Gantenbein Chardonnay 2014, a stunning wine from Switzerland

This was a real surprise. I was shopping for a bottle for dinner at Berry Bros & Rudd, and Gareth Birchley appears. So I ask for a tip: something serious, mind-blowing, budget £100. His recommendation was this Swiss Chardonnay, which is a remarkable wine.

Gantenbein is a small producer in eastern Switzerland, at the end of […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (1) Tony Bish and the Urban Winery

Tony Bish made his reputation as winemaker for Sacred Hill in Hawke’s Bay. While he remains a consultant and a shareholder in the company, his interests have moved away from the direction that Sacred Hill have taken (they now have a large focus on Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and crushed 7000 tons last vintage in the […]

A lovely evening at Scotch Bar, Blenheim

I’d been in Blenheim for three days before another big night at Scotch, the epic wine bar in town where it’s easy to rack up quite a spectacular bill if you start attacking the amazing wine list there. This was Wednesday night’s haul with a great crew.

These wines were all lovely. The Mount Edward Gamay […]

Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 Adelaide Hills, Australia

Brian Croser is one of Australia’s most well known winemakers. Brian was a very influential consultant winemaker who started his own brand, Petaluma, back in 1976. This grew and was later purchased by Lion Nathan in 2001. After the loss of his own venture, he began a new project, Tapanappa, with its debut vintage 2003. […]

Dinner at Arbour with lovely wines: Felton Road, Vieux Telegraphe, Kumeu River and Quartz Reef

Arbour is widely regarded to be the best fine dining option in the Marlborough region. I visited with friends yesterday evening and we had a really good time. The kitchen here is currently on a roll. We chose the ‘feed me’ option on the menu: you choose 3, 4 or 7 courses and the kitchen […]

A top Canadian Chardonnay: Bachelder Wismer Foxcroft 2013

Thomas Bachelder is one of the leading producers in Canada’s Niagara region, and he’s doing very good things with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He also works in Burgundy and Oregon, which probably helps. He’s focusing on good vineyard sites, and to this end a few years back started dividing up his holdings in the Wismer […]

Crystallum: some of South Africa's most compelling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Crystallum is the wine label of Peter-Allan Finlayson (above), who set up in partnership with his brother (Andrew, a Hermanus-based architect) and his Dad (Peter, who was the first winemaker in Hemel-en-Arde with Hamilton Russel, and who for a long time now has been cellar master at Bouchard Finlayson).

Peter-Allan, though, is the main dude here, […]

Burgundy 2016: a great tasting at Faiveley

The new red wine cellar at Faiveley

Domaine Faiveley, located in Nuits-Saint-George, are one of the big players in Burgundy. We visited with Erwan Faively, who took charge of the domaine in 2005. When he took over there were two changes that he wanted to make. First, the top wines of Faiveley had a reputation for […]

Two superb Kiwi Chardonnays: Black Estate Home and Tony Bish Golden Egg

Just been for a short break in Akaroa, and tried a couple of very nice Chardonnays. One was from Tony Bish, long-time Hawke’s Bay winemaker with Sacred Hill who has begun making wines under his own label – and this one is fermented and matured in concrete eggs. The second is from Black Estate in […]

Highlights from Norman Hardie: some of Canada's best wines yet

Tasting with Norman Hardie

I’ve written extensively about Norman Hardie’s wines before. But on this recent trip I tried some of his wines that astonished me, and are really next-level. These have to be among Canada’s best ever, and are peers of great Burgundies.

Norman Hardie Cuvée Dix Chardonnay 2014 Niagara, Canada
In magnum, under cork. This […]