Wow, what a year. We have had everything from tough economic times to an earthquake that made the world sit up and take notice then the tragedy at Pike River that has effected so many people on the West Coast in a number of ways.
Sitting at the top of the South Island we seem to have been sheltered from much of the direct pain suffered others; our economy hasn’t been too bad, not easy but not disastrous. We supported our fellow New Zealanders in their tough times in Canterbury and on the Coast and we supported wine industry by continuing to buy local and searching out some great deals at the supermarkets and liquor outlets.
While the wine industry has been struggling on a national basis, particularly in Marlborough, local wineries have hunkered down, keeping costs under control and focusing on producing some outstanding wines from a great vintage so they can thrive into the future.
In recent weeks we have seen the release of some super wines to enjoy over the holiday season and here are a few I will be enjoying. I already have my Christmas French bubbles sorted – a bottle of Pol Roger ‘Pure’ from Casa del Vino but I think I will make sure there is a bottle or two of No 1 Family Estate’s ‘2006 vintage Virginie Cuvee’ ($58 - a rich mousse and palate with flavours of hazelnut and fresh lemon zest crispness) and their new Rose ($45 – merest blush of salmon pink colour, delightfully well balanced dry style with lashings of cherry and soft nut characters) floating around to welcome in the New Year.
While I am having some time off in the summer sun I am bound to enjoy a bottle of Pied Stilt Pinot Gris ($14.95, fresh and delicate rather than big and sweet, aromas with apple and citrus characters) with a seafood lunch somewhere and more than one bottle of Greenhough Vineyards gewurztraminer ($20 – rich aromas, lush full bodied style bursting with lychee and stonefruit flavours) will find its way to our barbecue table.
On Christmas Day other than champagne there is only one thing certain, we will be enjoying the world class Seifried Estate Sweet Agnes Riesling (about $20) with dessert. 375ml of seductive, lush sweetness to finish the meal with.
I may not make it over the hill to Golden Bay but if you do be sure to check out some of the local wineries. If you are like me and won’t get there then you can still get a taste of the Bay’s wines by popping into Casa del Vino and selecting something from the range made by Parr & Simpson. They produce a beautiful range of wines that have a European style elegance rather than just big fruity wines.
Whatever your plans are for this holiday season please don’t drink and drive, enjoy wine in moderation with food and I will see you again next year. I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas and a very prosperous New Year.
I have been drinking
Parr & Simpson Limestone Bay 2009 Chardonnay - $22
Michael Cooper gave this wine 4 ½ stars and says Parr & Simpson is a label worth discovering. Now that he has told everyone about them you need to make sure you get your share quickly. This chardonnay has a full palate weight with stonefruit, citrus, nut and cream flavours. A slight austerity in the mid-palate adds a complexity that is quite exciting. This is a true delight.
Ohau Gravels 2010 Pinot Gris - $25
Classic quince and pear aromas are reflected in the flavours but with a twist of mandarin and a streak of minerality. Juicy acidity with a hint of Turkish delight sweetness in the finish make this a complete pinot gris experience.