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 [...]

Lunch at Arbutus with Marimar Torres

Had lunch today with Marimar Torres and her daughter Cristina at Arbutus, in Soho. It was my first visit to Arbutus, and I loved the food, although the dining room is noisy and quite basic. The food is serious, and much better than the environment. I had warm, crisp pig’s head with potato puree and [...]

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 [...]

Pinot Noirs from Torii Mor, Oregon

I visited Oregon back in 2008, and one of the wineries I had a look at was Torii Mor. Bid For Wine have managed to secure a stash of these small production Pinot Noirs which they are offering through their website. I got to try them and my notes are here. These are particularly balanced [...]

The new California: dinner with Kutch and Sandhi

On Monday night I had dinner with two very interesting Californian producers: Rajat Parr of Sandhi Wines, and Jamie Kutch of Kutch wines. It was hosted by Roberson Wine (www.robersonwine.com) who import these wines into the UK, at the impressive Bar Boulud.

This are the new faces of California: wines of natural balance and complexity.

Rajat Parr [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

New Zealand, day 2, Pegasus Bay in the Waipara

Ivan Donaldson

There’s a great story behind Waipara winery Pegasus Bay, which was the second visit of my New Zealand tour.

Back in 1976, Christchurch neurologist Ivan Donaldson had caught the wine bug, and with some of his medical friends planted a 1 acre vineyard in a cold spot on the outskirts of the city. He [...]

In New Zealand, day 1, Central Otago

It was hard to get my head round the contrast. One day I’m shivering in a snowy, dark-skied London. The next, I’m sitting on an internal flight crossing the dividing range in New Zealand’s South Island, looking down at dramatic snow-capped peaks in laser-sharp light on my way to Queenstown, Central Otago.

I very nearly missed [...]

A brilliant Pinot Noir from the Auvergne

This is, dear readers, the best sub-£10 wine I have consumed this year. It’s a Pinot Noir from the southern Loire region of the Auvergne, which is a story in itself (I hope to visit next year), and it has been unearthed by the talented Richard Kelley MW of ABS Wine Agencies. It comes from [...]