Dinner parties. A risky business. If you have anything like my luck, you’ll find yourself sat next to the only bore in the room, trapped for the entire evening and held hostage in terrible conversation, while everyone else has the time of their lives... By Amit.
When the dinner finally ends, you’ll be grumpy, and emotionally disconnected with the rest of the party, who will begin discussing amongst themselves why you’ve bothered to turn up in the first place.
Such a travesty to decent people can never occur at a good Wine-Maker Dinner. These are like dinner parties, except, at intervals, the conversation is led by a wine-maker, who sits at the top of the table, and talks to the entire group about his or her wines, and pretty much anything else you care to ask them. Every wine-maker I have met that makes good wine, has always made for good company also. They know things, particularly things about nature and its intricacies, and they have a way of speaking that makes you want to listen; having dinner with a wine-maker is like having dinner with David Attenborough’s debaucherous and more fun-loving half brother.
Quintin Quider, the wine-maker behind Wild Earth Wines, is no exception. We learned this for ourselves at the dinner he hosted last night at Green and Blue. Amongst other things, he spoke about his passion for the sea, diving for bountiful sea urchins, the beauty of Central Otago, and how to turn old burgundy barrels into BBQs. This he did while we tasted the 2008 Wild Earth Rose, the Riesling, the Pinot Gris, and finally, the 2007 Pinot Noir, alongside matching food from the Green and Blue deli.
All his wines were pure and refreshing. I suggest using his Rose the next time you’re outdoors and want to disarm a young woman. Use his medium-dry Riesling when disarming an older one. His Pinot Noir is for all occasions.
The Pinot was also clearly the star of the show last night. It tasted of really ripe and concentrated forest blackberries with a restrained and slightly savoury finish. It’s so generous and textured, that I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying a glass of this, even those troublemakers I often come across that are convinced they don’t like red wine.
Quintin was humble, yet proud of his wines. He seemed equally proud of his vineyard practices, to which he attributes his success. He emphasised to us the importance of hand pruning, where each wine is treated like an individual and pruned accordingly; and hand picking, where the pickers make sure only the best fruit goes into the fermentation vat. Once again, it was reinforced to me that beautiful wine begins in the vineyard and nowhere else. Quintin has begun to appreciate this to such an extent, that later this year, he’ll be changing the name of his company from Wild Earth Wines, to Wild Earth Vineyards. Only a wine maker who truly believes in wine and how it should be made would be inclined to do such a thing. Good stuff.