Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Pleasant Places - The Central Otago

Central OtagoAfter the storm that came through here last night, this morning’s weather was simply outstanding. Cool and crisp. A light breeze and a big blue sky. Now, believe me, Texas can have some pretty extreme weather so I really appreciate the springtime here and the bit of cool weather on a sunny day we’re having today and recently. That won’t last much longer. Soon it’ll be hot. This is Texas, after all.

In fact, the weather can have a significant impact on my disposition. I just feel better on sunny days. The attraction I have to fine weather is clearly a component of my interest in wines. The best wines seem to be born in places that have climates that are very agreeable to me – at least for a good portion of the year. And thus, they make great places to visit and just hang out. Such was my fortune earlier this year when I visited New Zealand. It was summer there (during our winter) and for the most part, the weather was awesome. One of those beautifual places was the Central Otago region of New Zealand. I got to thinking again about my visit there when I read the April column by Matt Kramer in the Wine Spectator: “Pursuing the Wild Pinot”. The column is all about the Central Otago. I’d never heard of the area until I read a little bit about it in the New Zealand Lonely Planet book in anticipation of my trip. But I really enjoyed my short visit.

If you click the thumbnail pictures above, you should be able to see some slightly larger shots of some spots in the Central Otago. The first is of a vineyard in the Gibbston Valley. I don’t know whose vineyard it is, but it was so well cared for and attractive looking with its rose bushes, that I had to stop and snap a picture. It’s a beautiful valley to drive through. The other two pictures are of the Felton Road winery just outside of Cromwell.

I have yet to find a Pinot Noir from the Central Otago stocked here in Austin. So, it’s hard to call anything from there an “everyday” wine. I think it’s only a matter of time though, before we start to see some of these locally and I expect to keep on looking. Thankfully I was able to bring at least one from the region back home with me. More on that later when I get around to opening it. Good memories.


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