Winery Reviews


Winery Reviews

Beyerskloof Stellenbosch Winemaker and Winery

Beyers Truter, runs this property in a partnership which includes UK based wine merchant Simon Halliday. Here he makes stylish and vibrant Pinotage in a light and elegant style and a dense and burly premium red, the Field Blend which combines Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot. This is in a rich chocolatey style with abundant evidence […]

Bilton Stellenbosch

Big, full-blown reds are made here with no shortage of new oak being used. The original Helderberg property dates back to 1726 although Bilton as a modern wine producer was much more recently established with the maiden vintage of 1998 providing just 100 cases. The potential though is much greater than that, the estate vineyards […]

AA Badenhorst Swartland

This is a tremendously exciting small winery based in Swartland halfway between Wellington and Malmesbury producing great red and white. As well as the two premium labels covered here the winery also produces a well-priced second label red and white both called Secateurs. The Badenhorst cousins have restored a run-down cellar on their farm which […]

Beaumont Walker Bay

Based in the Bot River Valley, the Beaumont family farm is halfway between the coastal village of Hermanus and the higher altitude vineyards of Elgin. Good reds are fashioned here as well as some of the better Chenin Blancs in the Cape. In addition to the wines covered here Goutte d’Or (Sémillon/Sauvignon Blanc), the premium […]

Annandale Stellenbosch

Former Springbok forward Gerhard (Hempies) du Toit was the winemaker at ALTO Estate before forming his own operation in 1996 and planting 75ha. He left Alto in early 2000 to concentrate full time on Annandale. As well as his Cabernet Sauvignon he also crafts a small amount of a pricey Shiraz, a Bordeaux blend, Cavalier […]

Backsberg Paarl

This sizeable Paarl winery has always produced solid wines however they have moved onto a new plain in recent vintages under owner Michael Back and winemaker Alicia Rechner who also has five vintages in Europe and Australia to aid her repertoire. There are 110 ha under vine on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains between […]

Alheit Walker Bay

Husband and wife winemaking team Chris and Suzaan Alheit produce a stunning Chenin Blanc dominated white, Cartology, of remarkable dimension from highly selected sites across the Cape. They refer to their work as 99% vineyard and 1% cellar. To this they have now added two single vineyard Chenins both of which are grown at altitude […]

Vavasour Marlborough

Vavasour’s vineyards are a little south and east in the Awatere Valley, where there has recently been extensive planting by other producers and where it is claimed to be drier without the high water table common to much of the plantings in the Wairau Valley. There are two ranges of wines from 30 ha of […]

Two Paddocks Central Otago

Actor Sam Neill (Jurassic Park – as well as more demanding roles) is a celebrity wine producer in a fashionable wine region. But don’t let that put you off as beneath the lightly irreverent façade there is serious intent here – and very good Pinot Noir. The wines are currently made by Dean Shaw at […]

Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay

John Hancock is one of the industry stalwarts in the modern era of New Zealand winemaking, who first helped establish Morton Estate as a quality leader in the 80s before moving on to form Trinity Hill in the 90s. He has always produced ripe, concentrated, fruit-driven wines – powerful and full, and sometimes oaky in […]

Staete Landt Marlborough

Staete Landt was the first European name given to New Zealand by passing explorer Abel Tasman (in 1642). 354 years later two more Dutch travellers chose it for their 21 ha of Marlborough vineyard. An emphasis on vineyard health and the highest quality fruit is already apparent in the wines, all of which show an […]

Spy Valley Marlborough

This is a large Marlborough operation complete with winery, which stands out for the style of wines it produces at reasonably affordable prices. All the varietals show a fresh, exuberant character with good purity and intensity. This direct, expressive character contrasts with too many similarly priced Marlborough examples that suffer from being overly made, relying […]

Saint Clair Marlborough

Saint Clair, founded in 1994, has taken full advantage of the considerable involvement of Matt Thomson (also at the laudable LAKE CHALICE and DELTA) who works with Hamish Clark and two other winemakers. Now a sizeable operation (150,000 – 200,000 cases) Saint Clair does an admirable job of sustaining quality with increased volumes. There is […]

Redmetal Vineyards Hawkes Bay

This small 7 ha estate is property of Grant Edmonds, a winemaker at SILENI and once head winemaker for the VILLA MARIA group. Redmetal refers to the local name for the often reddish, coloured river gravels on which many of the region’s leading vineyards lie. Two-thirds of the vineyard is planted to Merlot, the rest […]

Palliser Estate Martinborough

Palliser was one of the early quality leaders in Martinborough with a deserved reputation for Sauvignon Blanc and promise with Pinot Noir. As volumes increased during the 90s quality levelled off while others forged ahead. Nonetheless the wines are consistent and Palliser continues to offer reasonably priced interpretations of varietals from the district. The estate […]

Seresin Marlborough

Unquestionably style and image play a bigger part than usual in the projection of this rather sophisticated Marlborough winery established by film producer Michael Seresin in 1992. Consistent and fruit-intense wines are made among the regular varietals. There is more depth and complexity in Reserve Chardonnay and plenty of intensity and extract in the Leah […]

Mt Difficulty Central Otago

One of the most promising of a new wave of wineries in Central Otago, originally established in 1992 and now made in a modern winemaking facility by Matt Dicey. The four partners, including Matt’s father, Robin Dicey, own some 32 ha of vineyard with further vines leased. This gives scope for small amounts of single-vineyard […]

Mud House Marlborough

If not one of the out and out stars of the region, Mudhouse has established a consistent and reasonably priced range of varietals since the first vintage in 1996. Grapes are sourced both from estate vineyards in Marlborough, the Waipara Valley and Central Otago as well as from other growers. Winemaking consultancy comes from roving […]

Neudorf Nelson

Neudorf stood for fine quality in the Nelson region when neighbouring Marlborough was a fraction of the size it is now. Yet while Marlborough has expanded rapidly wine quality in Nelson has been advanced by Neudorf and just a few others dedicated to maximising the quality of the fruit in their vineyards. Moderately high densities […]

Murdoch James Estate Martinborough

Pinot Noir and Syrah are the main thrust of production at this expanding organic estate in Martinborough. Pinot, especially in the top Fraser Estate and Blue Rock bottlings, is ripe, rich and fleshy with something of a Pommard-like strength. A tendency to slightly overripe fruit and the use of 100% French oak give the wines […]

Martinborough Vineyard Martinborough

Martinborough Vineyard built an international reputation following the recruitment of Larry McKenna as full-time winemaker. From his first vintage in 1986 he set about making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from fully ripe grapes of the highest possible quality. His success brought acclaim for the region as a whole; its free-draining soil and particularly dry mesoclimate […]

Millton Gisborne

The Miltons are leading New Zealand proponents of biodynamics and run the leading winery in the Gisborne region, where most of the vineyards are in the hands of the big producers. Endeavouring to produce ‘natural’ wines, the Milltons have succeeded admirably in making whites of good fruit richness and intensity. The warm but humid Gisborne […]

Margrain Vineyard Martinborough

From modest beginnings in 1992, this husband-and-wife operation now makes a fine small range from vineyards either owned or leased. Much of the land includes vines over 20 years old. Part is on the original Martinborough terrace (including what used to be the Chifney vineyard) as well as a part on terraces to the south […]

Isabel Estate Marlborough

The finest privately owned estate in Marlborough produces five outstanding varietals from its own well-established vineyards. For many years the grapes had been sold to others before production under the Isabel label commenced in 1994; almost immediately it became the source of, arguably, New Zealand’s finest (certainly in the top three or four) Sauvignon Blancs. […]

Hunter’s Marlborough

Jane Hunter remains one of the best-known personalities in the New Zealand wine industry, having produced some of Marlborough’s best wines for two decades. The wines, show a harmony, a charm and a gentler character when compared with some of Marlborough’s brasher efforts. Sauvignon Blanc in two versions has always been the focus of production. […]

Hans Herzog Marlborough

The wines from the Herzog winery are now labelled Hans Herzog in Australasia and simply Hans in other markets as a result of action by a Californian winery. As immigrants from Switzerland Hans and Therese Herzog are new on the Marlborough scene but have already made considerable impact with tiny quantities of handmade reds. With […]

Grove Mill Marlborough

Grove Mill has grown rapidly since being established in 1988. While many of the grapes are supplied under contract, a series of vineyards have been either leased or bought outright to increase the amount under the winery’s direct control. Since the first vintage the wines have delivered consistently ripe fruit and are characterised by their […]

Greenhough Nelson

From humble beginnings in 1997 Greenhough has become a first class boutique operation. Despite a relatively low profile it brings a little more glamour to the relatively unsung Nelson region, now dwarfed in viticultural terms by Marlborough to the east. Owner and winemaker Andrew Greenhough makes all the wines to a high standard but like […]

Forrest Estate Marlborough

Forrest Estate is relatively small Marlborough winery achieving good consistency. The wines may not be stunning but they have intense fruit with good varietal character and decent structure. They are not heavy or over-manipulated but show classic Marlborough fruit and vigour. There is an encouraging correlation between price and quality and these wines make a […]

Goldwater Estate Waiheke Island

Kim Goldwater pioneered quality wine production on Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf in 1978 and has long produced a powerful, structured Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot with good balance, ripeness and concentration in the best years. The wine keeps well and with age impresses more for its elegance and complexity than for concentration but has very good […]

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