Da Main Road on Boxing Day

We left after lunch on Boxing Day for an anticipated five hour journey south from Orewa to Ohakune. It was a cruisy drive, not much traffic. I think many people going away for the statutory holidays had gone early, either that or they weren’t heading our way. The sky was cloudy so the race to be the first to spot Mt Ruapehu in the distance from Tihiroa didn’t happen.

Oops, the rack of lamb I had taken from my freezer for dinner was still frozen. Fortunately Ohakune is well served by a New World supermarket and they had some super steaks. Shopping finished, bags unpacked, beds made, fridge stocked, salads prepared and the BBQ heating it was time to toast our favourite place.

On arrival I had popped the Domain Road Central Otago Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 into the freezer and when back from shopping moved it into the refrigerator. Now it was the perfect temperature for drinking. Continue reading

I dreamed of a pink Christmas and wow, Ayala Rosé was my present

Xmas wineThe Christmas day food and wine for our intimate gathering of four was simple. KISS philosophy food. Glazed ham and a splendid selection of fresh summer season salads followed by roasted summer stone fruits, fresh cherries, chick pea meringues (interesting!!) and home-made apple pie. The wine, keeping up with the theme that had started on Xmas Eve, was of course rosé.

Already I can hear some of my chardonnay and pinot loving friends exclaim with disdain, “Rosé for Christmas Day.”

Well actually I had the best of everything, rosé, chardonnay, pinot noir AND champagne because it was rosé champagne made predominantly from chardonnay with the addition of pinot noir. It was the gorgeous Champagne Ayala Brut Rosé Majuer all pretty in pink foil and label. Continue reading

Everything’s coming up Rosés including a new one from Giesen

The start of the summer statutory holidays signalled the start of a few days away so I packed a bevy of rosés to share – after all everyone loves a chilled rosé in summer in my small circle of relatives and friends. In fact Rosé has become so trendy the supermarkets are devoting entire shelves to pink wines and have positioned them at eye level for easy detection as well as a good selection ready to go in the refrigerator section. And some of the wines are fabulous. It’s because winemakers are now making rosé intentionally – of course some always have but there were wines labelled rosé made as a sweetened afterthought when the red wine crop went wrong and those concoctions didn’t endear wine drinkers to buy again. Many wine companies are also diversifying their vineyard sources to make the most drinkable wines – and Giesen is among those that are. Continue reading

Mahi meditation after a cancer conversation

I was delighted to received a phone call from Mahi winemaker, Brian Bicknell, late last year. He asked me if he could send me his new Pinot Gris wines to review.

I hesitated and explained my winewriting was mostly in hiatus (as it was then) and I told him why. I’m reminded about it today as I listen to the radio with breast cancer in the spotlight and breast cancer ‘survivors’ talking about the importance of early detection. The same goes for prostate cancer. Continue reading

Fairhall Downs Sauv and Choko greens

When my friend Jenise was in Hawaii she posted a pic of ‘chayote greens’ and a switch in my head clicked. Chayote is the Mexican name for choko and I have a vine growing in my back yard. Love the fruit but never knew the greens were edible so as the vine is throwing off new shoots everywhere I thought I’d give them a try and match them to sauvignon blanc wine. Continue reading

Opinion Piece: NZ Herald’s Wine Trends

There was a syndicated article in Weekend Herald edition of the New Zealand Herald on the 31st December 2016, an article on the year ahead for the wine industry, an article with origins in the USA, an article sub-titled “Bloomberg Markets wine columnist Elin McCoy uncorks wine trends for the coming year.

NZ Herald Wine trendsElin Mcoy is a respected wine journalist and author of The Emperor of Wine but as the article was published in the New Zealand Herald for New Zealand readers I ponder over some of Elin’s crystal glass visions for 2017 and how they relate to New Zealand keeping in mind:
(a) New Zealand has a flourishing wine industry and
(b) importers need to consider the pros and cons of following populous northern hemisphere trends when we are a remote water-surrounded country at the bottom of the southern hemisphere and price and value is very much the focus of most local wine drinkers. Continue reading

Fish and Chips at the beach

Fish and chips at Orewa Beach on Tuesday 3rd January was arranged last year at the weekly coffee meeting. “I’ll bring a bottle of sav,” I said. ”And glasses,” I added, mentally noting to pack a box of XL5s because they were easy to carry. Thank goodness I remembered.

We all turned up despite the north westerly gusting 25 to 30 knots and after having to walk backwards at times to avoid sand blasted eyes we eventually found a reasonably sheltered table on the beach side of the car park in the lee of the parked cars until one by one they drove away.

Our fish and chips were served with a sprinkle of sand and a drizzle of rain. And a taste of Tohu Naturally Lighter Alcohol Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Continue reading

Reflecting on 2016 and my Wine of the Year

Looking back on 2016 – not much posting here on the blog, or on twitter, nor on my new Facebook page … my wine life is so different now. Don’t like drinking / tasting on my own – it was something ‘we’ liked to do together – the guessing games – the wine and food matching – the mindful discussions and so on – yes wine can be a very mindful, intellectual experience. And I ran away a few times – to Greece, USA, Canada, Australia (passing through Queensland, NSW, South Australia and Western Australia) and getaways in New Zealand to Mt Ruapehu, Tiritiri Matangi Island and Great Barrier Island. Continue reading

Thirty Year Wonder

Back in the day, the last decade of the last century actually, Neil and I used to buy wine at auction. Wines made before we got into wine appreciation. Wines no longer available in retail.

At one auction a lot of four bottles of Penfolds Koonunga Hill Claret came up. A Penfolds wine at the bottom of the ladder where Grange sat on the top. A wine with a legend that when Max Schubert first made it in 1976, it was from the young vines destined for Grange. The vintage on auction: 1986. Continue reading

Four Whites with Asian Baked Salmon

One of my favourite recipes that I find myself cooking at least once is month is Asian Baked Salmon by Rowan Bishop, food columnist in Urban and Country - a monthly lifestyle magazine inserted into Waikato newspapers that I also write a wine column for.

In my variation of the recipe salmon is marinated with ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, kaffir lime leaves (from my tree), fennel (from my bush) and all sorts of yummies then is baked in the oven for just 8 minutes. It’s just enough time to cook the salmon just enough so it flakes apart perfectly and retains that pearly salmon glow.
Salmon in marinade

I love this dish and I love it even more with pinot gris – a no-brainer match, but how would it go with other varietals? This was an opportunity to try… Continue reading