck Awatere Pinot Noir 2005 as I'm about to list this beautiful, silky wine and wanted the troops to try it. It's not the current release but Sal from Co-Pilot had found some cases of the 2005 stashed away and it seemed criminal not to snap them up.
Composed, dignified and self-assured but with a spicy twist the Blue Duck is revelling in its time in the bottle. Dark fruits, dried flowers, a little gamey flutter and a lovely allspice kick make this a delicious mouthfull. All balanced and in accord with no flavours trying to steal the show.
a 5 glass wine.

The Mudhouse Swan Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 is another newbie on the list and is settling into my entry-level glasspour slot.
Fairly opaque and rich in the glass with an intriguing nose of damp earth and minty pennyroyal this doesn't play the usual Central Otago cards of chesty, fruit-forward style. Black cherry, musk and tree moss balanced against strains of dark chocolate keep things interesting. I have a feeling that this wine isn't one to age and there's a definite lack of structure at the back but for brooding flavours now this gets a big tick.
a 2 glass wine.

Millton Clos de St. Anne Naboth's Vinyard Gisborne Pinot Noir 2006 is so different from the other two Pinots they barely seem like relations and yet all are good, varietally correct examples of type.
A delicate perfumed nose and a haze of unfiltered purism in the glass speak to a Pinot Noir made with an eye to Chambolle-Musigny. Garnet red and softly see-through with a lightness of rasberry fruit and lavender escaping the Clos de St. Anne is gentle. There's no grip and certainly no swagger just supple finesse.
a 4 glass wine.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bannockburn competes

I somehow ended up with two Bannockburn, Central Oatgo Pinot Noirs from the 2007 vintage in glasses side by side tonight.

Felton Road Pinot Noir Central Otago 2007
Gravel with little fruit at the start despite being open for hours. A little swirling gives black fruit and damp earth. A true forest floor pinot with a slate and mineral quality. In the mouth there are blackberries, a hint of sap and more grainy earth. Long, serious and wide this is too hot and too young.
a 2 glass wine

Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir Central Otago 2007
Initially all this was prepared to give was sulpher (I'd be reckless with this and a jug) but after vigorous swirling we coaxed morello cherry and lemon dishwashing detergent from the glass. The palate has nice vigour and verve to begin with but fell flat, lacking the bright, acid lift of the Felton Road. Not bad but not interesting.
a 1 glass wine

Monday, September 1, 2008

'The White' of the show

at Wine NZ this year goes to the Alan McCorkindale Waipara Viognier. But right now my palate feels like it has had acid poured all over it and all I'm good for is bonjela and an early night.

More later