Just before Christmas, we had a Redbank party for local people, partly to say thankyou for all the wonderful hospitality we have enjoyed since we moved here just over 12 months ago, and partly to give them a taste of our wines. After all, locals are often the first port of call for those wanting a recommendation for a good local wine to buy. It didn’t matter that many of those we invited are also winemakers, or grapegrowers. Martinborough is a very community-minded place – we’re only as good as the weakest point. It’s in the interest of each individual to promote the place as a whole.
Our guests turned up with presents, and we were given quite a number of bottles of lovely wines. In the same spirit in which I used to do restaurant reviews for North & South magazine, ie, if it’s no good we didn’t review it, I’ll only report on the wines we are enjoying.
First, there’s Alexia Riesling, by Jane Cooper:
As you know, Jane makes our James Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. She’s also the winemaker at Matahiwi Estate, Masterton, and as if she wasn’t busy enough, she has her own label. This riesling is made from Martinborough grapes. It’s a lovely wine – crisp and dry but still with the enjoyment of the fruit. I also love Jane’s label – elegant and stylish, in the manner of her grandmother after whom she named her wines. Jane says her grandmother, Alexia, always wore “beautiful clothes and accessories – hats, gloves, shoes and scarves”, and had a zest for life.
The other wine we’ve enjoyed was given to us by John Porter, of Porters Wines in Martinborough. John presented the bottle to me when he arrived, saying he’d made it specially for me. Should I be flattered? The label tells me yes:
I’m not sure where this wine originated from, or if it’s commercially available, but it was very nice. John’s a good winemaker – he made our James Pinot Noir 2004 which is no longer available.
I’ll not mention labels, but sadly one bottle of Pinot Noir we were given, not a Martinborough wine, was horrible and I’m using it in the cooking.
Tonight we’ll begin celebrating the New Year with, appropriately, a bottle of Krug 1988. We’ll follow that with Chablis Premier Cru “Vaillons” 1998, Chambertin Clos De Beze Crand Cru 1990, and Dirler Vendanges Tardives Gewurztraminer 1996. That reminds me, I’d better go and put the whites in the fridge. Happy New Year.