Natural wines from Haywire, Okanagan Valley, Canada

I’ve been impressed by the wines from Haywire in the Okanagan Valley, in Canada’s BC. Based at the Okanagan Crushpad, where their team also makes wine for other people, they have been pioneers of interesting, geeky natural wines in a region that has often played it a little safe, as many emerging wine regions do. [...]

Canada versus New Zealand: two top Pinot Noirs from 2011 compared, and a lesson learned

Three nights ago I opened this pair of Pinots, both from the 2011 vintage. They’re wines that I’d cellared. The first is the Te Muna Road Pinot from Craggy Range, which I liked enough on first tasting to buy a six pack. I think it’s good to put your money where your mouth is: if [...]

Vintage at Norman Hardie (3)

Over the course of four days of vintage, I was exposed to a number of the stages of making wine. I spent the second evening at the sorting table. Pinot Noir was coming in from two different vineyards, and our job was to work on the vibrating table which the grapes pass along on their [...]

Video: making Pinot Noir at Norm Hardie's

Two short videos illustrating the red winemaking process here at Norm Hardie’s in Prince Edward County, Canada. This is Pinot Noir being processed. The first video shows the punching down of Pinot Noir ferments. The grapes are crushed into one-ton plastic bins. These are a nice scale to work at.

In the short clip, Norm is [...]

Two Pinot Noirs from Folding Hill, Central Otago, NZ

I visited Folding Hill, in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago, back in January 2014. It’s the project of two medical folk, emergency doctor Tim Kerruish and  his wife Nikki, a bio ethicist. The wines are really good. Here’s my review of a couple of recent releases.

Folding Hill Pinot Noir 2014 Bendigo, Central Otago, New [...]

Folium: interesting dry-grown wines from New Zealand's Marlborough region

Takaki Okada came to New Zealand’s Marlborough region in 2003, and began working with Clos Henri. In 2010, he bought an 8.5 hectare vineyard that had been established by Fromm in the Brancott Valley. He began making his own wines.

Marlborough is quite dry (growing season averages around 340 ml of rain, with 640 ml the [...]

Mac Forbes EB18 'P3' Pinot Gris/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier 2015

Mac Forbes is a bit of a legend. He’s been a pioneer of lighter, lower alcohol, naturally made wines from the Yarra Valley. As well as his regular wines, he makes small quantities of ‘EB’ (experimental batch) wines. This is one of those, and just 3000 bottles were made. It’s three Pinots together: Noir, Gris [...]

In Oregon: Beckham Estate Vineyard

Andrew and Annedria Beckham (pictured above) are making some of Oregon’s most compelling wines, and they have a great story, too.

We visited their property in Parrett Mountain (in the Chehalem Mountains AVA) on a gorgeous afternoon. They have 6.5 acres of Pinot Noir, plus an acre of Riesling, which they farm organically. They are planning [...]

The 2014s from Evening Land: Oregon's new pacesetter

Yesterday I got to taste the as yet unreleased 2014s from Evening Land Vineyards. This is the first step in a new phase of the project, which is based on the Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon. Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman (Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi from the Santa Rita [...]

Extended tasting note: Brooks Ara Riesling 2008 and Brooks Janus 2008, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Sometimes, short tasting notes don’t really tell you all that much about a wine. So, in the past, I’ve tried to write the occasional extended tasting note, bringing in the context of the drinking experience and dwelling a little longer on the wine. I tried this sitting outside in the late evening yesterday, here at [...]