Not many New Zealand retailers have sold more wine than Mac and his personal recommendations come from one of the industry's safest sets of hands. Regardless of the price point you like to shop in, Mac's Picks will always be great buying and totally delicious. You have his word on it.
Sherwood Laverique Methode Traditionelle Reserve 2014 - Waipara Valley
Available from $33.99.
Laverique has long been one of my favourite New Zealand sparkling wines. Produced from Waipara fruit using the time honoured methode traditionelle process, this is a rounded and lightly creamy style that fills every corner of your mouth with flavour. 2014 was a very good growing season in Waipara and the final blend for this vintage release was 55% pinot noir and 45% chardonnay. On the nose, citrus and cashew nut aromas mix with some deeper brioche / baked biscuit notes, while the palate shines with layers of soft citrus and yeasty complexity. This is generous, punchy methode from Sherwood, and those rounder flavours and loaded mid-palate weight sit very well with me. The finish is bright with lingering dryness and well-balanced, refreshing acidity. It’s just so satisfying. For pure sensory enjoyment, I’d open a bottle of Laverique before many of the big brand Champagnes that so many Kiwis seem to fawn over. It comes highly recommended.
Available from $19.99
After writing about Villa Wolf Pinot Gris in my last column, I thought it was only fair to look at a classic release from Erni Loosen, the driving force behind the Villa Wolf brand and a veritable legend of German aromatic wine production. Like everyone in the wine trade, I despair about riesling’s lack of popularity with the wider buying public. A good glass of chilled riesling is a truly beautiful thing and DR L is about as ‘user-friendly’ as Mosel Riesling can get. Off-dry and very juicy, this wine opens on the nose with white flower, pear and honeysuckle aromas before the palate kicks into gear with salivating citrus flavours and layers of zesty acidity. Those zesty notes rock on through to a crisp, long finish that stays alive with more tangy acidity and lingering fresh lime nuances. At 8.5% alcohol it’s light and bright in every regard and should be on the shopping list of every wine fan who is reading this column. It’s recognised as one of the world’s great wine bargains with good reason. Track a bottle down immediately.
Available from $24.99
Mount Arthur Reserve Chardonnay is my pick of the wines from Kahurangi, a producer with an extensive portfolio of estate grown wines. This is classic Nelson barrel-fermented Chardonnay in every sense. The nose shows sweet citrus, red apple, tea biscuit and sweet vanillin notes. The palate fills the mouth with ripe peach and sweet lemon flavours with ample wood spice and those hints of buttered toast that chardonnay aficionados adore. A vein of creamy acidity nicely rounds out the conversation. This rewarding wine is already looking very sharp, but cellar over the coming five years to further fatten up that palate and integrate those plush stone fruits and crisp acids.
Available from $31.99
Ted is the entry level label for much loved Central Otago producer, Mount Edward. Under the watchful eye of Duncan Forsyth – one of the great characters of the New Zealand winemaking fraternity - Mount Edward has evolved into a very trusted winery with Ted acting as a drink young counterpoint to the more structured and serious Mount Edward range. The 2020 Ted Pinot Noir certainly delivers the goods. Vinted from estate grown fruit, this organic offering brings soft and juicy dark fruits to the party in an approachable package that is detailed with herbal notes, spicy oak and a subtle lick of anise. It’s a fresh and ‘alive’ offering that’s been made to enjoy whenever the mood strikes, but your first glass will reveal an underlying savoury character that remains the calling card for any Mount Edward Pinot release.
Available from $18.99
Jaboulet is one of the great names in French wine making. Though best known for fine wines from the Rhone Valley, the company sometimes uses fruit from other regions to flesh out their more ‘affordable’ options and this 2018 release is a blend of syrah from the Rhone and the Languedoc appellation, which lies further to the south. Given the price point, this multi-regional blend is quite bold and generous. It’s all spicy plum and licorice on the nose, while the palate brims with an amalgam of savoury red / black fruits, plenty of spice and a delightful medicinal note that is so often the hallmark of good French Syrah. This wine is unoaked but skilful winemaking allows those powerful syrah flavours to shine through, and the lasting result is very satisfying indeed. It remains a mystery to me how wine of this calibre can be shipped halfway around the world to be sold here in New Zealand for less than twenty dollars. Put a cassoulet in the oven immediately.
Available from $29.99
This one is a bit of a showstopper. I am a huge fan of winemaker Corey Ryan, who seems to capture the essence of the ‘new Barossa’ with his very successful Sons of Eden label. Marschall epitomises that modern approach, where Barossa’s traditional desire to cram every bottle with powerful flavours has been eschewed for a more refined approach where deliciousness, and outright drinkability top the bill. Make no mistake, this 2020 release is still a big, lavish wine, but those blackcurrant jam characters that the Barossa is synonymous with have been dialed down, and matched with fresher acidity on the finish. Only recently released, this 2020 Shiraz is already a very attractive option. Match with roasted vegetables or your favourite prime cut to hear the angels sing.