Sunday, 3 April 2011

Helicopters, Views and Some Amazing Wines

So, I've had quite a last week or so, most of it wine related (as it should be)...

First up was a rather enjoyable evening meal last weekend with my fellow English Matt in Santa Cruz, of Matt Wilson Photography fame, his wife and a visiting French sommelier. Matt's married to Andrea Leon, one of the lead winemakers at Lapostolle, so we usually get some pretty decent wine to drink when we meet up. After the usual Lapostolle suspects (Sauvignon Blanc, limited edition Pinot Noir) we broke out without doubt the nicest dessert wine I've ever had, a lovely bottle of Tokaji. Really, really good.

On Wednesday evening, Matt called and said he needed an assistant for a photo shoot he was doing for Lapostolle the following morning, aerial shots of the winery. I'd never been in a helicopter before and was kind of nervous but thought the experience would be worth the potential terror. As it turned out, it was not in the least bit scary. And it was an amazing experience, about 45 minutes of flying around the Apalta Valley. If you ever get the chance to do it..!

Apalta Valley from the air:

Then yesterday, I had a lunch with the owners of Viña Las Niñas, the lovely Sabine and Bernard and some other friends. Bernard produced another rather good after dinner wine, a 22 year old Banyus.

I got back home from that lunch at 6, just in time to start preparing for another Saturday night dinner with Matt and Andrea and our new sommelier friend. I thought I should step up and provide some decent after dinner wine to rival what we had the week before.

I'm pretty sure I won...with a bottle of 1977 Vintage Port. I was given 6 bottles when I was born, in 1977, and now have one left. It was a bit of a palaver decanting it...the cork was pretty much rotten and there was so much sediment, we ended up filtering it through a T-shirt. It was really, really worth the hassle, though- it was an amazing wine.

Andrea also brought a bottle of Montes' top line Purple Angel (***CORRECTION*** Andrea allowed Matt to bring a bottle of his own wine to the dinner) and I also provided a bottle of wine that probably fewer than 50 people in the world will have ever tried, an experimental bottle of Cabernet Franc from Los Vascos, given to me by the general manager, Mario, a great friend who is currently fighting for his life after a terrible car accident 6 weeks ago. Fuerza, Mario, we're thinking of you.

This is really quite the selection of wine:

So next week, I'm having an asado, after finding half a lamb in my freezer- it's got to be eaten before Winter. It's also Matt Wilson's birthday and a load of winemaker friends are coming along so it's going to be another day of drinking great wines, eating great food and being with great friends.

I love Colchagua.


  1. That sounds like a great week! We're very much looking forward to helping you with that lamb next weekend :)

  2. It was a great week... I think this one's going to be similar as well. I hope my liver is up to the task...

  3. I'm assuming that Matt Wilson didn't hire you as an assistant because of your arial photography skills :P

    Kidding, the valley looks beautiful from your perspective in the helicopter.

    Who gave you six bottles of wine when you were born? You should've saved one for your wedding!

    I say that as though you might get married someday :)

  4. I'm a skilled photographer...with an iphone...

    And that's a very good question...I actually don't know who gave me the bottles. I've always assumed it was my parents, but I don't think I've ever asked. Ha.

    And I do have one bottle left. Let's not mention marriage though.

  5. Kyle, we need to watch out for Matt, he's gonna lose us work!

    However his port pouring skills are pretty terrible

    I am off to Rapa Nui for ten days on a shoot soon, and was hoping for some helicopter time, and with Matt and his ubiquitous iphone. Alas budget won't stretch.

  6. So my mum emailed me and said she bought the Port at an auction way back in the day. She also says that I was the lucky one, being born in a vintage year, whereas my brothers had to make do with non-vintage plonk..!

  7. Well I feel privileged to have partaken of it with you. Also one small correction I brought the Purple Angel NOT Andrea! hahaha. She would have brought a Charman or something

  8. The tshirt is a nice touch. So good to see that you didn't filter it through the armpit, at least.

  9. Matt- duly noted and corrected.

    Dan- I was even nice enough to use a clean t-shirt.

  10. The helicopters views and some amazing scneries are shown on the post here. Read to know more