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 […]

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 […]

Wild Air Sauvignon Blanc: one of South Africa's finest

I was really impressed by this South African Sauvignon. Available in the UK from agent Indigo Wines: retail is c £20 and stockists include The Sampler, Highbury Vintners. Vincognito, Handford and Honest Grapes.

Wild Air Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. Collaboration between Ben Henshaw of Indigo Wine and Hannes Storm. Grapes are from […]

Loire adventure: in Sancerre with Joseph Mellot

Sancerre

We drove from Paris for just over two hours to the beautiful town of Sancerre, looking gorgeous in the May sunshine. Our visit here was with Joseph Mellot, a relatively large producer making wine in each of the Central Loire appellations. Mellot has over 100 hectares of vines, with significant holdings in Sancerre (57 […]

Exploring Sauvignon Blanc

As part of a session at the Jackson Family Wines internal conference that I’ve been attending this week, we had a big discussion about Sauvignon Blanc. This included a tasting of an array of different Sauvignons, exploring a range of styles. Sauvignon is a really interesting grape variety but it has a bit of an […]

The world's flintiest vineyard?

I have seen a lot of vineyards in my relatively short career, but this one was one of the most remarkable. Flint on flint.

Sébastien Redde

Back in 2009, Domaine Michel Redde (Thierry and his two sons Sébastien and Romain), decided that they wanted to produce a remarkable vineyard. In their region, Pouilly-Fumé, silex (flint) is […]

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough

Off to New Zealand on Wednesday, so in preparation I thought it would be good to drink some Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. 2016 was a good vintage in the region, with both quality and quantity, and the Sauvignons I’ve tasted so far from this harvest have been very correct and delicious, with ripe, appealing flavours and more […]

Natural wines from Haywire, Okanagan Valley, Canada

I’ve been impressed by the wines from Haywire in the Okanagan Valley, in Canada’s BC. Based at the Okanagan Crushpad, where their team also makes wine for other people, they have been pioneers of interesting, geeky natural wines in a region that has often played it a little safe, as many emerging wine regions do. […]

Folium: interesting dry-grown wines from New Zealand's Marlborough region

Takaki Okada came to New Zealand’s Marlborough region in 2003, and began working with Clos Henri. In 2010, he bought an 8.5 hectare vineyard that had been established by Fromm in the Brancott Valley. He began making his own wines.

Marlborough is quite dry (growing season averages around 340 ml of rain, with 640 ml the […]

Two lovely biodynamic Sauvignon Blancs: Waterkloof and Churton

Opened this pair. One from South Africa and one from New Zealand. Both biodynamic. Both pretty compelling, and perhaps not what you’d immediately expect from Sauvignon Blanc. This is a variety that can be serious, but doesn’t have to be. It’s almost as if, though, that by putting Sauvignon Blanc on the bottle, you are […]