New Zealand, day 3, in Nelson with Neudorf

Judy and Tim Finn, Nelson pioneers, who established Neudorf in 1978

I worked out that since November 2008, my first visit to New Zealand, I have visited five times in five years. That’s a significant accrual of air miles. But over the course of these visits, I’d never visited Nelson, so as I picked up [...]

In New Zealand, day 1, Central Otago

It was hard to get my head round the contrast. One day I’m shivering in a snowy, dark-skied London. The next, I’m sitting on an internal flight crossing the dividing range in New Zealand’s South Island, looking down at dramatic snow-capped peaks in laser-sharp light on my way to Queenstown, Central Otago.

I very nearly missed [...]

Dinner at Bistrot Le Cuisinier, Blois (Loire)

I’m currently in the Loire for a quick visit to give a talk about the science of Sauvignon, with my buddy Sam Harrop who for the last few years has been involved in a very interesting Sauvignon project with InterLoire.

Last night we had a lovely dinner at Bistrot Le Cuisinier, in the pretty town of [...]

Visiting Weinbach and Hugel, and lunch with Bott-Geyl

Catherine Faller of Weinbach

Day 2 in Alsace was a busy one, beginning with an appointment at Weinbach. The Fallers – Colette and her daughters Catherine and Laurence – have developed an enviable reputation for this estate, which was a monastery until the French Revolution.

Grand Cru Schlossberg

It was acquired by Catherine’s grandfather in 1898, [...]

Fun in Singapore, with dinner at Immigrants and lots of nice wine

Gavin and YiXin

So I arrived in Singapore late afternoon and headed out of the airport to meet with YiXin, Jules, Gavin and Hsien Min, eager partners in crime when it comes to food and wine. We began at YiXin and Jules’ place, with a few wines along with a very nice piece of Comte.

Marc [...]

Cape Wine, day 1

Gary Jordan, Claudia Brown and Francois Haasbroek

So I arrived with a jolly bunch of UK journalists in Cape Town, on a cold and rainy day. We’re all on slightly different itineraries here, so some of us headed off for Sunday afternoon at Ernie Els’ place in Stellenbosch, where a bunch of Stellenbosch winemakers had gathered [...]

A night out in Vilafranca with nice wine and beer

This weekend Vilafranca comes alive with the Vijazz festival. It’s basically a street party combining jazz and wine. Over 30 Penedes wine producers are taking part, and there are two music stages, one in the main square and a slightly larger one in a more enclosed square in front of the large church.

Some good acts [...]

Some research work at Torres, Spain

With Marimar Torres

I’ve been visiting Torres today, one of Spain’s strongest wine brands, making not only very good commercial wines, but also some fairly serious high end wines, too.

I spent some time with the boss, Miguel Torres, and also with Marimar Torres who is based in the USA and runs Marimar Estate, in Sonoma, [...]

Zind Humbrecht and Albert Boxler

Two star Alsace producers visited this morning. One famous (deservedly so), the other less high profile but making some of the region’s best wines.

First up, Domaine Zind Humbrecht in Turckheim. It’s a relatively large, modern, yet unassuming winery in the middle of the flat Herrenweg vineyard on the outskirts of Turckheim. We met with Olivier [...]

A day in the Alsace vineyards

Looking to the Schlossberg vineyard

Today has been fabulous. I’m lucky to be travelling with some excellent companions: David Williams, Susy Atkins, Hamish Anderson and Emma Wellings. They are unlucky to be lumped with me.

We set off early for the impossibly beautiful village of Kientzheim, where Domaine Paul Blanck is located. I’m told that by [...]