Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Central Otago Wine Country - December 2001 - Excerpt from The Life and Times of Love and Vines

December 18, 2001 - We had been to Australia and back, nearly broke but spirits unbroken. It was a beautiful summer day and we decided that while continuing our search for orchard work in the bucolic hinterlands of New Zealand's South Island, we would fit in some winery visits. Fate lead us to our next job - Gibbston Valley Winery and Vineyards.

Winery Visit No 2
Peregrine is a new winery, its first wine released in 1998. This was another of the wineries whose wines we featured at Coronet Peak. Its more modest than Chard Farm, housed in a pair of stone structures, an historic wool shed and its 127 years old cookhouse. The woman who works here in the small, cluttered office is friendly and happy to give us tastes.

Peregrine Tasting Notes
First Wine Released in 1998 – Caretakers of Wentworth Estate Vineyards

Pinot Gris 2001 Nose – Mild aroma, herb and spice, Palate – Gewurztraminer-esque spice, dry & crisp mild fruit, vegetal flavors

Pinot Noir Wentworth 1999 Nose – Ripe berries, strawberry, Palate – Dryer than the nose implies, complex and deep with low tannin and acid, a little residual sugar, long length This is 100% Gibbston fruit from a single vineyard.

The Wentworth Estate vines that Peregrine maintains surround the woolshed. They are also the caretakers of the historic structures they occupy, part of the region's history of rugged pioneers. So far, our host remarked, the weather has been kind to their vines, which are quite young, therefore not yet deeply rooted in the alluvial schist they occupy. Peregrine markets a sparkling wine made in limited quantities by a local independent maker, but do not produce their own bubbly as yet.

Winery Visit No 3
Just a little further down SH6 lies the lively, lovely Gibbston Valley Winery, a cluster of buildings in brick (including the new cheesery) with a restaurant patio as its centerpiece. The bar is nice. Gibbston Valley charges $4.00 for a selection of 4 tastes, plus tasting notes, but you get to choose from 8 of their best, including reserves and older vintages.

My mind was barely on tasting when before my eyes Miranda appeared in a uniform. I had just been at the end of asking about the possibility of work there for a month. My sister in fine dining was extolling the place. I told her I happened to be looking for work in a good, serious establishment, and next thing I knew resumes were out and Shehu was chatting with the chef.

We discussed the possibility of staying on long term, because apparently Shehu got a good impression of the place. He discussed with the chef that we were only looking for about 6 weeks of work, but we were filing for residency and willing to stay on if he could be promoted to Sous Chef at some point soon.

From the upcoming book release:
The Life and Times of Love and Vines – The Travel Memoir of Rashida Veronique Serrant DWS

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