To my surprise I didn’t get an invite to the wedding of the year. It’s probably because I didn’t invite Kate and Wills to my wedding, but I’m not bitter.
Their choice of wine, Champagne Pol Roger (which was also Winston Churchill’s favourite), is interesting. English sparkling wine producers hoped that they would get a shot at fame at this royal event.
They have been making a splash recently, with some French Champagne producers investing in vine-growing land in the southern counties.
It’s funny because Prince Charles loves telling his subjects to support British agriculture. Maybe he had no say in this particular shopping list. The Sussex producer Nyetimber, who won the Champion of Worldwide Sparkling Wines in 2009, were hot favourites to be served at the wedding, but their dreams have gone flat.
Maybe Harry will choose it on his big day, though you get the impression he’s probably a Tequila kind of guy.
I probably won’t see it, but if you are celebrating the big occasion, I reckon you should stick to sparkling wine from New Zealand. Two of my favourites fly the flag for the country.
Pelorus NV, Marlborough. Elegantly balanced with brioche on the nose, citrus and wild strawberries on the palate. It has fine bubbles and a creamy mousse, giving you a luxurious sensation on drinking.
No 1 Family Estate, Marlborough. A blanc de blanc (100 per cent chardonnay) and a serious contender to being the finest in the land. Firm and focused, with a fresh bread aroma, lemon and white flowers and great length.
A day out at Felton Road
The Easter holiday is finished and we are heading into our quiet season in Queenstown, which can be tough, but at least you can get a parking space and a seat in a restaurant.
Felton Road decided to celebrate Easter and their 15th year in production with an open cellar weekend. They very generously uncorked multiple vintages of their range as well as some brand new releases. The wines looked great, especially the Rieslings, which were still tight, fresh and packed with fruit at 10 years old. The 2004 Block 1 Riesling, 2002 Riesling and 2003 Dry Riesling were all outstanding.
Their Pinot Noirs are always impressive, with that Felton Road mark of vibrant fruit, fresh herbs and subtle but quality oak aging. My favourites were the 2009 Bannockburn and the 2005 and 2008 Block 3.
Winemaker Blair Walter held court in the library where he cracked open some of the very first wines, the 97s. To be fair, they were past their best, but still great to try, especially the 1997 Sauvignon Blanc, production of which was stopped a vintage later. It’s a museum piece for the future and of real interest to wine geeks around the world.
Nigel Greening, Felton Road’s owner, hosted the barrel tasting, showing us some of the 2010 wines soon to be bottled. Nigel is very entertaining and had the small group fascinated. He recalled how he told a buyer recently, who’d asked him why he couldn’t buy any more Block 3 Pinot Noir, ‘Bring your shovel, plant some more vines and come back in ten years.’ Fair enough.
Felton Road has established itself as the ‘Grand Cru’ of Central Otago and it’s obvious why. They just do it so well.