Wines of the year 2015: value picks
Some of the producers that have appeared in my wines of the year series thus far were perhaps not surprising to see: Ata Rangi, Greywacke, Rippon and co. have a track record for a good reason. But many of my non-wine friends don’t want to spend $50 on a bottle of wine, even if I give it my seal of approval.
At the $20 end of the wine spectrum there are a couple of lesser-known producers that have caught my eye and provide an affordable buy yet the well-established names that produce some of the finest wines in the country, like Te Mata and Kumeu River, continue to provide some of the best-value drinking. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
As an aside, in 2016, I’m reintroducing my wine of the week selections after numerous requests. It seems there are a few of you out there who take note and go out and buy wines off the back of my recommendations. I will endeavour to taste through the tripe so you don’t have to!
Starborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough
A pristine focused Sauvignon Blanc that packs a lot of wine into this $20 bottle. Elegant with ting-a-ling acidity.
Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2014, Auckland
Light bodied, fresh and fruity, easy-to-drink Chardonnay. Peach and pear fruit with a touch of creaminess on the mid palate. Tangy acidity leaves a clean, bright finish. At around $20 – and sometimes as little as $15 on offer, this is a delicious, great-value-for-money Chardonnay.
Main Divide Riesling 2013, Waipara
Considering this is around $20, it offers a lot of wine. There’s a bunch of vibrant flavours from white peach to orange peel and honey, suggestive of some botrytised fruit in the blend. It’s off dry but the zingy orangey acidity leaves your palate perfectly cleansed. Lip-smacking good.
Palliser Estate Pinot Gris 2014, Martinborough
An off-dry, mouthfilling Pinot Gris that expands on the palate yet still manages to achieve tension – which is no mean feat when it comes to Pinot Gris. Impressive concentration of fruit – if you like Pinot Gris, you’ll love this. $26 on the winery’s site but Glengarry’s sell it for 10 cents less than $20.
Trinity Hill The Gimblett 2013, Hawke’s Bay
Fine nose that reeks of class. Classic Bordeaux nose with pencil lead, dark black fruits and oak playing a supporting role. Mouthfilling yet elegant, round and silken. There’s plenty of youthful tannin but it is fine and stone-licking good. Precise finish. Slight warmth on the finish is the only minor gripe. Excellent value at only $35. Bargain of the year!
Te Mata Estate Syrah 2014, Hawke’s Bay
Every year, this wine performs and offers bang for your buck. At $20, you really will struggle to find a better wine for your money. Elegant, medium bodied, this is packed full of blackberry and red fruits with a thread of black pepper and Christmas spices, which almost has you wanting to break out into a rendition of Good King Wenceslas. Drink now to 2018.
Ash Ridge Premium Estate Malbec 2014, Hawke’s Bay
Fancy trying something that’s not Pinot? Why not try this varietally classic Malbec? It’s a real gob full of juicy fruity joy. There’s lovely, lifted aromatics and freshly-picked blue and black fruits in the mouth. Youthful, fresh and elegant; okay, it’s not the most complex wine in the world but you’ll want to drink the whole bottle.