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 […]

Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux, with Charles Lachaux, one of Burgundy's rising stars

Charles Lachaux is just 29, but he’s got the responsibility of running the family domaine, Arnoux-Lachaux (previously known as Robert Arnoux), with 14 hectares of vines spread across some of Burgundy’s top sites. On Thursday I met him at the offices of his importer, Corney & Barrow, to taste through the 2016s, followed by a […]

Dinner at Arbour with lovely wines: Felton Road, Vieux Telegraphe, Kumeu River and Quartz Reef

Arbour is widely regarded to be the best fine dining option in the Marlborough region. I visited with friends yesterday evening and we had a really good time. The kitchen here is currently on a roll. We chose the ‘feed me’ option on the menu: you choose 3, 4 or 7 courses and the kitchen […]

Crystallum: some of South Africa's most compelling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Crystallum is the wine label of Peter-Allan Finlayson (above), who set up in partnership with his brother (Andrew, a Hermanus-based architect) and his Dad (Peter, who was the first winemaker in Hemel-en-Arde with Hamilton Russel, and who for a long time now has been cellar master at Bouchard Finlayson).

Peter-Allan, though, is the main dude here, […]

Winemaking at Gabrielskloof: pressing Chenin Blanc and sorting Pinot Noir

My first day in the cellar at Gabrielskloof was a busy one. This cellar is shared by Peter-Allan Finlayson (who makes Crystallum wines, and also Gabrielskloof, his wife Nicolene’s family winery), John Seccombe (Thorne and Daughters), and Marelise Niemann (Momento), and this means there’s plenty going on.

The day started with some pressing of Chenin Blanc. […]

Can outsiders help Central Otago Pinot Noir discover itself? A seminar with Ted Lemon, PJ Charteris and François Millet

Paul Pujol, Chair of Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration 2018

One of the highlights of the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration was a seminar focusing on how outside experience with Pinot has had an influence on the region. ‘This room is full of winemakers, most of who are from somewhere else!’ began celebration chair, Paul […]