Still obsessed! The Obsidian 2010

The boxes arrived last week, three of them, shipped all the way from Onetangi, Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand. 36 bottles of Kiwi nectar, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, direct from the Obsidian vineyard. Made with love, the product of much hard work, and sun blessed by the islands wonderful micro climate. They now reside in Abingdon, England, probably the only examples beyond the South Pacific, and I for one could not wait to rip in and have a first taste.

The Obsidian 2010

The first opportunity came whilst driving in the Black Mountains of Powys, Wales. Julie and I spent a few days in Hay On Wye at the beginning of the week, browsing through the many bookshops, taking in the fresh country air and enjoying the local hospitality. The weather was glorious, wall to wall sunshine and temperatures in the mid 20’s. Weather by no means uncommon for the time of year, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless given the dreadful rain we have been having for weeks on end. Rain that has since returned.

We had planned a long walk over the mountains but decided that it was simply too hot, and settled on a drive through the mountains instead. We were not disappointed. With a good map it really is possible to escape the crowds, even in a car, and we stopped by a stream running through the Mynydd Du Forest, and just short of the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir. Save for the sheep, we were alone.

Julie by the Mynydd Du Forest

I had brought a bottle of The Obsidian 2010, to drink one evening in the hotel, but in such a perfect place it was impossible to resist a first sip. Sat by the fast running stream at our feet it was all the more wonderful to consider the journey that the wine had taken, from those terraces overlooking the Hauraki Gulf to this remote place in the Welsh Black Mountains. The only open bottle of Obsidian 2010 for thousands of miles, such a delicious thought.

Lillian, Edwin and Julie

Two days later we were back home, and time for a more formal tasting. We invited Sian, Anton, Edwin and Lillian, round for supper, and over barbequed lamb with home grown salad, Julie and I put The Obsidian to the test.

I have already written about provenance, and how walking the dirt and shaking the hand of the owner and grower makes the experience of enjoying a glass of wine all the more rounded, and to be able to describe all that to your guests makes the experience deeper still.

We all agreed that the wine had a lovely colour, rubies and garnets were mentioned, with a touch of cranberry at its edge. The smell was fragrant and floral, gentle, not powerful, with hints of lavender to the fore. A young and youthful smell that suggested that there was a lot more to come. A view that Anton and I particularly shared.

Lillian, Anton and Sian

When it came to taste, Anton remarked how full and mouth filling it was, to which Lillian remarked, “take smaller sips then!”. Not sure Lillian quite understood what we were doing 😉 Anyway, we did all agree that the wine was young, and typical of a Bordeaux blend needed more time. Nonetheless the taste lingered well for a green wine with suggestions of liquorice and rhubarb.

Wine: The Obsidian 2010

Purchased: Obsidian Vineyard, Onetangi, Waiheke, Auckland

Price: Not yet released I believe. Lindsay or Janet do please post a comment, and the retail price, if the wine is now available to the general public.

Mark: 7.3 (out of 10). Each of the panel marked the wine out of 10 and the mark was then averaged. I marked this wine above the average.

Comments: I continue to be amazed by the consistent quality of Waiheke wines, and particularly from this vineyard. The mark may seem mean, but this wine is not yet at it best and like any fine Bordeaux blend needs time. I am an impatient soul, and cannot resist that first taste, but this wine deserves to be left alone for a few years, alongside the Chateau Lascombes and Haut-Bages Liberal in my cellar. It deserves to be left for 5 certainly, maybe even 10 years, but I just know that the wait will be well rewarded. I will have to check on it from time to time though, to make sure it is alright!

I “smuggled” back a number of Waiheke wines when I returned from NZ last October, including Destiny Bay, Miro, Man O War, and Passage Rock. Reviews of all these to follow.

Llanthony Priory

In the meantime the resilient people of these Isles continue to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee, despite the awful weather. For the moment though it has at least stopped raining, but to expect the sun to come out is simply asking for too much!


About Oval Balls

Middle aged and sport loving who loves his wife, children, granddaughters, and family. Other joys include the theatre, travel, reading, writing, walking, good food, great wine, fun friends and life generally. I never thought that I would embrace the "social network" to the extent of reading other peoples blogs, let alone writing one myself. Twitter too. But as you can see, or read, I have been converted.
This entry was posted in Family and Friends, New Zealand, New Zealand wine, Travel, Waiheke, Waiheke Wine, Wales. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Still obsessed! The Obsidian 2010

  1. Greetings Chris and Julie,
    We so enjoyed hosting you at Obsidian last year during the Rugby World Cup, and are thrilled to learn of our wines’ arrival in Abingdon and your affection for all things “Waiheke”. The Obsidian 2010 we strongly (NB Chris!) recommend cellaring whilst you enjoy the 2008 and earlier vintages. Our wines are now for sale in England direct from Philip Morton at Kent Street Wines (UK) Ltd, St Mary’s Lodge, 32a Church Street, Dorking RH4 1DW Ph +44 (0) 203 286 2532 or Ph +44 (0)7768 182 538. Philip is a super chap who is just as passionate about our wines as you Chris!
    I was reminded of our wet midsummer as I watched the jubilee regatta on the Thames, although the female chorus on top of the LPO barge carried the day for me with their spirited defiance of the rain!
    There is a dry ending to all wet occasions: we had a beautifully dry late autumn on Waiheke and the fruit was not only saved but the young 2012 wines (now in barrel) are exciting…cheers Lindsay & Janet, Obsidian Vineyard, Waiheke Island

  2. Julie says:

    …if I close my eyes I can smell the sea at Oneroa Bay….forever on our minds…just waiting for our return…


  3. Bob says:

    Chris (aka Oval Balls) & Julie (aka Kiwi princess): thank you for sharing your experiences in Wales and the wine tasting back home in Abingdon. Rosie & I were lucky enough, nay privileged to share some of your smuggled booty you mentioned above with the ‘strawberries and cream’ delight from Cable Bay Rose collection as a favourite (tidal waves of memories now flooding the mind with a wine thirst slowly building in my mouth!), alas we did not ‘mark’ the evening but I can say the time flew by and a fabulous evening in your company (excellent hosts). We’re off to Spain for some sunshine on Friday for 3 weeks, maybe catch up when we return.

    • Oval Balls says:

      Hi Bob, always good to hear from you. Spain sounds like fun, I always enjoy a good rioja and I am sure you will have ample opportunity to sample such delights whilst you are there. Just hope the country stays open, the economic news from Spain does not sound good. 50% of under 25 year olds are unemployed apparently, which is a desperate statistic, so spend well whilst there Bob and do your bit ;-). Hopefully Euro 2012 will give them some cheer, because we won’t be pinning our hopes on the efforts of the England team. Where have I heard that before. Talking of which, Scotland put in an astonishing effort this morning to beat Australia at the oval ball game.
      Get in touch when you are back, always great to see you. Love to Rosie, and thanks for the great chocolate. Yep, it was thick!

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