Tasting Eyrie, Oregon's Pinot pioneer, with Jason Lett

Jason Lett

This week while I was in McMinnville I had a chance to taste through the Eyrie range with Jason Lett. Back in the mid-1960s Jason’s dad, David, planted the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley, Oregon (there’s a bit of history, including pictures of the original plantings, here). Jason has [...]

New Zealand Pinot Gris, a masterclass

Dom Maxwell (Greystone, above left) and Emma Jenkins (above right) presented this masterclass on Pinot Gris from New Zealand. It’s a grape that has been neglected by wine geeks. This is because it is so often a grape used to please the masses, fashioning inoffensive Pinot Grigio-style wines with little personality. In New Zealand, it [...]

Mac Forbes EB18 'P3' Pinot Gris/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier 2015

Mac Forbes is a bit of a legend. He’s been a pioneer of lighter, lower alcohol, naturally made wines from the Yarra Valley. As well as his regular wines, he makes small quantities of ‘EB’ (experimental batch) wines. This is one of those, and just 3000 bottles were made. It’s three Pinots together: Noir, Gris [...]

Underwood: Oregon wine in a can

Underwood wines come in 375 ml cans. It’s striking packaging. I was curious, so I bought a pair to try, for $5.99 each from World Foods in Portland, Oregon. They are made by Union Wine Company. They have the admirable goal of demystifying wine and making affordable, decent wine available so everyone can enjoy it, [...]

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 [...]

Two lovely volcanic wines from the Cotes d'Auvergne

Cave St Verny make some lovely wines, from the Côtes d’Auvergne, a really interesting but obscure wine region pretty much in the middle of France, which is counted as part of the Loire. It’s based around a volcano,  Puy de Dôme, at the edge of the Massif Central, which makes for some interesting terroirs. The [...]

Holly's Garden Pinot Gris 2013, a Victorian gem

Neil Prentice’s Holly’s Garden wines are made from biodynamically tended vines grown in Whitlands, Victoria, at 750 m altitude. Normally, the prospect of drinking Australian Pinot Gris doesn’t thrill me, but this wine is different. Neil showed his commitment to it by planting 6 hectares, which along with 4 hectares of Pinot Noir constitutes his [...]

Yealands Estate Pinot Gris, a convincing aromatic from New Zealand

Back in January I visited the mind-boggling Yealands Estate, a vineyard the size of an entire appellation in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley. They’re making some nice wines, including this very Alsatian Pinot Gris. It’s worth the RRP of £12.99, but remarkably Morrison’s Cellar have it for just £6.09 at the moment. I bought a six pack [...]

Eyrie Original Vines Pinot Gris, and a synaesthetic label

This is a remarkable wine on two counts. First of all, it’s a superb Pinot Gris, made without the use of any sulfites. Secondly, the label, which is synaesthetic. Winegrower Jason Lett has painted the wine. That is, he has represented the flavour of the wine visually in a painting that forms the label. In [...]

A convincing Portuguese Pinot Noir, but will it get approval from the authorities?

A while back I reported on a visit to Portuguese winery Quinta de Sant’ana in the Lisboa region. I was particularly impressed by their Pinot Noir, which showed lovely elegance and varietal character.

Now it’s in bottle, and looking really good. However, they’ve run into problems with the authorities, who think the wine is too light. [...]