Some highlights from the New California tasting

Yesterday’s New California tasting, organized by Roberson, was remarkable. So many great wines, with the hallmark being detail, sense of place and balance – traits not always associated with Californian wine. Jon Bonne, who has authored a brilliant book on the subject (The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a [...]

Zind 2010, a lovely Chardonnay-based wine from Alsace

I love Zind Humbrecht’s wines, as you can see from this write-up of the 2010s when I visited Olivier Humbrecht at his winery.

One of the more unusual of the bottlings here is Zind, which is a blend of 70% Chardonnay with 30% Auxerrois from the 2 hectare Clos Windsbuhl vineyard with its calcareous soils. It’s [...]

Two superb Chardonnays, Yarra and Burgundy

I was presented with these two wines blind by my brother-in-law Beavington. It was a fascinating challenge: both were clearly serious expressions of Chardonnay (we share an appreciation for great Chardonnay). But where were they from? I was in and out of Burgundy, Victoria (Australia) and New Zealand a few times. Subtle cues led me [...]

Great value for money Chilean Chardonnay from De Martino

I’m really impressed by De Martino’s high end wines, which for Chile show an unusual (and welcome) sense of adventure. But I was also taken by this wine, an inexpensive Chardonnay with a lot of personality. For the price, it’s hard to beat.

De Martino Legado Chardonnay Reserva 2011 Limari Valley, Chile
Lovely pear and peach fruit [...]

Kershaw, a brilliant new South African Chardonnay

It has been a year of debuts in South Africa. First, the remarkable wines from Duncan Savage, and now this – Richard Kershaw MWs first solo venture, a Chardonnay from Elgin. It’s truly fabulous. Up there with South Africa’s best.

It mentions the geeky term ‘clone’ on the label: this is because Richard’s a firm [...]

A lovely South African Chardonnay, and a top Champagne

I have been judging wines at Tranche 1 of the International Wine Challenge this week. The idea is, for the first time, to split judging into two sessions: the customary April two weeks, plus an additional week in November. This helps with southern and northern hemisphere wineries releasing wines at different times.

But I wanted to [...]

Canada's finest? Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Norman Hardie

On my recent trip to Canada, one of my favourite experiences (of many good ones) was visiting Norman Hardie in Prince Edward County. He’s making some brilliant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and so I was delighted to find out that The Wine Society are bringing in a couple of his wines. They’ve chosen very well: [...]

Impressive new wines from Tasmania's Tolpuddle Vineyard

Very excited to be able to try these two new wines. They are a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay from Tasmania’s Tolpuddle vineyard, and represent the first vintage to be released under the new owners, Shaw & Smith.

In 2011 Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith bought the 20 hectare vineyard, which had been planted in [...]

Two super Australian Chardonnays: Oakridge and Yalumba

Australian Chardonnay is probably the wine style that has changed most in the last decade. The best examples are totally brilliant, and while I still have a nostalgic fondness for the big bad-assed rich examples of the past, the new super-lean Chardonnays with their mineral tension are just so good. Aussie Chardonnay went on a [...]

Canada, the final day

Hidden Bench

While it is still fresh in my mind, I must finish my series of Canadian-themed blog posts by summing up the final day. Actually, this post encompasses Saturday and Sunday morning, which more or less merged into one, in an exhausting but fun fashion.

Let me begin with the lunch at Hidden Bench winery, on the Beamsville [...]