WT Vintners: boutique wines from Washington State

I first met Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen back in 2015, when I had a chance to taste through his wines at his garage winery in Woodinville, near Seattle. I was immediately impressed, as my write-up here shows. For him, winemaking is still a side-gig, and he remains wine director at RN74, but working in a top restaurant […]

Seven Syrahs

A few days ago I wrote about a blind tasting of South African Syrah. These are the other Syrahs we tasted blind, alongside the South Africans. There was no logic to the choices: it’s just what we brought along. I was really impressed by all these wines: when Syrah is good, it’s such an interesting […]

South African Syrah: blind tasting nine of the best

Chris Groenewald was in town, bringing nine South African Syrahs with him. So a crowd of us gathered over lunch at The Drapers Arms to taste and drink. These are my notes, mostly written blind. It was a great set of wines.

Scions of Sinai Syrah 2017 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fresh, with just 12.5% alcohol, but I […]

Two lovely wines at The 10 Cases: Heitz and Gonon

Two lovely wines last night at the brilliant The 10 Cases. The first was a BYO that Gareth Birchley brought along (from Hedonism), and the second was off the list. The list at The 10 Cases is amazing.

Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 Napa Valley, California
This is an incredible wine from a slightly different era in […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (9) Trinity Hill's Homage Syrah

Trinity Hill planted their first Syrah in the Gimblett Gravels in 1995, using cuttings from Stonecroft, a clone known as Mass Selection. The first vintage was 1997. The current releases also include some vines grown from cuttings that came from Jaboulet in the Northern Rhône. The first version of prestige cuvéeHomage was made in 2002, […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (3) Ash Ridge

In 2000, Chris Wilcock bought a peach orchard in the Bridge Pa district of Hawke’s Bay. At the time, he was working as a banker (he had spells in Switzerland, Singapore and Australia), and initially he didn’t put any vineyards in. Then in 2005 he decided to plant 8 of the 9 hectares, and two […]

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 […]