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.
Available from $14.99
I have long admired the sheer value that Sherwood Estate’s Stratum label offers the wine buying public and this 2022 Riesling is another bargain release from this trusted North Canterbury producer. There is something magical about Waipara Valley Riesling and this example shows layers of lime and sweet citrus that dance over a juicy, medium-dry palate. Those fleshy, exuberant, sweeter characters are nicely balanced with fresh acidity and the finish is long and very refreshing. It’s hard not to like and is ideally suited to casual occasions when something zingy and vibrant is the order of the day. The sugar / acid combo makes it an excellent partner for spicy dishes but this wicked little over achiever would also work well paired with soft cheeses. Great buying.
Available from $14.99
Here is another North Canterbury wine that clearly outperforms its humble price point. The juicy, succulent flavours of aromatic Waipara white wines are in full effect with this release and the 2022 pinot gris from Mount Brown shows plenty of swagger and confidence. Medium-dry with classic pear, pipfruit and melon on the nose, the palate shows good weight, lush texture and brings plenty of spiced nashi pear flavours to the party - with some honey / lime notes playing an excellent secondary role. I also noted a distinct ‘Juicyfruit’ chewing gum character before soft acidity rounded out this wine. Fans of off-dry pinot gris will find a lot to like here and those unmistakable Waipara fruits remain the star of the show from start to finish. Another absolute bargain from this wonderful growing region.
Available from $29.99
This is a fine example of barrel-fermented, coastal New Zealand Chardonnay. The nose is alive with regional stonefruits, citrus and oak spice, while a maritime, saline note adds both complexity and sense of place. The palate is rich and textured with lots of action in the glass. Nectarine and lemon flavours shine on a generous palate, with toasted nuts and spicy barrel-ferment notes adding further interest. The oak treatment has been deftly handled - adding weight and complexity to the conversation but never taking over proceedings – and the finish is long and supple with rounded acidity. This lovely wine is already a treat and well-priced for the quality it offers. Enjoy now with lemon spiked chicken dishes or over the coming 5+ years.
Available from $29.99
This is the best Craggy Range Rosé I have tasted to date. Vinted predominantly from merlot (81%) with some tempranillo adding juiciness and spice, it is bright, light salmon-pink in the glass in the style of the classic Provence Rosés. The bouquet is delicately poised and very attractive, with red summer fruits, white florals and a subtle chalky note. These characters flow gracefully through to frame a dry palate that nonetheless has a juiciness to its core, and the instant impression is both charming and very moreish. From a challenging 2022 Hawkes Bay vintage, this release nails the interplay between dryness / acidity and the fleshy, berry fruit characters that have made ‘Provencesque’ New Zealand Rose’s such a hit in our local market. It’s a cracker. Match with some afternoon sun and a ham sandwich as soon as possible.
Available from $19.99
My admiration for the winemaking skills of Jason Stent and his Paritua team is well known, and this is another excellent release from a producer who sits at the top table of Hawke’s Bay red wine production. Vinted from 100% estate grown merlot, this is a softy fulsome expression that has enjoyed an optimal growing season in 2020. The nose shows regional plum and oak spice, while the palate is supple and very smooth - with dark plum flavours and blackberry characters overlaying nuances of barrel notes and anise. The finish is very approachable with good tannic structure and layers of creamy acidity refreshing the mouth. I would decant it if serving it over the next year or two, to dial down those tannins and amplify those silky fruit flavours. Very good value.
Available from $22.99
I am a complete sucker for the dark, juicy reds of southern France and this grenache (65%) / syrah blend is right up my alley. Produced under the Saint-Roch label by Domaine Lafage, this is glossy, succulent wine with the plush flavours of the grenache component ably supported by the more serious and structured syrah aspect of the blend. Black cherry, dried herb and baking spike characters flow seamlessly from the nose through to a silky palate that works equally well with, or without food. It’s delicious - and a great option for those who like weighty Central Otago Pinot Noir but are looking for something a bit more full-bodied. I’d match this wine with a lazy Sunday and a good Spotify playlist, but a spicy vegetable bake would work equally well.