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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Four affordable Kiwi Pinot Noirs

As I write, I’m at the departure gate waiting to embark on a rather long journey to Kiwi land. So a chance to write up four affordable New Zealand Pinot Noirs I had the other night.

Seresin Leah Pinot Noir 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand
£20 Noel Young, Fareham Wine Cellar, The New Zealand Cellar
13% alcohol
A blend of [...]

Chile day 2, Errazuriz's Aconcagua Costa property

Day two of the Chile trip was spent in the Aconcagua, with Errazuriz. We began at the relatively new 230 hectare (of planted vines) Aconcagua Costa property, just 12 km from the Pacific. Here they have planted 250 hectares. Initially they began with Sauvignon Blanc (planting in 2005), but then realised that the climate (quite [...]

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 [...]