I have still been lacking inspiration of late, so what better way to find something to write about than an obvious tie in with the World Cup. At least I wont be alone, I bet my bottom Bhutanese ngultrum that all around the country teachers are using the world cup as a way to improve their classes’ geography skills.
I am not normally one to catch a lift on every passing bandwagon, but the world cup is the Death Star of bandwagons. (I am not sure how great a description that is, but I like thinking of Sepp Blatter as Darth Vader).
Right, that was fun. So as I was saying the world cup is the biggest bandwagon of them all. I am, obviously, far more used to falling off the wagon than jumping on, so I am not too sure what to expect.
Whilst perusing the Wheel of Fortune of June and July I noticed that the majority of teams competing come from wine producing nations. It would be lovely to taste a wine from each of the nations who produce, but unfortunately budget constraints that have been implemented here at Wine & I due to recessions, repressions, oil spills, dying pandas and polar bears, Julius Malema and Darth Blatter mean that I will have to pick and choose based on price and availability. I would love a Swiss wine, or something tasty from Serbia, but these are like hens teeth in a mountain of pins buried under a ton of hay on top of a camel trying to fit through the eye of a needle.
I have set the price cap for this vinous escapade at R250 per bottle.
I did consider – for a millisecond – of going about this in a competitive style. You know the clichéd ‘Us and Them’ idea, tasting a local wine alongside a foreign one to see who is better. But this is a wholly moronic idea. Only on the broadest levels of quality or assessing differences in style do I see a point in comparing wines from different countries (although it looks like a good way to sell imported wines. See Wine Magazine, June 2010, page 32) . Also I am not a judge. And finally I do not like wine competitions. So what I will really be doing is simply exploring the foreign wines that are available in Cape Town for prices that will not result in you having to buy a red light and suck off horny soccer louts to make rent.
I will be trying to tie in the wines with a match that is being played. So today’s (yesterday’s) wine is from New Zealand seeing as they played Slovakia and drew one all.
Grape vines were first planted in New Zealand by missionaries in 1819 but the first recorded wine to be produced was in 1836 which was sold to British troops. It took another 150yrs before everyone cottoned on that New Zealand’s cool maritime climate was right for making high quality wines of distinction.
NZ is best known for its full on Sauvignon Blancs, with Cloudy Bay being the most famous (In terms of style I prefer our own to be honest) but increasingly their Pinot Noir has been getting great write ups from all over the interwebs. I was hoping to find one from Otago, specifically wines from Felton Road, unfortunately Caroline’s didn’t have any so I went with
Marlborough is situated at the North-east end of the South Island and is the largest wine producing region in the country. Top wineries such as Wither Hills, Cloudy Bay, Waipara, Dog Point Vineyards and Koru are all situated here.
According to Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion to Wine, Marlborough is made up “of a large, flat, river valley with deep deposits of silt and gravel.” There are many different types of soil patterns throughout the region “even within single vineyards” resulting in wines of varying style and quality depending on the source of the grapes. Marlborough is best known for its pungent Sauvignon Blancs, although Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling have also been successful. For more info on wines from Marlborough check out http://www.wine-marlborough.co.nz/ or go drink some yourself.
I was very happy the wine was sealed with a screwcap as I didn’t feel like the hassles of having to replace the bottle if it were corked.
*I typed as I drank so please excuse the changes of tense*
I have decanted the wine and poured my first glass. Initially there is some strawberry and raspberry on the nose with a touch of earthiness . The sweet fruits follow through to the palate. The wine seems just a tad tired. The acidity is there, but the tannins have faded. It has a very long finish that is dominated by a gentle raisiney flavour. It all ends up being a tad underwhelming, no balls left, and no elegant suit to wear to its funeral.
It is good, although I think I prefer…NO DON’T START COMPARING.. sorry my blogging conscious intervened.
The wine has been open about an hour now. The oak is showing predominantly on the nose now with dark chocolate and coffee. The fruits are fading fast, and there’s the slightest touch of bitter tea leaves on the back of the palate. There was no late reprieve – like Winston Reid’s goal in the dying minutes of the Slovakia match – to save this wine.
The wine makers notes suggest keeping for three to four years. I think he or she was spot on . Although there is some developed barnyardy character here, it seems to have lost structure with age. An old man hankering after a brighter youth. For R222 from Carolines this is not offering much value.
Next up: France, Germany, or Argentina. I am not sure yet.
*Princess Leia, circa a long, long time ago