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 $32.99
This important wine will always feature in any discussion of the finest Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs and comes with an enviable reputation for its concentration and complexity. The 2022 vintage is another excellent expression that captures the maritime influences of the Wairau Valley. Wonderfully pungent with passionfruit, gooseberry, nettle and tomato leaf characters bursting from the nose, it’s a punchy wine that takes those characters from the bouquet and wraps them up in a lightly saline, herbal palate that shows plenty of tropical fruits and tangy layers of acidity. Full of energy and drive, it finishes long and enticingly fresh, with excellent tension between the fruit and acid components. If you want to taste one of the great New Zealand wines, grab a bottle and you’ll soon see what all the fuss is about.
Available from $17.99
With the increasing popularity of Californian Chardonnays in our domestic market, few examples manage to sneak under the key $20 retail price barrier these days – so Locatour is sure to attract plenty of attention wherever it is sold. With ‘Creamy’ on the label, the scene is set for a rounded, fulsome wine - and that’s exactly what Locatour delivers. The nose is all about ripe peaches, pineapple and butterscotch, with some toasted oak characters playing a supporting role. The palate is rich and full-bodied with some fruit sweetness and vanillin oak adding to that stonefruit core – and the finish is soft and very creamy with some buttered popcorn / caramel flavours rounding things out. This is an uncomplicated, ‘midweek’ wine for those who like their chardonnay on the big and bold side of the street. No need to cellar. Match with lemon-spiked roasted chicken or your favourite carbonara pasta.
Available from $14.99
Another wine with some residual sugar that is fast developing a reputation with Kiwi buyers is Tread Softly Prosecco. Vinted from South Australian Glera (glera is the traditional prosecco grape), this is a soft, medium-bodied sparkling wine with flavours in the pear and apple spectrum and an underlying seam of honeysuckle. At just 9.9% alc/vol, it’s been designed to be a lighter style, but the palate delivers plenty of good fruit characters and the finish is clean and bright. Though not as crisp and vibrant as its Italian counterparts, it’s still very fresh and appealing with lost of juicy fruit action and a dash of soft acidity on the finish. Match with a drinks platter when the gang calls around.
Available from $19.99
This is good value. Vinted by Marlborough-based Black Cottage winemaker Dave Clouston, this 2021 release is looking very nicely integrated with a bouquet of red and black fruits, and a green herb / thyme note adding a direct link to the Cromwell and Alexandra vineyards that provided the fruit for this appealing wine. Two years on from harvest it is now entering its perfect drinking window, with primarily red cherry fruits driving things along. Some plum and spicy oak characters pick up that ball, adding further interest to a juicy palate that shows plenty of vibrancy and life. The finish shows some classic Central Otago game and forest floor nuances, and the closing tannins have enough grip to give this wine the structure it deserves. Enjoy over the coming 3-4 years with a venison casserole or duck tacos.
Available from $16.99
One of the great lessons to learn when you start looking more seriously at wine, is that wines don’t need to be big to be good. This lovely southern Rhone blend is the personification of that simple adage; a pleasure wine that puts sheer enjoyment and drinkability before palate weight and structure. It’s worth pointing out that Perrin are a very prestigious Rhone producer - the makers of the legendary Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. They have been wine growers in the southern Rhone for centuries and are now recognised as the largest organic producer in the appellation. The Cotes du Ventoux sits towards the bottom of the Perrin brand hierarchy, but this deceptively simple blend of carignan, cinsault, grenache, and syrah is a very rewarding glass of wine. Enjoy it at the start of an evening with soft cheeses or a charcuterie selection.
Available from $19.99
This famous wine has long been one of the shiraz market’s best buys, but I thought that the newly released 2021 vintage is looking especially sharp. Fruit comes from Jim Barry’s renowned Lodge Hill vineyard in the Clare Valley – a region known for more elegant shiraz expressions that are typically fresher and more vibrant than their Barossa cousins. The palate is chock full of blueberry and cherry fruits with some blackberry notes and bramble spice adding further layers of complexity. There’s plenty of tannin but it is quite fine and integrated, and the oak component shows its presence but never tries to unbalance the equation. This is a mouth-filling, complete shiraz experience that defies this relatively humble price point. Excellent value.