Spanish wine is hot but its most famous walk is not always so, as a new Kiwi film to hit the big screen this week shows in bold and beautiful colour. Camino Skies is the brainchild of Fergus Grady and Noel Smyth, who co-directed, co-produced and walked the entire 800 kilometres while filming, running ahead of the traumatised trekkers to reveal the place as well as the raw emotion behind the walkers’ lives.
It’s pretty punishing to walk 800 kilometres when you’re feeling sick with shock and sadness but that’s the whole point, say Grady and Smyth, whose film covers the journey of six Kiwis and Aussies who walked the Camino to come to terms with their personal struggles, including depression, shock and heartbreak. It’s a positive and uplifting film, despite the subject matter.
And while we’re talking about uplifting, this week’s trio includes wines from Spain and New Zealand, including a ten year old museum re-release from one of the South Island’s most famous wineries, Pegasus Bay.
This winery began to keep a small supply of its great wines from top years back in 2006. The aim was to offer wine drinkers the chance to taste wines in full maturity; something that is relatively rare.
Pegasus Bay’s vineyard and winery are in the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury; one of this country’s most under the radar wine regions. Its vines may look out to the majestic Southern Alps, but they live in the shadow of their even more dramatic looking southern neighbour, Central Otago, where Pinot Noir rules the roost with 80% of the region’s vineyards.
The wines of North Canterbury can be every bit as statuesque as their southern counterparts, as the 2009 Pegasus Bay Prima Donna below shows.
Spain’s most continental wine region is Toro DO in the north west; home to the grapes in this deep, dark and flavoursome 100% Tinta de Toro – aka Tempranillo with bells on. Toro’s hot days, cool nights and low harvests combine to create bold, spicy, full bodied reds, often made from bush vines. All grapes in this wine were hand picked. Good quality and great value.
Treat of the week
2017 Luna Estate Pinot Noir Martinborough $28ish
Tricky vintages often produce the best wine or should that be: good winemakers tend to put their best foot forward in tough years. Joel Watson of Luna Estate in Martinborough has done just that in this newly released 2017 Luna Estate Pinot Noir from Martinborough. Concentration, vibrant freshness and a long finish are all present and counted here. The wine is made from hand harvested grapes, which were given a long pre ferment maceration to extract structure. A great response to a chilly year.
Reaching for the stars
2009 Pegasus Bay Reserve Prima Donna Pinot Noir Aged Release $120
Prima Donna is a selection of Pinot Noir from the best barrels at Pegasus Bay, chosen by winemakers through meticulous tasting research in the cellar and it’s a huge step up from the already outstanding Pegasus Bay estate Pinot Noir. All grapes in this wine were harvested from vines that are over 30 years old, many ungrafted (also rare these days). About 33% were fermented as whole bunches with wild yeasts and maturation was in French oak from Burgundy (40% new) . This full bodied ten year old North Canterbury Pinot Noir has a great balance of earthy, spicy notes, refreshing acidity and a long finish.