Two Hermit Rams: distinctive, natural Pinot Noirs from North Canterbury

Theo Coles makes the wines of Kalex, in Central Otago. But he also has his own brand, Hermit Ram, which is based in North Canterbury. These two Pinot Noirs are both quite different, but are equally compelling.

The first comes from a tiny (1200 vine) close-planted (7000 vines/ha) vineyard in the Waipara Valley. It’s on a […]

Interesting Marlborough: exploring Gewurztraminer with Spy Valley

Paul Bourgeois, Spy Valley

Spy Valley is a medium-sized winery in Marlborough terms, with 250 hectares of vineyards spread over four sites. The home site is in the Waihopai Valley, and when Bryan and Jan Johnson first began their winery, they were pioneers here, planting most of the vineyard in 1993 and then doing some […]

Air New Zealand's Fine Wines of New Zealand tasting

This tasting highlighted some of the Air New Zealand Fine Wines of New Zealand Fine Wines of New Zealand. This selection is intended to recognize New Zealand’s benchmark fine wines, and is sponsored by Air New Zealand. The wines are chosen by a group of six: Alastair Maling, Michael Brajkovich, Sam Harrop, Simon Nash and […]

Some nice wines at the Southern Pinot workshop

At each of the dinners at the Southern Pinot workshop in Hanmer, participants are encouraged to bring wines to dinner. This is a fun exercise, because there is no coordination, and winemakers tend to be curious, generous folk who accumulate interesting bottles and then enjoy drinking them with other winemakers. I didn’t take any notes, […]

Adding appellations: developing new GIs and why conjunctive labelling is important

I’ve been involved in quite a few discussions of late about developing new appellations (technically, geographic indications [GIs]) in new world countries, particularly New Zealand.

Currently, New Zealand only has regional GIs: Marlborough, Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay and so on. Within each of these regions there are unofficial sub-regions, but these are not officially defined. So […]

Ata Rangi McCrone Pinot Noir 2006

Ata Rangi is rightly considered to be one of New Zealand’s top Pinot Noir producers. This is a special cuvée that they make from a small portion of the vineyard behind the winery, and the special feature of this plot is that there’s 800 mm of clay above the gravels. This is the debut vintage […]

Interesting Marlborough: Corofin, with Mike Paterson

Mike Paterson, Corofin, in the Settlement Vineyard

Mike Paterson used to be the winemaker at Jackson Estate, but now he’s making his own wines, along with his wife Anna, under the Corofin label. The idea behind Corofin is to make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from privileged vineyards in the Southern Valleys of Marlborough, and to […]

Interesting Marlborough: the Pioneer Block wines from Saint Clair

Back in 1978, in the early days of Marlborough, Neal and Judy Ibbotson planted grapes, and began supplying Montana. Fast forward 16 years and they decided to launch their own winery, Saint Clair, which they began in 1994. The enlisted Matt Thomson to help with winemaking, and he remained consultant winemaker until last year.

Saint Clair […]

Pink bubbles: Cloudy Bay and Gentle Folk

Two bottles of pink fizz that went down well. The Cloudy Bay was a real surprise: encountered on a couple of occasions and really delicious.

Gentle Folk ‘Pink Fizz’ Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pet Nat 2016 Adelaide Hills. Australia
Powerful and funky. Cloudy pale pink with tangy apple, cherry and raspberry, and some spicy phenolic notes. There’s some […]

Interesting Marlborough: Fromm, single-vineyard pioneers

Fromm is an important winery for Marlborough, because they were one of the first to champion single vineyards in the region. They are also unusual in that in a white wine-dominated area, their focus is on reds. But they have had to cave into export demand by making a Sauvignon that’s fairly typically Marlborough in […]