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 [...]

Negociants Lunch with Armagh, Contours, Nautilus Pinot and others

I’ve kind of got out of the habit of lunching well. You know: old school wine trade lunches where you leave your desk before noon and write off the rest of the day. So it was nice to have a chance to lunch properly, and in good company, at 8 Hoxton Square with Negociants. Their [...]

Bell Hill, one of New Zealand's finest producers

I just love the wines of Bell Hill, a boutique winery in Waikari, North Canterbury, New Zealand (not far from the Waipara Valley). I visited seven years ago on my first trip to New Zealand, and was blown away by the wines and the vineyard. So I was really pleased to catch up with owners Marcel [...]

Gamay focus, 9 - Te Mata Gamay Noir 2014 Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Continuing the Gamay quest, we are off to New Zealand. There are just 7.3 hectares of Gamay Noir in New Zealand. And the producer who has led the way with his variety so far has been Te Mata, in Hawke’s Bay. This is their Gamay, and it’s pretty good. [The other famous example from Kiwi [...]

Sam Harrop Cedalion Chardonnay 2013 Waiheke Island, New Zealand

So, Sam Harrop’s new wine has just been released. It’s a Chardonnay from Waiheke Island, near Auckland, and it’s superb.

As many of you know, Sam is a buddy of mine (although, as you can imagine with most of my relationships, I probably like him more than he likes me). We have written a book together [...]

The 2013 Craggy Range Prestige wines: Le Sol, Sophia and Aroha

These are three remarkable wines. Craggy Range are very excited about the 2013 vintage in these two regions, and on tasting these wines it’s easy to show why. ‘In 2013 we felt it was the first time we had really seen the true potential of our great estates in Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough,’ says winemaker [...]