New Zealand Pinot Noir: top examples from North Canterbury and Martinborough

Continuing with my trawl through the exciting New Zealand Pinot scene, here are some of my favourite wines from North Canterbury (which includes Waipara, Waikiri and the Cheviot Hills) and Wellington Wine Country (the new name for the Wairarapa regions, which include Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton). Not all wines are rated here, and there are [...]

New Zealand Pinot Noir: some top examples from Marlborough

I’ve tasted a lot of New Zealand Pinot Noir over recent weeks. Here are some of my favourite picks from Marlborough. This is New Zealand’s largest wine region, and it has more Pinot Noir (2400 hectares) than any other region (Central Otago is second with 1500 hectares). The best sites are in the Southern Valleys [...]

New Zealand Pinot Gris, a masterclass

Dom Maxwell (Greystone, above left) and Emma Jenkins (above right) presented this masterclass on Pinot Gris from New Zealand. It’s a grape that has been neglected by wine geeks. This is because it is so often a grape used to please the masses, fashioning inoffensive Pinot Grigio-style wines with little personality. In New Zealand, it [...]

Forage North Canterbury, an amazing food and wine event, with a film

 

Where does our food come from? I was recently in the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury, to take part in a remarkable event called Forage. There’s a film of it (above). The genius of forage is that it connects wine and food and links them both firmly to place.

South Bay, Kaikoura

We arrived early at [...]

Some interesting alternative wines from the Waipara: Hermit Ram and Ekleipsis

Tried these interesting Waipara Valley wines over the last few days.

The Hermit Ram is made by Theo Coles, who also makes wines for Kalex in Central Otago and Mountford Estate in Waipara. He works quite naturally. These two are lovely.

The Hermit Ram Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand
This is a skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc. [...]

Video: flying in a Tiger Moth biplane over the Bridge Pa Triangle vineyards, Hawke's Bay, NZ

Yesterday was spent in the two main subdistricts of Hawke’s Bay. The afternoon was spent in the famous Gimblett Gravels, but the morning was in the Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District. This consists of more than 2000 hectares of vines on the western side of the Heretaunga plains, and it has existed in the shadow [...]

Bordeaux varieties and blends from New Zealand, with some benchmarks

The second part of the Classic Reds Symposium in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, looked at Bordeaux varieties and blends. There were 12 wines, served blind, and as well as the 9 New Zealand wines there were 3 benchmarks from other regions. We tasted and then discussed the wines once we knew what they were.

My impression [...]

New Zealand Syrah masterclass, with four imposters

Peter Cowley (Te Mata), Warren Gibson (Bilancia and Trinity Hill) and Steve Smith

These are my notes from the first tasting At the Hawke’s Bay Symposium on Classic Reds, held at Trinity Hill, Hawke’s Bay, 4 February 2017. This flight looked at New Zealand Syrah tasted blind, with four imposters from other cool Syrah regions [...]

The New Zealand Wine Flight, over four wine regions

Yesterday we had a great experience, courtesy of New Zealand Wine Growers and Air New Zealand. It was a specially chartered flight over four wine regions, beginning in Wellington and ending in Hawke’s Bay. Along the way we took in Nelson, Marlborough, Martinborough (now re-badged as Wellington Wine Country) and Hawke’s Bay.

We began flying over [...]

New Zealand Gewurztraminer

This masterclass was led by Nick Nobilo, who is the expert on this variety, and one with some experience: he’s now completed 56 vintages. He began making wine when his father let him experiment in the 1960s. He grew lots of different varieties, but Gewurztraminer was the the one that he fell for. It’s history [...]