Mother's Milk Shiraz

I do like the First Drop wines with their creative branding. This Barossa Shiraz, called ‘Mother’s Milk’, is really good. It’s properly Barossa, with ripe fruit it’s key signature, but it’s combined with freshness and definition. The end result is delicious and drinkable, but with a hint of seriousness, even though it is made for [...]

Casa Marin Miramar Vineyard Syrah, Chilean elegance

This is quite a remarkable wine. It’s also quite challenging, with really bold, edgy flavours. But brave winemaking like this – and, in particular, the decision to pick early, has to be rewarded. I reckon it’s one of Chile’s most interesting Syrahs, up there with the likes of Matetic and Vina Leyda – which, incidentally, [...]

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, [...]

Reyneke Reserve Red 2010 one of South Africa's finest

This is probably one of the best South African reds I have tasted. And I have tasted quite a few. It’s a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and a third of the Syrah fraction was whole bunch, crushed by foot, with the remaining destemmed grapes added on top. It was wild yeast [...]

Lunch with Pol, Cloudy, Lapierre, Jamet, Clair and Bachelet

Popped round for lunch at brother-in-law Beavington’s pad yesterday, which usually means that between us we’ll have something decent to drink. (In the process, I also very nobly assist him with his cellar over-stock issues.) All the wines showed really well yesterday.

Champagne Pol Roger NV France
This is showing really well: toast, peach and nuts, together [...]

Three lovely, great value South African wines

So much fun to be had with South African wine right now. Here are three wine that are full of interest, and massively over-deliver for the price. They are available from The Wine Society. The Kloof Street wines come from Swartland star winery Mullineux, and the Liberator is the latest in a series of special [...]

Some Rhône treats

Quite a few impressive Rhône wines at yesterday’s Bunch tasting. Here are some I enjoyed a lot.

Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage 2011 Northern Rhône, France
Is this Graillot’s best yet? It’s sensational. Ripe yet fresh meaty, raspberry and cherry fruit nose with a hint of black olive and pepper. The palate is fresh and ripe with raspberry [...]

Syrah from Canada! And Gamay, and Cabernet Franc

I’m steadily writing up my producer visits from my recent trip to Ontario wine country. The latest report is from the visit to Tawse, where my highest-scoring wine was actually a small-production Syrah.

I love cool climate Syrah, and Niagara can do it pretty well if this bottle is anything to go by. Of course, you’d [...]

Aeternitas, a new Syrah from South Africa

Johan Grimbeek is the winemaker at South African winery Kanu. Through top restaurateur Bertus Basson, I managed to get my hands of a bottle of his home brew – it goes under the label of Aeternitas, and it’s a Syrah from a single vineyard in Stellenbosch, aged half in new oak. It’s a ripe, warm [...]

De Bortoli Shiraz Viognier 2004, the benefits of cellaring

There’s something to be said for buying a few bottles of the same wine, then cellaring them, and revisiting them at intervals. It’s tremendously rewarding if the wine ages well.

This wine is an example of where I have done this. I can find notes on the same wine back in 2007, when it was three years [...]