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words on wine with lindsay nash

Receiving wine as a “thank you” is always pleasant. If people are playing safe, they’ll probably choose a Sauvignon Blanc.

Not so, however, for John Brown, who stayed with us during rehearsals and performances of Titirangi’s recent production of Heroes, directed by my wife Christine. John brought us a couple of bottles from his home turf, Waiheke Island,

well known for its classy reds. The Man O’War 2010 Ironclad was a dense, inky red, fragrant wine, full and broad on the palate, with rich, lingering berry flavours while The Obsidian 2012 Reserve Syrah slumbers on. Jared’s “thank you” was another red, a Main Divide Merlot/Cabernet

blend, sometimes on special under $20. It too was opaque in the glass, with a chocolate aroma and flavour linking with the warm plum quality of the Merlot. There was a firm but not dominant underpinning of oak, full bodied and lingering. Another guest brought a Pinot Gris, a fairly safe choice. But this one

was rather special, a 2014 Church Road, not at all cloyingly sweet as some versions are, but with well judged acid and alcohol in balance, a swelling peach and pear mouth feel, and a gentle finish. Church Road wines are often on special at about $15, great value. Seeking value in French wines is not easy: there are hundreds of

Château from Bordeaux alone. One I chose on the assistant’s advice was the 2012 Château Grand Meynau (about $15). It’s certainly a sound wine, deep purple, with a faint berry aroma and a firm, medium bodied flavour with little apparent oak or tannin. Far more interesting was a similarly priced wine from South America,

featuring Chile’s major grape, the Carmenere. The 2013 Reserva Casillero del Diablo is extraordinary value at about $15. Its aroma is instantly appealing, fruity and fulsome, and the flavour matches this promise, dark berry fruit with firm tannins and appropriate oak. I’m going back for more. Birthday celebrations call for bubbly, of course. It’s wise to keep a

bottle or two in the cellar for unexpected events. They don’t usually linger long at our place so I store them on their side along with the still wines. Big mistake! Bubbly should be stored upright so the gap for the gas is left open. One bottle must have been there a while as it was completely without fizz, with distinctly unsavoury smell and taste. But the other bottles of Lindauer Brut and Rose were fine, easy drinking but with a hint of yeasty complexity, amazing to find in a wine under $10. I’d be delighted to accept either of these as a present.

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weather by the moon

Ken Ring’s predictions for October

October is likely to be the wettest month of the year and cooler than average in some areas. Intense rain comes in the first 10 days, particularly

around the 3rd-5th and 7th-10th with falls mostly after midday. Moderate overnight falls come between the 15th and 17th. Further heavy daytime rain comes near the 24th and 28th-30th. The longest relatively dry spell comes between the 19th-23rd but even then there may be odd showers. The sunniest period is 26th-28th. Winds are expected to be more active around the 12th, 17th-19th and 25th-27th. The best times for outdoor events are the 1st, 13th, 19th-22nd and 27th. Warmest daytime temperatures may be around

the 21st-25th and may reach into the low 20 degrees celsius at times. Daytime maximum temperatures may range 17-18C, and overnight minimums 10-11C. The coolest mornings may be the 1st-2nd. The cloudiest spell may be the 3rd-6th. Winds will originate from the east side on 5 days, west side 24 days, south side 16 days and north side 7 days. In other words winds blow mostly from west and southwest – apart from a short period (5th-11th) when winds blow from the east and northeast. The barometer may average around 1014mbs which is within the wet range, with a maximum figure around the 7th and minimums about the 11th, 16th, 25th and 30th. Humidity averages around 84% which is about the same as September. The highest tidal variations at Cornwallis are on

the 1st and 28th-29th. Best fishing bite times of the month are an hour either side of midday during the 11th-15th and 26th-29th. Further better-than-average bite chances are around dusk on the 4th-6th and 20th-22nd. For gardeners, best days for pruning are the 1st-3rd and 29th-30th. Best sowing days are the 14th-18th. Recommended days for harvesting crops are the 6th-8th and 21st-22nd. Titirangi Market Day on the 25th may be wet and windy, but not cold. Allow 24 hour leeway for all forecasts. Ken’s new book,

Weather Almanac for New Zealand for 2016 (Random House), is available from Titirangi Post Shop. © Ken Ring 2015. www.

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