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 […]

New releases from Kutch: truly elegant Californian Pinot Noir

The new releases from Jamie Kutch are out. You can read more about him here: he’s making particularly elegant expressions of Pinot Noir from northern California, and also a lovely Chardonnay.

Kutch Chardonnay 2016 Sonoma Coast, California
12.5% alcohol. Beautiful stuff, combining sweet ripe pear and apple fruit with some lively grapefruit freshness, and also a subtly […]

Video: in Elgin for the Chardonnay Colloquium

Here’s a film from my recent visit to South Africa’s Egin wine region for the Chardonnay Colloquium:

Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium: Elgin versus the rest of the world, a blind tasting

This was very interesting: as part of the Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium, we did a blind tasting with 21 different wines, pitching Elgin’s finest against some international benchmarks. Michael Fridjhon and I tasted blind, too, and gave our comments on each wine before revealing their identity. These are my notes and scores as written blind, and […]

Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium: tasting 16 Chardonnays from 2016

This weekend is the second instalment of the Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium, and as part of yesterday’s proceedings, we tried 16 different wines from the 2016 vintage. This is a warmer, drier vintage than 2015, with slightly uneven fruit set. But despite this, the results were pretty good, as these wines showed. Elgin Chardonnay is in […]