Corn and cracker chardonnay

Sweetcorn. Ah. One of the delights of a New Zealand summer. Roadside stalls, farmers markets and produce stores tempt with just picked produce although the days of ’5 for $1′ seem to have past.

I usually pop an un-husked ear of corn in the microwave, cook 4 to 8 minutes depending on the size, peel back the leaves my eager fingers staccatoing in response to the heat. I remove the leaves and the silk, drizzle with butter, season with salt and pepper and eat.

microwaved sweetcorn

But this summer I was introduced to a yummy sweetcorn salad – a sunny bowl of golden kernels with a creamy dressing. “Based on a Nici Wickes recipe with mayo, parmesan, lemon and a whisper of chilli,”  the salad maker said.

When it comes to matching wine with sweetcorn my first choice is chardonnay and not surprisingly one was ready and waiting – Domain Road’s chardonnay from Central Otago Continue reading

Ruapehu in summer and Matawhero Rosé

There’s nothing like an exhilarating day on Mt Ruapehu in the summer holidays to stimulate the thirst buds. You can ride the Rangatira (first) and Waterfall (second) chairlifts to Knoll Ridge café and toboggans can be hired to sled on the snow for the younger (and possibly older) who dare.

View of the upper slopes of Mt Ruapehu from Hut Flat

This combined with a walk down the Rock Garden, a walk on the Whakapapanui track and a spot of bird watching – although trying to capture on camera New Zealand’s smallest bird, the swift moving titipounamu (rifleman), will have to wait for another day. I did see the rare whio (blue duck) that graces our $10 bill, and an extra bonus was the sighting of the one ‘white’ blue – exciting to see.

Returning to Ohakune the wine was chilled and waiting. Rosé of course. Tonight the Matawhero Single Vineyard Pinot Rosé 2016 from Gisborne. Continue reading

The Emperor breaks the rules

Once in a while you have a wine and food combo that blows you away, not only because it is so divine but also because it is so unexpected. In fact if you told someone you were going to make this match they’d probably say, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’ Well the ridiculous happened while sipping on Jackson Estate The Gum Emperor Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011 in Ohakune on Boxing Day. Continue reading

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