A couple from Greywacke

Kevin Judd’s Greywacke wines are up there with the best from Marlborough, now New Zealand’s biggest wine region, and one that’s beginning to show a number of talents – not just Sauvignon Blanc. These wines just look so good, too, with the labels featuring his creative photography.

Greywacke Pinot Noir 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely sweet black [...]

Pinot Noir 2013: video and some thoughts in retrospect

Amid excessive travel and a few tight deadlines, I have steadily been writing up my notes from the Pinot Noir 2013 conference in Wellington, New Zealand this January. Over the three days, I diligently tasted a lot of Kiwi Pinot Noirs, and I’ll be publishing my notes in full.

This is a useful exercise, although having [...]

Great lunchtime wines: Kumeu River and Raymond Lafon

Didn’t want  to waste some fine white Burgundy samples that I opened, so headed over to brother-in-law Beavington’s house for some Sunday lunch today en famille. More on the Burgundies later, but for now I wanted to write about two wines he opened.

The first is Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2010 Auckland, New Zealand. Beavington [...]

Three lovely wines: Burgundy, Martinborough and Tasmania

It was a beautiful pre-spring day today in London. I was doing some staff wine training for Hakkasan, the brilliant Chinese-inspired restaurant chain with two London outposts. The first session was on ‘smooth reds’, and among the tasting wines were these three beauties.

Domaine Daniel Rion Nuits St Georges Les Hauts Pruliers 1er Cru 2006 Burgundy
This [...]

Sam Neill's keynote at Pinot Noir 2013

The second keynote at the recent Pinot Noir 2013 conference was given by actor Sam Neill, who has a vineyard – Two Paddocks – in Central Otago. This was a beautifully delivered bit of stand-up comedy.

Neill begins by showing a video of him standing in his vineyard behind a table laden with bunches of a [...]

Lunch wines: Dog Point, Boillot, Talbot

Popped into my sister’s for a quick lunch today, picking up our boys who had been staying over while we were at a wedding. Ended up being served three very good wines.

First of all, Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2012. This is the second time I’ve had this wine, and I don’t think there are many [...]

In Auckland with Kumeu River

The final visit of my New Zealand adventure was at Kumeu River, a family-run estate a short drive from Auckland. This is close to where the New Zealand wine industry began in earnest, in west Auckland.

Milan and Michael Brajkovich in Maté’s vineyard

The Brajkovich family moved to New Zealand from Croatia, and the current property was bought [...]

What the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra tells us about terroir

On Friday night I went to a strange but enjoyable concert.

Neudorf Vineyards in Nelson were hosting a gig by the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.

There were quite a few members of this odd ensemble. I counted 9, of which 8 were armed with ukuleles and one with a double bass. Pretty much all of them all [...]

In Martinborough, with Palliser, Ata Rangi and Craggy Range

Three visits in Martinborough, on a Sunday where I could have been playing cricket. An English touring side with connections to the wine trade were playing a Kiwi side, and I’d been asked. But I’m conscientious, so I denied the English my slow-medium in-duckers in favour of my schedule, only to find that two of [...]

Making sense of Matt Kramer, Pinot Noir 2013 keynote

Pinot Noir kicked off with two contrasting keynote speeches, the first of which was delivered by Matt Kramer of the US publication The Wine Spectator, and author of a string of books whose titles frequently begin with ‘making sense of…’.

Kramer’s delivery is polished and engaging. He begins by talking about Burgundy, the ‘mother house’. ‘It [...]