Tuesday 30 November 2010

Mystery Creek Pinot Gris 2006

Mystery Creek Wines is a small vineyard located 10km south of Hamilton, New Zealand.  With grapes from Clevedon (South Auckland) this pale straw coloured wine has very little to the nose and is actually reminiscent of a European white wine (a Chablis perhaps).  To taste it blind, I think I would have picked it as an un-oaked Chardonnay.  It was not at all what I was expecting for a Pinot Gris from this region, and whilst it does not taste like it has been done to the traditional Pinot Gris style it is in fact quite enjoyable.  It has a nice mouth feel, that is not gluggy but has a nice warmth.

Drinking well now.

Monday 22 November 2010

Burnt Spur Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Bizarrely, I smelt oysters to the nose when I first poured this wine.  Jane however didn’t agree, but did note that is was not as grassy as she would expect for a Marlborough Sauvignon.

This is quite a citrus-driven wine (which I did not expect in a Marlborough Sauvignon) and I found I also picked this up more on the nose after a few mouthfuls.

This is a lovely drop that has a nice level of tartness and is drinking well now.

Ristorante Andrea - Mission Bay Auckland

Now that I've learnt how to make my own pasta, including fettuccine, ravioli, cannelloni and lasagne, I tend to me more reluctant to pay for it at a restaurant and will tend to opt for gnocchi which I've not yet learnt how to make! Well, I was very pleased I did order the pasta on Saturday, when I had the pleasure of joining friends at Ristorante Andrea in Mission Bay.

I arrived a little earlier than my friends, and had no idea what name the booking was under, so after a confused conversation with the waitress, I lurked awkwardly on the footpath awaiting their arrival. The waitress soon approached me again and suggested I take a seat out the front while I waited - she was really nice about it and I appreciated being rescued! She continued to joke with us during the evening, along with providing really good service, as did the very Italian gentlemen who was also serving us, prompting us to order before the very large group that was settling in. I appreciated this quite homely feel and felt very welcome and like nothing was a problem.

Shortly after we'd all sat down at our table I commented to my neighbour on the brown paper strips serving as tableclothes. Until we found the jar of crayons and all proceeded to draw, sign and photograph our various masterpieces! Love it!

Anyway, back to the food! I ordered one of the many special pastas - Fettuccine alla Amatriciana. It was absolutely fabulous! A hint of spice, rich tomato, and bursting with flavour right to the very end. I absolutely would order this again.

4 of my companions also ordered pasta dishes, and I believe all enjoyed them. One pizza was ordered, and it looked really good, enough so that I'd go back for pizza as well.

Most of us had desserts, and these weren't quite as rave-worthy as the mains, but by no-means complaint-worthy either. When I return I'm likely to have starters and mains rather than mains & dessert.

In summary: comfortable friendly service, relaxed environment and really good pasta! Next time I'll take Simon, and I'll remember to take food photos.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Moana Park Vineyard Tribute Gewürztraminer 2008

To accompany a spicy chicken dish this evening I opened up a Gewürztraminer from Moana Park in Napier that complemented it nicely.

With a lovely golden robe, this wine is not as strong on Turkish delight / rose water flavours as many Gewürztraminers but the flavours are still there with a nice freshness and with a touch of sweetness.

This is a lovely wine to drink and it is drinking well now.