Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Forrest Estate Riesling 2008

It appears the wine drought is easing. A funny situation to find yourself in when all around there appears to be a wine glut (mostly 2008 Sav no-one could shift). But there you have it. All we could fit into the redesigned, recession-ed, baby friendly budget was bargain plonk from the discount end of the supermarket stock.

I don't think the budget has changed all that much but I wasn't that bothered for some reason.

So, for that insidious love of a good tipple to creep back upon me suddenly was a surprise.

It appeared in the shape of this excellent Riesling. It was like a little ray of sunshine. The fruit purity surpassing pretty much anything I've drunken all year. It was so assured. Prettily balanced. It tasted like ripe summer nectarines but in a graceful, restrained riesling-y way.

It came from the local off license in my far flung patch of suburban Auckland and cost $17.95 so a little more than we've been paying recently. Still, given the quality very nice value for money.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Finding the Time to Fit in Wine

Most nights after I've sung 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' (twice) and smiled hopefully through a trembling bottom lip (not mine, although with the amount of sleep I'm not getting it's a close run thing) I pad down the stairs to an empty kitchen intent on another fast dinner and a speedy trip into bed.

Most nights I vaguely consider that this would be the time to sip a glass of wine, as I chop and stir and bolt down the meal. In another life I would have found it unthinkable to sit down to dinner without half a glass or so. I always appreciated the feeling chef Nigel Slater expressed when he reckoned that even a dinner alone was worthy of a decent drop. Nothing less than you would take to share with friends (as why would you treat yourself less well than those you love).

Some nights I do pour a splash of whatever is lurking in the fridge but mostly it's pedestrian stuff, reliable and on special at the supermarket. A far cry from my working days as Sommelier.

My little Sommelier is a joy but not conducive to contemplation of fine wine and in the heady-go-round of nursery rhymes and exploding nappies I'm left with little time for wine to fit in to life somehow.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Viognier and a Delightful Film

As I was sipping Viognier last night and watching one of those surprising TV movies that turn out to be really great; it struck me that Viognier is, quite possibly, the perfect movie watching wine.

A combination of exotic appeal and low acidity make it a wine to drink slowly but not necessarily with food. Plus it's quixotic enough to hold your interest whilst allowing clever plot turns to take most of your attention.

The Viognier in question was the Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2007 and in the glass it was proving that Yalumba have really nailed this difficult variety in the New World. For a snip of a price it was echoing the varietal's origins in Condrieu and, although presenting a little hot, it had the spice and apricot charms that make Viognier so unique. Still I've yet to taste a Antipodean Viognier that doesn't run to heat and the burn somehow didn't detract from the overall balance of the wine.

So, if you want to cosy up on the couch with something other than a hearty red to accompany the latest rom-com then this is my pick. a 3 glass wine. Also, it's recession and baby budget friendly.

As an aside: the film was Stranger Than Fiction. A bit of a revelation given I don't recollect it showing at the cinema......

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Surprising Sauvignon

It cost, Dad tells me, not much more than $10 a bottle (although I believe the regular retail would be closer to $15) but the Vidal East Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2009 was the first Sauvignon Blanc I tried from the new vintage and I was pleasantly surprised.

This mongrel is a blend of Marlborough and Hawke's Bay fruit (and perhaps a little Gisborne too, so my sources say but the official line says otherwise) but for all its mixed up pedigree and rock bottom price it has a classy, dry, mineral palate that had me reaching for another dash (now we're baby-led we drink in dashes and splashes rather than glasses).

The nose is ripe and bright without bursting with overdone passionfruit thiols and the palate shows a similar restraint. A little minerality and a lemon lift. Juicy acidity so much fleshier and more fun in the mouth than anything 2008 could conjure up. This may be indicative of the quality of 2009 in general but for all that the Vidal East Coast Savvy would be a great buy for everyday drinking. A 'never-disappoint' type of drop to stand by in the cellar. a 3 glass/dash wine.

Another wine-less night in baby-land

Franklin is in his hammock playing the 'it might be my bed time but I'm not going to sleep until you dance attendance at the bedside for an hour' game. He's a marvellous baby and has his night-time sleeping fairly settled but sometimes he likes to mix things up (like tonight) and change the rules.

So I bounce his hammock and shush, shush and wish there was a cold bottle of white in the fridge.

Although I'm breast feeding exclusively; once I get Frank to bed I can have a wee glass of wine safe in the knowledge that he won't require me until 1am, long after the alcohol has left my bloodstream. Infact I could have 2 glasses in that time frame, such is the current thinking on the matter.

Golly, he's just closed his eyes. My suspected hour of attendance was only 15 minutes.

If the fridge situation was different I could have something tasty to drink at 8:10pm. Not bad going.

Despite us still languishing in the skirts of winter I'm hankering after Sauvignon Blanc. I couldn't even taste it whilst pregnant as I found the acids too prominant but now with the 2009 vintage coming on stream and my palate back to rights (well, sort of) I'm in the mood for minerally, match-stick-y wine.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The way back to wine

I had Franklin 6 weeks ago and Christ! What a steep learning curve that was!

I'm loving it now but if you'd asked me in the first 3 weeks I think I honestly thought I'd made a huge mistake. He's beautiful, of course (every mummy thinks so, doesn't she), strong, smiling.

......Breathes like an elephant with a bad cold in the night ...... Why does no-one mention that babies are so loud?

So much to learn and know.

And now that I'm not terrified every minute of doing something wrong I think the way is paved back to wine.

One cannot taste wine when tense. And I've been tense.

Wine by its very nature needs a relaxed recipient in order to unfurl and show its colours.

So, soon.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Getting Ambidextrous

Little more than a week on and I'm amazed at myself. Amazed at wee man. Quietly thankful.

It's not going to be as terrifyingly tricky as I thought last week. Tricky, no doubt. But not impossible.

And it is possible to nurse a baby and have a wee sip of wine. Only a wee sip mind.

My thoughtful father ferried a lovely bottle of Alan McCorkindale Waipara Pinot Noir 2007 from Auckland and I had that at dinner over the weekend. Worth seeking out it shows McCorkindale - who is a dab hand at the varietal white - isn't too shabby with Pinot Noir either. And it confirms for me that Waipara is where you want Nu Zillund Pinot to hail from. Just a little more layered, a little more stinky and less fruit forward than most Otago beasties.

Then last night Rich came home with some 2007 Sauvignon Blanc. Past it? Not at all. And I'd rather drink the last of the 2007 Sauvignon than have any truck with the 2008.

This was from the Montana Terroir series which also makes that lovely Riverpoint Gewurztraminer we had the other day. This is the Conders Forest Sauvignon Blanc 2007, hailing from Raupara in Marlborough and made to express the distinct characteristics of that area. Definitely different to other Marlborough Savvy styles this is less passionfruit and more red capsicum with tart guava. A broad palate. Sweaty but not too sweaty.

And as to getting ambidextrous?