Monday, 24 March 2008

Te Mata Woodthorpe Estate (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand) from the archives

In the early hours of East Monday morning I had a call from a friend in New Zealand. It's summer there and although Wellington is never baking hot, it's certainly warmer than the UK just now. This took me back to the time Monsieur Vin and I talk a road trip from the top to bottom of the land of the long white cloud, before settling in Wellington. One of our stops was in Napier on the east coast and we took the opportunity to investigate what was on offer at the local vineyards. We had some delightful wines, one of which I thoroughly enjoyed and have since found for sale in Edinburgh!
The Te Mata estate is one of the oldest, if not the oldest in NZ and dates back to the 1890's. Just to the west of Napier along the Tutaekuri river is the Woodthorpe vineyard. We had the 2004 vintage and as I look back at my notes I described it as:

Deep crimson colour. Red berry fruits, fresh gentle aromas. Peppery spices to both aroma and taste. Smooth balanced fine tannins.

The splash of viognier with the spicy syrah is a traditional wine making technique in France’s Rhône Valley. I think the combination really works and unlike some NZ wines this wine develops over time and benefits from being left in the bottle 2-4 years after harvest.

It's a great wine - if you can find it, give it a go.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Casillero del Diablo - 2006 Carmenere

Watch this space.......

Wine Man Insures His Nose

There are few wine news stories that I share on this page but there's been one this week that I feel deserves a mention.

Ilja Gort is the Dutch owner of the Bordeaux vineyard Chateau de la Garde has insured his nose against loss of the item and against losing his sense of smell. A policy that is worth nearly £4 million. He took out the policy after hearing about a man who lost his sense of smell in a car accident. The insurance contract includes a list of what Gort considers "old-fashioned rules" to protect his nose. The Dutchman is not allowed to ride a motorcycle or be a boxer, knife thrower's assistant or a fire-breather.

After doing a bit more research I discovered he wasn't the first to do this.

In 2003, the supermarket chain Somerfield insured the tongue and tastebuds of its senior wine buyer, Angela Mount, for a £10m, arguing that the skills of her "olfactory system" were responsible for greatly increasing its wine sales. Lloyd's also insures the taste buds of restaurateur Egon Ronay and the nostrils of perfume specialists.

I'd love to know the annual cost of such a policy...........

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Chateau la Noe - Muscadet sur lie - 2006

Scotland beat England yesterday in the Six Nations. We stayed at home to watch the game, glad we did now!

I've been hearing on the news all weekend that the worst storm of the winter is heading towards the UK. Fortunately and unusually the worst affected areas are going to be in the south not the north.

I had a text from a friend. A man disaster looms, I feel for her and the run of bad luck she has been suffering for the last few months. Things can only get better for her.

So, I raise my glass to her, may happier times be on the horizon.

The wine shimmers in the vivid spot lights of the kitchen. Sometimes it appears a deep yellow, other times it seems transparent.
The grassy aromas of a Loire Valley (cool climate) wine hits my nostrils. But I can also sense floral undertones, they're subtle but definitely there.
It's sharp, dry and tart on my tongue. It's viscous with body, lemony and herby. It coats my mouth with a mixture of savoury and citrus is full and satisfying.

Muscadet's are a non-complicated, dry wine. For a Sunday night's quaffing, it's perfect.

This wine is available from Nicolas for £6.25

Baron de Hoen - Reisling Burgreben

I'm watching last week's Torchwood and need something to calm my nerves as death stalks the corridors of a hospital. My legs ache after a workout at the gym earlier this evening.
Winter is back with a vengeance, a sprinkling of snow on the hills I can see from the office window. It's been a long and decidedly stressful day. Too much work, not enough time.......

Anyway, back to business. I've opened a bottle of Vin d'alsace riesling from the cellar.

It's golden straw in colour, a rich sunshine yellow. It's strong on the nose with tropical fruits, lychee's and honeysuckle.

I take a sip, sucking in air to release the flavours, they burst on to my tongue, nectar and grapefruits. Acidity is high as it slides down my throat. It has great length that leaves a lingering citrussy coating on the tongue.

After a few sips I melt in to the sofa and let my aches, pains and stresses of the day melt away.

Available from Nicolas, £9.25