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Wineseeker Blog

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."  

Sunday, 25 January 2015 - 9:00pm by Michael Hutton

We have a small tradition at Wineseeker, a couple times a year we have a party for our staff, Michael & Katie cook up a gourmet multi-course meal.  It's not a free ride for the crew though, as everyone is challenged to pair a wine to one of the courses - immortal respect and admiration being the prize for the best match.  We're a bit late for a Xmas party, but better late than never.  After a splash of Champagne and melt-in-your-mouth French cheese, it was onto the challenge.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015 - 5:00pm by Michael Hutton

As a follow-up to my last blog about Cellaring Wine in NZ, this update is about different kinds of wines and their suitability for cellaring. 

The premise is that different wine styles have substantial differences in their aging potential, partly relating to the grapes themselves, and others to the way that the wines are “built” by the winery. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014 - 9:30pm by Michael Hutton

 

Christmas is upon us, whether we would risk it or not. This usually means copious amounts of good food and ample quantities of wine. The temptation to overindulge is a constant, coupled with a new gym membership and at least 3 days of abstinence come January. As the saying goes from Oscar Wilde, the only way to deal with temptation is to yield to it. Everything in moderation including moderation itself!

With the new drink driving limits in place, it doesn't pay to take risks. By all means have a great time out but please ensure you have transport plans. 

Have a tasty and indulgent time, if you haven't finished your Xmas shopping, or if you need some great wine for the break away, hopefully we'll see you in shop.  Check out our extended xmas hours... Otherwise we will see you with more tasting events, more specials and more wines from around the world in the new year. 

Friday, 7 November 2014 - 8:00am by Michael Hutton

1. France makes possibly the best pastry, foie gras, and cheese in the world.

2. Better to buy cheap wine than expensive coffee (honestly, the only decent cuppa we had was made by an Australian in Paris at €4 each) 

3. Make the effort to learn some basics of the language - seriously this is a massive game changer, we had been warned about how rude French people were and we experienced completely the opposite.

4. Plan ahead for lunch, boulangeries, charcuteries, epiciers and other food type shops often close down from 12.30pm to 2.30pm (so THEY can have lunch). 

5. Buy local - bistros and restaurants put a lot more thought and choice into wines sourced from the nearby area, and menus made from seasonal fresh produce can be exceptional.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 - 8:30am by Michael Hutton

It took less than 24 hours for us to realise how different the city of Barcelona is compared with Paris.  While there is an immediate charm and Old World Elegance to Paris, the centre of Catalonia in Spain is more wrapped up in a passionate chaos. From the fervour in traffic, the heated political climate and the flavours of the food and wine.  The politics of the city is keenly felt - much of Barcelona favours independence for Catalonia from the rest of Spain, with virtually every apartment building sporting multiple separatist banners.  

Saturday, 25 October 2014 - 8:30am by Michael Hutton

Our journey in France comes to a close in the Southern region of Languedoc - on the edge of the Mediterranean, and a land stepped deeply in history. We are staying in Narbonne, what used to be the Roman capital of the region, and reached its heyday as the trade crossroads between Spain to the West, Provence (and Rome itself) to the East, and the rest of Gaul to the North. 

The fortress of Carcasonne is a good example of the many layers of history here.  Initially a Roman outpost, then a small keep and citidel defended but surrendered by the Cathars in the 1200's, and an Impregnable walled fortress city on the border of France and  Aragon until the 1600's - at which point Roussillon became part of France, the shifting border making the fortress somewhat obselete.  Restored to beauty and grandeur to its medieval prime in the 1800's and now a major tourist attraction. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 - 6:30am by Michael Hutton

And so we arrive in the South of France, and settle into the stunning but sleepy town of Menerbes.  This is one of a number of idyllic hillside fortress towns, with earliest remnants going back to Roman times. The town is better known for two events of different ages. Firstly, during the French Religious Wars in the 1500's the Protestants built a fortress on the site, augmenting an old convent and villas from around 1250AD.  This was deliberately to antagonise the Pope, and lead to 5 years of siege over which a huge amount of ordinance was heaped opon the battlements.

Friday, 17 October 2014 - 8:45am by Michael Hutton

Today was our first in the Northern Rhone, in a small town called Saint-Peray... A small working class area near the town of Valence, known for inexpensive sparkling wines, and the ruins of a 12th Century Chateau looming immediately above the town.  What the region is really famous for, are the wines from the steep hills surrounding Tain l'Hermitage, and further north from Cote Rotie and Condrieu.  

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