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The rooftops above sancerre looking out towards the vineyards including les romains copy

Sancerre’s Charm Offensive

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Jul 2023

Two thousand and twenty-two provided another warm, dry summer in Sancerre, but the wines have achieved a harmony they failed to capture in previous hot seasons. It’s time to explore why this is a more consistent and balanced vintage.

Red 1 dawn breaks over lake wanaka and rippon's vineyards  one of central otago's pioneers copy

All Change: New Zealand Reds

featured, New Zealand

Rebecca Gibb MW, Apr 2023

New Zealand has experienced a summer of upheaval: an unforeseen Prime Ministerial resignation, historic flooding, landslides, a cyclone and an egg shortage. The country’s wine industry is also in a state of flux.

White 1  vines planted on the rolling hills of marlborough are producing some of the region's finest wines copy

New Zealand Whites: The Great Divide

featured, New Zealand

Rebecca Gibb MW, Apr 2023

Fault lines score New Zealand, but it isn’t a seismic activity that’s splitting a once united wine community. The divide between small, quality-conscious producers and volume-driven players is widening. The results of the tricky 2022 vintage highlight the country’s divergence.

The vineyards that lie to the east of sancerre  towards the loire river sit on flint rather than clay and limestone copy

Sancerre Sees Red

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Dec 2022

Prices of red Burgundy seem to show no sign of easing. In the search for an alternative, wine lovers may head east toward Germany or further afield to New Zealand and Oregon. However, a mere two-hour drive from the Côte de Nuits lies an often-overlooked Pinot Noir region, sitting on coveted ground.

At domaine d orfeuilles in the north of the vouvray appellation. 90  of the crop was lost to hail in june 2021 copy

Chenin Blanc: Wait a Sec

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Sep 2022

No two seasons are alike in the Loire these days. In addition, the reality is that dry wines are far easier to sell today than off-dry and sweet wines. Looking at 2020 and 2021 in the context of current trends, the question remains: while the market clamours for dry Loire Chenin Blanc, is the move towards drier styles in the wines’ best interests?

The village of chavignol is famous not only for its goat cheese but two of the appellation%e2%80%99s most esteemed lieux dits  les monts damn%c3%a9s and les culs de beaujeu cover copy

Sancerre: Finding Its Place

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Aug 2022

Forget the grape behind Sancerre, local producers are increasingly keen to push their individual vineyards. With records showing the Sancerrois were using the term “climat” before the Burgundians and with hundreds of individual sites today, it’s important to acknowledge their history, but I wonder if the world demands such detail from Sancerre, or if its winemakers are trying to push wine uphill.

Clos d'isore with filter cover copy

Loire Cabernet Franc: Who Do You Think You Are?

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Aug 2022

Over the past two decades the quality of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc has soared. The very best wines are inimitable, elegant, terroir-driven and sensitively handled. They deserve to be discovered, in their own right, as superlative Loire reds, not a fresher alternative to Bordeaux Right Bank nor an affordable offering for Burgundy drinkers. Following four visits to the Loire in the first half of 2021, I was left wondering why Loire Cabernet wasn’t enough, why did it have to be benchmarked against other French wine regions that don’t make single varietal Cabernet Franc?

Americans mike and ann spratt moved to waiheke island in 2000. joined by their son sean  the family now produces super premium bordeaux inspired red blends in an amphitheatre like setting.jpg copy

New Zealand Reds: Treading Lightly

featured, New Zealand

Rebecca Gibb MW, Apr 2022

It’s hard to believe that just over 40 years ago, New Zealand’s South Island was considered too cool to plant grapevines, let alone make fine red wines. In a single generation, this notion has been turned on its head. There have inevitably been growing pains as the vines sought out their rightful places and the grape growers and winemakers made their mistakes, but it seems that there is now a coming of age as mature vines meet mature – and increasingly sensitive – winemakers.

The brancott vineyard  home to marlborough%e2%80%99s first sauvignon blanc vines in 1975

Desperately Seeking Sauvignon

featured, New Zealand

Rebecca Gibb MW, Mar 2022

A small 2021 vintage sent international wine buyers scrabbling to secure their New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc supply, but what the wines lack in quantity, they’ve made up for in quality, while Chardonnay continues to make a strong case as New Zealand’s finest white variety.

View of maine river from the ch thebaud view platform copy

Muscadet: A Region in Crus Control

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Nov 2021

Life has not been kind to Muscadet producers in recent decades, but with the advent of a cru system, focusing on local terroir and extensive lees ageing, there are reasons for optimism. In my report, I ask if this is the rocket fuel this under-appreciated region needs to revive its fortunes or is it a case of Mission Impossible?