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 […]

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: a great dinner celebrating this variety at Tredwells

Chantelle Nicholson introduces the food, with some of the dishes

Last night I went to a brilliant dinner at Tredwells. Food by the talented Chantelle Nicholson was paired with a fabulous range of 12 Sauvignons from New Zealand, selected by Mel Brown of The New Zealand Cellar.

The great things about this selection is that explored […]

The wines of Te Pā, Marlborough, New Zealand

An aerial view showing the Wairau Bar, home to Te Pã

The MacDonald family were Maori farmers in the Wairau Bar area. Haysley MacDonald began planting grapes here in 2003, and were a major grower selling to large companies. But since 2011 they have been making their own wines, and production has grown as they’ve […]

Zephyr Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand

Ben Glover

I remember meeting Ben Glover years ago (in 2006), when he was working for Brent Marris at Wither Hills. This is where he established his reputation, and later he developed this as winemaker for Mud House. He left fairly recently and is now busy developing his family business, Zephyr.

The Glover family come from […]

Marlborough, where big can be good: Villa Maria

Villa Maria describe themselves as New Zealand’s most awarded winery. They became this through the clever strategy of making lots of small production high-end wines and then entering all the competitions. Back in 1962 founder George Fistonich entered a couple of his reds in the Royal Easter Show and won second and third prize, so […]