Central Otago Pinot Noir masterclass, focusing on structure Draft

Lucie Lawrence of Aurum and Grant Taylor of Valli led this masterclass, which was held at Aurum. Also present were Matt Dicey (Mount Difficulty and Ceres), Paul Pujol (Prophet’s Rock) and Blair Walter (Felton Road), who contributed to the discussion. The idea was to look at pairs of wines that each tackled topics relevant to [...]

Some highlights from a Central Otago Pinot Noir tasting

I arrived in Queenstown to a good English winter: rain showers, low cloud, and a temperature of 8 C. There was snow on top of the hills. This is summer in a cool climate wine region. Time to taste some wine with the mixed international group who’d, like me, just arrived in town.

Eighteen producers gathered [...]

The stunning Te Mata Peak

On Saturday morning, Craggy Range’s Brand Manager Hannah Burns took me up Te Mata Peak. It was supposed to be a run, but this is incredibly steep, so we walked most and ran a bit. It’s truly spectacular, and fortunately the weather turned it on. This is a chunk of marine limestone that rises 400 [...]

Tasting the range at Craggy Range

For the last couple of days I’ve been hanging out at Craggy Range, in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. I was last at Craggy in 2007, on my first visit to New Zealand. The personnel have since changed, but the goal hasn’t – to make some of New Zealand’s top wines. There are 80 hectares of [...]

On dentists and teeth

I had a problem. I woke up on Saturday with a nagging ache in my mouth, towards the back, at the left. It wasn’t the sharp pain you’d normally associate with toothache, but it hurt, and when I bit down on the last molar, it was very uncomfortable.

Oh well, I thought, it will go away. [...]

Four affordable Kiwi Pinot Noirs

As I write, I’m at the departure gate waiting to embark on a rather long journey to Kiwi land. So a chance to write up four affordable New Zealand Pinot Noirs I had the other night.

Seresin Leah Pinot Noir 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand
£20 Noel Young, Fareham Wine Cellar, The New Zealand Cellar
13% alcohol
A blend of [...]

Two affordable Grüner Veltliners

I’m a big fan of Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s specialist grape variety. Here are two easily available, affordable examples that deliver some of the personality of this grape.

Domaine Wachau Weissenkirchen Grüner Veltliner Federspiel 2015 Wachau, Austria
£10.99 Majestic, £9.89 mix six price
12.5% alcohol
This is nicely aromatic with floral citrus fruits, coupled with some trademark white pepper that’s [...]

Wines of the year (9) the rest

So, my final round-up of wines of the year, 2016. So many good bottles, of which this long series has highlighted just a few.

Contino Gran Reserva 2009 Rioja, Spain
We tried this from bottle and magnum. I preferred the bottle (the magnum will probably be better in time), and this is the one I took the [...]

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough

Off to New Zealand on Wednesday, so in preparation I thought it would be good to drink some Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. 2016 was a good vintage in the region, with both quality and quantity, and the Sauvignons I’ve tasted so far from this harvest have been very correct and delicious, with ripe, appealing flavours and more [...]

Interesting wines from Argentina: Malbec

This is the third post from a tasting of interesting Argentine wines in Mendoza last month. It’s Argentina’s most famous variety, Malbec. ‘Everyone is talking more and more about regions,’ says Sebastian Zuccardi. ‘They’re talking about altitude, but also soils. Even within the same vineyard we have diversity in soils.’ There were a mix of [...]