At the end of February I jumped at the chance to visit Fine Wine Delivery Company in Auckland, to taste some library releases from the portfolio of Misha's Vineyard of Bendigo, Central Otago. Very belatedly, I have written up my notes I fondly remember (I think) working in the vineyards there over the summer of 2013/14 - tough work on steep sites, but I certainly got a lot fitter! It was great to catch up briefly with Misha Wilkinson and her husband Andy during this very popular event. The walk around event consisted of multiple vintages of 5 different wines, totalling 19 wines. The current vintage To View More >>

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Sadly I couldn't make it to the dinner in London last week, but I was delighted to be shortlisted in the Emerging Writer category of the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers' Awards. This has come at a great time, coinciding with receiving my New Zealand Residency which gives me greater working freedom. While I intend to continue to write full time for Wine-Searcher, residency does allow me to pursue interesting side projects, including book editing and (if the boss is happy) occasionally writing for other publications. The LRIWWA shortlisting has freshened up my CV, and given me a fair bit To View More >>

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The second part of a five-day trek following on from the Caples Track (see previous post). Day 1 (Day 3 of Trip): Key Summit Return, Lake Howden Hut to Lake Mackenzie Hut DOC guide time: 1h30m + 3 hours. I took: 2 hours + 4 hours. As we had come from the Caples Track we started the Routeburn track at Lake Howden Hut. We had certainly had a dramatic night, one of the more "memorable" of any hut stays. Despite being one of the later arrivals I was pleased to secure a bottom bunk. A group of 10 or so middle-aged Korean men and women were well established in the hut, sharing a massive meat stew of To View More >>

The first part of a five-day trip including the Routeburn Track. Day One: Trailhead (Lake Wakatipu) to Mid Caples Hut Doc guide time: 1h30m to 2h30m. I took: 3 hours. The above timings were an early indication that I was not going to meet any of the recommended times on this trip. I had taken a few days off sick with a chest infection earlier in the week and was trying to pace myself to get through the five days in one piece. Above: the view over Lake Wakatipu from the trailhead near the mouth of the Greenstone River. We were are group of nine travelling in from Auckland. We are all members of To View More >>

17.2.18 I recently tasted two 2013 McLaren Vale Shiraz wines side by side in a miniature "Do You Get What You Pay For?" exercise. I'd managed to source the Gemtree Uncut Shiraz at the bargain price of NZ$19.99 against a usual price of $30 to $32. The bottle was not decanted - I would however recommend doing this both for aeration, and because the wine has thrown some sediment. The wine spends 16 months in French oak barrels froom 225l to 500l in size, with minimal racking and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. There is quite a lot of oomph in this wine; on the nose there is plenty of To View More >>

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