Comparing New Zealand and Ontario Pinot Noirs

Yesterday I took part in a really interesting event in Toronto. It brought together 12 Ontario Pinot Noirs with 12 New Zealand Pinots in a blind tasting, and I was one of the three session leaders, along with John Szabo (who coordinated the tasting) and Cameron Douglas. We had different winemakers on our panel as […]

Sauvignon Blanc: comparing good examples from the Loire and New Zealand

 

Awareness days. There are just so many of them. Sauvignon Blanc Day is 3rd of May. Whatever you think about these awareness days for grape varieties, this was an excuse to hold – somewhat in advance – a unique tasting that brought together two big players in the Sauvignon game: New Zealand and the Loire. […]

Two Kiwi Chardonnays: Elephant Hill and Corofin

New Zealand is famous for Sauvignon, famous for Pinot Noir, but not yet famous enough for Chardonnay. Well, at least that’s what I think. It’s a grape variety capable of greatness in some parts of the country, and – more specifically, some parts of some parts of the country. This week I’ve tried two good […]

Central Otago (14) Domain Road

The home vineyard, Domain Road

Graeme and Gillian Crosbie were, like many Dunedin residents, drawn to Central Otago for summer sunshine. ‘Everyone came to Central Otago for their summer,’ says Graeme, who made his money as a property developer, ‘so we’ve had a house here since 1987. All our adult lives we’ve been interested by […]

Central Otago (13) Akarua

Akarua’s terraced 25 Steps vineyard in Lowborn: one of the most instantly recognisable vineyards in the region

Akarua is an important producer for Central Otago. In a region of small outfits, they are a reasonable size, and of late have been on a vineyard-buying spree. With winemaker Andrew Keenleyside (who fairly recently took over from […]

Central Otago (12) Domaine Rewa

Philippa and Yannick Fourbet

In a privileged site in the Lowburn subdistrict of Central Otago, Domaine Rewa – a small biodynamic vineyard – is turning out some very smart wines. And there’s a great story behind it, too.

Back in 2010, Philippa Shepherd (now Fourbet, but we’ll get to that later) was working for Deutsche Bank […]

Central Otago (11) Rockburn

The Gibbston vineyard

Dick Dunton, a heart surgeon from Dunedin, began what is now Rockburn when he planted a small vineyard in Lake Hayes back in 1991. He expanded this the following year by planting 10 hectares in Gibbston, and the winery was named Lake Hays. The core vineyard, 33 hectares in Pisa (called Parkburn) […]

The First Date natural wine bar pop-up at Cupple Coffee, Hastings, NZ

On Saturday night, travelling companions Mel Brown, David Brookes and I popped into a natural wine bar pop-up First Date at Cupple Coffee in Hastings, Hawkes Bay. This was billed as Hawke’s Bay’s first natural wine bar event, and so we were really keen to check it out.

Food was from Restaurant Chimera, who are Auckland […]

Central Otago (9) Grasshopper Rock

It’s five years since I last visited Grasshopper Rock (see the full profile here), a small vineyard in the Alexandra district of Central Otago. Back in 2014 I commented that they were making some of the best value Pinots in the region. And they key to their success is that when Phil Handford and his […]

Central Otago (8) Chard Farm

With just a shade under 100 hectares of their own vineyards, Chard Farm are one of the larger players in the Central Otago region. Their beautifully situated home vineyard, at the end of a slightly terrifying 2 km track at the side of a gorge in Gibbston, is one of the prettiest I’ve seen, but […]