New Vineyard Acquisition for Sam Neill and Two Paddocks in Central Otago
Sam Neill - Winegrower

17th January 2014

Two Paddocks vineyards have this week acquired their fourth vineyard, this one in Bannockburn. Sam Neill says “We’ve been quietly looking around for something good in this neck of the woods for quite a while now and we were very fortunate that the opportunity came up of buying a small vineyard that we’ve always admired – Desert Heart.” Read More >

Marlborough Pinot Noir Rising
Marlborough Pinot Noir Safari Team

Reflecting on my New Zealand visit earlier in February this year, primarily to attend the Pinot Noir New Zealand Celebration 2013 (www.pinotnz.co.nz) held in sunny Wellington, one of the highlight’s of my trip was visiting the Marlborough region. Read More >

Phillip Jones at Bass Phillip Winery – Finalist in the Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year 2013
Phillip Jones -The Pinot Noir Prodigy from Down-Under

Phillip Jones -The Pinot Noir Prodigy from Down-Under

For those of us that have known Phillip Jones throughout his winegrowing evolution–for some of us that spans over three decades–and those that have managed to grasp the idiosyncrasies and eccentricities of the man (and there are many) and his extraordinary wines, those that have persevered with his unrelenting obsession with the pinot noir grape (except for a cabernet aberration early in the piece), those that have endured countless Burgundy and Rhone dinners and tastings with him and the privilege of his enormous generosity and magnanimous sharing of bottles, those that have come to appreciate his affability, peculiarities, erraticism, his quip and vagary and all the oscillations and manifestations in between…over a lunch; a standing ovation and resounding applause, hip-hip-hurray!, hip-hip-hurray!, hip-hip-hurray! to Phillip Jones, Finalist in the Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year 2013.   Read More >

Walter Bourke 10th Anniversary Homage – Pinot Noir Producer of the Year – Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2011, Central Otago, New Zealand
Chef and Bon Vivant Walter Bourke - he also liked his Champagne

Walter Bourke: September 15, 1945 – September 19, 2003

I first met Walter Bourke in 1986, at his legendary Melbourne restaurant, Maria & Walter’s. I had been invited to the ‘Table 8’, an underground group of the most serious wine palates in Australia, which convened regularly in the upstairs private dining room at Maria & Walter’s for extravagant banquets with vertical tastings of some of the most coveted wines in the world.

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VinEssence – Marlborough’s Premier Wine Experience, Soak in the views, Savour the wines
Mike and Jo Eaton  Picture by Kat Pickford

One of the highlight’s of my trip to New Zealand earlier in February this year, primarily to attend the Pinot Noir New Zealand Celebration 2013 held in sunny Wellington, was visiting the Marlborough region. Read More >

You can ring my Bell Hill
Bell Hill - Sherwyn Veldhuizen, Marcel Giesen and Jamie Case (my travel buddy throughout NZ trip)

Continuing my account of Pinot Noir New Zealand Celebration 2013 held in Wellington in February and my travels around New Zealand’s vineyard regions. Admittedly I was on a patriotic high from this incredible four-day event but even more so, I felt a strong sense of absolution; that my visit to Bell Hill vineyard in Weka Pass, North Canterbury (South Island) was such an incredible experience it justified the whole trip. Read More >

Must-Have Wine – Biodynamic Vigneron of the Lunar Year Felton Road, Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand
Felton Raod Elms vineyard

Highlighting Felton Road as my Biodynamic Vigneron of the Lunar Year (Rabbit) encompasses acknowledging the hard toil of Felton Road viticulturist, Gareth King, and winemaker, Blair Walter; their implementation and day-to-day painstaking work in managing an organic vineyard and a property that fully embraces biodynamic principals is commendable with Felton Road the benchmark for New Zealand vignerons. Read More >

Gone Fishing (for Pinot) in Middle Earth
Looking down on the Villa Maria Seddon Vineyard and Awatere River

Regular readers will have noticed a lack of new material on the Wandering Palate website over the last month, a direct consequence of ‘gone fishing’ in New Zealand; actually angling for pinot noir more than fish. Read More >

Bastards of Pinot Noir
Right bunch of Bastards of Pinot Noir

That wonderful Bastard Larry

Inspired by one of the ‘take home’ messages from the New Zealand Pinot Noir Celebration 2013, so eloquently articulated by Sam Neill, I have been doodling away on the “Bastards of Pinot Noir”.

It’s meant to be a song although reads more like a poem but I’m thinking if someone can come up with a musical score, along the lines of Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven” or Johnny Lee Hooker Mr Lucky with some long guitar riffs, it might sound… well…more like a song.

What do think?

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The Appeal of Pinot with Ruth Pretty
New Zealand's legendary Chef Ruth Pretty

What do Marmite, Vegemite, tuna, mushrooms, prosciutto, chicken stock, Parmesan and fermented black beans all have in common? They all contain the fifth taste sensation umami. It is a meaty, savoury taste less obvious than sweetness, saltiness, sourness and bitterness but I believe more delicious than the other four taste sensations. Umami rich dishes are perfect partners for pinot noir and in fact many New Zealand pinot noirs have an umami character. Read More >