Pinot Noir: the alchemy of people, place and time

This is a written version of a talk I’m giving today at the Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir celebration.

Pinot Noir is the grape variety that seems to inspire the most devotion in wine lovers. Finding great Pinot is a lifetime quest, filled with challenges and disappointments. But the highs make this quest worthwhile, and there is [...]

Pinot Noir 2017: the International Pinot Noir Tasting

This was the headline International Pinot Noir tasting at Pinot Noir 2017 in Wellington. In this session, rather than focus on New Zealand, it was time for the panellists to look further afield. Each of the four chose two wines that they felt represented greatness in Pinot Noir, and then explained their own views on [...]

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 [...]