Central Otago (13) Akarua

Akarua’s terraced 25 Steps vineyard in Lowborn: one of the most instantly recognisable vineyards in the region

Akarua is an important producer for Central Otago. In a region of small outfits, they are a reasonable size, and of late have been on a vineyard-buying spree. With winemaker Andrew Keenleyside (who fairly recently took over from […]

Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2013

I was excited to try this new 2013 Blanc de Blancs from leading English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber, because it is the first vintage to feature wine from their Hampshire vineyards (30%), which have chalk soils (in addition to the Sussex greensand vineyards they began with, which make up 70% of the blend).

The Chardonnay grapes […]

Vineyards of Hampshire tasting: some of England's best sparkling wines on show

Last week, the vineyards of Hampshire held a tasting showcasing some of the top sparkling wines from this county. Of course, Hampshire is, as a county, a political boundary and doesn’t recognise specific soils or climates, but it does have within its boundaries some very good places for growing wine grapes, and quite a bit […]

Champagne Pommery's English sparkling wine

This is the first English sparkling wine launched by a Champagne producer. It’s the result of a partnership between Champagne Pommery and Hampshire-based winery Hattingley Valley. The wine is named Louis Pommery, which is Pommery’s new brand for its non-Champagne sparklers, which now also include a Californian wine. The Pommery chef de cave Theirry Gasco […]

Prosecco Wars: should the Aussies be able to use the name?

There’s an excellent article in the Financial Review by Max Allen discussing whether or not Australian winemakers should be able to use the name Prosecco.

It used to be common for new world countries to label their wines by style, after the famous European wine regions. There’d be Burgundy, Claret and Champagne, usually made from completely […]

Raventós i Blanc Textures de Pedra Blanc de Negres 2013

This is a single vineyard wine from Raventós i Blanc. It’s Cava, but labelled as Conca del Rui Anoia because they were disappointed by the quality standards of most Cava producers. This wine is from Vinya Més Alta, which sits at the top of Turó del Serral, the hill on the 90 hecatare estate vineyard. […]

Benjamin Bridge Brut 2012 Nova Scotia, Canada

I’ve written before about the sparkling wines from Nova Scotia producer Benjamin Bridge, which I like a great deal. The climate here is cool but moderated by the Bay of Fundy, with the world’s largest tides (16 metres!), and it enables grapes to reach full flavour ripeness but with high acidity and moderate potential alcohol, […]

Video: an epic tasting of 93 of South Africa's top sparkling wines

To most Brits, MCC refers to the Marylebone Cricket Club and it’s an abbreviation synonymous with this most complex and beguiling of sports (one of the many that we Brits invented – we have a talent for this!). But to wine nuts who’ve taken more than a passing interest in what’s taking place in South […]

Pink bubbles: Cloudy Bay and Gentle Folk

Two bottles of pink fizz that went down well. The Cloudy Bay was a real surprise: encountered on a couple of occasions and really delicious.

Gentle Folk ‘Pink Fizz’ Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pet Nat 2016 Adelaide Hills. Australia
Powerful and funky. Cloudy pale pink with tangy apple, cherry and raspberry, and some spicy phenolic notes. There’s some […]

The wines of Ricci Curbastro, Franciacorta, Italy

Riccardo Ricci Curbastro

As a fan of sparkling wines, I was pleased to get the chance to meet Riccardo Ricci Curbastro and taste through his wines, at a masterclass hosted by Vini Italiani in South Kensington.

The Ricci Curbastro family have been growing grapes in Franciacorta since the 14th century, but sparkling Franciacorta as we now […]