Interesting Marlborough: meeting the Vandals

The three Vandals

Vandal is a micronegociant project based in Marlborough, New Zealand. It began in the 2016 vintage, and it’s a collaboration between three local winemakers who all had kids, and who wanted to get out of the house more. They’d all been making Sauvignon Blanc since they were young, and now wanted to […]

Interesting Marlborough: Clos Henri

Clos Henri is the Marlborough outpost of the Bourgeois family of Sancerre. They first came to New Zealand in 1999 and decided they wanted to make wine here, but rather than take on an existing project they wanted a blank canvas. Their focus was to be Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, just as in their […]

Prophet's Rock Vin de Paille

This wine deserves a mention, even if few will get to try it. It’s the first vintage of Prophet’s Rock new Vin de Paille, a ‘straw wine’ made from Pinot Gris grapes dried on racks in the vineyard barn for 45 days, and then whole bunch pressed. The resulting concentrated must is fermented using wild […]

Interesting Marlborough: Framingham

Framingham is one of the most interesting of Marlborough’s wineries, but they tend to fly under the radar a bit. They are best known for their Rieslings – winemaker Dr Andrew Hedley is a complete Riesling freak – but their other wines are serious, too. Indeed, Riesling is only about 8% of the volume here. […]

A case of 2015 reds from the Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Each year, the Gimblett Gravels association – a group in charge of a special terroir in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand – makes a selection of 12 top reds. This is the 2015 edition, the latest, and it was selected by Andrew Caillard MW. These are my notes on the wines. Some I was really impressed with; […]

The Hermit Ram Pinot Noir Whole Bunch 2017 North Canterbury, New Zealand

I’ve talked about the wines of Theo Coles here before on this blog. His brand is The Hermit Ram (although he also works on other projects), and the other night at Scotch we had this: the latest release of his Pinot Noir. I see that I scored the 2016 the same, but this 2017 may […]

Air New Zealand lounge wine round up

I’m in the lounge at Auckland airport heading to Hong Kong and then Thailand. Flight delayed by a few hours, so time to try all the lounge wines. Airlines don’t have much money to spend on lounge wines because passengers chug a lot of wine while they are waiting, so it’s always interesting to see […]

Dinner at Roots, Lyttelton: one of New Zealand's great foodie destinations

While we were down in Christchurch, it was great to be able to visit Roots in Lyttelton. It’s a much-talked about New Zealand foodie destination and the only restaurant outside Auckland to be awarded three hats by Cuisine (and one of only eight to hit this level). There’s no menu: you just get fed. It’s […]

A lovely evening at Scotch Bar, Blenheim

I’d been in Blenheim for three days before another big night at Scotch, the epic wine bar in town where it’s easy to rack up quite a spectacular bill if you start attacking the amazing wine list there. This was Wednesday night’s haul with a great crew.

These wines were all lovely. The Mount Edward Gamay […]

Takaki Okada's after-vintage hangi

I landed in New Zealand just in time to catch Takaki Okada’s (Folium Vineyard) after-vintage hangi. For the last few years Takaki has hosted this event. A hangi is a traditional Māori way of cooking, and it involves burying the food in a pit after lighting a fire. A few hours later, the hangi is […]