Raspberry Flat, Mount Aspiring, Middle Earth (August 1st)

Sunday, August 1st, recovering day after ‘The Duck Run’, which I will cover in more depth once I have downloaded photographs. I can report it was one of the best versions we have made – good curry is like pinot noir, it can be very temperamental, some days sulking, some days on song.

Speaking of pinot, we drank well; 2004 Mommessin Clos de Tart, one of the better examples I have had of this wine (they have improved greatly in recent times), just starting to drink although still quite a powerful wine.

Another 2004 red burgundy, Comte de Vogue Chambolle Musigny Premier Cru, which Nigel says suffered from Ladybug taint. Yes, Ladybug taint, which is apparently when there are too many ladybugs caught up in the grape crush and result in an element of methoxypyrazine, that rather off-putting herbaceous/green bell peppers odour, along with a metallic edge to the wine.

I have to say, it’s my first ever experience or knowledge of this, and there did seem to be traces of these characteristics in the wine. Further research revealed a fascinating article in the New York Cork Report: Rare and Interesting Wine Fault: Ladybug Taint

“Have you ever picked up an ant and squished it between your fingers? In some cases, the ant has the last laugh, leaving your fingers with a sickly sweet, pungent odor sometimes described as “rotten coconuts.” Ants secrete all kinds of different chemicals for communication, stress, antibacterial, antifungal and many other reasons. Unfortunately, this is also true of insects in the vineyard.”… read more http://www.lenndevours.com/2009/12/ladybug-taint.html?p=2

Also, and extensive article in The Burgundy Report http://www.burgundy-report.com/index-2008_03/2004-a-la-coccinelle/

Actually the best bottle was a yet to be released 2010 Quartz Reef Pinot Noir, which Rudi Bauer brought along. I have to say, the silkiest, moderately fine tannin pinot I have seen from him; perhaps the vintage or maybe reaching the crescendo of his winemaking, moreover the results of evolving to biodynamic viticulture. Look out for this one on release.

After a long sleep in, we had brunch at Federal Diner, a cafe in Wanaka which is one of those ‘local knowledge’ only places, and hidden in Pembroke Lane (www.federaldiner.co.nz) It’s a great place with excellent, wholesome food and run by Emile Brosnahan and Brona Parsons, of Raspberry Creek, ‘the go to’ caterers in Central Otago (www.raspberrycreek.co.nz)

With our bellies full and the brain charged with caffeine, Nigel suggested a little walk in the mountains, and he meant it! A 30 minute drive from Wanaka sees you past the gate of Treble Cone Ski Field, the road ending at Raspberry Flat. From here, a relatively short and spectacular walk along the Matukituki River brings you to the base of Mount Aspiring, which the Maori call, Tititea, meaning steep peak of glistening white. A 2 hour walk will have you standing on the legendary Rob Roy Glacier, which we decided was probably not a good idea as it was already 3 in the afternoon and it gets dark at 5.30, not to mention its mid-winter and rather chilly! Nigel says it’s much better to go in summer anyway as the glistening blue glacial ice is much more defined rather than just all white when covered in winter snow.

It is futile to describe the wilderness scenery and remote sensation of the area, if not incredibly (bizarre) this is only 30 minutes from the (luxurious) civilization of Wanaka. Moreover, just over the other side of these mountains and beyond, there is one of the most secluded, uninhabited and utterly spectacular World Heritage wilderness regions in the world, Fiordland. To get an idea, get your hands on the DVD “Ata Whenua – Shadowland” http://www.fiordlandcinema.co.nz/aw/aw.htm

The patriotism is beginning to stir in me, so I’d best sign off before I start droning on.



By Curtis Marsh | Wanderings | Related to: , , ,

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