Where’s the wine and sympathy?

As I sit here re-hydrating with a kale smoothie (to compensate for last night’s over-indulgence) I am reminded of the effect of what I choose to put into my body.

The closer we get to the holiday season, the more the temptation to abandon one’s usual limits on consumption seems to grow.

So how do we approach this naturally indulgent time of year without becoming either overly neurotic or completely out of control?

When it comes to wine, my answer is always quality not quantity.

I’ll cover quality in a more technical article early next year, but in the meantime, here are a few things to consider when reaching for that next glass.

Average quality, over-cropped fruit can never, ever be ‘made’ into great wine. Period. What can be done to make it into reasonable wine often involves a good deal of intervention from the winemaker, including additives to enhance or discourage certain characteristics.

While we can’t say definitively that certain additives give headaches or create dehydration (though we know alcohol does this for sure), both science and common sense suggest that the more processed and additive-laden the food and drink we put into our bodies is, the higher the chances of a negative effect.

Sulphur, for example, is a recognised allergen, which is why it is declared on wine bottles. But what don’t we know about the compounds that leech from new oak barrels? What about the copper that is used (albeit in small quantities) to ‘clean up’ wine and make it fruitier?

Does that mean opting for natural wine only? No, not necessarily. Natural wine can also be made from poor quality grapes. Moreover, too little intervention can … Read more >

The Diacetyl Debate

When I was a kid there was no such thing as the healthy heart tick – we grew up on dairy products. With potentially average ingredients or limited cooking expertise, a glug of cream or a chunk of … Read more >

In pursuit of Winefulness

Picture the scene: On your way to a dinner party you stop to buy a bottle of wine. For some reason your usual confidence in a well-priced but relatively unknown wine is replaced by a gnawing feeling of … Read more >

The Placebo Effect

Not that long ago, a study by Stanford neuro-economist Baba Shiv proved that when people are told a product is expensive, they extract more pleasure from it.

This is not a hugely surprising revelation, particularly in relation to … Read more >

Minerality – The Great Debate

“Wet stone. Matchstick. Vibrancy. Slate. Exclusively textural. Alcohol sensitive. Schist. Possibly the only true measure of greatness in wine.”

The popular definitions for the term ‘minerality’ are many and varied. It is a term that means different things … Read more >

Selling out… in a good way

It feels surreal to be writing this before I’ve even opened the doors of the tasting room: I have almost sold out of my first vintage – Cedalion 2013 Single Vineyard Chardonnay from Waiheke Island.

When I was … Read more >

No to the status quo

After 20 years in the wine trade learning from the many eminent and distinguished experts who dominate the industry, I am about to release the first wine that I dare put my name on.

It comes from a … Read more >