Vintage at Norman Hardie (4)

Norman Hardie

I’m back from Canada, and already in South Africa. But I’m thinking back to those few days I spent at Norman Hardie, and all that I saw, absorbed and learned. It was a lovely time. A privilege to witness.

I followed Norm around like a puppy, watching what he was doing (and what he [...]

Norman Hardie Niagara Chardonnay 2013

So, I’m back today in the UK from spending time at harvest with Norman Hardie in Canada’s Prince Edward County. My sister and brother-in-law ask me where I’ve been. Do you have any of the wines? I find one: the 2013 Niagara Chardonnay. It’s just brilliant. It’s also lovely to be trying this wine in [...]

Vintage at Norman Hardie (3)

Over the course of four days of vintage, I was exposed to a number of the stages of making wine. I spent the second evening at the sorting table. Pinot Noir was coming in from two different vineyards, and our job was to work on the vibrating table which the grapes pass along on their [...]

Vintage at Norm Hardie's (2): making Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a big focus at Norman Hardie. In yesterdays’ post from vintage here, I described the way the grapes are received at the winery in plastic bins. If the fruit is in good condition, there’s no need to sort (the best sorting is done in the vineyard, picking only healthy fruit). Otherwise, they pass [...]

Video: making Pinot Noir at Norm Hardie's

Two short videos illustrating the red winemaking process here at Norm Hardie’s in Prince Edward County, Canada. This is Pinot Noir being processed. The first video shows the punching down of Pinot Noir ferments. The grapes are crushed into one-ton plastic bins. These are a nice scale to work at.

In the short clip, Norm is [...]

Harvest at Norm Hardie's (1)

Norman Hardie is one of Canada’s most celebrated winegrowers. Since his first vintage in 2004, his Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – elegant, light in alcohol and very old world in style – have caught the attention of the press both in Canada and also further afield. Norm is based in Prince Edward County in Ontario, [...]

In Nova Scotia, Canada, visiting the remarkable Benjamin Bridge sparkling winery

It was my first time in Nova Scotia. This is on the Atlantic coast of  Canada, and it’s the youngest of Canada’s cool climate wine regions. I was here to visit Benjamin Bridge, the sparkling wine producer that’s making waves, and has the reputation of being Canada’s finest sparkling winery.

I was travelling with three sommeliers [...]

The judgement of... How useful are comparative blind tastings?

It’s 40 years since Steven Spurrier’s famous Judgement of Paris (also a story in Greek Mythology). This was the tasting that is credited with opening the way for New World wines to stand as peers alongside the old world classics. Since then, this sort of format has been repeated in countries eager to show that [...]

In the Okanagan, BC, Canada: Laughing Stock and Bella

The last couple of visits in the Okanagan were really interesting. The first was at Laughing Stock Vineyards on the Naramata Bench. Cynthia and David Enns (above) were financial people who caught the wine bug, and they bought this property in 2003. They were the ninth vineyard on the Bench, and now there are 30. [...]

In the Similkameen Valley, BC, Canada

The Similkameen Valley is a peaceful yet dramatic place. Running parallel to the Okanagan, it lacks the lakes, but makes up scenery wise by being hemmed in moodily by mountains. It’s named after the Similkameen River that runs through it. The valley has an almost alpine feel, and I reckon this is one of the [...]