Gantenbein Chardonnay 2014, a stunning wine from Switzerland

This was a real surprise. I was shopping for a bottle for dinner at Berry Bros & Rudd, and Gareth Birchley appears. So I ask for a tip: something serious, mind-blowing, budget £100. His recommendation was this Swiss Chardonnay, which is a remarkable wine.

Gantenbein is a small producer in eastern Switzerland, at the end of […]

Epic Pouilly-Fuissés from Domaine du Roc des Boutires

Domaine du Roc des Boutires is a new discovery for me. This is high-end Pouilly-Fuissé, and the vineyards, which total 4.2 hecatres, are ideally situated in the shadow of Roche du Solutre. The domaine was purchased in 2017 by the Parinet family of Château du Moulin-à-Vent, so these wines pre-date the acquisition. But they are […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (3) Ash Ridge

In 2000, Chris Wilcock bought a peach orchard in the Bridge Pa district of Hawke’s Bay. At the time, he was working as a banker (he had spells in Switzerland, Singapore and Australia), and initially he didn’t put any vineyards in. Then in 2005 he decided to plant 8 of the 9 hectares, and two […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (1) Tony Bish and the Urban Winery

Tony Bish made his reputation as winemaker for Sacred Hill in Hawke’s Bay. While he remains a consultant and a shareholder in the company, his interests have moved away from the direction that Sacred Hill have taken (they now have a large focus on Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and crushed 7000 tons last vintage in the […]

Cape Wine (4) some more very exciting wines: Rall, Leeu Passant, Loggerenberg, Kanonkop, Badenhorst

Some more thrilling wines tasted at Cape Wine. For me, these are very high ratings indeed!

Leeu Passant Chardonnay 2016 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Andrea Mullineux is trying to make this Chardonnay in an older, saltier style. She describes the winemaking as ‘death and resurrection’, and she allows juice hyperoxidation with no sulfites present, and then allows the […]

A weekend of Chardonnay in Niagara: the i4C 2018 edition

Flights of Chardonnay, the Friday night event

I first came to Canada in 2013 for the i4C, the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Conference (here’s my blog post on it). My trip then was to make a lasting impression on me, and I have been back numerous times. This year I returned for the 2018 edition […]

Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 Adelaide Hills, Australia

Brian Croser is one of Australia’s most well known winemakers. Brian was a very influential consultant winemaker who started his own brand, Petaluma, back in 1976. This grew and was later purchased by Lion Nathan in 2001. After the loss of his own venture, he began a new project, Tapanappa, with its debut vintage 2003. […]

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, […]