Kevin Judd of Greywacke was in Manila recently to host a series of wine dinners and I was able to chat with him a bit and tasted his wines at a dinner at CAV put together by his Manila importer, Lester Harvey of Zen Asia, Inc.
Anyone who has serious interest in New Zealand wines knows the name Kevin Judd. Famous as the winemaker of New Zealand’s iconic Sauvignon Blanc Cloudy Bay, Kevin left Cloudy Bay in 2009 and set up his own winery called Greywacke. The name is derived from the stone that makes up the bedrock of New Zealand and is found in many coastal areas around the world. All the fruit is bought and the wines are made at Dog Point Vineyard.
Sauvignon Blanc accounts for about 75% of Greywacke’s 20000 cases (93% exported) and two distinct styles are produced. 75% of the Sauvignon Blanc is made in the classic, vibrant Marlborough style. The 2012 vintage we tasted had powerful aromatics of ripe guava. The palate showed tart pomelo,lemon peel and mineral with impressive length and a finish of passion fruit. The rest of the Sauvignon Blanc, called Wild Sauvigon, uses wild yeast and a decidedly non-interventionist approach. Although the 2011 was less expressive on the nose than the regular SB, it had more weight on the palate with a slightly waxy texture and some spice. The fresh fruit is still quite evident with passionfruit being most obvious. Interestingly, some of the Wild Sauvignon makes it into the regular SB, comprising about 10% of the wine.
CAV is a favorite venue for wine dinners as the staff is well trained in wine service and, importantly, Chef Markus Gfeller has a knack for coming up with some surprising and inspired parings for the wines to be showcased.
Three wines were served for cocktails while waiting for everyone to arrive. The 2011 Chardonnay also uses wild yeast and has some smoky notes on a savory, slightly woody palate. The 2012 Pinot Gris was full of sweet spice and rose with a lingering, bitter orange marmalade finish. My favorite was the 2011 Riesling which was rather tart but with a good sweetness to balance the acidity. Green apple, peach, pineapple, lime and some sweet herbs like mint give it good complexity. A lovely wine very easy to drink.
Dinner proper started with a Lump Crabmeat Salad with Olive Marmalade, Three Melon Essence and Aromatic Leaves. This was beautifully plated with the crab quite sweet and fresh. This was a fine match Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2012.
The second course was a Scallop and Prawn Smoked Multigrain Risotto with Sprouts and Truffle Foam. The subtle smoke worked well with the Wild Sauvignon 2011 although I did try it as well with the Chardonnay which I thought was a better match since the wine also had some smoky nuances. The risotto itself was a play on different textures and colors, some of the grains being slightly chewy, some more creamy, others more firm, while the colors made it quite attractive. A most unusual but fine risotto.
The main course of Bobby Veal Tenderloin with Chanterelles, Peas, Farfalle and Lime Sabayon was paired with Greywacke’s only red wine, a Pinot Noir. The 2011 vintage showed blackberry, blueberry and cherry notes with some dried fruit and hints of tobacco, cedar and fragrant wood. Some carbonic maceration is used for this wine as a portion of the fruit is put in as whole bunches. The veal was very tender with the chanterelles providing earthiness to the dish.
The dessert of Black Cherry Soup, Pistachio Ice Cream and Almond Brittle followed shortly after. This was paired with Greywacke’s Late Harvest Riesling 2011. The wine certainly hd enough sweetness to go against the dessert but, at the same time, had enough acidity to avoid being cloying. Candied pineapple, mango and apricot showed in the dessert wine.
Aside from the wines themselves, Kevin is also n accomplished photographer who concentrates on wine related subjects. In 1999 a book of photographs titled The Color of New Zealand Wine was published while in 2009 he released another book of photographs called The Landscape of New Zealand Wine. Examples of his fine work adorn all of Greywacke’s labels.
Many thanks to Kevin Judd for taking the time to chat with me about the wines, and to Chef Markus of Cav and Lester Harvey of Zen Asia for the invitation to attend this excellent wine dinner.
Cav is located at The Spa Building, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City .Tel 8561798
Greywacke Wines are available from Zen Asia, Inc. Rm. 505 Don Pablo Bldg., 114 Amorsolo St., Legazpi Village, Makati City. Tel 8160317, 8137877, 8174152