Some nice wines with dinner at RN74, San Francisco

So I am in San Francisco, a lovely place to spend a few days. I’m here for the In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB) conference on Monday here in the city. [You'll be able to watch the seminars live on their website.]

Last night, after I arrived, I headed off for dinner at RN74 with IPOB organizer [...]

In Madrid for the ML Wines competition

So I find myself in Madrid. It’s a little chillier than London, which caught me out a bit. But it is a nice place to spend a few days. I am here to act as one of the judges for the ML Wines competition. It’s the third time I’ve judged this: we assess red [...]

A second day in Marlborough, New Zealand

So day 2 in New Zealand’s most important wine region. Lots to be done, beginning with a regional tasting held at Spy Valley, a winery located in the lower Waihopai Valley. There was a range of wines: some excellent, and some reminding us that Marlborough can achieve mediocrity quite easily in the wrong hands.

Paul [...]

In New Zealand, day 6, the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury

It was hard to leave Queenstown. After an epic few days, I was very tired, so on Monday morning I sat outside, had a bowl of teriyaki noodles and drank a diet coke, before heading to the airport to fly to Christchurch. It was time for the summer of Riesling to begin.

We started off, though, [...]

In New Zealand, and the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration bows out in style

So I’m having such a fun and intense time here in New Zealand, I’m finding it hard to blog every day. But here goes. Sunday saw the final day of the Pinot Noir celebration and it began with a grand Burgundy tasting, chaired by Nick Mills of Rippon, with celebrity guest Aubert de Villane of [...]

In New Zealand day 4, celebrating Central Otago Pinot Noir with enthusiasm

Day 4 of my visit was a long, enjoyable one. We began with a drive out to the lovely Northburn station, just out of Cromwell. This was to be the setting for the grand tasting of Central Otago Pinot Noir, with 40 wineries showing two wines each: current release plus an older bottle. This [...]

In New Zealand, day 1, Queenstown, Gibbston Valley and Chard Farm

I arrived in Queenstown late Tuesday morning, and I wasn’t feeling too bad. The flight down from Auckland was a beautiful one: you need to get a window seat on the left of the plane (which I did), and then you enjoy superb views of the alps and the fabulous descent into Queenstown airport.

I checked [...]

On my way to New Zealand, some random observations from LAX

So I am on my way to New Zealand. Almost half way there, actually, sitting at the gate in LAX after 10 hours in the air, about to board the second leg of the flight. At 0329 UK time here are my slightly random, and probably vastly boring observations.

1. Air New Zealand is a pretty good [...]

At the Feria Vinos de Lujo, Santiago

Last night I headed over to the Grand Hyatt in Santiago for a remarkable wine festival. It was fortunate that of the two nights I was in town, one should coincide with this event. Organized by Patricio Tapia, It wasn’t cheap at 42000 Pesos (around £50), but there was an amazing array of Chilean wines [...]

In Santiago, day 2, sunshine and lighter style wines

A cork oak (above) 

So this morning was a conference on lighter-style lower alcohol wines here in Santiago, for the Chilean wine industry. I was one of the speakers. This is a growing category that looks set to get quite big. Only today New Zealand Wine Growers announced a seven-year project researching lighter-style wines with NZ$17 [...]