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 $28.99
Though not so well-known outside the wider Auckland region, Man O’ War is easily Waiheke’s largest producer and a significant presence in the cafés and restaurants of our largest urban market. Chardonnay has been a major driver in their success with the Estate Chardonnay label a prime mover in their portfolio. 2019 was an excellent growing season on Waiheke and this bright, vibrant wine is a glowing example of modern middleweight New Zealand Chardonnay. Vinted from handpicked fruit, it shows a fresh bouquet of citrus, green apple, and some smoky oak. Those flavours flow through to the palate that brims with fresh minerality and plenty of zingy acid. Barrel fermentation has added further texture and wood spice, but this wine is all about highlighting those punchy Waiheke Chardonnay fruits without letting any other component take over the conversation. This is good wine, and a refreshing departure from the fuller-bodied, creamier styles that dominate chardonnay sales in this price band.
Available from $77.99
Wine in this price bracket is not for everyone, but if you want to push the boat out for a special occasion, you’ll go a long way to find better Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay than this. The nose on this wine is simply exceptional. Funky and inviting, it brought complex notes of smoky, grilled citrus and rich barrel spice characters into play. The palate is tight and restrained at first, before blossoming in the mouth to reveal softer layers of creamy stonefruits that are underpinned with some flinty, mineral characters and a lengthy line of salivating, juicy acidity. The finish is impossibly long and a fitting end to a memorable chardonnay experience. Though this 2020 release is already a magnificent glass of wine, it has serious cellar potential and will reveal its secrets over the coming decade. Bravo.
Available from $129.99
Tasting Homage is always a treat and the latest vintage from Trinity Hill winemaker Warren Gibson and his team was another wonderful example of their flagship Gimblett Gravels Syrah. 2019 was an excellent vintage in Hawke’s Bay and Homage ’19 shows an elegant, floral nose that shines with dark fruits, anise, dry herbage and secondary notes of barrel spice. That engaging initial impression quickly ramps up on the palate as concentrated, savoury red fruits kick into gear, before firm, drying tannins and a vein of creamy acidity play their roles in support. This wine has clearly been made for the long haul and has significant cellar potential. If you are in the market for this important syrah, I would suggest laying some down for at least 5 years to see those tannins become more integrated. Decant before service if you can’t wait that long.