Ember, a Belated Birthday Celebration

Both Cristalle and I were very hard pressed to find a free weekend to celebrate her birthday that was at the end of May. Until now. What to do, we’re both busy people who fill up our calendars weeks in advance.

But find a common time we finally did for her belated birthday dinner at Ember, although Cristalle got lost and ended up more than a half hour late.

I got us a half bottle of New Zealand’s Martinborough’s Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2004. Very delightful choice. Oddly enough, it had the faintest of fizzes, kind of like some of the light Italian wines I used to drink in Italy. But it had the nose of a pinot noir all right. Wonderfully earthy with the scent of cherries, it was light in tannins and went down really easily.

It is produced in support of Project Crimson – hence the name.

Ata Rangi founder Clive Paton’s tree-planting work at the family Bush Block inspired the idea for CRIMSON, a younger vines Pinot noir sold in support of the work of Project Crimson. This charitable conservation Trust aims to protect New Zealand’s much loved native ‘Christmas trees’ RATA and POHUTUKAWA.

The Project Crimson Trust was set up fifteen years ago to support the protection and regeneration of New Zealand’s iconic and much-loved rata and pohutukawa native trees. Today it is sponsored principally by Meridian Energy, New Zealand’s only renewable energy company. The Trust was originally established in response to a 1989 Forest Research report which showed that more than 90% of coastal pohutukawa stands had been eliminated. The tree had then entirely disappeared in many areas along the west coast of Northland.

Bridget Abernethy, Executive Director of Project Crimson: “We’re thrilled to be working with Ata Rangi to bring you ‘CRIMSON’. This special wine presents us with an excellent opportunity to further spread the Project Crimson word both locally and internationally. Sales of ‘CRIMSON’ will also provide needed dollars for projects, especially those that focus on rata, our current priority. The most high profile and immediate of these is the establishment this season of 1,500 northern rata trees on the Tinakori Hills which form the dramatic backdrop to the harbour city of Wellington.

It was a good evening, spent catching up. While online chats help, nothing beats a nice sit down dinner. 🙂 And it was a nice dinner. Cristalle’s not an oyster fan, so we bypassed my favorite oyster poppers appetizer and just got the pan seared foie gras with glazed pear and raisins. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. My mouth waters just thinking about how the fat just melts in my mouth. On my enthusiastic recommendation, we got the Chilean sea bass again with the truffle sauce with sauteed mushrooms and bacon, as well as a lamb shank that was beautifully done – juicy and tender. For dessert, we ordered the banana tart with ice cream.


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