The latest Cuisine magazine results have confirmed what avid wine lovers have known for a long time: Riesling and to a lesser extent Gewurztraminer are star performers in the aromatic wine stakes, and that Pinot Gris, while immensely popular in terms of quantity, doesn’t deliver as much as the former varieties. It is ironic that Pinot Gris has proliferated in the number of labels and in the bottles consumed without any major push, while all the passion and support for Riesling has resulted in very little difference. There is no doubt that Riesling is a noble variety of great finesse, and Gewurztraminer has an opulence shared by few other white varieties. The Cuisine tasting results are further proof.
The March 2011 No. 145 issue of Cuisine takes the step of identifying the sweetness levels of the wines that are featured as topping the tastings. This is a welcome move, as there is much discussion on how the consumer should be better informed. The International Riesling Foundation’s scale has yet to be widely adopted, and maybe Cuisine could go one further step by endorsing the use of this useful, consumer-friendly tool.
Well-known judge John Belsham led the panel with Sarah-Kate Dineen, Cameron Douglas MS and Jane Boyle (all three participating in the recent Royal Easter Show Wine Awards as senior judges) to come up with the following top wines:
The top Dry Riesling was the Hunters Marlborough Riesling 2010 with the Pasquale Waitaki Valley Riesling 2010 and Bald Hills ‘Last Light’ Riesling Central Otago 2009 also rated as 5 star wines. The top Medium Dry Riesling was the Fallen Angel Marlborough Riesling 2010 with the Martinborough Vineyard ‘Manu’Riesling 2010 and Spinyback Nelson Riesling 2009 judged 5 stars as well. The top Medium Riesling was the Forrest ‘The Doctors’ Marlborough Riesling 2010, with the Turnstone Marlborough Riesling 2009 scored as a 5 star wine.
In the Pinot Gris category, the top Dry Pinot Gris was the Tupari Marlborough Pinot Gris 2010 with the Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Gris 2010 rated 5 star as well. The top Medium Dry Pinot Gris was the Shingle Peak Marlborough Pinot Gris 2010 and the top Medium Pinot Gris the Man O’ War Ponui Island Pinot Gris 2010, both at the 5 star level.
Three Gewurztraminers made it to the 5 star level, the top being the Spy Valley Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010, a medium dry example, followed by the Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010 and the Forrest ‘The Valleys’ Wairau Gewurztraminer 2010, both medium in style.
The tasting also included a class of Gruner Veltliner wines which are seen by some as the ‘next big thing’ in aromatic wines. Two Austrian examples were rated 4 star, but the seven Kiwi wines were rated 3 star.