Temperature and Wine- Keeping your Wine Safe in the Sun
Here’s hoping for an awesome summer with plenty of sun, but remember to think of your wine before you head out this summer.
High Temperatures are the number one enemy for wine, so we recommend not leaving wine in the back seat of your car. UV light damages the wine, as well as the heat. Luckily, coloured glass can keep your wine safe from the pesky sun but its best not to leave it to chance. Excessive heat can prematurely age your wine and make the aromas and flavours appear flat- all wines are best stored between 10-15 C.
If your wine raises above 30 C, the wines volatile components will be lost, and the wine can taste cooked. But don’t be tempted to chuck it in the freezer to cool it down, a few minutes too long and freezing could force the cork out!
When it comes to serving the wine, big burly reds can handle being served at warmer temps but more delicate wines like it cooler.
Here’s a rough guide to serving the Odyssey Wines range:
Odyssey Reserve Iliad Pinot Noir -17C
Odyssey Pinot Noir -15C
Odyssey Reserve Iliad Gisborne Chardonnay -12C
Odyssey Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Rose -10C
Odyssey Sauvignon Blanc -8-10C
Homer Sparkling Rose -6C
See what you prefer, have fun and keep yourself and your wine safe from the sun!
Q+A With Michael From The Grove
We talked to Michael Dearth owner and front of house extraordinaire of The Grove Restaurant about their new menu, their favourite American wines and what brought them to NZ from The States.
So tell me a little bit about the history of The Grove… How did you get to be here and what do you think you bring to the area?
I came to NZ when I was backpacking after a long trip through Australia and South East Asia. I was young and single and feel in love with the place. It spoke to me. I knew someday I wanted to live here. When I returned to America and met Annette (his partner) working together in San Francisco, I said, ‘If this is going to work out you are going to have to move out to NZ with me! She did and the rest is history.
What do we give to the area? Well, I had travelled a lot so I knew what NZ was lacking. It was at the time there were all the show off food- foams etc. We wanted to bring quality, simplistic food, organic wherever possible and definitely in season. But above all we wanted to provide awesome service and be connected which is easy for us as it is such a great place. I was already a sommelier and Maître de and my knowledge of wine had been well nurtured by then.
What are some highlights over the last five years for The Grove?
Opening the door to The Grove was the biggest highlight! It was the culmination of a huge amount of work and a major project, moving out here from the States, finding the place and getting it all up and running. Then the Best Restaurant of the year in Metro that was a great boost as it was recognition of the hard work.
How much is the direction and inspiration of The Grove is influenced by your and Annette’s San Francisco experience?
San Francisco is like an island of food and wine culture in America. I worked there for 15 years and knew I wanted to work in hospitality. Its gateway to the Napa and Sonoma and some of the best Sommeliers in the country reside there. I worked under a guy Harry Stone and tasted alongside him and other sommeliers. It’s like a big farm with seasonal and organic produce at our doorsteps.
You are organic where possible and seasonal. What are the highlights we can look forward to over the summer?
Zucchini Flowers stuffed with goat’s ricotta with lemon, lime zest with rosemary and thyme herbs. This is the type of food I grew up on. We had a huge garden and ate seasonally and preserved the rest.
What is your favourite dish on The Grove menu right now?
Ben’s seasonal terrines- made with wild game and foie gras, hazelnuts and walnuts. It has an amazing wine match with desert wines and fun at the beginning of the meal.
Your wine list is often commended, how do you get a list like this?
I love weird and esoteric wines. Wines from Bulgaria, Greece and Austria. I love serving wines which people have to ask about and enjoy showing new wines to guests.
People now come to me with unusual or different wines. My time alongside top sommeliers and tasting wines from around the world and friendships with many winemakers in California has meant we have a varied wine list here.
What’s the difference between NZ and Californian Chardonnays?
Californian Chardonnays can have the extracted, ripe round and voluptuous sometimes this can be too much. New Zealand Chardonnays have a grape fruity and citrus character tensioned between the richness and minerality. I am growing more towards the NZ styles.
You have the Odyssey Reserve Iliad Gisborne Chardonnay on the list. What would that pair well with?
We have a risotto on the menu made with individually fried whitebait. There’s an elegance and finesse to the dish and it’s very textural, this goes so well with the Iliad.
What are your favorite American wines on your list right now?
Right now I am enjoying the wines of Nick Unti from Sonoma. I love the way he makes blends from multiple varietals and teams up ancient varietals from Italy for example with modern Zinfandels, Petite Syrah and Mouvrvedre. Unti wines have a fun aspect about them.
Italians often bring their cuisine and wine with them when they immigrate to create pockets of Italian culture and cuisine.
One cannot help but think that Michael and Annette have brought their own a bit of Italy and San Francisco cuisine with them here in the form of Baduzzi and The Grove, and we are so thankful for that! Yum!
Catching up with Kiwiseed
We caught up with Maren from KiwiSeed to talk about the importance of diversification in plants on vineyards and suitability to different soils. MAren is the horticulture agronomist at KiwiSeed, and she has studied a B SC Horticulture, graduating in 2008.
Where do you come from and how you got to come to work in Marlborough? How different is it from your home country?
I was born and raised in the green outskirts of busy Berlin, Germany. In comparison, Marlborough has got a lot to offer if you enjoy being outdoor, coast, flats, hills, rivers and generally a much more relaxed attitude.
My parents always encouraged me to travel and see the world early on, so I did. I travelled through Europe, did a high school year in America and travelled around Australia in 2005. I then finished my Bachelor of Science in horticulture back home before my partner and I decided to escape to New Zealand. After travelling for three months, I worked in the Marlborough’s vineyards before I heard Kiwi Seeds owner Bruce was looking for a Horticulturalist. I started the next Monday and haven’t left since, maybe its meant to be!
Maren is a horticultural agronomist at KiwiSeed and is responsible for designing many of the regions vineyards cover crops. Maren can you explain how you start to work out what seeds to prescribe sow on the organic vineyards?
To get a better understanding of my client`s needs I ask some questions:
- What are you trying to achieve – attract beneficial insects or create enormous amounts of biomass to improve soil structure, tilth, nutrient levels, combat soil erosion and so on, or is it a combination of both?
-Are there any water logging issues and what are the soils like?
Its also important to find out if the block will be grazed by sheep or cattle now or in near future and what the future plans are.
How important is biodiversity in a vineyard?
It is very important to increase biodiversity as much as possible in vineyards to reduce the risks related to monoculture. Using cover crops is a great way to regenerate nutrients and our protect soils. Soils hold at least one quarter of the world`s biodiversity and healthy soils are base for healthy food and wine production.
What influence does soil type have on what seeds you sow?
Some plants do better on some soils than others. So to create a blend that will work in a particular vineyard situation you need to know the soil type and what plants to match. The tricky bit is often there are more than just one soil type in a vineyard- dry bony parts and hollows that hold water for long time.
What trends do you see in organic vineyards?
Definitely organic and biodynamic vineyard managers are aware of dangers in monoculture production systems and realise the benefits of diversity. It is great news that more and more blocks here in Marlborough are being converted to organic production sites and even conventional growers are starting to open up to the idea to have a couple rows in wildflowers during the spring/ summer months to attract those beneficial insects.
What’s the most interesting part of your job?
Diversity! I get to look after our Vineyard clients. I am also in charge of all the other seed production contracted to Kiwi Seed. On a daily basis I get to meet very interesting people with great ideas, knowledge and skills.
The Return Of The Cork
The cork, once a disastrous low-quality bacteria breeding ground is making a comeback. The novelty and quality associated with the cork is once again in vogue, while the screw top -albeit convenient- has had its time at the top. Needless to say, there is a personal preference, and Rebecca talked to some of New Zealand’s top restaurants before catching up with Agberico Miranda from cork supplier A Winning Influence to find out more about the improved quality of corks.
James from SPQR said when screw tops first came out twenty years ago he had guests return the bottles saying ‘I don’t want wine with a screw top’, staying true to the cork. Andrew at The French Café says his guests understand that even the high quality wines are under screw top, because of the issue with cork- it can be difficult at the best of times. Dan at Scotch Bar in Blenheim says he would prefer wines under cork as compared screw top as it gives an improved sense of quality!
Rebecca Salmond Winemaker/Owner also met with Alberico Miranda from Hawkes Bay based cork supplier A Winning influence. Alberico is leading the way in New Zealand for corks, and is supplying New Zealand Winemakers at long last with corks we can feel confident in again.
Alberico, 15 years ago the cork industry was in a mess. What are you doing differently nowadays to make sure the quality of the corks is as free as it can be from cork taint?
Well, I came to NZ 11 years ago and already I was producing my own corks in Portugal so the supply is consistent, and I know exactly where the corks are coming from. Only sourced from the top of the tree, never from the base of the tree and only top grade cork.
Technology and quality control standards have advanced greatly nowadays. We boil the corks twice, we rinse with fresh water and then we refrigerate the corks at the end so there is no potential mould growth. We also package very carefully and transport so there is no chance of contamination.
All corks undergo the Prime-cork treatment to remove as much undesirable characters and cork taint before it leaves Portugal.
After I receive an order from the wineries I work closely with in New Zealand I then go through the batches to double check organoleptically the corks for no incidence of taint, we are getting very good results and more and more winemakers are coming to me for top grade of cork.
Corks are making a comeback in New Zealand, why is that do you think?
The Chinese market has a huge part to play because it insisted and preferred the NZ wines under cork. Therefore the winemakers were still working with the cork and as the consistency got better they began to gain more confidence. Many winemakers still prefer the taste of wine bottled under cork and there are triangular statistical studies to prove this case, especially in ageing wines. Also there is a perception in many markets like Asia and America that the quality of wines is higher under cork than screw and that better margin can be obtained.
With more consistency in the cork many winemakers feel there are just as many or more incidences in faults through screw caps than cork, like the sleeve not sealing properly and oxidation of the wine. Some, and many organic produces like the natural nature of the cork. It also is a point of difference.
At Odyssey Wines, we bottle all the Iliad and Behave wines under cork, as well as the Odyssey Pinot Noir from Marlborough. The aromatic whites and Rose are under screw top as it is a convenience thing and the wines will invariably be drunk young.
So what does it come down to? I suppose personal preference, but it is definitely worth ageing wine under cork, let us know what you prefer.
Getaway to Fiji -A Q+A With Victoria Wines
Rebecca Salmond talked to Kate, daughter of Liam the founder of Victoria Wines in Fiji to find out what is exciting her about the direction of Victoria Wines, and what Victoria Wines does up in Fiji…
How did Victoria Wines Start?
20 years ago VW was established by Liam to service the restaurant and bars around Fiji. Its still the only dedicated wine importer and distributor here. We taste everything we import and have always maintained stringent controls on temperature etc so the wine is always in perfect condition.
You mentioned you are working closely with Fiji Tourism what’s happening there?
There is an impressive evolution in Fiji these days whereby the Top Resorts are very committed and focused on offering fine dining experiences with world class cuisine. Victoria Wines sponsors a Food and wine event in Denerau where the top chefs showcase their top dishes. Dishes have a local flair and it’s as fine as you will see anywhere. It is great to be working with these top resorts to help create the ultimate culinary experience.
Where can you find Odyssey Wines in Fiji?
Vomo Island Resort, Laucala Island Resort, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa,and The Pearl Resort as well as at the Victoria Wines retail shops located in Nadi, Suva and the new store upstairs at Port Denerau.
The retail stores offer a huge selection of wines. The port Denerau store is very handy as it’s at the Port and gateway to the island resorts- a hidden gem in the marina!
Whish Odyssey Wine is your favourite at the moment?
I always love the Odyssey Rose. It’s fresh and light and I love it as an aperitif and then also with a salad or Tuna sashimi. A perfect drink for many occasions. The Iliad Chardonnay is always a favourite also and a wine many people already know about.
Catching up with Ponsonby Road Bistro
We talked to Sarah Conway Chef and Melissa Morrow front of house extroadinaire of Ponsonby Road Bistro about their new menu, their favourites wines and how to cook with wine at home.
So tell me a little bit about the history of Ponsonby Road Bistro… How long have you been open and what do you think you bring to the area?
PBR has been going for 7 years. We pride ourselves in our warm reliable service and love it that we can welcome back so many regulars. It’s a bistro, so it has that kiss-on-the-cheek type of cosy environment. Its important that we can offer a constantly changing menu so that even if you eat here three times a week you can always get something fresh and delicious. We work constantly on the wine and food menus.
What are some highlights over the last five years for PRB?
Gaining a Culinary Hat and maintaining it since our first year with Cuisine, we are 1 of 12 restaurants to do so. We are also consistently in Metro’s top 50.
Your menu is a perfect balance between wholesome food and fine dining. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Ethos is very much extension of our personalities. Generosity of flavour, size and warmth of spirit and welcomeness are important to us. It is also very healthy, Sarah has studied Natural Nutrition and many of the dishes will feature pulses and be gluten free. We use rice flours as well, so if you feel great after dining here this is one of the reasons why. We also travel extensively and make sure we read all the time.
Your menu changes every three weeks, what can we expect to see on leading into summer? Any stand out dishes?
Cerviche and the Margarita Pizza with raw cherry tomatoes of various bright colours and buffalo mozzarella.
What is your favourite dish on the menu right now?
The Manti, it is back due to popular demand!
Your wine list is often commended, how do you get a list like this?
Like the food list, we constantly work on the wine list. We work to find delicious wines at a reasonable price which can be a challenge. Hand on my heart, there is nothing on this list unless we love it! Its like on the food menu and runs parallel with it; it needs to be global, interesting, and quirky. Melissa also loves blended wines.
You stock both our Chardonnay ‘Iliad” and our Pinot Noir ‘Behave’, and they have been on your wine list for a long time! What is it that you think your customers like about Odyssey Wines?
We have had Odyssey Wines on the list since we started! We have some staples which we just cant remove, they are benchmark wines just like with the food, the Southern Clams are a signature dish, and our Cream brûlée too! We love the Odyssey wines, they are local, the quality is consistent, and it is nice to deal with Rebecca the winemaker, they sit well price wise they age well.
What is the perfect dish at PRB to match with our Chardonnay?
Odyssey Reserve Iliad Chardonnay and the Southern Clams with shallots, thyme, garlic with a splash of Odyssey Chardonnay and cream and grilled sourdough.
And how about the Pinot Noir?
Pinot Noir, the duck confit with crab apple jelly and duck rosemary toasties and a bitter leaf salad, divine!
PRB food is rich in flavour. What would you say are you top tip for cooking with wine at home?
Cook with the same wine which you are serving. If you don’t cook for long, the flavours will still come out in the food. The rich flavour also comes down to our Suppliers. Over time and without preconception we have ended up with suppliers who are organic or biodynamic. Its like a thread of contacts who all are inter-connected in some way – the silver threads in life that bind it all together.
There is very much an energy heart and soul at PRB!
ONLINE STORE LAUNCH
Odyssey Wines Online Store
Here at Odyssey Wines we are big on quality and collaboration, that’s why we use organic systems in our vineyards, employ quality and skilled local workers and businesses to help with our endeavours, and ensure we sell our wine to you in quality marketplaces and restaurants.
Our wine is available for purchase from fine wine stores in many of NZ’s big towns. But, if you live out of the way of these areas, fancy yourself a bit of an online shopper, or love a deal, we bring you our new and improved online shop.
The shop features all of our wines, from ‘Behave’ through to special limited releases, and our core Odyssey range. With the new online store, we offer deals and specials on our wine as well as providing you a range of information, reviews and tasting notes to ensure you are purchasing the perfect bottle to match your, or your loved ones, taste. For those customers who enjoy keeping their cellar full, we also have the Wine Club. Save 15% on all bottles by signing up, and receive three shipments of Odyssey Wines per year in either a dozen or half a dozen quantity. You can sign up here.
Our website has also been updated, too. It features an easy-to-use interface to make your online shopping experience less stressful. Our new blog segment features interviews with local restaurants, chefs, friends and industry insiders to provide you with plenty of knowledge about Odyssey Wines and the New Zealand wine and food industry. Also keep an eye out for a range of interesting articles about wine, storage, matching and tasting from Odyssey Wines award winning head winemaker and owner Rebecca Salmond. Give us a follow on Facebook and instagram to stay up to date and get a behind the scenes glimpse into Odyssey Wines, or stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter.
To celebrate the launch of our new website, we are offering a 6 + 1 dirty half dozen deal. Buy any six bottles on the online store in the month of November, and we will send you a seventh bottle for free!*
(we choose the seventh bottle!
Spring Cleaning at the Vineyard
Flying down and visiting the vineyard last week, I got to see the spring cleaning under way. The pruning is all finished, and the fertilizers are on. We have had soil tests taken and, from the results of these, our viticultural consultant can decide what we are missing. In order to continue to be organic, all fertilisers have to be elemental in nature, and no synthetic chemicals are allowed.
We don’t mind this patchy, wet spring weather as the winter and early spring rains fill our irrigation dam, to help us through the hot, and sometimes very dry, Marlborough summers.
The biggest job on the vineyard at the moment is under-vine weeding/cultivating. Being organic, we don’t use herbicides to kill the weeds so we try to remove the competition of the weeds during the first spring growth flush. This way, the plant will do a lot better and will be able to cope better with weeds later in the season. The sheep have done an awesome job mowing down the grass and now we just need to manually grub out the big clumps they have missed. a job not for the faint hearted, but it definitely alleviates the need to go to the gym!! Any takers??
Q+A with Cenna from Local Flavour Honey Co
For this weeks blog, we caught up with our Wellington wine rep Cenna. Not just passionate about Odyssey Wines, Cenna is also big on bees. When she is not selling our wine on the streets of Wellington, she is working on her business, the Local Flavour Urban Honey Co, a Wellington based company leasing bees to local businesses, restaurants and urban dwellings.
We talked bees, honey and of course, wine with Cenna to kick off a new blog series on Odyssey Wines where we chat to our friends and local business owners so that you can learn even more about what is going on in your backyard! Enjoy!
What do you do with bees in Wellington? What do you like about it?
My company Local Flavour Urban Honey Co, places hives in urban backyards, rooftops and green-spaces to produce small batch neighbourhood specific honeys and to help rebuild honey bee numbers in urban environments. We partner with restaurants that want to use rooftop honey on their menus and with residents, community groups and public garden spaces to help with the pollination of their urban vegetable patches.
Wellington is a terrific place for bees given the amount of green-space and relatively mild winters. The honey from each apiary is kept separate so that you can see/taste the differences in the plant life throughout Wellington. We also maintain our hives organically and keep the honey raw and unheated to preserve all the beneficial enzymes and more subtle flavours that real honey can provide.
As grape plants are self-pollinating they don’t really need bees in their pollination, whats the benefit of bees for a vineyard?
The benefits are more in relation to encouraging biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem which in turn benefits everyone. Bees in the area will also compete with wasps for nectar/food source which might help keep populations in check.
And we agree with Cenna, we have clover planted in our vineyard which fixes Nitrogen in the soil, this is very important for organics as it’s one of the only ways to get usable Nitrogen into the soil. Bees pollinate the clover to make it all happen… and also make great honey!
How do we encourage bees to come onto our vineyard?
The best way to encourage pollination is to plant other nectar rich flowers in the area that bloom at a different time. This will bring more pollinators to the area. Also bee population numbers tend to wane as nectar is less available, by keeping plants flowering throughout the season you’ll keep the population strong and busy.
How is the New Zealand’s bee population?
It’s better here than in many other parts of the world but there are always new threats. People don’t realise how vulnerable bee populations are and how absolutely crucial they are to our food supply. NZ exports our bees all over the world as they healthy and are a good strain.
Whats your favourite Odyssey Wine?
That’s a tough one! Right now it’s a dead tie between the 13 Pinot Gris and the Iliad Chardonnay. The Pinot Gris is such an interesting style and I love how textural it is and that it gives the illusion of sweetness but finishes clean. It’s a great wine for tastings because it surprises people every time. The Iliad is just a generous, beautiful and balanced Chardonnay. I challenge any serious wine drinker to try it and not to fall in love.
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Bee hives at our vineyard
Why Odyssey Wines Went Organic
My first real positive impression of organics in winemaking was during my vintages in Burgundy, learning the art of Pinot Noir making. No one really talked about organics, they just did it and lived it. It was accepted that if you wanted to make top wine, you needed to be organic. Then there was a book about Biodynamics called, ’From Sky to Earth’ by Nicholas Joly. It was one of those books I read and re-read I forget how many times. He talks, among other things, about balance in the soil and the system, as well as recollecting on when Superphosphate sales people visited French farmers after the War, dumping chemicals and telling them they were best for the soil, and that would assist vineyard growth and make them rich! This act ended up rooting the land! and has since taken years of hard work to re-balance.
This book really influenced my decisions and plans when it came to Odyssey Wines and in 1990, when Odyssey Wines bought 68 acres of bare land in Marlborough, I chose to take a holistic, organic approach to the winemaking. The land was clay soils on a hillside, definitely not the easiest land to grow grapes on. So, from the get go, the land needed a serious plan and ongoing commitment to re-charge the soils with organic matter in order to grow the best grapes. The land still to this day requires replenishment every step of the growing process. An organic programme with interrow cultivating, under-vine weeding and yearly mulching feels right for the land and the soils are responding well with great texture- we are now experiencing good growth. The weeds are managed with sheep and mechanical weeding and that zone under the vine, whilst messy, is full of life and much better than a dead zone.
It is great to be sustainable and recycling matter back into the soil, and to be armouring the grapes with thicker skins so they are more resistant to disease. This assists in protecting the grapes and eliminating the need for a shotgun approach with chemical sprays. It makes you plan ahead… prevention rather than cure. Although this has been a challenge for us to get everything humming along and in sync, it is immensely satisfying when you see the outcome, plus it is a fabulous learning experience on how to best manage the soil. At the start you make mistakes but you learn from it. Here in New Zealand, there are some great people to help and advise along the way as well, plus there is a great sense of pride in looking after our own turf on the earth!
Odyssey Wines are now making some of our most flavoursome wines from the Marlborough Vineyard, ones which characterise the vineyard and region, and reflect our own terroir. The wines have character and an individuality due to our organic management, and you can really taste the difference. Many of our wines hold a dense, yet full-bodied flavour and the balance between sweet and sour does not come from additives, but instead from the natural make up of the grapes. We have received the Biogrow full organic certification from our 2013 Vintage’s, and we recently won a Gold Medal for our Sauvignon Blanc 2014 at the New Zealand Organic Wine Awards. The shift to organic was a no-brainer for Odyssey Wines and isn’t something we see the need to brag about- it is a way of life for us. On a personal level, I buy organic whenever I can, and would rather consume as little chemical residue as possible. I expect an organic product to have good flavour and I love supporting companies who are forward thinking and active in this movement!