By Jamie Drummond
Around 18 months ago I happened to pop in to see my Sommelier friend Curtis Elson at Toronto’s One Restaurant. As Sommeliers are oft want to do, Curtis proffered me a glass of wine blind, meaning that the provenance of the wine was unknown to me and that he was hoping that I would make an attempt to deduce from whence it came. And such was my very first introduction to the wines of Bellbird Spring…
Fast forward to just the other week and I was seated in George Restaurant enjoying a seriously delicious luncheon with none other than Guy Porter, Winemaker at Waipara’s Bellbird Spring. From his take on the ubiquitous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, through fascinating white blends utilising Alsatian varietals, to his astonishingly good Pinot Noir, Guy makes wines that I find to be unlike anything I have tasted before. Each bottling has a wonderful fruit intensity and texture that speaks to the particular mesoclimates of his Waipara Valley vineyard sites, something that sets his wines apart from much that we see imported from New Zealand these days.
That afternoon at George Restaurant I was quite fascinated by the Bellbird Spring wines and their interplay with the elaborate dishes composed by Chef Lorenzo Loseto. It takes a wine of some serious layered complexity to find synergy with Chef Loseto’s academic take on a dish’s flavour composition, and Guy’s wines were the perfect fit.
The Bellbird Spring wines are certainly “Restaurant” wines, so please do seek them out in some of Ontario’s better establishments… I seem to recall that they are a favourite of Sommelier Kate Moore at Cambridge’s Langdon Hall… and then if you manage to grab Curtis at the ever-busy One Restaurant ask him if he has a few Bellbird Spring bottles stashed away.
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Guy’s fascinating wines are available in Ontario through The Case For Wine.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… and he really had a soft spot for Guy’s wonderful wines.