Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's best? Martinborough or Otago Pinot Noir?

A few blogs back, I was chatting about how fantastic a Winemakers Dinner we hosted in Hong Kong had gone. If you missed follow this link:  http://birthofawine.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html

A few of our followers asked if we ever did anything like in in New Zealand? Well, the answer is yes! Here is your chance to enjoy a similar event in Wellington, and at the same time answer the commonly-asked question, which region makes the best Pinot Noir: Martinborough or Central Otago? We are hosting a dinner at Ortega on Tuesday 15th July at 7.30pm, entitled "THE NORTH & SOUTH DINNER".

This is a wine and food-Matched Dinner  with Murdoch James Estate of Martinborough & Olssens of Bannockburn, Central Otago. Over the last few years there has been an ongoing debate about which of these two regions produces the best Pinot Noir wines, and the theme of this dinner is designed to allow participants to form their own views. The concept is a dinner comparing the wines from Murdoch James Estate in Martinborough and Olssens in Central Otago. Both are small family owned vineyards producing premium quality wines.  In additional to the matched wine and food menu, guests will also get to try a back vintage of each of the wineries flagship wines, including the Fraser and Slapjack Creek Pinot Noirs.  Around 12 wines will be tasted on the night, all matching an inspiring menu.

Places are filling fast, but if you are interested, feel free to e-mail me at info@murdoch-james.co.nz and if you are interested in more detail, here's the menu:

Olssens & Murdoch James Dinner Menu
First Course
Couturier Goats Cheese & King Prawn Canneloni,
tomato chipotle salsa with a lemon infused reduction
matched with
Murdoch James Sauvignon Blanc 2008,    
Olssens Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Second Course 
Spicy Cakes Fish, citrus salad, chilli jam mussel 
with a tamarind lime dressing
matched with
Murdoch James Blue Rock Riesling  2008,
Olssens Riesling Dry 2009 

Third Course
Slow roasted Pork Belly, truffled lentils & cabbage,
sautéed mushrooms & Pinot Noir gravy
matched with
Murdoch James Martinborough Pinot Noir 2008
Olssens Nipple Hill Pinot Noir 2009                                
Fourth Course
Rustic Salad of Rabbit, lardoons, walnuts & blue cheese
matched with
Murdoch James Estate Blue Rock Pinot Noir 2008
Olssens Jackson Barry Pinot Noir 2008
Cheese Course
Livarot Cheese with brandied prunes             
matched with
Murdoch James Estate Syrah  2008
Olssens Robert the Bruce 2008

Friday, May 7, 2010

Autumn in Martinborough - Cow go crazy on grapes!

Back home now, to the most stunning Autumn weather we have ever experienced. How's this for a sunset?!

All grapes are in now, and while the quantity is a little down on 2009, the 2010 quality is great. We are looking forward to finishing the ferments and seeing what the final wines look like. It's a bit like waiting for a grandchild to be born!

I often get asked what happens to the waste skins and stalks. Well, they are all either composted or recycled - how recycled? Well check out the accompanying recycling 'machines', and they just love the pressings - I call these my 10 Fat Ladies (even though a couple are gentlemen!). Yes, in addition to wine growing, social media, wine sales, blogging and vineyard maintenance, I also breed angus cattle. Great fun, and a wonderful breed to work with. But, when we take the fork-lift into the paddock with the tipper full of grape skins you have to dump and run! There is literally a stampede as they race across the paddock to get first taste of them. I used to have a much bigger herd, but the financial pressures of the last 12 months forced me to downsize my farming interests a little. That said, they still give me a lot of pleasure and keep me grounded. And maybe grow the herd again in the not too distant future. I've got chickens, cats and dogs too, so sorry, some more pet shots to follow in future blogs.