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. With Christmas on our doorstep, we are looking at some bubbles and Champagne recommendations for the summer season.
A word from Mac: In my book, not much beats sitting around the table with your friends and family, and a few bottles of good wine - so I hope that you get to enjoy the holiday season with those closest to you, and you all have something delicious in your glass. I wish you all Merry Christmas and the very best for 2023.
Available from $18.99
Prosecco is the world’s most popular sparkling wine style. This year approximately 700 million bottles will be produced, with 70 million of those being made into Prosecco Rosé – which means that someone in the world is opening a bottle of rosé Prosecco every ½ a second. To make this gorgeous summer wine, Sartori blend 15% pinot noir into the standard glera base wine. It adds a lovely array of delicate red summer fruits to the traditional Prosecco apple / citrus palate but remains what good Prosecco should always be. Uncomplicated. Crisp and just off dry. Refreshing. And perfectly delicious.
Available from $18.33
Any wine from the rock-solid Leveret label is worth seeking out but few will argue that this well-priced Methode Traditionnelle is the star of the Leveret show. Blended from the traditional Champagne varietals of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier, it’s a bold and generous stye with lots of toasted bread notes on the nose and a broad palate with plenty of yeasty complexity. Those mouthfilling flavours roll on to a tightly defined finish, backed up with plenty of creamy acidity. If you prefer to drink New Zealand bubbles but want to hang out in the sub$20 sandpit, it’s always a strong contender for the Kiwi market’s best buy, and the current disgorgement is looking especially sharp.
Available from $24.99
Miru Miru is always a top performer for Hunters, offering buyers a quality New Zealand sparkling experience at an affordable price point. Chardonnay dominant, it is vinted from same classic varietal blend as the Leveret, but it’s a more refined wine with a fresher flavour profile and more vibrancy on the palate. 18 months resting on its lees has brought extra texture into play, but those resulting yeasty characters are restrained and never take over the show. It’s an excellent glass of sparkling wine by any yardstick, and a fine example of how far New Zealand Methode production has developed over the last decade.
Available from $18.99
Veuve Laperrière is produced by Maison Ackerman. Founded in 1811, they are the oldest sparkling wine company in the famous Loire Valley, with over 200 years of winemaking experience. Internationally regarded as one of the great French bubbles bargains, Veuve Laperriere is produced from 100% chardonnay. It is a richly weighted, creamy fizz with lovely fresh stone fruits and zesty citrus on the palate. It's really clean and refreshing but some yeasty / brioche notes bring a more serious side into play. The finish is long, dry and very satisfying. Considering it is made using the less labour intensive charmat method, it is a very Champagne-esque wine, and an excellent option when a well-priced festive sparkling is the order of the day.
Available from $74.99
Established in 1734 and still under family ownership to this day, Taittinger has long been our Grande Marque Champagne of choice to enjoy at home. To my mind, it’s a near perfect ‘one size fits all’ Champagne, effortlessly combining complexity and depth with a freshness and vibrancy that keeps the palate always engaged. This consistency and quality that Taittinger is known for has not come about by chance. The family owns one of the largest landholdings in Champagne and access to such a wide fruit base gives them more control than most when they come to blend their signature non-vintage cuvee. Indeed, Taittinger Brut Reserve (40 % Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier) is vinted using grapes harvested from over 35 different vineyards. If you haven’t tried a bottle recently, make sure you add one to your shopping list. I can almost guarantee that you’ll be very happy that you did.
Available from $44.99
Champagne Lanvin has a well-won reputation as one of the best value Champagnes in the New Zealand market. It has enjoyed glittering success in the award rounds over the years and this latest disgorgement is looking very smart as we head into the prime Champagne season. Lanvin is a big, generous style for those who like their Champagne with plenty of palate depth. The nose is redolent with classic freshly baked brioche notes underpinned with peach, lemon, and yeasty lees complexity. The palate is broad and richly textured with just the merest hint of fruit sweetness, before finishing crisp and dry. It’s a very appealing, rounded style, and with the price of Champagne climbing steadily over the last two years, it remains quite the bargain – a discerning choice for those who don’t crave the public affirmation that the more obvious big brands provide.