Things we did in 2014
January: Lynn Beard toured a few bits of NZ with us, including walking most of the Queen Charlotte Track. We had fun.
February: We did what we always do in February: put the nets on the vineyard and head off for a week sailing around Tasman Bay and the Sounds on our favourite catamaran-for-hire Jamarh.
March: Tim broke his ankle jumping off rocks in Australia. He flew home with leg in plaster, so Gareth drove him and his shiny new car back to Wellington.
April: We both did the inaugural “gourmet” Grape Ride — a 100km ride from Renwick to Picton to Havelock and back to Renwick with stops for morning coffee in Picton and lunch in Havelock, and then Camille did the real race in a new personal best of 3hr 57 minutes. Gareth did the 43km “taster” (his training having been curtailed by recovery from his ear op in 2013) fast enough to be fourth in his age group.
May: Gareth turned 60. A pig made his day.
June: It rained. A lot. Our road was badly damaged, and closed for a week. The world was not entirely cut off from us — we could get out by driving (carefully) round the slips and slumps.
August: Food hero time – Nose to Tail/St John’s Fergus and Margot Henderson went truffling with Rosie, and took some of our bianchetto back to London with them.
September: Tim’s leg being in the process of healing, we went skiing in Wanaka for the first time in more than a few years, and struck the best snow of the season.
October: We spent a few days touring Margaret River wineries in Western Australia, visited Barry & Sue in Perth, and caught up with Chris, Amanda and Pete in Sydney.
November: We learned that our 2013 pinot noir was on the wine list at Peter Gordon’s Providores restaurant in London – a snip at £86 a bottle.
December: We spent a weekend in the Sounds, and walked bits of the Queen Charlotte Track (again) (pix here).
Christmas: Tim & Julie joined us from Wellington, and Chris from Sydney. Mum is on fine form — and sang carols in the choir at the Christmas Farmer’s Market in Amberley.
Truffles: Good harvests of Burgundy and bianchetto truffles, not so good of Perigord black, but lots of happy customers at some of NZ’s finest restaurants – Harlequin Public House, Saggio di Vino and Shop Eight in Christchurch, Roots in Lyttleton, 1024 in Hawkes Bay, and Cocoro and Orphan’s Kitchen in Auckland. You can hear Gareth talk about truffles — and Rosie crunch hazelnuts — in this feature on Radio New Zealand’s Country Life programme in April.
Wine: The vintage was a challenge: we had to race cold, wet weather and botrytis to get the pinot in, and had to abandon the syrah to the cold, but we managed (with a little help from our friends) to harvest just under a tonne of good grapes. The wine is in the barrel and tasting rather good. Should be bottled in April/May and released soon after. The 2013 Hermit Ram Limestone Hills pinot noir is now available in the UK from the New Zealand Cellar.
Other family members: Emma’s cat, the venerable rabbiter Biscuits died in spring. Her passing left the vegetable garden at the mercy of rabbits – so we’re now a second planting, protected by lots of wire, and Gareth has shot at least a dozen on the front lawn…
Rosie continues to demonstrate what a fine truffle hound can do, and how to be a marketing asset. Aside from the Hendersons, she has charmed English tenor Marc Le Brocq, Melbourne chef Matteo Pignatelli, Welsh Michelin-starred chef Roger Jones, and Ray Isle, wine editor of Food & Wine in the US. She takes it all in her stride, of course…
Coming up in 2015
A dry January. 🙁
February will be a busy month. After a week on Jamarh, we’ll be walking the entire Queen Charlotte Track (again) with Phil Beard and Peter Mikkelsen, and then taking them out on Jamarh for a couple of days. At the end of the month Emma will arrive back in NZ for the first time in a couple of years, this time with the soon-to-be-long-suffering Simon as her companion. We’ll take them out on Jamarh. In April, Gareth intends to do the Grape Ride — and beat Camille’s time. Might be tough — he’s been a long way off matching her 200km weekly ride schedule. Meanwhile there are grapevines to tuck and tie and spray and pamper, truffles to harvest, grass to mow, and bikes to ride.
Our very best wishes for a happy and contented 2015. Come and see us sometime soon…