Monday, November 30, 2009
Hawkes Bay label - Gunn Estate, is a consistent producer of good value wines. The Gunn family has been in Hastings for over 90 years, with grandfather George Gunn moving there from Central Otago in 1920 to try to scratch a living by farming the poor Hastings soils.
It was in the early 1980s, when Alan Gunn - George Gunn's eldest grandson (son of a son of a Gunn) - suggested that the family's land had the potential to grow quality grapes. In 1983 the Gunn family planted their first vineyard and soon became suppliers to many high profile winemakers in the Hawke's Bay region.
Finally, In 1994, the first wine was released under the Gunn Estate name - an unoaked chardonnay.
Gunn Estate produces two ranges - a White Label and a Black Label. The Black Label are all Estate grown wines, whereas the White are from various other vineyards.
On special this week - I found the 2007 Pinot Noir and 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay at under $NZ10 a bottle very good value - ripe, clean fruit flavours - fantastic summer wines for the BBQ and beyond.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Hawkes Bay icon – Te Mata produces internationally famous labels such as the Coleraine and Awatea Cabernet/ Merlots, Bullnose Syrah, and Elston Chardonnay. Te Mata owns eleven Hawkes Bay vineyards including the relatively new Woodthorpe estate – where this Sauvignon was grown.
While I’m not a fan of the very green and puingent style of Marlborough Savvies, this Hawkes Bay example is much more approachable. Rounded and low in acidity, it has aromas and flavours of melon, pineapple, stonefruit and gooseberry.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The Halo 2008 Syrah is a soft rich red wine with black pepper aromas and flavours of black cherry, spice and liquorice.
Halo 2008 Pinot Gris is a very drinkable fruity white, with apple/pear and Nashi flavours with a clean, crisp finish.
These are both quite young wines, which will get even better over the next few years, but are drinking very nicely right now.
Monday, November 9, 2009
In NZ most Stickies usually are made from Riesling, Semillon or Sauvignon Blanc. They fall into two main categories: Botrytised or Noble wines – where a beneficial mould called Botrytis (Noble Rot) has affected the grapes, and natural sugars are intensified by the action of tiny mould organism filaments which suck out water content.
Because of the preservative quality of high sugar levels in the wine, and despite low alcohol, these wines reward cellaring for ten years or longer.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Further land has been acquired and now the label has over 70 acres planted in various Pinot Noir clones, plus a small amount of Riesling and a lavender farm.
I did manage to acquire a bottle of the 2007 vintage Pinot recently, through someone who knows someone who knows Sam… and it’s a very nice wine. Flavours of black cherry and black Doris plum, with medium tannins and savoury spicy notes.
Their website is also a treat – self-deprecating humour from Mr. Neill himself and a good read. Check out his Dances with Orangutans video on Sam’s TP Blog page.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
It's about a woman about to turn 30 who gains a sense of purpose and achievement by cooking in 12 months, every recipe (524 count ‘em) in Julia Child’s 1960s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She maintains a weblog, charting her progress.
Amy Adams, a relative unknown, plays Julie. And Meryl Streep not so much acting but channelling the tall, effusive and endearing Julia Child. The movie is great – capturing 1950s postwar France with elegance as a counterpoint to Julia’s harassed 21st century gritty Queens NYC life.
As a kid I remember watching Julia Child on her TV cooking show, and was fascinated by her slightly diastracted and woozy personality as she beguilingly whipped up fab French nosh, accompanied by her American verbal quirks like saying ‘erbs’ and ‘ap-ricots.’
These were the good old days before celebrity chefs starting outing themselves, leaping out of the batwing kitchen doors, all sweaty and bug-eyed, craving adulation. These were the days when they were called cooks, and would be more than happy with ‘compliments,’ passed on by a waitperson. But I digress.
A great movie. Meryl is my pick for an Oscar.
And here's more good news: Julia died at 92 years after a life of eating French food, drinking wine and smoking.
Central Otago is one of NZ's premium Pinot Noir regions, on a par with, if not superior to Martinborough and Waipara.
(I'll leave that to others to argue.)
Grasshopper Rock is a relatively new winery on the scene, but has picked up a gold and a silver medal, plus numerous accolades for its 2007 Pinot Noir.
Managing Director Phil Handford was formerly a rural banker and heads a partnership of ‘hunter-gatherers’ from Waikato and Southland, including whitebaiters, duck shooters, rabbit hunters, fishers, creative arts folk and financiers.
Winemaking is by Carol Bunn of VinPro and grapes are grown in Earnscleugh Road Alexandra. The annual partnership review is held in Wanaka, where five families meet and share whitebait, scallops, crayfish, blue cod, venison and rabbit – with a bottle or two of their award-winning Pinot Noir.
Verdict: Lovely soft and ripe Pinot with cherry and savoury flavours. A bargain at $NZ30.00