Libiamo Amphora Chenin Blanc 2017 Gisborne, New Zealand

This is quite special. It’s an amphora-fermented Chenin Blanc with a dash of Marsanne, that’s on its skins for 222 days, and then pressed and bottled unfiltered with minimal SO2 added. It’s made by Millton in Gisborne, the biodynamic pioneers of New Zealand. This is the third bottle of this wine I’ve drunk, so it’s […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (4) Collaboration Wines

Julianne Brogden is only 40, but she’s already been making wines for 23 years now. She’s Hawke’s Bay born and bred, and worked briefly in the region, before heading out on vinous travel.

Julianne Brogden, Collaboration Wines

She ended up spending 8 years in the Napa Valley, California, where she initially worked a vintage at Havens […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (3) Ash Ridge

In 2000, Chris Wilcock bought a peach orchard in the Bridge Pa district of Hawke’s Bay. At the time, he was working as a banker (he had spells in Switzerland, Singapore and Australia), and initially he didn’t put any vineyards in. Then in 2005 he decided to plant 8 of the 9 hectares, and two […]

Hawke's Bay New Zealand (2) Ant Mackenzie, Craft Farm

Ant Mackenzie, Craft Farm

Ant Mackenzie has been a winemaker for other people for his whole career, but of late he’s begun making wines under his own name. His first winemaking job was at Framingham in Marlborough, and then he moved to Spy Valley, and his final stint in Marlborough was as group winemaker for […]

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 […]

New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards, the dinner

Last night was the dinner for the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards. The judges and associates gathered to eat well and drink some interesting booze. The senior judges had been tasked with sourcing interesting wines which were then poured blind. Wine of the night for me was the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2006 […]

Greystone Vineyard Ferment Pinot Noir 2016 Waipara Valley, New Zealand

Greystone’s Vineyard Ferment Pinot Noir 2016

This is the first release of this new wine from Greystone: the vineyard ferment Pinot Noir. They have been talking about their vineyard fermentations for a while: keen to make use of the wild yeast indigenous to their Waipara Valley vineyard, they’ve taken poly bins into the vineyard and […]

Golden Bay: Pupu springs, the source of the Riwaka and the Wainui Falls

I just spent a weekend in Golden Bay, which is part of the Abel Tasman region at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. Here’s a short film of the highlights:

 

It’s a beautiful part of the country, and at this time of year it’s relatively uncrowded. There were three elements that really stood out.

The first […]

A pruning masterclass: cane-pruning Sauvignon in Marlborough

The Awatere: time to prune

This morning Mike Eaton kindly took me out to a vineyard he’s working with in the Awatere Valley (Marlborough, New Zealand) to give a quick pruning masterclass.

Here’s the film – it’s quite long at 14 minutes, but it goes into detail about some of the decision-making process in pruning a vineyard.

In […]

New releases from Black Estate, North Canterbury, New Zealand

I’ve been following the wines of Black Estate for a while now, with interest. They farm organically and make wines in a lo-fi sort of way. This is interesting New Zealand, and these latest releases are really impressive.

Black Estate Home Chardonnay Young Vines 2017 North Canterbury, New Zealand
12.5% alcohol. 1 hectare block, 6172 vines/ha, sedimentary […]