Two lovely Syrahs from Dard & Ribo

Dard & Ribo are one of the top producers of the Northern Rhône, but unless you hang in natural wine circles you probably won’t have heard of them. The hallmark of their wines is incredible purity of fruit, and massive drinkability. René-Jean Dard and François Ribo began working together in the early 1980s, and launched […]

Cape Wine (5) more highlights, including Craven, Alheit, Savage, Testalonga, JH Meyer

Some more stunners from Cape Wine.

Craven The Firs Vineyard Syrah 2017 Devon Valley, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. From a heavy clay outcrop: the clay gives some black fruit bass end even at low potential alcohol. Peppery and supple with black cherry and black pepper on the nose. Nice purity and elegance with amazing texture, purity and […]

Cape Wine (4) some more very exciting wines: Rall, Leeu Passant, Loggerenberg, Kanonkop, Badenhorst

Some more thrilling wines tasted at Cape Wine. For me, these are very high ratings indeed!

Leeu Passant Chardonnay 2016 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Andrea Mullineux is trying to make this Chardonnay in an older, saltier style. She describes the winemaking as ‘death and resurrection’, and she allows juice hyperoxidation with no sulfites present, and then allows the […]

Hervé Souhaut Syrah 2016: seductive, smashable

I’ve been an admirer of the wines of Hervé Souhaut for a while. I remember taking his Syrah as one of my three wines when I was taking part in the Swartland Revolution in 2011, and it went down really well. I also recently reviewed his Gamay, La Souteronne, here. He’s based in the northern […]

Interesting Marlborough: Fromm, single-vineyard pioneers

Fromm is an important winery for Marlborough, because they were one of the first to champion single vineyards in the region. They are also unusual in that in a white wine-dominated area, their focus is on reds. But they have had to cave into export demand by making a Sauvignon that’s fairly typically Marlborough in […]

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 […]

A couple from Hawke's Bay: Craggy Range and Sacred Hill

These impressed the other evening.

Craggy Range Te Kahu 2014 Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. 68% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc. This is beautifully fresh and focused with sweet blackcurrant fruit together with some black cherries and plums. There’s lovely balance: it’s ripe, but really well balanced with good acidity. […]

Quinta do Monte d'Oiro, Lisboa, Portugal

Monte d’Oiro translates as mountain of gold, and it refers to the golden colour taken in early evening by the hill on which many of the vineyards are planted. The vineyard is in the Alenquer sub region, with the Atlantic 20 km to the west and Lisbon 50 km to the south. Climate is Mediterranean […]

New Zealand Syrah masterclass, with four imposters

Peter Cowley (Te Mata), Warren Gibson (Bilancia and Trinity Hill) and Steve Smith

These are my notes from the first tasting At the Hawke’s Bay Symposium on Classic Reds, held at Trinity Hill, Hawke’s Bay, 4 February 2017. This flight looked at New Zealand Syrah tasted blind, with four imposters from other cool Syrah regions […]

Arnoux & Fils Petites Collines Crozes-Hermitage 2014

This is another lovely wine in the Roberson Wine Christmas sale. It’s just lovely: benchmark Crozes from a negotiant working traditionally in the south.

Arnoux & Fils Crozes-Hermitage ‘Petites Collines’ 2014 Northern Rhône, France
12.5% alcohol. Arnoux are a negociant based in Vacqueyras, and they make wines traditionally: fermentation in concrete vats followed by maturation in large […]