Another serious South African

This is a really superb Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. It’s beautifully put together with seamless structure and real purity of fruit. If I have one criticism of it, however, it is that it lacks a little soul – made very much in the international, placeless modern style, it delivers a great deal of pleasure [...]

Two Bordeaux-style reds from New Zealand

As regular readers know, I’m a bit taken by New Zealand’s top reds at the moment. Here are two more good-uns, both from the wonderful Gimblett Gravels terroir.

Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2006 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Sweet, fresh plum and blackberry fruit nose with a gravelly, tarry edge. The palate shows sweet, [...]

Two classy Spanish reds

I’m painfully aware that while I’ve focused in-depth on Portugal, I’ve  neglected Spain. I’m sorry about that. In an attempt to begin to redress this balance, here are two rather classy high-end Spanish reds, in rather different styles.

Numanthia Toro 2007 Spain
From ungrafted old vineyards of 50 years and older. 14.5% alcohol. Dense with sweet, ripe [...]

Penfolds Koonunga Hill revived - retro delights

Penfolds have revived their Koonunga Hill label by releasing two new wines in retro packaging. Back in 1976, the Koonunga Hill red was first released. It was cheap, but surprisingly serious, and able to develop over many years.

During the dark years when Penfolds lost their way a bit, the Koonunga Hill brand lost some quality, [...]