Hawkshead Wines from Central Otago in New Zealand

August 3, 2013 11:53 am | Posted by Del

Hawkshead Vineyard is located on the road between Queenstown and Cromwell in the Gibbston “Valley of Wines” in the heart of Central Otago, New Zealands southernmost wine growing region, known for its high quality Pinot Noir Wines. The Gibbston Valley is 20 minutes drive from Queenstown, the lifestyle and adventure capital of New zealand.

Vines have been grown in the Gibbston Valley, Central Otago since 1976. It was one of the areas in the region that Italian based viticulturist Romeo Braggato first predicted, in 1895, to be of great potential for the production of Pinot Noir. After experimentation in many different microclimates in the region with different grape varieties, it was found the alluvial soils of the Gibbston Valley together with the Pinot Noir grape produced some of New Zealand’s finest Pinot Noir.

The original land use in the valley was extensive merino sheep farming and the Hawkshead Vineyard was once part of the large Waitiri Sheep Station. Waitiri Station had farmed the land since the early 1950′s and saw the potential for Viticulture, spending years recording information on climate and soil from their farm. As the land in the Gibbston Valley was developed for viticulture Denis Marshall was fortunate to be able to obtain a most suitable block in 1995 which was to become the Hawkshead Vineyard. The pinot noir grapes are planted on gentle north facing slopes to maximise the full year round sun.

In November 2009 Hawkshead Vineyard became a fully Accredited Vineyard under the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand Programme. This was a stepping stone and from 2009 all their Pinot Noir has been grown organically.

Pinot Gris 2012 

2011 hh pg_thumb pinotgris hawks

Pinot Noir 2010

2010 hh pn mediumpinot noir hawks

 

 

 

Happy Wines from Otago Days

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Foods for the Summer Months

July 29, 2012 6:42 pm | Posted by Graham D

FOOD and WINE PAIRING—FOODS FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS
(continuation from blog  “ Food and Wine pairing”  dated 7 July 2012)

INTRODUCTION:—--this blog and the many more following will examine the pleasurable and often complex relationship between good food and wine, with the ultimate aim to assist our many discerning customers evolve the convivial bonding of good food and wine.

FOOD BEING FEATURED:—–FOODS FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS - that can be enjoyed either hot, warm or cold.
A few examples of alfresco dishes would be : Quiche Lorraine, Onion and Tomato Flan, Stuffed Big Beef  Tomatoes, Chicken and Savoury Pies , Mushroom and Ham Tarts, Meat Loaves, Tapas style dishes and Picnic food.
(See a previous Blog for Pairing Summer Barbeque foods with Wine)

CHALLENGES:—–Another interesting and challenging bridge to cross, but if we group the foods into categories that represent similarity in strength of taste and textures, we then strike a good chance of pleasing most people :

- foods with an egg influence and creamy textures such as quiches and savoury tarts
- vegetable based dishes including green salads
- cold meat dishes with pickles and chutney
- cold seafood dishes including smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, soused herring and prawn/lobster cocktail

RECOMMENDATIONS:—–

- COLD SEAFOOD DISHES - a sparkling wine such as Saumur Brut Ackerman served as cold as possible would be a perfect match. For white wine lovers, another recommendation that would be most appealing is a crisp and dry Sauvignon Blanc from a vineyard of high standing in both hemispheres of the world.

- VEGETABLES AND SALADS - here a Pinot Grigio would work well or even a Frascati from the Lazio region of Italy. The Italians eat huge amounts of vegetables in the summer months, hence two Italian wines

- EGG BASED DISHES - try a creamy style Chardonnay from Simon Hackett Wines in McLaren Valley, Australia which matches well with this array of foods. If you prefer a wine with a little texture and body then check out a fine Viognier from Babich Vineyard in New Zealand.

- COLD MEAT DISHES - lots of scope although my preference would be light bodied reds such as Fleurie from Domaine du Penlois  or  Pinot Noir from  Hunter’s Vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand . Either wine will stand alone for its own enjoyment and will not in any way diminish the taste and flavours of the dishes in question.

MAIN DIRECTORY:—--click on THE MARRIAGE OF FOOD AND WINE to access our quick search facility to locate hundreds of other food/wine/food pairing options, including hors-d’oeuvres, starters, soups, main courses and desserts. Also view GREAT FRIENDS – CHEESE AND WINE for cheese and wine pairing.

NEXT ARTICLE:—–SUMMER DESSERTS

HAPPY FOODS FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS PAIRING DAYS

Graham D

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Sloe Gin

May 20, 2012 4:32 pm | Posted by Del

Sloe Gin is a fine gin spirit or liqueur flavoured with sloe (blackthorn) berries, which are a small fruit relative of the plum. Sloe gin has an alcohol content between 15 and 30 percent by volume and is produced by many small boutique wineries and distillers. The traditional way of making sloe gin is to infuse gin with the berries, sugar is required to ensure the sloe juices are extracted from the fruit. Almond or cinnamon flavouring is sometimes also added. Many commercial sloe gins today are made by flavouring less expensive neutral grain spirits, and produce a fruit cordial effect, although a number of long-established, reputable manufacturers still use the traditional method.

To make Sloe Gin, the sloe berries must be ripe. In the Northern Hemisphere, they were traditionally picked in late October or early November after the first frost of the winter. Each berry is pricked and a vat or barrel is part filled with the pricked berries, then the vat or barrel is filled with gin and sugar, adding a few cloves and a small stick of cinnamon. The vat or barrel is sealed and mixed several times by turning, then stored in a cool, dark place. It is usually mixed by turning every day for the first two weeks, then each week, until at least three months have passed. The gin will now be a deep ruby red. The liqueur is poured off and the berries and spices discarded.

Some great examples of Sloe Gins and Liqueurs

sloegin-foxSloe Gin Liqueur, Foxdenton Estate, Buckinghamshiresloe-gin-bg

Sloe Gin Liqueur, Bramble & Gage, Gloucestershire

Sloe Gin Liqueur, Sloemotion, North Yorkshiresloegin

Sloe Gin Liqueur, Moniack Castle, Highland Wineries

sloeginslcSloe Gin Liqueur, Scottish Liqueur Centre

Sloe Gin Reserve Liqueur, Lyme Bay Winery, Devon sloe-reserve2

Sloe Gin Liqueur, Gordons, London

sipsmith-sloeSloe Gin Liqueur, Sipsmith, London

Sloe Gin Liqueur, Plymouth, Devon

 Sloe Gin Liqueur, Condessa, Isle of Anglesey

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Bodegas Williams & Humbert Sherries

March 14, 2012 1:09 pm | Posted by Del

Bodegas Williams & Humbert

The history of Bodegas Williams & Humbert goes back nearly 130 years. They participated in the creation of the Jerez-Xeres-Brandy Quality Demarcation and are now considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious wine producers.

The winery was founded in 1877 by Sir Alexander Williams, a great admirer and connoisseur of sherry products and Arthur Humbert, a specialist in international relations. Since then they have preserved part of the original wines and brandies (soleras) in high quality oak casks. These soleras are the base of the development and ageing of every sherry and brandy produced at Bodegas Williams & Humbert.

The following are summaries and tasting notes of many of the Sherries that Williams & Humbert are world famous for :

DRY SAC FINO SHERRY

img_7439This is a very dry Fino Sherry produced from Palomino grapes. Bud musts from the best vineyards undergo cold, still fermentation at 22C. Then they go through early filtering and classification by quality. The best wine distillations are fortified at 15c to be racked in clean casks. They are then put into the traditional system of dynamic ageing employed in Jerez – Criaderas y Soleras- in the 6th criadera cask, where the biological ageing under a layer of yeast takes place in the traditional oak casks, preferably of American oak. The ageing is minimum five years while the wine passes from one criadera to another until it reaches the solera, from which it is drawn out for consumption.

Tasting Notes : A wine of brilliant, pale gold colours. Intense, complex aromas reminiscent of the yeast layer with a hint of almond. Delicate yet full-bodied, with character and elegance. A long aftertaste and nose.

Suggestions with Food : Ideal for aperitifs accompanied by a high quality cheese, ham and seafood dishes. Also excellent with almonds.

DRY SAC MEDIUM SHERRY

img_7437This a blended Oloroso or Medium Sherry produced from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. Bud musts undergo controlled fermentation at 28c and fortified with alcohol distilled from wine up to 19.5 degrees. Palomino and Pedro Ximenez are racked into clean casks while waiting to enter the Criaderas y Soleras system. Physical-chemical ageing through oxidation for at least six years, obtaining a slightly sweetened oloroso or medium sherry.

Tasting Notes: An amber-coloured wine of intense aromas suggesting dried nuts. Full bodied and balanced, with little acid and slightly sweet .

Suggestions with Food: It can be drunk neat or with ice. It is recommended as an aperitif or to accompany pasta and rice dishes.

CANASTA SHERRY

canasta-cream_edited-1A sweet Oloroso or Cream Sherry produced from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. The bud musts undergo controlled fermentation and fortified at 19.5 degrees. An elegant blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez before entering the Criaderas y Soleras system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. Aged for at least six years. A unique sweet Oloroso or “Cream” Sherry.

Tasting Notes: Sweet Oloroso. Mahogany colour and aromas of dried nuts with a hint of raisins and brown sugar. Smooth, velvety palate with warm alcohol flavours and a persistent aftertaste.

Suggestions for Food : It can be consumed very cold by itself and with desserts, or on ice as a refreshing early evening drink.

WALNUT BROWN SHERRY

img_7441This is a very Sweet Oloroso or Cream Sherry produced from Palomino, Pedro Ximenez and Muscatel grapes. Bud musts undergo controlled fermentation and fortified at 19.5 degrees. Palomino, Pedro Ximenez and Muscatel are blended and racked into clean casks before entering the Criaderas y Solera system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. Aged for at least four years.

Tasting Notes: Very sweet oloroso.Dark mahogany, almost ebony. On the nose, dried nuts and faint aroma of raisins, muscatel and toasted sugar. Smooth and velvety with a warm palate owing to its alcohol content. A long finish.

Suggestions for Food: It can be consumed very cold by itself and with desserts, or on ice as a refreshing long drink.

WINTER’S TALE SHERRY

img_7443This a slightly sweetened Amontillado or “Medium Sweet” Sherry produced from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. The bud must undergoes controlled fermentation and fortified with alcohol distilled from wine at 28 degrees. Palomino and Pedro Ximenez are racked before entering the Criaderas y Soleras system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. Aged for at least six years. A slightly sweetened oloroso, or “medium sweet” sherry.

Tasting Notes: Brillant amber. Intense aroma of dried nuts. Full bodied and balanced, with low acidity. Sweet and persistent.

Suggestions for Food: To be drunk neat or on ice. Ideal as an aperitif or with pasta and rice dishes.

JALIFA AMONTILLADO 30 YEARS SHERRY

dos-cortados-30yrs_edited-2This a dry Amontillado Sherry produced from Palomino grapes. Bud musts from the best vineyards undergo cold, still decanting and fermentation at 22c. Early filtering, classification by quality and fortified at 15 degrees with the best distilled wines to obtain the traditional racks. Put into the classical Jerez Criaderas y Soleras system of dynamic ageing at the 15th criadera, where the biological ageing takes place under a layer of yeast. Aged in traditional oak casks , preferably American for at least 8 years, after which it is transferred to the 6th criadera for an additional 22 years of natural ageing by oxidation until it reaches the solera. It is then removed for consumption.

Tasting Notes: Bright hues of very old gold and amber. Pungent, intense and complex on the nose, with a subtle note of  fino sherry and a hint of dried nuts and filbert. Dry with excellent acidity, a long, full bodied and elegant palate. A delightfully expressive and unforgettable finish.

Suggestions with Food: An excellent aperitif served with a fine cheese, ham or seafood dishes.

DOS CORTADOS 20 YEARS SHERRY

dos-cortados-20yrs_edited-1A fortified wine, this rare and peculiar dry Pale Cortado Sherry produced from Palomino grapes is halfway between an Amontillado and an Oloroso. Bud musts from the best vineyards undergo cold, still decanting and fermentation at 22c. Early filtration, classification by quality and then the must is fortified at 15degrees with the best distilled wines to obtain the traditional racks. Put into the Criaderas y Soleras system in fino sherry casks for biological ageing. Sporadically, circumstances cause the contents of some casks to behave differently than it is expected – they will not become fino sherry. These casks are “cut” (hence the term “cortado”) with one or two jugs of alcohol to form the base of the palo cortado solera system. The wine is then aged for 20 years until it reaches the solera.

Tasting Notes : Bright hues of very old gold and amber . Pungent, intense and complex on the nose, with a subtle note of filberts and dried fruits. Dry with excellent acidity, a long, full-bodied and elegant palate. An incredibly expressive and unforgettable finish. Sherry with an amontillado nose and an oloroso palate.

Suggestions with Food: Excellent as an aperitif for those long evenings or in short drinks with tapas.

DRY OLOROSO 12 YEARS

dry-oloroso12yrs_edited-1This is a dry Oloroso produced from Palomino grapes. The bud musts undergo controlled fermentation at 28c, then fortified with distilled wine alcohol at up to 19.5degrees. The Palomino enters the racks before entering the Criaderas y Soleras system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. It is aged for at least 12 years. This is a unique dry Oloroso.

Tasting Notes: Bright amber. Intense aromas characteristic of this type of wine and a hint of dried nuts and fruits. Dry, rich, with smooth tannins, it is luscious and balanced with a long finish.

Suggestions for Food: As an aperitif with mature cheese, at meals with red meats and even as an after-dinner drink.

HAPPY WILLIAMS & HUMBERT SHERRY DAYS

DEL

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Wakefield Estate, Clare Valley, Australia

May 29, 2009 9:33 am | Posted by Del

Wakefield Estate is a leading family-owned winery established in 1969 in the Clare Valley region of Australia. Known as Taylors Wines, (unfortunately not any relation), they are one of the most highly regarded and awarded cool climate wine producers with the Wakefield brand being exported to Europe and the UK since 1985. Wakefield owns 400 hectares of vineyards surrounding the winery, making this the largest single estate vineyard in Australia. The first Wakefield Estate wines were released over 30 years ago with the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1973 winning gold medals at every national wine show including the prestigious Montgomery Trophy at the Adelaide Wine Show. A  reputation was forged and continues today with vintages of the same wines winning medals at national and international shows every year. The range consistently delivers quality and appeal their classic fruit definition and enviable ability to age.

A recently released wine is a juicy medium bodied Pinot Noir from Adelaide Hills with fresh cherry flavours, spice and plum, lovely soft French oak gives some length to the finish. 

We have selected three wines from their newest Eighty Acres range. This  range was created to celebrate the heritage when in 1969 Bill Taylor first got his hands dirty planting vines on the traditional 80 acre blocks that make up the Taylor family vineyard, the first block was named “Eighty Acres”.   

Eighty Acres Chardonnay Viognier is a lovely wine, full of aromas of  apricot and spice with Clare Valley Chardonnay offering aromas of pineapple, peach, melon and citrus. The wine has a luscious, round mouthfilling palate, is medium to full bodied and a rich, almost creamy finish.

The Eighty Acres Cabernet Shiraz Merlot has a complex nose with aromas of blackcurrants, plum and mint with savoury characters of dried herbs, spice, cedar and chocolate adding to its charm. Rich in texture but with a soft, round mid palate with long elegant tannins and a velvety, persistent finish.

Our third wine is the Eighty Acres Shiraz Viognier with its overt lifted aroma of black berry fruits, plums, licorice and subtle apricots and underlying aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, dark chocolate, violets and cedar adding to the complexity. A medium bodied wine,  rich and smooth with delicious juicy flavours which last well after the wine has finished.

Another new comer with a lifted, complex aroma of subtle white peach and nectarine combined with another layer of aromas of cream and cashew nuts from barrel fermentation is Jaraman Chardonnay.  A combination of  Clare Valley grapes giving richness and weight with fleshy stone fruit flavours and the elegance and length coming from grapes grown in Adelaide Hills. A clean crisp structure with great persistence.

I have always enjoyed the flavours from Coonawarra wines and Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine with the characteristic Coonawarra black olive/mint bouquet with a powerful, sweet and fleshy palate from the Clare Valley. a a superb richness of cedary oak and spice with blackcurrant, mint and dark chocolate characters on the nose.

 To help introduce our customers to the fine Clare Valley wines from Wakefield Estate, we have introduced a special offer which we hope you will find attractive and an incentive to try these superb Australian wines.

HAPPY WAKEFIELD DAYS

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New Zealand Wines…Pinot Noir

April 28, 2009 12:06 pm | Posted by Del

A PASSION FOR PINOT NOIR

Pinot Noir is one of the more difficult grapes to grow and make into a fine wine, not only must the climate and soil characteristics must be right, the winemaker or oenologist’s skills also have a major part to play as do the forces of nature.  This wine at its best will leave a lasting impression on the palate and in the memory and a desire for more My passion comes with the appealing qualities of Pinot Noir – its soft, velvety texture, almost like imagining sensual liquid silk, it is unique and definitely my first love.
Its aroma is often one of the most complex of all varietals and can be intense with a ripe-grape or black cherry aroma, frequently accented by a pronounced spiciness that suggests cinnamon, sassafras, or mint. Ripe sweet tomato is also a common description for identifying Pinot Noir. It is full-bodied and rich but not heavy, high in alcohol, yet neither acidic nor tannic, with substantial flavour despite its delicacy.

One of my favourite Pinot Noirs has to be from Hunter’s Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand. I have known Jane Hunter for over 20 years and have always followed and sold her wines. She is the most acclaimed and awarded woman in New Zealand’s wine industry and was made OBE in 1993 for her services to the wine industry, recipient of a CNZM in the 2009 New Zealand New Year Honours List and most recently  World Class New Zealand 2009 Award. Jane is acknowledged as one of the first to capture international attention for Marlborough as an influential wine growing region. Her wines have won innumerable international medals, awards and accolades.  

hunters-pinotnoir1I have recently re-tasted Hunters Pinot Noir 2006 (16.50). This is an easy drinking wine with light, delicate cherry fruit. Savoury flavours mix with spicy characters on the palate.

Hunters Pinot Noir 2007 is wonderfully smooth and generous with ripe cherry, plum and raspberry fruit combined with a touch of sweet spice which is so characteristic of Pinot and then there is a soft clean finish. This wine will be available as from May/ June this year.

For the record, Jane Hunter also produces the following superb wines :

Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (14.57)
A classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc  with intense tropical/gooseberry flavours dominating the palate leaving a lingering finish

Kaho Roa Winemaker’s Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (15.91)
hunters-kaho-roa2A subtle twist of oak blended with very ripe, slightly less overt gooseberry fruit character of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. A very soft approachable wine

Chardonnay 2006 (15.91)
Rich and elegant with characteristically ripe fruit flavour, superbly balanced following maturation in French oak.

I can highly recommend Jane Hunter’s fine wines, they easily match other New Zealand wines that cost considerably more – I will mention no names

My perfect food match that also brings fond memories of New Zealand to mind, would be grilled snapper and Hunter’s Pinot Noir but for help in matching Pinot Noirs with food please click on www.ahadleigh-wine.com/wine-and-food/ which takes you to our websites specialist section on “MATCHING WINES WITH FOOD”, then just type in Pinot Noir in the box located under “TYPE IN WINE”

 

Happy Pinot Noir Days

 

 

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