Dinner at Arbour with lovely wines: Felton Road, Vieux Telegraphe, Kumeu River and Quartz Reef

Arbour is widely regarded to be the best fine dining option in the Marlborough region. I visited with friends yesterday evening and we had a really good time. The kitchen here is currently on a roll. We chose the ‘feed me’ option on the menu: you choose 3, 4 or 7 courses and the kitchen […]

A top Canadian Chardonnay: Bachelder Wismer Foxcroft 2013

Thomas Bachelder is one of the leading producers in Canada’s Niagara region, and he’s doing very good things with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He also works in Burgundy and Oregon, which probably helps. He’s focusing on good vineyard sites, and to this end a few years back started dividing up his holdings in the Wismer […]

Crystallum: some of South Africa's most compelling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Crystallum is the wine label of Peter-Allan Finlayson (above), who set up in partnership with his brother (Andrew, a Hermanus-based architect) and his Dad (Peter, who was the first winemaker in Hemel-en-Arde with Hamilton Russel, and who for a long time now has been cellar master at Bouchard Finlayson).

Peter-Allan, though, is the main dude here, […]

Some lovely South African whites: Crystallum, Gabrielskloof, Momento, Thorne and Daughters

My first night in South Africa began well. I’m staying here 11 days, working vintage in the cellar at Gabrielskloof, a space shared by four of South Africa’s most interesting producers. It should be a fun time. In addition to Gabrielskloof, there’s Crystallum, Thorne and Daughters and Momento. Friday night was intern braai night, and […]

Interesting Marlborough: Corofin, with Mike Paterson

Mike Paterson, Corofin, in the Settlement Vineyard

Mike Paterson used to be the winemaker at Jackson Estate, but now he’s making his own wines, along with his wife Anna, under the Corofin label. The idea behind Corofin is to make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from privileged vineyards in the Southern Valleys of Marlborough, and to […]

Interesting Marlborough: Mahi, with Brian Bicknell

Brian Bicknell has made wine in the Marlborough region since 1989, so he knows the region pretty well. But he’s also had spells abroad, providing much needed context. Most significantly, he was chief winemaker at Viña Errazuriz in Chile until 1996, when he returned to the region to take the job as senior winemaker at […]

Burgundy 2016: the full line-up from Drouhin (47 wines)

In late November I popped over to Burgundy for a few days to taste the 2016 vintage in situ. One of the best tastings was at Maison Joseph Drouhin, both because of the quality of the wines but also the depth of the tasting: it was great to taste so many appellations side by side. […]

Two superb Kiwi Chardonnays: Black Estate Home and Tony Bish Golden Egg

Just been for a short break in Akaroa, and tried a couple of very nice Chardonnays. One was from Tony Bish, long-time Hawke’s Bay winemaker with Sacred Hill who has begun making wines under his own label – and this one is fermented and matured in concrete eggs. The second is from Black Estate in […]

Highlights from Norman Hardie: some of Canada's best wines yet

Tasting with Norman Hardie

I’ve written extensively about Norman Hardie’s wines before. But on this recent trip I tried some of his wines that astonished me, and are really next-level. These have to be among Canada’s best ever, and are peers of great Burgundies.

Norman Hardie Cuvée Dix Chardonnay 2014 Niagara, Canada
In magnum, under cork. This […]

Video: in Elgin for the Chardonnay Colloquium

Here’s a film from my recent visit to South Africa’s Egin wine region for the Chardonnay Colloquium: