Archive for January, 2011


A Berry Big(ham’s) Night Out


I wasn’t perhaps the ideal candidate to be invited to a bloggers’ supper to try out some new ready meal recipes. You see, I hate ready meals. To me they are the Devil’s spawn, the sign that our lazy, obese Western civilization is going to hell in a shopping basket. (more…)

A Little More Conversation


Some of my most memorable wine experiences have been Australian. The first wine that made me think ‘wow’ was a Jim Jim Hanging Rock Sauvignon Blanc at Mietta’s in Melbourne 16 years ago. A year on there was the Cullen Chardonnay served at our favourite restaurant in London. I liked it so much, I bought the last remaining bottles of that vintage from the distributor. Roll on further, to last year, and there was the Lenton Brae Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 the sommelier at Otto’s in Sydney recommended when we said we wanted something “really nice”. It was. (more…)

The Good, The Bad, The Coffee


The time has come to say goodbye to New Zealand in my blog. For the moment anyway. We had an amazing time, met wonderful people and visited fantastic vineyards. But I couldn’t fit everything into the blogs. So, for anyone planning a trip soon, here are a few more things we loved. And, er, a few things we didn’t. (more…)

A Flight Around Hawke’s Bay


Every road trip needs some downtime. Our downtime on our two-week jaunt through a large swathe of New Zealand was in Hawke’s Bay. To be honest, the real reason we stopped there was to visit the art deco city of Napier, a place I’ve always wanted to see. Calling in at wineries played second fiddle. Oh, except we stayed on one. We rented a tiny studio from Te Mata with a wrap-around deck overlooking the vines. And a handy decanter. (more…)

Caravan Of Lovely Wine


Reaching Man O’War vineyard’s cellar door on New Zealand’s Waiheke Island takes some dedication. The unmade road that takes you there is not for the fainthearted, with its sharp drops, steep climbs and tight bends. And it seemed a lot longer than the 4km advertised at the turning into this road. (more…)