Thursday, 17 July 2008

Nothing Cheesy About Wine

Well the recession has officially hit the Lorkin household. SkyTV has gone (my husband is bitter about that one) and there are no more electric blankets or heaters on during the night, just extra blankets. This afternoon I rang the insurance company and changed my husband’s old car policy to third-party because the discount will come in handy. Where once I experienced saintly elation at collecting the biggest supermarket petrol discount voucher, I now just get depressed that the stupid discount lasts for only one week and it just brings the price back to what it was a fortnight ago anyway. One minute I’m thrilled to have sold my wedding dress for $200 on TradeMe only to be told that it’s going to cost $140 to dry-clean! Despite the fact that it’s in pristine condition and has no lace, beads, baubles or dangly bits of any description. How ridiculous. Women are being ripped off royally. So the trade fell through because no bride wants a dress that hasn’t been freshly dry-cleaned. There will be no more guitar, gymnastics, ballet, Brownies, or karate lessons or expensive haircuts or restaurant dinners out and although I haven’t resorted to watering down my wines yet, wine and cheese evenings are definitely a distant memory.
I came home one day recently to find that my husband had grated about half a kilo of Edam onto his nachos. After screaming phrases like “yellow gold” “think of the children!” and “calcium is measured in carats these days!” I calmed down and opened a bottle of Trinity Hill’s Tempranillo ($26) and we made a night of it. Being a Spanish variety it worked beautifully with the beef, refried beans and spices. Tempranillo is best know as the main grape used for making Rioja and it’s also used in Portugal under the moniker Tinta Roriz, where it is used to make port and also the Duero dry reds, with Touriga Nacional. Trinity Hill grows theirs in the stony, free-draining and warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels and they’re one of only a tiny few New Zealand wineries to produce it. It may’ve been my last bottle, but it was worth it.
One thing I do have in abundance however is grapefruit; two teeming trees worth. Friends and family see me coming with bags of grapefruit and they break the land-speed record to escape. Having two trees is a curse and I refuse to make any more marmalade – so I’m going to make wine. Sweet wine I think. If anyone has a half-decent grapefruit wine recipe then I’d love to hear it. So when the depression does actually kick in at least I’ll have my moonshine.
In fact I wonder if there’s a way I could cobble together something that the Holden would happily run on from my profuse supply of squinty citrus? Hmmm.

Sip of the Week

Margrain Rivers Edge Pinot Noir 2007 $39
If this wine were a pie it would scream steak and kidney with a rich, earthy undercurrent and a waft of red liquorice on the nose as you sip. More please Margrain! Visit for where to buy.
Wyndham Estate Bin 888 Cabernet Merlot 2005 $16
For those who like their reds chunky, chewy and cheap – here’s your ticket. Roast plum, cedar and slivers of graphite mix with heady spices to produce a very big wine for under twenty bucks. Drink with sticky neck-chop stew.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 $29
The 2005 version came out top Pinot in the Cuisine Magazine pinot tasting and the 2006 nabbed the champion pinot trophy at the Royal Easter Show, the 2007 had a lot to live up to. But there’s no mistaking the skyscraper-like structure of this wine, loaded with prunes, tea, earthy bracken and leafy hedgerow characters and a finish like a slightly scratchy, but reassuring cosy electric blanket wrapped around your tongue. Huge potential here.
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve Particuliere NV 750ml $75 One glass is just such a tease, and yet a whole bottle is plain gluttony – good thing then that the people at Nicolas Feuillatte have little 200ml bottles just for such dilemmas. But whatever size you buy, you’ll be met with the delicate fragrances of sweet biscuit dough, soft lemon and popcorn, with crisp white peach, mealy shortbread and youthful, clinging acidity on the palate. If you’re a plate of oysters or freshly grilled crayfish – you’ve met your match. Distributed by Lion Nathan in NZ, you’ll find it at good fine wine stores and online retailers.