The Ruinart Lighthouse: a tasting of Champagne and Chardonnay with Frédéric Panaïotis

Yesterday I visited the Ruinart Lighthouse, which is an exhibition and tasting being held at the Violin Factory near London’s South Bank. The focus of the three-storey exhibition space is on Chardonnay, with various exhibits and art works beautifully displayed.

The Lighthouse is open to consumers and tickets are still available for the next two days [...]

In New Zealand, day 1: Wanaka, Central Otago - Maude and Rippon

I’m back in Central Otago, for my fourth visit. I’m slowly beginning to understand a little about this remarkable wine region, and yesterday saw a lovely set of visits to four different producers, all of whom are doing something quite special. I’ll write the day up in two batches, beginning with a morning in Wanaka.

L.A.S. Vino: alternative wines from Margaret River

Caught up with this pair yesterday at the Liberty tasting. Strikingly labelled, they are interesting wines from Margaret River.  LAS Vino (LAS standing for luck, art and science) is the label of Nic Peterkin, who has quite a few good wine genes. His father is Mike Peterkin of Pierro fame and his mother is Shelley [...]

Two nice Chardonnays: Seresin and Lafon Mâcon

Two Chardonnays tonight. Both quite lovely. My vote goes to the beautiful biodynamic Chardonnay from Seresin, but the Lafon is nice too.

Seresin Chardonnay Reserve 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. Wild yeast, 20% new oak. There’s a richness here, with a bit of mealiness and some spice, as well as lovely complex citrus fruits. Lovely tension [...]

Pearl Morissette Chardonnay 2012 Niagara, Canada

This is interesting. It’s a Chardonnay from Canada’s Niagara wine region, made by the talented and slightly controversial Francois Morissette of Pearl Morissette. I’ve reviewed his wines in the past here. He is a thoughtful winegrower who works quite naturally, and has come unstuck with tasting panels for VQA status where the tasters don’t seem [...]

Penfolds' Chardonnays, from Koonunga Hill to Yattarna

Penfolds are famous for their Bin Series reds, a range led by the world famous Grange. But back in the mid-1990s they decided to try their hand at whites, and chose Chardonnay as their target. Yattarna was launched as the white Grange, but the project also launched a number of other impressive Chardonnays. These were [...]

Two Burgundies I liked: Jobard and Bichot

Gotta love Burgundy. Here are two rather nice ones that aren’t stupidly expensive, but which are delicious.

Antoine Jobard Bourgogne Blanc 2011 Burgundy, France
Wonderful stuff: lovely matchstick and citrus nose leads to a palate showing mineral, tangy citrus fruit with hints of cabbage and tangerine. It’s zippy and complex with an amazing vitality. Complex and precise [...]

In South Africa, day 2, Roberston

I woke up on Sunday early but excited. A few lucky people, including me, had been invited to Robertson by three producers: Graham Beck, Springfield and De Wetshof. And we were to fly there on a small plane (a Beechcraft – from looking on the website, I’m pretty sure this was a King Air 350). [...]

Bergström Old Stones Chardonnay 2012, class from Oregon

I recently reviewed the wines from Josh Bergström, an Oregon producer who’s made a shift in style over the years from big to balanced. It’s a transition that many producers are making in the new world, while alas it seems that some in the old world are still going the other way, picking later and ending [...]

The new Las Pizarras wines from Errazuriz: high end, terroir-driven Pinot and Chardonnay from coastal Aconcagua

Francisco Baettig, of Errazuriz, is a thoughtful, insightful winemaker. Like many Chilean winemakers, he has been thinking quite a bit about how to make his wines fresher and more interesting, and these two new wines are the latest stage in this journey.

His boss, Eduardo Chadwick wanted him to produce two new icon wines, but Francisco [...]