One of the little bonuses, and they are very pleasant little bonuses, that come my way because I have the onerous task of writing a few words about wine is the occasional dinner invitation, even if I do have to travel to Christchurch to partake.
As well as making great wines Greg and Amanda Day from Kahurangi Estate have another string to their bow, Kahurangi International Selections is the brand that imports and distributes a range of international wines. One of these labels is Tyrrell’s Wines from Australia and last week they hosted a number of luncheons and dinners in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch where aged and current release Tyrrell’s wines were served with six courses of delightful food.
Sari and I were invited to the Christchurch dinner held at Riccarton House and sat with Bruce Tyrrell, the fourth generation owner of Tyrrell’s Wines, and Graeme Stringer, the wine writer from The Press. You can probably guess that we talked about all sorts of things happening in the wine industry in both New Zealand and Australia over dinner.
Tyrrell’s Wines were established in 1858 but didn’t start selling their wines under their own label until 1959 and since then have helped shape the Australian wine industry. They were the first to open a cellar door for wine sales so you could argue they started wine tourism in Australia. While Tyrrell’s Wines home is in the Hunter Valley, north easy of Sydney, they have vineyards in most of the premium wine growing regions in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Selecting premium vineyard sites in each region means they can produce a wide range of wine varieties and styles.
At dinner we were treated to Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon 2002 ($79.99, 13 gold medals) as an aperitif. Dry in style with balanced juicy citrus flavoured acidity and a powdery texture the dried apricot and slight kerosene age characters set the scene for the rest of the meal. Tyrrell’s semillons dominate this category at all of the wine shows in Australia. The first wine served with food was the highly awarded Belford Semillon 2004 ($49.99, 3 trophies, seven gold medals) and the luscious cooked lime and soft acidity were perfectly matched to a fillet of Akaroa salmon.
The Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz 2008 ($29.99) has just collected a gold medal at the Decanter international Wine Show in London and is being served by the glass in many London Restaurants, including the Grill Room at The Dorchester Hotel. This is a big wine but avoids being sweet and jammy. A little viognier in the ferment has given the wine freshness with some mouth-watering acidity and lashings of white pepper to balance the bright Berryfruit flavours. The match with Pepper cured beef fillet was perfect.
Tyrrell’s Wines are available from FreshChoice and New World supermarkets or from the cellar door at Kahurangi Estate.
I have been drinking
Knappstein Watervale Riesling 2005 - $20
From the Clare Valley in South Australia this is classic Clare riesling. Floral citrus aromas, rich lemon and lime flavours that are well balanced with low pH acidity. Lashings of minerality tie it all together. If you are a riesling lover then get your hands on some. I got mine from Liquor King in Christchurch but you won’t have to look too far to find it locally.
Edmond Briottet Crème de Cassis - from Casa del Vino
Ribena on steroids! From Dijon in France this blackcurrent based liqueur is fantastic straight-up or add a little hot water for a delightful winter hot toddy. In the spring add a cube of ice and soda water for a refreshing aperitif.