First taste of 2017

Matawhero Single Vineyard Pinot Rose 2017 from Gisborne, North Island, New Zealand
13.5% alc. RRP $23.

Matawhero Pinot Rose 2017My first taste of vintage 2017 – and a taste of summer in winter – though here in Auckland today it was shorts and t-shirt for a while as I walked along the beach without a skerrick of cloud or wind. And I didn’t have to chill the wine as it was left by the courier on the shady side of the house – a refrigerator in its own right. Continue reading

Iconic Tom releases from Church Road

At the First Glass wine tasting the other night (21 June to be precise) I got the opportunity along with the other 120 or so at the tasting to try the three new ‘Tom’ releases from the Church Road Winery in Hawkes Bay. Named for visionary winemaker Tom McDonald (1907-1987) who devoted his life to making wines at the current site of the Church Road winery, the Tom wines are true icons of #nzwine and some of the most expensive too.

Tom Chardonnay, Tom Syrah and Tom Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Tom Chardonnay, Tom Syrah and Tom Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

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Wine tasting exercise with Te Mania and Richmond Plains

When you drink wine socially you have one glass in your hand and you either like the wine or you don’t but you drink it anyway just because it is there. When you are a wine taster there’s often more than one bottle open and it’s all about swirling, sniffing and sipping one wine after the other while making evaluations, making comparisons, asking yourself which one you like best and ranking wines in order of preference. But for me it is often not as simple as saying A is better than B. I like to also try wines with food and that can change the comparison rankings on their head.

For this wine tasting exercise I opened Te Mania Nelson Pinot Noir 2015 ($24.99) and Richmond Plains Nelson Pinot Noir 2015 ($28.99) to taste on their own then to accompany with lamb shanks to see how they would fare. Te Mania and Richmond Plains Pinot Noirs 2015

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Kick it in the guts Trev

If your name is Trev or you’re a fan of the late John Clark aka Fred Dagg (who coined that now Kiwiana classic ‘Kick it in the Guts Trev’  phrase) then you’ll love this Waimea Family Estate Wines Trev’s Red 2015 for its name alone even though it is actually named for Trevor Bolitho who founded Waimea Estates in Nelson’s Waimea Plains in the early 1990s.

Trev’s Red is a smooth soft-drinking red made from a blend of 71% Cabernet Franc, 27% Syrah, 2% Viognier co-fermented and matured in new and seasoned oak barrels for a total of 10 months. Continue reading

Refreshing Riesling Before Dinner

Every time I go to the First Glass wine tastings and taste a riesling that is just off dry with juicy acidity and fruity freshness I say to myself, ‘I am really enjoying this, I should open more rieslings at home.’ So when I went to my sisters for dinner over Queens Birthday Weekend the Main Divide Waipara Valley Riesling 2014 was one of the wines in my wine bag.

We opened it after a pre-dinner excursion to Viaduct Harbour to see the light installation that switched on at 6 pm. There was a slow cook dinner in the oven to finish off while we were out.

Auckland Viaduct Harbour June 3 2017

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Hunters Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Hunters Unoaked Chardonnay 2016It’s not often I get excited about unoaked chardonnay but from the very first sip Hunters Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2016  set out to impress me.

It’s soft, almost creamy in the mouth and actually quite complex. It has those lovely lemon biscuit / oatmeal / nutty notes offset by well-balanced acidity and hints of just ripe, skin-on peach. Continue reading

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015

I’ve opened this pinot to match to three slices of fillet steak with three different one-side glazes. One is smeared with pomegranate molasses (from Lebanon), one with Kalamata Orange and Lemon Balsamic Cream and one with Kalamata Strawberry Balsamic Cream (the latter two both from Greece). I pan fry the steaks to medium rare. While they are cooking I taste the wine.

Rockburn Pinot Noir 2015The bouquet is sensually smoky and savoury with bright touches of Morello cherry and fruit of the forest connotations and, after smelling the pomegranate molasses, I reckon that hard-to-put-the-finger-on scent is pomegranate most definitely. Continue reading

This Time Last Year – Part 33: Homeward Bound

Part of a series of posts that cover my travel to Greece and the USA in April/May 2016.

May 16-17 2016 – Vancouver to SFO to New Zealand

I’m flying via San Francisco to Auckland. There is no direct flight from Vancouver to Auckland today. I’m on United Airlines for the North American leg. I pay $24 to upgrade to Economy Plus and once again the front row window seat says, ‘pick me’. I say, ‘Ok’. I enter USA in Vancouver airport. Saves a lot of hassle at the other end. I buy a dream catcher as a souvenir and a banana for a snack. Continue reading

This Time Last Year – Part 32: Capilano diversion

Part of a series of posts that cover my travel to Greece and the USA in April/May 2016.

May 16 2016 – Vancouver, Canada

The sign on the bus states” ‘No standees’. Not a problem as the bus is virtually empty. It’s the first bus of the day from downtown Vancouver to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. I take a front seat for the short trip through beautiful Stanley Park (where Neil and I walked for hours in 2013), over Lions Gate Bridge and into Capilano Road  on Vancouver’s North Shore. Continue reading