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 [...]

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 [...]