Winery Reviews


Winery Reviews

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 […]

Escarpment Wairarapa

This 24 ha property is the new project (established 1999) of Larry McKenna, who both through the success of MARTINBOROUGH VINEYARD and as prime mover and consultant, is at least partly responsible for sizeable tracts of New Zealand countryside being turned into Pinot Noir territory. The bulk of Escarpment is planted to it; the balance […]

The Crossings Estate Marlborough

The Crossings represents a substantial investment in Marlborough with vineyards spread across three estates, all in the Awatere Valley. The wines are made by George Elworthy solely from grapes sourced from these vineyards. The focus is on Sauvignon, which does particularly well in the Awatere Valley as has long been illustrated by VAVASOUR. The regular […]

Churton Marlborough

The Weavers produce Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir as well as Petit Manseng and Viognier. They have a total of 25 ha of vines on an elevated hillside site with farming being moved fully to organic practices. Sam’s CV features several leading Marlborough wineries including ISABEL. The Sauvignon has good concentration and shows good underlying […]

Church Road Hawkes Bay

Compared with MONTANA’s vast Marlborough vineyard estates, the Church Road winery in Hawkes Bay is a (relatively) small separate entity. Red wines have been developed under guidance from Bordeaux négociant Cordier. A regular Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon is soundly made but usually wants for a little more richness and ripeness, while a Reserve of the same blend […]

Carrick Central Otago

Steve Davies, Carrick’s winemaker, seems to be getting into his stride with the latest releases from the Cairnmuir terraces in the Bannockburn district of Central Otago. The main focus in the estate vineyards is Pinot Noir. The wine has real depth, concentration and spicy, plummy fruit complexity and it is now amongst the best of […]

Cloudy Bay Marlborough

Established in 1985 by David Hohnen of CAPE MENTELLE (Western Australia), Cloudy Bay is probably New Zealand’s best-known winery internationally and produces its most famous Sauvignon Blanc. The pair of Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay come under the umbrella of French luxury goods giant LVMH. Despite substantial volumes and changing vineyard sources – there are […]

Brancott Estate Marlborough

Brancott Estate (formerly Montana) is New Zealand’s largest producer, responsible for a considerable amount of the country’s total output. Lion Brewing has now acquired the Corbans and Lindauer brands, which were originally owned by Pernod Ricard. The Brancott Estate volume comes from its Marlborough brands, which include consistently drinkable Chardonnay, Sauvignon Gris and Sauvignon Blanc […]

Borthwick Wairarapa

Widely experienced Roseworthy graduate Paddy Borthwick has pioneered viticulture in the Dakins Road area since the company was established in 1996. His 27 ha of vineyards are planted on freedraining river terraces, like those to the south in Martinborough, and he has similarly placed his faith in Pinot Noir. Though the vines are still very […]

Bald Hills Central Otago

Here is another rising star to add to the lexicon of Central Otago Pinot Noir. From a prime Bannockburn location the 7.5 ha of vineyard is planted at low densities but yields are kept relatively low. The first vines were planted only in 1997 and like many in the region, are only now beginning to […]

Ata Rangi Martinborough

From an original 5 ha site, brother and sister Clive and Alison Paton and their partners have built an enviable reputation. Their vineyards are sited mostly on the Martinborough Terrace, either owned (this includes the recent acquisition of the Walnut Ridge vineyard) or subject to long-term contracts with neighbouring families. Yields are low, the vine […]

Vinícola Miolo Serra Gaúcha

Miolo is the slickest operation in the region and claims to be the largest producer of “fine wine” and Champagne-method fizz in Brazil. Michel Rolland advises on winemaking. In 2008 Miolo received 120,000 cellar door visitors. It also hosts one day wine courses. Brut Millésime is an equal blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, nicely […]

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