Central Otago (10) Rudi Bauer and Quartz Reef

Rudi Bauer, Quartz Reef

It was great to spend some time with one of the pioneering figures of Central Otago wine, Rudi Bauer. Fresh off the plane from the UK, I picked up a car, drove to Cromwell, checked into my accommodation and then spent four hours talking, tasting and walking through vineyards with him.

 

When […]

Meiomi Pinot Noir 2017: amazingly successful, but how good is it?

I’m in the Star Alliance lounge at LAX, having just showered, getting ready for another 12 h in the air. I check out the lounge wines. On offer, Meiomi Pinot Noir. This is a very successful brand. It is huge in the USA, yet virtually invisible in the UK.

The background is beautifully summarised here in […]

Central Otago (9) Grasshopper Rock

It’s five years since I last visited Grasshopper Rock (see the full profile here), a small vineyard in the Alexandra district of Central Otago. Back in 2014 I commented that they were making some of the best value Pinots in the region. And they key to their success is that when Phil Handford and his […]

Central Otago (8) Chard Farm

With just a shade under 100 hectares of their own vineyards, Chard Farm are one of the larger players in the Central Otago region. Their beautifully situated home vineyard, at the end of a slightly terrifying 2 km track at the side of a gorge in Gibbston, is one of the prettiest I’ve seen, but […]

Seven German Pinot Noirs

German Pinot Noir (known locally as Spätburgunder) can be quite wonderful, and of late seems to have been getting better. But Pinot is a tricky grape and it’s sensitive to terroir and yields, and results can be quite variable. I was sent these seven wines to try, all of which have retail representation in the […]

Three lovely Pinot Noirs from Franz Haas, Alto Adige, Italy

Franziskus Haas is the fifth generation to run his family’s winery, and here I got to try three of his Pinot Noirs, a variety he planted in the 1980s. Haas has some of the highest vineyards in the region, starting at 300 m and going up to about 850 m, and Pinot Noir, known as Pinot […]

Two superb Central Otago Pinot Noirs from Akitu

A relatively new arrival on the Central Otago Pinot circuit is Akitu. Andrew Donaldson planted this vineyard in Wanaka back in 2002 on old schist, and the wines are made at Maude under the watch of consultant winemaker PJ Charteris. First release was 2012. It’s solely a Pinot Noir project, and just two wines are made […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (5) Sileni and their Pinot Noirs

Cairn Coghill, winemaker, Sileni

It’s all change at Sileni, which has just been bought by New Zealand financial service company Booster. Booster have also recently purchased Waimea Estate (Nelson) and Bannockbrae (Central Otago), and have an investment in Awatere River. Sileni grew significantly over the last years and now make a lot of Marlborough Sauvignon. […]

Greystone Vineyard Ferment Pinot Noir 2016 Waipara Valley, New Zealand

Greystone’s Vineyard Ferment Pinot Noir 2016

This is the first release of this new wine from Greystone: the vineyard ferment Pinot Noir. They have been talking about their vineyard fermentations for a while: keen to make use of the wild yeast indigenous to their Waipara Valley vineyard, they’ve taken poly bins into the vineyard and […]

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 […]