Sue Courtney's blog of Vinous Ramblings
wine, food and other vinous topics from New Zealand
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Welcome to Sue Courtney's web log (blog) of vinous ramblings. It's my on line journal and an adjunct to my website www.wineoftheweek.com which is for more formal tasting notes and articles.
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Archive: April 2010
Apr 16th: Back to the Wednesday Tasting gig
Apr 16th: Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2008
Apr 14th: Wine of the Week: Bay Glen Canterbury Pinot Gris 2008
Apr 7th: Good Friday vibes with Johanneshof
Apr 4th: Wine of the Week: Auburn Twilight Riesling 2009
Apr 1st: It's no joke and the Pinot is definitely good
Back to the Wednesday Tasting gig
My holidays are over so it is back to the Wednesday tastings and writing tasting notes for First Glass. Sam Kim (www.wineorbit.co.nz) filled in for me for two of the weeks I was away but when I received the First Glass email with his tasting notes included I wondered if I was still going to have a job when I got back because all the wines sounded so gorgeous. Fortunately for me he was only keeping my seat warm.
The theme this week, Everyday versus Premium is a popular one at First Glass. Wines are tasted blind, in pairs, then among the questions asked is which one you think is the most expensive. The one you choose is usually the one you like most, but this was not always the case.
My favourite wines of the night were Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (even though the other Sauv was cheaper and most preferred), Waipara Hills Waipara Riesling 2008 (the cheaper of the Riesling pair) and the Mills Reef Trust Block Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from Hawkes Bay.
There were a couple of delicious Chardonnays too. Geisen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 is ready now while Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2008 will develop nicely in the cellar for a year or two.
The wine in my glass - Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2008
Neil has poured me a wine and I'm tasting it as I type my blog (he's on cooking duty tonight and I told him he could open delve into the tasting box and open anything he likes).
A moderate deep plummy red, this emanates sweet oak and juicy cherry and plum aromas. It's quite savoury to the taste and initially has a drying mouthfeel and a stalky undercurrent then the fullness of the wine takes over and the finish is amazingly long - it's like your mouth has been painted with a feather light coating of the wine. An unfolding, earthy, bittersweet red fruits Pinot Noir, this could benefit from some more cellar time to let the subtle oak integrate.
After a series of 'options' we establish the wine is Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2008 - and my note makes sense. The 'subtle oak' reminds me of old school desks (we actually saw some old school desks in a cafe on our travels) and that 'old wood character' has been distinctive in previous Neudorf wines. More about Neudorf (www.neudorf.co.nz) when I write up my trip reports.
Wine of the Week: Bay Glen Canterbury Pinot Gris 2008
People are always asking me for advice on which vineyards to visit but I usually say that when you are in a wine region, pick up a wine trail map and visit wherever takes your fancy. The small, unheard of wineries of today may just be flying under the radar and if wine tourists don't take the initiative while they can, how are they going to stumble across the undiscovered little gems that may just become the stars of tomorrow? So if you are in the vicinity of a winery you have never heard of, take advantage of the opportunity to visit while you can.
It's the way I found a trio of vineyards near Christchurch that are collectively called Creatively Canterbury. They are Bay Glen Vines, Rattletrack Wines and Braided River Wines and all have vineyards on the southern banks of the Waimakariri River, a braided river with a source in the Southern Alps near Arthur's Pass National Park.
Read more about them in this week's Wine of the Week.
Good Friday vibes with Johanneshof
If you are ever in Blenheim and have a tyre problem(see Friday 1st blog entry), then I recommend The Tyre General on Grove Road, at the north end of town, on the main route, State Highway 1. The General wasn't fazed at the fact it was Good Friday morning and after looking at the dent in the wheel rim and finding the damage was minor, he was able to sledge-hammer it back into shape The tyre was inflated and has stayed that way for the last five days on our tour to Nelson and back.
Easter is not a good time for wine tourism due to the fact that all wineries (and most other places) are closed on Good Friday, and many wineries are closed on Easter Sunday as well.
The highlight of Good Friday, after getting the tyre fixed, was cruising the Marlborough Sounds with Warwick and Rachael Foley of Johanneshof Wines www.johanneshof.co.nz, in their boat Palomino. It may have been named after a horse, but they always keep a bottle of Palomino Sherry on board.
We were treated to some delicious tipples, both new and old. After a recently disgorged Emmi NV, made from grapes grown on their hillside vineyard at Koromiko between Picton and Blenheim, we enjoyed some more Johanneshof wines with lunch. A very sound 1991 Sauvignon Blanc tasted of apricots infused with lovely bottle aged Sav characters. Pinot Gris 2005 was honey gold with earthy aromatics and tasted just beautiful with marinated mushrooms, But it was the Gewurztraminer 2004 that was my favourite. Light gold, surprisingly youthful looking, with gorgeous, nectar-like, lightly viscous mouthfeel and delicate spice and ginger flavours.
We were given the partly consumed bottles of the PG and the GW and enjoyed then immensely over the next couple of days - chicken and port wine pate on Pohara Beach in Golden Bay, watching the sun set, is just the thing.
Wine of the Week: Auburn Twilight Riesling 2009
One of my must-do's when travelling between Blenheim and Kaikoura on the east coast of the South Island, is stopping at Nin's Bin, a caravan on the side of the road right n the sea shore, and having a freshly cooked crayfish meal. As we only do this about once every four years, it's a favourite treat.
It was the perfect opportunity to open the Rieslings we have carefully transported with us from home, not having had a chance to taste them before we left. And the match, particularly of the Auburn Twilight Riesling 2009, from Lowburn in Central Otago, couldn't have been more perfect.
Read more about them in this week's Wine of the Week.
It's no joke and the Pinot is definitely good
It is with great relief that I am ensconced in a motel in Blenheim and sipping on a glass of beautiful Pinot Noir. And despite the fact I am in the heart of Marlborough wine country, the Pinot Noir is from Canterbury. It was opened yesterday at the winery and since then it's been shooken and shaken in the back of the car over 150 kilometres of gravel road, and the wine (and other items in our boot) got pretty hot as well. Thank goodness for the refrigerator to cool the wine a little on arrival while we went shopping for dinner before relaxing with this glass of cheer, and cheer we needed.
It may be April Fools Day but it was no joke when the rim of a wheel on our car was bent on a grand traverse of Canterbury and Marlborough back country through Molesworth Station. The tyre on the wheel deflated but that was only a minor part of the drama. The lugs in the key for the locked wheel nut stripped off and the nut couldn't be removed. It took an hour an a half of exertion and helpful passers-by, not that there are many on this road, before the wheel could be removed and the spare could take its place.
It was after sunset when we rejoined the main highway at the bottom of the Awatere Valley, 127 kilometres and several hours later, and headed to our motel in Blenheim.
Tresillian Canterbury Pinot Noir 2006 is light in colour but does not lack in flavour, in fact the more I drink it, the better it gets - and that's a good thing until the bottle runs out. It's a savoury, gamey style of wine with an interesting tannin structure, underlying acidity and cherry-like fruit playing a secondary role to the earthy, funky flavours. Light yet forceful with a lasting finish, is how I would describe it. A wine that can be enjoyed without food, but also steak, with kumara, feta and spinach rosti from the supermarket frozen section, and salad. Thats what we had anyway,
The wine costs $28 a bottle for the winery- www.tresillian.co.nz - and I hear it is on the wine lists of some of the best restaurants in Auckland - including Kermadec and Meredith's.
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