In NZ, day 5, Marlborough - Huia, Astrolabe and Matua

Chickens at Huia

The drive from the Waipara to Blenheim is an attractive one. Alas we faced grey skies and a bit of drizzle, but it was still very interesting. There’s something special about the New Zealand landscape. Sadly, there were no baby seals at the Ohau falls near Kaikora, but this is the wrong time of [...]

Two nice Chardonnays: Seresin and Lafon Mâcon

Two Chardonnays tonight. Both quite lovely. My vote goes to the beautiful biodynamic Chardonnay from Seresin, but the Lafon is nice too.

Seresin Chardonnay Reserve 2010 Marlborough, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. Wild yeast, 20% new oak. There’s a richness here, with a bit of mealiness and some spice, as well as lovely complex citrus fruits. Lovely tension [...]

Craggy Range Avery Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Very impressed by this. It’s the Craggy Range Avery Vineyard Sauvignon, and it’s a very stylish, refined expression of the Marlborough style. It’s from a mature (22 year old) vineyard planted on stony soils between Blenheim and Renwick (in the Rapaura subregion), and it’s a relatively warm site.

Craggy Range Avery Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Marlborough, [...]

Great New Zealand Pinot Noir, from Yealands and Greystone

Nik Mavromatis of Greystone

I’m at Prowein. It’s a huge trade fair, with 50 000 attendees from around the world. The scale of this fair is daunting. It is the first time I’ve attended:I’d been scared off by its size in the past. Once you get past the frustrations of having 50 000 people swelling [...]

Amazed by the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc

I am quite amazed by how good the 2014 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc is. You’ll probably be amazed by how amazed I was, so from the outset, I’ll answer some questions that some of you may be thinking.

This was a bottle bought off the shelf last week in Tesco (it was just £6.99, so I thought [...]

Yealands Estate Pinot Gris, a convincing aromatic from New Zealand

Back in January I visited the mind-boggling Yealands Estate, a vineyard the size of an entire appellation in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley. They’re making some nice wines, including this very Alsatian Pinot Gris. It’s worth the RRP of £12.99, but remarkably Morrison’s Cellar have it for just £6.09 at the moment. I bought a six pack [...]

Framingham's F-Series TBA, one of the world's great Rieslings

I had a lot of fun at yesterday’s Great Riesling tasting in London. There were so many good wines. But of all, perhaps my favourite (of many lovely wines) was a Kiwi Riesling from Framingham. And, the irony is, that because this is 6.5% alcohol, the EU won’t allow it to be imported, which is [...]

Marlborough: boom, bust, and boom again

Boom and bust. Then boom again. That has been the recent story of Marlborough. The commercial success of Marlborough Sauvignon led to a massive increase in plantings throughout the late 1990s and noughties. The rate of growth was phenomenal. Then the boom turned to bust in 2008, with a large vintage of questionable quality, coupled [...]

Two impressive Sauvignons: Bordeaux and Marlborough

I know that it’s not all that cool, but I really love Sauvignon Blanc. Here are two good ones: an oaked Bordeaux example (which is actually a blend with Semillon and a touch of Muscadelle), and a slightly atypical Marlborough Sauvignon.

Clos Floridene 2012 Graves, Bordeaux, France
13% alcohol. A blend of half Sauvignon Blanc with Semillon [...]

In Marlborough, day 3, my last in New Zealand

The last day of my New Zealand trip turned out to be a very good one. It began at Te Whare Ra, a small 11 hectare vineyard planted in 1979, and run since 2003 by Anna and Jason Flowerday.

It was a lovely visit: they are doing great work in the vineyard, and it is paying [...]