When the invitation arrived, I was certainly intrigued.
Shortly afterwards, we will rendezvous with another boat, an oyster harvester and sample freshly caught oysters with the skipper and Erica Crawford, founder of Loveblock wines.
Afterwards, the car service will bring you home.
They are used to being chauffeured about.
It wasn't hard to accept the offer.
The big day arrived.
Somehow my journalist, wine and theater critic wife and photographer received an invite, as well.
We joined forces, together, in the backseat, a big, black Mercedes. The driver was wearing a skippers hat.
Maybe its me, but, sitting in the back of a big car with a chauffeur makes me feel any conversation would be heard by not only my wife, but, the driver as well.
Photos of Erica Crawford, the Prudence, the Oysters and Loveblock wines.
We finally arrived at the dock in Greenwich, Ct.. The boat we were meeting, named Prudence, was waiting for us..
Who could complain?
As the Prudence pulled away from shore, we learned some facts about oysters. Did you know oysters are sequential hermaphrodites? Newly spawned oysters only need microscopic bits of calcium to start growing their shell. Oysters in the wild attach to old oyster shells. Oysters can live up to 30 years. The lighter the oyster is, the younger it is. The best time to eat oysters is September and October.
Growing up in New Orleans has made me an oyster fan from a very young age.. Even the public schools served oyster po boys on Fridays. At a young age, I remember my parents ate fresh oysters and drank Sauvignon Blanc.
Unfortunately, they did not live long enough to experience the best Sauvignon Blanc to pair oysters with, New Zealand style, specifically, Loveblock.
Founder of Loveblock, Erica Crawford, an ex-medical scientist takes organics seriously. Erica is the wife of New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc guru, Kim Crawford. Maybe it’s a woman’s touch, but, the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc that accompanied the luncheon was easily the best in the market.
It was the true New Zealand style, grapefruit, melons and acidity. What was different about Loveblock is the fact that the wine is fuller bodied and denser, lusher than others in the market.
Loveblock has several distinct vineyards. The ‘Hillside’ is a 180 acre vineyard perched on top of the hills overlooking the Awatere Valley. Erica says that the location is suitable because the wind keeps down the bug population, the northern exposure of the Hillside is the same as southern exposure in Europe. Finally Crawford stresses that the soil is not glacial, but, is made of redwood pass soil which helps with even ripening of the grapes. The huge vineyard primarily produces Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. Many other varietals, including Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Gewurtzraminer, Pinot Blanc and Tempranillo have been planted, harvested and experimented with.
The ‘Woolshed’ and the ‘Triangle’ are at the bottom of the hill. The soil is typical of the Awatere Valley—stilt over stone. The ‘Woolshed’ devotes its 27 acres to Sauvignon Blanc, while the ‘Triangle’s’ four acres are where the Pinot Gris is planted. Both areas were planted in 2003 and were converted to organics in 2012.
Pinot Noir, from Loveblock’s Central Otago vineyard is an example of a difficult grape that thrives when extra attention, care and patience are part of the scenario. The newly bottled Pinot Noir is a welcome addition to Loveblock’s portfolio, which includes, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurrztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc.
Philip S. Kampe