Serious NZ Bordeaux blend from Hawkes Bay: The Quarry

Lest we forget that Hawkes Bay (and, more specifically, the Gimblett Gravels) is just about Syrah, here’s a serious Bordeaux blend from Craggy Range.

Craggy Range ‘The Quarry’ 2008 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
14% alcohol. A high-end blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Sophisticated stuff: sweet cherry, plum and blackberry fruit nose with some spicy, [...]

A lovely white Burgundy from Sauzet

Sometimes the hierarchy of Burgundy vineyards can be a bit of a problem. It magnifies the label effect: when critics see the name Grand Cru on a label, it usually adds points to the score. It’s hard for them to break the hierarchy and give better scores to wines from more lowly vineyards. Here’s a [...]

Another brilliant New Zealand Syrah

Really like this: yet another superb New Zealand Syrah, from the Gimblett Gravels district of Hawkes Bay. Kiwi Syrah has a distinct personality.

Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah 2008 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Really fresh, deep, peppery Syrah with lovely dark cherry and raspberry fruit nose. The palate is nicely balanced: there’s ripe raspberry and blackberry [...]

Pancho Campo hits out against bloggers

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I have just had a lengthy phone conversation with Pancho Campo, in which he explained all the details of the trip he organized for Dr Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate, and how all the expenses were borne by the Wine Advocate. He also explained that he has been the subject of a lot [...]

Tasting the 2009s from the northern and southern Rhone

Yves Cuilleron

Great tasting of Rhone 2009 put on by Berry Bros and Rudd in the grand but rather dimly lit surrounds of One Great George Street, in Westminster (this place is especially depressing during the daytime in winter; in the evening you can get away with the poor lighting).

Francois Villard

It was [...]

Dark Island Reserve Orcadian Ale: amazing stuff!

This is a remarkable beer. One of the most interesting I’ve tried. It’s from Orkney, and it’s so thick you could probably stand a spoon in it.

Dark Island Reserve Orcadian Ale
10% alcohol. Dark brown, opaque colour. Concentrated flavours of treacle, liquorice, chocolate, dates, malt and toffee, with some iron notes. No rough edges, though. Great [...]

Grape juice concentrate and Mega Purple

Grape juice concentrate is a controversial topic in winemaking. It’s widely used, but people don’t really like to talk about it, because it sounds a bit like cheating. It’s a brave winemaker who shows journalists this widely used trick of the trade. Normally, it’s kept hidden away.

Most controversial of all is a substance called Mega [...]

FFS goes for a walk

Quick FFS update. She’s now had all her vaccinations and is free to encounter the wide world. We took her for her first walk. She loved it. We’re thinking of calling her ‘poppy’, because we have been calling her puppy for so long.

Seven Springs: an interesting new South African Sauvignon

Seven Springs is a new South African producer, located just outside the current boundaries of the Hemel en Aarde region near Hermanus. This is their debut wine, one of just 4400 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir are to follow. British couple Tim and Vaughan Pearson are behind Seven Springs, and winemaking [...]

Morton Estate: serious New Zealand fizz

This is a top class Kiwi fizz that I’ve never tried before. It has gained some proper complexity from long ageing on the lees, and it’s delicious.

Morton Blanc de Blancs 2000 New Zealand
12.5% alcohol; matured on the lees for seven years. Gold colour. Complex, rich toasty nose is savoury and intense with nice sweet apricot [...]