From the road in South Africa: Delaire Graff and 96 Winery Road

I’m on my way home from a brief trip to South Africa to judge a Chenin Blanc competition. I spent just two nights here, although because of the overnight flights this translated into the best part of four days on the ground. Both nights were spent at the fabulous Delaire Graff estate, in one of [...]

Cambridge Road Syrah from Martinborough, New Zealand

From a small biodynamically managed vineyard in New Zealand’s Martinborough wine region, we have this, a supremely elegant and drinkable Syrah with the poise of a ripe Pinot Noir and more than a hint of the northern Rhone about it. It’s not cheap, but it’s quite brilliant.

Cambridge Road Syrah 2011 Martinborough, New Zealand
Ripe, smooth, complex [...]

Domaine Camp Galhan 'Les Pérassières' 2012 - a brilliant, affordable Rhone red

This is a really super wine, made from a lesser known IGP on the edge of the Cevennes, not far from Avignon and Nimes. One of the best value reds I have had of late.

Domaine Camp Galhan ‘Les Pérassières’ 2012 Vin de Pays Duché d’Uzès, Rhone, France
13.5% alcohol. A blend of fresh cherry [...]

A perfect day of football and wine

So it was off to Selhurst Park yesterday, the home of Crystal Palace FC. They were playing ‘my’ team, Manchester City, and I’d been kindly invited along by Palace co-chairman Stephen Browett, who is also head of Farr Vintners.

This was a crucial game. We’re coming to the end of the premiership season, and City [...]

Mother's Milk Shiraz

I do like the First Drop wines with their creative branding. This Barossa Shiraz, called ‘Mother’s Milk’, is really good. It’s properly Barossa, with ripe fruit it’s key signature, but it’s combined with freshness and definition. The end result is delicious and drinkable, but with a hint of seriousness, even though it is made for [...]

Casa Marin Miramar Vineyard Syrah, Chilean elegance

This is quite a remarkable wine. It’s also quite challenging, with really bold, edgy flavours. But brave winemaking like this – and, in particular, the decision to pick early, has to be rewarded. I reckon it’s one of Chile’s most interesting Syrahs, up there with the likes of Matetic and Vina Leyda – which, incidentally, [...]

New Kiwi wines from Rod Easthope

I first met Rod Easthope when he was winemaker at Craggy Range, based in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, back in 2008. I met him again in 2010 at the Hawkes Bay Syrah symposium, when he gave a deeply impressive talk on Kiwi Syrah. And then again, I met him in Wellington in January this year, [...]

Lunch with Pol, Cloudy, Lapierre, Jamet, Clair and Bachelet

Popped round for lunch at brother-in-law Beavington’s pad yesterday, which usually means that between us we’ll have something decent to drink. (In the process, I also very nobly assist him with his cellar over-stock issues.) All the wines showed really well yesterday.

Champagne Pol Roger NV France
This is showing really well: toast, peach and nuts, together [...]

Aeternitas, a new Syrah from South Africa

Johan Grimbeek is the winemaker at South African winery Kanu. Through top restaurateur Bertus Basson, I managed to get my hands of a bottle of his home brew – it goes under the label of Aeternitas, and it’s a Syrah from a single vineyard in Stellenbosch, aged half in new oak. It’s a ripe, warm [...]

De Bortoli Shiraz Viognier 2004, the benefits of cellaring

There’s something to be said for buying a few bottles of the same wine, then cellaring them, and revisiting them at intervals. It’s tremendously rewarding if the wine ages well.

This wine is an example of where I have done this. I can find notes on the same wine back in 2007, when it was three years [...]