He estimates tasting over 100,000 wines since he began to formally record tasting notes. Vintus LLC. Pinot Gris: Bilancia, Huia, Mountford, Spy Valley Te Mata. Dog Point is one of the star names in the Marlborough region, New Zealand’s most important wine-growing area. Kumeu River Chardonnay. Although the various Kumeu River Chardonnays differ considerably, they all share a sense of balance and restraint. 90 Lawson’s Dry Hills 2009 Gewürztraminer (Marlborough). Most vintages weigh in at 14% alcohol, yet still contain considerable residual sugar. And despite huge increases in production over the years, changes in vineyard sourcing and turnover in personnel, it has maintained a remarkable track record of excellence. Thank You! To achieve this, yields are low—2 tons per acre—and ripeness levels are high. © Copyright 2020 Wine Spectator. Privacy Policy, By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of ourPrivacy Policy, Welcome to winemag.com! 85 Villa Maria 2010 Private Bin Unoaked Chardonnay (Marlborough). In 2002, American wine guru Robert Parker declared a Felton Road 1997 Pinot Noir as one of the top 3 wines in a blind tasting of Burgundy reds. Yet, New Zealand’s vinous heritage stretches back to at least 1819, when the Rev. Michelle Wine Estates. Chardonnay became the focus, and today, the wines are often mistaken for Burgundy in blind tastings. “We just lucked into growing Gewürztraminer,” chuckles owner Barbara Lawson. Ste. Cloudy Bay was one of the pioneers in barrel fermentation of Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, which eventually led to its Te Koko bottling. Like Cloudy Bay’s original Sauvignon Blanc, it has spawned a whole new generation of Marlborough wines. The 2009 edition looks to be at a similar level of quality and aging potential. 90 Felton Road 2010 Bannockburn Riesling (Central Otago). For American consumers who want a taste of what Villa Maria can do with Hawkes Bay fruit, the company also offers an excellent Hawkes Bay Chardonnay under its Esk Valley label. In 1986, the Brajkovich family’s San Marino Vineyards was rechristened Kumeu River Wines and a... Neudorf Chardonnay. These are extremely high quality wines made by excellent wineries exclusively for Costco. Est. Personal preference comes into play when picking favorites among the single-vineyard wines from Ihumatao (in Auckland), Keltern (in Hawkes Bay), Taylors Pass (in Marlborough), or the Reserve Chardonnays from Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough. Maps of New Zealand’s wine regions. This wine is made in a sustainable winery in Paso Robles, California. 90 Dry River 2009 Pinot Gris (Martinborough). Originally, there was a single Estate Chardonnay, but following the Burgundian meme, winemaker Michael Brajkovich, MW, has introduced a number of single-vineyard bottlings. Sauvignon Blanc: Craggy Range, Greywacke, Mahi, Seresin, Te Mata. The Awatere Valley is a subregion of Marlborough, but it’s almost a world of its own, separated from the main (Wairau) valley by a range of hills. Ride On Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand. The largest production Riesling—and the only one regularly seen in the United States—is the Bannockburn bottling. 93 Clearview 2007 Reserve Chardonnay (Hawkes Bay). Villa Maria founder and Managing Director Sir George Fistonich (he was knighted in 2009) celebrates his company’s 50th anniversary this year, but has never been content to rest on his laurels. Over 20,000 reviews and wine tasting notes from the 2012–2020 editions of “New Zealand Wines Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide”. Maligned in some quarters, here the Mendoza clone produces wines with ample weight and texture while never losing their sense of balance and proportion. This is a delicate yet full-flavoured … Common to all three Rieslings is that rare combination of power and precision. At a lower price point and with much larger quantities produced, Villa Maria’s Private Bin Unoaked Chardonnay provides a budget-friendly alternative. The 2010, which I tasted out of barrel last year, looks sure to be stunning when it’s released. It's made in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, an area known for its sauvignon blancs, pinot noirs, and chardonnays. Five consecutive years of 90-plus scores for its Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and now this mention, should help to change that. A wide range of styles are produced in New Zealand, predominantly Méthode Traditionnelle from the classic varieties of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but also aromatic styles including Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. Available only in New Zealand, his luxury Chardonnay bottling, Endeavour, made from vines planted in 1989, is New Zealand’s most expensive white wine at 125 New Zealand dollars, or $93. Sign up for Wine Spectator’s Free Email Newsletters and stay up-to -date with all things wine. The first plantings are scarcely 30 years old, but they have defined an entire country’s wine image. Sauvignon Blanc was commercially produced on our shores for the first time in the 1970s and is now New Zealand’s most widely planted variety. Gunn Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. But in 2012, 50 years after his first awards for Villa Maria “Burgundy” and “Claret,” it almost seems not to matter from where the company sources its Chardonnay. Riesling is produced predominantly in Martinborough and the South Island. 91 Kumeu River 2008 Hunting Hill Chardonnay (Kumeu). Editors’ Choice. And in between, owners Tim and Judy Finn have overseen a nearly unbroken run of consistently excellent quality (to be fair, the runt-of-the-litter 2002 was still very good, just fading a bit). Indeed, the country’s cool, generally maritime climate seems made for growing white grapes, allowing for the retention of ample natural acidity across the wide range of planted varieties. 4. It’s all hand-picked, then fermented in a mix of oak demi-muids (600-liter barrels) and stainless steel using indigenous yeasts. Bell Hill Chardonnay. The oak elements are beautifully integrated, seamlessly supporting the concentrated white peach and citrus fruit with hints of toast. The various blocks all show unique personalities coupled with great concentration, intensity and length, with different years favoring different blocks. 92 Kumeu River 2009 Maté’s Chardonnay (Kumeu). I recently heard Saint Clair’s Sauvignon Blanc program derided as “recipe winemaking,” by the owner of another Marlborough wine company. 4. It stole the judges’ hearts (including mine) at the 2011 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, where it won the trophy as best exhibition white or sparkling wine. 90 Cloudy Bay 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough). Editors’ Choice. New Zealand’s signature varietal tends to be bold and big. Moët Hennessy USA. Auckland, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough. Maivino Sauv Blanc No. Now, more than 30 years later, Neudorf’s Moutere Chardonnay is one of New Zealand’s top white wines. Sauvignon Blanc. Today, although the winery produces several other varieties for which Marlborough is better known, it’s still the Gewürztraminer that sets Lawson’s apart. 90 Millton 2010 Te Arai Vineyard Chenin Blanc (Gisborne). The word “Moutere” on the label derives from the Moutere Hills, where the winery’s home vineyard is located, but also from the underlying soils. Dry River was a cult wine in New Zealand before anyone had ever heard of the term. “I’m trying to pull up the flavors, make the wine more expressive on the nose and working on texture and weight,” she says. France's Loire Valley is the original home of Sauvignon Blanc, and this … Seemingly through some sort of winemaking magic, nearly all of the company’s black-label releases—typically five or more in any given year—merit recognition. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our, Welcome to winemag.com! Difficulty Pinot Noir Central Otago 2008, Mt. Made from grapes grown on a 29-acre vineyard in the Pfalz region of southwest Germany, it’s a big and fruity wine that’s done better than some New Zealand favourites in a blind tasting. Other white wine varietals grown in New Zealand include (in descending order of vineyard area) Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Viognier, and less commonly Chenin Blanc, Albariño, Arneis and Sémillon. All are entirely barrel fermented and aged, yet the percentage of new oak is so carefully judged and the fruit characters of the wines so concentrated that the oak comes across as a supporting force rather than a dominant one. Rad Grapes. Millton says that he considers the Chenin Blanc from the Loire a benchmark, and while his wine is fruitier and more forward than most Loire Chenins, it can sometimes show the touches of wet wool so common there. When Tim Turvey planted grapes at Te Awanga in 1988, the first vines he put in were Cabernet Franc. 91 Eradus 2009 Sauvignon Blanc (Awatere Valley). Samuel Marsden planted 100 vines at a mission in Kerikeri and wrote in his journal, “New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine.”. Maivino maivino.com. Riesling: Dry River, Forrest, Fromm, Martinborough Vineyard, Neudorf, Palliser, Pegasus Bay, Spy Valley Following racking, … In a country known for cool, maritime sites, this is one of its ultimate expressions. Heritance 2017 Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley); $18, 92 points.With lasting tension and a good build-up of fresh acidity, this is a well-made white that offers fruity notes of white peach and apple. The Bell Hill vineyard, founded in the year 1997, produces a range of classic … Consulting Winemaker Matt Thomson has been with Saint Clair since its launch in 1994, giving the wines admirable continuity. Other white wines. To make this wine, grapes harvested from individual vineyards were kept separated throughout the winemaking process which consisted of cool fermentation and aging on its lees (wasted yeast). 92 Saint Clair 2011 Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough). Brancott Estate 'Montana East Coast' Rose, East Coast, New Zealand. $7. And by adopting biodynamic farming in the early 1980s, owners James and Annie Millton proved they had the requisite foresight to pull it off. In fact, many times these are almost identical to wines sold under the wineries original label, at 50% or less of the price. Price: $10 This New Zealand-made medium-bodied, popular white wine is crisp and fruity, with notes of tropical passion fruit as well as gooseberries. The Dry River style of Pinot Gris is one that emphasizes concentration and texture. Editors’ Choice. you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. 90 Saint Clair 2011 Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough). And on the other side of that coin, Marlborough wine is far more diverse than just Sauvignon Blanc. “The winery we were contract-growing for said to plant it, so we did.”. The Vintner Group. Bob Campbell MW was the second wine writer in the world (after Jancis Robinson) to become a Master of Wine. Regional vintage charts. 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