The annual tasting of aromatic wines by Cuisine magazine revealed the results of “excellent vintages and sensitive winemaking [that] left the Cuisine judging panel rhapsodising over the quality of many of the wines”. In Cuisine Issue 151, March 2012, 91 wines from 336 tasted were rated 4 star or more. Riesling was particularly successful with 51 wines in that top bracket. From my own tastings, I can concur with these findings, and many of the top wines I have found in reviewing for my website were included in Cuisine’s top results. It is pleasing when I find my ratings of wines are on par with competition results and magazine judgings, such as in Cuisine. The judges for the aromatics tasting were John Belsham, Simon Nunns, and Sam Kim, who I have judged with regularly, and I know they have done a great job. The top wines will be well-worth seeking.
The Cuisine panel members reckon that “New Zealand Pinot Gris is getting better”, with Simon Nunns saying the wines he saw represented a step up in quality and a step out in style diversity. 27 wines were rated 4 star and above. I have certainly noticed, along with a number of other commentators, such as Bob Campbell MW, the rise in standard since 2010. The ‘Top 5′ Pinot Gris in order for Cuisine were: Main Divide 2011, Hawkshead 2011, Greystone 2011, Main Divide ‘Pokiri Reserve’ Late Picked 2009, all rated 5 star, and the Wither Hills 2011 rated 4 ½ stars.
Riesling was the standout class for the Cuisine panel, with Simon Nunns saying “It is rare to judge so many wines that have such poise and grace, coupled with such power, concentration and linearity.” The ‘Top 10′ Rieslings were, in order: Villa Maria ‘Reserve’ Marlborough Dry 2010, Saint Clair ‘Pioneer Block 9 Big John’ 2011, Villa Maria ‘Private Bin’ Marlborough Dry 2011, Peregrine ‘Rastasburn’ 2008, Ribbonwood 2011, Forrest ‘The Valleys’ Wairau Dry 2007, Te Whare Ra ‘D’ 2011, Mondillo 2011, Esk Valley Marlborough Dry 2011, Giesen Marlborough 2011. In all there were 16 Rieslings rated 5 star. These wines will all deliver to those enjoying New Zealand’s first ‘Summer of Riesling’.