06 September 2010

Wharfside Restaurant:Wild about Wine #1

Hi, I’m Martin from Wharfside Restaurant at Circa Theatre. I have provided the food and beverage at Circa for the past 15 years or so. I have been asked if I could have a chat about wines in this and future editions of drama on the waterfront. I hope to introduce some basic information, maybe answer some queries or thoughts and have a little fun along the way.

It is interesting how we get caught up in our lives and can neglect ourselves in the process. Wine can be a great hobby and one that you only become more and more knowledgeable about, develop an appreciation for and, the best part, put in a glass and enjoy. Even while writing this I realise just how much I enjoy that aspect of wine, it’s a fantastic reason for socialising with likeminded wine enthusiasts.  

Martin Halliday

There are, of course, some standard tips with wine.  For example, you won’t find New Zealand’s examples of quality wines in bargain bins. Good wine does need to develop its own personality and that takes time. A lot of cheaper wines are produced to drink now, so do that and enjoy, but also get some interesting more expensive wines and put them away to develop, in other words make sure that you have some quaffing wine so that you don’t find yourself short and tempted to dig into your cellar of more expensive wines before they are at their best.  Important though, remember to drink the cellar wines – that’s part of the fun. Don’t leave them too long waiting for that special event as they will eventually pass their “best by point”. 

About four years ago I hosted the Breeze Chardonnay Club at Circa.  This was held at Wharfside for close on 2 years. Once a month we would have a tasting and chat about different wines and I would talk about either the vineyard and/or the wine style and what we had in the glass. It was a lot of fun and to me that is what wine is all about. 

The Breeze Chardonnay Club at Wharfside

Wine is such a vast subject. So much so, that a lot of people find it very daunting. There can also be a “snobbery” aspect to it and people can feel intimidated by what they perceive they should know about wine.  My belief is wine is to be sipped, enjoyed, talked about, developed; oh, I could go on. But I believe it should simply be fun. It could be argued by some that this view in some way devalues the wine experience. Hmmm.   However, in my book, wine and a person’s views tend to be a very personal thing. We like what we like and at the end of the day, it’s usually you that is paying for it so your view is the most important. Find what you like, maybe keep notes on what you like, if you come across a wine that interests you, investigate further, find out what vineyard produces it, purchase other wines from that vineyard and compare, perhaps even plan your next trip away to include a visit to that vineyard and find out even more about it. Make it fun. Remember there is never a right or wrong time to develop an interest in wine. It’s a fantastic and interesting pastime.  In fact sitting here writing about this reignites my passion and interest in this hobby.

At Wharfside we have a New Zealand-only wine list. Why? Well it’s simple; I like to support New Zealand produce where I can and New Zealand does make great wine! As the wine choice is so vast, I limit the wine options to wines that the average person is familiar with. There is a vast and often complex range of wines, the choice just in New Zealand is very extensive. There is representation in our wine list from my favourite vineyards: Kumeu River Auckland, Te Mata Hawkes Bay, Ata Rangi Martinborough, Mudhouse Marlborough, Kahurangi Nelson, Pegasus Bay, Main Divide Canterbury. I haven’t really developed a favourite in Otago yet. Why are these my favourites? Well for one, they produce excellent wines.  I have visited these vineyards and have stories about all of them and oh did I say they produce excellent wines!!!   It is nice also to have a range of wines from all over the country. We are very fortunate in this country that we have great wine selections available to us. Over 420 vineyards, some with histories going back over 100 years. Phew ... with such choice why not keep the wine list totally NZ made. 

My standout wine choices would be Te Mata and Pegasus Bay. Like a lot of wine producers in this country, the products they produce are good to excellent across the board but they excel in Reds. The Awatea and Coleraine Range of wines are some of New Zealand’s best Reds.  It is a great wine to collect, let it age, then drink, discuss and enjoy with friends. Pegasus Bay in Canterbury again, produces excellence across the full range, but their Reislings are to die for. Main Divide, Pegasus and Aria Reislings are fantastic, age well and are great to sip on weekend afternoons, again in the company of other wine enthusiasts and if you get the chance to visit their restaurant, it is constantly picking up awards and would be one of the best meals and dining experiences I have had.  

I’m going to wrap up now.  Keep an eye out for future blogs where we will get a bit more into specifics about wine and what I find so enjoyable about it, maybe answer some questions and get you thinking a little more about what’s in that glass you are drinking.  Heck we may even look at getting our own little wine club going at Wharfside. Why not, it’s all a bit of fun.

Cheers and have a great month.
Martin Halliday
Wharfside Restaurant
at Circa Theatre

Wharfside Restaurant is open before and after most performances at Circa Theatre. For any enquiries or to make a booking, please call 801-7996. For more information about Wharfside, visit http://www.circa.co.nz/circatheatre/Restaurant.

No comments:

Post a Comment