Cambridge Road Syrah from Martinborough, New Zealand

From a small biodynamically managed vineyard in New Zealand’s Martinborough wine region, we have this, a supremely elegant and drinkable Syrah with the poise of a ripe Pinot Noir and more than a hint of the northern Rhone about it. It’s not cheap, but it’s quite brilliant.

Cambridge Road Syrah 2011 Martinborough, New Zealand
Ripe, smooth, complex [...]

Two lovely whites from M&S: Ferricrete Sauvignon and Earth's End Riesling

Two lovely white wines, cool climate, new world.

Paul Cluver Ferricrete Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Elgin, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. Very bright and focused with subtle green herbs, lemons and grapefruit characters. Sophisticated, pure and linear with bright minerality. 91/100 (£11.99 Marks & Spencer)

Earth’s End Riesling 2013 Central Otago, New Zealand
12.5% alcohol. Made by Riesling experts Mount [...]

Yealands Estate Pinot Gris, a convincing aromatic from New Zealand

Back in January I visited the mind-boggling Yealands Estate, a vineyard the size of an entire appellation in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley. They’re making some nice wines, including this very Alsatian Pinot Gris. It’s worth the RRP of £12.99, but remarkably Morrison’s Cellar have it for just £6.09 at the moment. I bought a six pack [...]

Framingham's F-Series TBA, one of the world's great Rieslings

I had a lot of fun at yesterday’s Great Riesling tasting in London. There were so many good wines. But of all, perhaps my favourite (of many lovely wines) was a Kiwi Riesling from Framingham. And, the irony is, that because this is 6.5% alcohol, the EU won’t allow it to be imported, which is [...]

Four lovely wines - Weinbach, Zidarich, Puzelat and Valli

On my first night in Canada a group of friends gathered to share some nice wines. I think they deserve a write-up, although – as usual – notes and scores do little to capture the specialness of wines shared with good people.

Weinbach Cuvee St Catherine Riesling Schlossberg Grand Cru 2009 Alsace, France
Taut, almost spicy and [...]

A perfect day of football and wine

So it was off to Selhurst Park yesterday, the home of Crystal Palace FC. They were playing ‘my’ team, Manchester City, and I’d been kindly invited along by Palace co-chairman Stephen Browett, who is also head of Farr Vintners.

This was a crucial game. We’re coming to the end of the premiership season, and City [...]

Cambridge Road Pinot Noir 2011 Martinborough, New Zealand

This is a wine I like a lot. It’s from a small 5.5 acre (3 hectare) vineyard on the Martinborough terrace originally planted in 1986, and previously known as the Fraser block. It’s managed biodynamically, and in addition to the Pinots made here, there’s also a lovely Syrah and a delicious Syrah/Pinot Noir blend called [...]

Marlborough: boom, bust, and boom again

Boom and bust. Then boom again. That has been the recent story of Marlborough. The commercial success of Marlborough Sauvignon led to a massive increase in plantings throughout the late 1990s and noughties. The rate of growth was phenomenal. Then the boom turned to bust in 2008, with a large vintage of questionable quality, coupled [...]

In Marlborough, day 3, my last in New Zealand

The last day of my New Zealand trip turned out to be a very good one. It began at Te Whare Ra, a small 11 hectare vineyard planted in 1979, and run since 2003 by Anna and Jason Flowerday.

It was a lovely visit: they are doing great work in the vineyard, and it is paying [...]

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 [...]