James Viognier 2011

Despite the fact it’s going to be a Rugby World Cup weekend, and we’ll probably have to buy a new couch when this tournament is over, judging by the treatment CCQC is dishing out to the existing one, with his leaping up and down, we do have to bottle the 2011 Viognier tomorrow. This year’s Viognier is shaping up to be amazing – apricots, white peaches, and (I don’t know where this is coming from) – hints of sandalwood scents. Viognier seems to have a flush of beauty about this time after vintage (five to six months) so we’ll bottle it, label it, then get it out there in the market. Unlike most New Zealand Viognier producers, we put our Viognier in Grande Burgundy bottles, with corks. I know I’m a fusspot, but I’m prejudiced against screwcaps. I’m getting to the stage where if someone even opens a bottle of red wine with a screwcap my mouth starts to pucker up.

Nah, it’s just not the same.

And our 2010 Syrah – even the 2011 Syrah, which we were worried would run out of hot sun – are both coming along nicely too. They’ll stay in the barrel a while.

So tomorrow Simon Groves will turn up with the mobile bottling plant, which does around six bottles at once. The bottles are already sterilised, as are the corks (which are printed with ‘James’ – good quality Portugese corks). We rinse the bottles of dust, then place them on the rack which fills them up with lovely wine. Then you take them off and pass them to CCQC who places them on the cork machine and he rams the cork into them. The capsules go on later, in at Martinborough Wine Makers, when the labels are wrapped on the bottles, and they’re packed in boxes of six.

It’s a nice way to spend a morning.

All else is well at Redbank. Spring has warmed up the garden. The fruit trees have blossomed. We’ve had the first meal of globe artichokes, and the broccoli is keeping us in vitamins. The bantams kept laying all through winter, and after Christmas I’ll restock with more hens, and piglets. Meanwhile, there’s just Kete and Scaredy Kat.

Kete was once, as a special treat, allowed inside to catch mice, so she hid herself and tried the surprise element.

And over the road at Te Muna’s the cows are breeding.

And if you’re feeling like visiting Martinborough, why not buy a ticket to our Home and Garden tour? It’s on again, this time on Saturday 12 November, 10am to 5pm, eight totally different houses from last year, with a gourmet picnic lunch at Parehua Country Estate, and we have two country markets, plus three leading Wairarapa artists exhibiting. All proceeds go to the St Andrews Anglican Church Hall, which is used by the whole community for many activities, including breakfast club for the school children.

Here is just one of the houses you’ll be privileged to wander through – it was 2010 House of the Year and it is unbelievably dazzling. Oh – tickets are $70, include lunch, email temuna@xtra.co.nz.

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