In Elgin, South Africa, day 1

I’m currently in South Africa’s Elgin Valley, which I visited last October for the Chardonnay Symposium. I’m here to experience vintage with four different producers: Iona, Almenkerk, Paul Cluver and Elgin Ridge. I’ll be working as a cellar rat, and documenting the experience in pictures and film. I’m really looking forward to it.

I’ve had a [...]

Gamay focus 27: Lapierre Morgon 2009

I was given this wine to taste blind. It’s always interesting to try things without any clue what they are. I really liked it immediately, but it also tasted a tiny bit natural, with some (but not excessive) volatile acidity and a slight savoury spiciness. But these elements integrate beautifully into the whole of the [...]

The wines of British Columbia, Canada: diversity and purity

This seminar at the Vancouver Wine Festival looked at the diversity of wines coming from British Colombia, and followed on from a previous session focusing on some more of the region’s wines. I was on the panel, which was very well led by Canadian wine journalist Treve Ring, and which included Rhys Pender and terroir [...]

Video: the Mornington Peninsula wine region

I’ve just published two films on my Mornington Peninsula adventures, with an introduction to the region. The two parts go together, and feature many of the key winegrowers who have helped put this region on the map as Australia’s premier for Pinot Noir (although Tasmania may dispute this.

Part 1 – in order of [...]

Niepoort's Clos de Crappe: an unusual, remarkable wine

You can’t put Dirk Niepoort in a box. He’s not your standard winemaker. Who releases a wine called ‘Clos de Crappe’ with the description ‘technically a disaster’? (See above from the Niepoort website.) As Dirk explains in the film below, Clos de Crappe was originally a wine made with a view to producing a slightly [...]

Canadian wine at the Vancouver wine fest: sparkling wine

There’s a buzz around sparkling wine at the moment. Sparkling wine sales account for 11% of global wine sales and this market is growing by 4.5% annually. And it’s something that Canada has a talent for, with its cool climate wine regions. Of late there has been the beginnings of something special here in Canada. [...]

Some lovely high-end wines from Catena, Argentina

By a stroke of coincidence, while I was in Victoria (Vancouver Island, not Australia)  today I got to try through this set of wines from Argentina star winery Catena, presented by Catena’s Andrea Nuñez and Daniel Stiefvater of Trialto (the company that brings them into this part of Canada). I was impressed, especially by the [...]

Pinot Noir 2017, Wellington, New Zealand - a film

 

While I was attending Pinot Noir 2017, I put together a short-ish film of the proceedings, capturing some of the best moments of the three days. It was a trill remarkable event: it wasn’t just the 117 wineries and the lovely New Zealand Pinot Noirs they poured, but instead there was a narrative theme running [...]

A lovely meal at Burdock & Co, Vancouver

I’ve eaten in a few places over the last few days in Vancouver, but the highlight was a meal at the fabulous Burdock & Co. It’s a small, intimate place with a menu based on sharing-style plates made from good local ingredients, with a brilliant wine list that’s compact, but offers real diversity, stocked with [...]

Canadian Wine at Vancouver winefest: Ontario Pinot Noir

This session at the Vancouver wine festival focused on Pinot Noir from Ontario. ‘It’s a difficult place to grow Pinot,’ says John Szabo, who led the session. ‘There are realities to growing Pinot Noir. It is expensive to grow and it doesn’t always work out well.’

Altogether there are 17 000 acres of vines in Ontario, [...]