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 $24.99
Named after the year in which bottle fermentation was invented in France, ‘Aimery 1531’ has long been regarded by the international wine trade as one of the best sparkling wines to emanate from southern France. Produced in Cremant de Limoux - a small appellation in Languedoc-Roussillon noted for sparkling wines - this is punchy, mouthfilling methode that carries many of the flavour profiles more commonly seen in Champagne. Vinted from chardonnay, chenin blanc and pinot noir, it is wonderfully fresh and crisp with some yeasty / brioche notes from extended lees ageing. The mid-palate brings in some extra weight, but the finish is citrusy and very refreshing. If the budget doesn’t run to Champagne but you’re looking for some good French bubbles to put on the table, this really is fantastic value. Classically serve ‘Aimery 1531’ as an aperitif or with fresh shellfish – but it has the presence to go well with creamy desserts such as pavlova or a citrus brulee.
Available from $44.99
Here’s something special if you like your chardonnay big, bold and not pulling any punches. Hailing from the Napa Valley – a production area that carries significantly more costs than most of the Californian Chardonnays imported into New Zealand incur - this is an opulent and textural wine with layer after layer of luxe flavour filling the mouth. The nose is a classic assemblage of the powerful aromas of barrel fermented American Chardonnay. Peach, lemon and vanilla aromas leap from the glass with a hint of flinty complexity adding another nuance. The palate is very plush and textural with caramel popcorn and fig flavours undercut with sweet citrus and a lovely vein of zingy acidity. It’s a style that fans of good Kiwi barrel-fermented chardonnay will adore; a special occasion wine that will doubtless become a talking point whenever a bottle is opened. Splash out on some lightly grilled crayfish for a heavenly food match or put a lemon-spiked roast chicken in the oven immediately.
Available from $24.99
I am a big fan of good montepulciano and this excellent example from Feudi Bizantini was a joy to taste. The nose was very fragrant with lots of black fruit, dark chocolate and tobacco notes, while the palate was very polished and smooth, with ample layers of black and red fruits. A lovely choco-berry character picked up those earlier flavours and drove the main conversation. The tannins were friendly and brought just enough dryness to proceedings, while a gentle creamy acidity kept things fresh in the mouth. Everything was balanced and harmonious. This wine is an obvious match for your favourite pizza or pasta dish, but I recently paired it with a night at home and some rugby on Sky Sport. It was everything I wanted it to be. The next day, I bought a case.