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: 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 […]

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 […]

Interesting Marlborough: Mahi, with Brian Bicknell

Brian Bicknell has made wine in the Marlborough region since 1989, so he knows the region pretty well. But he’s also had spells abroad, providing much needed context. Most significantly, he was chief winemaker at Viña Errazuriz in Chile until 1996, when he returned to the region to take the job as senior winemaker at […]

Burgundy 2016: a great tasting at Faiveley

The new red wine cellar at Faiveley

Domaine Faiveley, located in Nuits-Saint-George, are one of the big players in Burgundy. We visited with Erwan Faively, who took charge of the domaine in 2005. When he took over there were two changes that he wanted to make. First, the top wines of Faiveley had a reputation for […]

Novum, an exciting new producer from Marlborough

Will Hoare, Novum

Scratch below the surface and there’s lots of interesting stuff going on in Marlborough. Here’s an example. Will and Rachel Hoare have just launched their new label, Novum, which focuses on Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made from interesting sites in Marlborough. Will was previously general manager at Fromm, but he was […]

Recently drunk: five impressive Kiwi Pinots

While I’m here in New Zealand, as well as tasting wine I’m making an effort to drink some too. The challenge for writers and critics is to be relevant to readers. Most readers open a bottle of wine and drink it. They don’t line up 60-100 bottles in bags and then taste and spit small […]

The wines of Folium, Marlborough, with Takaki Okada

While I’ve been in Marlborough, one of my goals has been to dig a bit deeper under the skin of this, New Zealand’s largest wine region, to find the interesting stories. One of my first stops was a visit with Takaki Okada, who’s making some lovely wines that are a bit different.

Takaki Okada in […]

Some Kiwi Pinot: Seresin, Astrolabe, Saint Clair, The Elder

I’ve been drinking a fair bit of Kiwi Pinot Noir of late. Here are a few notes of good bottles consumed.

The Elder Pinot Noir 2014 Martinborough, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Supple with lush, textured sweet black cherry fruit and some plum and damson notes. It’s leaning towards richness but also has a nice grainy, stony undercurrent. […]

Highlights from Norman Hardie: some of Canada's best wines yet

Tasting with Norman Hardie

I’ve written extensively about Norman Hardie’s wines before. But on this recent trip I tried some of his wines that astonished me, and are really next-level. These have to be among Canada’s best ever, and are peers of great Burgundies.

Norman Hardie Cuvée Dix Chardonnay 2014 Niagara, Canada
In magnum, under cork. This […]