All good things must come to an end

January 28, 2014

THV family

Margit, Helen, Michael, Lucy and Charlotte

After six weeks on the farm the time has come to go back to Bangkok. All good things (bad ones too) must come to an end, and the last days on the farm are always the most difficult ones. The brain tends to wonder off and indulges in the planning of activities which need to be done after the return to the job. At the same time last minutes projects await to be completed on the farm and in the vineyard. It is always the same anxiety which descends on the unprepared but well informed holiday maker.

As always it is very educative to spend such a long and uninterrupted time in Glenburn. The learning is amazing, and this on many different levels. Time and place attain a different meaning, and the observation of nature enriches the mind. The nights at the vineyard are dark when there is no moon, The milkyway looks stunning and the quiet is amazing. No street noise, nothing, things we are used from our life ini Bangkok where the city never sleeps.

While I was reading a historic account of the Crimean war from 1853-56, written by Orlando Figes, I was also browsing through a book about the history of Yea (by Harvey Blanks), the charming country town just 35 km north of Glenburn, which I have in our bookshelf. I found out that Yea, formerly known as Muddy Creek, was named after Colonel Lacy Walter Gilew Yea, an English officer who took part in the battles of Alama and Inkerman, and who lost his life during the siege of Sebastopol on June 18, 1855. After that, Melbourne street names such as Alama, Inkerman and Balaklava gained a new meaning. Who would have thought that innocuous things such as the name of a country town in central Victoria and a war fought more than 150 years ago in a very different part of the world could be connected?

Living on the farm right in the middle of an ancient Australian landscape also connects you to arts. In this case the Australian pastoral landscape paintingS. We visited the TarraWarra Estate to see the current art exhibition and have a bite at the restaurant of the TarraWarra Winery. Surprise surprise, a show by Russell Drysdale was on display, whose modernists pastoral landscapes connects the interracial histories of Australia.

The highlight on the culinary front were certainly the meal we had at the TerraWarra restaurant. I also liked the Viognier-Marsanne-Rousanne blend, an excellent white for hot summers days. Moreover, a visit to Rocky Passes Estate which is located between Seymour and Yea, gave us the opportunity to reconnect with Candy and Vitto, the charming owners. Candy prepared delicious tapas for us, and the award winning 2010 Rocky Passes Shiraz is just a ripper of a wine. Vitto does not only make delicious wines (with 90 plus Parker points) but also exquisite furniture. A visit is highly recommended.

I also discovered the Fratelli wines who make a very nice Riesling from grapes grown in the Upper Goulburn region of Central Victoria. Timo Mayer has a new Pinot Noir made from grapes grown in the Yarra Valley on granite soil. The current release is the first vintage and promises to become another star at the “Pinot Noir heaven”, if you know what I mean.

A week of sweltering heat above 40 Celsius taught us the importance of a fire plan (which we did not have but have now) and the positive effect our 12 mega liter irrigation dam can have for suffering humans. Every two hours we jumped in to cool down during those hot days. We survived a second heat wave with temperatures in the high 30ies. The hot weeks were interrupted by very cool days with even cooler nights. That might be one of the reasons why our own wines last so long. The fine and firm acids of our grapes allow for the Merlot wines to age so well. We tasted the 2004, 2006 and 2008 vintages and found that the 2004 Two Hills Merlot did still hold its freshness. Also the fruit (red cherries mainly) was still vivid. The younger vintages were less elegant and showed rather “umpf wine” characteristics.

THV Merlot 2004

2004 Two Hills Merlot

Our vineyard is still in a “mothball state”, meaning we are keeping the vines alive but do not produce fruit. Nonetheless, together with my twin daughters, I attacked the blackberries whose roots we tried to dig out. We did the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir blocks, and left the other two (Merlot and SB) for my next visit. Various repairs of the cottage and the shed were completed. We also cleared fallen branches and other wood from the paddocks. All in all, the property looks very nice and well kept. I can leave it behind with a laughing eye, as we say in German. The other one will, as always when leaving Two Hills, filled with tears. Cheers


Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley with Peking Duck

October 8, 2011

The beautiful “off-red” colour of a Pinot Noir

Well, I gave it almost away in the title of this blog entry.
Yes, it is a Pint Noir and yes, it comes from the Yarra Valley in Victoria.

But please answer me:

Mirror mirror on the wall which is my favourite wine of them all? ,

asks the wicked queen alias “the critical consumer of fine wines”?

Well, the answer is just below; on my wine cabinet so to speak.

Can you identify the producer?

I guess now you can.

2009 Bloody Hill Mayer Vineyard Pinot Noir

And yes, you are right, this is an awesome wine from the Yarra Valley, the eastern part of which has a truly cold climate. Timo Mayer is a great wine-maker. In his boutique vineyard near Healesville he produces outstanding fruit. His philosophy of minimum interference in wine-making does the rest and out of this comes a wonderful product of a vintners craftsmanship.

The bottle has DIAM cork, the real thing

It is just a shame that we cannot get this wine here in Bangkok.

In the UK, Ireland and in Germany you can order it.

By the way, right now Timo is on a sales tour in Europe. On September 28th he was special guest at the K&U Weinhalle, a wine merchant in Nuernberg. There is a nice story about Timo written by Martin Koesler.

Our Sunday lunch table with the Peking duck

PS: We made the Peking Duck ourselves. It was a beautiful feast on a warm tropical Sunday. Timo’s Pinot Noir is an ideal wine also with Asian food. The proof is in the eating and drinking. Trust me I know what I am talking about.

Which distributor in Asia is interested? Now is the time….


I cooked Sunday roast – 2006 Timo Mayer Cabernet, Yarra Valley, Australia

May 29, 2011

As you know I am not much of a cook. But today I cooked a traditional Sunday roast. I am so proud. I did it. Not that it was particularly difficult. Actually I just seasoned the meat, put it into the oven for 60 minutes, and voila there was a delicious meal.

This called for a special wine, and a special wine we had. I choose a ‘2006 Cabernet’ from the Mayer Vineyard, made by my old friend Timo Mayer in the Yarra Valley. Timo is one of the famous South Pack, a group of young and creative wine-makers in Victoria.

This is a beautiful wine, full of red berry flavour, a good structure and a long finish. The cherries on my palate were almost like the ones of a Merlot, but it is a straight Cabernet, amazing.

Great colour

The roast was just perfect with its pink colour. It was Thai beef of a very good quality. As were the other ingredients by the way. The girls made a Yorkshire pudding. Moreover we had broccoli and carrots as vegetables.

The roast

Delicious Sunday lunch

Great vegetables

From here it was downhill all the way. First came my favourite cigar, then came the port. I just love Sundays like this.


The five best Riesling wines of 2010

February 18, 2011

Riesling the queen of white wine

Well, let’s be clear from the outset: this is not the result of an orderly wine tasting. I am reminiscing about the most remarkable Rieslings I drank in 2010. The five wines below are the ones I selected, and I call them “my best Rieslings in 2010 – the Man from the Mosel selection”.

As you might know, any recall from memory about events past is a tricky and challenging thing. I also do not have the opportunity to drink these wines parallel to each other (what a shame). But here is my top five list:

1. ‘2009 Dhron Hofberg Riesling GG’, by Grans-Fassian Estate, Leiwen, Mosel.

This is a marvellous Riesling. The 2009 vintage was great. Grans-Fassian is a top Riesling producer from the Mosel. With 95 Parker points the Dhron Hofberg Riesling is just divine. I could not believe my luck when I casually strolled into the cellar door and picked up these treasures.

2. ‘2008 Schieferterrassen Riesling’ by Heymann-Loewenstein, Winningen, Mosel.

Weingut Heymann-Loewenstein is another of the great Riesling producers from the Mosel. The wines are made in a different style from the mainstream. They show great character and have funk. Only on April 30, 2011 the 2009 vintage will be released. I am very excited and cannot wait to taste the 2009 Riesling.

3. ‘2008 Monzinger Halenberg Riesling trocken’ by Emrich-Schoenleber, Monzingen, Nahe

The wines made from fruit grown at Monziger Halenberg are among the best Riesling wines in Germany. The Nahe is the region where my maternal grandfather started to introduce me to wine when I was just a boy. Ever since I love this very diverse region.

Monzingen is a small village next to Martinstein where I spent time with my grand parents. I walked all the different hills and slopes in the vicinity. Emrich-Schoenleber is one of the top producers at the Nahe, a lovely family too where father and son make the wine together.

4. ‘2009 Riesling Leiwen Laurentiuslay GG’ by St. Urbanshof, Leiwen, Mosel

Another wonderful wine from the Mosel. Weingut St. Urbans Hof is located in Leiwen, Mosel. Recently we had a bottle of this Riesling with Sunday lunch. Goodness me what a treat that was. I had only one bottle with me when I came back from Germany in November. The good news is: I will be in Trier in mid March and guess what…..

5. ‘Dr. Mayer Riesling Kabinett trocken’ by Timo Mayer, (Yarra Valley), Remstal, Wuerttemberg

Timo Mayer is an Australian boutique wine maker of the Yarra Valley and a native of Grossheppach, Remstal. He made this wine while travelling in Europe. The grapes come from his brother and the family vineyard. The 2009 vintage was ideal for making this wine. Timo shipped about 60 cases back to Australia. We were so lucky to have access to a few bottles.

You might say, all these wines are German Rieslings, did you not drink others? Well, I did. I tried quite a few Australian ones but that’s usually not my cup of tea. But I am undeterred. My to to list (to drink list) is long.

I admit that I also love Riesling from the Alsace, France. Though they are creamer, heavy, earthy.

I also love Riesling from Rheingau und Rheinhessen, in fact there are so many good German Rieslings it is very difficult to say which one to drink first.

Please let me know what your best Riesling was in 2010.


Summer time, summer wine: Mayer Vineyard Rosé

January 14, 2011

If you see the pictures of the Queensland and New South Wales floods, it is hard to believe that we in Victoria had perfect weather conditions and enjoyed two beautiful weeks of a mild, but enjoyable summer over the Christmas break.

It is also hard to imagine that the area affected by the floods covers the size of France and Germany combined. The tragic loss of many lives makes me sad. The individual stories are heartbreaking. It is to be hoped that further losses and damage can be avoided in the future.

But Summer calls for summer wines, Rosé being one of them. Timo Mayer, winemaker and owner of the Mayer Vineyard in the Yarra Valley produces just one such wine. His ‘2010 Bloody Hill Rosé’ made in the traditional way out of Pinot Noir grapes, is a just wonderful; it is delicate, complex and refined.

I also love its colour. I wish we had more bottles of it but so is life.

Summer lunch with Timo Mayer Rosé

2010 Bloody Hill Rosé

We enjoyed the wine with an Italian main course consisting of gnocchi with a side salad.

Address
The Mayer Vineyard
Timo Mayer, Miller Road,
Healesville, Victoria
Tel.:+61-3-5967 3779
e-mail: timomayer@bigpond.com.au
http://www.timomayer.com.au


Dr Mayer Riesling – fine wine from the Remstal, Germany

December 1, 2010

‘2009 Dr. Mayer Riesling’, Remstal, Wuerttemberg, Germany

We were lucky that Timo Mayer, vintner and wine-maker of the Mayer Vineyard in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, carried with him a bottle of the ‘2009 Dr. Mayer Riesling’ with him when he dropped by recently here in Bangkok.

Timo came back from a wine making and wine selling visit to Germany where he had also made his ‘2009 Dr. Mayer Riesling’ from fruit sourced from his native Remstal (to be precise from a village called Grossheppach) in Wuerttemberg.

The dry Riesling has 12.5% alcohol

The wine is under a glass enclosure which gives it a very elegant appearance. It’s a beautiful dry Riesling, elegant and fruity with a good structure and a long and intensive finish, in short a treasure of a wine.

Mussels and clams with chorizo sausage

We saved the bottle for a special occasion, and surprise, surprise, the occasion should arrive very, very soon: a beautiful tropical Saturday afternoon lent itself for a delicious meal consisting of mussels, clams with chorizo sausages. This is a yummy dish and ideal light lunch.

The bad news is, one cannot buy this wine in Germany, the motherland of Riesling wines.

The good news is one can buy it from Timo Mayer in the Yarra Valley and the outlets carrying his wines in Victoria.

Timo got only about a pallet, so you have to be quick. Better rush.


Viña Tondonia White Reserva 1987, Rioja, Spain

October 18, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, we drank a very special type of wine, a white Rioja, vintage 1987, called Viña Tondonia White Reserva! Our wine-making friend, Timo Mayer from the Yarra Valley had brought the bottle all the way from Europe to Bangkok.

The winery is owned and managed by the third generation of the López de Heredia family. For a hundred and thirty one years this enterprise is producing exceptional and unique wines. The founder of the company, Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, defined in the late nineteenth century what a “Supreme Rioja” wine could be. Viña Tondonia White Reserva 1987 bears witness to this philosophy.

Timo Mayer opening the bottle in our kitchen

The wine is made from Viura (about 70%, also called Macabeu in France) and Malvasia grapes. It was kept for 10 years on the yeast in old, large oak barrels and for 13 years in the bottle before the wine is finally released.

1987 is the current vintage! Who can afford to leave wine for 23 years in the cellar?

The wine is a unique experience. It is completely dry, has a fine bouquet with a hint of dried fruit. First, we did not know what to make of it but with each sip it dawned on us that we held something very special in our glasses. Awesome stuff, indeed. One can taste the passion which went into this wine.

Cheers mate

The wine can be bought in Germany from “Weinhalle“. It is not cheap but worth to be explored if you long for a unique and amazing wine experience.