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edited by Sue Courtney
e-mail address: winetaster@clear.net.nz

Wine of the Week for week ending 25 Dec 2005
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Gladstone Viognier 2005
Wairarapa, New Zealand

Last July I wrote up a delicious Wairarapa pinot noir from a vineyard that I said was flying under the radar. The vineyard is Gladstone and the wine was the Gladstone Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2004. I'm not the only one who thought the wine was something special because I've now heard that wine went on to win a Blue-Gold medal at the 2006 Sydney International Wine Competition. This is a competition with a difference because after the initial round of judging, the wines are then judged again alongside food.

Last week I tasted another incredible wine from Gladstone, the Gladstone Wairarapa Viognier 2005 - the first viognier for Gladstone from their new plantings in Dakins Road. This wine is simply stunning and I was going to scream about it from the rooftops but then I read the small print to find that only 90 cases (1080 bottles) were produced and all the wine is going to be sold from the cellar door or via mail order. Now that's no good for the print publications I write for so I'm giving this wine my best accolade - and that's right here on this website as Wine of the Week.

When you read about viognier, you read about an ethereal, hedonistic wine that has a mesmerising aroma, a chardonnay-like full-bodied richness in the palate and an aftertaste like a delicate gewurztraminer.

Gladstone Wairarapa Viognier 2005 has the alluring aromatics, the full body, the lingering finish and more. It has gorgeous, slightly nutty scents of apricot and orange zest and ripe stonefruit flavours - nectarine, peach and apricot - with a touch of citrus, a creamed nut richness, a silky-smooth oily texture and a spicy tropical fruit finish with just a smidgen of sweetness as it lingers.

Gladstone Wairarapa Viognier 2005 was not tasted blind, as I only had one viognier in my 'wines to taste'. That being the case it was packed it in my wine bag for our mini tour around the Coromandel Peninsula at the beginning of the week. Arriving in Coromandel Town for an overnight stop, we sussed out all the restaurants to find out which ones were BYO and what their menus were like. We ended up choosing Umu. They have a good wine list but still allow BYO wine, which was charged at $5 per table on this occasion.

We opened the wine and tasted it before making our choices. I thought the scallop entrée would be a fitting match for the wine and indeed it was. The scallops had been coated in flour then sizzled in garlic butter for just a few seconds on each side to maintain their plumpness and juiciness. They were accompanied with an aromatic rice and a sauce made with spring onions, soy sauce, dry white wine and cream. I don’t think there could be a better match. Mind you, Neil had a mussel chowder, which he declared was also a very good match.

Gladstone Wairarapa Viognier 2005 is sealed with a screwcap and costs $27 per bottle from the winery and can be purchased by contacting Kath at Gladstone Vineyard - email info@gladstone.co.nz. Or if you want to visit in person, the winery is in Gladstone Road, near Carterton, which is a little north of Martinborough.

Gladstone Vineyard has a winery café which is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and public holiday Monday’s, from 11am to 4pm. I reckon I'll have to get down there one day and if there's any left, I’ll try the Viognier with the chef Peter Icke's choice of spiced rubbed chicken with lemon and mint couscous and smoked paprika.

Find out more from the www.gladstone.co.nz

© Sue Courtney
18 December 2005


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