A perfect day of football and wine

So it was off to Selhurst Park yesterday, the home of Crystal Palace FC. They were playing ‘my’ team, Manchester City, and I’d been kindly invited along by Palace co-chairman Stephen Browett, who is also head of Farr Vintners.

This was a crucial game. We’re coming to the end of the premiership season, and City [...]

Cambridge Road Pinot Noir 2011 Martinborough, New Zealand

This is a wine I like a lot. It’s from a small 5.5 acre (3 hectare) vineyard on the Martinborough terrace originally planted in 1986, and previously known as the Fraser block. It’s managed biodynamically, and in addition to the Pinots made here, there’s also a lovely Syrah and a delicious Syrah/Pinot Noir blend called [...]

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 [...]

A second day in Marlborough, New Zealand

So day 2 in New Zealand’s most important wine region. Lots to be done, beginning with a regional tasting held at Spy Valley, a winery located in the lower Waihopai Valley. There was a range of wines: some excellent, and some reminding us that Marlborough can achieve mediocrity quite easily in the wrong hands.

Paul [...]

The Marlborough wine region, day 1

Leaving Waipara behind, after an all-too-short sleep, it was time to head to Blenheim on a 19-seat Beechcraft. I had the best part of three days in this, New Zealand’s largest wine region. My goal was to visit a mix of small, medium and large producers.

I began small (by Marlborough standards, at least), visiting Ruud [...]

Waipara Valley wine region and the Summer of Riesling event

Day 2 in Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. It’s a beautifully sunny day, with vivid colours and temperatures in the high 20s. Just the day for a walk through the vineyards. And lots of Riesling.   It’s the Summer of Riesling event, which involves christening the new vineyard walking trail that’s just [...]

In New Zealand, day 6, the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury

It was hard to leave Queenstown. After an epic few days, I was very tired, so on Monday morning I sat outside, had a bowl of teriyaki noodles and drank a diet coke, before heading to the airport to fly to Christchurch. It was time for the summer of Riesling to begin.

We started off, though, [...]

In New Zealand, and the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration bows out in style

So I’m having such a fun and intense time here in New Zealand, I’m finding it hard to blog every day. But here goes. Sunday saw the final day of the Pinot Noir celebration and it began with a grand Burgundy tasting, chaired by Nick Mills of Rippon, with celebrity guest Aubert de Villane of [...]