Having spent a few hours in the local Wine/Food bar in downtown Blenheim last night I was very distracted by the addition to the wine list. There was a 2011 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly Fume Silex on offer by the glass. Priced at $21 for a small glass I must confess I thought twice. I know Didier departed our world in 2008 after a gliding accident so I assumed his family must have carried on production but had they carried on his legacy?
I have drunk many of the local Savvy’s and feel my palate is more inclined to those that are either organic, bio dynamic or both. I like to know the provenience of the offering, who makes it, when and how it was made. It all adds to the mystery of the moment. These smaller producers tend to be accessible and chatty, the good folk at Clos Henri, Seresin, Te Whare Ra and Mahi are but a small few of these eclectic, honest and pioneering producers wearing their wine hearts on their sleeves so to speak.
So, onto the small and lets face it expensive glass of Loire Sav. It was subtle, lacy with elegant fruit with gentle acidity and a customary Franco citrus, typical of the Loire style but just a lot more elegant. I savoured it small mouthful by small mouthful but, as is always the case in these situations on a Saturday evening it was not enough. I couldn’t and wouldn’t afford the exorbitant price of over $200 for a bottle sadly.
Thereafter onward we went to another new incarnation of a wine bar in the small regional town, recently opened, called Mio. On offer amongst the long list of dazzling choice like the previous Scotch Bar was a Mahi 2014 Sauvignon Blanc for a value driven $9 for a similar sized glass.
Brian Bicknall’s incantation in a glass bore the characteristics which both my partner, Toni, and I are so found of from a high end Marlborough Sav. Those teasing blackcurrant leaf notes and a gentle slap of intense fruit and acidity are so endearing in this, I feel, under priced example of how a Kiwi Sav should reveal itself to both the expected and unexpected alike. We are going to get a dozen for Christmas and New Year.
As we felt it couldn’t be matched by the remainder left on the wine list we thought there might be one in the Argosy Place cupboard cellar, throw it in the freezer and wait a short while to complete the evening with a Aussie Masterchef episode with another Enfant Terrible, Marco Pierre White.Having hauled out a bottle I discovered it was a 2013 from Huia. It was gathering dust and as the Mahi was still sealed in a box it thought nothing of chilling this instead. It was a wise move.
Claire and Mike arrived in Marlborough in 1990 and started Huia in 1996. This bottle stunned me. I initially thought I was back at The Scotch Bar sipping the Fume when reality struck and the similarity ended as the richer fruit and creamier flavour of this cleverly crafted doppelganger hit home. Bare in mind to, as with many of the bioneers of wine in Marlborough, Huia aren’t scared to hold back the commercial exposure of their vintages until they feel all the conditions are perfectly right to do so. So to drink a 13 at the end of 15 isn’t so normal as some may think, especially here.
So, unlike the Huia bird, a now extinct indigenous and very pretty bird only seen encased in the various natural history museums around the country, I am hoping for the likes of Huia and beyond this won’t be so much of the extinct but more of the distinct. I say this as I observe from a layman’s position the comings, and far too often, the goings of those pioneers and brave souls that keep the eclectic and distinctive alive and kicking. To you all, and those who have departed, I and many, many more toast you all.