What do I look for in Pinot Noir?

What do I like in Pinot Noir? I look for a few things in a great Pinot. First of all, that indefinable quality of elegance. I wish I could define elegance in a wine, but I can’t. I know it when I see it, though.

I want to be charmed and seduced by a wine that [...]

A couple from Greywacke

Kevin Judd’s Greywacke wines are up there with the best from Marlborough, now New Zealand’s biggest wine region, and one that’s beginning to show a number of talents – not just Sauvignon Blanc. These wines just look so good, too, with the labels featuring his creative photography.

Greywacke Pinot Noir 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely sweet black [...]

Lunch at Arbutus with Marimar Torres

Had lunch today with Marimar Torres and her daughter Cristina at Arbutus, in Soho. It was my first visit to Arbutus, and I loved the food, although the dining room is noisy and quite basic. The food is serious, and much better than the environment. I had warm, crisp pig’s head with potato puree and [...]

Day 5 in South Africa

I stayed overnight at the lovely Schulphoek guest house, a short distance along from Hermanus. It’s a lovely spot, and in the morning I went for a run along the sea front, along a beautiful coastal path. This was soul-restoring.

Back at the guest house, Peter-Allan Finlayson rocked up to show me his wines. His Hemel en [...]

Pinot Noir 2013: video and some thoughts in retrospect

Amid excessive travel and a few tight deadlines, I have steadily been writing up my notes from the Pinot Noir 2013 conference in Wellington, New Zealand this January. Over the three days, I diligently tasted a lot of Kiwi Pinot Noirs, and I’ll be publishing my notes in full.

This is a useful exercise, although having [...]

Pinot Noirs from Torii Mor, Oregon

I visited Oregon back in 2008, and one of the wineries I had a look at was Torii Mor. Bid For Wine have managed to secure a stash of these small production Pinot Noirs which they are offering through their website. I got to try them and my notes are here. These are particularly balanced [...]

Domaine Parigot Savigny Les Vergelesses, a lovely red Burgundy

Really impressed by this, a stylish red Burgundy that marries sweet fruit beautifully with a refined savoury dimension. This is something Burgundy does really well: non-fruit complexity.

Domaine Parigot Savigny-Les-Beaune 1er Cru Les Vergelesses 2008 Burgundy
13% alcohol. Palish cherry red colour. Fine, expressive, slightly savoury nose with dried herbs, turned earth and red cherry fruit. The [...]

The new California: dinner with Kutch and Sandhi

On Monday night I had dinner with two very interesting Californian producers: Rajat Parr of Sandhi Wines, and Jamie Kutch of Kutch wines. It was hosted by Roberson Wine (www.robersonwine.com) who import these wines into the UK, at the impressive Bar Boulud.

This are the new faces of California: wines of natural balance and complexity.

Rajat Parr [...]

Sam Neill's keynote at Pinot Noir 2013

The second keynote at the recent Pinot Noir 2013 conference was given by actor Sam Neill, who has a vineyard – Two Paddocks – in Central Otago. This was a beautifully delivered bit of stand-up comedy.

Neill begins by showing a video of him standing in his vineyard behind a table laden with bunches of a [...]

Making sense of Matt Kramer, Pinot Noir 2013 keynote

Pinot Noir kicked off with two contrasting keynote speeches, the first of which was delivered by Matt Kramer of the US publication The Wine Spectator, and author of a string of books whose titles frequently begin with ‘making sense of…’.

Kramer’s delivery is polished and engaging. He begins by talking about Burgundy, the ‘mother house’. ‘It [...]