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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
Day 4 of my visit was a long, enjoyable one. We began with a drive out to the lovely Northburn station, just out of Cromwell. This was to be the setting for the grand tasting of Central Otago Pinot Noir, with 40 wineries showing two wines each: current release plus an older bottle. This [...]
This is turning into a very good trip. Day three began with two visits. The first was at Grasshopper Rock, with Phil Handford. Phil lives in Hamilton, and has a background in agricultural banking, He found the perfect vineyard in Alexandra (the picture above is Clyde, the main town here), and now makes 4000 cases a [...]