Cue the world’s smallest violen. It’s no mean feat writing a blog every day after writing all day long and it’s not because I’m not inspired to write but cycling, walking and working out online have also occupied day eight in lockdown here in Martinborough.
Today’s wine for lockdown is incredibly tasty. It’s a perfectly fresh, perfectly preserved example of one of the world’s great white grapes.
It’s 10 years old, sealed with a screwcap and made from hand picked grapes harvested at 22 brix on 23 April 2010 into 132 picking bins and equally distributed between 12 New Zealand winemakers known for being a bit of a dab hand at making… Riesling.
It is one of the 12 bottles made that year, this one by winemaker Simon McGeorge. I was sent a case of these wines when they were released and I wrote about them all in the New Zealand Herald when I wrote that newspaper’s weekly wine column in Viva, published every Wednesday. Then my sister bought a case of this wine which she, Dad and I all polished off over a family Xmas week one year. Then I bought another case and have cellared it ever since. Just so that you know the whole story.
2010 New Zealand Riesling Challenge Waipara Simon McGeorge
This comes fresh from my wine cellar and even at 10 years old, I think it’s got another 10 years’ of life because it still looks pale in colour, tastes incredibly fresh and is so succulent that it’s hard to believe it is a decade old. I love the concept behind the New Zealand Riesling Challenge and would love to see it again.
Alcohol in this wine is 12.8% ABV and it’s classified on the back label as just in the medium dry category, which means residual sugar will be approximately 12 grams per litre. Tasty as. Proof again how good North Canterbury Riesling is.
I’m always a bit dubious when people say their heart goes out to someone. It’s not that my heart doesn’t ‘go out’ to people. If anything, I probably over empathise with most people, but saying your heart ‘goes out’ feels like such an overstatement that it reminds me of Lady MacBeth. Not that I’m joking about washing hands right now.
I have been thinking about the Italians today after reading a brilliant piece in The Guardian by a journo who lives there and talks about how surreal it feels in the empty alleyways. He talks about this very touchy-feely country that is now, understandably, obsessed with personal space, as infections and deaths leap by 20% to 30% every day. Intensive care units are full. Hospital wards spill into corridors, tents and gardens. Some doctors have died, others say they feel like they’re dealing with an earthquake every day.
My heart feels saddened by the incredibly high death tolls in Italy right now and after working at home today, I decided to open an Italian wine to toast the recovery of that great country – one of my favourite places on Earth. I love the sociable, excited, supposedly undisciplined chaos that so many people describe Italy as having. I hope it comes back.
2015 Belvento Sireno Toscana $23.99
This wine is a treasure. An affordable, earthy, succulent Super Tuscan made from 90% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Sangiovese; fermented in stainless steel to 27 degrees Celcious then matured in a combo of small oak barriques (225 litres) and larger oak (30 to 50 litre barrels), all older wood, nothing new here. The philosophy is to preserve and enhance the fruit flavours of these three great classic grapes. It’s a tasty little number. Here’s to Italy.