I first met Mike Eaton of TerraVin after drinking his 2004 Hillside Selection Pinot Noir at Gibbs Restaurant in Marlborough. Silky, aromatic, generous, yet balanced are words that spring to mind as I recall witnessing the wine blossom in the glass alongside a fantastic meal. The next morning I called Mike for the first time and we met and tasted through his range of wines. It was also the first time I saw his sweeping north-facing hillside vineyard responsible for the stuffing in that bottle I enjoyed the night before. It was a good meeting, one which caused me to miss my flight, but in the end was well worth it. Mike loves to talk about TerraVin and I was there to listen.
Mike and Jo, his wife, are passionate about their wine. He’s been a top viticulturist in Marlborough for decades now and has helped the region wake up to the potential of pinot noir and hillside plantings, much like Burgundy, with the establishment of the famous Clayvin site now owned by Fromm Wines. Mike also handles the winemaking duties at TerraVin quite deftly. A recent Wine Advocate issue scored many of his wines in the 90-94 range.
A year later and TerraVin is now reentering the NY market with Sober Imports this Fall. I had the pleasure recently in Auckland of joining Mike and Jo at Vinnies Restaurant for a winemakers dinner. Renowned NZ wine writer, Michael Cooper, Cuisine Magazine’s Food Editor, Lauraine Jacobs, and their wine and travel editor, Susan Buchanan, also joined the intimate dinner for 35 guests. Vinnie’s chef and owner, Geoff Scott, and the Eatons designed a well thought out tasting menu to match the Terravin wine arsenal.
The menu was as follows:
Sashimi of gamefish, daikon & sorrel, himalayan salt & frozen leccino oil
wine- Te Ahu sauvignon Semillon 2006;
Ross sea toothfish tortellini & pernod poached northland scallops
wine- Chardonnay 2007;
Wild rabbit loin with pancetta, white butter beans & white truffle
wine- Pinot gris 2007 & Pinot noir 2005;
14 hour poached cardrona lamb, panisse, fennel confit & butcher’s sauce
wine- Hillside Pinot noir 2004 & Hillside Reserve Pinot noir 2006;
Vintage gouda souffle with spiced figs & walnut toast
wine- J cabernet merlot malbec 2005;
lime parfait, roast grapefruit, honey wafers & mandarin jelly
wine- Noble sauvignon 2006.
It was a terrific meal and really showed how well TerraVin works with food. I look forward to doing a similar type event in NYC one day. Look fast for TerraVin wines this October, since only small amounts of these handcrafted wines are created.