Saturday, March 13, 2010


It was an evening of unexpected amusement and good feelings as we tottered off to drinkies to celebrate the Russian's engagement. Two distinct generations of people, of which we fitted in with the older. Of course, with age comes mellowness and a coming together, an engagement following its path, I suppose.

A number of wines had come together pretty well. A young 2009 Framingham Marlborough Pinot Gris, full, with depth and quite ready now. A 2008 Starborough Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, now a little asparagussy, but rich and smoothly textured in a good way. A bit of a treat was a mature 2001 Te Mata 'Elston' Chardonnay with its complex mealy and tropical-grapefruit flavours and broad, substantial palate which kept its class.

The reds also showed well. A rare 2002 Gillman Merlot/Franc/Malbec from Matakana. The first vintage ever and one barrel made. Tight, Bordeaux-styled and resting on its acidity. This will keep and develop in an elegant way for another 5-8 years, getting more savoury-cedary. And looking extremely good was a 1998 Sileni 'EV' Merlot/Cabernet, dense chocolate and dark plums, dense and fully extracted in the past, but perfectly together with the fruit richness. Some bottles have been plagued by brett, this one perfect.

It can be wonderful when things come together...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Au Revoir

It was a lovely homely dinner to send off The Little Aussie Battler as she went off on her way in the world of wine. She and the Drama Queen made a night of it with laughs galore and some significant wines on the way.

An introductory 2007 Hiedler Gruner Veltliner 'Spiegel' gave that soft peppery herb and spice note that makes the variety such a good starter. The Little Aussie Battler might have a hand in making wine from this variety later this year!

Then on to her love Pinot Noir and Burgundy. It was a three-way comparison: a fantastically rich, plump but structured 2008 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir. Simply outstanding indeed, and a wine that whilst easy the slurp down now, will keep a decade. In comparison a 2007 Cristom 'Mt Jefferson' Pinot Noir was harder, drier, less rich and more forward. Not a bad effort really, but sort of 'piggy in the middle'. SWMBO found it over-oaked Because the 2006 J-F Mugnier Nuits-St-Georges 'Clos des Fourches' was exceptionally pure and sleek, only a little shy at present. This will go a decade and a half we all reckoned.

A respite from red in the form of a German Riesling, something we all love. A 2001 von Kesselstatt Piesporter Goldtrofchen Auslese was perfection. Decadent, but restrained. Complex yet so accessible. Toasty, creamy nuances with fresh acidity. Drinking well now, but will keep to 2020 maybe!

With the Battler's dessert came a Gonzalez Byass PX 'Nectar' Dulce sherry. Soft raisins and seamless sultana essence. Just wonderful sticky, but not overly sticky stuff. With a finish, or should I say, "Au Revoir" to end the night, because there will be a catch-up with people, wine food and occasion!