Tesselaarsdal: a brilliant new Pinot Noir from South Africa

There’s a nice story behind this Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir, which I drank with Greg Sherwood and Higgo Jacobs on Saturday. It’s made by Berene Sauls, who is an employee of Hamilton Russell Vineyards in Hemel-En-Aarde. The wine is made at Hamilton Russell with the assistance of winemaker Emul Ross (who recently joined from Chamonix), and [...]

California, day 1, in Santa Barbara County

Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills

I’m in California again. This time for a press trip, with some fellow UK journos: Oz Clarke, Anne Krebhiel, Jane Parkinson and Erin Smith. We arrived on Tuesday evening, and so yesterday, Wednesday, was our first full day. We spent it in Santa Barbara County, which is the [...]

Seven older red Burgundies

JF Mugnier Chambolle Musigny 2003 Burgundy, France
Ripe and sweet with bold, textured sweet cherry fruit backed up by spicy warmth. Rich and broad with nice silkiness and good structure. Burly yet still attractive. Atypical because of the hot vintage. 92/100

Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques 1998 Burgundy, France
Lively, fresh, juicy and bright with [...]

Tolpuddle Vineyard 2014 Pinot and 2013 Chardonnay

I wrote up the first releases of these wines – the 2012s – just over two years ago. Now it’s time to look at some more recent releases. Seriously impressive wines. Not cheap, but very, very good.

Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2013 Tasmania, Australia
Aromatic, linear and very pure with nice citrus fruit. Bright and very direct with [...]

In NZ, day 4 - Waikari, North Canterbury, with Pyramid Valley and Bell Hill

Mike Weersing

The fourth day. By this stage, jet lag has dissipated and I’m fully into the itinerary. So I started the day with a quick run, had some poached eggs, and hit the road. The destination? The Waikari region of North Canterbury, which is home to two of New Zealand’s top producers: Pyramid Valley [...]

In NZ day 2, Ostler, Waitaki Valley

After leaving Central Otago, we drove to a wine region that I’d never visited before. It’s New Zealand’s newest and probably smallest wine region, the Waitaki Valley. A few years ago, people were getting very excited about Waitaki, largely because of the promise of limestone soils and a cool climate. Some of that excitement has [...]

In NZ, day 2: Prophets Rock, Central Otago

Day 2 of this short visit to Central Otago began with Paul Pujol at Prophets Rock. This was an amazing visit. I’ve met Paul and tasted his wines a number of times, and this – my first time in the vineyard – confirmed to me that this is one of Central Otago’s top 2 or [...]

New Zealand, day 1: Burn Cottage and Two Paddocks, Central Otago

Two more visits on the first day in Central Otago. Burn Cottage is an interesting project. It was started by American Marquis (pronounced Marcus) Sauvage, and he hired a stellar team of Ted Lemon (consultant) and Claire Mulholland (winemaker) to oversee it. It’s a 27 hectare property with 10.2 hectares of vines, on the border [...]

In New Zealand, day 1: Wanaka, Central Otago - Maude and Rippon

I’m back in Central Otago, for my fourth visit. I’m slowly beginning to understand a little about this remarkable wine region, and yesterday saw a lovely set of visits to four different producers, all of whom are doing something quite special. I’ll write the day up in two batches, beginning with a morning in Wanaka.

Mark Haisma's 2014s

Mark Haisma, Aussie ex-pat Burgundy micro-negoce showed his new releases yesterday. Here are my notes. As usual, please treat these scores as a very approximate indication of how much I liked the wines: they are baby wines and it’s hard to be precise at this early stage. He’s expanded his range to take in some [...]