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 [...]

A great game of rugby followed by some wine

Took older son along to Twickenham today for his first England international. It was against the mighty All Blacks (that’s the New Zealand team for the benefit of those who don’t follow sport at all, in which case this may not prove to be your favourite ever blog post of mine), so I was expecting to [...]

A delicious German Pinot Noir

There are some things that I like more the older I get. I tweeted yesterday about how much I a growing to like white Rhone varieties such as Marsanne, Grenache Gris and Blanc, and Viognier. I also find that I’m appreciated Champagne more. And also Pinot Noir, which is a bit of an addiction.

Here’s a [...]

Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2011, a five-star Pinot from South Africa

A couple of days ago I blogged on South African Pinot Noir, with a film interviewing some key winegrowers. Well here’s the wine that prompted me to make that film. I tracked down a bottle in London, having already tasted it at the Green Tie party at Cape Wine. It’s superb. Five star quality.

Newton Johnson [...]

Video: Pinot Noir in South Africa - an emerging story

This is the first of three films I made at Cape Wine, each focusing on individual varieties with a story to tell. It’s about Pinot Noir. South African Pinot used to be fairly poor, with one or two noteworthy exceptions. Now there’s a buzz about it, and there are a critical mass of interesting Pinots [...]