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Wineseeker Blog

Monday, 30 May 2016 - 1:30pm by Michael Hutton

Hong Kong hardly seems like the most common destination for wine scouting - unless you are heading to Vinexpo - a worldwide convention showcasing wines from all around the world.  Photo- Wan Chai waterfront- part of the expo centre is on the far left of this photo.  

Hong Kong is a city under constant construction- new highrises underway, new motorways and spectacular overpasses, repairs and renovation often completed with 15+ stories of bamboo scaffolding held together with cable ties.  Photo: No such concerns about earthquakes in HK when it comes to reclaimation - the harbour gets a little smaller each year.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016 - 5:45pm by Michael Hutton

It’s that time of year again, where the viticulturist’s job finishes and the winemakers being.  Harvest time in Martinborough has been keenly awaited after what has largely been an excellent growing season. 

Photo - Pinot Noir fruit on the vine at Palliser Estate. 

Our most important local grape of course is Pinot Noir – an early ripening variety compared to Cabernet or Riesling.  Weather conditions in Wellington have been incredible this year, but has it been the same ‘over the hill’?  Strictly by temperature it has been slightly above average with February being a standout month with long warm sunny spells, but more specifically it has been dry.  A slightly earlier harvest than usual was forecast, with some 20-30ml of rain falling a couple of days before most picking began.

Photo - February Temperatures for Martinborough

Sunday, 20 December 2015 - 12:45pm by Michael Hutton

Some new arrivals in store this week in the run up to Christmas, wines from Hungary.

A young Hungarian gentleman by the name of Miki dropped in to see us introducing a range of interesting Hungarian wines.  Up until now my sole tasting experience from Hungary has been the exceptionally sweet and delicious dessert wine 'Tokaji' but unfamiliar with the other wines from the region.  

Tuesday, 29 September 2015 - 10:45am by Michael Hutton

After multiple requests from our recent 'Islands of the Mediterranean' tasting here is my best recollection of how I made the tart:

Thursday, 17 September 2015 - 12:00pm by Michael Hutton

The cycle of renewal begins - Bud Burst has started in Martinborough, the indication that the vines are waking from their winter slumber and the delicate shoots start unfurling.  It's an important time for the vineyard, usually occuring when the average daily temperatures are above 10C.  It's a time for vigilance too, as this early in the season there is a danger of frost, and damage at this time of year can stunt the amount of fruit later in the season.  Cue the wind machines and smoke braziers last weekend to minimise the risk.  A few weeks from now these shoots will be rapidly growing up to 3cm a day.  

Thursday, 2 July 2015 - 10:30am by Katie Hutton

Western Australia is enormous - bigger than Texas enormous.  Bigger than Alaska.  Actually bigger than Texas and Alaska put together.  Most of WA is entirely unsuitable for winemaking however, either too hot, too arid, or too humid.  However down in the South Eastern corner, about 280km South of Perth is the Margaret River wine region.  Small by Australian standards, about 5,000 hectares (or roughly 5 times the size of the Martinborough & Wairarapa wine region).  It produces about 3% of Australian wine, but more than 20% of its awards - Margaret River is serious on quality.  

Monday, 22 June 2015 - 6:15pm by Katie Hutton

Winery of the Week - CHALK HILL

For this week's tastings we are hopping over the ditch to taste South Australia.  McLaren Vale is barely a few minutes drive South from central Adelaide in South Australia, and while it is very close to its' much larger neighbour Barossa it is a distinctly different region.  

We'll be tasting five different wines, the award winning Chalk Hill Shiraz, a Cabernet Franc blend, Shiraz Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and finishing the week with a treat - their top end $100 Alpha Crucis Shiraz.  

Sunday, 24 May 2015 - 10:30am by Michael Hutton

Craggy Range is one of the most widely respected Hawkes Bay wineries, one visit to their winery and restaurant by the Tuki Tuki river with a panoramic view of Te Mata Peak is hard not to be taken in by the surroundings alone.  Craggy wines have had mixed fortunes over the vintages, I have found a distinct and widening difference between the 'Estate' wines and their Prestige range.  

Originally the Prestige wines were a quartet - the Sophia (meaning 'Wisdom') is the Bordeaux blend, a carefully constructed assemblage of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  Le Sol (meaning the Soil) 100% Syrah.  Both of these come from their best fruit on the Gimblett Gravels, readily recognised as a special sub-region of Hawkes Bay.  Les Beaux Cailloux (the beautiful pebbles) was their top tier Chardonnay, with the Aroha (love) a Pinot Noir added to the range in 2006 from their Te Muna blocks in Martinborough.  

Monday, 6 April 2015 - 1:30pm by Michael Hutton

Cork has a long history in the wine world – used by the Greeks and Romans going back to the 5th Century BC – but then largely abandoned through the dark ages and not ‘rediscovered’ as a reliable way of sealing wines until the 17th Century.

Why Cork & What Is It?

Cork is essentially the bark from the cork tree, a form of evergreen oak grown through Portugal and Spain, and to a lesser extent in Northern Africa and Italy.  Harvesting the bark from the tree requires expertise to avoid damaging the tree itself- unlike most trees that will die if the bark is removed, a spongy outer layer of dead bark from the cork tree will slowly regenerate – the first harvest of cork comes at about 25 years old, though this and the second harvest are not of sufficient quality to use for corks (usually used for cork flooring instead!).  Over the course of its lifespan a cork tree can be harvested over a dozen times.

Sunday, 15 March 2015 - 9:30am by Michael Hutton

The wines of Austria are virtually unknown in New Zealand - strange when we realise that at the end of WWI Austria boasted the third largest wine production in the world.  Today they rank 16th, just behind Greece and just two places ahead of New Zealand... and like much of Central Europe much of their wine is consumed domestically, a small amount escapes the borders to be enjoyed beyond.

Austrian wine evokes two things - firstly Gruner Veltliner, the grape that dominates the volume of production, and the infamous "Anti-Freeze Scandal."  


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