Tuesday, February 7, 2023

New Zealand Top 50 wines

Quality keeps getting higher and higher every year, and so do, alas, prices for premium New Zealand wines. Part of it is due to externalities (global inflation, logistics bottlenecks) but part is probably just because the best NZ wines attract more and more demand.

In the context of the Annual New Zealand Trade Tasting in London, organized by NZ Wine Growers, a separate table was set up for the "best 50" wines selected by an independent panel of UK experts. I will focus my post on my best of the best among these.

Tiwha pinot noir, 2019
Old vines planted in 1994, a wine made from destemmed fruit which is given a cold soak for 4 to 6 days and then matured in barrel for 10 months, using 28% new French oak. The best wine today. RRP £40. Score 94

Esk Valley The Terraces 2016
A blend of malbec, merlot and cab franc makes for a unique experience, a round wine with complex aromas and flavors. A bit of an investment at RRP £90 for a score of 92

Pegasus Bay, Waipara

Bel Canto Dry Riesling 2020
A floral and zesty wine by Ivan Donaldson who planted his first Pegasus vineyard in 1986. Single vineyard. Score 88

Pinot noir 2019
Made using traditional Burgundian techniques, single vineyard. RRP £36. Score 92

Aria, late picked Riesling 2020
Plump fruit still freshness come out but is balanced by a slightly sweet ending. RRP £27. Score 88

Sauvignon blanc 2020, organic
Apricot notes, quite an original interpretation of sauvignon. RRP £26. Score 91

State of Flux sauvignon blanc 2019
A balanced and long wine from a single vineyard overlooking the Awatere river. The name comes from the fact the wine has been fermented and aged for 11 months in concrete eggs with the lees kept in "state of constant flux". RRP £27, Score 92

Chardonnay 2019, organic
A fresh and moderately complex chard. Too expensive. RRP £34. Score 86

Tuturi Pinot Noir 2021
A powerful wine on the border of excellence. Ready now. RRP £45, Score 90

Thomson pinot noir 2017
Tannins still a bit rough but very promising.
Smoky and jammy. RRP 44. Score 90

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