Winery Reviews

Winery Reviews

DuMOL Russian River Valley

Some very good Burgundian style wines are produced here along with a couple of excellent Syrahs. Much of the fruit comes from Russian River Valley vineyards. The wines are themselves labelled by individual brands rather than by vineyards with the exception of Pinot and Chardonnay releases from the DuMOL estate vineyard. Stylistically the wines are […]

Dehlinger Winery Russian River Valley

Dehlinger remains among the very top echelon in the Russian River, continually crafting outstanding unfiltered Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay. Cabernet Sauvignon does not quite hit the same heady heights, although it is rich, structured and impressive in top years. There are quantities of singlevineyard Pinot Noir from the Goldridge site but availability is very […]

Fisher Vineyards Russian River Valley

The Fishers run one of the longest-established properties in the region, founded in 1973, producing top class reds and whites from some superbly sited high density vineyards in both Sonoma and Napa. Of the two great single-vineyard Cabernets, the Napa Valley-sourced Lamb Vineyard bottling is marginally richer, more chocolaty. The Sonoma County Wedding Vineyard offers […]

Vilafonte Wine Paarl

This is the first American/South African joint venture partnership between Californians Zelma Long, former ground-breaking winemaker at SIMI, viticulturalist Phil Freese and Mike Ratcliffe MD of WARWICK ESTATE in Stellenbosch. The focus here is very much on producing a luxury wine brand, of which there are few in the Cape, targetting the US market specifically. […]

Vergelegen Wines Stellenbosch

This historic wine farm dates back to 1700 and is located on hillside vineyards south of Stellenbosch. The winery was designed by French architects but it more closely resembles a new-wave Napa Valley operation than anything else. Gravity plays an important role in cellar-handling operations. André van Rensburg took on the winemaking mantle here after […]

Spice Route Wines Swartland

Now wholly owned by Charles Back of FAIRVIEW, this warm-climate Swartland property has been good to sometimes very good in recent vintages. There are approachable bright fruit driven examples of Merlot, Shiraz and Pinotage as well as now Mourvèdre. Along with sound, fruity and slightly mineral and citrus scented Sauvignon Blanc, whites also include Chenin […]

Rust En Vrede Wine Estate Stellenbosch

Jean Engelbrecht now has increasing premium interests in the Cape winelands having taken over this historic farm in 1978. He has established a partnership with golfing superstar Ernie Els at ERNIE ELS and at GUARDIAN PEAK. Ernie Els winemaker, Coenie Snyman is in charge of vinification here also. Rust en Vrede itself was established in […]

Rustenberg Wines Stellenbosch

Considerable investment has been put into this farm in recent years and the winery is now gravityfed, with some good results. There are a range of attractive, varietal as well as blended wines released as the winery’s Regional Range. These include crisp, ripe Sauvignon Blanc, an unwooded Chardonnay, a well crafted Roussanne as well as […]

Raats Wines Stellenbosch

This small estate which focusses on Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc is run by Bruwer Raats and his wife Janice. Chenin Blanc is the most important variety here and considerable effort has gone into sourcing older low-yielding vineyards on the most propritious soils. On average the vines are over 25 years old and found at […]

Oldenburg Vineyards Stellenbosch

This fine Stellenbosch property winery was established in its current form in 2003 and at present produces three excellent reds along with Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The 30 ha of sustainably farmed vineyards are at some altitude, around 300 to 450 metres above sea level moderating the climate and providing a fresh edge in the […]

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Walker Bay

Hamilton Russell is the original and remains among the most impressive producers of both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the cool and visually stunning Walker Bay. The wines have much improved over the last decade or so, with better clones planted and a concerted effort to isolate the very best aspects of the vineyards for […]

Ernie Els Wines Stellenbosch

This joint venture between Jean Engelbrecht of RUST EN VREDE and his friend, the celebrated golfer Ernie Els, produces a small range of wines, the top three reds are particularly striking. As well as these there are a number of varietal wines and a fruit driven Big Easy red and white. The small volume Ernie […]

De Trafford Wines Stellenbosch

Now firmly established as one of the Cape’s finest producers, David Trafford produces just 3,500 cases a year from his vineyards which are located at an altitude of nearly 400 metres between the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains. The first vines were planted in 1983 but commercial quantities were only undertaken with the 1991 vintage. Cabernet […]

Cederberg Wine Cederberg

Located in the Cederberg mountains, as its own ward in the Olifants region, Cederbergs vineyards are the highest in the Western Cape at an altitude of some 1,000 metres above sea level. A cool continental climate provides warm summers and cool nights with a significant drop in night time temperature. The result is full blown […]

Boekenhoutskloof Franschhoek

This farm is located on the higher and cooler slopes of Franschhoek and is producing some of the most stylish wines in the Cape. Syrah is intense, refined and full of black, spicy fruit. It displays the weight and texture of good Hermitage. The Cabernet Sauvignon is in a dense and cedary style with supple, […]

Villa Maria Wine Auckland & Marlborough

The formidable Villa Maria group, with impressive wineries in both Auckland and Marlborough, also includes the independently run Hawkes Bay estates of ESK VALLEY and Vidal Estate. Most enviable is the company’s record of combining quality, quantity and consistency. Current winemaking direction comes from Alastair Maling MW. Most impressive are the Reserve-level and new single […]

Unison Vineyard Hawkes Bay

Unison has been dedicated to the production of a top-quality blended red in the Gimblett Gravels of Hawkes Bay since 1993. Two versions are produced, Unison and Unison Selection, based on a 6 ha high-density, low-yielding vineyard (down to 1kg per vine) planted to Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The composition of the wines varies […]

Terravin Wines Marlborough

It was Mike Eaton who bought and established the Clayvin vineyard in1989 (see FROMM) and now he has repeated the trick with a new hillside estate purchased in 1998. All 9.5 ha, not all of it in production yet but planted mostly to Pinot Noir, are on free-draining soils and densely planted (in a New […]

Te Mata Winery Hawkes Bay

John Buck revived Te Mata in late 1978 (vines were first planted here in 1892) and almost immediately established it as, arguably, New Zealand’s finest. Despite greatly increased competition Te Mata is still a leading light. There has always been a coherence to the estate’s direction that has proved an inspiration to other would-be New […]

Stonyridge Vineyard Waiheke Island

Stephen White’s small north-facing vineyard is managed along organic lines and produces what is deservedly the most famous wine from Waiheke Island. The stated aim is to produce the best Bordeaux-style red in the world. Nonetheless it is very much a lifestyle-oriented project with the pleasures of sun and sea woven into its otherwise serious […]

Stonecroft Wine Hawkes Bay

Stonecroft, the project of the former owner soil scientist Dr Alan Limmer, earned a reputation for rich, characterful examples of Syrah and Gewürztraminer that helped to broaden interest among New Zealand producers in varieties other than the mainstream Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, etc. All the Stonecroft wines, from approximately 10 ha of sheltered and particularly warm […]

Schubert Wines Martinborough

Schubert is the most exciting new name to emerge from Martinborough/Wairarapa in recent years. Germans Kai Schubert (trained at Geisenheim) and Marion Deimling made a start here in 1998 and now have around 14 ha of vineyards. Most are located at on terraces in East Taratahi (near Gladstone) but the balance is from Martinborough terraces. […]

Pisa Range Estate Central Otago

Warwick and Jenny Hawker have the kind of focus that a region as exciting as Central Otago deserves. They make Riesling and of course Pinot Noir. Having planted on virgin wine territory in 1995, they produced their first vintage in 2000. The wine sees 12 months in French oak (one-third new). It is a deep, […]

Pegasus Bay Winery Waipara, Canterbury

Pegasus Bay is Waipara’s and Canterbury’s leading winery. This is very much a family operation and one of Ivan Donaldson’s sons, Matthew, has established a very successful winemaking duo with his wife Lynette Hudson. Both are trained winemakers. Matthew’s reds include an increasingly good plummy, fleshy Pinot Noir capable of a little age. Prima Donna […]

Mount Edward Winery Central Otago

This small Central Otago winery was the creation of regional pioneer Alan Brady who founded the nearby Gibbston Valley. The project is now run by winemaker Duncan Forsyth and proprietor John Buchanan. As well as some top-flight Pinot Noir small quantities of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Gruner Veltliner have also been made. […]

Kumeu River Winery Kumeu, Auckland

Michael Brajkovich is one of New Zealand’s most important winemakers. Although the family vineyards are in the now less than fashionable Kumeu district, west of Auckland, his intelligent, nonconformist approach showed it was possible to make better wines by rejecting some of the rigid, purely technical doctrines of winemaking that dominated styles in the late […]

Fromm (Marlborough)

❁ Fromm (Marlborough) George & Ruth Fromm Godfrey Road, RD 2, Blenheim Tel: 03 572 9355 Fax: 03 572 9366 Fromm is not one winery but two. One is in Malans in Switzerland, the other in Marlborough. Marlborough’s Fromm Vineyard is planted almost exclusively to red grapes with a strong leaning towards Pinot Noir […]

Felton Road Central Otago

Every now and then a very talented winemaker comes to the fore with unprecedented results in a given region. Blair Walter is one such. Yet with Pinot-mad Englishman Nigel Greening taking over Stewart Elm’s inspired creation in 2000 and Gareth King in the vineyard, this is very much a team effort. The estate comprises 14 […]

Dry River Wines Martinborough

This small estate acquired an enviable cult following due to the unstinting devotion of Dr Neil McCallum to producing the highest quality fruit from prime Martinborough vineyards. Though now under new (American) ownership (the same as for TE AWA FARM), the same direction is being maintained. Dry River has arguably the best record in the […]

Dog Point Vineyard Marlborough

Of Marlborough’ s new names this is arguably the hottest. Both the owners have had a long relationship with Cloudy Bay – James Healy on the winemaking side, Ivan Sutherland as a viticulturalist. They have only recently launched their own label and then only from a portion of their vineyards as the intention is to […]

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