Seven German Pinot Noirs

German Pinot Noir (known locally as Spätburgunder) can be quite wonderful, and of late seems to have been getting better. But Pinot is a tricky grape and it’s sensitive to terroir and yields, and results can be quite variable. I was sent these seven wines to try, all of which have retail representation in the […]

A really good Chinese Pinot Noir: XiGu from Tianshui

Mihalis Boutaris, of Greece’s Kir-Yianni Estates, has been busy in China. He’s currently working on two projects there, one of which has led to this wine. It’s a vineyard in Tianshui. [The other is a vineyard in the Gobi desert near Ningxia.] Tianshui has relatively low growing-season rain compared with other areas nearby, and Mihalis […]

Wellington Wine Country (2) Ata Rangi, one of New Zealand's top wineries

Martinborough pioneer Ata Rangi is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated wineries, and so I was quite excited to be able to catch up with winemaker Helen Masters to taste through recent releases. Helen had just got back from the UK the day before, so it was very cool that she rocked up to conduct […]

Three lovely Pinot Noirs from Franz Haas, Alto Adige, Italy

Franziskus Haas is the fifth generation to run his family’s winery, and here I got to try three of his Pinot Noirs, a variety he planted in the 1980s. Haas has some of the highest vineyards in the region, starting at 300 m and going up to about 850 m, and Pinot Noir, known as Pinot […]

Two superb Central Otago Pinot Noirs from Akitu

A relatively new arrival on the Central Otago Pinot circuit is Akitu. Andrew Donaldson planted this vineyard in Wanaka back in 2002 on old schist, and the wines are made at Maude under the watch of consultant winemaker PJ Charteris. First release was 2012. It’s solely a Pinot Noir project, and just two wines are made […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (5) Sileni and their Pinot Noirs

Cairn Coghill, winemaker, Sileni

It’s all change at Sileni, which has just been bought by New Zealand financial service company Booster. Booster have also recently purchased Waimea Estate (Nelson) and Bannockbrae (Central Otago), and have an investment in Awatere River. Sileni grew significantly over the last years and now make a lot of Marlborough Sauvignon. […]

Greystone Vineyard Ferment Pinot Noir 2016 Waipara Valley, New Zealand

Greystone’s Vineyard Ferment Pinot Noir 2016

This is the first release of this new wine from Greystone: the vineyard ferment Pinot Noir. They have been talking about their vineyard fermentations for a while: keen to make use of the wild yeast indigenous to their Waipara Valley vineyard, they’ve taken poly bins into the vineyard and […]

Latest releases from Centre Loire star Pascal Jolivet: Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé

Domaine Pascal Jolivet is one of the most significant producers in the centre Loire, making some impressive wines from the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé appellations.

As a family, the Jolivets entered the wine business in the 1920s, working as winemakers and owning a wine merchant. In 1982, they started a distribution business, and young Pascal Jolivet, then […]

Interesting Marlborough: Clos Henri

Clos Henri is the Marlborough outpost of the Bourgeois family of Sancerre. They first came to New Zealand in 1999 and decided they wanted to make wine here, but rather than take on an existing project they wanted a blank canvas. Their focus was to be Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, just as in their […]

The Hermit Ram Pinot Noir Whole Bunch 2017 North Canterbury, New Zealand

I’ve talked about the wines of Theo Coles here before on this blog. His brand is The Hermit Ram (although he also works on other projects), and the other night at Scotch we had this: the latest release of his Pinot Noir. I see that I scored the 2016 the same, but this 2017 may […]