In New Zealand: Oz Clarke's remarkable paean to Sauvignon Blanc

So, the Sauvignon Blanc conference. Two and a half days focusing on this grape, which New Zealand has made its own. Talks and tastings; dinners and parties. And welcoming Blenheim (above), shy at first, but then opening up to receive a few hundred guests and locals. Two establishments in particular deserve mention: Ritual, for its [...]

In NZ, day 5, Marlborough - Huia, Astrolabe and Matua

Chickens at Huia

The drive from the Waipara to Blenheim is an attractive one. Alas we faced grey skies and a bit of drizzle, but it was still very interesting. There’s something special about the New Zealand landscape. Sadly, there were no baby seals at the Ohau falls near Kaikora, but this is the wrong time of [...]

In NZ, day 4 - Waikari, North Canterbury, with Pyramid Valley and Bell Hill

Mike Weersing

The fourth day. By this stage, jet lag has dissipated and I’m fully into the itinerary. So I started the day with a quick run, had some poached eggs, and hit the road. The destination? The Waikari region of North Canterbury, which is home to two of New Zealand’s top producers: Pyramid Valley [...]

In NZ, Day 3 Waipara Valley with Alan McCorkindale and Black Estate

After a morning drive up from Waitaki, we headed into Christchurch to meet up with Alan McCorkindale and his partner Mary in the city. Alan was one of the pioneers of the Waipara Valley. He was a winemaker for Corbans, and moved down to Waipara for Corban’s first harvest here in 1988. (You can read [...]

In NZ day 2, Ostler, Waitaki Valley

After leaving Central Otago, we drove to a wine region that I’d never visited before. It’s New Zealand’s newest and probably smallest wine region, the Waitaki Valley. A few years ago, people were getting very excited about Waitaki, largely because of the promise of limestone soils and a cool climate. Some of that excitement has [...]

In NZ, day 2: Prophets Rock, Central Otago

Day 2 of this short visit to Central Otago began with Paul Pujol at Prophets Rock. This was an amazing visit. I’ve met Paul and tasted his wines a number of times, and this – my first time in the vineyard – confirmed to me that this is one of Central Otago’s top 2 or [...]

New Zealand, day 1: Burn Cottage and Two Paddocks, Central Otago

Two more visits on the first day in Central Otago. Burn Cottage is an interesting project. It was started by American Marquis (pronounced Marcus) Sauvage, and he hired a stellar team of Ted Lemon (consultant) and Claire Mulholland (winemaker) to oversee it. It’s a 27 hectare property with 10.2 hectares of vines, on the border [...]

In New Zealand, day 1: Wanaka, Central Otago - Maude and Rippon

I’m back in Central Otago, for my fourth visit. I’m slowly beginning to understand a little about this remarkable wine region, and yesterday saw a lovely set of visits to four different producers, all of whom are doing something quite special. I’ll write the day up in two batches, beginning with a morning in Wanaka.

Brancott Estate Chosen Rows 2013, and a recap on the 2010

Brancott Estate’s Chosen Rows Sauvignon Blanc is the result of their desire to make a high-end Sauvignon. I’ve been following this since its inception. Back in 2009, then chief winemaker with Montana (which is now Brancott) Jeff Clarke came to London to present a tasting of high-end Sauvignons from around the world, and to tell [...]

Two nice Chardonnays: Seresin and Lafon Mâcon

Two Chardonnays tonight. Both quite lovely. My vote goes to the beautiful biodynamic Chardonnay from Seresin, but the Lafon is nice too.

Seresin Chardonnay Reserve 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. Wild yeast, 20% new oak. There’s a richness here, with a bit of mealiness and some spice, as well as lovely complex citrus fruits. Lovely tension [...]