Interesting Marlborough: Mahi, with Brian Bicknell

Brian Bicknell has made wine in the Marlborough region since 1989, so he knows the region pretty well. But he’s also had spells abroad, providing much needed context. Most significantly, he was chief winemaker at Viña Errazuriz in Chile until 1996, when he returned to the region to take the job as senior winemaker at […]

Novum, an exciting new producer from Marlborough

Will Hoare, Novum

Scratch below the surface and there’s lots of interesting stuff going on in Marlborough. Here’s an example. Will and Rachel Hoare have just launched their new label, Novum, which focuses on Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made from interesting sites in Marlborough. Will was previously general manager at Fromm, but he was […]

Recently drunk: five impressive Kiwi Pinots

While I’m here in New Zealand, as well as tasting wine I’m making an effort to drink some too. The challenge for writers and critics is to be relevant to readers. Most readers open a bottle of wine and drink it. They don’t line up 60-100 bottles in bags and then taste and spit small […]

Burgundy 2016: the full line-up from Drouhin (47 wines)

In late November I popped over to Burgundy for a few days to taste the 2016 vintage in situ. One of the best tastings was at Maison Joseph Drouhin, both because of the quality of the wines but also the depth of the tasting: it was great to taste so many appellations side by side. […]

The wines of Folium, Marlborough, with Takaki Okada

While I’ve been in Marlborough, one of my goals has been to dig a bit deeper under the skin of this, New Zealand’s largest wine region, to find the interesting stories. One of my first stops was a visit with Takaki Okada, who’s making some lovely wines that are a bit different.

Takaki Okada in […]

Some Kiwi Pinot: Seresin, Astrolabe, Saint Clair, The Elder

I’ve been drinking a fair bit of Kiwi Pinot Noir of late. Here are a few notes of good bottles consumed.

The Elder Pinot Noir 2014 Martinborough, New Zealand
14% alcohol. Supple with lush, textured sweet black cherry fruit and some plum and damson notes. It’s leaning towards richness but also has a nice grainy, stony undercurrent. […]

Highlights from Norman Hardie: some of Canada's best wines yet

Tasting with Norman Hardie

I’ve written extensively about Norman Hardie’s wines before. But on this recent trip I tried some of his wines that astonished me, and are really next-level. These have to be among Canada’s best ever, and are peers of great Burgundies.

Norman Hardie Cuvée Dix Chardonnay 2014 Niagara, Canada
In magnum, under cork. This […]

IPNC: the non-Oregon Pinot Noirs

One of the great things about the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) is the chance to taste a wide range of Pinot Noirs from around the world. I’ve already written up my notes on the Oregon wines; here are my notes on some of the other Pinots on show. I apologise for the fact that […]

New releases from Kutch: truly elegant Californian Pinot Noir

The new releases from Jamie Kutch are out. You can read more about him here: he’s making particularly elegant expressions of Pinot Noir from northern California, and also a lovely Chardonnay.

Kutch Chardonnay 2016 Sonoma Coast, California
12.5% alcohol. Beautiful stuff, combining sweet ripe pear and apple fruit with some lively grapefruit freshness, and also a subtly […]

New releases from Neudorf, Nelson, New Zealand

Just tried a lovely set of new releases from leading Nelson winery Neudorf.

Neudorf Rosie’s Block Chardonnay 2016 Nelson, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. This has lovely richness, but because it’s combined with a zippy freshness, it’s not overblown. Fine spicy notes complement the ripe tangerine, lemon and pear fruit, with some mealy depth and there’s nice weight […]