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 [...]

Some pictures from Central Otago

The famous view from Rippon, Wanaka

Chard Farm’s Gibbston Vineyard and its spectacular setting

Apparently this scene features in Lord of the Rings

View of Wanaka from the top of a hill

Lake Dustan, looking over to the Pisa subdistrict

Central Otago Pinot Noir masterclass, focusing on structure Draft

Lucie Lawrence of Aurum and Grant Taylor of Valli led this masterclass, which was held at Aurum. Also present were Matt Dicey (Mount Difficulty and Ceres), Paul Pujol (Prophet’s Rock) and Blair Walter (Felton Road), who contributed to the discussion. The idea was to look at pairs of wines that each tackled topics relevant to [...]

Some highlights from a Central Otago Pinot Noir tasting

I arrived in Queenstown to a good English winter: rain showers, low cloud, and a temperature of 8 C. There was snow on top of the hills. This is summer in a cool climate wine region. Time to taste some wine with the mixed international group who’d, like me, just arrived in town.

Eighteen producers gathered [...]

The stunning Te Mata Peak

On Saturday morning, Craggy Range’s Brand Manager Hannah Burns took me up Te Mata Peak. It was supposed to be a run, but this is incredibly steep, so we walked most and ran a bit. It’s truly spectacular, and fortunately the weather turned it on. This is a chunk of marine limestone that rises 400 [...]

Tasting the range at Craggy Range

For the last couple of days I’ve been hanging out at Craggy Range, in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. I was last at Craggy in 2007, on my first visit to New Zealand. The personnel have since changed, but the goal hasn’t – to make some of New Zealand’s top wines. There are 80 hectares of [...]