A Speed Tasting of New Zealand Wines


I dropped into a New Zealand mini-tasting (50ish wines) yesterday. I didn’t try them all as I was in a bit of a hurry, but an interesting selection, including two Grüner Veltliners, a Viognier and an Albariño. However, on this occasion, it was the red wines that impressed me most. The 2014 vintage, talked about in glowing terms on my visit there last year, seems to be fulfilling all the promise.


Neudorf Chardonnay 2014, Nelso
One of the greatest producers in New Zealand, now handled by Berry Brothers in Ireland, although Jnwine have the 2011 vintage on their website for a tempting €26.99/£19.99. Wonderful classic Chardonnay, with rich rounded fruits, a restrained use of oak giving it elegant toastiness and lovely refreshing lime zest acidity.


Framingham Classic Riesling 2014, Marlborough

Another great NZ producer. This off-dry wine had lovely honeysuckle and melon fruits with a crisp minerality. The Le Caveau website has the 2009 vintage at €22.65 which should be drinking beautifully.

Escarpment Pinot Martinborough 2014
Larry McKenna, known as Dr. Pinot in those parts, crafts some beautifully rich, but balanced Pinot from his winery in Martinborough. This had lovely ripe dark cherry fruits and very good length. Searsons has the 2011 vintage for €28.95.


Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2014, Martinborough

Ata Rangi make what is probably New Zealand’s finest Pinot Noir. This was completely different in style to that of Escarpment above; a superb, elegant Pinot with youthful precise complex dark cherry fruits. A wine that will develop and improve for years to come, but a joy to drink now. Expect to pay around €65. This or the excellent 2013 vintage is available from The Corkscrew Chatham Street; O’Briens; On the Grapevine, Dalkey;; Green Man Wines, Terenure.

Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2014
Delicious sweet ripe Syrah with a touch of black pepper. Lovely wine. Taserra Wine Merchants (01 4904047) are listed as distributors. I would suspect it retails for €25-30 a bottle.

Vidal Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2013, Hawke’s Bay
I tasted and blogged about this wine earlier this year – it is excellent, a clean fresh Syrah with black peppers and savoury black cherry fruits. Well worth seeking out. Barry & Fitzwilliam are the agents – (0214320900)


Trinity Hill The Gimblett Cabernets Merlot 2013, Hawke’s Bay

I also wrote/blogged about this wine earlier this year. It is an impeccably balanced delicious mix of the two Cabernets and Merlot with 1% Petit Verdot; lean and clean with perfectly ripe cassis and damson fruits. €29.99 from independents. Liberty are the agents.

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