Vigneron's Notes

A family wine estate from New Zealand. We craft traditional wine styles that emphasise texture, mouthfeel and persistence of flavour. www.bellbirdspring.co.nz

Month: January, 2012

One man went to mow ….

Yesterday evening I did one of the best liked jobs of the year.  Mowing the paddock for hay.  Now, my lines of lucerne may not be as straight as a pro’s but I get great satisfaction form knowing that what we grow feeds our little Dexter steers, which then feed us.  Every turn of the field yields another stew or steak.  Yum.

 

… in his trusty Kubota tractor.

Great fresh produce at Waipara Valley Farmers market tomorrow in Amberley.

Leaf plucking at Bellbird Spring

Are wine writers biased towards small producers?

Ted Farmer of Glug makes an interesting argument in his blog.  He gives good examples of writers who unfairly make negative comments about mass produced wines. This comes from his experience (and that of some wine writers) that inexpensive big brands can do well in blind tastings.

And he’s right. But …

My view is that big brands offer safe reliable drinking.  Values I look for in my car not a bottle of wine. Wines from small scale low tech wineries are exciting, different and cost more to make because of poor economies of scale.  The are like original art works not a Toyota.

Moral of the story: Don’t confuse drinking and driving.

Are wine writers biased towards small producers?

Ted farmer of Glug makes an interesting argument in his blog.  He gives good examples of writers who unfairly make negative comments about mass produced wines. This comes from his experience (and that of some wine writers) that inexpensive big brands can do well in blind tastings.

And he’s right. But …

My view is that big brands offer safe reliable drinking.  Values I look for in my car not a bottle of wine. Wines from small scale low tech wineries are exciting, different and cost more to make because of poor economies of scale.  The are like original art works not a Toyota.

Moral of the story: Don’t confuse drinking and driving.

Wine proof your cell phone

I remember losing at least on mobile phone into the drink.  If only I had had nanotechnology.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/technology/8400638/waterproof-smartphones-now-possible

Recipe for Cuban black beans and rice. Yum.

I bought some black beans from the great Christchurch deli/wine shop/pizzeria/cafe Med Foods.  This is what I cooked: Cuban black beans and rice.  Lightly spiced (I added the optional cumin), filling and healty. I ate it with Mt Difficulty Mansons Farm Pinot Gris. A lovely rich medium PG.

Image

This recipe for Cuban Black beans comes from the web site http://www.whats4eats.com

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil — 1/4 cup
  • Onion, finely chopped — 1
  • Bell pepper, finely chopped — 1
  • Garlic, minced — 3 to 4 cloves
  • Tomato sauce — 1/2 cup
  • Black beans, cooked — 2 cups
  • Thyme –1 teaspoon
  • Oregano — 2 teaspoons
  • Bay leaf — 1
  • Rice — 1 cup
  • Water or stock — 1 3/4 cups
  • Red wine vinegar — 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper — to taste

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomato sauce, beans and herbs and simmer for 5-10 minutes to meld flavors.
  3. Stir in the rice, stock or water and vinegar and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let set covered for another 5-10 minutes. Then stir lightly with a fork and serve.

Variations

  • Congrí: Use red kidney beans in place of the black beans.
  • Haitian Diri ak Pwa: Use butter instead of olive oil and red kidney beans in place of black beans. A little hot chile pepper (Scotch bonnet) is also usually added. Eliminate the vinegar.
  • Dominican Arroz con Habichuelas: Use small red beans in place of the black beans.
  • Substitute pimentos for the chopped bell pepper if you like. Add at the same time as the tomato sauce.
  • Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin to the onions as you sauté if you like

http://www.whats4eats.com/grains/moros-y-cristianos-recipe

Ever wondered how sensory scientists spend their evenings?

ImageWine scientists compare smells in a very systematic way says Wynne Parry, LiveScience Senior Writer in ‘ How Scientists Solve Flavor’s Language Problem’

http://www.livescience.com/17790-flavor-sense-aroma-communicating.html

Gladstones’ new book on terroir and climate change. A hot topic?

Dr John Gladstones the internationally recognised authority on climate and viticulture has brought out a new book.   Wine, Terroir and Climate Change finesses his views on terroir and is sceptical about the degree of climate change that will occur and thus the degree of effect on terroir. At least that is what he says if you can accurately compress 288 pages in to 25 words.

Here are a couple of reviews:

joannenova.com.au and James Halliday

Waipara Valley Wine and Food Festival 2012

The most exciting wine and food region in New Zealand presents our annual festival on 3 March 2012

Every year we celebrate the upcoming harvest with a festival. After the earthquake damaged the Glenmark church last year, the festival has moved to a new home in another stunning Waipara Valley environment.

Over 20 wineries and many local food producers will come together in the beautiful Waipara Valley setting of the Mud House Winery and Cafe

Waipara Valley Food and Wine Festival link