Wednesday, October 31, 2018

New Zealand wine and Maori art

New Zealand wines in 2018

Beautiful room in the Royal Academy, set up by NZ Wines for the exhibition of Maori art, which we are allowed to enter for free. There I attended a wine tasting, starting with Sauvignon Blanc, and found that these best wines were from Marlborough. They also tried a variety of other wines, including Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling, and Syrah.

I found that the Chardonnays were not particularly impressive, and that the Pinot Noirs were disappointing. The best Syrah they tried was from Elephant Hill, a winery in Hawke's Bay. The best Riesling was a botrytised Riesling from Pegasus Bay, a winery in Canterbury.

Overall a positive and enjoyable experience, and learned a lot about New Zealand wines.

Even though they offer us Riesling first, I started with Sauvignon Blanc. The first ones in the lower range are squeezed stones. I skip the details. Instead, going up the category here are the best ie best balanced.


Here some of my notes from the best tastings.

Rapaura, Marlborough the best so far great nose, figs and almonds perfect balance

Yealands single vineyard, Marlborough super sauvignon typicality, but not aggressive

Esk Valley, Marlborough the softest so far, but not complex, it declines in the end

Babich, Marlborough intense, very complex and persistent

Babich black label not as complex or long as the other Babich

Babich organic simple wine, they try it with the organic but it is not easy

Rapaura reserve, Marlborough explosive in floral nose complex and long the best so far, by far score 90

Jackson estate stich, Marlborough great nose moderate complexity

Saint clair 2017 wailau réserve Complex some caramel perfect balance

Te pa oke 2017 wairau valley impressive wine complex and long toasted notes score 90

I tried various Chardonnays but for me they confirm themselves as a sole, despite Jancis Robinson recently writing positive reviews about them. Maybe I am spoiled by so many Burgundy but these lack backbone. They try to charm but they do not convince.

A couple of Viognier without infamy and without praise, they still have to work on it.


babich family estated 2017 fruity good nose score 86

Felton road Bannock burn central Otago similar to the previous 19 gbp

Felton road block 1 a tad sweet ending good x fine meal score 86 33 gbp expensive


Pinot noirs present surprisingly are not up to par.

Syrah Craggy range, le sol, 2016 good wine esp nose way too expensive 70 gbp, they are crazy

Elephant hill stone Syrah 2015 Hawker Bay best so far not cheap 44 gbp

Pegasus bay, 2016 Canterbury encore noble Riesling, botrytized nice afternoon finish, minerality and softness in perfect balance, good length excellent end for tasting 21 gbp for half a bottle