In New Zealand, day 3, The Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration starts

This is turning into a very good trip. Day three began with two visits. The first was at Grasshopper Rock, with Phil Handford. Phil lives in Hamilton, and has a background in agricultural banking, He found the perfect vineyard in Alexandra (the picture above is Clyde, the main town here), and now makes 4000 cases a [...]

In New Zealand, day 2, Central Otago

An early start, time for a 7 am run around the lake in Queenstown, through the botanic gardens. You can just keep on going for as far as you want, and it’s a really beautiful place to run. So much better than squelching through the winter mud. Then a shower, packing belongings, and off to Cromwell [...]

In New Zealand, day 1, Queenstown, Gibbston Valley and Chard Farm

I arrived in Queenstown late Tuesday morning, and I wasn’t feeling too bad. The flight down from Auckland was a beautiful one: you need to get a window seat on the left of the plane (which I did), and then you enjoy superb views of the alps and the fabulous descent into Queenstown airport.

I checked [...]

My New Zealand Pinot Noir e-book is now released

I love New Zealand Pinot Noir. When I was beginning my journey into wine, back in the early 1990s, it was a Kiwi Pinot that first switched me on to this wonderful variety. I was hooked by the heartbreak grape.

As last year’s Pinot Noir 2013 event demonstrated, there’s an awful lot of really good [...]

Some highlights from the New Zealand Annual Trade Tasting

I’m off to New Zealand on Sunday. But first, to whet my appetite, today’s New Zealand Annual trade tasting, held at the Lindley Hall near Victoria, with its fabulous natural light. Here were some highlights from what I tasted (and, of course, I didn’t taste everything, and not all wineries were represented, so an omission [...]

A lovely German Pinot Noir

I like this. It’s a German Pinot Noir in a modern, almost New World mould. I’ve had some good German Pinots in the past, but the best ones have been really expensive. And many have had a green herbal/sweet fruit combination that has been a tiny bit sickly, and has stopped them being serious. Now [...]

New Kiwi wines from Rod Easthope

I first met Rod Easthope when he was winemaker at Craggy Range, based in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, back in 2008. I met him again in 2010 at the Hawkes Bay Syrah symposium, when he gave a deeply impressive talk on Kiwi Syrah. And then again, I met him in Wellington in January this year, [...]

A quick comparative Pinot Noir tasting (and drinking)

So tonight, I have four Pinot Noirs open. A chance to do some comparative tasting.

I love Pinot Noir. It’s such a great grape variety. So, for me, this is a joy of an evening. How do the wines rate?

Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir 2011 Casablanca Valley, Chile
I actually opened this wine yesterday evening, and [...]

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2011

This was the standout vintage of a recent 10-year vertical tasting of Pinot Noirs from Craggy Range’s Te Muna Road vineyard in Martinborough. It’s not a rich, dense, flashy Pinot, but rather one of refinement and precision. The vines were getting to the stage when they were really beginning to express the vineyard, and not [...]

Canada's finest? Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Norman Hardie

On my recent trip to Canada, one of my favourite experiences (of many good ones) was visiting Norman Hardie in Prince Edward County. He’s making some brilliant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and so I was delighted to find out that The Wine Society are bringing in a couple of his wines. They’ve chosen very well: [...]