Two superb Chardonnays, Yarra and Burgundy

I was presented with these two wines blind by my brother-in-law Beavington. It was a fascinating challenge: both were clearly serious expressions of Chardonnay (we share an appreciation for great Chardonnay). But where were they from? I was in and out of Burgundy, Victoria (Australia) and New Zealand a few times. Subtle cues led me [...]

Two super Australian Chardonnays: Oakridge and Yalumba

Australian Chardonnay is probably the wine style that has changed most in the last decade. The best examples are totally brilliant, and while I still have a nostalgic fondness for the big bad-assed rich examples of the past, the new super-lean Chardonnays with their mineral tension are just so good. Aussie Chardonnay went on a [...]

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 [...]

Oakridge Lusatia Park Chardonnay 2011

I love this wine. It typifies what is happening with high-end Aussie Chardonnay at the moment – the embrace of elegance and freshness over weight and richness – picking earlier and producing complex, taut wines.

Oakridge Local Vineyard Series Lusatia Park Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 Yarra Valley, Australia
From a north-facing vineyard with red volcanic soils. This was [...]

A great game of rugby followed by some wine

Took older son along to Twickenham today for his first England international. It was against the mighty All Blacks (that’s the New Zealand team for the benefit of those who don’t follow sport at all, in which case this may not prove to be your favourite ever blog post of mine), so I was expecting to [...]

Jamsheed Silvan Syrah is a beautiful wine

This is the new face of Australian wine. Wines from distinguished sites, naturally made, with personality, elegance and a sense of place.

It’s from Jamsheed, a small producer making wines from privileged terroirs in Victoria, and this Silvan Syrah comes from the Yarra Valley. More specifically it is from vines planted in the 1990s on red [...]

Cracking Pinot Noir from De Bortoli

Very impressed with pretty much everything De Bortoli are making at the moment. Steve Webber is heading off in the direction of restraint, low alcohol and elegance, and that’s exactly my sort of thing.

De Bortoli Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2008 Yarra Valley, Australia
13% alcohol. Serious stuff this. Fresh and lively with some green herby characters [...]

An afternoon with Mac Forbes

It was a gloriously sunny day here in London. I discovered, to my great advantage, that my netbook screen is visible even in bright sunlight, so I spent the morning sitting outside. My garden is my new office. I managed to write a column for one of my regular publications (Hong Kong Tatler; it was [...]

The Wanderer: impressive Shiraz and Pinot from the Yarra Valley

Two very nice wines from a new (to me, at least) producer in the Yarra Valley, Andrew Marks’ The Wanderer. The story of Australian wine isn’t actually about big brands, over-ripeness and critter labels – it’s a country with many hundreds of good small producers, many of whom are making very interesting wines. Marks is [...]