Adventures on New Zealand's West Coast

I’ve always been fascinated by what I’ve heard about New Zealand’s South Island’s West Coast. People have told me that it is incredibly beautiful, remote and sparsely populated, and also incredibly wet. I think that these factors may be related. Rainfall here is measured in metres, as the moist air from the ocean deposits its [...]

A couple from Hawke's Bay: Craggy Range and Sacred Hill

These impressed the other evening.

Craggy Range Te Kahu 2014 Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. 68% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc. This is beautifully fresh and focused with sweet blackcurrant fruit together with some black cherries and plums. There’s lovely balance: it’s ripe, but really well balanced with good acidity. [...]

Three lovely Hawke's Bay Chardonnays

Hawke’s Bay is becoming quite well known for its Chardonnay. It’s a grape that New Zealand hasn’t really owned in the same way as it has for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but there are some really stylish Kiwi Chardonnays out there. I enjoyed these three quite a bit.

Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2014 Hawke’s Bay, New [...]

New releases from Neudorf, Nelson, New Zealand

Just tried a lovely set of new releases from leading Nelson winery Neudorf.

Neudorf Rosie’s Block Chardonnay 2016 Nelson, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. This has lovely richness, but because it’s combined with a zippy freshness, it’s not overblown. Fine spicy notes complement the ripe tangerine, lemon and pear fruit, with some mealy depth and there’s nice weight [...]

Pet Nat focus (1) Kindeli La Lechuza

I’m beginning a series on Pet Nats! This is an interesting style of wine that’s becoming more popular. Also known as Methode Ancestrale, Pet Nat stands for Pétillant Naturel, and refers to sparkling wines that are bottled while there is still some sugar, and they complete fermentation in the bottle, making them naturally sparkling. This [...]

Some new release Pinots from Seresin

Biodynamic producer Seresin are one of the most interesting in Marlborough. Winemaker Clive Dougall is thoughtful and produces a range of wines that’s quite distinctive, and not typically Marlborough in style (in the best way). I always find the Pinot Noirs really interesting: they have savoury detail to them, and aren’t just about upfront fruit. [...]

Prophet's Rock Pinot Noir Cuvée Aux Antipodes 2015, a brilliant New Zealand/Burgundy collaboration

Francois Millet and Paul Pujol

Back in February, I had a chance to try this collaboration between Paul Pujol of Prophet’s Rock and François Millet of Comte de Vogüé in Burgundy when I was sitting next to Francois at the Mornington Peninsula Pinot Celebration. I didn’t get to take a note, so I was glad [...]

Mr Glover Wilde Vineyards Agent Field Blend 2016

I tried this with its creator, Ben Glover (previously of Accolade, now focusing on family business Zephyr and other projects), in Scotch Bar in Blenheim a few weeks ago. I’d just been speaking at a biodynamic and organic conference and I’d urged New Zealand producers to take a few more risks and make the odd [...]

A couple of lovely Kiwi Pinots: Ma Maison and Yealands

Continuing my journey into the wonders of Kiwi Pinot, here are two lovely bottles recently consumed. The first was new to me. The second, Yealands, wasn’t a surprise: I always like these wines, and they are underpriced.

Ma Maison Cuvée Two Richards Pinot Noir 2014 Martinborough, New Zealand
14.5% alcohol. A blend of equal parts Abel, 667 [...]

Gamay 31, Easthope Family Winegrowers 2015 Hawke's Bay

There’s not a lot of Gamay in New Zealand, but it seems to have some promise here. The most well known example is the soild Te Mata Gamay, but there are two excellent examples from Central Otago, too (Mount Edward and Rippon). This is the latest one I’ve come across, made by Rod Easthope (formerly [...]