We recently watched a DVD that is so good it really is worth sharing. For that reason, our copy is being sent to friends in Britain so they have a better understanding of what goes on in a New Zealand vineyard.
Passion and Patience, A Wine Story is New Zealand's first winemaking film.
The beauty of the documentary is that it follows the winemaking process from the vine to the glass and, as the promotional blurb so accurately says, "offers a rare insight into the level of skill and hard work that goes into creating premium handcrafted wines".
The only thing it misses – and it's a big omission – is the amount of paperwork and compliance now required as bureaucracy takes a stranglehold on what we do.
A quick look into a busy winegrower's office would tell the story a little more completely.
Passion and Patience has all the charm of an indie production, backed by some really great music by Auckland-based bands, so it's a joy to watch in every way.
Ben Naden and Shayne Cox are the men behind the production – Ben has been a fine wine retailer for more than 20 years and Shayne Cox is winemaker at Corazon Wines, a company dedicated to making small batches of single-vineyard wines.
Shayne presents the show, with all filming taking place in West Auckland, one of New Zealand's oldest grape-growing regions.
Apart from coming across as friendly and dedicated, Shayne has a down-home Kiwi appeal as he takes viewers through the seasons in the vineyard, basic viticultural practice, grafting of grapevines and how white, rose and red wines are made.
If the use of yeasts, lees stirring, barrel fermentation and fining are terms that still have a bit of mystery attached to them – this documentary explains all in layman's terms without dumbing things down.
Director Ben Naden says they tried to sum up the winemaking process, giving people an idea of what it's really like.
"So many of us love to learn about the different flavours of wine and the regions the grapes come from, but there is very little out there about the labour of love that goes into the creation of it.
"We believe that even the most ardent wine drinkers will learn a lot from this film."
As you'll see, the only glamour is when the wine is poured into the glass – the rest of the process really is a matter of passion and patience.
We highly recommend this DVD which can be ordered online from La Cantina Wines lacantina.co.nz for the modest sum of $19.95.
Equinox Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($27)
A limited edition range from Waipara Hills, Equinox gets its name from the equinoctial winds that blow across the plains, in spring, heralding bud burst and in autumn, signalling the start of harvest.
The aroma is subdued and slightly chalky with guava, peach, melon, and floral notes underlined by a slight oakiness.
The palate has perfumed aromatics and some brisk apple and soft pip-fruit characters that become more "peach pie" mid-palate. Light-bodied in style and the time in oak delivers a very different taste.
Gravel Ridge Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011 ($19.99)
Brick red and slightly grainy in the glass. Has an appealing aroma of plums, pepper and spicy nutmeg while some soaked Christmas cake fruitiness adds depth.
Plenty of "old fruit" flavour here with an oaky, spicy warmth and some green astringency.
A chewy style with lingering tannins.
Perfumed aromatics help lift the crisp herbal finish.
Provides reasonable value at the price point.
Available from finewinedelivery.co.nz.
Invivo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($20)
A tight aroma with citrus, capsicum and savoury notes, slightly floral and delicate.
The palate is concentrated and fruit forward, with a zingy citrus and passionfruit blend.
A generous wine with plenty of length and excellent balance, it delivers crisp, drying citrusy notes start to finish – this one will go very well with fish.
Whitehaven Marlborough Riesling 2009 ($20)
The aroma is a flint/mineral and citrus blend with some ripe, tropical and toffee apple notes adding interest.
This highly aromatic wine has a smooth, silky texture, lively acids, mild kerosene notes and ripe lemon and apple flavours. There's plenty of length and the finish lingers. Intensely flavoured, zesty and appealing.
Dry to medium-dry on the riesling scale – a very smart wine in all respects.
Chateau Millegrand Minervois 2009 ($16.99)
This wine was given to us by the team at Redwood Tavern to try because first, it sells like hotcakes and second, we haven't tried it.
Attractive dark red on a black background, velvety and opaque in the glass. Aromas of extracted plum fruit characters, rich, ripe and has some old-world "pong".
The palate delivers smooth fruit, mushroom and meaty notes with some pepperiness for good measure. Weighty and well-balanced with some generous liqueur-like flavour.
Mimicking the Southern Rhone with a blend of syrah (30 per cent), grenache (30 per cent), carignan (30 per cent) and mourvedre (10 per cent), but coming from the Languedoc region of southern France, this wine represents a chance to experience old world charm at a very reasonable price.
- The Marlborough Express