Three from Marimar Estate in Sonoma, California

I tried these three wines from Marimar Estate.

Marimar is the second generation of the Torres wine dynasty, and sister of Miguel Torres Jr who until recently ran the Torres wine venture in Spain. In 1975 she married wine critic Robert Finigan and moved to California, and although the marriage lasted just four years, she stayed […]

Comparing New Zealand and Ontario Pinot Noirs

Yesterday I took part in a really interesting event in Toronto. It brought together 12 Ontario Pinot Noirs with 12 New Zealand Pinots in a blind tasting, and I was one of the three session leaders, along with John Szabo (who coordinated the tasting) and Cameron Douglas. We had different winemakers on our panel as […]

Central Otago (13) Akarua

Akarua’s terraced 25 Steps vineyard in Lowborn: one of the most instantly recognisable vineyards in the region

Akarua is an important producer for Central Otago. In a region of small outfits, they are a reasonable size, and of late have been on a vineyard-buying spree. With winemaker Andrew Keenleyside (who fairly recently took over from […]

Central Otago (10) Rudi Bauer and Quartz Reef

Rudi Bauer, Quartz Reef

It was great to spend some time with one of the pioneering figures of Central Otago wine, Rudi Bauer. Fresh off the plane from the UK, I picked up a car, drove to Cromwell, checked into my accommodation and then spent four hours talking, tasting and walking through vineyards with him.

 

When […]

Meiomi Pinot Noir 2017: amazingly successful, but how good is it?

I’m in the Star Alliance lounge at LAX, having just showered, getting ready for another 12 h in the air. I check out the lounge wines. On offer, Meiomi Pinot Noir. This is a very successful brand. It is huge in the USA, yet virtually invisible in the UK.

The background is beautifully summarised here in […]

Central Otago (9) Grasshopper Rock

It’s five years since I last visited Grasshopper Rock (see the full profile here), a small vineyard in the Alexandra district of Central Otago. Back in 2014 I commented that they were making some of the best value Pinots in the region. And they key to their success is that when Phil Handford and his […]

Central Otago (3) Prophet's Rock Cuvée Aux Antipodes, with Francois and Paul

Paul Pujol and François Millet

Back in 2009 Paul Pujol went to do vintage at De Vogüé in Burgundy, with François Millet. Later, in 2013, Paul took François’ son as an intern, and François and his wife visited Central Otago. Since then, they have struck up a friendship and made a wine together from the […]

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 […]