The first things to address are those wineries which I did not visit and most wish to, so I’ve selected my top 10. Each makes a wine that really resonated with me, things that provided me with great enjoyment and wonderful surprises through my most recent trip.
On my next trip to New Zealand, this will become my list of first wineries to stop at. This list is not done with rankings, it is simply a list of wines to try!
What are your favorite New Zealand wineries? Let me know!
Black Estate – Waipara
Waipara is a region we’ll be hearing a lot about in the coming years, and wineries like Black Estate are the reason why. I tasted three distinctive wines from Black Estate: a lovely, ripe yet balanced if decidedly New World Chardonnay, a Riesling that was peppery and like licking rocks (a good thing in my book), and a set of Pinot Noirs. The Pinots were also done a “New World” style, but they were packed with delicious, rich fruit and some toasty new oak. All in all, a very compelling set of wines!
614 Omihi Road, Waipara
PO Box 13280
Phone 03 310 6930
Mountford was another name new to me and after tasting these wines, I have to admit feeling some satisfaction in discovering that this is a bio-dynamic estate. Using Burgundian techniques, Mountford produces a very precise and fresh Chardonnay that layers gentle notes of barrel fermentation over crisp orchard fruit. It is subtle and fairly compelling. The Pinot Noirs here are not afraid of oak, so you better not be either. They ooze minerally, musky fruit that should develop compelling complexity with time. I know I want to find out.
434 Omihi Road, State Highway 1,
Waipara, RD3, Amberley 7483,
North Canterbury, New Zealand.
Phone 64 3 314 6199
Fax 64 3 314 6099
The Crater Rim – Waipara
The Crater Rim had some issues in the near past due to a winery fire disrupting operations, but they are now back in top form producing a really distinctive set of wines. Their slightly unusual Sauvignon Blanc is melony and fruit-driven, with less overt green character than one might expect from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The Pinot Gris takes things even further in the richness department. Decidedly Alsatian in character, it is rich and spicy with plenty of orange and bees wax tones.
While this Pinot Gris is really top notch, the standouts here were the red wines. A classic peppercorn- and game-filled Syrah was attractive, but the Pinot Noirs, bright and fresh with a fine balance of fruit, soil and herb, really rang my bell.
The Crater Rim
P.O. Box 39077
Phone 64 27 442 2027
Rippon Estate – Central Otago
Rippon is not some up and comer winery, but I was unable to visit them on this go around. Their wines have always been top notch and their balanced, elegant Pinot Noirs are emerging as some of the most terroir-driven Pinots from Central Otago. The Riesling shares many of these traits. Fine and austere, it sings with mineral-driven fruit and dances on the palate with real cut and energy.
246 Mt Aspiring Rd, Wanaka
New Zealand 9343
Tel: +64(03 443 8084
Fax: +64(0)3 443 8034
Maude – Central Otago
Maude is a new producer for me, but one taste of the 2007 Pinot Noir was enough to convince me that I needed to learn more about this relatively new operation. The sappy and bright Pinot Noirs, including the recently released 2010, are spicy and fresh with a firm texture and innate sweetness that really sets them apart. The dry and austere Riesling has fine, savory depth and reveals great potential.
9 Connell Terrace · Wanaka · Central Otago ·
New Zealand 9343
Phone: ++64 3 443 2959
Fax: ++64 3 443 2960