One of the enduring legacies at our main vineyard, Redbank, from the days when it was a government research farm for horticulture, are several astounding rows of roses.
They look humble enough, but their aroma is almost overpowering. They are in fact scent roses, old fashioned varieties bred not really for their appearance, but to be used for perfume. Pretty heavenly.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Settle down at the back, we know you are excited about tonight's DJs, and why wouldn’t you be, and as a lot of you are Australian, it’s going to get noisy ... BUT we have, very unusually for the Dayglo, some cultured people playing their grooves live and ... yes, I said CULTURED ... (blimey, some of the sorts Security are letting through lately) ... so a bit of bloody HUSH would be in order. Yes, that means you too.
Kev ... thank you!
So, tonight, flown in by Two Paddocks Virtual Airways First Class (The kind of service you can only fantasize about when you are on B.A.) two people we love and admire here at TPHQ more than we can say ... yes the familiar avuncular presence on my right is of course the one and only Peter Lehmann, widely known as the Baron Of Barossa ... an awkward sobriquet we admit given Peter and Margaret’s firmly lefty inclinations, but one that indicates just a fraction of the mana and affection with which he is held in that beautiful corner of Australia, in the Australian wine world, and of course here at TPHQ, where he is held in awe and spoken about in hushed tones. We like to gather around the TP fire at night and tell stories of how Peter virtually singlehandedly and heroically risked all to save the wine growers of Barossa in the late 70s, early 80s, and at the same time chancing his arm, and leg too, in setting up the distinguished firm of Peter Lehmann, makers of some of the world’s greatest Shiraz, Riesling and Semillon. Respect!
And on my left, one of The Great Women, and unquestionably a Great Australian ... the irrepressible, the hilarious, the socially committed, the fascinating, the hospitable, the outrageous, the thrillingly subversive, the other half of a great partnership ... the wonderful Margaret Lehmann.
Ladies and Gentlemen ... and Australians! Just kidding ... we love Australia here at the Dayglo! Here’s a SURPRISE tonight, someone we hardly know really, but we think is terrific, and we suspected would make a top DJ, and by gads we’ve seen his list, and we were right. Mind you, he comes highly recommended, by our pals Scott, Josh and Andre, the writers of Happy Town (that happiest of jobs) who had written Life on Mars, and loved him. And we really dug that show, and his work on it. A really good leading man – a harder job than it looks by the way. And now he is the solid beating heart of Terra Nova, and he is rightly garnering a huge following from that ... we watch it every week here at HQ. So here’s one or two things Jason and the Prop have in common – Ireland, time travel, and we both run from dinosaurs if needs be, with style and grace. But look, here he is, ready to play his stuff, we are delighted he’s here, flown straight from NYC on Two Paddocks Virtual Airways (First Class - Close your eyes and you’re there in no time at all), a marvelous actor, and a famously good fellow ... Ladies and Gentlemen ... Jason O’Mara!>>>
22 December 2011
The Grand Final
So, the results, of our November Moustache growing competition for charity ...
Jacqui judged the respective mo-attempts with scientific scrupulousness. Points were awarded for length, breadth and general mo-appeal.
Mike Wing was assessed to be a clear winner. Objections were raised by some losers that Mike had a head start, having had a beard for a couple of years, off and on. These poor sports were summarily overruled, since all were free to start any time in the year.
The losers finally showed respect where respect was due.
Two Paddocks has donated $1000 to Prostate Cancer prevention in Mr. Wing’s name.
And remember chaps ... regular checks can save you a world of hurt!
21 December 2011
Team TP Top Ten #44
Lillian Haynes, CEO Northeast Wines and Spirits Hong Kong
Ladies and Gentlemen! Tonight, in the Dayglo, courtesy of Two Paddocks Virtual Air 1st Class (So convenient we just leave you at home.) arguably the world’s most glamorous, and nicest, wine distributor: Lillian Haynes.
Lillian runs Northeast Wines and Spirits in fabulous Hong Kong, and they sell our wine in that most fantastic of cities. We love Hong Kong, and we know you do too, especially since Lillian ensures you are able to freely access Two Paddocks on both sides of the Fragrant Harbour. Awesome, and reassuring at the same time. And we know none of you really like to travel to foreign climes where the grizzly possibility of a great dinner without a great TP Pinot is a genuine risk.
Lillian runs an extraordinarily successful business in the fiercely combative commercial milieu of Honkers (check out some of the other prestigious labels in their portfolio - Geoff Merrill, Man O’ War, etc.) but she is also a wife and (rugby) mother, skier, golfer and above all DISCO Queen! Great company and good friend to Two Paddocks, she’s got it, and here she is, as always dressed in something super, swanning her elegant way across the Dayglo floor with her stack o’ wax, we have no idea what she wants to play, holding breath here, but here she is ... a big Dayglo welcome if you please, on your feet and hands in the air for the remarkable and oh so beautiful ... Lillian Haynes!>>>
21 December 2011
Shakira and Boyfriend
Club Med for Cows
This week our cow has gone down the road for a little R & R with a rather handsome Hereford bull at Earnscleugh Station.
So far, so good...
Shakira, an obliging and friendly animal, is happy enough to be put on the halter, and lead away. Sweater looks on, as usual on the edge of sheep-hysteria.
It’s about a mile down the road with Mike leading the way, but Shakira has a spring in her step. Perhaps she knows something’s up.
And she quickly settles in for the honeymoon with her admirer . You’d swear they were deep in conversation.
17 December 2011
Team TP Top Ten #43
Parminder Nagra, actor
Laaadies and Gentlemen! Tonight in the Two Paddocks Dayglo 24/7, shaking her stuff on our pulsing dance floor, exquisitely reflected a thousand times in the TP mirror ball, all the way from Alcatraz, First Class courtesy of Two Paddocks Virtual Airlines (the canapés are literally lighter than air), a surprise and a delight – the lovely and super talented Parminder Nagra. In January you will see her luminescent on Fox in Alcatraz. You know her best from Bend it Like Beckham and as the longest serving cast member in E.R. (seven years – heroic) with any luck you may have seen her in the heaps of other theatre and film she has made ... but we know her best from cocktails and vino after work. A great team member, a funny friend, a devoted mother, a fabulous actor and dammit ... a bona fide Star. Here she is, with a bunch of songs she promises will be a surprise ... All the way from Leicester via Los Angeles directly here in living colour and surround sound ... the all singing, all dancing, all outrageous ... Parminder Nagra!>>>
16 December 2011
Our fowl are not only decorative, they lay the most superb eggs.
Here’s a selection.
The green eggs are better than they look, but the Prop's favourites are the guinea-fowl eggs, second from the left.
14 December 2011
Team TP Top Ten #42
Marianne Faithfull, Chanteuse Extraordinaire.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Tonight in the Dayglo Disco, courtesy of Two Paddocks Virtual Airways (First Class: Those Hostesses are just a Dream!), a treat of such rare privilege, one of the coolest people on the planet, so cool I think I may be hyperventilating ... yes ... I am, does anyone have a brown paper bag? Or a Ventolin puffer? Oh thanks, much better. Yes here she is, one of the great beauties of our age, a completely remarkable artist, the most delightful company imaginable -- someone who has lived at least five lives in the most vivid ways imaginable, a great singer, writer and actor -- she knows everybody, and has done absolutely everything. Good Lord, it’s exhausting just thinking about it all, let alone living it. She’s sashaying her way across the floor, make room if you please! … Oh stuff it, I’ll get out of her way and ask her to come up here to the stage with her Top 10, someone we feel privileged to know -- a big Dayglo welcome please for one of The Great Women, the always astonishing ... Marianne Faithfull!
Wait... she is saying something, she has the list in her hands, quiet please, she’s handing the list up to us here, what’s she saying?>>>
12 December 2011
Microdoodle #9: In a One Cow Open Sleigh
The Two Paddocks Xmas MAXiMOViE
Happy holidays and a great New Year from the team at Two Paddocks Wines!
12 December 2011
A very tight race.
So, the moustache-growing competition has run its course, and at the end of last month, the boys manned up with whatever they could muster.
In all fairness, not spectacular results, but they did their best, given the good cause – prostate cancer.
A couple in the veterans section, unsurprisingly, grew completely white mos, which needed a little enhancement to be noticed at all ...
Bob gets some attention from Jacqui’s expert moustache eye.
Keith gets assitance, too.
The Longa-Lash mascara helped level the playing field somewhat.
Then after the traditional mo haka, a lineup was finally achieved (like herding cats), it was all on, and the judge (Jacqui) took her time to decide.
Take a good look yourself , and you decide who has the best moustache.
Result next time ...
10 December 2011
Team TP Top Ten #41
Tim Evans, Negociants Australia
Ladies and Gentlemen! Attention please on the Dayglo floor. (Speaking of which, we know the flashing lights have been going a little strange this week, triggering migraines and one or two petits mals – apologies, but Boris the electrician has been on some kind of vodka all week sent from whatever Balkan country where we found him. Not pretty). No, say what you like about Australia (and many things have been said ... e.g. God’s own country, a fly cemetery, a den of cricket cheats, the greatest little country on Earth, you beauty and so on), we love it here at HQ, and we love Australians as well.
And part of our mission at TPHQ has always been to bring Two Paddocks to as much of The Lucky Country as we can. They love a top drop, even in Alice Springs – and believe me you need a top drop in Alice Springs!
And we realized very early we wanted to work with the best, to bring the best to The Best.
We have been with Negociants Australia from the beginning; they, like us, are a family-owned company (their family has been at it slightly longer than us – the Smiths founded Yalumba, the parent company, 160 years ago, the Neill’s started purveying wine in Otago 150 years ago) and they are dedicated to premium wines, just as we are.
So Our Man at Negociants, Our Man in Australia, Imported Wines National Sales Manager, Tim Evans, a good friend of us here at Two Paddocks, has been crucial in this critical mission.
An Adeleide man through and through which means he has an accent so refined he could be mistaken for a Kiwi! Tim is a Crows fan (no we can’t explain that, some weird rugby deviate game they play there – AFL). Tim is about the most laid-back bloke we have ever met in a country where Laid-Back is an art form and a national pastime.
He has been at Negociants 15 years, only slightly longer than us...he is married to the splendid Danni who also has a wine background, two kids, loves cars, fine barbequer – in short top bloke at a top firm.
Here he is now, one of our favourite of all Australians, and a credit to the world of wine merchants ... the one and only, the entirely likeable, the urbane and charming , all-dancing, all-singing, all-imbibing ... Mr Sociable himself ... Mr Tim Evans!>>>
8 December 2011
Christmas Time Again
At least some of us are reasonably sure of that.
We like to get the formalities of the holidays done and dusted ahead of the rush at H.Q. and we had our Christmas lunch, with partners, this week. This was followed by a private screening of Dean Spanley in Wanaka . All staff are now agog with admiration for
B. Brown Esq., J. Northam Esq., and P. O’ Toole Esq.
Mind you, they are all experts on the acting thing having all featured in the upcoming TP MAXiMOViE, A One Cow Open Sleigh. And it's fair to say, in all honesty, they are uniformly brilliant – The Prop could not be more proud.
Staff enjoying the fruits of their labour pre dinner.
Note – the keen observer will see that Desiree, at right, is expecting fairly soon. This may account for her muddling up Easter and Christmas ... it just does your head in apparently. Still, she looks great with the bunny ears .
7 December 2011
Team TP Top Ten #40
Bryan Brown, A.O., Antopodean Thespian, and Producer
Laaadies and Gentlemen! Tonight, flown directly from NYC and the set of The Good Wife, (by Two Paddocks Virtual Air first class -- "you only imagine that bed is flat.") a very special Dayglo guest, arguably the Prop's closest friend, The Nipper from Panania, and latterly the Bodgie of Balmain; one of the greatest Leading Men of Australian Cinema of all time, a menace to himself and to his peers, an adornment to Australian Society, an advertisement for a good Catholic Education, an example to the fathers of Oz, a disgrace after 6 pm. Why he has been selected as DJ at all is a mystery in itself, the man is tone deaf (what little he can hear at all) and we have proof of his tin ear – a recording of him butchering a version of his mate Billy Thorpe’s great anthem Mashed Potato Yeah at the last big birthday bash. But here he is, he’s dusted off the old 45’s, he’s got the winklepickers on, plus he’s raided the old brylcreem jar, he’s looking good, the crowd loves him .. .give him room please. Security – he’s fine he’s with us – bring him up to the stage, he’s got his records on... A big Dayglo roar if you please for the one and only...MR BRYAN BROWN!!>>>
4 December 2011
New Pig Arrives
Dreams come true for bachelors?
Our boy pig Angelica (yes we know – long story, told elsewhere on these pages, or see Bestiary under the Our Story section) had his prayers answered this week when a potential girlfriend alighted gracefully in his paddock. After a bit of a push.
Angelica, our boy
We found, living near by, a female Kuni Kuni pig, also a former household pet, a stunner of a pig, and we thought they looked made for each other. We offered her a home, and the offer was duly accepted.
So the boys took the ute over and with considerable effort managed to get her on the back, and we then took her to Redbank. She and Angelica conversed for some time, he being delighted to see a new pig, and a girl at that, turn up out of the blue. But still, she refused to get down off the truck.
So Keith had to give our new girl a shove.
Angelica, our boy, rushed over to say hello properly. In the way pigs do.
There seems to be some chemistry there, as since then they have been inseparable. Possibly as he is rather insistent, in spite of her seeming indifference.
And okay, my name is Angelica, and yeah I know but it’s not what you’re thinking, and ...er... let me show you round ...
In fact, we think it's fair to say, she seems to find our boy reasonably passable, so who knows – romance in the air perhaps?
I bet he thinks he’s God’s gift to pigs, even if he is sorta cute.
3 December 2011
Team TP Top Ten #39
Special guest, Jim Eustace of Hayes, Hanson and Clark, Wine Merchants
Ladies and Gentlemen! At least those who are still standing ... Today, the Quiet Man of Wine ... our Man at HH & C, Gentleman Jim Eustace is here, rocking the house and bustin’ his moves! And what a line-up - Jim's mild and affable, besuited exterior belies a rumoured history of wasted days and trashed nights in the clubs of Soho and Southwark in the notorious 80s, and here, that wax under his right arm, perhaps the proof positive. Mind you, things did turn around later – after leaving Art School and abandoning plans to become the Simon Le Bon of the world of installations and found art, and having put the big permed hair behind him, Jim started at HH & C as a van driver and rapidly worked his way up the slippery pole to partner, buyer and director. Parent, rugby coach, husband, but above all Pinotphile ... here he is, and GOOD GOD, he’s back in the shoulder pad suit and he’s done something horrid to the barnet ... no matter... give a big retro Ministry of Sound-type welcome please, give it up for to the charming and civilized ... MR JIM EUSTACE!>>>
30 November 2011
Team TP Top Ten #38
Special guest, EJ Barnes, chanteuse.
Ladies and Gentlemen! A special thrill today in the Dayglo Disco (predominantly agent orange with lime green highlights, and a fluorescent strobing see-through dance floor) in the House tonight, an old young friend, the delightful and beautiful EJ Barnes!
If anyone in these parts could be called Oz Rock Royalty, it’s our darling EJ. Daughter of the legendary Jimmy Barnes (currently roaring through Australia with his great band Cold Chisel), niece to the wonderful Diesel, sister of two terrific singing sisters Mahalia and Elly May, sister to David Campbell (ripper singer) and Jacky Barnes (ripper drummer) niece to the fabled Swanee, etc. etc. Brought up in a noisy musical house full of hundreds of musos, actors, cuzzies and the best of bludgers (you’d need an historian to document it all) and it’s no accident that she not only has talent to burn, but she is out there with a crazily successful career of her own: writing, collaborating, singing, playing an assortment of instruments, recording and more.
She’s here in the Dayglo, taking a brief break from touring with Liam Finn (let’s not get started with his extraordinary musical pedigree) - last month we saw them in Vancouver, the night after Eddie Vedder had sung with them in Seattle, as well as touring between times with Evil Jane & St. Cecilia – do yourselves a favour and go to You Tube and see them and the increasingly hirsute Liam Finn to see the glorious EJ play and sing.
And, look, we do understand that a lot of our DJs, while hand-picked by the Prop are, well, male, and not as young as they once were, so here’s an antidote – EJ Barnes, the opposite to that, and decidedly alt rock as well!
Here she is, just a lovely person and a lovely singer, we’ve known her since she was a kid, she’s completely gorgeous, and she’s here with her kind o’ tunes!
Give it up for the utterly radiant ... EJ BARNES!>>>
28 November 2011
The Local Bar
8 Young Lane, Neutral Bay, Sydney
A bunch of us opened a new bar, a new venture for all of us, in Sydney this week. It’s just a small, modest joint, but the sort of place we thought we’d like to have around the corner.
Some of the proud owners ...
It's a comfortable relaxed bar, and we'd be happy to see you there with your friends.
It will be no surprise to you that Two Paddocks is prominent on a very extensive and wide ranging wine list.
26 November 2011
Team TP Top Ten #37
Special guest Roi Colbert, humourist, writer and critic.
Ladies and Gentlemen, are there any of you here, or is it just the usual line-up of hooligans and louts here in the Dayglo? Yes, I believe I see one at the back, a small but impressive gentleman from Dunedin, making his way to the stage, a familiar figure ... wait while I put on my glasses ... yes, I’m right, it’s the man who gives a good name to Dunedin ... columnist for the Otago Daily Times, satirist, commentator, and documentarian of his own hapless delightful life.
A very old and treasured friend of Two Paddocks, Roi, while not the world’s wildest dancer, knows more about, and cares more about music than anyone else we know – he has been a master of music criticism since the last King died pretty much. He also ran the best second hand record store in NZ for many years, just up from the Octagon.
Technically blind as a bat, he still plays golf twice a week at Balmacewen – terrifying – FORE! Here he is with his all-vinyl selection, magooing his way to the tables – he makes us laugh, and he’s here to ROCK ... give it up people for our dear old friend ... ROI COLBERT!>>>
25 November 2011
Sit up now class!
At this time of year every vine is carefully, painstakingly shoot thinned by hand – vital for low croppping (high quality) and vine management.
Here Mike shows a young riesling vine before thinning ...
And after shoot thinning.
All that craft and love...
Right, playtime – out you go. And no fighting Jimmy!
23 November 2011
Team TP Top Ten #36
Guest DJ Wine Writer and Commentator, The Wandering Menace, Curtis Marsh.
One of the Great Men of Wine, Curtis Marsh, has been based in Honkers and now in Singapore for many years now, and when he’s not clubbing here at the Dayglo, he devotes his time to exploring the world of wine. He is a sound critic and a terrific commentator, and we highly recommend his website thewanderingpalate.com for top info on wines and sheer pleasurable reading. Look him up – we will spare you the bio – but suffice it to say he’s been everywhere in the pursuit of excellence and a decent beverage – they know him in Burgundy, in Central Otago, in California ... he’s out there in your vineyard, he’s interrogating your winemaker, he’s keeping you up all night with hilarity and more of the good stuff. In other words, a major liability. The Wandering Menace ...
So, give it up Clubbers, iPhones in the air please, do a little stretch before maxing the boogie, hit the flloor, and DANCE! Here he is, our pal and yours -The Wandering Palate himself ... CURTIS MARSH!
20 November 2011
Spring at Alex
Something in the air...
Frosts aside (and we have been fighting our share, and have sustained some losses), it's springtime and the world in the vineyards is full of new life and promise.
We have at Alex (Last Chance vineyard) 7 acres of pinot noir grapes, surrounded by 13 acres of wild thyme. And here it is in full flower. The air is strongly scented with thyme. We are sure this accounts for some of the wonderful savoury notes you can taste in our Pinot.
And as well as our sheep providing natural fertilizer, and our extensive composting programme, we also grow cover crops between our rows. These not only conserve water and soil, when dug in later provide heaps of excellent organic matter for the vineyard.
Ok ... lesson over. You can all go out and play now.
19 November 2011
Team TP Top Ten #35
Special Guest DJ Oscar Kightley, MNZM.
Ladies and Gentlemen! On your feet, if you please, for a great New Zealander, and simultaneously a great Samoan! Yeah! I know ... crazy but true! Here he is in the Disco Inferno -- our good friend and confidant, the completely unique and utterly marvellous Oscar Kightley. "As funny as a fight," as they say in Ireland. Who knows what they say in Samoa? Do they even fight in Samoa? We love what Oscar does here at TPHQ. Excellent Actor, Writer, Producer, Comedian, TV Presenter and All Round Good Guy – all of these. Having said that, who knows what Oscar does, since he is almost invariably part of an excellent collective. One of the amazing Naked Samoans (if you haven’t seen Niu Sile, you haven’t lived or laughed enough), and one of the guys of Bro’ Town, New Zealand’s wildly succesful animated series, about a bunch of kids ar a South Auckland school. If they ad a leader &at all, it was Oscar. Just as he cowrote and starred in the brilliant movie Sione's Wedding probably the best comedy ever from New Zealand, and much loved here at HQ. (Look forward to the sequel ... the Prop should have been in it, but failed the Samoan accent test somehow). The Prop was in an episode of Bro' Town – "To Sam With Love" - check it out.
So here he is - one of the funniest men in New Zealand or anywhere else – our friend and dance guru, on your feet please, lighters up in the DaygloDisco, Let’s hear it from Club Two Paddocks – his sounds, his moves his moment – yes it’s Oscar Kightley!>>>
17 November 2011
Team TP Top Ten #34
Special Guest Winemaker and Diva from Neudorf, Judy Finn
Ladies and Gentlemen! Tonight in the Dayglo Disco, Club Two Paddocks, special guest New Zealand Wine Legend Judy Finn! We love a lot of other wineries here at Club HQ, and some we love more than others. Neudorf, in Nelson, is one we adore. 30 years on, making some of NZ’s greatest wines (try walking past their Chardonnays ... go on, try ... see you couldn’t do it!). And here she is, the glamorous Judy Finn, co-founder of Neudorf with her husband Tim Finn (imagine the sheer inconvenience of that alone -- like a Californian winemaker who happened to be married to an Elvis Presley) ... Judy has immaculate taste in wine and music, and we are honoured to welcome her to Club Two Paddocks, a rousing cheer please for the wonderful ... Judy FINN!>>>
16 November 2011
Scarlett Johansson Has a Chick
Benedict Cumberbatch the father. Probably.
Just the one.
And here they are.
14 November 2011
It has become a tradition in New Zealand that in November men grow moustaches to raise money to fight prostate cancer.
So at Two Paddocks, the boys are under orders to save on razor blades; the winner will then be able to donate a substantial sum from The Prop.
However the photographic evidence of work to date is not encouraging. With the exception of Mike, no-one yet has managed to sprout a single hair. The question is, are the boys just being truculent and contrarian?
Or could it be that they just ... can’t grow a mo?
Results at the end of the month.
12 November 2011
Team TP Top Ten #33
Special Guest DJ Thespian LEGEND, Alan RICKMAN Star of Bottleshock (Just to show this is in some small way connected to wine.)
Ladies aanndd Gentlemen! Tonight only, direct from Broadway, the utterly unique and completely brilliant Alan Rickman, right here in the Dayglo Disco spinning his discs just for you. And you. And you two in the corner. Yes it's Alan Rickman ... NOW I have your attention. Yes, it's the man who brought you Snape in Harry Potter (if you're under 20), Valmont in the RSC's Dangerous Liaisons (if you are grown up), the bad guy in Die Hard, he IS Colonel Brandon, Truly Madly ... oh alright you’ve got the picture ... and masses of other luminous performances on stage and screen. He is, like his namesake Chicken Rickman, sexy, charismatic and very scary. And here he is ... RESPECT ... sashaying up to the turntables with a stack o’ wax under his immaculately cut armpit -- give it up, if you please, for one of the greatest actors of his and any other generation -- the simply great, the inimitable the fantastic ...Alan RICKMAN!!>>>
11 November 2011
The Social Life of the Menagerie
All you need is love.
Our pig, Angelica has moved in with the cows, and they are all getting on well. Lady Caine, a very mothery kind of cow, has taken the pig under her wing.
And Mike managed to capture the moment they met as Lady Caine gave Angelica a big kiss. A kiss that was not particularly well received by Angelica, who really wanted to just get on with his dinner.
10 November 2011
The fascinating world of composting.
We are devotees of good soil health, indeed a healthy vineyard all round, to ensure we make healthy wines from healthy vines, and to ensure the health of all of us who work here. And to ensure the long term future of our vineyards.
A natural consequence of this is that we put a lot of energy into making compost, and the compost returns the favour by putting energy and life into our plants. We believe this shows in the quality of our wines.
Mike on a compost mountain
Here’s Mike on one of this year’s compost mountains.
Our recipes for good compost vary, but here's the recipe for this one:
Mike’s Compost Recipe
35% wood chip
20% manure, mostly, in this case, chicken s***
20% lucerne hay
Other fun filled ingredients we regularly employ are sheep poo, seaweed, and of course all our left overs from the winery: grape skins, pips, stems, etc.
6 November 2011
Microdoodle #8: Smoko with Bob
At Two Paddocks, good staff relations are all about good communication.
5 November 2011
Team TP Top Ten #32
Special guest DJ, Diesel
Ladies and Gentlemen! Today, and all night too, right here in your favourite limegreen and agent orange Dayglo Disco ... none other than our good Two Paddocks friend, the one and only Mark Lizotte -- aka DIESEL! Not just Australia's greatest guitarist but perhaps its greatest living singer too. A Living National Treasure! At last, some class! So, a big hand if you please – here he is (Mark has sung for us at birthdays, dinners, picnics ...there is no end to his generosity, but today instead he’s spinning discs) -- a big hand for the fabulous ...DIESEL!!>>>
3 November 2011
We travel. You travel.
Two Paddocks travels.
And if in any way you might find Singapore compelling, as we do, this article by the excellent Wandering Palate about famous Iggy’s Restaurant you should find helpful if you are interested in food and wine. The Wandering menace writes rather like Iggy’s cooks -- inspirationally on the edge.
Ladies and Gentlemen ... and the rest of you can leave ... now! Go on – out!
Tonight, all the way from sunny Norwich, flown in at gaggingly high cost on Two Paddocks Virtual Airways (First Class --So good, you neversleep). The Most Loved Man in Television and Film, and pretty much any other medium yet devised ... the Ridiculously Funny, The Unnecessarily Handsome, the Alarmingly Intelligent, The Absurdly Tall, The Overly Modest, the Unfairly Talented, The Abundantly Charming, Man of The Fens, here tonight exclusively in the Dayglo Disco: Actor, Producer, Director, Author, Satirist, Comedian, Tweeter, Soccer Tragic, Occasional Political Activist, (Lordy this is exhausting) ... Sometime Theatrical Luvvy, Bloody Blogger, Winner of the Hair Lottery, and so on ... a list as long as your arm. Here he is gliding his way through the adoring crowd ...
You love him in Q.I. (Should be B.F.*), you loved him as Jeeves, you loved him in Blackadder, you loved him with Laurie, you loved him as Wilde, you loved him as the Cheshire Cat, you loved him as Kingdom, you love him with animals, with words, with Wagner, with taxis, with black dogs, with ancestors, with, with .. .oh God there is no end to this ... the man not only defines Polymath, he can bloody well spell it. And you will love him as the highest Hobbit ever.
We just love him as a good egg.
Give it up, if you please, on your feet, hands in the air, a big Dayglo Disco welcome ... for the Superbly , Staggeringly, Stunningly Splendid ... Mr ... Stephen FRY!!!
28 October 2011
Lord Julian Fellowes Looking for Work
Our office workers harassed.
Lord J, with girlfriend A, does the Lambeth Walk
outside the Tasting Room
A curious thing has been happening of late. Our pheasants were set free to roam some weeks ago and we were anxious they would take to the hills and never be seen again. However we seem to have had a surprisingly good result, and Lord Julian Fellowes and his harem of four have stayed around the farm, favouring the nectarine block and the dam in particular.
But oddly Lord Julian has taken to hanging around the office, and they are sometimes seen peering in at Jacqui and Catherine, who find this rather startling. Particularly as Lord J was so snooty and stand offish for weeks after his arrival. And a peering pheasant is not something you see every day.
We are not sure what's going on here. Does he fancy a bit of office work? Is being a Peer of the Realm (you got that didn't you?) not enough, does he want to do our accounts as well? Is he eying the computer, having had some good ideas for the third series of Downton Abbey? Or is he merely preening himself in his reflected glory? He is, it has to be said, rather beautiful. Who knows ... a mysterious bird.
Elsewhere, Mike reports that the lamb count comes out at 22 ram lambs, and only 8 ewe lambs. Not sure what to make of this imbalance, although it may be related in some way to the bandit maniac father George Gleegun’s excess testosterone ...
Mike is also crossing fingers that all frosts are past now -- six sleepless nights since returning from Burgundy -- but experience tells us that anything can happen, and usually does.
26 October 2011
Team TP Top Ten #30
Two Paddocks All Rounder and Redbank Farmster, Keith Robertson.
Ladies aanndd Gentlemen! Yes, we know you are still reeling from Bob’s radical DJ session, but we haven't finished with you yet! You knew it had to be ... yes, Keith, Keith, Keith ... cometh the hour, cometh the man. And yes, we know you dread Keith's selection, we see you gritting your teeth, bracing for the torture to come. But wait, while we know Keith's been round the block more than once (formerly coached the Highlanders, ran a motel in Invercargill ... a thousand life experiences, none of them remotely musical) what we DO know is that he's had the tremendously civilizing experience of working for Two Paddocks for ... what, five years, ten (feels like fifty), so who knows what he'll choose? Stockhausen? Rimsky-Korsakov? Shostakovich? Let's see! Here he is, we love him, our favourite greens man – look he’s broken into a run on the way to the sound desk – never seen that before – Give it up Ladies, Gents, Chickens, and Goats ... you know him, you love him, he's here with HIS music, kick back, kick forward here he is ... it’s KEITH!>>>
23 October 2011
Team TP Top Ten #29
The suave savage actor, star of stage and screen -- Steven Weber
Ladies and Gentlemen! Duck! Here he is, the Wild Man of Twitter, the Indoors Man of Bel Air, the Human Contortionist of Brooklyn, the Veteran of the Catskills, the Family Man, The Star of Wings, Humorist, Poet, Political Commentator, the Suave, the Savage, the Lush, the decidedly wacky, the Fully Trained and Qualified Thespian, as seen on Broadway (The Producers ... how good was that?), as seen in Happy Town, a hell of an actor, an even more hellish guy ... he sings, he dances, he drives, he paints, he rides a horse, he has six languages, he drinks our wine but shouldn’t, he travels but should be banned; he’s a liability, he’s a Star and he’s our good pal ... he is, of course ... the magnificent ... STEVEN WEBER!>>>
We have always maintained that our Picnic is at home equally at Goodwood, Ascot, The Hamptons, Glyndbourne, the High Table at Trinity College Cambridge, Le Colombe D'Or, Sean's Panaroma Bondi, or St Kilda beach Dunedin.
In other words, posh or not, inside or out, winter or summer, food or not ... Picnic will make the day. Or evening.
We do however strongly recommend company, and romantic company definitely, should that be available.
Some friends from Croatia sent a letter and pics of their perfect picnic with Picnic. A picnic with everything. Lovely. Our thanks to Saša Zavrtnik.
19 October 2011
Team TP Top Ten #28
Jane Jackson, National Retail Sales Manager, Negotiants
Ladies and Gentlemen! Direct from Herne Bay, our favourite Auckland Bopster: a menace on the dancefloor, a terror on the road (white GTI wheels, natch) Jane "Twister" Jackson -- our good palat Negociants NZ. Wild and very very funny ... keep your heads DOWN, here she is, one hot daaangerous Naki chick heading for the DJ booth ...give it up, listen carefully and hit the floor ... it’s our very own, the lovely ... Jane JACKSON!>>>
15 October 2011
Microdoodle #7: A Case of You
Welcome to HQ, come on in...
15 October 2011
Team TP Top Ten #27
Actor, wine lover, bon viveur, raconteur and competitive dancer, Willem Dafoe.
Ladies and Gentlemen! In the house! Direct from the clubs of Rome, and originally Studio 54, our old friend DJ DAFOE! One of the world's greatest screen actors (Spider Man, Last Temptation of Christ ...oh, 100 other movies), and no slouch on the stage either, wine lover, bon viveur, raconteur and competitive dancer -- the man oozes DJ charisma. And he's a friend of Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson -- respect! Here he is, flown in First Class on Virtual Airways, our pal and yours - the Great, the One and Only ... WILLEM DAFOE!>>>
13 October 2011
Save a Kiwi, Eat a Frog
Mike Wing reports on his exchange visit to France.
Four Central Otago boys in Eperna. Still standing. Merci Moet!
I have returned from the land of great cheap cheese and endless wine to superb cheap homebrew beer and endless rugby world cup media.
It was definitely no holiday as people back home kept implying. During harvest there was a period of three weeks without a day off and sleep was just as rare. The lack of sleep was due mainly to the snoring French pickers in my dorm above the winery. But I have to admit that the work included "arduous" jobs like cellar visits to other domains where you might be barrel-tasting wines from all over the Côte de Nuits or Côte de Beaune.
The French are a hard working bunch and they have the same enthusiasm for eating and drinking. Everything is planned and monitored down to the last decimal point. Lunch could be one hour or two and you may work from breakfast until lunch or in between “it could be possible to have a beer,” as Alain would say. Maybe I lost some of the planning in translation but the whole process seems to flow with very few hitchs and the grapes just gently evolve into a wine.
Another Confuron vineyard 80k from home. Absolument charmant.
Merci beaucoup Confurons!
After my placement at Domain JJ Confuron, I met back up with the other three exchangees from Central Otago and about 20 other international stagier for one week of tuition and field trips at the viticultural school in Beaune. We received lectures on the AOC on how the appellation system was formed and works. We also studied the numerous regulations imposed on the producers. Just before our heads were to explode from an overload of wine politics combined with the ongoing hangover headache from the evenings at one of the many great bars in Beaune, a perfectly timed bus would arrive to take us on a field trip. We visited a lot of large negociant wineries in the week which gave me an revealing new view of Burgundy. One negociants wine cave was 4 km long with over 3 million bottles in stock.
After being there for five weeks, it was great to return to Redbank and take in all the sweet smells of spring. After seeing many examples of winemaking and vineyard management in detail, I became confident that we are on track here at Two Paddocks. The best examples for me were small producers who knew their blocks well and respected their individual differences allowing those differences to truly express their site.
-- Mike Wing
10 October 2011
The Upside of Spring
No, spring really is a wonderful time of the year, the boy's shorts not withstanding, and here is some proof of that.
We have a small grove of 20 or 30 lilac bushes, that for a brief moment, just a couple of weeks, are a riot of colour and scent. Almost overwhelming ...
On a quiet Sunday last week, we took the opportunity to bottle a little more of our lavender oil (distilled earlier in the year). Our lavender is in demand from some discerning luxe spa hotels ... if you visit Songbirds on the Gold Coast for instance, they might give you a bottle. If you are very good.
Alternatively, if you visit us here at the cellar door, just ask. Very reasonably priced. Friends all over the world have become almost addicted to our lavender, and swear it helps in all sorts of ways – sleep, healing of cuts and burns, romantic encounters and so on.
Speaking of the cellar door, our next MAXiMOViE microdoodle takes you there. Critics, sharpen your pencils. Next weekend ...
8 October 2011
Team TP Top Ten #26
Vinous genius, Dean Shaw
Ladies aanndd Gentlemen! Our DJ today – a man who needs no introduction here in the TP Inferno! So we won’t give him one! Oh , alright you lot, we will. Our winemaker since 1999, our partner in the Central Otago Wine Company, and friend for all of that time, Dean is the original rock’n’roll winemaker -- the speakers at work are bigger than some of the vats! Knows more about music than most, and much more about how to craft great wine than just about anyone! Just do not ask him to dance though -- not a pretty sight! Anyway, here he is larger than life, and lurching towards the turntables. He’s in the House, he’s ready to Rock! Are You? Let’s hear it for ... DEAN!!>>>
4 October 2011
Look away now if you are faint of heart!
While Spring in the vineyard has much to recommend it – lambs, cherry blossom, green shoots on the vines and so on, there are inevitably things that we positively dread that come with warmer weather.
10 points if you can identify the owners of
these gruesome gams.
Some people fear the onset of allergies for instance. Hay fever can be a springtime curse. But here at Redbank, we know the balloon has gone up for a more clement season when an even more shudder-inducing event takes place ... <muffled screams>.
Yes folks, the first day of spring at Two Paddocks is marked by the ghastly business of Shorts Day – the grizzly first appearance of legs that have not seen the sun for about five months. No warning is given, no discussion is entered into -- as if by magic, something akin to the Migration of Birds. One day the boys just arrive simultaneously dressed in short trousers.
Animals flee across paddocks, women run sobbing to the washrooms – it's pandemonium. We publish the evidence as a public service and we apologize if this puts you off your breakfast.
1 October 2011
Team TP Top Ten #25
Special Guest, Wine Loving DJ, the Stunning and Unique Toni Collette.
Ladies aaanndd Gentlemen! Today, in the Two Paddocks Disco Inferno, one of the really Great Actors of our time! Not only that, she is herself a musician and singer! More than that she’s married to a great musician, Dave Galafassi!
It gets worse – she’s now giving birth to little musicians! (Two.) No wonder she loves her music! No choice! And no wonder we love her! Funny, fantastically talented, good company and supremely gorgeous ... yes the perfect Guest TP DJ ... here she is: Lift the Roof People! It’s our very own ... TONI COLLETTE!!>>>
27 September 2011
Team TP Top Ten #24
Liam Neeson, OBE, Special Guest DJ, Acting Legend and Pinot Dude
Ladies and Gentlemen! He’s here. Our friend and colleague, all the way from Ballymena via NYC (the long way), and now here, in the Two Paddocks Disco Inferno: Liam Neeson. Last time we saw him actually dancing with intent (as opposed to by accident) was at Nell’s about 20 years ago, so this is MASSIVE. And here he is, taking to the turntables with all the conviction you’d expect of a true action hero. On your feet boys and girls ... you are in the presence. A big roar of applause of a man who's given more great performances than most of us have had hot breakfasts ... a lovely man and a top DJ ... it’s Liam NEESON>>>
25 September 2011
Microdoodle #6: The End of the World
In a sea of thyme, the Proprietor teeters on the edge of oblivion.
24 September 2011
Team TP Top Ten #23
Special RWC2011 Guest DJ All Black Great, and semi-great ballroom dancer, Josh Kronfeld
Ladies and Gentlemen! Today, a special World Cup appearance, spinning the discs -- All Black immortal Josh Kronfeld! Not just one of the greatest flankers of our time, but one of the great AB dancers. Yes, believe it or not, for the first time in the TP disco, someone who can actually do the moves! Ranked third 2009 in Celebrity Come Dancing, Josh is now more than ever the object of envy of NZ Blokes, especially those who've seen Josh play mouth harp! So, here he is, Sportsman, Muso and NZ’s own Semi-Astaire ... A big House of Pain roar for ... Mr ... Josh ... KRONFELD!!!>>>
20 September 2011
Team TP Top Ten #22
Nathan Corlett, Two Paddocks’ Viticulture Young Gun, Tractor Expert and Bathroom Singer.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Nathan is in the House! Now look, we make no promises here, and we cannot vouchsafe what is to follow. We DO know that when Nathan arrives at work, the car is cranking doof doof, doof doof, his radio is tuned to unmentionable stations, and it’s playing tunes you hope you will never have to hear again in your life. So here goes, and play at your own risk. Ladies and Gentlemen, HIS greatest hits ... here he is, it’s his hour in the sun, and he likes what he likes, so we have nothing to say on that ... our own Nate, a great bloke with cloth ears ... it’s none other than .... NATHAN!>>>
18 September 2011
28 Lambs Later
Keith very happy.
George Gleegun’s progeny are legion in the ewe paddock. Hopefully we do not have 28 mini-maniacs on our hands.
After the autumnal rapine and pillage in the ewe's paddock by the infamous sex-crazed maniac George Gleegun, our lambs arrived at least three weeks ahead of schedule. Luckily the weather has been reasonably benign since then, and we have an unprecedented number of lambs gambolling about -- 28 in all. Animal husband Keith declares himself well pleased.
This is certainly a better result than the batch fathered by Yougo Weaving, RIP, who, it will be remembered, died on the job, so to speak. Well, it's a tough job keeping twenty females happy simultaneously, one imagines. Look at stress levels in the outer reaches of Salt Lake City for instance.
Still, there is no question of George being welcomed back into the fold. He was a sheepicidal liability, and no mistake.
This may be hard to break to their namesakes. Last year it may be remembered Hugo Weaving was moved to unmanly tears (see 2010 blog) at news of YouGo's untimely demise. He may have his own views on the rogue Gleegun. And the dropping of Gleegun from the side could be poor timing, given RWC nerves at the present time, and George Gregan we suspect could find this disconcerting. We’ve said nothing, so if you see him, change the subject diplomatically.
17 September 2011
Team TP Top Ten #21
Clive Weston, GM of Negociants NZ, Two Paddocks splendid NZ Distributor.
Ladies and Gentlemen! In the House, for your Old Time, Anytime’s the Right Time, Big Time Timeless Dancing and Listening Pleasure, The Man himself ... Not just the nicest man in NZ Wine, but easily the tallest! Here he is, striding across the Two Paddocks Disco floor; head, shoulders and torso above the dancing midgets of #nzwine! He’s dug out his scratched old vinyl, and he’s ready to Rave! Give it up please for our Favourite NZ Distrubutor, Party-Boy-Menace, Reckless Dancer, and Two Paddocks Drinker! Here he is ...applause please for Clive ...WESTON!!>>>
14 September 2011
An upside down world.
Mike Wing, Le Viticulturist de Deux Paddox, is enjoying an Indian Summer in Burgundy, having escaped winter at Redbank. Staff are doing well pretending they are not in anyway jealous.
Winter in New Zealand
By way of contrast: more snow than usual this year at Redbank.
Summer in France
Mike - We picked the last of the Chardonnay today and all the Pinot is in so we are just looking after ferments now.
Old vines and hollyhocks.
And another thing we have in common – harvest parties.
Mike - ‘They do a great job of eating and drinking in Burgundy.
13 September 2011
Team TP Top Ten #20
Sean Moran, chef, gardener, restauranter, and Special Guest DJ, exclusive and live from Bondi Beach!
Ladies and Gentlemen! One of the World's Great Chefs, and one of the World's Worst Singers! Sean Moran!
Yes, it's Seany himself from Sean's Panaroma, probably our favourite joint, down at Bondi, Sydney, very cheerful, far from cheap, but worth every razoo and more! Don't ask the Prop to get you a table there ... he wants it for himself! Sean sings as he cooks, the food is heavenly, but ... well, the voice ... s crank it loud, drown the singalong, and get in the Groove ... with SEAN MORAN!>>>
11 September 2011
Upgrading Top 10s
We work 24/7 for your benefit on this blog.
A completely unrelated photo of Steven Weber. Except that he will undoubtedly be a Top 10 blogee in future.
Note ... Weber is usually out of focus and prefers it that way.
For those, and they are legion, who follow our Top 10 Disco section, please note that for easy browsing we have retrospectively provided YouTube links for everything we can.
Our tireless web-mistress, Cathy, has been slaving over a hot computer for days, following the shining example of Mr John Clarke.
More than that, we are now asking our Top 10 blogees to furnish our lists with notes ... see Tim Spall's 10 and his notes ... which makes things even more enlightening!
Coming up soon, for instance, Toni Collette and Liam Neeson, both of whom have written brilliant notes ...
5 September 2011
Team TP Top Ten #19
Thespian, and retired Two Paddocks ram, Tim Spall.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Two Paddocks proudly presents, here in the Dayglo Disco, on the turntables and occasionally the vibraphone, not just perhaps England’s Finest Actor, but also its most persistent! Star of the Potter flicks, Pierrepoint, The King's Speech, The Damned United, most of Tim Burton's films and many of Mike Leigh's and ... and ... oh stuff it ... pretty much half of all movies made since 1980, in fact! As if that wasn't bad enough, he and Mrs Spall are heroically circling Britain in a barge: "At Sea" - 40 lashes if you haven't been watching it on the Beeb ... So here he is, Captain Pugwash himself, the splendid and completely unique Two Paddocks pal ... TIMOTHY SPALL>>>
7 September 2011
Viticulturist In Burgundy
Mike Wing getting cultured.
We have word from Mike, who writes:
I am at Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron which is in Nuits-Saint-Georges, 10 minutes out of Beaune. Domaine J-J Confuron is a fairly small vineyard with only 8 hectares, 2 grand cru blocks one in Clos-Vougoet and the other in Romanée-Saint-Vivant, plus four premier crus in Nuits-Saint-Georges, Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanée (which look great this year). They also have village and bourgogne blocks. It's all very spread out and great for observing different management styles. J-J Confuron have been organic for 21 years, they have a very simple approach.
The harvest is going well. There is a lot of botrytis in some blocks as a result of late season rain. I have only picked one morning and have been in the winery since. All the harvest workers stay above the winery in communal rooms which are not brilliant for non-snorers. Everybody eats drinks and sleeps together and there is amazing food which mama Confuron cooks up all day. Beer and wine is on tap. You can't help but enjoy that. I have taken lots of photos and will send some next week when things calm down a bit in the winery.
Mmm ... wine on tap, eh?
5 September 2011
Team TP Top Ten #18
Jancis Robinson -- Oenophile, Critic, Writer, Television Presenter and, surprisingly, Music Maven.
Ladies aaannnddd Gentlemen! Tonight, in the Two Paddocks Disco Den we honour the world's most celebrated wine writer! Such a star, she only needs one name: Jancis! (Like Meryl. Or Sigourney). As deeply respected at the top table at, say, Chateau Lafitte as she is among the humble vines at Two Paddocks. Not just erudite, but also funny as a fight. Here she is, approaching the DJ booth, looking sharp indeed in Issey Miyake ... put your hands together and put on your jitterbug shoes! Gentry and Ratbags, with her own vinyl and her very own toons ... the wonderful, the utterly unique, the fabulously glamorous ... JANCIS>>>
4 September 2011
Ten Useful Distractions
Or things to do when it’s too wet to prune.
The excellent John Clarke (aka Fred Dagg for those still in the time warp) sends us ten excellent diversions. Being not only funny and a connoisseur of funny people, but also utilitarian, John provides useful links to somewhere else in a cloud of ether where they store sublime material. Funny material!
We would appreciate it if you do not show this to our staff as John suggests. There is ALWAYS something that needs doing if it is too wet to prune vines.
If you are not on the floor crippled with laughter on watching most of these, your medication might be overprescribed, and perhaps your doctor should be revisited. Or struck off.
And if you don't think Astaire and Powell are just downright delightful, then we give up. In essence, these are all for a good old cheer-up!
Over to John:
Herefollows a list of uplifting material. The viewing experience may be enhanced by a tincture of TP's elixir, although the plimsol line is clearly marked on your maps and is well short of items 5, 7 and 10.
Wallaby Great, Jazz Beatnik and RWC Special Invitee Two Paddocks DJ, George Gregan
Ladies and Gentlemen in the TP Disco! On your feet please! Tonight We of the Disco honour the Man himself! The most capped player in the history of the great sport of Rugby Football! 139 internationals for Australia! And countless appearances representing his country in karaoke bars around the world! Yes, as the World Cup kicks off, here he is, The World’s Greatest Ever #9, Mr Cool himself ...GEORGE GREGAN!>>>
1 September 2011
Running in the Family
Neill & Co.
Mention has previously been made on this blog of the arrival in Dunedin of The Proprietor’s forebear, P. C. Neill, 150 years ago, 1861 AD.
P. C. Neill, then a 19 year old lad from Belfast, following the example of his father, promptly formed Neill & Co, merchants and importers of wines and spirits. This anniversary struck the Prop as significant: in an almost unbroken run we have been supplying the good citizens of Otago with sublime wine for 150 years.
More than that, it has become clear that from the family we are not alone in this laudable endeavour here at HQ.
As it turns out we have at least three cousins, all descended from P. C., who are also producing wines of the highest order.
Garry Neill of Ballochdale Estate, Awatere Valley, Marlborough. Ballochdale planted their first vineyards the same year as us in 1992. They grow Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, and provide grapes for no less than six companies, including Jules Taylor Wines. This year they are releasing their first Ballochdale Estate Pinot on their own account.
Patrick Rattray lives in the Waihopai valley at Eversley and grows a fine Pinot Noir (approx. 15 ac.) and also Sauvignon Blanc. He is a director of Jackson Estate wines and supplies them with their best Pinot Noir.
George Elworthy and his wife Jules Taylor own Jules Taylor Wines. George trained as a wine maker but it is Jules who now makes the wine and George runs the business side of things and they both do the marketing. They buy grape from contract growers (mostly Marlborough), including Pinot Noir from Ballochdale. They have won champion at the Air New Zealand Awards in Sauvignon Blanc twice now and have an excellent profile in the industry.
P.C.Neill’s stables. His horses may well have been more comfortable than his many children
So perhaps it's true what they say, that stuff runs along family lines. Alcohol anyway. Patrick is also (fairly obviously) a Rattray, and so descended from another old family firm, Rattray & Co , who were identical to Neill & Co, so it's no real surprise that he produces top booze.
And now, 150 years later, the cousins plan together to release a very small limited Pinot in P. C.’s honour – all four will contribute a barrel of their best to a Pinot Noir, which Jules will finish. This anniversary Pinot will tentatively be called Neill & Co. We’d like to think PC would find that pleasing.
31 August 2011
Team TP Top Ten #16
Mike Wing, Two Paddocks Head Viticulturist (and failed Come Dancing Entrant).
Ladies & Gentlemen! He may be in Burgundy as we speak, but he still insists on Classic Rock! Oh Yeah! Charles Aznavour? Don't be stupid! Melanie Laurent? No way, you poofs! Give us ACCADACCA and shove your continental crap! Lets rock out and dust off the Air Guitars! Crank it UUPPP! Open another one! Get ready to ROCK! A big Two Paddocks Vineyard roar for Redbank's own! Here he is ... MIKE WING!>>>
29 August 2011
Team TP Top Ten #15
The Prop's Essential Classic R&B
Yes, the Prop is back exercising Droit de Seigneur as today’s DJ. Again. And it’s back to the days when R&B meant what it said. It never got better than this. Truth to tell, some of the following greats may have had one or two better songs, but this is what the Proprietor is playing this week. Because he loves 'em! So tonight ... in the Two Paddocks Disco INFERNO! A little Soul Train action! Get Up and Get ...Down!>>>
28 August 2011
No, in fact we really enjoy winter here in the vineyards, particularly when we get a fine day of such blue crystal clarity that you feel that the world is freshly minted.
On such a day, at luncheon consider the White option ... in our case Two Paddocks Picnic Riesling. And place it for a few minutes in the snow to cool.
Did we mention how very very impressive our classic Rieslings have become? This 2010 Picnic Riesling, for instance, is completely delightful ...quite low in alcohol, just enough sweetness to balance against the zing of the crisp acids, a gorgeous suggestion of stone fruits - apricots and peaches along side the lime citrus, with a twist of mandarin peel.
Very refreshing indeed.
Oh Lord, I am going to have to go down to the cellar now ...
Footnote: We have further discovered that not only is our Riesling a sensation when new, it develops beautifully with some bottle age. You should be able to find 2008 and 2009 readily enough, in which case putting some down would be a very sensible move, and we are doing just that.
We only wish we had in years past – we have drunk only too readily our back vintages. Quelle dommage, as they would say in the Mosel, if they spoke French. What would they say? Gott in Himmel! Perhaps...
Cellaring wine involves a certain amount of self discipline, but come on – you CAN do it!
27 August 2011
Team TP Top Ten #14
John Clarke -- writer, comedian, satirist, raconteur, wearer of trousers, special guest DJ.
Ladies and Gentlemen! A little hush PLEASE in the Two Paddocks Disco Inferno! Appearing tonight, all the way from Melbourne Australia, such an old TP friend he could be almost described as a Veteran! Simply the funniest man in Australasia! JC is in The House! With videos! On your feet, Party People, a roar of approval please! The dude has impeccable taste in Music! Yes, the Man Himself ... John Clarke!>>>
25 August 2011
Team TP Top Ten #13
Two Paddocks General Manager, Jacqui Murphy
Ladies and Gentlemen! Raised in Taranaki! Schooled ... somewhere else! Three time Hawera Twist Champion! One time Hullygully Runner-up! She’s Outrageous! Courageous! Give it Uupp! You can't win! Tonight! Welcome to the stage please!...DJ...Jacqui Murphy !>>>
25 August 2011
The Vineyard Team
See you Mike...
Here is the team at HQ saying farewell to Mike who is off today on his Burgundy adventure.
From left Keith, Mike, Nathan, Bob, Jacqui and Catherine, all scrubbed up. Staff have placed the Prop’s photo in the middle for satirical purposes only.
A Two Paddocks golf tournament was also held in Mike’s honour. Bob won. Again. This in spite of specific instructions from The Proprietor to let Mike win this once since he was going away.Oh, that Bob ...
Bon Voyage Mike.
23 August 2011
Team TP Top Ten #12
Our famous friend and colleague...Jorge Garcia!
Ladies and Gentlemen! By popular demand, direct from Los Angeles, right here in your very own living room!
The iconic! The celebrated! The wildly talented! The really nice guy! The one and only! Yes, he's in the House! Give it up please ... for JORGE GARCIA!>>>
22 August 2011
George Gleegun wrecks TP Family Planning
It has only just stopped snowing, and already the first of our lambs have arrived, at least three weeks before their time.
This is not completely a surprise; it may be remembered that the belligerent and sex-crazed ram, George Gleegun jumped three fences to get at our girls: uninvited, unwelcome and premature.
Still, mothers and lambs all doing well, more arrive every day, and these twins were the first. The Riesling block is the nursery paddock this year.
The guilty Gleegun meanwhile has been sold and we imagine is up to no good on someone else’s property. We don’t think he’ll be sending flowers ...
20 August 2011
Hugh Grant, Jeremy Northam, Steven Weber, and Hugh Jackman Drinking Together
Strange how the famous tend to prefer to hang out with each other.
These birds (guinea fowl) have been with us for a month or so now, but are still confined to their own enclosure for the moment while they get used to being at our place. In a couple of weeks, we will let them out and hope that by then they will hang around the vineyards like the chickens happily do. They look pretty calm and steady now, so it should work out.
The pheasants, led by the fiercely stroppy and snooty Lord Julian Fellowes, we fear will head for the hills immediately. Where they will have to chance their lives among hunters. But you try talking sense into a pheasant. You try explaining that they can live The Good Life at Redbank where all they are required to do is to look decorative. And eat the bugs we don't want around the place.
Mind you, there is always some element of risk and excitement for even the chickens. Being free range comes with its own jeopardys: there are raptors in the sky -- hawks -- and the occasional too-relaxed chicken has been taken or suffered attack from above. The smart ones run for cover ... and indeed some of them live under cover; you find them all over the farm cohabiting under bushes; each rooster has a bunch of girlfriends whom he guards jealously (a kind of avian Big Love). So we are never sure exactly how many chickens we have at any one time -- anything between 20 and 30. When it’s feeding time a different crew turn up each time ...
Every year, some of the hens produce chicks. We have learned that you just can’t sex a chicken, or at least we can’t. Some that we were sure were roosters turned out to be hens, and vice versa. We make no calls until we see the eggs. So, yes, Stephen Fry or Steven Weber may may turn out to be hens, and Cate Blanchett may turn out to be a rooster in the long run. But they will always be Stephen, Steven and Cate to us.
20 August 2011
Team TP Top Ten #11
Webmaster Classical from Cathy Scott -- not extremely high-brow classical, more romantic classical.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Pray silence for a moment in the TP Disco! Ssshhh ... down the back please! Security, please remove the semidressed winemaker! Thank you! NOW ... Just when you were thinking that here at Two Paddocks we were all a bunch of semi-literate, uncultured (if hardworking) oiks, here is our one and only, long serving -- and long suffering -- Webmaster, Cathy. She’s savvy, well read, musical, but is still outrageously devoted to a Good Time!
Here she is, all stand please, a warm Two Paddocks Welcome to ... our own ... CATHY SCOTT!>>>
18 August 2011
Viticulturist for Burgundy
Mike off for Northern Vintage
Mike Wing, our whizz viticulturist, has the singular honor to be selected as one of four who are being sent to Burgundy for vintage. Mike is off in a few days, along with 3 other Central viticulturists -- Blair Deaker, Max Marriot, and Dylan Turnbull. We wish them all a great time.
In the meantime, Mike is dreaming about his upcoming Top 10.
One week to go until the exchange programme which will take me to Burgundy to experience a vintage in the Cote D’or. I am one of four from Central Otago that will be placed at selected domains in the Cote D’or for the 2011 vintage to get a hands on appreciation of the home of Pinot Noir. The Burgundy/ Central Otago exchange programme allows up to four people from each wine region to gain the experience of a vintage on the other side of the world and has been running for several years now.
So off to sorting tables, horse pulled ploughs and 0.1ha blocks of very low cropping vines it all sounds a bit like Two Paddocks really although we are still very young in comparison and I have not convinced the proprietor to buy a horse yet. We spend most of our time in the winery learning all the crucial operations (hosing and sweeping) and untellable secrets (wine and cheese for breakfast) of Burgundy’s success at producing great Pinot Noir. I am becoming very excited at the opportunity that awaits me and plan to immerse myself in the culture and history.
We are lucky enough to have a couple of days to travel to Burgundy from Paris and the proprietors wife has done a great job in booking us a tour of Moet & Chandon in Epernay and we also have booking at William Fevre in Chablis. Don’t get the wrong idea though this is a work trip and all effort will be made to gain large amounts of knowledge to return to Two Paddocks rather than drinking and eating our way through a five week trip.
18 August 2011
Team TP Top Ten #10
Special Guest – Chef and Tap Dancer, Pete Gawron
Ladies and Gentlemen! Long time Two Paddocks ally and co-conspirator Pete Gawron! Famed for his excellent food (and wine list) at Saffron Restaurant in Arrowtown! Famed for his athletic and lithe approach to party-dance! Famed for his immaculate taste in music! Hit the floor, boys and girls! And give it up for ...Pete GAWRON!>>>
13 August 2011
The Proprietor takes us on a tour of the First Paddock vineyard, and its historic and beautiful Chateau set in its own splendid grounds.
12 August 2011
Team TP Top Ten #9
Our special revered guest DJ and TP alumnus, Brian CROOT
Although he retired about 3 years ago, we all miss Brian very much, so it’s a comfort he’s just across the valley, happily ensconced with his beloved Mavora. And here they are, 45 years married, and still in love. We love them too.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Retired but far from forgotten! So uncool, he’s WAY cool! So unhip, he now has a replacement titanium hip! The one and only! The great! The sublime! Put your hands together, and bow low in humble RESPECT! He's back! And better than ever! Yes it is...it's Brian CROOT!>>
11 August 2011
Team TP Top Ten #8
The Prop grooves in NZ
Ladies and Gentlemen! Because he is an egotistical maniac, who can basically do whatever he wants, because this is his blog, The Proprietor reserves the right to have as many as he wants! So here is the first -- The Prop’s top NZ toons. Well, today, anyway. Love NZ music, and there is so much to love. SO ... get dancing NOW!>>
Lady Caine and Gong Li
The Prop and Gong Li deep in conversation,
Gordy and Sweater listen in.
Gong Li likes a back scratch. She is fully grown, but does not seem to have any short person complex. Gordy too, although he is more stand offish. Sweater is all over the place.
9 August 2011
There probably isn't a movie in this ...
So, our much anticipated new chums have arrived. And look as comfortable as if they've always been here.
First of all, a milking cow, a
friesan/jersey cross, who was originally called Shakira. She is such a beauty we have upgraded her name, and called her Lady Shakira Caine, after the one of the most beautiful women on the planet,
and the wife of the great
Sir Michael Caine (who is also a chook, but you knew that already.)
Then there are our two Miniature Belted Galloway Cattle. They resemble a cross between a panda bear and a cattle beast. The cow we have called after another of the world’s greatest beauties, Gong Li. There was something about the panda/chinese connection...yes,
alright it makes no sense now.
But Gong Li she is.
The steer came already named as
Gordy, and Gordy he stays. Anyway, it rhymes with Gong Li.
Gong Li came with a friend, a weird looking sheep of a breed unknown in these parts. We have called him
Sweater, because he looks like one of those excruciatingly embarrassing sweaters your Gran took a year to knit especially for you, and you wish she hadn’t.
Gong Li and Sweater were raised
together and are inseparable ...
8 August 2011
Proprietor Cruelly Overworked
The Proprietor is often the butt of cheap jibes from ignorami implying that he lounges around the vineyard living the Life of Reilly doing sweet Fanny Adams, etc.
We strongly reject such libelous slurs, and present further proof, if any were needed, that The Prop is diligent and conscientious. For at least half an hour today, he was labeling by hand bottles of our finest ...and here they are.
Beautiful work, non?
6 August 2011
Microdoodle #4: Proprietor's Perks
Our own Undercover Boss, The Proprietor, disguised as a passing actor, gets to the nitty gritty of vineyard work in winter.
6 Aug 2011
Team TP Top Ten #7
Special Members of the TP Team
Ladies & Gentlemen! Tonight in the Two Paddocks Disco Inferno! Our very good Two Paddocks Friends! Live and Raving! In the House! In the Groove! You asked for them! You gott 'em! They’ve been on the Two Paddocks programme for years! She’s pretty! And he’s ...well, not. And here they are! Put them together now! Applause, please! Tim ... and Marie ... FINN!>>>
31 July 2011
A Paddock of Stars
Our Papparazzi never sleep.
Here's Cate Blanchett. At full throttle.
28 July 2011
Team TP Top Ten #6
Social Media Rocks!
Ladies and Gentlemen! From the Cool Side of Town! She’s Chilled! But She’s Hot! She’s a Mum! She’s Really Brainy! Yep, Really Really Brainy! With the Coolest Sounds Around ... A Big TP Cheer for our Own Media Guru-ette ! Applause Please ...On your Feet ...Lighters in the Air, Now ...for Hana! >>
23 July 2011
Microdoodle #3: A Pig's Tale
Angelica's Hollywood Debut.
Our own Undercover Boss: the Proprietor of Two Paddocks, deals with a troublesome staff member, who would prefer to be in The Hobbit.
23 July 2011
Team TP Top Ten #5
Queenstown’s Own Bond Girl Hits the Floor
Ladies and Gentlemen! Today’s DJ -- PA to the Proprietor, Top Equestrian and Veteran Party Animal ... our own Desiree Bond!
The disco ball is on revolve ...the DJ approaches the stage ...the crowd is going off ...Give it UUPPP for –Desiree!>>
22 July 2011
And unintended consequences
Midwinter at Two Paddocks . It freezes, it snows, it freezes again ... and then ...
And then ... you get a week of days like this. The spirit lifts. Care for a glass of something special?
N.B. The Proprietor, who took this shot, takes no credit for the accidental weird refocusing in the wine glass of the out-of-focus background mountains. Serendipitous.
21 July 2011
Nosh and Imbibe with the Proprietor
And evening of good wine, good food and conversation.
Peter Thornley – fantastic chef. Be there or be extremely square.
20 July 2011
Team TP Top Ten #4
Brylcreem Bob Hoppin' and a-Boppin'
Ladies and Gentlemen! Boppin' Bob takes you back to the halcyon days of Joe Brown's Dance, Dunedin Town Hall, in the 50's. (Ballroom dancing upstairs, rock’n’roll down.) Ladies, adjust your corsets, Gents, straighten your ties! Take your Partners for the Lindy Hop! Here he is ... The Man you’ve been waiting for ... Lothario and Legend ... Spooner, Crooner & Vine Pruner ... It’s Brylcreem Bob!>>
18 July 2011
Heavenly Essential Oil
We are not sure how exactly, but some of our lavender is in flower right now, in the depth of mid-winter.
It’s up against a sunny wall, but still...
It reminds us of the blissful properties of our Two Paddocks Lavender Oil. After a day's skiing for instance -- a few drops in a hot bath ...heaven.
17 July 2011
By way of explanation
As of today, we will move the Team’s Top 10s into a special section under Our Team. We like our new feature – musical taste tells so much, and we only employ the most interesting people imaginable – but from now on we will only headline here on the blog our new entrants, and then you can find all the details in by following the links provided in the posts.
Next up on July 20th – Bylcreem Bob, "a little dab’ll do ya!" takes us back to the Bob-as-rebel-without-a-cause Dunedin 1950s.
Now, about the music on the microblogs: It has had a fair bit of response -- with opinions varying between "dire" and "catchy." The brilliant Don McGlashan (Muttonbirds, Front Lawn, etc.) promised to knock us up some music, but he wasn't available until later this month – playing New York, Chicago, etc. And we couldn’t wait that long.
In the meantime, we tried some temp music off the web, just for fun. One track made us laugh so much, we decided to buy it. And the price was right -- a grand total of $49.99, which made us love it even more. (Easily the biggest thing in the budget, by the way.) It sounded to some of us like drunk Hawaiians playing cowboy music. And to others like drunk cowboys playing Hawaiian music.
Either way, not very dignified. Can you imagine what kind of pompous baroque orchestration a first growth Bordeaux Chateau microdoodle would sport?
Maybe that’s what we’ll get Don to do for the next lot of micros -- something so serious, it’d be a riot.
10 July 2011
Team TP Top Ten #3
Clubbin’ Catherine’s Croozy Toons
Ladies and Gentlemen! Tonight Only! In your joint! She’s clubbed in Berlin and Bangkok! She's Raved in Rio! Danced in Denver! Partied in Paris! And now she Sets the Style in Alex! She's Born to be Bad! Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for the Londonderry Air herself ... It's Catherine!>>
9 July 2011
Microdoodle #2: Feel Good Ferment
9 July 2011
Back To Singapore
Back to the Future
It would be doubly remiss to not remark further on the incursion to Singapore, but Monsieur Blog has been hoping for more documentary evidence in the form of photos.
Anyway, as orchestrated by Curtis Marsh, Wandering Menace of Eastern Parts, and the marvelous staff at Hermitage Wines (thanks Angeline), Two Paddocks, as represented by The Proprietor, had four great days in tandem with the inimitable Bass Philip as represented by Their Proprietor and legendary winemaker, Philip Jones. It was a singular honour to share the spotlight with Australia’s greatest Pinot maker, and we saluted the Great Man all weekend.
More than that, the Two Paddocks Rep and the Bass Philip Rep drank gallons of each other’s Pinots, with much wassail, cheers, congrats, good on you mates, you rippers, beauts, it doesn’t get better than this, etc ... with no sign of damage or a whiff of a hangover whatsoever.
We put this down to an absolute dedication in both vineyards to producing the most natural and healthy wines possible.
One entirely memorable night was a degustation banquet at Iggy’s Restaurant featuring Two Paddocks and Bass Philip for about 40 extremely fortunate gourmets, some of whom had flown from Hong Kong for the night. Iggy’s is one of Asia’s great foody destinations, and one the Prop had never managed to go to before. Suffice it to say, one of the most memorable meals of one’s life. If you are in any way seriously interested in food and wine, you should go to Iggy’s at least once in your allotted span.
Not sure what this extraordinary dish was called, but it does feature black truffles (the ones we didn’t find last week at Redbank Paddocks), and quail eggs. The next on was an amazing medley of vegetables and herbs cooked in various ways. The proprietor guessed 25 different vegetables. The true answer, as supplied by mine host, Iggy himself, was 35 different vegetables. Who knew there were 35 veggies at all? Sounds like something that would be just good for you – it was certainly that, but also the most delicious thing imaginable.
Iggy – a great restaurateur. Here he is putting the Prop in the hot seat, surrounded by his peerless staff.
(Thanks to Sandra Spence for her iPhone shots.)
8 July 2011
Team TP Top 10 #2
More groovin', more shmoozin' -- the smooth sounds of summer in Wellington.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Today's DJ, our old hipster friend Dennis Hearfield, Two Paddocks Designer, raconteur, bon vivant, drinker, chef, and occasional Ladies' Man!* Friends -- jump up, and get down! He's rockin'! He’s rollin'! It’s Dennis!>>
7 July 2011
Two Paddocks Nights
Back to Singapore, it would be remiss not to report on some great highlights. On the Monday night, The Wandering Palate, Gunner Marsh, and The Proprietor reported for duty at Coriander Leaf at 1830 hours. Here the wonderful Samia Ahad cooked an exquisite Moroccan TP banquet for a large table of some of Singapore’s leading sommeliers.* Proving two things:
How well our wines match many different styles of cuisine.
Once again, that Samia is one of the world’s great chefs.
Many thanks to Samia, Coriander Leaf, The Wandering Palate and to Hermitage Wines, Singapore.
*We’ll give you the run down on those Great Sommeliers once they list Two Ps!
6 July 2011
Just a little bit sexy. Just a little bit sinister.
We are unable to provide you with the Chicken Rickman sound, but you can do it yourself if you wish -- while keeping your mouth only just open, make a very low, quiet, creepy bbwwaaaaccckkk while keeping your eyes half closed, and lurking with insouciant intent behind someone you know who is easily alarmed. Go on, it’s fun.
5 July 2011
Team TP Top 10, #1
All dancing, all rockin’, all groovin’ Good Times.
As promised, our team have each provided their current top ten tunes, the kind of sounds they like when dealing with the frankly slightly repetitive job of pruning at this time of the year.
First up, the youngest of the bunch -- Simon Gourley! Ladies and Gentlemen! Jump up! And get down! This week's D.J. -- Simon! >>
4 July 2011
Advice for Young Pigs
A survival guide for life in a vineyard.
If you are a pig newby, a porcine neophyte, take this simple motto to heart if you want to make it to next spring:
Never, but never, be seen with an apple in your mouth!
It just gives people ideas. The wrong ideas ....
Mind you, the boys, under similar circumstances, could give a pig ideas too.
The wrong ideas....
Mike, Simon and Bob giving pigs ideas. Cue spooky music...
Note ... Just kidding, neither our pig, nor our staff have any reason to be anxious.
4 July 2011
We have had numerous enquiries re. the casting of Hello Chook. Look, we had a limited budget here, but believe us we tried to cast the best chickens available. Here are a few who we could not persuade to join us for one reason or another ... Meg Ryan -- Busy. On another Chick Flick elsewhere.
Jeff Goldblum -- Busy. His agent would not answer our calls. Instead looking for bugs in the orchard.
Lord Julian Fellowes -- Too difficult. Insisted on wearing ermine. Very disturbing to other chickens (ermine prey on chickens). Besides, only feathers specified by designer.
Robert Redford -- Passed. Agent called our indie cred into doubt: “Too mainstream."
Susan Sarandon -- Chicken rehab.
Steven Weber -- Failed medical. Mad.
Robert de Niro -- Don’t be silly. There is no chicken called Robert de Niro.
Erratum: We have consulted with Casting, and in fact we were wrong. The fabulous hen Susan Sarandon made it out of Chicken Rehab to make an appearance – stunning as always. Unfortunately we understand there has been a temporary relapse, and she has checked herself back into care. We wish her well as soon as possible.
3 July 2011
Microdoodle #1: Hello Chook
Cecil B. DeMille eat your heart out.
25 June 2011
Taking the Poetry Of Wine to the People
We know what you’re thinking -- that the life of a Proprietor is an endless grind of work, work, work. And more work.
Well true enough.
Actually, seen from the perspective of a Siberian coal miner, that would be a bit of a push. Particularly when you consider something like the Negociants NZ Roadshow -- four convivial days with amiable colleagues from other excellent wineries taking our wares around our beautiful land to a bunch of the most delightful people from New Zealand's hospitality industry. How could that not be a great time?
For instance , here's the Prop enjoying meeting Debbie Gribble in Auckland at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Debbie is from Amare, who provision super yachts -- big business now up north. Next time you are in the Waitemata on your 300 footer - service your chopper, restock your cinema, top up the foie gras supplies and ensure you have enough Two Paddocks to get you to the Marquesas (6 cases minimum, 15 if you are doing the round trip). Call Debbie.
If, on the other hand, you, like the Prop, putt around in a clinker built dinghy, 2 bottles of Picnic should get you across the harbour okay. Six if you plan to make it back home on the same day.
Thanks again Negociants.
(Note – if you live in NZ, and your local wine shop has no Two Paddocks, put them in touch with their local Negociants rep. No worries!)
21 June 2011
More Vineyard Fashions
Do not look to our crew for help with prêt-à-porter
When you work on a vineyard, especially one as obscure and hard to find as ours, you can wear pretty much whatever you like in reasonable certainty that no-one will ever embarrass you by pointing out how ... odd that top you’re wearing really is.
Not any more! Thanks to the miracle of modern communication, and the candid nature of this blog, we are all of us open to scrutiny at all times.
So, going back to harvest time, here we are around the bins, and here’s Bob’s old burgundy sweater, a garment we generally take for granted – it’s been coming to work for years now.
It’s only when you see the thing in photos that questions must be asked. Who designed that sucker? Who sold it? Who bought it? Were they drunk? If they weren’t, maybe they should be?
Whoever is responsible – give them a medal. That thing has been cheering us up for ages.
Mike and Keith cracking up in the Ram Riesling block. 'It’s not you, Bob. It’s the jersey!'
15 June 2011
Christchurch, June 15 2011
Post Big Quake #3
So much has been written about Christchurch. But nothing really quite covers the enormity of what's happened here.
The scale of disaster is unthinkable at both a national level, and at a very personal one, too. Sometimes a picture tells a story better than words.
This is a shot of my friend's kitchen this morning. There used to be a balcony outside the window, but that fell off on Monday. She was under the table, pretty sure she was going to die.
And this is the road at the bottom of the hill. No-one was down there when these rocks flew off the cliff. Amazingly, there were no fatalities on Monday.
Later in the day I passed Columbo St, main street Christchurch. Eerily silent.
Then, at the end of the day, at the excellent George Hotel, we of the Negociants Roadshow were showing our wines to the hospitality business of Christchurch -- actually surprisingly turned into more of a party than anything. But here so many stories of dreadful bad luck -- restaurants totaled etc. And immense frustration -- everyone wanting to rebuild and start again, but having to wait forever for a man in a hard hat to sign a form. You have to just shake your head in sympathy, and admire their fortitude.
8 June 2011
P. M. and Prop.
Charmed by Polly
Anyway, what’s a blog for if not to drop names, like some drop Jaffas at the movies?
The Prime Minister was in Central a couple of weeks ago, hailed the Proprietor, and told him the following story. (Abridged -- you don’t want to be on this damn blog all day.)
Last year the P.M. was at the United Nations, and met a chap called George, who turned out to be the Prime Minister of Hungary. Just as John Key turned out to be the P.M. of New Zealand. The sort of coincidence that only happens at the UN.
By way of conversation, the P.M. said that one thing he knew about Hungary was that it produces the famous wine Tokai, because of a NZ film he’d seen called Dean Spanley (featuring a NZ actor of his acquaintance) in which Tokai is much favoured.
The P.M. of Hungary was delighted to hear this, and held forth at length about the virtues of Tokai. A few weeks later a nice parcel of Tokai turned up at Parliament House courtesy of George ...
" I’ll send you some!" said the P.M., generously.
"Great!" said the Prop, enthusiastically.
A top outcome to a good story.
Postscript: The Proprietor is to be generally found hanging around the mailbox at the moment, looking hopeful. So far no luck ...
7 June 2011
Today Two Paddocks has a new Manager, Jacqui Murphy. Hats in the air please!
The Proprietor, who has been shirking managerial responsibilities for 2 or 3 months, much relieved.
Please now direct all complaints, praise, brickbats, seasonal greetings, bills, hate mail, billets doux, enquiries, reviews good or bad, old socks, poultry, or orders to Jacqui. She is much experienced, and can handle all sorts of things that leave the Prop flummoxed.
All hampers, posh booze, free cars, etc. send direct to the Proprietor as per.
4 June 2011
Why Two Paddocks?
What’s in a name?
A question often asked, why that name?
Well, at the time we planted, other wineries were giving their brands rather grand and lofty titles – Mt Difficulty, Mt Edward, and so on. People were laying claim to whole Rivers, and entire landscapes: Lawsons Dry Hills, Cloudy Bay ...
We decided we wanted to be much humbler, and tell it like it is.Two little fields ...
In those days, it was Roger Donaldson’s little paddock, and ours. Then later on, people started out-humbling us! There’s a raft of Two things out there Two Sisters, Two Gates ... two whatever you can think of. It’s mildly irritating! Makes one want to go the other way. Maybe change to ...
Chateau du Barronne Neill de la Banque Rouge a Deux Paddox (GrandCru).
Going the whole grand hog. Here’s a pic of the Chateau in question.
25 May 2011
We love how our wine travels. In this case some friends from Sweden sent us this beautiful shot of two bottles of some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir that seem to have made their way somehow to Northern Scandinavia. We are not sure if the bottles hitchhiked, or took the train, but we are glad they made it.
23 May 2011
Sheep v. Tractor
The debate rages on
About this time of year, you are probably considering capital purchases, and the issue often arises – should we go the tractor option, or fall back on the sheep? A tough one, we agree, but grass must be cut.
So here’s a simple guide to the pros and cons.
The Sheep ...for
Self propelled, no operator required
Quiet, except when upset
Wool fibre by-product, itchy but warm
No garaging required, or road permit
Makes good pet, outside only
Cheap to run, powered by grass
Responsive to barking (runs away)
Useful for Nativity plays
Available in many colours. Red and green popular
No dog required
Multi-tasks: e.g. could drain a swamp, flatten a car, etc.
The Sheep ...against
Only available in 2 colours, black or white
No dealership support
Some methane emission (do not smoke near sheep)
Needs annual shearing, prone to foot rot
May panic en masse
Spare parts unavailable
Expensive to run, powered by fossil fuels
Loud, even at sheep speed
Dangerous on hills
Highly paid operator required
Makes a lousy pet
Inedible (but then so are our sheep)
Finally, Sir Edmond Hillary chose a tractor, not a sheep, to take to the South Pole.
On the other hand, Ermengildo Zegna never made a suit from old John Deere parts; he prefers good merino wool.
22 May 2011
Low Carbon Mowers
Every lawn should have one
They might look like puffballs to you, but these are in fact our South Suffolk ewes striding purposefully through our Pinot vines, mowing the grass and cleaning up weeds.
They are considerably cheaper to run than the tractor. Quieter too. Their carbon footprint is minimal. There is a small question about their methane production, but the last Sheep Foreman, Baa Baa (RIP), assured us they were keeping this to an absolute minimum. The sheeps’ view is that the organic manure they carefully spread in the vineyard more than compensated for any small gas production resulting.
In addition to that, any sheep flatulence at Two Paddocks has nothing on that of the ghastly and gaseous TP dog Zappa, who could clear a stadium with one small doggy Bronx Cheer.
19 May 2011
Putting the Nigel into Wine
Or the wine into Nigel
So, at the Proprietor’s table last week, there were no less than three Nigels.
All Nigels present agreed, as Nigels are wont to do, that calling your child Nigel is rather like handicapping a horse – the child will struggle to catch up for the rest of his life under the extra weight of a name that most of the world finds pretty risible and pretty poncy.
One of the Nigels present was Nigel Greening, Proprietor of the distinguished Otago winery Felton Road*, makers of excellent pinot, which must be some consolation at least for the name Nigel. Another was our local Doctor, who, if the stress of being Nigel became too much could at least, we suppose, self-prescribe something of a comforting nature. And then of course the Proprietor, the only one smart enough to change his name to Sam at the age of 10, but still secretly seething at the wretched unfairness of it all !**
Then a week later, the Proprietor was chatting to the immensely successful Nigel Lythgoe, creator and producer of, among other things, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Nigel Lythgoe said it was bad enough being called Nigel, but try growing up in Liverpool, the toughest of cities, and being called Nigel. Then compound that by becoming a dancer!
Then oddly enough, we subsequently see that Nigel Lythgoe has his own winery in California, Villa San-Juliette.
Perhaps we are all actually self medicating? Or maybe a shrink might think we were all compensating in some way by striving for something transcendently great like a magnificent wine. We leave this to the experts.
* At a tasting of past vintages recently at Felton Road, the Proprietor was completely inspired by their older Riesling vintages, and so moved, dug out some older Two Paddocks Rieslings, and astoundingly they are generally developing beautifully! More on this later.
**Choosing the name Sam may not have been the smartest thing in hindsight - a name much favoured by Labrador owners for their doofus dogs.
19 May 2011
Proprietor in Prison
Here’s a trailer for Alcatraz.
Cool enough for you?
19 May 2011
The Well-Dressed Fisherman
It’s nearly the end of the season, but Two Paddocks drinkers are still catching good fish.
This is our friend Matt Hanna, with, we’d guess, a 6 lb brown trout.
Note: Matt’s excellent Two Paddocks hat – he never fishes without it.
Also Note: The top condition of this clearly well-fed fish.
11 May 2011
Dean Shaw Making Two Paddocks
The Old Way
Often the old methods are best. Here Dean demonstrates "punching down" the "cap," a process that must be repeated several times a day while our Pinot undergoes ferment in our French oak fermenters.
Manning up to the first ferment, from rows 1- 25, clone 5, from our Gibbston First Paddock.
Dean uses techniques perfected at rugby, scrummaging for St Kilda 3rds, plunging down the cap with his feet.
The cap is a pretty solid floating mass of grape skins, stems and seeds, and needs to be plunged back into the wine for the maximum of flavour and colour, as well as tannins. Mike Wing is suitably impressed by Dean’s expertise. Dean has done time in Burgundy ...
The winemaker’s legs.
The scene of the crime.
10 May 2011
Fog and Feather
Chickens and Autumn Leaves
The Proprietor gets arty with the digital camera, and Neil Dawson’s marvelous sculpture. The chickens are as cooperative as always.
9 May 2011
Prized Pickers in Paddocks
One of the more laudable govt. initiatives of recent years has been the granting of work permits to workers from Vanuatu, who come over for the season picking fruit and grapes. Good for us – they are terrific workers – and good for the Vanuatu economy at village level. And we love their singing too.
Again, a rainbow of nations at harvest time, and our thanks to ...
Juan Leon Rodriguez
4 May 2011
Sustainable Two Paddocks
Deep breath, please...
We’ve been meaning to report this for a while, but frankly we find it a tad dull, so there you go.
OK. Earlier in the year we were scrupulously audited and accredited to the NZ Sustainable Winegrowing Programme, a thoroughly laudable green initiative that ensures your wine and your vineyard are sustainable: environmentally, socially, and economically. (Trying hard to stay excited here...)
The programme "addresses agrichemicals, soil health, water use and quality, biodiversity, the health and well being of staff, neighbours and the community, and the consumer of course, etc. ... could go on.
Pretty much what we’ve been doing for years here and ggggeawer ...mmghhesgdhdskewuwbmmmmnnnnnnnnnmmmmmmm
So sorry, woops, seem to have fallen to sleep head first on the keyboard ...
... Time to walk the dog !
3 May 2011
God is a Painter
In the manner of Turner
Redbank, May 3, 5:45 PM
27 April 2011
First Always Last
All Hands on Deck
Questions are often asked of the Proprietor to the tune of, "How hands-on are you, really?" The answer of course is, very, and here is proof positive.
Those very hands ...
... worked to the bone
Anyway, all nonsense aside, we picked everything today at Gibbston (First Paddock), our coolest site and always 2 or 3 weeks behind our other two vineyards. We took approximately 9 tonnes, 4.5 tonnes per hectare – good low cropping. In addition, the bunch sizes were small – avg 100-110 gms, and small berry size, so we expect very good depth of colour and flavour. This fruit is now enjoying a cold soak in our oak fermenters, 3 ferments in all, succeeding The Last Chance from Alex, which is already in barrel. The clone 5 ferment is probably the star, and here we are at about 25 % whole bunch.
Nathan and Kieth enjoy another day out in the vineyard. Honestly, we don’t know why we pay them, they have too much fun.
Viticulturist Mike Wing is on quality control, but is mostly agog at the sheer beauty of his fruit.
26 April 2011
Smart Single Man’s Quarters
Excellent auto too
Last year we renovated the former smoko shed into very comfortable, almost salubrious, single man’s accomodation.
Simon Gouley, TP worker and sometime Lincoln viticulture worker, inhabits this space when he is with us – all university holidays.
We think it is fair to say that Simon is roughly speaking looking for a girlfriend. His recent purchase of a mint condition 1974 Ford Capri 2 litre GT means that he is not only well housed, but has a very attractive set of wheels. In other words, a very appealing prospect for the right single girl.
Please form an orderly queue.
25 April 2011
What To Do with Cabernet Sauvignon
Man and pig in complete agreement
Next to our cellar door we have a small vineyard known as "The Library Block" where we grow bays of all kinds of other grapes just because we can. These include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, the dreaded Pinot Gris, and so on.* We do not make wine from these varieties, nor do we want to. Ever.
However they can be quite yummy, and there are denizens of our farm who actually break into a run when they hear the grape bucket. And as far as we are concerned, they are very welcome to these grapes, noble or not.
Angelica the pig is actually a bloke pig. But that is another story.
Anglica whole bunch pressing Cab Sav.
* Footnote: To our surprise, the Muscat was the pick of the library this year.
25 April 2011
Of Dreams and Nightmares
And Hawaiian Shirts
Back at HQ, as the nights draw in and we can sense the approach of winter’s stealthy mission, the tropical splendour of Langkawi and Two Paddocks seems a distant dream, albeit we were there only a fortnight ago. Was it some kind of fevered fantasy?
Well no. Just as we were beginning to think it was someone else’s hallucination, herewith a flattering piece from the New Straits Times by Kitty Kaye. (see Hermitage Wines in Singapore for your nearest TP stockist).
If you want to see the Proprietor in a shirt that is the stuff of nightmares, this is also the place to look. An offer that will never be repeated.
We have long observed that resorts seem to bring out fashion stuff-ups on otherwise conservatively dressed blokes. Ski-runs too: advice to the novice – never, repeat, never be seen in a ski jacket that matches your partner’s.
24 April 2011
Team Two Paddocks Does Roaring Trade
If you are ever in Central at Easter time, don’t miss the Clyde Food & Wine Festival. We turn up for one thing, and our TP team were almost overwhelmed with custom this year. We estimate we poured 2400 glasses of wine approximately. We all boast tremendous biceps now.
The team pauses for a moment of posterity.
You might want to try whitebait patties, porkbelly wraps, venison burgers ... with your glass of Two Paddocks.
The team at full throttle.
P. S. The Clyde Rugby team is going gangbusters this year, and have already thrashed Wakatipu, their traditional foe.
21 April 2011
Chicken S*** Blues
Bob’s gottem, dem ole chicken s*** blues
We apply numerous organic and biodynamic methods in our vineyards, and today the boys have been applying to some bonier parts of the Hill Block chicken s*** mulched with meadow hay. This is great for the vines, and for our long term soil health, but is very very whiffy. Staff frankly stink.
The Proprietor usually finds he has more pressing business elsewhere when it’s time to spread the s***. There are lots of urgent jobs to be done. Like...like...umm...writing this blog for instance!
The staff just love getting down and dirty.
20 April 2011
...has surely come.
So, autumn is truly with us: we have had one fall of snow already. We do grow cool climate wine, so no surprise there. And the fruit from Alex and Redbank is already picked (by hand of course) and is now in ferment at the winery.
The road to Redbank.
From Redbank we took 10 tonnes of Riesling, and about 23 tonnes of Pinot. This year Mike was particularly pleased with Dijon clones 115 and 777. Dean is considering 2 different Rieslings this year – our usual luscious Picnic Riesling, and a small amount of a drier Two Paddocks Riesling – for the first time.
TP Chevy '47 and the new Riesling block.
From Alex 11 excellent tonnes of Pinot, and here clones 5 and 115 again shone. We will pick at Gibbston after Easter, where we expect about 8 tonnes, looking good.
After the last grapes are in at Redbank, staff and pickers perform the ancient Harvest Line Dance, an 800 year old tradition handed down from Burgundy, and in time honoured fashion, to the music of Mademoiselle Shania Twain.
19 April 2011
Big Ones ...
Not all "beverage" producers are as friendly as our fellow Pinot Producers (see previous stories below). In fact, some can be belligerent and vexatious.
Here’s a little story that resurfaced a day or two ago that still amuses us here at HQ....
A few years ago, Two Paddocks trademarked the phrase "The Sociable Red" which we attached to our labels. It is usually seen with the charming little picture that Leunig made for us of a romantic couple having a most sociable picnic under a blossoming tree, along with a couple of ducks.
Shortly afterwards, we were somewhat shocked to receive a very stern and threatening stand-over letter from a Big Important Law Firm representing Red Bull, the manufacturer of a rather sickly-sweet, popular, caffeinated soft drink. The gist of this letter was that they owned the word "Red" with regard to beverages, and that we should cease and desist, or the strongest legal measures would follow against us.
Now, we are a very, very little wine producer, and having a vast, rich and powerful organization holding a big stick over our heads we naturally found not a little disturbing. For a minute.
Then the Proprietor started to laugh. Immoderately.
And dictated a letter back from our Little Neighbourhood Legal Firm to the Big Pompous Red Bull Legal Firm.
The gist of this letter was that the Proprietor would welcome any legal proceedings they cared to bring, and we would see them in court. Anytime. Frankly, you couldn’t ask for better publicity.
Oddly enough, we never heard from the Massive, Self-Important Red Bull Legal Firm ever again.
Moral of the story: always call a bluff.
Footnote: We rather like Mark Webber though.
17 April 2011
A long word and we had to spellcheck it.
So the Proprietor continues his wine tour, and jolly hard work it is too. Whatever you think.
On to Hong Kong, and a Two Paddocks cocktail party at the splendid Ladies Recreation Club,* and an even more grand TP dinner at the tres posh Hong Kong Club, with the Consul General from NZ along with other luminaries from Honkers. The kind of sensible establishments that would wisely never normally permit the Prop into their respectable halls. Both great fun.
The Prop was pleased to note that The Four Seasons is pouring liberal glasses of Two Paddocks throughout. Highly recommended. A great hotel.
Then back to Sydney.
The Prop lowers the tone at Rockpool.
Jimmy Barnes, always a class act, raises the tone as per usual.
* The LRC sounds rather like the sort of dodgy movie they make in The Valley, but in fact is a very reputable club founded by Victorian Ladies in the 1880s.
11 April 2011
Much talk in Singapore about terroir: what it is, who has it and so on. And we won’t burden you with anything too profound or enlightening on that on this page.
However, Francois Labet, from Clos-Vougeot, for instance said terroir is, "Blood, sweat and soil. And history."
And that will do.
But we should perhaps allow that we, upside down in the new world, acknowledge and build on that same history. All that we know comes from Burgundy, and even the vines that we plant have their origins in those great vineyards established by the monks all those centuries ago.
Kai Schubert made us laugh when he said, "Our problem with terroir was that we didn’t have any. So we had to go out and find some."
Greening also, saying, "We didn’t have terroir, we had dirt."
Well we now have our own terroir, and all of us Pinot maniacs have our own unique little pieces of earth that we love and cherish, each to his own.
10 April 2011
Traveling Pinots, Into Asia
The companionship of Pinot Noir
So, after a remarkable last evening in Langkawi, at the Datai, where the Burghound himself, Alan Meadows, gave a riveting address on all things Burgundian, the Proprietor, along with the Wandering Palate, Curtis Marsh, plus Josh Jensen, Kai Schubert and Erica Meadows, moved on to Singapore.
As far as we can remember, the following 3 days involved a major wine event (organized by the Astounding Palate Marsh) that we think was entitled "Burghound in Asia: The Wandering Palate’s Symphony of Wine in Asia." None of us are entirely sure about that, understandable really after having drunk a truckload of the world’s best Pinots over that time. On Friday for instance, various Pinot lovers drank in 7 flights no less than 35 top pinots from all over the world. No one spat.
The Proprietor adrift in a sea of Pinot.
Francois Labet of Chateau De La Tour, and distinguished wine writer Andrew Jefford.
But, an extraordinary time. Thursday was Two Paddocks Night at The Screening Room, where Dean Spanley was shown, and afterwards the Prop droned on for a while about wine, art and ... bridgebuilding ... who knows. A very civilized interesting crowd, and excellent food from Samia Ahad whose cooking has to be a must when you are in Singapore. The bar upstairs on the roof is great too – you could see the stains from Julian Schnabel’s recent visit.
But the last night brought into focus what had been much discussed among a coterie of wine producers from around the world over the 3 days. The last dinner, a kind of Burgundy – NZ showdown as devised by the inspired maniac Curtis Marsh, the Wandering Menace, was held at the deservedly famous Le Saint Julien, surely one of the world’s greatest French restaurants.
Here, over 5 courses of Julien Bompard’s superb food the following Grand Crus were paired with some top NZ wines:
2009 Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay
2003 Chablis ‘ Bougros’ Grand Cru Joseph Drouhin
2007 Two Paddocks 1st Paddock Pinot Noir
2007 Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Chateau De La Tour
2009 Felton Rd Cornish Point Pinot Noir
2006 Bonne-Mares Grand Cru Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair
2009 Schubert Block B Pinot Noir
2008 Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru Joseph Drouhin
2007 Prophet’s Rock Pinot Noir
2005 Corton ‘Pouget’ Grand Cru Louis Jadot
Now you would think, wouldn’t you, that the upstart kiwis would shred and wither under the awesomely prestigious firepower of these outstanding Burgundys: not just Burgundys, but Grand Crus for goodness sake.
Well ... not actually. In fact, it would be fair to say that almost all of the sophisticated palates in the room were more than impressed by what we had to offer. We all looked good. Really good. The Proprietor himself was quietly muttering, for instance, that his own 1st Paddock was "actually bloody marvellous." In all modesty.
But, but, but ... that is not the point of this story. Not at all.
The theme that all the wine makers present returned to again and again, and many others in Singapore over that period, was that no wine there wine was better than any others (given the extremely high quality of those present). In fact, comparisons were odious, and the point of this whole exercise was an illustration of the extraordinary fraternal nature of Pinot producers around the world.
As Nigel Greening, the Eminence- Blond of Otago wine, so elegantly put it, "This is not a competition, more a conspiracy." A lovely thought – a conspiracy of Pinot makers, endorsed by all those present, including those representing Burgundy (the très amusant Francois Labet of Chateau De La Tour, and the merveilleuse Veronique Boss—Drouhin of Drouhin).
The Prop went further and suggested that the pairings should perhaps be regarded as companions rather than foes, NZ/Fr companions. Romantic couplings even. Another delightful thought, even if the blogger says so himself.
So, all up, a Grand Success, and full marks to all involved, particularly Curtis Marsh.
And many thanks to Hermitage Wines (the place to score Two Paddocks in Singapore, and soon in K.L.) for all their help. Pop in there sometime and pick up a case or two of Two Paddocks while you can.*
* All our friends should be aware that you will find our 2008 vintage will not be available for long, and there is very little 2009 for reasons already explained in this blog. We hate disappointing our very loyal following, so we gently advise a little forward planning.
Chef Julien, his wife Edith Lai, High Commissioner Peter Hamilton and the Proprietor at St. Julien. It is entirely possible that the Prop has had quite enough Pinot at this point.
8 April 2011
Staff stifle sniffs
Mark left today, and set off down the road from HQ to seek his fortune in the wide wide world.
We put a couple of sandwiches in his bag to see him on his way.
"Mind how you go, Mark!"
Stay out of low- life bars, Mark!
"Don’t forget to write, Mark"
"Watch out for loose women, Mark!"
"Can we come too?"
8 April 2011
Whistle While You Work
Hi ho hi ho.
Meanwhile , back at the Ranch...
The canopy is yellowing fast, so the race is on to get our Pinot into the winery while it is still bright and vibrant.
5 April 2011
Proprietor into the Heart of Darkness
Sometimes it’s hell to be the boss.
A little dip in the Andaman Sea, one way to sharpen up before presenting your wine.
While staff are taking it easy , harvesting pinot at Alex Paddocks, the Proprietor is working his butt off on the first leg of his South East Asia odyssey here on Langkawai Island in Malaysia. At the completely fabulous Datai Langkawi resort (longtime Two Paddocks supporters), we had a Two Paddocks dinner last night in the Pavilion Restaurant.
This was the brain-child of the dementedly brilliant Curtis Marsh (aka The Wandering Palate) and was an adventure into the unknown.
The idea was to pair Two Paddocks wine, particularly Pinot, with Thai food, and see if it works.
First of all, the food (courtesy of exec chef Conny Andersonn) was sublime. With it we drank TP Picnic Riesling 2009, TP Picnic Pinot 2008, TP Pinot 2008, TP First Paddock 2006 and 2007.
We had a reasonable suspicion the Riesling would work well, and it did: the "steely fresh palate showing tangerine skin, spice and lime zest flavours with a lingering soft finish" (Dean Shaw), sounds, after all, just the ticket for Thai cuisine.
More surprising was how well the Pinots fared. Curtis is something of an advocate of this — he is a pioneer really in that he has been pushing the idea for some time that Pinot matches Asian foods in general — something about Pinot’s warmth and ease, as opposed to the bracing, "cold" tannics of other varieties. He can explain this much better, but in short, we were all pleasantly surprised. Delighted even.
This was underlined at a superb lunch pairing today of Malay food and Josh Jensen’s wonderful aged Pinots from his great Calera Vineyard in California.
Not only the first TP tropical tasting, but actually in the treetops in an ancient rainforest. Full on Conrad exoticism.
The Pavilion Restaurant at the Datai
2 April 2011
We are not necessarily aware of the time, let alone the date, down on the farm.
So when it was drawn to our attention that yesterday was April Fool’s Day, the Insect Outrage visited on the hapless Proprietor, working quietly away in the Riesling Block, suddenly made sense.
Bryan Brown, Thespian of Sydney, and a man who claims to have expertise in Matters Rural, postulates that the rogue wasp, tangled in the Proprietor’s hair, was pretending to be a blow fly. A ruse that the innocent Proprietor fell for, and tried to whack it in the standard fly-whack manner. When the wasp unleashed a barrage of vicious stings on the old fellow’s head in retaliation, the Proprietor became not only an April Fool, but a very sore and grumpy Fool at that.
The wasp incidentally was fine.
It makes a sort of cruel sense.
1 April 2011
But harvest begins, 2011 vintage underway.
Today we picked our first grapes, in the lower Riesling block, clone 195.
The boys took about 3 tons of pretty fruit, despite 5 mls of rain last night.
No casualties: the rules are that the first player to self inflict a cut with secateurs has to shout a beer that night. This leads to very careful work, most of the staff have at least some Scottish ancestry.
The Proprietor however, got a wasp tangled up in his barnet, and suffered multiple stings on the top of the noggin. "Hurt like hell." (Horse's mouth.)
What is it with the animal kingdom just now? The Proprietor still grumpy and sore, and shouting noone at all.
31 March 2011
Negociants Australia Visit
We adore flattery
Back to Matters Vinous ...
Earlier this month, we were happy to host a lunch at Redbank for our friends and distributors from across the ditch along with some of their valued clients. Present were Adam O’Neill (Manager, and only very distantly related to the Proprietor.), Sarah Cecchi (WA), David Manning (VIC), Tom Lovell (NSW), Randall Caon (SA), Damon Jackson (QLD).
Their clients were from all over Australia Fair, and included such august establishments as The Wine Library (one of the Proprietor’s hangouts in Sydney), Rose Bay Liquor Store (ditto); Prince Wine Store, St. Kilda Vic (ditto); East End Cellars, Adelaide (ditto); Ferry Road Wine, QLD; Era Restaurant QLD, The Ivy, Sydney (ditto); Raffles WA, Riva St. Kilda (ditto); De Vine Cellars, Inglewood WA; Liquor Barons, Carlisle WA; Deery’s Restaurant, Kangaroo Pt QLD; and so on. All reliable Two Paddocks stockists.
Today we received a nice note from Felix Riley of Prince Wine Store, who says ...
"the setting of your site is simply stunning ...
...I sometimes find Central Otago pinots a bit hit and miss where opulence can lead to overblown styles. Looking at the line up of Two Paddocks vintages and learning about the viticultural and winemaking philosophies it was pleasing to see these wines, whilst rich, maintaining the sort of structure and 'pinosity' necessary to remain true to the grape. Of 125 wines sampled over the week, the 2003 proved a highlight in showing how these wines can evolve, and I’ll be keenly awaiting a revisit of the 2009, though the entire stable looked very smart."
31 March 2011
We get off the point for a moment. And then Liam Neeson gets us back on track.
We have received polite enquiries as to what the Proprietor has been up to lately. Apart from mucking about in the vineyard, berating obstreperous animals, etc.
The answer is that he has been pretty busy ...
Late last year, two movies:
The Vow -- Director Michael Sucsy, with Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Jessica Lang, Scott Speedman, Jessica McNamee. Shot in Toronto in the fall.
The Hunter -- Director Daniel Nettheim. With Willem Dafoe and Frances O’Connor. Shot in Tasmania pre-Christmas.
Then a pilot:
Alcatraz -- Producer JJ Abrams, Creator Liz Sarnoff, Director Danny Cannon, with Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia, Jonny Coyne, Parminder Nagra. Shot Jan - Feb in Vancouver and San Francisco.
Then, astonishingly, the old laggard was seen on the Stage, in Toa Fraser’s play Bare at the Civic Theatre, Auckland (proceeds to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal), with Ian Mune, Rhys Darby, Lucy Lawless, Anthony Starr, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Annie Whittle, Ian Hughes, Kirk Torrance, David Fane, Morgana O’Reilly, Curtiss Vowell, Michael Hurst, Don McGlashan, and more.
We say astonishingly, because this is the first time the Prop has appeared on stage in 33 years! This may be some sort of record in malingering and general actor-slackness ...
Back on the point, there were Two Paddocks enthusiasts in the casts and crews of all four productions. Quite a lot actually.
And, just to drop another name, our in – house statistician has run the numbers and the results are in -- it’s official -- our friend and colleague Liam Neeson has drunk more Two Paddocks this year than even the Proprietor. Well done that Man!
Next week the Prop is off to Singapore to a major wine event, the Berghound in Asia Symphony of Wine and Flavours, and then on to Hong Kong to see distributors and clients, and several more wine/TP events. See you there.
29 March 2011
Murder Drama in the Paddocks! More Sheep Outrage!
Baa Baa dies. Crew mourns.
We are a little devastated today; our old pal Baa Baa died last night.
What is worse, we think he was the victim of foul play. If not murder, sheepslaughter at best. And he lost his life at the hands, or hoofs anyway, of one of his own kind.
Following today’s Sheep Outrage, the Revolutionary Fence Jumping Outrage by George Gleegun, the sex-crazed bandit ram, the Proprietor found the aged Baa Baa tangled up in a fence, upside down and very distressed. A little detective work led us to conclude that the poor old boy had been bullied into a panic by the insanely jealous Gleegun, and had tried to escape by unwisely attempting to jump a fence. This was never going to work – Baa Baa was of pensionable age (about 7 , which is senior for a sheep). Any rivalry on Gleegun’s part would have been misplaced anyway as Baa Baa was a former ram, so to speak.
Anyway, the attack and its consequences killed Baa Baa, and we gave him an honourable burial in the back paddock, may he rest in peace. A fine old sheep, hand raised by children as an orphan, he was forever friendly and always happy to have a chat if you called his name. Loved having his head scratched. Unlike the brutish Gleegun, who will run you down, and break your leg if you give him a chance. We never turn our back on George.
The proprietor very glum today, and muttering threats about the Foul Fence-Jumper. Once he’s finished having his caddish way with his girlfriends, and our neighbours as well, we think it might be prudent to move George on. If anyone wants to buy a South Suffolk Psycho, they should get in touch.
We don’t know what’s going on here, but George Orwell would be having a field day at Two Paddocks. Following recent repeated Pig Uprisings, and the Appalling Goat Mutiny of 2010 (see below), today we have had to put up with an Outrage in the Sheep Department.
The Spirit of '68 seems to be alive and well here. (Tariq Ali was in New Zealand last week, but we are reasonably sure this was a coincidence; a most charming as well as erudite chap incidentally.)
Anyway, George Gleegun, our ram, last night, inflamed with unbridled lust and powered with the same reckless athleticism as his Wallaby namesake, jumped not one, but TWO fences to get in amongst our ewes. This was completely unauthorized and illegal, and about three weeks before his time. George got to work immediately, and we can expect lambs about three weeks too early in the spring as a result.
We have never known a ram to jump a fence before, and he cleared ours with ease. Each fence was approximately 1.2 metres in height, and one was uphill to boot. An astonishing feat, but a ram with a mission to spread the spirit of Free Love looks capable of great things seemingly. The Authorities however are gnashing their teeth.
We can only hope he paces himself and shows a little more restraint than the previous ram, Yougo Weaving, who died on the job.
The ewes seem to know something is up.
George Gleegun, bandit and revolutionary, has 21 girlfriends.
So, after 7 years at the helm, Mark is moving to Waiheke, to another winery, and leaving us behind. They grow something called Syrah there, which may be alright, we don’t know.
We are sorry to see Mark go; he has done a marvelous job here, but we are pleased for him, and wish him all the best at Passage Rock*, and in his newly social life in the bright lights of Auckland. We will be staying with Mark for weeks on end when we get our holidays – he’s a great cook and can use the company.
In the meantime, we have advertised for a new manager. Hard shoes to fill.
Catherine made a great cake for Mark’s farewell.
Mark tries not to look too excited about leaving.
Ed. note: Bob is a long time enthusiast of the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet , and, while the spotlight is on Mark, takes the opportunity to graze undisturbed in the background.
The Proprietor tries to tell Mark to sod off, but Mark gets in first.
The Staff combine to try to give Mark the push, but not too hard – Mark has the knife.
Goodbye Mark, we will miss you.
*note .. Passage Rock is in fact a very good winery.
28 March 2011
Bring it on.
The nights are definitely cooler, and we approach with both trepidation and excitement harvest time.
We are particularly excited about our Riesling this year.
Mike Wing checks clone 115 Pinot in the gate block.
And measures sugars in the refractometer. Today they are at about 23 brix, and approximately a week away from picking.
Meanwhile, the saffron looks gorgeous on the other side of the farm.
23 March 2011
Freedom or bacon?
And here’s the thing – the push for freedom knows no boundaries, and there is definitely something in the air now following last year’s appalling Revolutionary Goat Insurrection (see Delinquent Goats story below).
Now, in the last 3 or 4 weeks, there have been several pig breakouts, and Angelica has turned into a real handful. He has got a taste for fruit, which is in plentiful supply at this time of year, and barges through fences at will. He has also chosen twice to root up our prized and pampered lawn in front of the tasting room. He even lifted his gate off its hinges at one point last week. This in spite of the fact that he lives like a king, well housed and fed. Well, a king pig anyway. But it seems the wind of change has blown through his paddock, too.
He alarmed Mike and Runelle this week by walking in their back door just in time for dinner.
So, enough is enough, and the Proprietor has had very stern words indeed. "You are a very, very naughty pig!" that kind of thing ...
We have to say there was very little evidence of contrition on Angelica’s part. This is a worry ...
This story we have rather postponed in the telling, but here we go.
So, as last year wound on, it became clear that the goats, Billy and Hamish, were becoming increasingly stroppy and unruly. We run a pretty benign regime here, and all our animals enjoy considerable animal rights. But there are limits.
It is strictly forbidden to jump fences and help yourselves to grapes. Or eat and destroy entire fruit trees. Or march into the Proprietor's living quarters and leave goat droppings on his sitting room floor. But nothing would deter these bad boys.
Staff tried everything: stern lectures, electric fences etc., but nothing worked. The goats had had a taste of freedom, and nothing would get in their way. The Proprietor blamed Hamish for leading our old Billy astray, formerly a goat of admirable discipline and behaviour.
So one day in Spring, after having warned both goats about the dangers inherent in roaming free, we showed them the back gate. Which they gladly availed themselves of, and positively galloped into the hills behind our place. They left with our blessing, and with our best wishes. May a higher power protect them from the dreaded hunter, etc.
We really thought we'd never see them again, but then about 6 weeks ago, the Proprietor and Zappa were walking back in the hills, when a familiar bleat caught their attention. Looking up, there were the delinquents gazing coolly down on the walkers. The goats were hailed, and chatted to. And offered their places back on staff at Redbank, but they politely declined. It's freedom or nothing for them, and security and freelodging mean nought to them.
So, as far as we know, the boys are still at large, living it up ... Freedom!
Maybe Hamish, a Boer Goat, has found a Goat Free State back there, we don't know, and old Billy is now a ruminant voortrekker...
As a staff spirit booster, Catherine shouted the crew smoko today in honour of the Fella who sensibly banished the Snake from Ireland. Ár ádh mór ort!
The boys are pathetically grateful, but not nearly as starving as they look.
Note – This is another beautiful day up at Alex Paddocks, home of The Last Chance.
16 March 2011
What, No Picnic?
A picnic with no Picnic is no picnic at all
This couple in a delightful painting by Fernando Botero , despite their bucolic circumstances, seem a little glum. We can only assume the wine store had run out of both Two Paddocks Picnic Riesling or Pinot Noir.
15 March 2011
Lifting Spirits. Glasses Too.
In the Pursuit of Knowledge and Long Life
Having decided a bit of cheer in the gloom might well be the ticket, Management decided this week to conduct a vertical tasting of older Two Paddocks vintages to see how they were holding up, testing both the longevity of our wines and the palates of key personnel.
We were all of us a tad anxious, given that no one had spoken to most of these wines for a considerable time, and the question is often asked of Central Otago – do its Pinots have longevity? But all in all, we were most agreeably surprised. Even delighted.
All of our Pinot Noirs were alive and still drinking well, and all had developed into interesting and often fascinating wines. And all justify Dean’s approach to winemaking – structure is vital, we want to produce Pinots that do not fall over in 3 or 4 years, but develop and age with grace.
Our tasting panel was admittedly partial, but nevertheless equipped with considerable expertise. They tackled this job with great enthusiasm and energy, and their notes are reproduced in part here.
The Panel (left to right):
Mike Wing, Viticulturist
Sam Neill, Proprietor
Dean Shaw, Winemaker
Mark Field, Manager (pictured below)
Grahame Sydney, Regionalist Painter and Lush
Kevin Ireland, Internationalist Poet and Lush
Mark Field, Two Paddocks manager, examining the selection.
Red brick rustic colour, bright acidity, great 'propolis' character, savoury earthy, currants, long finish. Reflects a pretty ordinary year, and the Prop least favoured this wine. Ready to drink, but not a stunner.
2003 Last Chance Pinot Noir
"Evolved colour and rustic hue, but still hanging on followed by a sensual extremely elegant wine. Nice tension, doesn’t deliver . " --Dean Shaw.
Savoury and mineral. Long finish. Velvet with good acid grip. Prop very taken with this, and said he’d drink it all night, given a chance. All agreed, a great winevery burgundian . Perhaps the star of the day.
"Gorgeous brooding nose and mahogany dark leather couches. Still very much alive, very sensual. A rich ripe juicy sweet and lithe palate with great richness, very good elegance. This wine is looking delicious -- it's either having a very good day or just at a very good stage of its evolution." -- Dean Shaw
Leather, deep colour, spice and savoury, full mouth feel. The Prop felt this was a ‘"spectacular" Pinot, with a nose nothing short of astonishing.
Some of us close to tears, this was such a great wine. Equally as good as the 2003 Two Paddocks Last Chance Pinot Noir, in an entirely different way. This wine is unmistakably Central Otago and Two Paddocks.
"Ready to drink, showing its age, may have just peaked. Very pretty, really liked it, but doesn’t show enough personality. Ticks all the boxes though. I didn’t polish this wine enough, started fining again the year after." -- Dean Shaw
Sweet fruit. Lacks a little in finish. The Prop nodded, lifted his eyebrows, but looked a tad under-excited.
By common agreement a respectable wine, and classically Central, but not not stellar.
A bit surprising, young fruit and low density. Pleased the reduction has opened up" -- Dean Shaw.
This was the wine we had the least expectations for, but given its youthful limitations, we were surprised how well it was drinking. A modest success from a humble wine.
So to sum up – a terrific vertical flight that left us all beaming. Even the winemaker. Good cellaring of course is an important given.
Postscript: The winemaker, viticulturist and manager were still roaring at 3 30 am, and were a little late to work. This has been noted ...
14 March 2011
The Silent Blog
An Upside Down World
By and large, the Two Paddocks blog has been a cheerful affair over the years; a little light reading, and about as substantial as a feather.
This year however, 2011, the TP Blogger has started in this vein on several occasions, but almost immediately something of such startling drama or horror has happened in the world, stopping any such light heartedness in its tracks.
Revolution, civil war, earthquakes, tsunamis, chaos and carnage. The world is turning upside down.
We will be cheerful again one day, of that we are certain.
But in the meantime, in these dark days, our hearts and kindest thoughts go out to our friends, our families, the people of Christchurch, of Japan, and of Libya.
We apologize for this Silent Blog, but we are, quite simply, aghast.