News and Views

Posted by Website Admin on May 22, 2024

Discover the Best New Zealand Wines 

The results are in for New Zealand’s best wines from the National Wine Awards of Aotearoa New Zealand.

An expert team of judges had the formidable (but envious) task of evaluating the 900 entries for the best New Zealand wines 

This team knows its cheeky reds from its crisp whites and dry varietals. And how to keep their wits about them when faced with dozens of top wines to taste and assess. But before we spill the beans on which tipples took away the top gongs, how do judges (and amateur wine lovers for that matter) assess a great wine from a middling one? It mainly comes down to four key components:

1. Give it a sniff:  The first criteria is the wine’s aroma.  Even before you take a sip, give the glass a swirl and take a sniff – does it smell like wine, a little fruity or floral?  If so, it’s passed the first test.  But if it smells like vinegar, then ditch the whole bottle. Life’s too short for bad wine.

2. Is the wine in balance?  The acid, sugar, body and tannin levels. If your wine passes the sniff test, the second clue to knowing if your wine is good is balance. This is where the acidity, tannin, alcohol, or fruit all blend together and nothing stands out.

If the level of acidity is too high (and makes your eyes water) or the sweetness is cloying, the wine is out of whack. If however, you notice a nice freshness to the wine and the fruit flavour is smooth, then the winemaker has nailed the blend.

3. Depth of taste:  Next taste the depth of flavor in the wine by swirling it in your mouth. It should taste like fruit with other layers of flavor.  Perhaps a touch of citrus in a white wine or chocolate notes in a red? Wines with depth are a lot of fun across a meal as the taste of the wine often changes.

4. Finish – the aftertaste:  An easy way to determine a top-flight wine is to consider how long the flavor lasts on your palate. The longer it lingers, the better the wine. If you can still taste the wine after 10 or more seconds, you’ve hit the jackpot!

So if you want to show off your beginner sommelier skills, crack open the bottle and consider the four elements: smell, balance, depth of flavor and finish. Or you can just trust the judges and choose from the following selection of New Zealand’s best wines in 2023.  All top of their grape game and destined for the best Auckland restaurants’ wine lists.

Check out our Taste Auckland food tour if you want to discover the city's exciting food scene (and sample great New Zealand wine). 

Drum roll please for the gold medal winners of The National Wine Awards of Aotearoa New Zealand 2023.

Category - Sparkling
Winner: Diamond Heart Waihopai Cuvée 2018
Category - Gewürztraminer
Winner: Saint Clair Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewürztraminer 2023
Category - Riesling
Winner: Mt Maude Reserve East Block Riesling 2023
Category - Pinot Gris
Winner: Giesen Estate Pinot Gris 2023
Category - Sauvignon Blanc
Winner: Martinborough Vineyard Home Block Sauvignon Blanc 2023
Category - Chardonnay
Winner: Isabel Estate Marlborough Wild Barrique Chardonnay 2022
Category - Other Specified White Varieties & Unspecified or Blended Whites
Winner: Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Albarino 2023
Category - Sweet Wines
Winner: Clark Estate Single Vineyard Botrytised Riesling 2022
Category - Rosè or Blush
Winner: Stoneleigh Pinot Noir Rosé 2023
Category - Pinot Noir
Winner: Saint Clair Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Pinot Noir 2021
Category - Cabernet and Cabernet predominant blends
Winner: Mudbrick Velvet 2022
Category - Merlot and Merlot predominant blends
Winner: Church Road McDonald Series Merlot 2021
Category - Fruitfed Supplies Trophy for Champion Syrah
Winner: Tipping Point Opportunist Syrah 2021
Category - Other Specified Red Varieties & Unspecified or Blended Reds
Winner: Beach House Cabernet Franc 2021
Category - Best Presentation Award
Winner: Jules Taylor On The Quiet Pinot Noir 2021
Category Award: Organic Award
Winner: Loop Rd Pinot Noir 2022
Category - Export Award
Winner: OTU Classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Visit the National Wine Awards website to find out more