Grapevine Archive for Gewurztraminer

Wed 01 Feb 2012

Greywacke Races on to the Scene

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Kevin Judd was born in Totton, Hampshire, emigrating to South Australia aged nine (“my parents went, and at that age you just go with the flow”) and then, with his wife Kimberley, on to New Zealand in 1983 where along with David Hohnen he was founding winemaker at LVMH’s iconic Cloudy Bay. He stayed there for 24 years. He says that his one regret is that he didn’t stay for his 25-year gold watch (LVMH also own TAG-Heuer!) but he certainly has no regrets about the path he has followed since.

2009 was the first vintage of Greywacke, so named because most of New Zealand lies upon the eponymous bedrock. The range comprises Sauvignon Blanc, Wild Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Late Harvest Gewürztraminer. At the end of January 60 members were fortunate enough to try six of these seven wines at Peter Gordon‘s Kopapa Café and Restaurant which had been expertly matched by Peter himself and his head chef Leigh Hartnett. We were delighted that both Kevin and Kimberley were there to talk to members about the wines in detail.

The aperitif of Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2011 was a sprightly, fresh, lime and fresh grass sauvignon which demands you have a second glass.

Smoked monkfish carpaccio

Kopapa’s speciality is tapas-style dishes, and so we had four shared small plates as our starters. The two dishes of goat’s curd panna cotta, beetroot yuzu salsa and black olive tuile, and then smoked monkfish carpaccio, white balsamic, caper & parsley dressing were a marvellous foil to the rounded, ripe, savoury, almost minty character of the Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2010 (due in February). Rich and yet palate cleansing at the same time, the savoury notes melded with the smoked monkfish as well as the classic sauvignon marriage with goat’s cheese.

The second pair of dishes (pan-fried Scottish scallops, sweet chilli & crème fraîche – Peter’s signature dish – and tempura spicy dhal inari pocket, caramelised coconut, plantain, pickled green papaya) were beautifully matched with Greywacke Riesling 2011 (it’s first showing anywhere in the world – due in June). The wine is fresh, off-dry, open, appealing with lime and mineral notes and should come with a label that says simply ‘Drink Me!’ The 20g/l residual sugar, and the lovely crisp acidity countered the sweetness of the coconut and the chilli spice perfectly.

Twice baked Crozier Blue soufflé

Next to the cheese course, and a twice baked Crozier Blue soufflé (no mean feat to produce 64 individual soufflés all at the same time!) with Jerusalem artichoke cream and a pomegranate dressing went superbly with the soft green apples and tropical fruit of the Greywacke Pinot Gris 2010, with its 8 g/l of sweetness balancing the light saltiness of the soufflé.

The beautifully cooked main course of lamb cutlet & braised lamb shank with white bean purée, kale and fig jus fitted hand in glove with Greywacke Pinot Noir 2010 (due in June). The wine, with its lovely waft of sweet cherries and cream, showed a savoury and mineral depth of huge proportion, and a fresh, almost eternal savoury finish.

To finish, Greywacke Late Harvest Gewurztraminer 2009 (we believe these were the last bottles in existence) with its 90 g/l of residual sugar and its trademark lychee and Turkish delight character, and yet a freshness rarely displayed in gewurz found elsewhere, with another signature dish of banana tarte tatin and sea salt caramel ice cream.

One of three books published by Kevin

As well as arguably being New Zealand’s top winemaker, he is a very talented photographer. He has published three books – details and several images can be found by clicking on this link – and members enjoyed browsing through the books as we ate and drank.

It was a night to remember and to savour. Kevin and Kimberley moved on the next day to Denmark in their four week odyssey of the northern hemisphere, but we look forward to their return to these shores, as well as the very welcome arrival of the new vintages later this year.

Ewan Murray
Head of Tastings & Events

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One of the many remarkable things about Alsace is the longevity of many of its wines. And to prove the point many growers still have stocks of older vintages, a very few going back a hundred years or more.

Another remarkable thing about Alsace is the time devoted to food in one way or another. And Alsace being at a crossroads in Europe with influences come from many different cultures, gastronomy is particularly varied.

Odile and Jean Meyer from Josmeyer

Anyway, these two remarkable things very happily came together one lunchtime at Josmeyer. The occasion was a thorough tasting of the 2009 vintage which is excellent in Alsace. I was also especially pleased to be with Jean Meyer again as he has had a tough year battling with ill health. There is no one more passionate about food and wine matching than he, and on this occasion Jean produced a master stroke.

The wine came first and was in itself a revelation. Jean had found a few bottles of old gewurztraminer. The vintage was 1982, great in Bordeaux of course but not that special in Alsace. Indeed it was a vintage only famous for the huge size of its crop. So Jean was expecting nothing when he thought he’d open a bottle to see. Of course it turned out rather good, even very good and so he chose it for my visit this year.

But what to serve with a 29 year old gewurz? Often the wisdom in such things is to have the wine on its own, forgiving any faults of old age and admiring its complexity, grace and depth of flavour. Not so chez Josmeyer and instead, and after much thought and a trial or two, Jean decided on a risotto which his wife, Odile prepared to perfection. The gewurztraminer grape produces wines with a lot of flavour, body and relatively low acidity. It copes well with dishes where there is some sweetness as in a risotto. Old cured ham such a Serrano from Spain and aged Parmesan work wonderfully well with old white wines such as good dry oloroso style of sherry, and for the same reason they combined brilliantly with this aged gewurz. Another marriage made in heaven!

1982 gewurztraminer is of course no longer available, but Odile Meyer was quite happy for members to have the recipe for her delicious risotto:

400g de riz Arborio rice
An onion
1.5 litres chicken stock
Really good Serrano ham, such as pata negra and preferably cut not too thinly
Sugar snap peas or mange tout
Carrot, celery and courgette, finely chopped and sautéed in olive oil until soft
A good 100g of fine old Parmesan
A couple of table spoons of crème fraîche
Huile d’olive
Glass of white wine

Finely chop the onion and soften in some olive oil
Add the rice and stir
Add the glass of white wine and then the stock, stir and leave to simmer on a gentle heat for 15 minutes
Add the Ham, coarsely chopped and the vegetables
Continue cooking for 5 minutes
Remove from heat, stir in the crème fraiche and Parmesan and serve.

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