Pinot Noir 2017: the International Pinot Noir Tasting

This was the headline International Pinot Noir tasting at Pinot Noir 2017 in Wellington. In this session, rather than focus on New Zealand, it was time for the panellists to look further afield. Each of the four chose two wines that they felt represented greatness in Pinot Noir, and then explained their own views on [...]

Pinot Palooza: a great consumer Pinot event in Wellington

Yesterday afternoon I popped into Pinot Palooza, a consumer Pinot Noir event that hails from Australia but which has been transplanted to New Zealand for the day before the Pinot 2017 event in Wellington. 117 producers from all over New Zealand were present, and it had a great vibe. I wandered around chatting to people [...]

New Zealand Riesling masterclass, with Andrew Hedley

This masterclass focused on the variety that’s the darling of the trade but which is sadly not loved so much by consumers: Riesling. It was led by Andrew Hedley of Framingham (left), and Bob Campbell (right), leading Kiwi winewriter. Andrew is arguably New Zealand’s leading proponent of this grape variety, and he explained the sorts [...]

Albariño: a new grape for New Zealand

There’s a bit of buzz about Albariño in New Zealand. But it’s early days yet: there are currently just 27 hectares in the whole country. Gisborne, where it was first planted, has 8.5 hectares, Hawke’s Bay has 6.9 hectares, and Marlborough has 3.9 hectares. But on this trip so far I’ve tried some good ones. [...]

The Marlborough Pinot Noir Safari

The Pinot Noir Safari. It’s the second time this has taken place. Various winegrowers take international guests through the back-country and off-road routes, taking in some special vineyards across the Marlborough region. We make several stops, where they explain what it is that makes each vineyard important, and we get to taste some Pinot Noir [...]

Two interesting NZ wines at Shop Eight, Christchurch

Had a lovely evening with a few colleagues at Shop Eight in Christchurch. These two wines were really interesting. The alternative face of New Zealand wine.

Cambridge Road The Naturalist 2016 Nelson, New Zealand
11.5% alcohol. This pet nat is made from organically grown grapes from Nelson. It’s cloudy and beautifully expressive with a bit of spicy bite. Fresh [...]

An extensive tasting of Pinot Noir from North Canterbury, New Zealand

North Canterbury is the new-ish term used to describe the vineyard region close to Canterbury, which includes the Waipara Valley. In the couple of days I spent here, I tasted my way through many of the the wines, and these are my notes on the Pinot Noirs that I’ve tried. It’s a region that I’ve [...]

Some pictures from Central Otago

The famous view from Rippon, Wanaka

Chard Farm’s Gibbston Vineyard and its spectacular setting

Apparently this scene features in Lord of the Rings

View of Wanaka from the top of a hill

Lake Dustan, looking over to the Pisa subdistrict

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 [...]