What’s in the glass tonight Christmastime 2014

L and I drove up to New Plymouth to spend Christmas Day with my sister S and my folks D and P. We took L’s folks along for the trip also. It meant a really early rise to get up there by midday. S made us all feel very welcome. It was really nice to see her in her new home.

We relaxed with a few wines out on the deck, before tucking into a fantastic Christmas lunch of turkey and ham and Christmas steamed pudding, then staggering through to the living room to open our presents. I was appointed Santa…

I was really lucky to be given a brace of Riedel ‘O’ series Pinot Noir stemless wine tumblers by L. Lucky me! I had been coveting a set of proper PN glasses to enjoy what is becoming my favourite grape variety. They have a generous bowl shape to generate a good head of bouquet, and a narrow opening to convey the aromas up to the nose.

I had a hunch this might be my gift, so I put a bottle of Gibbston Valley Gold River Pinot Noir 2013 aside for Christmas Day so I might give the glasses a proper ‘test drive’. The wine only rated a 3 however, and I won’t say anything more about it, save I think that reflected well on the glassware, but less well on the wine…

Otherwise on Christmas Day we all drank Lindaur Special Brut NV and Special Reserve Brut NV. This bubbly is acceptable and does what it sez on the tin. We then drank a bottle of Moet & Chandon NV which exhibited a far greater degree of class and restraint – an elegant and moreish drop. L drank one of her favoured Roses’s, Kim Crawford Pansy Rose 2014 which she enjoyed, and we also tucked into one of our favourite Chardonnay’s, Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay Marlborough 2013. A big day on the turps.

The next day we had to drive back to Wellington to pick up the kids from the ex’s. On the way we stopped off at Windermere Berry Farm just north of Whanganui to have a really nice lunch. Someone parked a vintage truck outside the café that played a medley of oldtime tunes on some sort of automated wind ensemble thing. Jaunty and weird. On the way out we picked up a bottle of their strawberry fruit wine. I’ll open this sometime over the summer…

Back in Wellington, the weather was wonderful, so we sunned ourselves in the back yard before dinner with a glass of this wine…

Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc Ohau 2013 – $$

Straw colour. 13.5%. Nose of green green grass and tom stalk. Hints of honey and vanilla.

Austere, elegant fruit flavours – green capsicum, green apple, tangy citrus. Rain on river stones. A long, somewhat brusque finish. Better Than Good 3+

Not a great pairing with my own Christmas Cake and L’s warm toffee sauce. But it survived.

What’s in the glass tonight April 30th

Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc 2011-2

Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – $$

I’ve written this before but I really like this wine. Good to have another bottle to see how another year has treated it.

It is starting the slow slide south, but on the plus side is showing pleasant age characters. For a start the wine is a lovely green gold colour. Open airy bouquet of pears and pink grapefruit and even Turkish delight. A feeling of sunshine and rain.

Ripe citrus on palate. Dry. Good weight and structure and acidity for this varietal.Not aggressively wince-y or grassy, which I like.  A wine suited for food or as an aperitif. 4

Stop off at the cellar door this side of Levin, people, and buy.


What’s in the glass tonight Sept 1st – First day of spring

Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc 2011

From the vineyard: Ohau Gravels Ohau Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – $$

I get really excited about wine from this vineyard. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expected something so good the first time I tried their product: the operation looked so modest. The vineyard is outside of Levin. Levin! It’s on the edge of State Highway 1. Cars, trucks, rush past at 100kms/hr. The cellar door is under the house, in what might have once been the garage…

But the first giveaway is the attention to detail on the elegant labels; then it’s the neat rows in the vineyard; then there’s the reference to an Ohau Gravels appellation…

Anyway, their pinot noir got me at hello.

And now it’s September 1st, the first day of spring around here, and what a good day to open a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc to toast the new season. I bought it on my way back from the ski weekend.

It’s straw colour in the glass, brilliant. 12.5%. The wine shows a light and expressive bouquet of lime and green apple, with a hint of spice. In the mouth it is medium weight. Smooth. Round. None of the typical Marlborough grassy ‘wince’ factor. It has been matured in some oak to make it more food friendly, not that savs need much help there. It is mature, with pronounced tannins, and I taste the green apples. Fairly short. It evolves in the glass and gets fruitier and more complex. Buy. 4.