Saturday 25 September 2010

Restaurant Review: Eight Point Two, Birkenhead

For the first time in at least two years we decided to give Eight Point Two a go this evening.  We had not been impressed previously with the food, service or the general vibe but tonight was quite a different experience.

We were met by a very cheerful waitress and seated shortly thereafter.  There was an excellent vibe in the restaurant and it was almost full.  We had excellent professional & friendly service throughout the evening, and our water glasses were continually refilled in a timely manner; we also received good, knowledgeable advice about wine matches.

The menu is not extensive and a little more variety would have been nice, the wine list however has a nice variety.  We started with the “Ciabatta, roast garlic butter” which was as simple as it sounds.  I then followed this with the “Hapuka, cauliflower, blood orange and sherry vinaigrette” which was nice however it didn’t have a wow factor; the hapuka was perfectly cooked and a decent sized portion but it lacked anything special whatsoever.  Jane had the “Pork Involtini, prosciutto, Sicilian stuffing, courgettes, pinenuts” that she found was a little on the tough side, but enjoyed none-the-less.  We accompanied our meals with a “Mixed Green Salad, whitlof, rocket” which was simple but good.

For dessert, I thoroughly enjoyed the “Chocolate Terrine, orange, cognac raisins, candied zest”; it was rich with chocolate without being too rich.  Jane also enjoyed her dessert, “Caramelised Muscato Tart, whipped cream”; it had flavours akin to an apple strudel and a creme brulee.

All in all we had a nice evening, and despite our main meals not excelling we will look to return at some point.

Monday 20 September 2010

Villa Maria Reserve Merlot 2004, Hawkes Bay

image With light leather and dark plum to the nose this wine has a magnificent ruby red colour.  The dark plum flavours follow through to the palate and are also complemented with some dark berry flavours.  For a 2004 wine, this wine is very tannic and also very dry.   The structure of this wine will support much longer cellaring.

Saturday 18 September 2010

Wine review: Esk Valley Estate Chenin Blanc Hawkes Bay 2008

Pale gold in colour, this wine has a magnificent aroma; it has sweet and citrus characteristics with a hint of oak.  It is even more sweet to taste but is well balanced with a solid citrus acidity, so the sweetness is not overpowering as all.  It is a full-bodied wine with a medium-long tail.

This is a very enjoyable wine to drink.  Drinking well now.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Clearview Estate Wine Tasting

image Clearview Estate is an excellent vineyard located next to the sea in the Te Awanga region of the Hawkes Bay.  We had the pleasure of a wine tasting this evening with the full-of-life passionate Tim Turvey (owner & winemaker) at the North Shore Wine & Food Society.

It was a magnificent evening and Tim brought along lots and lots of different wines to taste (some of which had only been bottled last Monday, such as the Blush Rose!).  I’m not going to critique each one, in fact there are already some I’ve reviewed on this blog before, but provide my general thoughts.

The white wines were my pick of the evening.  In fact there was not a single wine I tasted this evening I would not happily go out and buy.  The Gew├╝rztraminer wasn’t too heavy on Turkish Delight, the Semillon was lovely and delicate, the Reserve Chardonnay was as good as ever and as for the 2007 Endeavour Chardonnay (Cellar Door Price $250) this was magnificent, well balanced and very smooth.

In terms of the reds, the Pinot Noir des Trois was quite an interesting drop with Pinot Noir from three different areas of New Zealand coming together to form this nicely layered wine.  The Blush Rose was also lovely to drink.  The pick of the reds though had to be the 2007 Basket Press ($140); this was so flavoursome and perfectly balanced.

A very enjoyable evening and for white wines, in particular, Clearview Estate may now be my favourite vineyard.

Monday 13 September 2010

Wine Review: Matariki 2006 Chardonnay Hawkes Bay

With a beautifully soft toffee and grapefruit nose, this is a remarkably well-balanced wine.  It has light acidity, toffee and citrus flavour to taste.  It is so well-balanced in fact that the french oak flavours are almost non-existant.  This is a magnificent wine that has complexity that begs for another taste.  Drinking well now.

Friday 3 September 2010

Craggy Range Single Vineyard (Gimblett Gravels) Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2008

This light golden hue wine has a very soft earthy nose.  It is quite a fat wine with light french oak flavours and a little bit of a lemon tang.  It has a long tail, is very soft, easy to drink but I’m not feeling any wow factor.