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 [...]

Pinot Palooza: a great consumer Pinot event in Wellington

Yesterday afternoon I popped into Pinot Palooza, a consumer Pinot Noir event that hails from Australia but which has been transplanted to New Zealand for the day before the Pinot 2017 event in Wellington. 117 producers from all over New Zealand were present, and it had a great vibe. I wandered around chatting to people [...]

New Zealand Riesling masterclass, with Andrew Hedley

This masterclass focused on the variety that’s the darling of the trade but which is sadly not loved so much by consumers: Riesling. It was led by Andrew Hedley of Framingham (left), and Bob Campbell (right), leading Kiwi winewriter. Andrew is arguably New Zealand’s leading proponent of this grape variety, and he explained the sorts [...]

Albariño: a new grape for New Zealand

There’s a bit of buzz about Albariño in New Zealand. But it’s early days yet: there are currently just 27 hectares in the whole country. Gisborne, where it was first planted, has 8.5 hectares, Hawke’s Bay has 6.9 hectares, and Marlborough has 3.9 hectares. But on this trip so far I’ve tried some good ones. [...]

The Marlborough Pinot Noir Safari

The Pinot Noir Safari. It’s the second time this has taken place. Various winegrowers take international guests through the back-country and off-road routes, taking in some special vineyards across the Marlborough region. We make several stops, where they explain what it is that makes each vineyard important, and we get to taste some Pinot Noir [...]

Two interesting NZ wines at Shop Eight, Christchurch

Had a lovely evening with a few colleagues at Shop Eight in Christchurch. These two wines were really interesting. The alternative face of New Zealand wine.

Cambridge Road The Naturalist 2016 Nelson, New Zealand
11.5% alcohol. This pet nat is made from organically grown grapes from Nelson. It’s cloudy and beautifully expressive with a bit of spicy bite. Fresh [...]

An extensive tasting of Pinot Noir from North Canterbury, New Zealand

North Canterbury is the new-ish term used to describe the vineyard region close to Canterbury, which includes the Waipara Valley. In the couple of days I spent here, I tasted my way through many of the the wines, and these are my notes on the Pinot Noirs that I’ve tried. It’s a region that I’ve [...]