Sunday, July 31, 2011


Winter in the North is not at all like the Christchurch and Wellington winters that I have known but can occasionally get cold. We have had a cold snap (down to 13 degree days and 5 degree nights) which while not exactly requiring snow shoes and wooly jackets has driven us to putting the fire on.
Yesterday, after doing some gardening chores I chopped some wood and prepared the fire for later. Later, towards dinner-time I lit the fire and we discussed what wine we would drink. Chardonnay just wasn't going to cut it so Pinot Noir was on the agenda. Then, looking at the fire with the cosy glow I changed my mind, went down to the cellar and brought back a bottle of E&E Black Pepper Shiraz 2000.

This is one of Australia's greats, a fine Barossa Valley shiraz sourced from very old vines, carefully selected and given the full 'bells and whistles' winemaking treatment. The winemakers recommendation for drinking is 'up to 10 years'. At 11 years this wine has just started to hit its straps. The rich sweet fruit is beautifully balanced by the big vanillan oak and the 'black pepper' character is evident but not too pronounced. The wine has softened without losing its power and has not yet become sappy. This was a beautiful accompaniment to a rich soup and hot bread rolls before the fire.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We've all heard of the French paradox - the fact that despite a seemingly unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle the French manage to have lower cardio-vascular events than the norm and that this has been put down to the high red wine consumption. Well now medical science has identified a compound that is described as "exercise in a bottle". The June 2011 study, published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal claims that resveratol found in wine, could slow the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle like insulin resistance and loss of bone mineral density. It also hinders the storage of fat and clogged coronary arteries. The study discovered this when looking at the effects on the body of astronauts in sedentary situations. They experimented with rats and mice and those given doses of resveratol did not demonstrate the negative aspects of lying around and doing nothing all day. One glass of red wine contains 1 mg of resveratol, which while less than dietary supplements is considered to be beneficial.

In other studies, red wine has been seen to assist the body in weight loss by:

  • The regulation of ingested fats and ensuring that the fats in the body are polyunsaturated and have lesser effect of accumulation of lipids and ensuring that lipids are of low density;
  • Red wine helps the body's cardio-vascular system by placing the body in a condition of higher metabolism where the muscles and organs demand more energy;
  • Red wine also provides the body with nutrients like manganese, potassium and calcium which are useful in the functioning and forming of body tissues, cells and bones.
In short, moderate consumption of red wine apes physical exercise which does the above.

I'll have a large glass please.

Monday, July 4, 2011


The manufacturers and importers of that crap cannabis substitute under its many guises have agreed to 'voluntarily' test their product before putting it on sale to the public.
What a crock of shit. Responsible food producers and importers in New Zealand have had to comply with the Food Act for years and, before putting anything on sale including wine have had to comply with the regulations set out by NZFSA. If these were not followed then your product would not be stocked by licensed retailers. This posturing by Matt Bowden, the spokesperson for the 'Synthetic Cannabis Industry"! just shows to me how bloody weak this country is in enforcing laws and regulations that already exist. Hard-working winemakers have complied and, in face of severe government censure and lack of support (have you seen how much the excise tax has been raised by?) have duly done the right thing. Meanwhile these fly-by-night bastards merrily peddle their crap to our kids and the intellectually challenged and when they do get pulled up say "Oh, sorry, we will govern ourselves OK?" Well its not OK. OK?