Friday, April 15, 2011

Caravan Jam

We parked the 'Anglo' in between the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir rows near the shed. It was quite a roomy caravan even had a wee stove but the fridge was non-refridgerating, that was alright because for most of our two week stay at the vineyard it was cold enough at night to keep the butter and feijoa juice quite cool, not to mention our extremities. Good for the grapes though; cool nights and hot dry days, well for the most part it was dry but we did have rain which had many Martinborough vintners nervously watching grey clouds with patches of blue turn to dark steely grey and then just plain old fog-grey. We had a couple of sleepless nights in the caravan listening to the rain on the roof which sounded like ball bearings falling from the sky, then it would fade out to a tinkle and just as we began to nod off it would start pounding steel balls again, not sure I will be able to recapture the soothing sense of calm I felt as a child on holiday in Scotland with the rain tap, tap, tapping on the roof of our caravan at night, all tucked up and cozy in my sleeping bag with a torch and an Enid Blyton novel. Romance and rain are for people without vineyards. 

Our caravan days at the vineyard began with feijoa juice, a fry up of Parkvale mushrooms and Wairarapa eggs followed by Vogel's toast; a hearty breakfast before a day in the vines. At the end of a day's picking I gathered some pinot bunches that were left dangling and made some jam in the caravan, not quite the jam I expected; a little runny but really good flavors, best part was the making of it standing at my teeny station in socks and flip flops (jandals) stirring the bubbling purple pot; pinot aromas wafting through the mustard/orange interior with all the windows steamed-up. As I looked down at the (60's/70's hard to say for sure) linoleum flooring I saw it in a new light; it was almost 'Moorish'.

Jam made in a caravan with 
Stonecrop Pinot Noir grapes

a quantity of pinot noir grapes
one meyer lemon from my father-in-law's garden
some water
some sugar
be sure to wear flip flops (jandals) when you make it 
socks optional

Sitting around the brazier enjoying the last rays of the day we barbecued green-lipped mussels and kumara, one evening we had a special treat; bluff oysters which were even more delicious (is that even possible?) with our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. When the evenings became too chilly to sit outside and dine beside our glamorous mobile abode we took off in the ute down the Dry River Road to the Martinborough Hotel a local pub with a good pubby vibe, great food and fire that's always stoked.

Back in Montauk everything looks the same except for a few splashes of yellow on the landscape, each year when I am away picking grapes on the other side of the world I think I will 'miss' some monumental happening in the garden. There are weeds, I see them everywhere, soon I'll be cursing and breaking my back to tame them. Just around the corner (well more like just down the road and around the corner) is summer......sushi and a glass of Stonecrop at the bar anyone?

Picked and sorted and purple fingernails; another great Harvest at Stonecrop, same time, same place next year. I do miss those rolling Wairarapa hills and the magpies in the morning and whitebait fritters.