Best White Wine Buy of the Year
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019
From one year to the next, this label is one of New Zealand’s greatest wine bargains. Grown in the Wairau and Awatere valleys, the new vintage is ripely scented, weighty and sweet-fruited, with deep, vibrant passionfruit/lime flavours and a crisp, dry, long finish. As usual, it’s a great buy, especially on special at around NZ$15, and for downright drinkability, it’s hard to beat.
Best Red Wine Buy of the Year
Alexander Dusty Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2018
On a quality level that matches many Pinot Noirs in the NZ$40-NZ$45 category, this estate-grown red was hand-picked and matured for 11 months in French oak barriques (20 per cent new). Bright ruby, it has a fragrant, savoury bouquet. Designed for early drinking, but also age-worthy, it is mouthfilling, with concentrated, ripe, plummy, spicy flavours, showing good complexity. At NZ$27, it’s a steal.