Good Taste: Love story through the grapevine

By Rebecca Gibb

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Mumm Brut Rose NV, Champagne, $94.95. Photo / Supplied
Mumm Brut Rose NV, Champagne, $94.95. Photo / Supplied

It's that time of year again when we're compelled to buy a sentimental card for our loved ones and go out for a set-menu meal - or wallow in our singledom.

But what if you were to get a day off work on Valentine's Day? This year it falls on a Monday, and another three-day weekend wouldn't go amiss.

King Henry VIII declared it an official holiday in 1537 and although I don't believe in chopping wives' heads off or ripping down monasteries, this is one policy I do applaud. Labour leader Phil Goff might win a few extra votes if he adopted such a strategy.

This year, my betrothed and I will be in different hemispheres for the Valentine's extravaganza but some couples in the wine industry will go to work together.

There are many husband and wife teams behind New Zealand wineries, including Anna and Jason Flowerday.

The couple met in 1999 working at Hardy's in McLaren Vale, where Anna was Jason's boss. They have run the Marlborough winery Te Whare Ra since 2003, and raised two sets of twin girls under 7.

Anna says: "We had worked a couple of vintages together before we bought Te Whare Ra so knew we could survive the pressure cooker of vintage without killing each other. Winemaking-wise we probably agree about 95 per cent of the time and the other 5 per cent makes it interesting."

In Central Otago, Archangel winery is run by Mary Zurakowski and her husband Ian. Their mothers were forced from their homes in war-torn Poland, and ended up in a labour camp in Arkhangelsk, Siberia.

They met again at an RAF base in England after unknowingly following the same refugee trail through Russia, Asia and Africa. The two women became best friends, married two young Polish officers and later had children.

Mary and Ian met in their teens, fell in love, and moved to Wanaka 25 years ago, setting up the Archangel label in memory of their mothers' struggle. Now that's a love story.

Brancott Estate Reserve Sparkling Rose NV ($23.95, widely available)
Elegance on the nose with bright red fruits and some toastiness. A dash of sweetness on the attack but it finishes mouth-watering and balanced. Good value.

Austi Torello Mata Rosat 2008, Cava (Wine Circle, $39.90)
Food-friendly with subtle savoury aromas, brioche and caramel. Harmonious, palate-cleansing.

Mumm Brut Rose NV, Champagne ($94.95, Glengarry's)
Delicious classy pink you might not want to share. Wild strawberry and bread-like aromas with an elegant fizz and mouth-watering acidity.

- NZ Herald

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