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Wineseeker Blog

Saturday, 9 September 2017 - 1:45pm by Michael Hutton

As the 2017 growing season draws to a close in Europe we can start to draw a line under 2017. How is it going to stack up compared to other recent vintages? "Vintage" in the wine world is a term used to describe the time of harvest for grapes. With a handful of exceptions for grapes grown in the tropics this happens just once a year, in Autumn where the grapes reach the ideal level of ripeness for picking. After harvest comes the sorting of the fruit, crushing, fermenting and aging before the wine is bottled and ready for release.  The year on the bottle denotes the year of the harvest, rather than the year of bottling. The same vintage of different wines are released at different times depending on how long they spend maturing in tank, barrel, or bottle before ready to reach the hands, cellars, and bellies of the consumer. A fresh young Sav might be ready just six months after picking, whereas a barrel-aged Chardonnay may not be released for another year or more.

Friday, 30 June 2017 - 9:30pm by Michael Hutton

Leaving Bordeaux takes us South towards the Mediterranean, to break up the drive we stop for a night on the outskirts of Toulouse in the South-West before continuing through to the Provençal charms of the South. Even from the high speed Autoroutes we can see the dramatic change in countryside. The vines and woods of Bordeaux evolve through wide open fields of wheat, sunflowers, olives and lavender to the dramatic but spartan hillsides of Provence covered in oak, pines, wild herbs and scrub that can endure the dry heat and thin rocky soils. The roads a Wellington street planner would be proud of, barely 1.5 cars wide and windy with no centre lines and plenty of blind corners.

Thursday, 22 June 2017 - 2:30am by Michael Hutton

Vinexpo is a spectacular global wine show, started in France in 1981, now expanded across the globe including in Tokyo and New York. Last year I went to the Hong Kong version, but Bordeaux is home base, with a custom built Exhibition Centre on the Northern side of the city. Thousands of wine buyers, journalists and importers converge to sip, slurp, and spit the latest vintages on offer over four days.

The 'Parc des Expositions' has rolled out the red carpet, literally in this case. Alot of it too, as the floor area amounts to 80,000 square meters, stuffed to the gills with trade stands designed to woo both potential and existing clients.  In addition there are dozens of masterclasses to showcase wine styles, new regions, and highlight issues facing the wine world like climate change.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 - 10:45pm by Michael Hutton

Our journey in Bordeaux continues with more visits to wine growers across the region, and it is gratifying to meet the people and touch the soils that produce many of the wines that we import into New Zealand. After our trip to the southern part of Bordeaux we follow it up with visits to Margaux, Ladaux and St Emilion.  2017 so far, one might say it is a tale of 'Fire and Ice'...Conditions here are very hot, with June temeperature records being broken for much of Europe. It has been  an extreme 37-38 degrees, which is an oven temperature as far as a Wellington boy like me is concerned, especially as our apartment has no airconitioning and the outside temperature doesn't dip below 30 until after midnight.

Saturday, 17 June 2017 - 9:00pm by Michael Hutton

As we prepare to bid farewell to the Loire, we will turn from the idyllic country villages towards the major commercial centre of Bordeaux. We leave a piece of our hearts behind,  I feel that everyone who travels to this part of the world falls in love with these tiny villages, small stone homes packed between tiny but immaculate streets, beautiful gardens tucked behind discrete gates and stone walls, boutique shopfronts sometimes sporting unlikely combinations, like this one (photo below) that doubles as a wine merchant and a bicycle hire. 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 - 7:45am by Michael Hutton

After frantic planning and long (though thankfully uneventful) flights Katie and Michael have arrived back in La France. This trip will last about 3 weeks, and this time we are spending our time in Western France, travelling through the Loire Valley and Bordeaux, then in the south in Provence with a finishing flurry in Paris.

Our journey starts with a brief stay in Roissy- a small village minutes away from Charles de Gaulle airport with only 2,000 residents but 16,000+ hotel rooms - obviously an ideal stop off point for weary travelers. According to our hosts, Air France wanted to demolish the entire town to make way for the airport development - inspiring the wrath of the locals. The French have protest down to a fine art, and needless to say the beautiful town still stands. (Photo of Roissy town centre)

Thursday, 6 April 2017 - 7:45pm by Michael Hutton

Perhaps the essence of Chardonnay as a grape lies in Chablis - Unadulterated by oak or the fatness malolactic fermentation, its the wine to serve someone who says they "don't like Chardonnay."  Honestly... people who say they don't like Chardonnay just hasn't found one that they love yet.

So last night we took a tour of Chablis, tasting eight wines of ascending quality- Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru and Grand Cru Chablis. This is a special part of Burgundy that produces only Chardonnay, an area often suffering the heartache of killer frosts, scorching heat waves, hailstones the size of golf balls, and sometimes all three in one season.  More typically, the cool climate leans towards a particular style of wine shaped by the soils that it is grown on- a particular Kimmerigean Clay soil stuffed full of fossilised oyster shells and limestone.  

Monday, 3 April 2017 - 10:15am by Michael Hutton

When it comes to wine-food pairing, there are tried & true tests that instinctively work together. Sav Blanc & seafood, Bordeaux & roast lamb, Pinot Noir & venison. Sometimes though it's fun to step off the beaten track & try something new.  

The first "rule" of wine-food pairing is to try & match the weight of the wine & the dish. You don't want to swamp a delicate wine with a massive dish (and visa versa). Acidity & Tannins need to be considered- acidic wines tend to pair well with dishes with a fair bit of fat including butter and cream while big tannins need some protein to chew on. Does the colour matter so much?  After a successful pairing of Lamb and Chardonnay recently, I wanted to challenge myself with another "White Meets Red."

Monday, 5 December 2016 - 10:15am by Katie Hutton

This year we're open extended hours in the leadup to Christmas - 

Mon 5 - Wed 7 Dec

Thu 8 - Fri 9 Dec

Sat 10 - Sun 11 Dec 

10am - 7pm

10am - 8pm

10am - 6pm

Mon 12 - Wed 14 Dec

Thu 15 - Fri 16 Dec

Sat 17 - Sun 18 Dec

9am - 7pm

9am - 8pm

10am - 6pm

Mon 19 - Wed 21 Dec

Thu 22 - Fri 23 Dec

Sat 24 Dec

9am - 7pm

9am - 8pm

10am - 6pm


XMAS Day - Tue 27 Dec

Wed 28 - Sat 31 Dec

New Years - Sun 8 Dec

Thursday, 20 October 2016 - 10:15am by Michael Hutton

This last week heralded the auspicious anniversary of my creation, and what better way to add to the festivities than a wine from my birth year!  This bottle of Vouvray has been the oldest wine in my cellar for a number of years, and we have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to tuck into it. At 40 winters, would it survive the rigours of time better or worse than it's owner?  Was it still alive, was it corked??  


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